Non-human electoral candidates

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Non-human electoral candidates have been found in a number of countries. Often, the candidacies are a means of casting a protest vote or satirizing the political system. Other times, it is simply done for the entertainment value.

Electoral regulations may explicitly require candidates to be human (or equivalent wording), or may require candidates to do things which animals cannot reasonably do (such as sign their name legibly on a legal form). On some occasions, however, animals have been accepted as candidates, and have even won office.

Examples[edit]

  • Boston Curtis, a brown mule, was offered as a candidate for a Republican precinct seat in Milton, Washington in 1938, winning 51 to zero.[1][2]
  • Cacareco, a rhinoceros at the São Paulo zoo, was a candidate for the 1958 city council elections with the intention of protesting against political corruption.[3] Electoral officials did not accept Cacareco's candidacy, but he eventually won 100,000 votes, more than any other party in that same election (which was also marked by rampant absenteeism). Today, the term "Voto Cacareco" (Cacareco vote) is commonly used to describe protest votes in Brazil. Cacareco's candidacy inspired the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, nominally led by the rhinoceros Cornelius the First.
  • In 1967, an Ecuadorian foot powder company advertised its product, Pulvapies, as a mayoral candidate in the town of Picoazá. Surprisingly, the foot powder won by a clear majority.[4]
  • Pigasus the Immortal, a boar hog that the Yippies nominated as a candidate in the U.S. presidential election, 1968.
  • Colossus the Gorilla, the main attraction at Benson's Wild Animal Farm in Hudson, New Hampshire, failed to be put on the ballot in the 1980 New Hampshire Republican Presidential primary. The simian's candidacy was promoted by Benson's, but the zoo's argument that the U.S. Constitution does not specify that a native-born candidate for the presidency had to be human was rejected.[5]
  • Bosco the dog, a black Labrador-Rottweiler mix, was elected mayor of Sunol, California (1981-1994).[6][7]
  • A cat named Morris was a candidate for mayor of Xalapa, Mexico in 2013.[8][9]
  • In 1989, regional council boundaries were redrawn, with an emphasis on catchments being connected. These revised maps made Whangamomona, NZ part of the Manawatu-Wanganui Region. Residents wanted to continue to be part of the Taranaki Region, and on 1 November 1989, they responded by declaring themselves the "Republic of Whangamomona" at the first Republic Day. At every Republic Day, they vote to either keep the seating President or to vote in a new one. Since 1999, they have had Billy Gumboot the Goat (1999–2001) and Tai the Poodle (2003–2004), the current incumbent being Murt "Murtle the Turtle" Kennard (2005–Present).
  • Tião, a bad-tempered chimpanzee, was put forward by the fictional Brazilian Banana Party (Partido Bananista Brasileiro, actually the satirical group Casseta & Planeta) as a candidate for the Rio de Janeiro mayoralty in 1988. The campaign's slogan was "Vote monkey - get monkey" (because people were tired of voting for one platform and then seeing the elected officials implementing another one). There is no official counting (because all votes were recorded as "null"), but it's estimated that Tião received over 400,000 votes, coming third.[10][11][12]
  • Katten Mickelin (Mickelin the Cat) was the leader of the Swedish Ezenhemmer Plastic Bags and Child Rearing Utensils Party.
  • New Zealand's McGillicuddy Serious Party entered a goat in a local Waiheke Island election, but their attempt to have a hedgehog stand for Parliament was unsuccessful.
  • Dustin the Turkey, a popular Irish television puppet received thousands of votes in the Republic of Ireland's 1997 presidential election. Although not being an official candidate there are rumours that he came in fifth, ahead of official candidate Derek Nally.
  • In 1997, a cat named Stubbs was elected mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska.[13]
  • United States film maker Michael Moore attempted to get a potted ficus tree onto the ballot as a candidate for United States Representative in 2000.[14]
  • Clemente, a popular comic character in Argentina, during the Argentine legislative election, 2001
  • In 2001, a Dachshund called Saucisse (Sausage) was a candidate for Marseille (France) municipal elections. He won 4% of votes. Eight years later, in 2009, he participated the third season of Secret Story, the French version of Big Brother. He entered the house on Day 36. His secret is that he was a candidate at the election of Marseille Mayor. To protect his secret, he entered the house with the nickname "Secret".
  • In 2006, a famous prankster and street artist from Szeged, Hungary, proclaimed himself the founder of the Hungarian Double-tailed Dog Party, going as far as to place propaganda ads out on the walls of Szeged's houses, promoting the candidate "István Nagy", a two-tailed dog.
  • Molly the Dog, a dachshund from Oklahoma, named as a candidate in the U.S. presidential election, 2008.[15]
  • United States TV host and California councilmember Charlotte Laws had a chicken who ran for Vice President on the Bully ticket in the 2012 election.[16]
  • Ed the Sock, a fictional sock puppet, attempted to run for the Fed-Up Party during the Canadian federal election, 2011.
  • The Inanimate Objects Party at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute encourages write-in votes for inanimate objects, such as an inflatable whale named Arthur Galpin or a dead albino squirrel.
  • Hank the Cat, a Maine Coon from Northern Virginia, ran against Tim Kaine and George Allen for Virginia's Senate seat in 2012. He earned third place in the state, with nearly 7,000 votes.[17]
  • Tuxedo Stan, a cat from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, was a mayoral candidate in the 2012 municipal elections[18] representing the Tuxedo Party, a political movement aimed to improve the welfare of felines in HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) "because neglect isn't working". He has been endorsed by celebrities including Anderson Cooper.[19]
  • Several animals in the US have been elected mayors of small towns such as Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, whose mayor is a black lab named Junior Cochran, and Lajitas, Texas, whose mayor is a beer-drinking goat named Clay Henry III. Both Rabbit Hash and Lajitas are unincorporated towns where the mayoralty is purely a ceremonial position, not an actual leader of government.
  • Fire Hydrant ran for election multiple times 2004-2008 at the University of British Columbia, including a position on the Board of Governors, coming within 6 votes of being elected. This was done to raise awareness of election irregularities.[20][21]

Folklore and pop culture[edit]

The notion of animals being elected to office have often been the subject of parody and folklore. In 1972, American singer Tom T. Hall had a hit with a recording entitled "The Monkey That Became President" which considered a scenario in which said animal was elected to office. Thomas Love Peacock's 1817 novel Melincourt featured an orangutan as a parliamentary candidate.

The Black Mirror episode "The Waldo Moment" explores the concept of a cartoon character electoral candidate.

Welcome to Night Vale features Hiram McDaniels as a mayoral candidate. Hiram McDaniels is a five-headed dragon who cares.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Boston Curtis." Time Magazine. Published 26 Sept. 1938. Accessed 11 January 2008.
  2. ^ Boston Curtis museumofhoaxes.com
  3. ^ Cacareco
  4. ^ Snopes: Political Podiatry
  5. ^ Garnick, Darren. "Hillary Cried Here: An Unconventional Tourist Guide to the N.H. Primary". Tourist Guide to the N.H. Primary. The Atlantic. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Vanderbilt Television News Archive
  7. ^ "Bay Area's First Canine Mayor Memorialized". NBC Bay Area (San Jose, California: NBCUniversal). 17 December 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Tuckman, Jo (19 June 2013). "Cat stands for election in Mexican city". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Strapagiel, Lauren (20 June 2013). "Morris the cat joins long legacy of cuddly politicians". Canada.com. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Tião's home page
  11. ^ Tião's 31st birthday, O Estado de S. Paulo, 1994-01-16
  12. ^ Rio Zoo completes 60 years, O Estado de S. Paulo, 2005-03-18
  13. ^ Yan, Holly (July 17, 2012). "Mayor of Alaska village walks on four paws". CNN. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  14. ^ Plant candidate
  15. ^ Molly the dog
  16. ^ "A hen in the White House? Just the ticket - LA Daily News". Dailynews.com. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  17. ^ Benjamin R. Freed (2012-11-09). "Hank the Cat Claws His Way to Third Place in Virginia Senate Race". DCist. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  18. ^ "Tuxedo Stan, cat, running for mayor of Halifax (video)". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  19. ^ "Anderson Cooper endorses Tuxedo Stan for mayor". CTV News. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  20. ^ "Fire Hydrant the Politician". Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  21. ^ "Last Words: In which we nitpick the AMS elections". The Ubyssey. 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2014-01-31.