I interviewed James Hedges, Prohibition Party candidate for President of the United States to find out why he was running for POTUS.
JF: Why are you running for POTUS?
JH: The prohibition era has a useful lesson for today's social problems and we would like to keep the memory of the prohibition era alive as an option.
JF: What are we supposed to learn from the prohibition era (when the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol was illegal from 1920 to 1933).
JH: I'm writing an article on recreational drugs right now. Instead of criminalizing alcohol users, it's criminalizing the alcohol traffic, manufacture, distribution, and sale. There was no big boost in prison population just because they drank. Unlike today's policy of throwing, say, marijuana users in jail. That policy has been great for the prison industry, but it really hasn't made a difference as far as drug use. I see no point in frisking someone and if you find a bottle, throwing them in jail.
JF: Do you think that it's okay for people to make their own?
JH: As long as they drink it at home and stay home until they're sober, and don't beat their wives while they're drunk. A person's home should be his castle. If he wants to make his own and doesn't bother anybody in the process. (Pause) I think he's behaving foolishly. One of our American rights is to do stupid things.
JF: What three things would you do as POTUS?
JH: I would reorient foreign policy away from the American empire and toward defending the American mainland. I think a lot of people in the Prohibition Party don't like the hundreds of thousands of troops we have stationed all over the world. Our efforts to get regime change in the Middle East are counterproductive. Matters are worse now than they were before Bush went to war in Iraq. So one thing we would do would be to focus on American needs at home, rather than trying to make the whole world fit our mold. The other thing we do would be to make undergraduate colleges free for everybody.
JF: How about the private ones?
JH: 150 years ago, free primary school was a big deal.
JF: How about the private colleges, should they be free also?
JH: Yeah. 100 years ago, the big deal was free high schools. Now I think it's time to have free college. In would be in the American interest to have a well-educated population, well-educated workforce.
JF: And the third thing?
JH: The third thing would have to be alcohol and other recreational drugs. No law can be perfectly enforced. Almost everybody understands that. But we would do as much as we could to minimize the traffic in recreational drugs.
JF: How do you intend to spread the word about your campaign?
JH: We don't really have money for campaigning beyond just ballot access. We rely on the media, frankly, on people such as yourself.
JF: Are you reaching out to the press at all?
JH: A little bit, yeah. A lot of you folks come to us because you want to do feature articles on third parties. In the state where we are on the ballot, we are doing a little bit of publicity. Talk radio and newspapers, internet.
JF: Are you running as a write-in?
JH: We have filed write-in papers in over a dozen states, however our main push is to get on the ballot in maybe half a dozen where the requirements are not very strict. We're on the ballot in Arkansas, Mississippi, Colorado, we've done the paperwork in Iowa and New Jersey, we are working in Florida and Tennessee, and we're thinking about some additional states, maybe Wisconsin, or Minnesota, or Washington.
JF: Did you know that Louisiana is really easy?
JH: Yeah, I forgot to mention that. The filing window isn't open there yet, but we've set aside money to pay the filing fee in Louisiana.
JF: How many people are in the Prohibition Party?
JH: Paid members, about 3,000. It's a group of history buffs, really.