In a move which could cloud President Obama’s re-election campaign, a new third party called the Justice Party has begun a ballot-access drive in California.
Headed by presidential candidate Ross “Rocky” Anderson, the Justice Party could complicate Obama’s left flank in a way that Ralph Nader helped frustrate Democrat Al Gore’s election to the White House in 2000.
He may be a former mayor of Salt Lake City in the deep-red state of Utah, but Anderson and his Justice Party appear to be staking out highly progressive positions on corporate influence of government, environmentalism, and national security.
Anderson and his party don’t appear to be sitting back as minor players.
The Justice Party National Committee (JPNC) on Thursday launched its California “Force for Justice” Ballot Access Campaign. The Golden State requires that 103,000 California residents, who are eligible to vote, file a new voter registration form and designate their party affiliation as the Justice Party, by Jan. 2, 2012. Only paper voter registration forms must be used.
“Californians are being invited to join the Justice Party and lead the Force for Justice Campaign in a grassroots community-by-community mobilization. Already, we have dozens of people that are mobilizing to set up events and activities to register people to vote,” says Paul Zeitz, acting chair of the JPNC Steering Committee. “Media, events, and mobilization efforts are envisioned to be locally led and run around the State of California during the period of December 17, 2011 – January 2, 2012. The Justice Party calls on all Californians to take action now to show the nation and the World the promise of the Justice Party. California can lead the nation, as the old saying goes ‘as California goes, so goes the nation.'”
A former Democrat who led Salt Lake City for two terms as mayor, Anderson introduced his nascent presidential campaign two weeks ago on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program, in which he emphasized a number of left-leaning themes which appear designed to appeal to the national Occupy Wall Street movement.
Among his issues, Anderson says he will tackle unemployment and income inequality.
“We are in a new Gilded Age in this country with the greatest disparity of wealth since the 1920s. And people are suffering, the lack of a decent jobs program,” he says. “This party, the Justice Party, will fight for the people.”
While Anderson has little real chance of being elected president, he could challenge Obama on the left and complicate the president’s ability to win a second term.
Longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader played a similar role in 2000, when he ran for president on the Green Party ticket. Nader ran to Vice President Al Gore’s left that year, arguably siphoning support.
Nader won just 2.74 percent of the vote nationally, but his candidacy could have pulled enough support from Gore in the key state of Florida, in which he trailed George W. Bush by just 537 votes.
The Florida results, and subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decision, ultimately cost Gore any chance of becoming president.
Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.