The two people running for the presidency this year have been called demons, clowns, children, puppets, and animals. This is unfair to all the clowns, children, and animals who have gracefully campaigned for office. (However, we refuse to defend any demons and puppets seeking an elected position.) Here is our tribute to them, because it’s Friday and we all deserve a moment to think about cat mayors after this week.
(Note: 100 percent of elected animals are a publicity scam, although that does not make them that different from some human candidates.)
In 1980, a chimpanzee in a white tuxedo walked into the New Hampshire statehouse with the filing paperwork for a candidate who was sitting in a trailer out back: Colossus G. Benson, a nearly 500-pound gorilla from Benson’s Wild Animal Farm who wanted to run for president, but was considered too wild to go inside inside the hallowed halls of government himself. New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, who later recalled that the campaign manager climbed up a pole and starting hanging from lights after filing the necessary paperwork for his candidate, did not let Colossus run, as he was not yet 35 years old. After a draining career of watching lots of General Hospital, Colossus retired to Florida where he could throw poop at people in peace.
A few years after Colossus’s failed run, Lajitas, Texas, elected an alcoholic goat, Clay Henry, who was later killed by his son and successor, Clay Henry Jr. Later, Clay Henry III, obviously, the third goat mayor of Lajitas, was castrated, per ABC News, after someone “became outraged when a resident, who asked him for a brew, fed the goat mayor one of his last beers.” The sheriff “still [has] his balls sitting in a cabinet in [his] wife’s veterinary office. People still come down to see them all the time.” The town of Lajitas still has a goat mayor, who lives outside the only store in town.
Stubbs the Cat is perhaps the longest serving, responsibility-less animal politician. He has served as unofficial mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, since 1997, despite being shot and suffering humiliation after falling into a fryer filled with cold oil. Earlier this year, Stubbs’s celebrity was cemented after he became the butt of an online hoax saying he was dead.
When cats have to run for office, instead of just being awarded a ceremonial position, they don’t have quite as much luck. In 2012, current vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine beat write-in candidate Hank the Cat in a Virginia Senate race. Hank reportedly received around 2,000 votes, despite being hit with a vicious attack ad about his refusal to release his tax returns.
Other animal politicians include April the Cow, former mayor of Eastsound, Washington; Lucy Lou the dog, mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky; failed presidential candidate Limberbutt McCubbins; failed presidential candidate Pigasus the pig; Giggles the pig, failed candidate for mayor of Flint, Michigan; Amy the Wonderdog, failed candidate for president at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law; and failed presidential candidate Crawfish Crawfish.
The grown-ups lost control of Dorset a long time ago. Back in 2012, the tiny town in Minnesota — which calls itself the Restaurant Capital of the World and is home to an estimated 22 people — elected Bobby Tufts. The political novice was 3 years old, and wore a fedora while promising to implement an extensive platform relating exclusively to ice cream. After appearing in a satirical local news article in which he told Vladimir Putin to “go away” and serving two terms, Tufts lost. (The mayor is a mere figurehead, chosen by voters who pay a dollar to put a name in a hat.) It was for the best, as his tenure was marked by a complete disregard for democratic norms. As he told a local news station in a revealing exit interview, “Nobody could arrest me, not even a cop.” When asked to clarify, Tufts added, “Aw. You might not want to sniff near me because I just tooted. And a toot means fart, so don't use that.”
In 2015, another Tufts won the mayoral election, proving that our political system is utterly incapable of not electing dynasties. Three-year-old James Tufts, who wore a brown newsboy cap while campaigning, received invaluable advice from his elder brother: “No poopie talks.” He did not win reelection in 2016, losing to a dark horse toddler candidate from Salt Lake City. The younger Tufts did not take the news well, angrily saying on camera, “I hate that. I just hate that,” before throwing up his hands and adding, “Now I’m NOT the mayor.”
The Tufts were not the first underage mayors in the United States, of course. Back in 1983, 11-year-old Brian Zimmerman won 23 out of the 30 votes cast in Crabb, Texas’s mayoral race. Sadly, he later died at age 24; in his obituary, the Baltimore Sun noted that “Europeans referred to him as ‘John Kennedy II,’” and that his life had been turned into a PBS movie starring James Earl Jones.
After this year’s swift descent into a hellhole filled with tiny fingers, tweets, and the fear that there is a clown RIGHT BEHIND YOU, it seems unlikely that a last-minute clown candidacy would do much to make people feel less worried about the fate of the country. There was a time, however, when voters thought clowns running for office was amusing, or at least completely irrelevant to a candidate’s credentials.
Back in 1984, when a man who once starred in a movie called Bedtime for Bonzo was running for reelection, Bozo the Clown, né Larry Harmon, decided he wanted to run for president too. He ran with the Big Whigs Party, and promised to get rid of the “wasteful” vice-presidency if elected, as well as start a “nuclear defrost.” UPI reported that “he campaigns in costume, and it takes him five hours to put on his clown makeup and a red, white, and blue costume, and another hour to take it off.” In 1990, Wavy Gravy, another clown, lost a city council race in Berkeley, despite promising “a rubber chicken in every pothole.” It is probably safe to put “Absolutely Nobody,” who ran for lieutenant governor in Washington back in 1992 in order to abolish the office if elected, in this category too.
At least one clown has won an election in the United States: Former North Dakota state senator Steve Tomac, who made it to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008, used his history as a rodeo clown on the campaign trail. His 1990 slogan was, “There’s a lotta clowns in the legislature — let’s send a professional clown.” This year, Bippy the Clown, who lives on 420 Dank Street, filed a very legit sounding statement of presidential candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.