BY: TREVOR HEWITT
Though he isn’t all that well known, Vermin Supreme is nearly impossible to miss.
Walking through New Hampshire on an overcast day, a rubber boot stretches onto his forehead; a wispy beard engulfs the bottom half of his face. Brandishing a four-foot toothbrush in a controlled fury, Supreme hurls insults into a megaphone at Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz in this Feb. 8 Independent Journal video.
“Will Ted Cruz give you a pony? I think that’s why we’re here to find out.”
“Mr. Cruz why do you hate America?” Supreme asks as Cruz exits a building. “Do you agree that the waterboarding water should be fluoridated?” Ignoring the questions, Cruz heads to his campaign bus. “Come out with your hands up and your pants down, we have you surrounded!” Supreme yells as the door closes.
It’s safe to say that Supreme, who was also on the New Hampshire ballot in the 2008 and 2012, has a bit of a penchant for the dramatic.
The Democratic fringe candidate first gained widespread media attention in 2012, after a video of him ‘glitterbombing’ rival candidate Randall Terry at the Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum went viral. That year, Supreme finished third in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, receiving 833 votes, 1.37 per cent of the total. More recently, in New Hampshire’s 2016 Democratic primary, Supreme received only 0.10 per cent, or 260 votes.
Supreme is a political satirist and a self-described “tyrant you can trust.” The Baltimore native runs a campaign centered around giving every American a pony – something he claims will reduce American dependency on foreign oil. Though his platform is satirical, it’s anything but undefined.
Another one of Supreme’s campaign promises is that he will create mandatory oral hygiene laws. “For too long, this country has been suffering a great moral and oral decay, in spirit and incisors,” Supreme said at the Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum in 2012. “We can no longer be a nation indentured. Our very salivation is at stake. Together we must brace ourselves.” Supreme’s platform also supports using zombies to generate green energy (though he hasn’t said where he’d animate the dead).
In 2015, in response to questions about the threat of ISIS, Supreme said that, if elected, he would use time travel to defeat the Islamic State. Supreme has already supported time travel in the past (to kill an infant Adolf Hitler).
Despite his peculiar platform, there’s something unusually comforting about the candidate. Beyond his trademark boot hat and oversized toothbrush he carries around, Supreme tells The Boston Globe he uses satire to lighten the mood at politically-charged events. His rhetoric, Supreme says, “[creates] laughter. And when laughter comes, fear is dispelled.”
Supreme’s various campaigns have been ranked seven on the Museum of Hoaxes’ list of top 20 satirical American presidential campaigns.
Even on Feb. 9, the night of the New Hampshire primary, Mashable reported that Supreme was hard at work, stopping people in the streets at 6 p.m. to ask if they had cast a ballot.
“Have you voted yet?” A young man walking briskly down Elm Street ignores Supreme’s question. “Thanks for your support!” Supreme yells. Turning around, the man looks at the candidate, laughing at his attire. “Free ponies for all,” yells Supreme, as he fades into the distance, talking to anyone who will listen.