Not sold on choosing between a presidential candidate who’s cozy with Wall Street and pals with a war criminal or her egomaniacal chief rival who’s turned his campaign into some sort of bizarre reality TV spectacle? You’re not alone: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the two most strongly disliked nominees in recent memory. Lucky for you, the filing deadline for ballot access in Iowa passed on Friday and the secretary of state’s office updated its list of candidates (PDF) to show that eight other presidential candidates will be on the ballot in the state.
A couple of them are well-known: Libertarian Gary Johnson, the top-polling third party candidate, is on the ballot, as is Jill Stein, a Green Party contender who’s picked up a bit of support from the #NeverHillary crowd. Evan McMullin, an ex-CIA officer and former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference who recently launched an independent #NeverTrump protest bid, is listed, too. Would you prefer to just sit back and smoke a bowl and forget about this whole crazy election? Check out Dan Vacek, co-founder of the Minnesota-based Legal Marijuana Now Party.
Also qualifying are Darrell Castle, representing the paleoconservative Constitution Party; Lynn Kahn of the Nevada, Iowa- and Cedar Rapids-based New Independent Party; Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation; and Democrat Rocky De La Fuente who, like McMullin, was nominated for the ballot by petition.
If none of those candidates suit your fancy, you could go the write-in route, where your options are virtually limitless. Alongside the names of Clinton, Trump, and their less fortunate rivals like Bernard Sanders and Jeb Bush are those of more than 1,800 other candidates who have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for president. Although additional paperwork is required before someone can really get serious, registering to run is virtually effortless, as evidenced by candidates like Ronald Childeater/molester KKK McSatanAntiChrist Jr., a Republican; and the unaffiliated Have Sex With Me, whose campaign committee is called Fuck Me Co. (although that will likely soon change, thanks to the killjoys at the FEC who announced Thursday they plan to start verifying information in filings that appear “unlawfully false or fictitious”). And if those choices aren’t nihilistic enough for you, there’s always the malevolent Lovecraftian entities Dr. ourloardandsavior Cthulu (who was apparently too busy terrorizing the populace to spell its name correctly on its FEC filing) and The Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep, both of whom are running as communists.
Here’s a quick rundown of a few other write-in options:
Calling himself “the science candidate,” Istvan is a transhumanist offering a proposal that’s seemingly even more outlandish than Trump’s pledge to build a giant border wall at Mexico’s expense: eternal life. But not to Istvan, who believes that technology can solve humankind’s biggest problems within the next 10 to 15 years. His campaign website features praise from publications like Playboy, which wrote, “When we’re all glowing, immortal orbs, we’ll probably have Zoltan Istvan to thank,” and Gizmodo, which added, “A candidate who advocates for using technology to radically change & improve the human species. This is so cool.” Istvan’s not in the race to win; instead, he’d like to see his supporters cast the deciding votes in a swing state for the candidate most likely to give him a role in their administration.
If you want to show your home-state pride, consider supporting Nuts, who’s actually a 16-year-old farm boy from Wallingford named Brady Olson. He was inspired to run by fellow candidate Limberbutt McCubbins, a rescue cat who supports feline space travel and universal healthcare for all animals. Nuts became an internet sensation and last summer was polling as high as 9 percent against Clinton and Trump. Currently, he’s polling ahead of Jill Stein and Harambe, a dead gorilla (who hasn’t filed with the FEC), in Texas. Neither cats nor people under the age of 35 are eligible to be president, but there’s nothing stopping you from writing one of them in anyway because this is America. First, though, you might want to take a look at some of Nuts’ rivals: Bofa Deez Nuts, Ceedeez Nuts, Deez W. Nutz, and Hold Ma Nutz.
Back in the States after fleeing his home in Belize, where authorities sought him for questioning over the murder of his neighbor, McAfee is an eccentric computer programmer who struck it rich developing his eponymous antivirus software in the 1980s. He won’t be on the ballot because he was defeated by Gary Johnson in the Libertarian Party primary, but he’s run a compelling campaign with the Trump-takeoff slogan “Make America Cool Again” and hashtag #VoteDifferent. His campaign platform centers on privacy advocacy and busting up the two-party status quo. He would likely be the first president to have experimented with bath salts — he once posted in an internet drug forum that when he “first started doing this I accidently got a few drops on my fingers while handling a used flask and didn’t sleep for four days. I had visual and auditory hallucinations and the worst paranoia of my life” — but his newly opened School of Badass may be a sign he’s moved on to other pursuits.
Ashe is one of several perennial presidential candidates. He’s a registered Democrat who claims he developed a “program of time travel communications” that reached out “at least and no less than 500 years into the future” while working in the Reagan administration, allowing others to deliver sperm to the 24th century for reasons that are presumably classified (no word on whether Istvan is aware of this technology). In his free time, Ashe enjoys listening to the rap stylings of “Snoops Dog.”
Technically, the boot-hatted Supreme isn’t an official candidate — the anarchist and performance artist can’t be bothered to file his FEC paperwork — but he’s worthy of an honorable mention. He’s been running for office since the ‘80s on a campaign platform of giving a free pony to every American, mandating tooth brushing, raising awareness about a potential zombie apocalypse, and researching time travel so it’s possible to go back and assassinate baby Hitler (a proposal supported by Jeb Bush, who told the Huffington Post last fall, “Hell yeah, I would! You gotta step up, man”). Supreme claims his oddball campaign “paved the way for Donald Trump.”
Thinking of supporting a candidate we failed to mention? Let us know in the comments.