The Top 20 Satirical Candidates Of All Time
#1. Nobody For PresidentWhy vote for Nobody? Because Nobody is the best candidate. Nobody cares. Nobody will keep election promises. Nobody will listen to your concerns. Nobody tells the truth. Nobody will lower your taxes. Nobody will defend your rights. Nobody has all the answers.
Nobody has run for President of the United States in every election since 1964, when journalist Arthur Hoppe first launched a campaign on his behalf. In 1975 comedian Wavy Gravy and Curtis Spangler took up Nobody's cause, hosting rallies for him across the country as the candidate of the Birthday Party. Their campaign had a serious side, urging that Nobody (or "None of the Above") should be included as an option on all ballots so that voters wouldn't be forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. Their campaign continues at nobodyforpresident.org.
#2. Cacareco the RhinocerosThe 1959 city council election in Sao Paulo, Brazil had a surprise winner: Cacareco, a five-year-old female rhinoceros at the local zoo. Not only did she win, but she did so by a landslide, garnering 100,000 votes (15% of the total). This was one of the highest totals for a local candidate in Brazil's history to that date.
Cacareco's candidacy was traced back to a group of students who had printed up 200,000 ballots with her name on them, but the ballots were all legitimately cast by voters, one of whom commented: "Better to elect a rhino than an ass."
Cacareco's election caused an outpouring of concern among Brazil's intellectual classes. One sociologist described it as "a phenomenon of the greatest sociological importance" and worried that it indicated Brazil was on the threshold of revolt. Others interpreted it as a protest against food shortages, the high cost of living, and political corruption. In fact, many voters in the same election had expressed their disgust with local politics by placing black beans in the ballot envelope instead of a ballot.
The director of the zoo commented that he would ask Sao Paulo to pay Cacareco's Councilman's salary. However, election officials nullified all her ballots and a new election was held the next week.
Cacareco died in 1962, but her memory lived on in a number of ways. "Voto Cacareco" became a widely used term signifying a protest vote. She also inspired the formation of the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, whose members appointed the rhinoceros Cornelius the First as their leader.
Cacareco wasn't the first animal elected to political office, not even in Brazil. In 1954 a goat named Smelly had been elected to the city council in Jaboatao. But due to the size of her victory, Cacareco remains the most famous animal candidate of all time.
#3. Pulvapies Foot PowderIn 1967, in anticipation of municipal elections throughout Ecuador, the Pulvapies foot powder company launched an advertising campaign that featured the slogan: "Vote for any candidate, but if you want hygiene, vote for Pulvapies." Immediately before the election it also distributed thousands of leaflets which read: "For Mayor: Honorable Pulvapies". The leaflets were the same size and color as official voting papers.
Residents of the small coastal town of Picoaza (pop. 4000) took the advice to heart. A majority of them wrote "Honorable Pulvapies" on their ballots, making the foot powder their new mayor. Many voters in other municipalities marked their ballots similarly.
Was the election of Pulvapies a protest vote, or an indication of poor literacy skills in the region? That wasn't clear. Nevertheless, it left the electoral tribunal with a dilemma: What to do when a foot powder is legitimately elected? The losing candidates threatened to sue the foot powder company.
#4. Screaming Lord SutchScreaming Lord Sutch made his living as a musician (lead singer of the Raving Savages), but it was his efforts to get himself elected to political office in Britain that made him famous. He campaigned in over 40 elections and lost them all. The most votes he ever received was 1,114 in the 1994 Rotherham by-election. However, he did earn a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the parliamentary candidate who had stood more times than anyone else.
He first ran for a seat in parliament in 1963, at the age of 22, as the candidate of the "National Teenage Party" with the slogan "Vote for Sutch and gain much." In 1970 he switched his allegiance to the "Go To Blazes Party" before finally, in 1983, founding the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. He chose the Loch Ness Monster as its mascot.
As the candidate of the OMRLP party, his slogan was "Vote for insanity you know it makes sense." He campaigned in a top hat and leopard-skin tail coat. His proposals included bringing back the village idiot, putting joggers on treadmills to make them generate electricity, breeding fish in wine so they could be harvested ready-pickled, converting coal mines into bungee-jumping centers (and making local politicians be the first to test them), and making all dogs eat phosphorescent food so that their poop could be seen at night.
Eventually British election officials started to raise the entry fee in the hope of preventing people such as Sutch from registering as candidates. However, Sutch simply used the money he earned as a musician to pay the higher fees.
Incidentally, his name really was Lord Sutch. He had legally changed his first name from David to Lord in 1968.
After the death of Lord Sutch in 1999, the OMRLP continued on, electing a ginger tomcat named Mandu and its owner as its joint leaders.
Links: The Official Monster Raving Loony Party, Screaming Lord Sutch History
#5. Ferdinand LopFerdinand Lop was a writer, teacher, poet, street artist, and perennial candidate for the Presidency of the French Republic. He campaigned for the office during the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. The issues he advocated included eliminating poverty (but only after 10 PM), extending the Boulevard St. Michel to the English Channel with a comfort station every 50 yards, nationalizing brothels, providing an annual allowance to the widow of the unknown soldier, and relocating Paris to the countryside so that its residents could enjoy fresher air. He called this program of reform "Lopeotherapy."
When he campaigned he was often flanked by his various Ministers: the Minister of Information, Propaganda and Cults, the Minister of Folklore and Sex, the Minister of Tobacco and Health, the Minister of the General Situation, the Minister of Justice, Sports and Leisure, and the Minister of the Fight against the Opposition.
His supporters (principally Latin Quarter students) called themselves Le Front Lopulaire and derisively referred to his opponents as "anti-Lopes".
Even his opponents acknowledged his bravery during the German occupation when he spoke out against the Nazis and Vichy. Once, when the Gestapo raided one of his meetings, he remarked, as he climbed out a back window to escape: "We do not retreat. We advance backward for strategic purposes."
When Lop died in 1974, his obituary recalled that, in addition to being one of the Latin Quarter's best known "characters," he had also been arrested by British police in 1959 after saying he was going to marry Princess Margaret.
You can view a video of Lop at ina.fr.
#6. Pat PaulsenThe comedian Pat Paulsen, a regular on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, first announced he was running for President in 1968 as the candidate for the Straight Talking American Government (STAG) Party. Throughout the campaign he repeatedly described himself as the "common ordinary simple savior of America's destiny." Other campaign slogans he used included "We cannot stand pat," "We can be decisive, probably," "United we sit," and "If elected, I will win." He responded to all criticism with the phrase "Picky, picky, picky."
Paulsen declared that "issues have no place in a presidential campaign." However, he did announce a position on a few issues. For instance, on the issue of gun control he favored letting everyone have guns but locking up the bullets.
He campaigned throughout the United States, telling every community that he spoke in that it was his favorite "filled with real people -- not like those phonies in California." When he arrived in California, he declared it to be his real home "not full of phonies like those other places."
In the election Paulsen received so many votes that Hubert Humphrey blamed him for siphoning off votes from the Democrats, allowing Nixon to win.
Paulsen ran five more times, in 1972, 1980, 1988, 1992, and 1996. In 1992 he finished second to George Bush in the North Dakota Republican Primary, and in 1996 he finished second to Bill Clinton in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary.
Links: Pat Paulsen for President
#7. Vermin SupremeVermin Supreme (his legal name) has been campaigning for political office since 1986 when he ran for Mayor of Baltimore. During the 1992 New Hampshire primary he challenged Sen. Tom Harkin to a chainsaw duel in the Steel Cage of Death. Harkin declined.
Since then he's set his sights higher, campaigning to become mayor of the United States, emperor of the new millennium, and President of the United States (because, as he notes, it's the highest office on the ballot). Vermin Supreme argues that "All politicians are, in fact, vermin. I am the Vermin Supreme; therefore I am the most qualified candidate."
He often wears a rubber boot on his head ("if the shoe fits, wear it"), a plastic eagle on his chest, and carries a giant toothbrush. The toothbrush symbolizes his focus on dental hygiene, which he promotes because "Proper dental hygiene is essential to proper social order." He advocates, "government-issued toothpaste containing addictive yet harmless substances; video surveillance through two-way bathroom mirrors, electronic tracking, moisture and motion sensor devices in all toothbrushes... or even preventative dental maintenance detention facilities."
Other positions he supports includes: "No flying monkeys in the streets of New York! To do something about the weather! Computer chip implants for all Americans! The legalization of human meat! Bigger family values! To make crime against the law!"
He was featured in the 1996 PBS documentary "Why Can't I Be President?"
#8. Stephen ColbertComedian Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, announced in October 2007 that he was running for President. Uniquely, he was going to seek both the Republican and Democratic nomination. However, he would only run in his home state of South Carolina.
In explaining why he should run for President, Colbert said, "it's clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative." He also announced his intention to "bring truthiness to the '08 race." However, Colbert was careful to distinguish between running for President and being President: "I don't want to be president. I want to run for president. There's a difference."
Eventually he abandoned his plans to run as a Republican due to the $35,000 filing fee. He paid the $2500 Democratic filing fee, but was excluded from the ballot due to the South Carolina Democratic Party's decision that he was not a "serious candidate." Colbert subsequently ended his campaign.
However, during his brief campaign opinion polls had put him ahead of candidates such as Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, and Dennis Kucinich.
#9. John “Hugo N. Frye” PatricBetween 1960 and 1980 John "Hugo N. Frye" Patric was a perennial candidate in the Washington State primaries. He ran for every office available in order "to be a nuisance." He insisted on paying his filing fee entirely in loose change.
Although Patric filed the entry fee, he never did anything else to promote his candidacy, explaining that, "You can't lose a race you didn't run for. Hell, I didn't even crawl. I left that for the candidates with all the money to buy fancy posters and TV ads." Nor would he elaborate on what his policies might be should he be elected, insisting "That's my business."
He once explained that he kept on running for office (and losing) as "a public service in case someone wants to vote for me." Though he also noted, "I don't want those responsibilities but I'm making the offer to accept them. If the people want me, I'm here. I hope they don't."
"Hugo N. Frye" (i.e. You go and fry) was not his actual middle name, though he almost always used that name when filing. In 1962 he was arrested for using that name to file a petition. He was found guilty of signing a petition with "other than his true name," but his sentence was later suspended on the condition that he maintain "a certain minimum of decency and respect for others."
Hugo N. Frye was also the name of a fictitious politician created by students at Cornell in 1930.
#10. Pigasus the ImmortalOn August 23, 1968, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the Yippies (Youth International Party) presented their candidate for the U.S. Presidency. He was "Pigasus the Immortal," a 160-lb pig. The Yippies argued, "They nominate a president and he eats the people. We nominate a president and the people eat him." His platform was to be a pile of garbage -- "just like the platform of all the other parties."
As befitting Pigasus' status as a presidential candidate, the Yippies demanded he be given Secret Service protection and be brought to the White House for a foreign policy briefing. The federal government never responded to these demands.
Pigasus arrived at the Civic center plaza in a beat-up old station wagon. He stepped out onto the pavement, amidst cries of "Pork Power" and "Vote Pig" and promptly flopped on his belly. But his political career proved to be brief. Barely had his official introduction begun when the police arrived and loaded him into a police wagon, citing a law that banned bringing livestock into a city. His Yippie handlers were also arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, conspiracy, and inciting a riot. They became known as the Chicago Eight and were the defendants in a highly publicized trial.
Pigasus was taken to the Anti-Cruelty society, given a bath, fed, and placed in an outside pen. His subsequent fate is unknown.