By now, people have been exposed to more news about the 2016 U.S. presidential election than to every bit of news that has happened in the rest of the world over the last ten years. It feels like the American citizenry aren't choosing between political behemoths, but rather a bunch of politicians who look like the first drafts of a hungover political cartoonist. But if we're being totally honest with ourselves, presidential elections have historically been kind of a shitshow. So while we wait to see whether or not the most powerful non-Chinese country is stupid enough to elect an overripe asparagus fart in a suit, enjoy these ridiculous fringe candidates from the past as a reminder of what a weird sham the American presidential race has always been. For example ...
5William Dudley Pelley Was The First Nazi Cult Leader To Run For President
We've all said or believed things which we came to regret in the fullness of time. And while we can't un-ring those bells, un-speak those words, or un-shave those exes' dogs, what we can do is admit to our mistakes and move forward. Besides, it's not like anyone ran for president on a Nazi platform, proclaiming to become the American Hitler. Except William Dudley Pelley, who did exactly that in 1936.
Pelley was a successful writer and journalist who became a maniacal anti-communist and anti-Semite after spending some time in Russia during the formation of the Soviet Union. In the 1930s, he developed a fiery hate for President Franklin D. Roosevelt because of his destructive socialist initiatives, like offering millions of people aid to keep them from starving to death during the Dust Bowl. Thanks, Roosevelt.
But instead of trying to assassinate the president (which would have gone well with his three-names vibe), Pelley got into politics to counteract this growing communist influence in the United States. He started a fascist organization/cult called the Silver Legion, which is as close to the Legion of Doom as America has yet come. The Silver Legion was inspired by Hitler's Brownshirt militia, and dressed like space-age Mormon missionaries with scarlet Ls on their chests. Really. As their leader, Pelley also began publishing a newsletter which quickly became known as "the most racist publication in the United States" -- which was quite a feat for the 1930s.
Los Angeles Times
If there were any storm troopers we wish could've been fed to the Sarlaac, it's these guys.
Then, in 1936, Pelley finally made the leap to full-blown megalomania when he formed the Christian Party and ran for president on a strict "blame the Jews" platform. The election came and went with Pelley garnering fewer than 5,000 votes (to put that in context, the Silver Legion had a membership of around 15,000). Then, when even the attack on Pearl Harbor failed to stop his pro-Hitler yammering, FDR got J. Edgar Hoover on the case, who quickly found Pelley guilty of numerous acts of treason and sedition and had the American Fuhrer thrown in jail for eight years.
Pelley did have one final nugget of wisdom to share: He frequently predicted that the Last Day of the United States would be September 17, 2001. On the one hand, it's a bit spooky that he managed to pick a day so close to an actual cataclysmic event. But on the other hand, fuck him -- there's no partial credit in fascism.
4Gabriel Green Was Endorsed By The Aliens Living Secretly Among Us
Ralph Crane/Life Magazine
With the space program hurling so many monkeys, dogs, and humans into the sky, many Americans got a little space-crazy in the 1960s. Also, with Russia doing god-knows-what over there and "balloons" crashing all over "New Mexico," it was a great time to be a crazy dude who believed aliens were about to take over. Gabriel Green was not like those tinfoil conspiracy theorists, though. He was very happy to get taken over by the alien agenda -- so much so that he saw it as his duty to become president in order to ease the transition of welcoming our new alien overlords.
Los Angeles Times
"Kennedy wants to put a man on the Moon? Amateur."
Green gained notoriety in 1960 by running for president on the Universal Flying Saucer ticket. In a radio interview (which must have sounded like a sequel to Orson Welles' War Of The Worlds prank to older listeners), he asserted that aliens called "Ashtars" had been in direct contact with him, trying to impart the Universe's wisdom into his rudimentary monkey brain. Furthermore, over half a million of these E.T.'s had already inserted themselves into the population, disguising themselves as human and observing our tragically self-destructive nature. Green then went on to make it very clear that the aliens were indistinguishable from humans, apart from being better-looking, thus reminding everyone that a vote for Green meant a vote for sexy aliens.
Gabriel Green / Los Angeles Mirror News
Paid for by the Committee of Future Star Trek Captains.
But how did this extensive knowledge of bangable alien infiltrators qualify Green to run the country? Well you see, the aliens had selected Green as their emissary. According to Green, "Renton, of the Alpha Centauri system, dropped in one day in 1959 to sort of twist my arm to be a presidential candidate in the 1960 election." With the help of his alien advisors, his presidential platform was surprisingly well-thought-out, promoting issues like Puerto Rican statehood, unionized labor, and technocentric foreign aid. Most importantly, of course, was to open up the vast governmental conspiracy of hiding alien life to the public, maybe organizing a few brunch meetings between labor leaders and those relentlessly sexy alien spies.
Despite his intergalactic mandate, Green garnered almost no votes and eventually ceded his nomination in support of John F. Kennedy -- who, oddly enough, did not put Green in his cabinet in return. Green ran once again in 1972, but barely received any votes. He remained a strong alien advocate until 2001, when he left our planet and presumably went home.