“If you put passion and organization together, we can overcome any of these candidates who have all the money but really lack ideas… The middle class is decimated. It’s time for a new movement in this country – the justice movement.” —Rocky Anderson
In a September 2011 Gallup poll 55% of those polled supported the idea that a third major party is needed on the American political scene. According to Gallup, “Despite American’s attitudes, no third-party candidate who garners a significant level of support has emerged….” In most countries several political party candidates are voted upon during presidential elections.
In the summer of 2011 Rocky worked with Ralph Nader, Daniel Ellsberg, and Author, Chris Hedges planning democratic primary campaigns to oppose Obama for the Democratic Party nomination.
These challenges in state primaries would serve two purposes: To push President Obama on issues needing more attention than a middle of the road approach and challenge the President on his right of the road stance during Democratic primaries and debates. By giving the President opportunities to debate during the year during Democratic Primaries the group felt the Democratic Party would get more airtime with media so as not to fall behind Republicans while they embarked in televised debates.
Although a promising idea, one by one potential primary candidates bowed out of the plan except Rocky. Then executive director of High Road for Human Rights, a non-profit that he started after leaving the Mayor’s office, Rocky began pitching the idea of a new political party. Anderson hoped to attract disenchanted members of both parties, independents, and Occupy members with the help of social media.
When Rocky formed his party those powerful liberals he had felt were behind him, excepting Ralph Nader, deserted him. Even Luke, Rocky’s son would not support his father’s endeavor.
As we follow Rocky Anderson on his quixotic quest building the Justice Party, we experience first hand the difficulties of third party creation. As he meets with his initial steering committee in Washington, DC we film as it falls apart when members can’t agree on whether to use Roberts Rules of order or “twinkle” hand signals used by Occupy.
Rocky trudges on, with us being the fly on the wall during his campaign travels. A Charismatic Candidate. Rocky’s optimism inspires youth ready for action, cable news media and women of all ages.
Young web savvy volunteers begin building a foundation of party members using Facebook and Twitter. The doldrums of the never-ending Republican Debates give cable news impetus to seek out new blood — Rocky becomes a frequent guest and livens up the political news shows. Rocky travels across the country campaigning in coffee shops schools and churches. As a single man, Rocky, with his Jimmy Stewart drawl, attracts middle aged and younger women nationwide to volunteer for his campaign. With no campaign finances, volunteers often camped at Rocky’s home.
Rocky becomes one of the top four candidates in the Americans Elect online campaign. His party gets on the ballot in 15 states; he is nominated for other parties already on the ballot in another 10 states. The Justice Party achieves write in status in all but four states for which he was not on the ballot. His campaign raises $84,000 (Rocky refuses all corporate donations and caps donations to $100 from any individual).
When Americans Elect cancels their online campaign half way through campaign season, third party candidates had to work harder to galvanize support. In the fall of 2012 Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein (Green Party’s Candidate) were invited to debate Obama and Romney via a Democracy Now special broadcast. The show, which streamed online and aired on Link TV, used time delay to allow Anderson and Stein to answer the same questions posed to Obama and Romney. Democracy Now aired shows for all three Presidential Debates and the Vice-Presidential Debate. Over 20,000 viewers watched the debates stream online.
In October 2012 Larry King moderated a televised debate hosting the four top third party candidates in Chicago. Included where Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, the Green Party’s Jill Stein, the Constitution Party’s Virgil Good and the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson. The debate was broadcast on Link TV, Al Jazeera English and C-Span.
Viewers wondered where these candidates had been during the past year – they finally were getting media attention and speaking about issues American’s wanted addressed, but were missing from the two party horse race.
On November 3rd Ralph Nader moderated a debate with the same top four third party candidates at Busboys and Poets, Washington, DC. During an interview after the debate Nader said he believed Rocky Anderson is the Nation’s greatest hope for a progressive candidate that could go the distance and possibly get real attention in 2016. But that’s another show.