On the heels of receiving PressureLife’s first ever Presidential endorsement, fringe candidate, Vermin Supreme, called in to talk to our own, Adam Dodd, in a Weekly Politic exclusive to offer a surprisingly revealing glimpse into the man beneath the boot; discussing the state of the 2016 race, pony-based economies, and what the future holds…
Adam Dodd: How’s the election going for Vermin Supreme?
Vermin Supreme: “I like to define success in a fashion that I can always claim my campaign is very successful. I think how you define success is very important and it really depends on what metric one uses to define success. In my instance, I have actually lowered the bar to the point that the number of votes that I get is essentially irrelevant. The amount of funding that I am able to raise for my campaign also holds no relevance whatsoever because I’ve, sort of, suspended fundraising. Traditionally, I think a lot of candidates and campaigns are judged on how they’re doing in the polls or how much money they’re raising or this, that, or the other thing that may define typical definitions of success in this type of campaign.”
AD: You use a different metric?
VS: “To answer your question, yes. After 2012, because I was so successful, I was wondering how 2016 was going to play and I was pleasantly surprised to find out I pretty much started where I left off in the last cycle and that was with a pretty high recognition factor, high support level. I’d say my campaign has continued to make in-roads to some very interesting subcultures that I had not previously been exposed to. From everything from the Furrys culture to glassblowing pipemakers, to sports fans. I had a very important debate with another fringe candidate, Love 22, on the Toucher and Rich Sports radio show earlier this season. I’ve had some just amazing moments. Coverage of the [Democratic and Republican] conventions were wildly successful. I caused one journalist to have her credentials yanked because she went to get me into the hall to do a live broadcast in there. I’ve had amazing moments. We’ve had just amazing times in both Cleveland and Philadelphia. I felt I was at the top of my game. I got just so much love from all of the Republican delegates, the Democratic delegates, to the street protestors, to the police.
“It’s turned into this thing because obviously the internet. Let’s separate the metrics we use from real life to where the real campaign happens; that’s totally on the internet. It’s become bigger and better. There’s Vermin Supreme’s Dank Meme Stash.”
AD: Yeah, I think I saw that one.
VS: “That one has, like, seven thousand members. Meme content is being put up there every day. In regards to the beard culture, I was invited to judge at a facial hair competition in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania the other week. There’s a nibble of press of me judging the Cannabis Cup. Next week, I’m going out with my cohort, rob Patillo, to the debates in Long Island at Hofstra. I’m going to be debating Matthew Silva. He’s the gentleman who appeared in a restaurant in New York wearing nothing but under-roos and sneakers and cock-a-doodle-dooing like a rooster and he’s just freaking the fuck out of the squares, man. He’s got this whole patter about anti-consumerism and stuff and trying to get people to love one another. it’s so uncommercial and so alternative. He has a fringe following, and we’ll be throwing down. The conventions were phenomenal. Did you see my encounters with Ted Cruz and Chris Christie?”
AD: Oh yeah. In fact, I wanted to talk to you about the debates. If you were on the stage with Trump or Clinton what would you like to ask them?
VS: “Naturally, it would be pony-based. My traditional tweet throughout the debates has been, ‘It’s about the pony-based economy, you stupid mother fuckers.’ I like to put that tweet out there whenever there’s a debate because people need to be reminded.”
AD: Would you consider that your main platform issue?
VS: “Well, it’s the one that’s given me the most traction. It’s the one that seems to have the most over-arching resonance with the people. It’s the one that the people really buy into hook, line and sinker. Some have called me a visionary, or something like that, but free ponies platform- that became a real political issue this year. Free ponies became part of the vernacular. As you saw with the Ted Cruz video, not only did he play along with the mandatory tooth brushing law, he came out against it for the very same reason that it lampooned the whole “nanny state” and “police state”. He actually referenced the critique that it represented. So obviously, I have to fucking mix it up. I’ve been mainstreamed, I’ve been co-opted. I’ve been embraced fully and enthusiastically by the Libertarian Party. My reach has really extended to anti-authoritarians of all stripes. I went to the Libertarian Convention and was seeking their nomination. I was very well received. Quite frankly, right about now, I think I’d be doing better than Gary Johnson.”
AD: That’s an arguable point. You might be right, there. I did want to ask you about another policy you had- going back in time and killing Adolph Hitler, once and for all. Quite ambitious.
VS: “That became real this year. Did you hear that?”
AD: I heard Jeb Bush [when asked] say, “Why the hell not?”
VS: “And then someone spun it just a little further and asked Ben Carson if he would abort baby Hitler. So it was a little bit of a blip. And once again, I’ve been flogging that one for years. I’m glad that Jeb Bush finally answered my email when I asked him. It all sort of comes around, if you will. There were points where my campaign really crossed over into some really weird places. It seems like reality is sort of catching up.”
AD: You have a boot on your head and you’re still not the craziest candidate running, how does that make you feel?
VS: “It’s okay. Once again, we’re given such a terrible fucking choice. I think that the people are really frightened and terrified and not thrilled with the options were are being given. I believe that we deserve better. And of course, I’ve always represented a protest vote for somebody that is not politics as usual. I’ve always represented that to a number of people. more and more people are feeling that way. You saw how Deez Nuts came out of the gate in the beginning of his campaign and he was polling at nineteen percent. I think the interesting point about the Deez Nuts campaign is that it broke through a certain editor. For many years, I had been campaigning and doing the same old thing pretty much and I was playing towards the media, certainly, but rarely did it make it through past the editors.
“It’s a continuation of the digitization and blurring of the politics and the entertainment and the news and all of these things. More and more media outlets need more and more content to feed the mob of the media industrial complex indefinitely. It’s like a black hole. it’s going to start sucking in these fringe things. I don’t think they’re really great things for democracy, necessarily. The disgust and the disillusionment and the people feeling that ballgames rigged and they’re not winning. It’s good for my campaign, don’t get me wrong. It’s all good for my campaign, but I don’t think it’s really good for the country as a whole or democracy. On the bright side, Maine is starting to do runoff voting to decide elections. That’s an interesting reform. I think a lot of people would like to see a different system that makes more sense to them.”
AD: Now on that point, the underlying problems that you have with how the elections are run, that seems to be the whole point of how Vermin Supreme. Do you ever feel like that the theatrics or the persona undercuts your message, that the satire it too thick at times for people to penetrate?
VS: “Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I think it’s pretty clear that the theatrics and the persona, if you will- and it is all me, there’s no mistake about it. The things that I’m talking about and the boot I wear on my head, they have allowed me to amplify my voice and my free speech about a million times. I’ve pointed out before, if I was just a regular guy saying regular things dressed in a regular fashion on a street corner, I could be yelling- it would just be extremely uninteresting. Especially given my lack of financial backing or given my no background in politics.
“The big beard gives me more gravitas than anything else, right?””
AD: If you could pick a running mate, who would your ideal running mate for this race?
VS: “I had chosen a running mate much earlier in the season. I had my eye on this activist from Mexico. I had been reaching out to him but I had no success in contacting him. Super Barrio. He is sort of the Mexican City Jimmy McMillan. He’s a community activist, appears at demonstrations, gives speeches and wears a Mexican wrestling mask and outfit while he does this. He ran for President of North America in ’96 and he campaigned on both sides of the border. I think he would have been an excellent running mate. I was looking at it like he could deliver the South vote and the Latino vote, both very important constituents. Maybe next time, we’ll see. I got my feelers out.”
AD: Speaking of next time, once this race wraps up, whether we get Hillary or Trump, or nuclear annihilation, what’s next for Vermin Supreme?
VS: “November 8th is phase two. It’s the ‘sour grapes’ phase of my campaign. I’ll immediately kick into demanding a recount overdrive. I’ll be demanding a recount on up to the inauguration. I’m hoping to get press credentials myself. A couple cycles back I got some credentials and got to go to the balls and that was sort of fun. 2020, right around the corner, I think it’ll be clear I’m in it for the long haul. If you look at this graph here that I’m holding up in front of the telephone, you’ll see that America, it’s stock is slowly going on a downward trajectory.”
AD: Ah yes, that blue line there…
VS: “If you look at this line over here, you’ll see that this is my stock and it is slowly building and I believe the two will cross in 2036. That is in five more presidential election cycles. I will be 75. I don’t it’s inconceivable with the advances in medicine and head freezing and transplants and these sorts of things. So yes, I have high hopes for the future, but I’m starting with 2020. I’m at a point in my campaign that I have several real people doing real things for it. I’ve always maintained that my campaign is one of infinite potential and its only been a matter of a lack of a competent campaign staff. Until recently, my staff has been largely imaginary- so they’re not entirely efficient.
“My new book is out. It’s called, Vermin Supreme- I, Pony: Blueprint for a New America. It’s a futuristic autoerotic fan-fiction novella autobiography, I guess, about what life’s going to be like waaaay in the future, long after I’ve been President and presumably dead- don’t want to give away any spoilers. There’s some amazing artwork in there, almost twenty illustrators that I’ve been a fan of their work for many years. Tony Millionaire who does Drinky Crow, Nina Paley who does Sita Sings the Blues. I’ve got Seth Tobachman who’s been in World War Three comics for years. He’s an amazing inspiration. John Hagen Banner, who illustrated the Church of the Sub-Genius. His daughter and his son-in-law did a piece. I was also able to find people who did some pretty nice fan art. The nice thing about this books, I was able to offer them a percent. So that felt really good to be in a position to do that.”
AD: You’ve got a real media empire breaking out.
VS: “For many, many years it was this imaginary global enterprise, but slowly, it’s morphing and engaging with reality more and more. This year I went for, I had no success, but ‘Vermin Supreme 2016’ was a political organization. it was a 527. I found a treasurer and all that because I was trying achieve federal elections matching funds. Now, it’s low hanging fruit, but if you can raise $5,000 in each of twenty states not only is that $100,000, but the Federal Elections Commission will match that. And then, Yee-haw! How much fun could a Vermin Supreme Presidential campaign be run with any sort of budget?
“Personally, I think the Libertarians fucked up. They had their chance. If I was all fifty ballots with any backing at all I would go, man.”
AD: But do you know what ‘Allepo’ is?
VS: “Ehh, yeah, pretty much.”
AD: Now that you have your pulpit what’s the main misconception on how the government works that you’d like to pull the veil away from?
VS: “I think people can draw their own conclusions. Depending on their own level of awakedness, or whatever the kids are saying these days. That’s why I have such a wide and shallow base of support, because it operates on different levels. To some, I’m just a wacky hobo. Others like the humor. I like to profess my own understanding of anarchism and that we don’t need a government and that we could figure it out on our own if given half the chance.
“I just want people to question authority. A lot of people are certainly doing that. There is just so much media and so many people getting killed by police and stuff, the emergence of Black Lives Matter. Occupy Wall Street, which, yeah, it was five years ago, but wow did it lay the groundwork for the Bernie Sanders campaign. It changes the way things are thought of in a lot of ways. It allows people like Elizabeth Warren to have more impact. More people are questioning disparity and fighting for the minimum wages to go up. I think there is a lot of struggle going on and a whole lot of people are engaged in it. But I also think that there’s lots and lots of people who are just so overwhelmed with trying to make ends meet, make the rent, and have enough energy to work and engage with their kids, it’s really hard to change things outside of your immediate sphere.
“I just do what I do because I got very lucky finding a small slice, a little niche, a crack in the wall, this running for President thing. The beautiful thing about running for President, it’s this self-declarative statement. You say you’re running for President and no one can tell you that you’re not. No one can disprove it. It becomes an undeniable, indisputable, fact of reality- your reality, everybody’s reality. Whether they’ve heard of you or not, whether you get on the ballot, whether you declare it with the FCC, whether you raise a dime or whether one person votes for you, it fucking doesn’t matter. You are running for President. As soon as you say those words it’s like being saved. No one can say you’re not. It just is.”
For more Vermin Supreme check out his website, www.verminsupreme2016.wordpress.com and the documentary, Who is Vermin Supreme, available on Vimeo on Demand!