By Leah Devorak | Layout Editor
This past week the Independent Party presidential candidate Deez Nuts became the top trending topic on Twitter – and rightfully so.
Mr. Nuts, who is now the most successful Independent candidate in two decades, has a very interesting political agenda which can be found in its entirety on his campaign website, deeznutsforpresident2016.yolasite.com. Of the many stances listed, Mr. Nuts believes that illegal immigrants, except for minors, should be deported; that government officials should halve their salaries until the nation’s budget is balanced; that our presence in international conflicts should be limited in order to worry more about domestic affairs and that oil should be replaced as soon as possible with greener solutions.
When his whole platform is read, Mr. Nuts seems to be a fairly good mix of both conservative and liberal views, perfect for appealing to voters everywhere. He also seems to actually care about the health and well-being of the nation, which is somewhat of a relief considering the other two major candidates, Hillary Clinton (D-Il) and Donald Trump (R-NY).
Unfortunately though, if you couldn’t already tell, Deez Nuts isn’t actually real.
Rather than a refreshing, new politician who also really loves Dr. Dre, Deez Nuts is actually Brady Olson, a 15-year-old high school student from Wallingford, Iowa. He registered with the Federal Election Commission on July 26 after hearing about Limberbutt McCubbins (D-KY), the Democratic candidate that is also a pet cat.
When I first heard about Deez Nuts, even before doing further research, I automatically assumed that he was just a practical joke gone wild, that some young fool simply registered under the alias in order to see how many naïve local news stations covered it – or that Donald Trump said something incredibly stupid yet again. But the more I read into it, the more I found I was wrong.
Olson registering for the presidential candidacy was not just a joke, and while Trump probably said something stupid that day, it obviously had nothing to do with this. Rather, Deez Nuts was Olson’s way of trying to “clear the way for a future third-party movement,” as he told The New York Times, by showing his own frustration with the current two-party system.
If only Mr. Nuts came to light because of that.
The whole reason why Mr. Nuts is now in the news is because of Public Policy Polling, the Raleigh-based polling company that included him in a North Carolina questionnaire. The owner Tom Jensen was informed of the candidate via Twitter, deciding afterwards to include him in the poll as a joke.
“The name makes people laugh,” Jensen told The New York Times, “and it’s a long presidential election.”
Apparently, those who were polled also found Mr. Nuts amusing, which is how he skyrocketed to the top of the media’s radar. In Jensen’s various polls, when put against Trump and Clinton, Mr. Nuts ended up receiving 9 percent of the popular vote in North Carolina, 8 percent in Minnesota and 7 percent in his home state of Iowa.
I say “apparently” in the above paragraph, though, because his sudden spike in popularity could very possibly be due to more than just humor. I believe that this whole Mr. Nuts situation shows just how frustrated the American people are with the 2016 election. As Jensen told The New York Times, “I would say Mr. Nuts is the most ludicrous and unqualified third-party candidate you could have, but he’s still polling at 7, 8, 9 percent. … Right now the voters don’t like either of the people leading in the two main parties, and that creates an appetite for a third-party candidate.”
Or you could say it how one Des Moines Register reporter did while trying to embody Mr. Nuts: “I may be the figment of a child’s imagination, but I still make more sense as president than Donald Trump.”
Don’t worry, Trump isn’t the only victim: “I exist only on the internet, yet people find me more trustworthy than Hillary Clinton.”
These statements were mainly for entertainment purposes, but they’re also correct. As NPR reported, all but three 2016 candidates – Bernie Sanders (D-VT), John Kasich (R-OH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) – have positivity ratings in the negatives. Clearly, this – combined with the fact that Deez Nuts is even getting any attention at all – is more than proof that Olson isn’t the only one in the country unhappy with the current two-party system.
So now that we all know the hunger for a qualified candidate is real, we just need someone who can legally satisfy it, as nice as the Mr. Nuts/McCubbins ticket sounds. But don’t worry: If no one steps up to fill this position, as the nonpartisan Iowa pollster Seltzer told NPR, we’ll just pick one of the current ones anyway.
“People are able to hold what seem like incongruous thoughts and dislike [certain candidates] and still vote for them. They’d rather have a Republican they hate than a Democrat they despise.”
I have a strong feeling that this habit of voting for people even though we think them highly unqualified may be part of our problem. We as an entire population haven’t taken elections seriously for years, which has paved the way for the biggest joke of an election yet, and it’s going to take someone serious to fix it.