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Aldous Tyler for President: Obama will be primaried

jeffroby's picture

Wouldn’t it be nice if Russ Feingold challenged Obama in the Democratic primaries?
Wouldn’t it be nice if Bernie Sanders challenged Obama in the Democratic primaries?
Wouldn’t it be nice if Elizabeth Warren challenged Obama in the Democratic primaries?
Wouldn’t it be nice if Howard Dean challenged Obama in the Democratic primaries?
Wouldn’t it be nice if Dennis Kucinich challenged Obama in the Democratic primaries?

Well, they aren’t. Aldous Tyler is. He describes himself thus:

I am what I am – a 39 year old longtime activist, husband, father, who has lived almost his whole life in the Great Lakes region of America, from Detroit to Minneapolis to Madison. Professionally speaking, I’m a worker who is fortunate enough to have two paying jobs (on top of my volunteer radio program) to work in this economy. I’ve worked most of my time in the copy and print industry, with additional forays into web design, database management, technical support and industrial equipment resale.

Tyler has announced. He is raising the $5,000 to file with the FEC and launch his ballot access effort, and he has begun to campaign. Now progressives have to deal with it.

Diary after diary here laments the shortcomings of the Obama regime -- from bailing out Wall Street, to failure to promote a program for DIRECT (i.e., not Reaganite trickle-down) job creation, to putting Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, to gutting environmental protections, to outdoing George Bush in his assault on civil liberties to bloat the imperial presidency. And yes, to miring us in pursuit of Mideastern wars without end. We all know this litany and more.

And, and, and ... we have to support Obama no matter what. Sigh.

Where he stands

Says Aldous Tyler, “No, we don’t!” He supports the Unified Progressive Platform developed by the New Progressive Alliance (NPA), which calls for:

1. Peace First: ... We therefore oppose war as an instrument of foreign policy, and support an overarching commitment to nonintervention in foreign lands. We call for the complete and immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and all other regional conflicts; the immediate dissolution of private security contracts for these conflicts, and the immediate cessation of payments to private contractors who are in any way associated with these conflicts ...

2. Full Employment at a Living Wage: ... permanent, WPA-style jobs program wherein, when possible, public sector jobs are “green” jobs, or others which contribute to a more positive future for all. All work must pay at a minimum a local living wage that covers basic needs including food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, childcare, and transport ... Alternatively, a universal basic income or federal guaranteed livable income, implemented via an earned income credit or negative income tax, could be used to ensure a minimum standard of living.

3. Saving the Environment: ... science-based policies to curb and mitigate the effects of climate change ... building an efficient low-cost public transportation system; adoption of a national zero waste policy ... clean, green jobs based on renewable energy, energy conservation, organic agriculture, local food production/distribution, mass transit, waste management/recycling.

4. A Real Social Safety Net: strengthening, expanding, and protecting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance by any means necessary ... We propose to expand the real social safety net to the benefit of all Americans through raising taxes primarily on corporations and the wealthy.

5. Medicare for All: ... We support Medicare for All as the single most effective approach to cutting runaway healthcare costs, and providing high-quality health care for all Americans.

6. Fair Trade: ... reformulation of all international trade relations and commerce practices in order to protect the labor, human rights, economy, environment, and domestic industry of this nation, and those of partner and recipient nations.

7. Human Rights/Civil Liberties: ... We are dedicated to protecting, respecting, and expanding the rights and civil liberties of all citizens ... We further support ending criminal prohibitions on the use and sale of marijuana ... end to the so-called War on Drugs ... The USA PATRIOT Act ... must be repealed ... close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

8. Election Reform: We support full public financing of elections in order to remove undue influence from political campaigns. Further, we recognize and are committed to ending the myriad opportunities for fraud which now exist in our electoral system.

9. Corporate Accountability/Reform: We must reduce the economic and political clout of corporations, improve corporate citizenship, increase executive responsibility, and require corporations to serve society and democracy while safeguarding the environment.

10. Infrastructure Investment/Ownership:We support the establishment of a publicly funded infrastructure bank to capitalize large-scale physical projects and direct funding toward associated research and development.

Tyler is not the candidate of the NPA, which would require their primary candidate to back an independent candidate in the generals. Rather he sees as his goal “to raise up a unified Progressive fist of America to smash the wholly-owned GOP irreparably. That will leave a power vacuum that a truly Progressive party can then fill.”

Yes, let’s get real

But, some will howl, this guy is a nobody! This isn’t serious, he can’t win, the media won’t cover him ... Yeah, that last one is a killer. We can only back someone who has the stamp of legitimacy of the very mainstream media that has served us so well. Funny how so-called progressives can dismiss a common citizen running for office, even if that office is the lofty one of the presidency. Well, if that’s your measure of credibility, of seriousness, then we don’t have much to talk about. But in my opinion, the measure of seriousness is the ability to get on the ballot.

For 28 states that I could gather info on, here are the requirements in signatures and fees:

All 28 states: 71,900 signatures, filing fees $11,700. Population 125,677,351
For 23 states with signature requirements, 71,900 signatures. Population 112,455,836
For 9 states with filing fees, $11,700. Population 24,020,112
For 20 states with signature requirements, 43,900 signatures, plus $6,700. Population 89,232,343
For 10 states with signature requirements, 7,300 signatures plus $3,500. Population 35,000,000
3 states can be picked up for $4,000 in filing fees. Population almost 6,000,000.

Why not all 50? Many states have caucus systems, or presidential preference primaries which are non-binding, with the final nominee determined by party state convention.

But as you can see, the requirements per state are generally not formidable. Even going for ballot access in 10 states, you have a population of 35 million, and for 20 states, almost 90 million people. Voters from these states will walk into the voting booth, maybe not even knowing that Obama has a challenger, and they will see that name Aldous C. Tyler under president. It is a primary. There is no Republican (if they’re in the Dem primary) next to Obama. Just some “other guy.” And whatever philosophical feelings they may have about lesser-evils, they’re not happy with Obama. And they’ll vote Tyler.


10 states? 20 states? More? Millions of voters will have this chance to vote against Obama, those informed about the Tyler campaign will have a chance to vote for someone who is for THEM, and Beltway pseudo-reality be damned. This will be the moment they will be heard.

Those progressive campaign junkies who flit from campaign to campaign hustling for their next gig, nothing for them. And the pundits who pretend not to care, who espouse Beltway reality for a living, they will sneer if they say anything at all. But they will take note, because taking note is what they get paid for.

More importantly, progressives will take note. The 3rd party candidates may get swamped in the general elections, but those who are serious about progressive politics will have a chance to see that there is something out there. They’ll see that if people have a choice and aren’t terrified that the Republicans will eat their grandmothers, those voters will make that progressive choice.

Toward critical mass

There are (at least) two ways of looking at power. Pundits and Democratic politicians purport to claim that the majority is sacrosanct. 50% + 1 is the be-all and end-all, and the millions who support the 50% – 1 are rendered invisible, meaningless, even illegitimate. But the Tea Party doesn’t give a damn about majorities. They think in terms of critical mass. If they have enough people to do something based on their ideology -- whether it’s jamming a town hall meeting or kamikaze primarying Republicans who deviate from the party line -- they do it, and they do it, and they do it.

One must admit they’ve been rather effective in transforming Congress and, more importantly, the terms of our national dialogue, wouldn’t you think? They have Obama, sitting in the White House, speaking their language, meeting their terms, terrified of offending their very arch-enemies.

So the Tyler campaign is one step, even a small step, in progressives beginning to change the terms of the discussion, of giving voice to the millions and millions who stand afraid, watching the bi-partisan juggernaut strip them of their jobs, their sons and daughters, and their civil liberties.

A step towards progressive critical mass.

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jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

Canfield's comments are on the details of the FEC rules. He made his own interpretation, and is now looking into it. I'm not a lawyer and neither is he. It's nothing more complicated than that.

Submitted by hipparchia on

from one of the items that margaret linked to, the very first paragraph:

This brochure explains when an individual running for federal office becomes a candidate under the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act). It describes the steps a candidate must take to register under the Act and the steps his or her committee(s) must take to register as political committees under the Act. Citations refer to Federal Election Commission regulations and to the Act.1 If you have any questions after reading this brochure, please call the Commission in Washington, D.C., on the toll-free number, 800/424-9530.

i tried calling the 1-800 number just now, on the off chance that they have a 24-hour operation, but the recorded message told me to call back between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm eastern time. i would guess that if anybody, not just the candidate himself, wants to clear up the confusion about the necessity or not of raising $5000, they can call that number.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

Paperwork is one of the ways the system uses to keep out ordinary folks who can't just assign it to their high-powered legal team. But it's important to get good at it. Every state has its own ballot access requirements, and those hurdles will have to be jumped -- it's not simply a matter of signatures and filing fees.

Submitted by hipparchia on

is NOT a ballot access question. it's a question of whether a person first has to raise $5000 before they can declare themselves presidential candidate, or whether they can declare themselves a candidate at any time but absolutely MUST do so once they raise $5000 in donations or spend $5000 [whether their own money or donations].

my reading is that it's the latter - 1. you can fill out the form declaring yourself a candidate without ever spending [or receiving] a dime, and 2. you can actually raise some money, up to $4999.99 apparently, before you have to declare yourself a candidate.

and yes, once you decide to run for office, you also have to get your name on the ballot, which involves time, money, and paperwork.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

though I'm no lawyer. Maybe the fuss is that someone could theoretically raise $4,999.99 from Satan Incorporated and widows and orphans and spend it all on cheap rotgut, without having to record it. I guess I'm remiss in not being more worried about that.

Submitted by JuliaWilliams on

federal candidate, hipp's answer is the correct one. You can file with NO campaign money accumulated, but once you hit a magic number (and in federal office, it's $5000) you HAVE to file. This provides the FEC with the ability to track and oversee any candidates campaign donations (hardeharhar after Citizens), and the reporting requirements are very onerous. Once you hit $5000, the forms to fill out are incredibly invasive and complex, I would say onerous, to the degree that I felt if I hit that number, I'd have to get an accountant to help me :-(. (Thus, my emphasis on volunteer labor).

Submitted by hipparchia on

let me know if there's some way i can volunteer for your campaign without leaving florida!

thanks for the information. maybe you should email aldous tyler and offer to give him a quick overview of what he needs to do as a federal candidate....

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

Hipparchia, great! We're in the process of figuring out what our volunteer/ballot access operation will need to look like. At the moment, the priority is raising enough money to get a skeleton campaign going. The key to fundraising, of course, is having people aware of the campaign itself.

Florida appears to require neither signatures or filing fee. I assume there is paperwork that will have to be just right. shoot me an e-mail to fullcourtprez at comcast dot net and I'll share some more ideas.

p.s. You may wonder whatever became of the Full Court Press. I've done some critique of it here:

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

Given my anybody but Obama requirement, I support this guy. Thanks for the tip and your work in general on pushing this.

By the way, on the subject of the complexity of each state's ballot requirements, I have been considering beginning a wiki project whereby I gather up all the information on ONE wiki page. I want to do this so that anybody who wants to mount an INDEPENDENT challenge for the U.S. Presidency can just get all their info off of one page, and won't need to hire consultants and what not.

If you get this message, I'd like to hear your thoughts.


jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

I've done some preliminary work on this already, regarding signatures, fees, and deadlines for Dem primaries. It's a little murky around caucuses and "preferential" primaries where the final word is with the state convention.

e-mail me at fullcourtprez at comcast dot net and I can send you what I've got. Your effort would be greatly appreciated.

For the definitive expert, you can contact Rich Winger at

Submitted by JuliaWilliams on

I think that's exactly the kind of thing we need to have, and it would be a wonderful service to provide! At least we'd have a baseline template, and this kind of citizen research can have a wider impact than you may even imagine. Since these kinds of laws are not widely known, and as far as I know haven't been compiled in one place (besides Vichy party crypts) it may be instructive for all the citizens of this country to actually see how the laws prevent actual independent and 3rd (or 4th, etc) party runs. I think ONE federal law describing ballot access for federal campaigns should be put in place, but the Vichy party has certainly conspired to make that impossible (for now).

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

Thanks for the encouragement. I've done wiki websites before and they are actually quite fun to do.

I really think that the wiki style website is essential, as opposed to some static page, because, among 50 states, things change from time to time, and the website needs to be kind of a living document.

I think it might also be an interesting opportunity to reach out to some conservatives who might want to help out.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

1. I think Stoller made the point that the smartest play is running a "favorite son" candidate in each state, it gets around candidate credibility and (to a large extent) fundraising issues because the stated goal is simply to give the state's primary votes to the local guy (or woman) to allow the State to vote as a bloc at the Convention.

2. Do you know who has the expertise and resources to help this along? The Republican party.
The enemy of my enemy and all that.

This is the guy to contact (he helped his buddy Al Sharpton run for President)!/RogerJStoneJr

Roger Stone, the longtime Republican dirty-tricks operative who led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount and helped make George W. Bush president in 2000, is financing, staffing, and orchestrating the presidential campaign of Reverend Al Sharpton.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

sneaky maneuvers preclude us doing the basic education needed, as though we had an army that could make such manipulations work!

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

I don't care how horrible Roger Stone is. I appreciate you giving me his name and I'm definitely willing to reach out to him if he can provide me information.

Submitted by hipparchia on

I keep wishing there were a way for Corrente to broadcast straight from the site...

broadcast straight from the site? not sure what you mean, but i would love for there to be a corrente radio station of some kind.

hells kitchen's picture
Submitted by hells kitchen on

I know this is off topic, except that it's in response to your comment. This is an important enough issue for a post of its own. Please consider this seriously if you want to add blog radio.

First came embedded video. Only rarely does a blogger provide a written summary of its content. Why bother? You can watch and listen yourself, can't you? Now it's blog radio. Other blogs have added radio to their roster but no one considers that there is a portion of the population that is being ignored by bloggers who radio - hearing impaired audience.

I watch videos with the sound off. I essentially watch body language or the panorama of activity (if it's a crowd scene) to get a sense of the emotional/mood reality, but it only makes sense if there's a summary to explain what I'm looking at.

Why do I watch with the sound off? Have you ever considered that when you can't hear clearly, sound is noise?

Up until video, and now radio, the internet has been an equal opportunity arena for the hearing impaired (and the blind,too). With increasing use of audio/video, that access is being narrowed sharply.

Please do a separate post on the possibility of radio. I want to comment more fully without being off topic.


jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

At this point, the task is just to get the word out.

Submitted by Lex on

But i'm still not voting for him if he's going to run as a Democrat. It's the two-party system we have that's thoroughly corrupt, and i cannot see it being changed from the inside. It's not just Obama; it's the machinery. And regardless of the perception of concrete benefits, peace and prosperity, what we see from Obama and Congressional Democrats is not new.

I'll vote for him in the primaries, but were he to win (hardy har har) it would require breaking my solemn oath. And that i will not do.

Submitted by Lex on

i got to vote "none of the above" in the MI primary of '08. It wasn't that i wanted to vote for Obama and couldn't. I really wanted to vote for "none of the above," it was the first time in my life i ever got to vote for something instead of against it.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

I agree with Lex's comment. I will support this dude in the primaries if he's the best candidate to mount a primary campaign, but I do wish he'd just run in the general election as an independent, and skip the stupid primary step, which has no chance of succeeding against Obama's billion bucks.

Running for the general election could at least mean pulling a few percentage points away from Obama, and thus taking him down, and demonstrating that the left has had it.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

The requirements for getting on the ballot as an independent are hideous, not quite so bad for getting on the ballot as an independent party, but still terrible if you don't start with ballot status in many states.

While I'm not in love with the Greens, they would get more votes than Tyler possibly could, so if you want to siphon votes from Obama, Green is probably the way to go.

The primary run has a different impact, developing a potential issue-based body within the Democratic Party. Fact is, the Dems are fairly comfortable with people going independent (at least at this stage). Gets these troublemakers out of their hair. But if you look at places like Daily Kos (groan), you'll see they get quite hysterical about the notion of a primary challenge. It hits them where they are vulnerable.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

Ok, I see why you feel that the primary has additional impact. I somewhat agree but I do worry that, since time is of the essence, and since the financial resources of the left are certainly limited, such a run might also serve to distract from real potential threats to Obama in the actual election.

But, I'm basically with you on this.