Are you one of those undecided voters who doesn’t like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and who isn’t impressed by those other candidates the lamestream media keep bringing up, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party? Well here in New Mexico, we aren’t stuck with the quadopoly of these choices. There are other presidential candidates on our ballot.
While many critics of New Mexico’s election laws have complained through the years about how tough it is to get minor parties and independents on the ballot here, somehow six parties that aren’t Democratic or Republican made it in New Mexico this year.
Here’s a look at those minor minor-party candidates.
First there is Evan McMullin. Yes, that’s McMullin, not McMuffin. He’s the ex-CIA officer (heads up, conspiracy buffs!) who is the darling of the Never Trump Republicans and is at the top of the ticket of the Better for America Party. He’s on the ballots of 11 states and New Mexico is one of them. Basically he’s a traditional strong-military, low-taxes Republican without most of Trump’s more, uh, exotic ideas. I haven’t seen much evidence of any groundswell for McMullin here. In fact, I haven’t talked to anyone here who supports him. But in one of the other Four Corner states, McMullin’s home state of Utah, he has become an actual force with which to be reckoned. Real Clear Politics shows him averaging 24.4 percent, 1 percentage point behind Clinton and about 6 percentage points behind Trump. And the most recent poll listed shows him winning the state.
McMullin’s running mate is someone named Nathan Johnson. Is this a sinister ploy to confuse Gary Johnson supporters? Apparently not. Veteran GOP consultant Rick Wilson told Politico last month, “Nathan is a guy who’s on the ballot right now with the full understanding that this is going to swap out in the immediate future. Our legal people have also had a long look at this thing, and they’re confident that we can do this, we can make this thing work.” So you don’t really know who you’re voting for to be one heartbeat away from the presidency if you vote for McMullin. (www.evanmcmullin.com)
Another presidential choice in New Mexico is the Constitution Party, whose presidential candidate is Darrell Castle, a Memphis bankruptcy lawyer. He wants to get out of the United Nations, abolish the Federal Reserve and, like Gary Johnson, replace the current tax system with a flat tax and, somewhat like Johnson, decriminalize marijuana. (Gary wants to legalize it.) Castle recently was endorsed by right-wing radio celebrity Glenn Beck. (www.constitutionparty.com)
Another party on the New Mexico ballot is the American Delta Party, which I first thought was some kind of airline promotion. But no, this party’s standard bearer is Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, a businessman who at one point owned 28 car dealerships in California. He also is the presidential candidate of The Reform Party, which once upon a time was the vehicle of H. Ross Perot. De La Fuente first ran as a Democrat, but apparently ran behind Marvin O’Malley, Vermin Supreme and a few others in the New Hampshire primary. But De La Fuente stuck with it until the final primary, Washington, D.C., in which he placed third behind Clinton and Bernie Sanders. (He received 213 votes, or 0.22 percent). He is pro-choice, supports the Keystone XL Pipeline but wants more regulations on fracking, wants to increase federal spending and lower taxes, and favors the death penalty for certain crimes. (www.rocky2016.com)
Finally there is the Socialism and Liberation Party, whose candidate is labor activist Gloria La Riva, who lives in San Francisco but was born in Albuquerque. She’s a longtime anti-war activist who also has worked for gay and lesbian rights, immigrant rights and better relations with Cuba. She has run for president and vice president before on the Workers World Party ticket. La Riva’s running mate is Nathan Johnson. Just kidding. It’s longtime American Indian Movement leader Dennis Banks, who became famous nationally during the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee. (www.glorialariva4president.com)
So there you have it. Don’t say you don’t have a choice this year.