Thursday, February 18, 2016

Do You Know Who You Are Voting For?

I am voting today (via absentee ballot) for Elisabeth Gray for US President - in the Texas Republican Primary.

I know almost nothing about Elisabeth Gray, though I have been somewhat obsessively trying to find out anything I can about her. (I call her Liz now.)

How can I vote for someone about whom I know so little?

Ask yourself, how many times have you voted for candidates about whom you know nothing? Have you ever voted for a straight party ticket? Then I dare say there were several candidates on that ballot, especially for so-called "lower offices," about whom you knew nothing. You probably didn't even know their names.

The problem with candidates for "lower offices" is that they eventually ascend to "higher offices." So you (and I and everyone in the country) gets stuck with a slate of flawed candidates for President or Senate, selected by self-appointed power barrons, who have nothing going for them except they held "lower offices" (and lots of campaign cash).

I have seen how candidates are selected in the proverbial smoke-filled rooms (or maybe vape-filled rooms now). I have worked behind-the-scenes in a political campaign, and the way they are funded, the way messages are developed, ain't confidence-inspiring. (My candidate won the primary and lost the general, and that was enough inside politics for me. At least until now.)

I thought at one time of becoming a candidate myself. Just get on the ballot for a lower office no one pays any attention to. Then not campaign at all. Spend no money or time. People might see the name Adams and think they know me ... and trust me.  Maybe they would confuse me with someone else and vote for me by mistake. Maybe my name would appear high on the candidates list, increasing my chances. (There's a candidate for US President who filed under the name AAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAA, apparently presuming candidates are listed alphabetically.)

Some will accuse me of wasting my vote on a candidate who has no chance of being elected. In fact, anyone who does not vote for the eventual winning candidate is "wasting" their vote. And then, regardless of who wins, we all seem to lose.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

In Search of Elisabeth Gray - the Most 'Obscure' Candidate for US President

My blog was at the top of the Google search results
In a previous blog, I raised the question, Who is Elisabeth Gray?

My initial innocent internet inquiry has turned into a moderate obsession. (Hey, I'm an information hound. I like to learn all I can on subjects that interest me.)

Who is this woman who apparently plunked down $5K or collected hundreds of signatures, sufficient to qualify for the ballot in the Texas Republican primary for US President ... and then promptly faded back into obscurity?

My initial inquiries to the local librarian and newspapers turned up no information I did not already have. But last night's email brought two possible bits of information - she may be in her 70s and retired. So pretty much in the same category as Hillary Clinton.

I received an email from the Williamson County GOP chairman, Bill, who wrote: "Howdy. I ... have not been able to find any information about her, other than she is retired, and in her 70’s.  None of the elected officials or community leaders I asked from Taylor knew her – mayor, city council, school board, chamber of commerce, commissioner, state representative – none know anything about her.  It looks like she relocated from Georgia recently."

Mmmmm. "relocated ... recently." Maybe it's time to check out local Taylor realtors.

One of the goals of my quest was to stimulate some news media to write about Ms. Gray and perhaps reveal her motives for running, her views on the issues. Who knows - if people learn that she's on the ballot, maybe they'll spurn the flawed frontrunners and at least qualify Elisabeth Gray for a runoff in May, giving voters plenty of time to get to know her.

I didn't expect, though, to become part of the story. The website Ballot Access News came across my blog (which normally has less than 10 views a day, but soared to 370 for the ElisabethGray post) and posted a story headlined, "Texas Blogger Rick Adams in Search of Elisabeth Gray, the Most Obscure Candidate on the Republican Texas Primary Ballot."

So, in effect, one of my goals was achieved.

I also received a comment on my blog (another rarity). "sbird" said "I voted today and Ms. Gray's name on the ballot was the only one that didn't repulse me (because I know nothing of her). ... By the way, I found your site while I was trying to find out just who Elizabeth Gray is. 

I'm also perplexed that Ms. Gray qualified for the Texas ballot when she does not appear to have ever filed as a candidate with the Federal Elections Commission - After all, even Darth Vader and Mickey Mouse filed with the FEC.
Is that not necessary to get on a lone state ballot? Or were Texas officials in error in placing her on the ballot? I've written to the Texas Secretary of State's office asking by what means Ms. Gray ended up on the primary ballot. I've also sent a message to the state GOP.

I'd love to see someone pick up on the story nationally, so I've reached out to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow ...

I am also tweeting messages to Wolf Blitzer and CNN, encouraging them to invite ALL the balloted candidates to the Super Tuesday debate - to be held February 25 in Houston.

Told you this had become an obsession.

You, Too, Can Run for President

There are 1,560 candidates for US President, according to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) list of those who filed Form 2 (

1,560 of those candidates will NOT be the next President.

Not all of the candidates are legitimate. (Some folks might argue that none of them are legitimate to lead, and I would tend to agree.)

Living overseas, I have observed the Presidential race as somewhat entertaining ... until I realize that one of these clowns will actually be the next decider-in-chief of the allegedly "free" world (it's hard to see it as free when the NSA and other government agencies spy on everyone's communications and free speech / dissent are being systematically stifled).

One of those running for US President is Bippy the Clown. Other entertainment candidates include cinematic pugilist Rocky Balboa, singer Taylor Swift, Kermit Frog, Forrest Gump ("Run, Forrest, run"), Jason Borne (an apparent misspelling of Bourne), the Ghost of Christmas Present, pirate Jack Sparrow, and the perennial candidate, Mickey Mouse.

One of my personal favorites is Francis J. (Frank) Underwood of the "House of Cards" television series, whose campaign slogans include "Anything for America" and "FU16."

I would also be inclined to vote for the all-wise Yoda, though not Darth Vader.

Dr. Jekyll is running on a personality platform, as is his alter-ego, Mr. Hyde (Justin Nicholas).

Carrie Nation is running on for the Prohibition Party nomination, and Jeffrey Dahmer is seeking funds from the private prison lobbyists.

Candidate No. 1128 is Vladimir Putin. (I think if his name were actually on the ballot, he might come in the top 3). No. 1426 is Kim Jong Un - apparently if he is not elected, he'll nuke the United States. 

There's a soft drink in the race - Doctor Pepper. Four dogs, a goat, a dragon, and Buddy the Cat.

In addition to Donald Trump, there's Donald Tramp and Tronald Dump.

There are three Bushes (Read My Lips, No New Bushes) - Jeb, Jorge, and Willita. Plus a "Bushdid 9/11." And three of my apparent cousins: Jack Lynn Adams, Paul R. Adams, and Thomas Alan Adams.

And Bill Clinton? Thought he was ineligible for a third term.

One name not on the FEC list, which surprises me, as she is on the Republican Party primary ballot in Texas - Elisabeth Gray. Who is Elisabeth Gray? Sure would like to know. After all, I'm voting for her.

Check out my previous post:

In Search of Elizabeth Gray, Candidate for US President

Thursday, February 11, 2016

In Search of Elizabeth Gray, Candidate for US President

Is this the home of the future US President?
Who is Elizabeth Gray? No one seems to know.

A few hours ago, I had never heard of her. Now I am on a quest to find out whatever I can about her.

Elizabeth Gray is one of 13 people listed on the official ballot in the Texas Republican Party primary as a qualified candidate for President of the United States. In the Collin County ballot, which I will use to vote, Ms. Gray is listed just below Ted Cruz and above Rick Santorum and Donald J. Trump.

In theory, Elizabeth Gray could become the first female President.

If anyone can find her.

As I am not particularly enamored of any of the Republican candidates, I thought I'd check out Ms. Gray's views on some of the key issues. What does she think of the growing income equality gap? Does she advocate breaking up the too-big-to-jail banks? Does she favor sending more American soldiers to die in the deserts of the Middle East? Will she build fences across the Mexican and Canadian borders? Will she repeal the FATCA law which is ruining the daily lives of Americans overseas? (That's my personal hot-button issue, and Rand Paul would get my vote for being one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the US government to overturn it.)

However, the only information I could find on the web about Ms. Gray was her address in Taylor, Texas, a little crossroads town northeast of Austin.

Apparently her campaign doesn't even have a website. (Or even a yard sign.)

I thought perhaps the "local" newspaper would know about a homegrown candidate for the highest office in the free world, so I contacted the Austin American-Statesman.  John B, Managing Editor, responded promptly:  "Other than the name on the ballot, I’ve heard nothing about Ms. Gray. I can’t advise you as a voter, but if a candidate can’t find a way to produce a website to espouse his or her views, I usually don’t think much of his or her ability to lead the country." 

John explained that to get on the GOP presidential ballot in Texas a candidate must either pay $5,000 or gather 300 signatures in 15 different congressional districts —"so anyone who really wants to can 'run' for president."  Wow! Maybe I'll run in 2020. (Or maybe I'll think of a few thousand better ways to spend $5K.)

Now my interest was really piqued. I want to know what this woman stands for. I want her to be invited to one of the debates - since there are now several empty podiums available.

So I reached out to one of the best research sources I know of: a local librarian. Karen E, Taylor town librarian extraordinaire, responded to my email by contacting the City Clerk, the county Election Department, the county Republican offices ("who had no information on Ms. Gray - I had to give him her name and address"), and the "really local" newspaper, the Taylor Press. "Hopefully the Taylor Press reporters will have some luck," Karen told me. " It’s not every day that a local Taylorite ends up on a national ballot." 

Karen couldn't resist a little dig: "I guess she’s very, very under the radar and no insults from Trump just yet."

Then I got a message from Jason H, News Editor at the Taylor Press (whom I had also contacted separately from the librarian), who gave me the sad news that they had learned Ms. Gray had withdrawn from the race. I guess it was her disappointing showing in New Hampshire, much like Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina.

But wait. Jason sent me another message. Taylor Press is reaching out to Ms. Gray for an interview. We may yet learn something about her. I simply must know.

And, since her name is still on the ballot, Texans can vote for her. Maybe I will. Is it possible I will be the one and only person to vote for Elizabeth Gray? Is that the definition of "one person, one vote"?

Who will join me? Let's get a grassroots tsunami going for Elizabeth Gray! We don't know who she really is or what she stands for, but how is that different from most of the candidates we've ever voted for?