On the campaign trail, November 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

The following is the first in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It will feature original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month's biggest stories.

In this month's edition on the campaign trail: the Party for Socialism and Liberation nominates an underaged presidential ticket; a college football coach announces that he is running for president; and a candidate excluded from the GOP debates answers whether or not he would run under a third party label.


Herman Cain rejects claims of sexual harassment at a press conference, November 8.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

In November 2011, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich surpassed businessman Herman Cain in opinion polls as frontrunner for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. Cain's campaign was troubled with allegations of sexual harassment and a romantic affair. The previous frontrunner, Texas governor Rick Perry, had a "brain freeze" during a debate while trying to name the last of the three federal agencies he would abolish.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has consistently polled high, led several sources to conclude that he would inevitably win the GOP nomination and match up against incumbent President Barack Obama of the Democratic Party. However, if nominated, Romney might not be the only challenger currently vying for the GOP nomination. There was speculation that two candidates excluded from November's GOP debates, former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, would run for the presidential nominations of other political parties to challenge Obama and the GOP candidate.

Party for Socialism and Liberation nominates underaged ticket

PSL presidential nominee Peta Lindsay
Image: PLSweb.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) nominated 27-year-old activist Peta Lindsay for president and 26-year-old immigrant Yari Osorio for vice president in November. Because of their ages, both are constitutionally ineligible to serve if elected.

The PSL, which was founded in 2006 after a split from the Workers World Party, is the second socialist party to name its ticket. In October, the Socialist Party USA nominated 2008 vice presidential candidate Stewart Alexander for president and selected lawn care business owner Alejandro Mendoza as his running mate.

Lindsay is now challenging Alexander for the Peace and Freedom Party's presidential nomination, according to that party's State Executive Committee members Kevin Akin and Bob Evans. Whoever receives this nomination will be guaranteed ballot access in California. In 2008, the PSL achieved ballot access in twelve states with nominee Gloria La Riva. La Riva also sought the Peace and Freedom Party nomination but lost to independent candidate Ralph Nader.

Ballot access may be difficult for the Lindsay-Osorio ticket since many states only allow constitutionally eligible candidates to appear on the ballot. In the past, parties that nominated constitutionally ineligible candidates were forced to name placeholders for such states.

Despite this, the ticket promises to "get into the [presidential] debates."

Football coach running for president

Former Savannah State University football coach Robby Wells announced November 21 that he is running for president as an independent candidate. The announcement occurred during a press conference just hours after the settlement of his wrongful termination suit against Savannah State. Wells alleged he had been fired in January 2010 for recruiting too many white players in the largely black school. The school argued that he was fired for mishandling records and not following directions. As coach, his record was 7–15.

Political science professor Robert Eisinger of Savannah College of Art and Design said "nobody knows" Wells and "his chances [as a candidate] are slim to none. As in zilch, nada."

Wikinews caught up with Wells via e-mail to find out why he decided to run, how he was different from other candidates, and whether he felt candidates with low name recognition are "delusional".

 ((WSS )) What compelled you (personally) to run for president?

Coach Wells: I am running for president for the people of this great country. There are over 40 million people living at or below the poverty level in the United States. We have 14 million Americans that are unemployed and over 25 million people that are underemployed. The American Dream has been replaced with an economic nightmare for many Americans, and we need to make a real change. I believe that it is time for America to think outside the box. I have served my country in the Army National Guard, and I have been a public servant, serving as a teacher and football coach. My platform is called the Gameplan, and you can view it on my campaign web site at www.electrobbywells.com.

 ((WSS )) How are you different from any of the other 286 people [now 291] that filed with the FEC to run for president?

Coach Wells: "I can not speak for the other 286 people that filed with the FEC to run for the office of President of the United States, but there is a lot of difference between myself and the top Republican candidates and President Obama. Unlike the top candidates that are worth millions of dollars, I am a representation of the vast majority of people in America. I know what it feels like to be unemployed, and I know how it feels to struggle to provide for my family. If elected, I will be concerned more with doing my job than keeping my job. I will be more concerned about the American citizens having jobs, and creating new jobs for the unemployed."

 ((WSS )) What is your response to people who think that non-politicians with low name recognition that run for president are delusional?

Coach Wells: "America is facing some major challenges, and serious people must be willing to take a stand for the country they love. I have been a college football coach for 15 years, and most recently the Head Football Coach at Savannah State University. Savannah State is an NCAA Division - I school. I believe that my name is currently recognized in the southeastern part of the nation, and we hope to spread that recognition across the country. I love to compete, and I love winning. I was called delusional when I took the head football coaching position at Savannah State because I was the first white head football coach at the black college (HBCU), but I was the most successful coach at Savannah State in the past decade. I am very serious about my plan for the country, and I understand that I am a long shot. In order for my campaign to win, the people of this great nation must join our team, and send Washington a message. The message is very simple. 'We are the people of the United States of America, and our only option is to succeed as a nation.'"

Will another GOP candidate consider a third party nomination?

Fred Karger campaigns in Iowa.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

After GOP candidates Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson were excluded from all the presidential debates in November, Johnson is now considering a run for the Libertarian Party nomination and Roemer has already decided to pursue the nomination of Americans Elect. That leaves behind Fred Karger, another GOP candidate who received some notice in presidential polls and was excluded from debates.

In August, Karger, who holds the distinction as the first openly-gay person to seek the nomination of a major political party, objected after being excluded from a debate, maintaining he met its polling requirements. However, now he says "It's a problem of numbers. They figure Eight is Enough." Unlike Johnson, who feels the GOP could have used their influence to include him, Karger sees it more as a network issue. He confirmed to Wikinews that he will not seek a third party nomination or run as an independent in 2012. He will remain in the GOP.


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.