Vermin Supreme in January 2012
|Education||Gloucester High School|
|Occupation||Performance artist, anarchist, activist|
|Years active||1984 – present|
Vermin Love Supreme is an American performance artist, and activist who is known for running as an alternative candidate in various local, state, and national elections in the United States. Supreme is known for wearing a boot as a hat and carrying a large toothbrush. He has said that if elected President of the United States, he will pass a law requiring people to brush their teeth. He also campaigned in 2012 on a platform of zombie apocalypse awareness (and zombie-based energy plan) and time travel research, and he promises a free pony for every American. Supreme claims to mock the political system. In 2011, he participated in the Occupy Boston protests.
Supreme, who does not disclose his birth name, was born in and grew up near Boston, Massachusetts and is said to be the oldest of three children. He graduated from Gloucester High School in the 1980s, then moved to Baltimore to attend art school, but he dropped out and began booking bands for underground clubs.
In 1986, he joined the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament in protest of nuclear weapons. From 1987 onward, he began running for public office. He legally changed his name to Vermin Supreme in the 1990s while still in Baltimore.
In 2012, he claimed to be 62, but evidence put him close to 50, a more reasonable age considering his mother was 71 at the time. As of 2014, he has not revealed his birth name or many personal details. He has said that his supporters like it that way.
In a promotional video, Supreme discussed his political views. He stated he was registered Republican at that time, but that he leaned toward anarchism. He asserted that libertarians "are just about abolishing the government and letting shit fall where it may," which he called a mistake; he also asserted that Republicans want to nullify the government, but "offer no alternative to helping people other than charity." Supreme's vision of anarchism holds no need for government, but also depends on citizens to take responsibility for themselves and for others, citing "mutual aid and support and care to our fellow citizens" as key elements. To reach that end, Supreme called for a gradual dismantling of the government, while citizens take up the slack. He asserted that Americans do not know anymore how to be citizens, placing some of the blame on schools that teach in "very twisted and jingoistic fashion".
In the video, Supreme discussed his presidential campaign. He describes his "joke humor" campaign as a response to the lies people are fed by the media and the government.
Supreme ran for Mayor of Baltimore as an Independent, in which he lost to Kurt L. Schmoke. He also ran for Mayor of Detroit as an Independent, in which he lost to Coleman Young. Finally, he ran for Mayor of Mercury, Nevada, but was unsuccessful in doing so.
In 2000, Supreme proclaimed himself the "Emperor of the New Millennium". He has continued to do so in subsequent campaigns and it has become a focal point of his presidential campaigns.
Supreme campaigned in the New Hampshire Republican primary in 2008. He received 41 votes (0.02%) in the New Hampshire primary. According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), he also received 43 votes, nationally, in the general election.
The following are some of the milestones in this campaign:
- April 14, 2011: Participated in the First Debate of the New Election Cycle at the IGLO Dissidents’ Convention which also included Jimmy McMillan, Jill Stein and others.
- October 29, 2011: He qualified to be listed on the 2012 Democratic Party primary ballot in New Hampshire.
- October 29, 2011: He participated in a satirical debate against a representative of the campaign of deceased British occultist Aleister Crowley.
- December 19, 2011: He participated in the "Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum", at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College and "glitterbombed" fellow candidate Randall Terry.
- January 3, 2012: He was a candidate in the Iowa Democratic caucuses and received 1.4% of the votes.
- January 12, 2012: In the Democratic Primary in New Hampshire, Supreme received 833 votes. (Barack Obama won the primary with 49,080 votes)
- February 2, 2012: Supreme participated in a live debate with Republican fringe candidate Jimmy McMillan in honor of Groundhog Day
- In May, he visited the second largest regional high school in Maine to give a speech about his campaign style to a government class.
- July 14, 2012: Supreme made an appearance with The Yes Men at 2600: The Hacker Quarterly's HOPE Number Nine conference during the Saturday keynote.
- August 25, 2012: Supreme announced his new political party, the Free Pony Party, and that he has chosen fellow fringe opponent Jimmy McMillan as his running mate. Conversely, McMillan stated he was still running for president on his own Rent Is Too Damn High platform, and that Supreme would be McMillan's running mate.
- October 5, 2012: He participated in a debate hosted by Peter Schiff in the Peter Schiff Radio Show, which featured a panel of overlooked presidential candidates including Jimmy McMillan on the Rent Is Too Damn High Party ticket; Santa Claus, independent write-in candidate, and Edgar Lawson, write-in Republican presidential candidate.
Supreme co-wrote and stars in the 2009 film Vote Jesus: The Chronicles of Ken Stevenson in which he poses as a right-wing political candidate to gain access into the world of American Fundamentalism.
In 2012 Supreme starred in a web series entitled Learnin' With Vermin that uses a fictional version of his presidential campaign as a platform to teach political concepts such as voting methods.
A documentary following Supreme on the 2012 campaign trail and exploring his life and work as an activist and political prankster called Who Is Vermin Supreme? An Outsider Odyssey was funded through a Kickstarter campaign and premiered at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival on April 9, 2014. The film was directed by Minneapolis-based filmmaker Steve Onderick and features founder of the Rent is Too Damn High Party, Jimmy McMillan, and Boston-based singer-songwriter and comedian Rob Potylo. 
Supreme has also collaborated with performance artist, activist and musician Rob Potylo in the web series Quiet Desperation. 
|Who Is Vermin Supreme? An Outsider Odyssey||2014||himself||documentary|
|Learnin' With Vermin||2012||himself||educational|
|Vote Jesus: The Chronicles of Ken Stevenson (documentary)||2009||Ken Stevenson||film|
|2008 Uncut||2008||himself||TV series|
|Winning New Hampshire||2004||himself||documentary|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vermin Supreme.|
- Culture jamming
- Frivolous political party
- Political satire
- Screaming Lord Sutch, a similar satirical politician in the United Kingdom, who founded the British Political Party Official Monster Raving Loony Party, which has comparably unusual election pledges.
- Rhinoceros Party, a defunct satirical Canadian political party with similarly unorthodox and facetious platform and practices.
- Surreal humour
- Tactical frivolity
- Connors, Molly A.K. (January 15, 2012). "He reigns supreme". Concord Monitor.
- Kennedy, Pagan (January 11, 2004). "Merry Prankster". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on February 20, 2009. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- "Dean Wins D.C. Primary". CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- Lindholm, Jane (January 8, 2008). "New Hampshire's other candidates". American Public Media. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- Duff, Lori (April 16, 2010). "Vermin Supreme". Concord Monitor. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- "Commentary: If Elected, No Flying Toothbrush Monkeys (audio)". National Public Radio. January 9, 2004. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- Conaboy, Chelsea (December 28, 2007). "5 questions for Vermin Supreme". Concord Monitor. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- Reinhard, Beth (November 13, 2007). "Vermin Supreme is running for president". Miami Herald. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- O'Toole, James (January 8, 2012). "In New Hampshire, underdogs promote presidential agendas". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- Williamson, Elizabeth (December 6, 2011). "A Pony for Every American? New Hampshire Primary Has It All". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- Steinhardt, Simon (2008). "Vermin Supreme". Swindle (Issue 18). Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- Dwyer, John Stephen (October 5, 2011). "Who is occupying Boston, and why?". Blast Magazine. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- Miller, Leslie F. (2009). Let Me Eat Cake: A Celebration of Flour, Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla, Baking Powder, and a Pinch of Salt. 9781416588733: Simon & Schuster. p. 73.
- Connors, Molly A.K. (15 January 2012). "Primary 2012: He Reigns Supreme". Concord Monitor. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- Franke-Ruta, Garance (January 9, 2004). "Running Gag: A campaign veteran comes to the D.C. primary.". Washington City Paper. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- Anarchist Runs for President...since 1988 (YouTube). Fluxview.com. 2008.
- "2004 Presidential Vote". Ballot Access News. December 12, 2004. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- Wilkie, Christina (August 8, 2009). "Final 2008 tally in: Bill Clinton edges out Santa". TheHill.com. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- Grossman, Samantha (January 10, 2012). "Vermin Supreme: The Presidential Candidate Who Promises Free Ponies". TIME Magazine. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
- McLaughlin, Seth (January 9, 2012). "‘Vermin Supreme’ rears his bearded head in New Hampshire". The Washington Times. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
- Moran, Andrew (January 13, 2012). "Is Vermin Supreme the next President of the United States?". Digital Journal. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
- "First Debate of the New Election Cycle, at the IGLO Dissidents' Convention - Independents, Greens, Libertarians & Others". My FDL. April 4, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "Re: april 14 presidential debate in northampton, MA to kick off campaign 2012". Newsgroups.derkeiler.com. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Ramer, Holly (October 30, 2011). "30 Republicans, 14 Democrats sign up for NH presidential primary". The Republic. Columbus, Indiana: Home News Enterprises. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
- Carioli, Carly (October 30, 2011). "Video: Vermin Supreme vs. Aleister Crowley: The 2012 Presidential Debate". Boston Phoenix. The Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
- Ríos, Simón (December 20, 2011). "Lesser-known candidates bring colorful campaigns to St. Anselm". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- "Screw Iowa Fails Again", Des Moines Register, January 12, 2012
- "Summary Democratic President". New Hampshire Department of State. January 18, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
- Bekiempis, Victoria (February 2, 2012). "Vermin Supreme Vs. Jimmy McMillan: Friendly Fascist Debates Rent Is Too Damn High Guy". Village Voice. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Svennjhami (30 May 2012). "Presidential Candidate Visits High School". iReport. CNN. Retrieved 10 June 2012. The HS visited was Mount View High School in Thorndike, Maine. He introduced himself to the assembled students by saying: "I am Vermin Supreme and I am from the internet."
- "Speakers - HOPE Number 9". Hopenumbernine.net. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Kane, Muriel (July 15, 2012). "Livestreamer Tim Pool interviews satirical candidate Vermin Supreme". The Raw Story. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Giunta, Eric (August 25, 2012). "Vermin Supreme Running for President with Jimmy 'Rent Is Too Damn High' McMillan". Sunshine State News. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "Peter Schiff Radio Show Presidential debate" (mp3). October 5, 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- Seitz-Wald, Alex (May 22, 2014). "Can a Zombie-Powered Presidential Candidate Go Legit?". National Journal. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- Hofherr, Justine (May 27, 2014). "One 2016 Presidential Candidate Will Run on A ‘Zombie-Powered’ Platform. And He’s from Mass.". Boston.com. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
- "Vote Jesus: The Chronicles of Ken Stevenson (2009)". IMDb. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- "Vote Jesus: The Chronicles of Ken Stevenson". VoteJesusMovie.com. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- "Learnin' With Vermin". YouTube.com. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- "Who Is Vermin Supreme? A Documentary". Kickstarter. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- "Who Is Vermin Supreme? An Outsider Odyssey". Snow Arch Films. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- "Who Is Vermin Supreme? An Outsider Odyssey". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- "Quiet Desperation". http://quietd.com. Rob Potylo. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Vermin Supreme at the Internet Movie Database