Vermin Supreme in January 2012
|Education||Gloucester High School|
|Occupation||Performance artist, anarchist, presidential candidate, and activist|
|Years active||1984 – present|
|Political party||Libertarian Party|
Vermin Love Supreme (born c. 1961) is an American performance artist and activist who has run as a 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, and has said that if elected President of the United States, he will pass a law requiring people to brush their teeth. He has campaigned on a platform of zombie apocalypse awareness and time travel research, and promised a free pony for every American.
In 2011, he participated in the Occupy Boston protests. He is the subject of the 2014 documentary, Who Is Vermin Supreme? An Outsider Odyssey, which follows his 2012 campaign and explores his life as an activist and political prankster.
Supreme 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. In 1987 he began running for public office. He legally changed his name to Vermin Supreme in the 1990s while still in Baltimore.
Supreme discussed his political views in a 2008 promotional video. He stated he was registered as a 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 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 that end, Supreme called for a gradual dismantling of the government, while citizens take up the slack. He asserted that Americans no longer know 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 by the government.
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 10, 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
- He was a participant in the Anti-NATO protests at the May 20–21 Chicago NATO Summit.
- In May 2012, 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 attempted another presidential run in 2016. He embarked on a tour of 20 cities to build support for his campaign and sought to qualify for matching funds from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). He filed as a candidate in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary on November 21, 2015, and received 259 votes in the primary on February 9, 2016, coming in fourth after Martin O'Malley. He was, however, not invited to return to the Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum, due in part to him glitterbombing Randall Terry at the event in 2011. Shortly before the primary, he was observed questioning Republican candidates Chris Christie and Ted Cruz through a bullhorn. On March 4, 2016, he switched his affiliation to the Libertarian Party. He received the vote of a single delegate in the first round of presidential nomination voting at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention.
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. The film was released to the general public on Vimeo on Demand on January 30, 2016.
|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|
- 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
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- 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.
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- Franke-Ruta, Garance (January 9, 2004). "Running Gag: A campaign veteran comes to the D.C. primary.". Washington City Paper. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
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- 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.
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- "Summary Democratic President". New Hampshire Department of State. January 18, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
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- 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.
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- Nick Reid (November 21, 2015). "Ben Carson and Vermin Supreme file for president on deadline day". The Concord Monitor.
- "2016 Presidential Primary Results". February 10, 2016.
- http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "Inside the Beltway: Fringe candidate 'Vermin Supreme' banned from New Hampshire candidate forum". The Washingtion Times. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- "Vermin Supreme mocks Christie in N.H.". Philly.com. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- Rothkopf, Joanna. "Ted Cruz Gets Trolled by Pro-Pony Presidential Candidate Vermin Supreme". The Slot. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- "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 30, 2016.
- "Quiet Desperation". http://quietd.com. Rob Potylo. Retrieved 2 June 2014. External link in
- Vermin Supreme at the Internet Movie Database
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