While former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has received the lion’s share of the mainstream media coverage provided to third-party candidates in this highly volatile and unpredictable presidential campaign — much of it making a complete fool of himself — several other independent and minor-party aspirants for the White House have struggled for even a small fraction of the attention undeservedly heaped on the seemingly somnolent and gaffe-prone Libertarian Party nominee.
One of those is Rocky De La Fuente, a doggedly determined and largely self-funded candidate seeking to open the political process and restore genuine democracy in the United States.
He’s probably the best kept secret in this year’s presidential sweepstakes.
With little publicity or fanfare, the 61-year-old De La Fuente has quietly scratched and clawed his way onto the ballot in no fewer than twenty states this autumn — and most likely would have been on the ballot in at least half the states in the country were it not for a few minor technicalities in states like Washington and New York, as well as antiquated and arguably unconstitutional “sore loser” laws in Alabama, Arkansas and Pennsylvania.
Reminiscent of the late Eugene McCarthy’s little-noticed independent bid for the White House in the year of America’s Bicentennial — “The Bloodless Revolution of 1976,” as McCarthy’s young lawyers John C. Armor and Philip L. Marcus described it — De La Fuente is running to open the political process in this country and to create greater awareness of how the political system has been deliberately rigged to protect the two-party stranglehold on American politics while severely limiting voter choice.
Like “Clean Gene” some forty years ago, De La Fuente hopes to knock down a myriad of barriers deliberately put in place to thwart candidates running outside the duopoly. In 1976, McCarthy’s legal team struck down unfair and unconstitutional ballot access laws in at least sixteen states. Like the former Minnesota senator, De La Fuente has already filed at least eleven ballot access lawsuits pertaining to this year’s general election, including legal challenges to the burdensome and discriminatory number of signatures required for an independent or minor-party candidate for president in California, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.
According to ballot access expert Richard Winger, the longtime publisher of Ballot Access News, De La Fuente’s lawsuit in the Lone Star State also addresses the state’s early filing deadline and its sore loser law as applied to candidates who ran in the Texas presidential primary.