Wikinews interviews Phil Collins, U.S. Prohibition Party presidential nominee

Thursday, October 22, 2020

U.S. Prohibition Party presidential nominee Phil Collins took some time to answer a few questions about his 2020 presidential campaign from Wikinews accredited reporter William S. Saturn.

Phil Collins
Image: Prohibition Party.

Collins is currently chairman of the Prohibition Party. Previously, he served as a trustee of Libertyville Township (Illinois) and as chairman of the Prohibition Party of Illinois. After moving to Nevada, he ran for Mayor of Las Vegas in 2019, and finished in second place overall.  He was not the Prohibition Party's first choice for the 2020 presidential nomination. In November 2018, the party nominated a ticket of Bill Bayes for President and C.L. Gammon for Vice President. Bayes withdrew in March 2019. Gammon assumed the presidential nomination and the party nominated Collins for Vice President the next month. Gammon withdrew due to health reasons around August 2019 and Collins took over as the presidential nominee. The party picked anti-alcohol activist Billy Joe Parker as Collins's new running mate.  Parker spoke to Wikinews back in July.

After securing the Prohibition Party presidential nomination, Collins sought the nominations of the American Independent Party (AIP) and the Reform Party for ballot access in California and Florida, respectively. Despite winning the AIP California Presidential Primary in March, Collins lost the nomination to businessman Rocky De La Fuente in August. He also fell short of De La Fuente for the Reform Party presidential nomination in June. Nevertheless, the Prohibition Party has attained ballot access in Colorado, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Vermont.  The last presidential election in which the party appeared on at least four state ballots was in 1984 with nominee Earl Dodge.

The Prohibition Party is the third oldest existing political party in the US, having been established in 1869. It reached its height of popularity during the late nineteenth century. As its name suggests, the party supported the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which banned the sale of alcohol, and resulted in the period known as Prohibition (1919–33).  Since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the party has declined.  It stays afloat, in part, due to the George L. Pennock Trust established in 1939, which pays the party's operating expenses. It continues to nominate candidates for president as well.  Wikinews has previously interviewed two of those nominees: 2004 and 2008 presidential nominee Gene Amondson and 2016 presidential nominee James (Jim) Hedges.  Collins makes it three.

With Wikinews, Collins discusses his background, the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on his campaign, presidential nominations, gridlock, climate change, foreign policy, and race relations.

Interview

Background and leadership

 ((WSS )) : Which past U.S. president(s) do you most admire and why?

 
Collins admires Abraham Lincoln (pictured) for his leadership during the US Civil War.
Image: Alexander Gardner.
Collins: I admire [Abraham] Lincoln because he was a good leader in the Civil War. He wanted to ensure that the union was preserved, and he achieved that goal. He chose cabinet members and generals who would serve their country very well, and he wasn't disappointed. I admire [Ronald] Reagan because he persuaded Congress (which was mainly Democrats) to cut tax rates. While he was president, the unemployment rate, inflation rate, and interest rates decreased.

 ((WSS )) : When and why did you join the Prohibition Party?

Collins: I joined it in the summer of 2014. I found that I agreed with most of the platform, and I knew that I could be a state leader, since I didn't think the party had any other members who lived in Illinois.

 ((WSS )) : How have your past experiences prepared you for the job of President?  

Collins: I was in the navy for 21 years, including eight years in marine units and six months near Baghdad. If I were the commander-in-chief, that might help me command the military. I was a township trustee. Since I have the government experience, I learned the importance of reading resolutions, especially budgets, before I voted on them.

 ((WSS )) : How would you describe your style of leadership? How does it compare to the leadership styles of President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama?

Collins: If I were president, I'd have a more constitutional leadership, by reading the Constitution, whenever I decide if I should sign or veto a bill. Presidents Trump and Obama signed budgets that increased spending, increased the deficit, and increased the debt. I wouldn't do that.

Coronavirus pandemic and campaigning

 ((WSS )) : If you were president, how would you have handled the coronavirus pandemic differently than President Trump?

Collins: I'd encourage the governors to help one another better. A few states, with no stay-at-home orders, have low infection rates, compared to a few states that had mask and stay-at-home orders. I would have asked governors of a couple of those healthy states, to have a televised press conference, at the White House, to tell what their states did.

 ((WSS )) : How has the pandemic affected your campaign and your ability to reach out to voters?

Collins: In Tennessee, we paid someone to get petition signatures, for us. When a lot of businesses were closed and many summer events were cancelled, it was hard for our workers to find people, who would sign the petitions.  

 ((WSS )) : In 2016, Prohibition Party presidential nominee Jim Hedges received 5,617 votes, the most for the party since 1988. Based on your general feeling on the ground, about how many votes do you expect to receive in the 2020 election?

Collins: I think that I'll get 9,000-11,000 votes. I'll be on the ballots in more states, and I'll be a write-in candidate in more states, compared to Mr. Hedges.

Nominations and gridlock

 ((WSS )) : What would a Collins administration look like? Which specific individuals would you ask to be in your cabinet?

 
Collins would prefer Robert Gates (pictured) for Secretary of State.
Image: Department of Defense.
Collins: I'd nominate people who could work well with members of the Prohibition, Republican, and Democrat Parties. The majority of those people would be people who had political experience. Since Robert Gates was a secretary of defense for a Republican and Democrat, I'd nominate him for secretary of state. Other than that, I haven't thought of anyone. If I win, I'll ask for suggestions from other Prohibition Party officers.

 ((WSS )) : Who would you nominate to the Supreme Court? Would you apply any litmus tests? Should the number of justices remain at nine?

Collins: I haven't decided whom I'd nominate. I'd choose someone who is a federal appeals court judge who always rules according to the Constitution. No, I wouldn't have any litmus test. Yes, I think that the number should remain nine.

 ((WSS )) : As president, how would you work with Congress to avoid gridlock and pass your agenda?

Collins: I'd try to learn about each senator and representative so that I could talk to a lot of them and persuade them to agree with me. I'd usually propose bills that obey the Constitution, so I'd tell people that my view is what the founders would have wanted.

Policy

 ((WSS )) : What should be done, from the government's perspective, to combat global climate change?

Collins: Some scientists say that global climate change isn't caused by people and that the change is part of a cycle that has happened for at least 1,000 years. If I'm president and I read that the majority of scientists think that people caused the change, I'd ask a few former EPA heads for their opinions about how we should combat it.

 ((WSS )) : What are your views on the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan? What would you do as president to help resolve the conflict and how does that comport with your overarching philosophy on foreign affairs?

Collins: I think that those countries should compromise and split the disputed area in half. I don't see any reason why the U.S. should be involved, so I think our government should be neutral.
 
Disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area
Image: User:Aivazovsky.

 ((WSS )) : Are you concerned about the deplatforming and social media censorship of notable conservatives and libertarians? How would you address this issue as president?

Collins: Yes, I'm concerned about it. If I'm president, I'd encourage more people to use different social media sites, including instagram, twitter, and mewe.

 ((WSS )) : What can you do, as president, to improve race relations in the United States?

Collins: I could ensure that recruiting ads for the federal government (especially for the military and FBI) will show co-workers of a few ethnic groups, showing that many federal workers work, well, with members of different races. I'd send federal agency offices information about federal discrimination rules. The rules should be posted in each federal office, so the employees and the public will know that discrimination will be punished.


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Sources

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.