(A series on little-known candidates for President)
Alan Keyes is not a little-known candidate, but many people may be surprised to know he is on the ballot in three states this general electionÂ – California, Colorado and Florida. The real news is not that, but how many times Keyes has run for President this year.
Keyes ran in the Republican primaries, eventually putting together his best showing in North Carolina when he gathered 2.7% of the vote and two delegates. Prior to that, Keyes complained that the media ignored him and excluded him from the Presidential debates. In the debates he did appear, Keyes complained that the moderators did not ask him questions.
In April, Keyes announced his departure from the Republican Party. He sought to get the Constitution Partyâ€™s nomination, but was defeated by Chuck Baldwin. Party leaders criticized Keyes for being out of sync with Constitution Party issues andÂ lingering in the Republican Party until a week before the Constitution Partyâ€™s convention.
After that defeat, Keyes announced, â€œI kind of represent, in political terms, the abortion.â€
After two failed tries for President in one year, most people would move onto another cause. That is not Alan Keyes. After his Constitution Party defeat, Keyes immediately announced his intention to run as an independent candidate and notified the FEC he was doing so.
In the process, he started Americaâ€™s Independent Party. You have to give Keyes credit there. If he cannot win a partyâ€™s nomination, he may as well start his own. At least that way the nomination cannot be denied to him.
Yet Keyes was not through with his nomination pursuit in 2008. One of the state delegations at the Constitution Partyâ€™s conventionÂ was Californiaâ€™s American Independent Party. Since 1988, it has aligned itself nationally with the Constitution Party or its predecessor the U.S. Taxpayers Party. The AIP delegation backed Keyes at the convention.
Keyes had the backing of the chair and 14 of the 23 members of the AIP executive committee. Back in California, they hastily convened a meeting breaking their longtime affiliation with the Constitution Party and nominated Keyes. The remaining nine committee members met at a separate convention, two to three times larger than the pro-Keyes convention, and reaffirmed their support to the Constitution Party.
In the end, a ruling by Californiaâ€™s Secretary of State and a judge gave the coveted ballot spot to the Keyesâ€™ faction. It is a good bet that the AIPâ€™s legal woes are just beginning as its two factions fight it out.
In this busy political year for Alan Keyes, he has run for three party nominations and won one. He has announced an independent candidacy. In addition, he has started his own political party.
Yet this story still has a couple of twists. The AIP is segregationist George Wallaceâ€™s 1968 party. It is a little ironicÂ that in 2008 the last remnant of that movement nominates a black man. Perhaps that is an indication just how far this country has come.
ThatÂ brings up the last twist to the bizarre case of Alan Keyes â€“Â Barack Obama.Â In 2002, the Illinois Republican Party carpetbagged Alan Keyes from Maryland to run for a Senate seat no other Republican wanted to waste the effort on. Yes, Barack Obama defeated Alan Keyes in his election to the U.S. Senate. It is a appropriate that in the same election where one man stands at the edge of achieving the highest political office in the land, the other is the political equivalent of an abortion.