Rocky Anderson Seeks to Occupy the Oval Office


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Rocky Anderson, the former two-term mayor of Salt Lake City, is scheduled to formally announce his candidacy for president Monday morning on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown. A fierce critic of the Bush administration, Anderson’s deep disappointment with President Obama and the Democrats has led him to create a third party, the Justice Party, which will officially launch Monday at 2 p.m. at a press conference at the Daughters of the American Revolution at 1776 D St, NW.

“We need leadership that will stand up for the public interest… [and get] the corrupting influence of corporate and other concentrated wealth out of our government,” Anderson told TheFightBack yesterday. “People across the board want to see change,” he said. Standing outside in the cold at Occupy DC, just two blocks from the White House, Anderson commented on the economic and political conditions that have given rise to the movement of the 99 Percenters:

“It’s the greatest economic disparity in this country since the 1920s. We are in a new Guilded Age… Not one person has been prosecuted for the massive financial fraud that has brought this country to its economic knees, and much of the rest of the world. People are getting away with this with impunity and it’s got to stop.”

Since leaving office in 2008, Anderson has served as executive director of High Road for Human Rights, which he founded. He’ll now put that work aside as he mounts his bid for the presidency.

In 2006, Nation Magazine wrote, “Anderson… would be a strong candidate for national office – a viable presidential contender.” Those words were written when Anderson was a Democrat, which is no longer the case. Earlier this year, in a response to an email appeal from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Anderson renounced his party membership:

“How dare you send me an email with the subject line ‘Standing strong’… You didn’t do it on Iraq; you didn’t do it on torture; you didn’t do it on signing statements; you haven’t done it on Afghanistan; you haven’t done it on defense spending; you haven’t done it on real health care reform; you haven’t done it on energy policy and the climate crisis; you haven’t done it on the evisceration of our system of checks and balances through the invocation of the state secrets doctrine; and you haven’t done it on the debt ceiling fiasco.”

As he seeks to occupy the nation’s highest office, Anderson will face an uphill battle. While the restrictions for getting on the ballot as a third-party candidate vary state by state, taken together, they pose an enormous challenge (not just to the candidate, but for democracy itself).

Democrats and Republicans share an interest in limiting (eliminating) their competition, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the all-important televised presidential debates. Originally the debates were hosted by the non-partisan League of Women Voters. But in the ’80s, the Democrats and Republicans became frustrated that the League was acting independently and not necessarily limiting the debates to their two chosen candidates.

So the Big Two colluded to rid the debates of these civic-minded women, replacing them with an official-sounding entity, the Commission on Presidential Debates. Since that time, things have run smoothly, at least for the duopoly, which maintains full control over who the American people see (and don’t see) debating for the nation’s highest office over the public airwaves.

Despite the challenges his candidacy will face, Anderson is encouraged by the wave of activism that has swept the country and the world. “We can’t bow out of the electoral process,” he told TheFightBack. “We have to join together and do whatever we can to change this corrupt, diseased system.”

* TheFightBack‘s interview with Rocky Anderson can be viewed here. The video was produced by Will Martin, who’s participated in the Occupy DC effort, and is now reporting on it as well.

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