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15 Third-Party Presidential Candidates

You don't have to read mental_floss to know that President Obama is running for re-election on the Democratic ticket and that Mitt Romney is opposing him on the Republican ticket. However, you might not know about these other political parties and their 2012 presidential nominees.

1. Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson, the presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, was Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003 as a Republican. As governor, he earned the nickname "Governor Veto." Before politics, he ran his own construction company. Among his personal accomplishments, he lists climbing Mt. Everest and Ironman Triathlons. Johnson is theoretically able to win the presidential election, as he is on the ballot in enough states (43) to achieve 270 electoral votes. Photograph by Flickr user Gage Skidmore.

2. Jill Stein

Dr. Jill Stein is running on the Green Party ticket. She is the only third-party candidate besides Johnson who can theoretically win 270 electoral votes. A physician and medical school professor, Stein focuses on environmental health issues, and has run for political office in Massachusetts twice for the Green-Rainbow Party, which is that state's branch of the Green Party. Stein is on the ballot in 32 states.

3. Virgil Goode

Virgil Goode is the presidential candidate for the Constitution Party. Goode will be on the ballot in 22 states, and can be written in as a candidate in 14 more. He became a Virginia state senator as an independent, then joined the Democratic Party. Goode later represented Virginia in congress from 1997 to 2009, initially as a Democrat. He switched to independent in 2000, and still won re-election. For the 2006 election, he ran as a Republican and was again re-elected -- for a sixth term. Goode was defeated in 2008. Selected as the presidential candidate for the Constitution Party, Goode's campaignseeks to restrict immigration and reduce the size of the federal government.

4. Rocky Anderson

4-21-07 SLC Marathon 5K - 1006

Rocky Anderson represents the Justice Party in the 2012 presidential election. A long-time Salt Lake City lawyer, he served two terms as mayor, from 2000 to 2008. Anderson renounced the Democratic Party in August of last year, and accepted the nomination of the new Justice Party in January of 2012. The party's platform includes the end of war, universal health care, and international cooperation on dealing with climate change. Anderson will be on the ballot in 15 states. Photograph by Flickr user Jen Wakefield-Dillier.

5. Peta Lindsay

Peta Lindsay is the candidate from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, a political party that formed by splitting off from the left-wing Workers World Party in 2004. Lindsay is an anti-war activist. She was born in 1984, so if elected, she would be ineligible to serve as president. The U.S. Constitution states that presidents must be at least 35 years old. Her name will be on the ballot in ten states.

6. Tom Hoefling

Tom Hoefling is the national chairman of America's Party, and is also its 2012 presidential candidate. The party's platform seeks to end the income tax, outlaw abortion, beef up the military, and outlaw gay marriage. Hoefling's presidential campaign does not seek or accept campaign donations. He has achieved ballot access in three states.

7. Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr (yes, that Roseanne Barr) sought the candidacy of the Green Party, but lost to Jill Stein in July. She gained the attention of the Peace and Freedom Party, which nominated her in August. Barr's campaign platform includes the legalization of marijuana, an end to war, and forgiveness of student debt. Barr's candidacy has gained the endorsement of NORML, the Green Party Black Caucus, and 2008 Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney. Barr will be on the ballot in three states.

8. Stewart Alexander


Stewart Alexander
is running on the Socialist Party USA ticket. Alexander is a community and consumer activist and an NAACP member. He ran for mayor of Los Angeles in 1988 and for Lieutenant governor in California in 2006 on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. He was the Socialist Party candidate for vice-president in 2008. Three states will have Alexander on the ballot.

9. James Harris

James Harris was nominated for president by the far-left Socialist Workers Party. He was also its candidate in 1996 and 2000. Harris rose through the ranks by campaigning for workers' rights and union organization, particularly in the union-averse state of Georgia. His name will be on the ballot in six states.

10. Andre Barnett

Andre Barnett is the candidate for the Reform Party USA. Barnett served with the U.S. Army and was wounded in Sarajevo in 2000. Told he would not be able to engage in heavy physical activities again, he rehabilitated himself and became a fitness model. He then founded an information technology business. Barnett's platformincludes pulling the military out of foreign countries to concentrate on homeland security, implementing tariffs on imports, lowering the corporate tax rate, and regulating the cost of health care. Three states will have Barnett on the ballot.

11. Tom Stevens

Tom Stevens is running on the Objectivist Party ticket, a party he founded. Stevens is an activist lawyer and is also chairman of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. The Objectivist Party was formed to promote the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Stevens also publishes a personal blog. His name will be on the presidential ballot in two states.

12. Merlin Miller

Merlin Miller is the first ever presidential candidate for the Third Position Party. Miller is an independent film producer. Miller has been linked to the the Council of Conservative Citizens, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a White Nationalist hate group. The Third Position Party platform focuses on law enforcement and victim's rights. Three states will have Miller on the ballot.

13. Jerry White

Jerry White is the candidate for the Socialist Equality Party, a party that follows the philosophy of Leon Trotsky. His platforminvolves issues of jobs, workers' rights, and quality of life issues like universal healthcare, guaranteed minimum income, an end to foreclosures, and universal pensions. He will be on the ballot in two states.

14. Jim Carlson

Jim Carlson is running for president for the Grassroots Party. The party shares a philosophy with the Green Party with an added emphasis on the legalization of marijuana. The campaign has no website. Carlson is the owner of a Duluth head shop, Last Place on Earth. Minnesota is the only state that will have Carlson on the ballot.

15. Will Christensen

Will Christensen represents the Independent American Party. The party is very conservative, and only on the ballot in one state: Oregon.

This information, particularly the states that have these candidates on the ballot, is subject to change. You can check for more information here.

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Wolfgang via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
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holidays
8 Legendary Monsters of Christmas
Wolfgang via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Wolfgang via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

The customs of the holiday season, which include St. Nicholas Day, New Years Day, and Epiphany, as well as Christmas, often incorporate earlier pagan traditions that have been appropriated and adapted for contemporary use. Customs that encourage little children to be good so as to deserve their Christmas gifts often come with a dark side: the punishment you'll receive from a monster or evil being of some sort if you aren't good! These nefarious characters vary from place to place, and they go by many different names and images.

1. KRAMPUS

As a tool to encourage good behavior in children, Santa serves as the carrot, and Krampus is the stick. Krampus is the evil demon anti-Santa, or maybe his evil twin. Krampus Night is celebrated on December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas Day in Austria and other parts of Europe. Public celebrations that night have many Krampuses walking the streets, looking for people to beat. Alcohol is also involved. Injuries in recent years have led to some reforms, such as requiring all Krampuses to wear numbers so they may identified in case of overly violent behavior.

Krampus may look like a devil, or like a wild alpine beast, depending on what materials are available to make a Krampus costume. In modern times, people can spend as much as they like to become the best Krampus around—and the tradition is spreading beyond Europe. Many cities in America have their own Krampus Nights now.

2. JÓLAKÖTTURINN

Jólakötturinn is the Icelandic Yule Cat or Christmas Cat. He is not a nice cat. In fact, he might eat you. This character is tied to an Icelandic tradition in which those who finished all their work on time received new clothes for Christmas, while those who were lazy did not (although this is mainly a threat). To encourage children to work hard, parents told the tale of the Yule Cat, saying that Jólakötturinn could tell who the lazy children were because they did not have at least one new item of clothing for Christmas—and these children would be sacrificed to the Yule Cat. This reminder tends to spur children into doing their chores! A poem written about the cat ends with a suggestion that children help out the needy, so they, too, can have the protection of new clothing. It's no wonder that Icelanders put in more overtime at work than most Europeans.

3. FRAU PERCHTA


Flickr // Markus Ortner

Tales told in Germany and Austria sometimes feature a witch named Frau Perchta who hands out both rewards and punishments during the 12 days of Christmas (December 25 through Epiphany on January 6). She is best known for her gruesome punishment of the sinful: She will rip out your internal organs and replace them with garbage. The ugly image of Perchta may show up in Christmas processions in Austria, somewhat like Krampus.

Perchta's story is thought to have descended from a legendary Alpine goddess of nature, who tends the forest most of the year and deals with humans only during Christmas. In modern celebrations, Perchta or a close relation may show up in processions during Fastnacht, the Alpine festival just before Lent. There may be some connection between Frau Perchta and the Italian witch La Befana, but La Befana isn't really a monster: she's an ugly but good witch who leaves presents.

4. BELSNICKEL

A drawing of Belsnickel.
Lucas, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Belsnickel is a male character from southwestern German lore who traveled to the United States and survives in Pennsylvania Dutch customs. He comes to children sometime before Christmas, wearing tattered old clothing and raggedy fur. Belsnickel carries a switch to frighten children and candy to reward them for good behavior. In modern visits, the switch is only used for noise, and to warn children they still have time to be good before Christmas. Then all the children get candy, if they are polite about it. The name Belsnickel is a portmanteau of the German belzen (meaning to wallop) and nickel for St. Nicholas. See a video of a Belsnickel visit here.

Knecht Ruprecht and Ru Klaas are similar characters from German folklore who dole out beatings to bad children, leaving St. Nicholas to reward good children with gifts.

5. HANS TRAPP

Hans Trapp is another "anti-Santa" who hands out punishment to bad children in the Alsace and Lorraine regions of France. The legend says that Trapp was a real man, a rich, greedy, and evil man, who worshiped Satan and was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. He was exiled into the forest where he preyed upon children, disguised as a scarecrow with straw jutting out from his clothing. He was about to eat one boy he captured when he was struck by lightning and killed—a punishment of his own from God. Still, he visits young children before Christmas, dressed as a scarecrow, to scare them into good behavior.

6. PÈRE FOUETTARD

The French legend of Père Fouettard, whose name translates to "Father Whipper," begins with an evil butcher who craved children to eat. He (or his wife) lured three boys into his butcher shop, where he killed, chopped, and salted them. St. Nicholas came to the rescue, resurrected the boys, and took custody of the butcher. The captive butcher became Père Fouettard, St. Nicholas' servant whose job it is to dispense punishment to bad children on St. Nicholas Day.

7. THE YULE LADS

The Jólasveinar, or Yule Lads, are 13 Icelandic trolls, who each have a name and distinct personality. In ancient times, they stole things and caused trouble around Christmastime, so they were used to scare children into behaving, like the Yule Cat. However, the 20th century brought tales of the benevolent Norwegian figure Julenisse (Santa Claus), who brought gifts to good children. The traditions became mingled, until the formerly devilish Jólasveinar became kind enough to leave gifts in shoes that children leave out ... if they are good boys and girls. 

8. GRÝLA

All the Yule Lads answer to Grýla, their mother. She predates the Yule Lads in Icelandic legend as the ogress who kidnaps, cooks, and eats children who don't obey their parents. She only became associated with Christmas in the 17th century, when she was assigned to be the mother of the Yule Lads. According to legend, Grýla had three different husbands and 72 children, all who caused trouble ranging from harmless mischief to murder. As if the household wasn't crowded enough, the Yule Cat also lives with Grýla. This ogress is so much of a troublemaker that The Onion blamed her for the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

A version of this post originally ran in 2013. See also: more Legendary Monsters

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History
84 Years Ago Today: Goodbye Prohibition!
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
Keystone/Getty Images

It was 84 years ago today that the Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, repealing the earlier Amendment that declared the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol illegal in the United States. Prohibition was over! Booze that had been illegal for 13 years was suddenly legal again, and our long national nightmare was finally over.


A giant barrel of beer, part of a demonstration against prohibition in America.
Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Prohibition of alcohol was not a popular doctrine. It turned formerly law-abiding citizens into criminals. It overwhelmed police with enforcement duties and gave rise to organized crime. In cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis, the dismantling of breweries left thousands of people unemployed.


Photograph courtesy of the Boston Public Library

Homemade alcohol was often dangerous and some people died from drinking it. Some turned to Sterno or industrial alcohol, which was dangerous and sometimes poisoned by the government to discourage drinking. State and federal governments were spending a lot of money on enforcement, while missing out on taxes from alcohol.


New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach (right) watches agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of Prohibition.

The midterm elections of 1930 saw the majority in Congress switch from Republican to Democratic, signaling a shift in public opinion about Prohibition as well as concerns about the depressed economy. Franklin Roosevelt, who urged repeal, was elected president in 1932. The Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution was proposed by Congress in February of 1933, the sole purpose of which was to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment establishing Prohibition.


American men guarding their private beer brewing hide-out, during Prohibition.
Keystone/Getty Images

With passage of the Constitutional Amendment to repeal Prohibition a foregone conclusion, a huge number of businessmen lined up at the Board of Health offices in New York in April of 1933 to apply for liquor licenses to be issued as soon as the repeal was ratified.

The Amendment was ratified by the states by the mechanism of special state ratifying conventions instead of state legislatures. Many states ratified the repeal as soon as conventions could be organized. The ratifications by the required two-thirds of the states was achieved on December 5, 1933, when conventions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah agreed to repeal Prohibition through the Amendment.


Workmen unloading crates of beer stacked at a New York brewery shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.
Keystone/Getty Images

A brewery warehouse in New York stacked crates past the ceiling to satisfy a thirsty nation after the repeal of Prohibition.


Keystone/Getty Images

Liquor wouldn't officially be legal until December 15th, but Americans celebrated openly anyway, and in most places, law enforcement officials let them.

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