Who is “the most liberal person to ever run for the presidency”?

In 2004, the RNC called Sen. John Kerry “the most liberal person to ever run for President,” a line that Sen. John McCain echoed about Sen. Barack Obama today. Now I could tell you four years ago that Kerry was not “the most liberal,” nor is Obama today. In fact, the person who came to mind for me was the Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs, who, along with  Progressive Party nominee and former Republican Theodore Roosevelt, may have played a role in tipping the election of 1912, unseating Republican President William Howard Taft in favor of Democratic Party nominee Woodrow Wilson.

Debs was an actual American Socialist. Unlike Sen. Obama, Mr. Debs ran with some pretty wild ideas, including:

Women’s Suffrage—Women get the right to vote

Minimum Wage—By establishing minimum wage scales.

Direct Election of President—The Election of the President and Vice-President by direct vote of the people.

Aside from the sensible last item, we actually have all of those in some form in the United States.

Other things Debs ran on, including public ownership of utilities and a shortened work day, have yet to come.

Barack Obama isn’t running on those issues. Nor is he planning any Marxist seizures of property or financial resources. And, once again, it is the Republican presidential administration that has nationalized part of the financial system. Let us hope they don’t have to start nationalizing real industry as well. (I do not want that!)


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

One thought on “Who is “the most liberal person to ever run for the presidency”?”

  1. The font on this post is bigger than the other posts. Weird.

    The Wikipedia article on Debs is pretty interesting. I’d never heard of him. Apparently, neither had McCain.

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