Jesse Ventura Could Pose a Greater Threat Than Biden or the Democrats Believe

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Yves here. This post underplays that Jesse Ventura wasn’t all that good as governor. For instance:

Ventura had a mixed record as governor. After campaigning on a tax cut, Ventura refunded part of a state surplus to taxpayers — payments he dubbed “Jesse checks.” He oversaw building of the Twin Cities’ light rail and provided more money for schools.

But he also butted heads with lawmakers and seemed to tire of the day-to-day slog of government. Toward the end of his first term he said he wouldn’t seek another.

“There’s no consensus whether he was a bad governor or an average governor,” Smith said. “There is sort of a consensus he was far too egotistical and self-centered, that the whole purpose was to serve his own fame and fortune.”

However, in comparison to Biden….

And recall that Tom was alone in calling Sanders as a possible serious contender in 2016 when he was polling at only 1%.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

What the 2016 electoral vote would have looked if the “FU / None of the Above” electorate had turned out (source)

“If I were to become President, these wars in the Middle East would end. War is a money-making scheme done by the military industrial complex. I would start a war on the climate, a war on pollution. If the oceans die, we die.”
—Jesse Ventura (September, 2019)

On April 27, Jesse Ventura announced he’s testing the Green Party waters:

If indeed he runs, and he keeps talking like this (9:48 in the clip below)…

If I were to become the president, let’s say it that way, these wars in the Middle East would end. I take my foreign policy from Major General Smedley Butler, who wrote the book War Is a Racket, because war is that, it is a racket. It’s a money-making scheme done by the military-industrial complex. Our soldiers don’t fight for the United States; they fight for the corporations.

So to me, I would start a war on the climate, on pollution. I live in Mexico. I’m watching the oceans die before my very eyes. I’ve got news for you, ladies and gentlemen. If the oceans die, we die.

…he’s going to win a lot of votes from the #NeverBiden crowd on the left.

Or if he keeps talking like this: “Wealth distribution is completely out of line today. In fact, people have talked to me about the minimum wage. What about a maximum wage?”

Sounds a lot like Sanders, doesn’t he? He even has Sanders’ mark of authenticity — whatever he looks and sounds like, that’s who he is. Ventura’s also strongly pro-marijuana; listen to the clip starting at 7:22 for the striking reason why.

The whole interview from which this quote came is interesting, by the way, and it’s not terribly long. Aside from his marijuana story and the climate change quote, he discusses President Trump , the current state of the WWE, living without a cell phone, and how and when he will make up his mind about running for office again.

(His comment about Trump: “The first night of boot camp, there’s one person who will break down, wet their pants, cry for their mom. That’s Donald Trump.”)

Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, comes from a strongly libertarian point of view, but if one looks at this compiled list of his issues I don’t see much there besides his quotes on gun control to alienate many pro-Sanders but #NeverBiden voters. He’d have to update (or clean up) his past contrarian positions, but he won’t be the first (for example, Joe Biden) to have to do that ahead of a presidential run.

Tarred with an Alex Jones Brush

Ventura will have problems, of course. In the past he’s been on the record as a 9/11 skeptic and climate change denier, as this 2009 Guardian article shows — note the reference to his since-deleted TruTV show, “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” — and there’s his occasional association with Alex Jones. He’ll also get no press, or “what a clown” press only, so he’ll get no good coverage at all that he doesn’t create himself.

On the other hand, he’s rather good at creating coverage for himself. Should he enter the race, Ventura would make an interesting 2020 wildcard — or a dangerous one, depending on your point of view.

Ventura Would Run Seriously

I do think if he chose to run, he’d run seriously and to win. As one Minnesota commenter put it in a thread discussing his potential 2020 candidacy (emphasis added):

I voted for Jesse [for governor of Minnesota].

In the days immediately before the election Jesse was polling at 10%. And then he won.

This is because 1) polling models only look at “likely voters,” 2) 50% of the public doesn’t vote, 3) the Dem and GOP candidates were doctrinaire party stalwarts that no one really liked, and 4) the chance for a Fuck You/None of The Above from that 50% was overwhelming as the under 40 vote came out in huge numbers.

I know you said “he won’t win,” but he has and he could again. Trump and Biden are that bad and the Fuck You/None Of The Above vote could be at an all time high this fall.

Now, how was Jesse as governor? I liked him. He was no-bullshit candidate and speaker. He got us light rail and treated the job seriously. Somewhere I have an article that detailed his effectiveness, where someone mentioned that it took the Dems and GOP three years to learn how to team up against him so he wouldn’t be effective and they could prevent the ascendancy of the Reform Party he won on, but now that he’s in the news there’s so many new articles in my search that I can’t find it.

But on bottom line, he did well, and was well liked, and might have won again. He just grew sick of the bullshit politics and decided four years was enough and went on with his life. And I can respect that.

I’m not calling for a vote for Jesse Ventura, just noting that in this train wreck season, another locomotive may soon be added to the track, and not a small one.

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  1. K teh

    Oh, Jessie is a nut but he would get some traction as another monkey-wrench, and the use of this virus to remove the civil Rights of the majority to favor the geriatrics clinging to power hasn’t reduced the none of the above vote.

    Where I live, guns and ammo are going like hotcakes and it’s a progressive enclave. And the govt racketeers are getting nervous.

    1. JBird4049

      A nut compared to whom? I might not want him as the freaking POTUS, but like with Sanders and a handful of other current national politicians, I don’t get the same IRL American Psycho vibe. He does feel like a narcissist, but compared to the Four Horsemen of the American Apocalypse Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell, and Trump, he’s practically saintlike.

      Honestly, if Jesse Ventura does appear on the ballot as the Green‘s candidate, he’s got my vote. Can stand President Trump and putting a mentally ill man who has also has a thing for sexual assault and hates poor people is just a nauseating insult.

      Furthermore, I am starting to feel sorry for Biden as every time that they put Joe on the screen, I just wish I could slap his enablers; wtf is so wrong with them that elder abuse is okay? Do they consider him like some overgrown child of Omelas? If so I am so very happy to be leaving the Democratic Party.

        1. Code Name D

          Same here. He has my vote. But only because is isn’t on the automatic-reject list. But it will still be a reluctant vote. He still have some major issues to work out if he wants to be a serious contender.

          1. Build his cabinet NOW and put them on the campaign trail. The people he appoints (assuming he makes a good selection) could cure a number of sins.

          2. Some serious ideological vetting and transitions. Yes, he is a 9-11 truther (among other conspiracy theories.) But so was I for a while. He needs to come clean and make some serious reality checks. No easy task.

          3. Adopt Sanders platform. Wonder how Bernie would react if he continues to indorse Biden – who refuse his platform, against one who endorses it.

          4. Fight to win, but plan for defeat. As things stand now, the only thing he could really do is spoil the election. But a presidential run could be a strong launching point for a true insurgence. Especially for down ballot races.

          5. Step up his game. Yes, he has been very lack-luster of late. He never really struck me as an activist.

          Do these things, and I will call him an earned vote, and not a default vote.

              1. Code Name D

                Now that is a story. They kicked me out for committing the one unforgivable sin – skepticism. I called out a fellow conspirator who argued that the scars on the north and south tower being exactly the same angle proved the planes were flown by computer.

                I was declared a spook when I pointed out that the two scars are not even close to equal, and posted photos to prove it.

                Once I was expelled, I was free to make real inquiries outside of a thought-managed environment. It was a slow and traumatic recovery. I still avoid the topic because my views and emotions are still distorted. I am just more aware now.

                But I now know that W is not the devil, or Hitler, or not going leave the office, or building concentration caps in the Nevada desert.

                Any way, until Venture shows me he walked the same path out of the woods, I am not sure how far he can be trusted.

                1. Aumua

                  The Echo chamber phenomenon is very real, and can manifest even around our deeply held beliefs.

                2. Bryan

                  So we probably know each other. I left of my own accord, and never bought the no plane stuff, but I had a similar 9/11T trajectory. Still wonder who was an infiltrator and who was just batshit. But I remember when it all changed.

                  1. Code Name D

                    It is such a wired community. You would think there would be a major schism, if not open hostility between MIHOP and LIHOP as they are mutually exclusive theories. As well as the hologram theory (both planes were holograms and the towers were blown up by pre-planted charges) or the no-plane theory (the whole thing was digital fakery from the start and the people “jumping” were pushed out enforcers, execution style. But no, some how THEY all managed to get along. Even share a degree of kindred spirit.

                    The same thing exists between young-earth and old-earth creationists. As well as the dome and plain flat-earthers and geo-centrists.

                    And then there are the Hillary-lost theories. Some say is was ramped racism, others say it was the Russians. The two are mutually exclusive. And yet they seem to co-exist just fine. Hell, I have had one apologist try to convince me that Putin was responsible for the race-turmoil in the 60s, and that the Red Scare was just to throw us off the trail. (Putin has a time machine apparently.)

                    1. JBird4049

                      The Red Scare of the middle of the 20th century was a deliberate distraction from the racial turmoil back?!? Some of the ideas and conspiracy theories like this are akin to Holocaust denialism; vaxxers, Truthers, climate change denialism, and racism.

                      Much of it comes from the previous generations not telling the next what happened and what they personally experienced. Add that our elites do plant different conspiracies into the zeitgeist, including the CIA in the 1960s who deliberately connected the term “conspiracy theories“ with some of their programs; most of the mainstream media are propaganda arms of the government deliberately aided by the techlords to suppress, distort, or bury inconvenient ideas and facts; how can much of our society not be delusional about something, whatever their chosen delusion is.

                      I have had people tell me that the Holocaust never happened, which considering the documentation as well as the fact that I have family members who knew and/or saw survivors of the concentration/death camps as well as overrun one or two, blows me mind. I even heard about some family acquaintance who tried to explain that it never happened. To an Uncle who was part of an America unit that took of the camps. My Uncle was not pleased I’m told. Fortunately, he had been a stereotypical easygoing hippie professor type.

                      Personally I have seen groups of people with numbers on their arms and listened to the survivors be it of the camps, as Good Germans, or of just the Second World War. When hearing people arguing that the Holocaust never happened, I have a hard time not thinking that they are insane or perhaps I’m hallucinating.

                      Same thing with the Red Scare, Jim Crow, Nixon’s Southern Strategy, and infectious diseases and vaccines. I can not longer grab a living relative and say tell them this! And the older get the more I realize both just how short life and memory is and how long the past lives and controls us without us ever knowing.

                      So now we have Potemkin governments “running” a hollow society being supplied by half-real companies all built on sand. It is not surprising crazy ass conspiracies pop up. It is more surprising than it is not crazier than it is.

              2. Code Name D

                Well, that is something of a long story.

                Back then, I was a loyal Democrat. I defended Clinton against his own sexual infidelity, the whole nine yards. I even had some local notoriety as Code Name D and a small but loyal following. People even recognized me on the street and the various demonstrations I attend.

                When 9-11 happened, I was already something of a full Bush-basher, so the notion that he MIHOP and/or LIHOP (That would be Made It Happen On Purpose and Let It Happen On Purpose.) fit right in. I even believed W was building concentration camps in the Nevada desert, complete with NAZI style furnaces with which to kill black people, and that he would never leave office, etcetera.

                I did not “leave” the community as much as I was kicked out. I committed the one and only unforgivable sin – I discredited some one’s pet conspiracy.

                The guy was advocating for the idea that the planes that flew into the towers were empty and few by remote control. His evidence, that the impact scars of the North and South Tower were the exact same angle, a feat that could only be accomplished by a computer.

                I made the mistake of pointing out that the first impact was close to level, while the second impact was close to vertical. In other words -obviously not the same angle. I even posted pictures to this effect.

                I was instantly branded as a CIA mole and excommunicated.

                Once locked out, I was able to ask questions outside the thought-policed environment. It was a traumatic experience. To make things worse, I discovered that I had solid my credibility with my readers, who had abandoned me without me noticing. I never really recovered.

                It takes years to crawl out of that kind of hole. But as I did so, I was forced to also ask some very hard questions about beliefs about the Clintons and Democratic Party, as well as political activism in general.

                I no longer believe W was the devil, or that Bill Clinton was a saint. Franky, it was more popular to be a truther.

          1. GeoCrackr

            “As things stand now, the only thing he could really do is spoil the election.”

            Hint: It was already spoiled.

          2. Oregoncharles

            ” Adopt Sanders platform.”
            That’s easy, if he’s running as a Green. The “Green New Deal” is a straight steal from – guess who? Only the original is considerably stronger. Much the same goes for Improved Medicare for All and the other main features of Bernie’s platform. The Greens are also committed to worker ownership of the economy, and have a much better foreign-affairs policy. Peace is one of the four principles of the party.

            Jesse may have to review some of his personal past positions just to get the nomination; but he’s essentially agreed to do that by endorsing the Green Party in the first place. I assume he read the platform.

            And as a local activist, I’d say the state parties need to step up their game, too; we have to at least have enough candidates to make for a Green Congress. (Lesson: the Green Party in Ireland would have done a lot better in the last election if they’d had enough candidates.) Ventura’s biggest problem in Minnesota was that he was isolated, facing a hostile legislature.

      1. Oh

        It’s the comparison between the evils that has landed us in the soup we’re in.

        All these words that Ventura speaks will change if he somehow gets into the WH, same as Mr :Hope and Change.

        Unless we stop getting fooled by these liars and build a strong left wing party from the ground up, we’ll go nowhere.

        1. Watt4Bob

          All these words that Ventura speaks will change if he somehow gets into the WH, same as Mr :Hope and Change.

          And you base your opinion on what exactly?

          Our experience in Minnesota, was that Jesse walked the talk.

          I see no reason to expect his behavior would change.

        2. Harrold

          Without a Senate Majority leader like McConnell backing him up, Ventura would be powerless.

          1. edmondo

            I hate to tell you this. No one thinks Jesse will win. The point is to have someone to vote for because I’d rather vote for Putin than one of these two fools.

          2. Massinissa

            What Edmondo said. Until we ‘build a left party from the ground up’ I’m voting Green for president every time. No way will Biden or any other mainstream Democratic presidential nominee ever get my vote.

          3. Knot Galt

            It’s more of a question really.

            Without a Senate Majority leader like McConnell backing him up, The Donald would be powerless.

      2. Pete

        Why would you ever feel sorry for biden? That is truly insane. The fact that he is old doesn’t mitigate all of the evil things he has done.

        1. JBird4049

          His evil is not mitigated. He should be on trial for his corruption. That he is being used for evil purposes when he is an old, mentally ill, very likely easily manipulatable is still evil itself. Torture and abuse is torture and abuse.

          I loath him, but who knows how he is being treated? They don’t what him to get better. Sometimes, with different dementias they can slow, or maybe, just maybe stop its progression. They just want him to be believable for a few minutes at a time. The treatment for long term health is likely very different than treatment for short term appearances in the immediate future. “Here’s some more of that “medication” for you, Joe”

      3. Susan the other

        “Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell and Trump”. I can almost hear the folk song now.

  2. ChrisAtRU

    What a wonderful midnight treat … ;-)


    Looking through the issues, I concur. I can see a lot of #Berners taking a serious look at Ventura. I’ve not been on Twitter as much since Bernie suspended his campaign to be honest. Perhaps I’ll dive back in and see what Tweeps are saying about Ventura.


    1. Oregoncharles

      A strong reason to not let him debate – but yes, that would be fun to see.

      Imagine what he’d do to Biden.

      Oh, and thank you, Yves, for running this. Coverage is hurdle #1.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Yes, I am very happy to see such a quick response time!

        What’s the over/under on when the MSM covers the Ventura Campaign? A month? 2?

        Ventura did say his UDT unit relied heavily on the element of surprise!

    2. SteveS

      It was TV debates that actually got him elected in MN. He did have populist support prior and people expected him to be a total embarrassment when the debates came (Skip Humphrey, Norm Coleman, Jesse)… but he was not. His positions were popular and his personality swamped the other two who were basically just suits.
      He was more of a joke before that point, but not after.

      1. John k

        He wouldn’t be allowed in the building.
        But he could have a rebuttal that would get left coverage… and might get on fox, particularly since they would think it helps trump. But a lot of tea parties might like the message.

  3. Oregoncharles

    Latest news – couple of days ago – was that he’s registered Green in Minnesota, making him a member of the party. That’s a necessary step – we gave up nominating non-members in 2004.

    Believe me, this is a MAJOR topic of discussion in the Oregon party.

    What struck me the most was that semi-random people outside the core of the party, like our next door neighbors, were immediately positive and even excited about it.

    Howie Hawkins has a good record, but one thing he’s not is exciting.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Howie Hawkins has a good record, but one thing he’s not is exciting.

      I don’t think the Greens have a good history with picking celebrity candidates instead of home-grown ones, but if they want to win, and Howie Hawkins is the best of the home-growns, maybe Ventura is the way to go.

      Ventura certainly would get the “upraised middle finger” vote — which is massive. I’m also feeling some anticipatory schadenfreude imagining the horror and disgust on the smug faces of the Never Trump Republicans and Biden Democrats (who are also horridly morphing into each other, like some Grade B horror film).

      I don’t know where Ventura is on policy, though, at all, starting with #MedicareForAll. So….

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        *Michael Buffer Voice*

        And in the Red Corner we have a new contender for the Americas Heavy Weight President…..

        Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s get ready to RUMMMMMBBLLLLLLLLE!

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        The link above, Jesse Ventura On The Issues gives a pretty good idea of his leanings. How close to policy that would come is another matter and there as also the caveat that most of the bulleted items on the list are based on things done or said in 2000 or earlier; 2011 being the most up to date.

        Center of gravity is libertarian (cum surprises – common sense for jagged edges?); when in doubt… and that keeps poking up through the items in the list. Self image is, hard core kind-0-guy with (his idea of) hard core common sense, mixed in with some attractive (to me) populist ideas, but those tend to hide the centrality of libertarianism – where he feels on solid ground.

        I would be surprised if he were a friend of medicare for all (the list suggests some attention to jagged edges). But I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt some intervention on drug prices was called for. Pure guess of course; I wouldn’t be very surprised if he didn’t – either.

        Here is a snippet (asterisks are used for bullets):

        J. V. On Healthcare

        *5,000 die yearly from preventable food-borne illness. (Apr 2011)
        *1948: US tested VD antibiotics on Guatemalan citizens. (Apr 2011)
        *Treat anyone: the doctor issue us a human right. (Mar 2010)
        *Individual responsibility for unhealthy lifestyle choices. (Dec 2000)
        *Focus on prevention, children, and results. (Dec 2000)
        *Supports “Minnesota Care”; tax to pay for uninsured. (Jul 2000)
        *No national care, but pure capitalism can’t work. (Jul 2000)
        *Comment “suicides are weak” meant “don’t encourage them”. (Jan 1999)
        *Government interference should be kept to a minimum. (Nov 1998)
        *Premise of the tobacco lawsuit wrong; it punishes victims. (Aug 1998)
        *No federal pre-emption of employee health plan regulation. (Oct 2001)
        *Maintain Medicare funding of HMO benefits. (Oct 1999)
        *Protect state tobacco settlement funds from federal seizure. (Apr 1999)
        [bold mine]

        1. Oregoncharles

          All pretty old. Again, his endorsement of the Green Party implies a commitment on the issues. Trust me, he’ll be closely questioned on precisely these points before he gets a nomination. It’s an ideological party, and he’s an outsider.

          About the libertarian past: there’s a strong streak of libertarianism (lower case!) in the Green Party, mainly around the drug war. That, and war in general, are a major point of agreement with Libertarians. At the same time, Green policies are environmental and populist, so regulatory and interventionist – the opposite of Libertarian. Maybe Jesse has, well, matured on those issues; the Libertarian nomination is open, but he isn’t running for it.

          There are policy tripwires that can disqualify someone for a Green Party nomination; those questions will be asked.

          1. Oregoncharles

            P.S. – so I don’t run out of time: I have relevant personal experience on the Libertarian connection. The first Green Party meeting I went to, over 20 years ago, was attended also by a Libertarian who was dissatisfied with his party’s position on corporations; he thought, as an insider, that they were just plain bought out – with the result that they generally have a lot more money than we do.

            Upper-case Libertarians are actually inconsistent on that point: corporations are creatures of the state, created by law, and they concentrate power enormously. The anarchists are right on this point, a major difference between them and Libertarians. Corporations ARE the state, and should be dealt with accordingly.

          2. ejf

            Back in ’98, I was raising money for a non profit when he ran for governor of MN. The Greens were BIG in Minneapolis at that time. As the campaign for heated up, Skip Humphrey and Repub. Norm Coleman were running. Two of dullest candidates even in Minnesota history. He entered late. ALL the kids working with me ended up voting for him. ALL the poles said he didn’t stand a chance. But he won.
            And then the war began. The Dems and Repubs hated him. But he vetoed a lot of bills and made lots of legislative enemies. He was a one term guy, and somehow made it through.
            But grill him hard on the questions. Nowadays, he’d be up for it. He’s 22 years older. He’s still on RT TV and could handle it.

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              Very helpful and interesting comments, both Oregoncharles and ejf, thanks!

              (OC), Good point about the Greens grilling candidates thoroughly.

              BTW, that he beat all the polls then has little bearing now-a-days. Polls are so…, before electronic adjustment voting.

      3. Arakawa

        > who are also horridly morphing into each other, like some Grade B horror film

        “Alien vs Predator” comes to mind. Plot twist: the Aliens are predatory, and the Predators are also aliens.

        1. Michael McK

          Predator is a bit more complex. IIRC it was a sport hunter with an ethos against hurting non-violent creatures. During the one I saw it would not kill the armed threatening police officer because it’s vision could detect the fetus she was carrying.
          If Alien-Predator is the analogy we settle on I vote for Trump as Predator since his crew seem to tend more towards pro-life and sport hunting and Biden as Alien because his dementia makes me feel that lots of slobber is coming soon and Aliens’ emergence from human hosts’ torsos to devour the community seems kind of like the DNC and leftist movements.

      4. Susan the other

        Good comment Lambert. I’m a big Jesse V. fan. But his success will take a very organized effort. Would I love to see it. Yes. But then I’d also love to see a military coup at this point. Everything is so goddamn awful.

  4. dcrane

    Could help Biden if this gives angry #Neverbiden Bernie voters a way other than voting Trump to give the establishment the finger.

    1. Pat

      Most never Biden voters I know are staying at home or going third party, so it might not be the boost you are imagining. Especially as I imagine there are a fair number of unenthusiastic Biden voters who could go for Ventura instead which would offset those who are voting for Trump.

        1. Pat

          But if they weren’t planning on voting for Trump before a Ventura/Green run they’re going third party doesn’t help Biden. His run would have to siphon more votes from Trump than it siphons from Biden for it to benefit Biden.

          But this is apparently now a moot point.

  5. Alternate Delegate

    Pro: Went from being a sorta-rich guy who didn’t want to pay his vehicle taxes, to being a guy who actually paid attention and learned on the job. He became louder and more obnoxious, but less toxic. Capable of empathy.

    Con: Too thin-skinned for politics. By the end of his four years the D’s and R’s in the state legislature had figured out his triggers to a nicety. They would provoke him, he would overreact, and then he would look bad. They played him like a fiddle.

    Legacy: Somewhat reduced vehicle taxes.

  6. False Solace

    Yeah so apparently not.

    Additionally, though it now appears moot, my understanding is the GP primary is half over and it’d be tough to get the nomination at this point. But I think there are some actual Greens on NC who’d know for sure.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Technical: the CAMPAIGN is half over (and jumping in at the last ,moment isn’t exactly fair – or strategic), but I don’t think there’s been a whole lot of voting. OTOH, I’m in a state that votes late.

      However, asking to be drafted at the convention,essentially without the necessary vetting, is probably not on unless Howie could be prevailed upon to support him – as Jill Stein did Bernie. (However: that was primarily a message to his supporters – she knew he wasn’t interested. He’d been asked before.)

    1. Isotope_C14

      From the post it looks like he might have a health issue, sadly.

      Also, on Watching the Hawks, it sounds like due to the situation, ballot access will be for 22 states, since you need signatures, and that will make it much easier for HRC here since she won’t have to compete with all those deplorable green voters!

  7. PlutoniumKun

    I guess you’d need far more granular data available to see who he would damage most, Trump or Biden. It would be more of a geographical location question than one of just one of vote numbers.

    Potentially, this could be strong leverage for Sanders if Ventura decided to run and looked like taking a big chunk of his supporters. But it would also be very hard for Sanders to play if Ventura really took up a lot of Bernie like stances on things like MFA.

    Although I suspect that the mainstream would simply not be capable of seeing Ventura as a threat, except at the margins, and only responding if it looked too late.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Given the overall mood of the electorate, if he did run, I think he would take good percentages away from both Trump and Biden. He would have a lot of appeal to Trump’s base and also to the neverBiden, neverRepublicans. He would get publicity for the same reason Trump did – he would get ratings and we know the media just can’t help themselves.

      Beyond that he does have some pretty decent policies, and he is able to clearly articulate what those are as opposed to the other clowns currently in the race. While I’d much rather see Sanders’ name on the ballot, I’d vote for Ventura over Trump or Biden in a heartbeat. And I bet I’m not the only one. I think Ventura would have a shot at winning a plurality if he did go through with it.

      1. Seamus Padraig

        I think he would take good percentages away from both Trump and Biden. He would have a lot of appeal to Trump’s base and also to the neverBiden, neverRepublicans.

        Yup. The Deplorables, for example, would at least give Jesse a polite hearing. In the end, Jesse could end up drawing away some voters from both parties, a bit H. Ross Perot in ’92.

  8. Tomonthebeach

    Whyizit American looks first at the bottom of its political barrel when deciding who to be the CEO of its government? It is as if running for candidacy disqualifies you. If that graphic is correct, then this sure as hell is the moment to start a 3rd party running somebody like Bernie.

    1. Oh

      I think it’s because only liars, grifters and the rich get to run; yes, it’s high time we workied on a third party.

  9. Jessica

    I would be divided on a Ventura candidacy. A lot of his positions are quite good and I trust his willingness to stand up to the powers that be. On the other hand, a savior from the world of professional wrestling. Haven’t we seen that movie before?
    I saw current Green Party front runner Howie Hawkins speaking on Julian Assange. In effect, he said that since Assange was pro-Russian*, no need to defend him. No thank you.
    I really hope that there is some non-war monger, non-rapey candidate on the ballot with some chance of building a bit of a campaign. Someone to break the pro-working class wing of the Democratic Party free from that trap. Pretty sure that I am far from the only former Bernie supporter feeling that way.
    *Just to be clear, calling Assange pro-Russian is him repeating an intelligence service smear. I disagree strongly. And even someone who was pro-Russian still needs us to defend them in order to protect freedom of the press and of speech.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Trump was just a guest host, but the qualified include:


      Don’t dismiss paths. We can always do worse when we look for job titles.

    2. GramSci

      Thanks for this, Jessica. I think this is where you saw Hawkins speaking? He does come across as a dim bulb.

      Dario Hunter looks way better, although if the object is to build the Green Party, he has to expand his call for reparations. I’m down with reparations to black Usians, but what about Vietnamese? Chileans? Iraqis? Palestinians? Non-black Usian factory workers? (And that’s just a sampling from my lifetime.)

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Thank you for that video. Sounds like he bought the whole Russia nonsense hook, line and sinker. So now I won’t be voting Green as a protest if Hawkins is on the ballot.

        Run, Jesse, run!

      2. Alternate Delegate

        “Reparations” is the Idpol of third party politics. Functions as a distraction from Concrete Universal Material Benefits.

        Focuses on tribal advantage-taking, which is the flip side of the same coin as tribal disadvantaging. You can’t complain about being at the bottom of the league standings if you’re playing at the same filthy game of competitive advantage. Decency is something different. Decency involves all of us.

        When someone demands “reparations”, I know they stand in the way of positive progress.

    3. orlbucfan

      You have plenty of company regarding “former Bernie supporter.” Me, for one. Sanders volunteer in both 2016 and 2020. I will not vote for Ventura. I didn’t like him when he won the MN governor’s race. Don’t care for him now. I am also tired of having my intelligence insulted as an informed voter. Don’t see it changing anytime soon.

  10. David Mills

    One possibility, if Ventura runs the green party may garner enough votes for public funding and debate access.

    This would be a big change, the Dem and GOP would be forced into a policy debate. And Jesse wouldnt take sh*t from Trump.

  11. urblintz

    For all his faults, Ventura is a better person than either Biden or Trump and would win a lot of votes for that reason alone… if he ran… which I don’t think is gonna happen

  12. Mark Gisleson

    For some perspective, right now MN Republicans are fighting Gov. Walz tooth and nail over his emergency powers, and are holding up vital bonding legislation to force Walz to include them in how to counter the pandemic.

    Sounds reasonable unless you know MN R’s fought every bit of the lockdown, want to reopen everything immediately.

    Jesse Ventura wasn’t a great governor, but for a so-so governor he met with massive resistance from both parties with Minnesota’s news media consistently over-the-top in their coverage. Ventura slapped the media around, and they responded with vicious petulance. I doubt very much there is much objective coverage of the Ventura years in the public record.

    He’s not Trump. Not as good as a real politician, but definitely better than Trump. Jesse has real beliefs, is not in it for the money but voting for Jesse is a last resort and we really need to do better. I am quickly reaching the point where I would view a military coup favorably had not our military been coopted by Deep State decades ago.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Well said. The problem I have with these guys (attractive in some ways, not very or not at all in others, total blanks in others or most) is that one is voting for the POTUS. Voting with the middle finger seems somehow more reckless than not voting at all.

  13. dcblogger

    Ventura would not be included in any debate anymore than Jill Stein was. Ventura is another Rosanne, another washed up celebrity wanting to use the Green Party as a vehicle. He does not have a progressive record, how can anyone fall for this? If the Green Party does nominate him I will cease my support for the Green Party.

    1. Jessica

      Ventura would have had the potential to garner far more attention from click-bait driven media than Jill Stein did.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Snark? My snark-0-meter has been going berserk lately, so I ask. Your sentence, It would add a note of seriousness that is sadly lacking, brings a smile I can’t get rid of, but you just might mean it and, if previous comments are any indication, have good reasons for it.

  14. DanP66

    Bottom line…

    I will never ever vote for a Clinton acolyte or a Bush or a Romney type EVER AGAIN.

    That means that there is NO WAY I will vote for Biden. Apart from the simple fact that I think putting a man that is clearly in sever cognitive decline and one that has shown the emotional volatility that is generally associated with that in charge of nukes is a bad idea, he is a Clinton 3rd Way type and his election would simply confirm for the democrats that that they can win with this type of candidate and policies.

    If that means I have to vote for Trump again….so friggin be it.

    I would have voted for Gabbard. I gave money to Sanders. Yang was interesting. BUT there is NO WAY I will consent to vote for Biden. Period.

    Ventura runs…well…gotta say I would at least consider it.

  15. Steve

    I got to spend a couple hours with him at a charity event a long time ago. He is loud but a very interesting and smart person. He was a lot of fun. People who have sat on the judicial selection committee in MN (both parties) said he was excellent at picking very highly qualified judges. I also know someone who knows him very well and she told me the main reason he didn’t run for a second term was due to an increasing harassment of his family by the press, primarily his children. The Democratic Party was happy to go along with anything the Republicans wanted in order to stop a viable third party in MN.

  16. William Beyer

    Jesse was a reasonably effective governor. He appointed good people to top administrative positions in state government. Trump has appointed nothing but criminals. If Jesse adopts Bernie’s platform, I’ll give him a hard look. While unusually thin-skinned, he’s not a serial liar; another plus compared to Biden.

  17. thoughtful person

    Issues to overcome for any third party in the US are many. In the general election, media would likely be even more biased than against Sanders. There’d be the inevitable foreign powers accusations along with the usual mud slinging. Like Nader’s run, never be included in any debates (if any).

    These days though, I wonder about the integrity of the vote count more than ever. We are far from paper ballots, hand counted in public, almost everywhere. Even if the 50% who don’t normally vote turned out to attempt to vote, many states would not count those votes. (Though it would be fun to show, and likely quite transparent, how skewed the system is)

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Rigged voting software. DigitalDemocracy. I was thinking of the exact same thing and the nullifying effect it might have on large numbers of neither Trump nor Biden == Ventura (or who-eva)voters.

    2. Oh

      It’s been shown time and time again that the votes are rigged, not counter or miscounted. I don’t have any faith in the system. I think we may be worse than Saddam Hussain’s Iraq when it comes to elections. We have a corporate owned government supervised by a bunch of “intelligence” agencies. People have to wake and realize that their vote is an exercise in futility.

      Meanwhile the Bernays sauce machine keeps rolling on at full speed

  18. The Historian

    Is Jessie Ventura just another pied piper? We seem to look for people who will save us from ourselves, don’t we?

    I don’t know much about Ventura except that he is another narcissist who loves media attention. Haven’t we had enough of those?

    The way to really save ourselves is to change the complexion of our Congress. When I think of all the money that was spent on Sanders that could have been spent in state races to get decent Congresspeople elected, I cringe. If we had a strong Congress that was receptive to the wishes of its electorate, it wouldn’t matter who was President, but instead we place all our eggs in one basket. Bernie Sanders wasn’t the ideal candidate, but he was the best we had because there isn’t a strong bench of like minded people with experience below him. Getting good Congresspeople elected could change that. So far what do we have in Congress that will support their own people – 4? Yes, this will take time and it won’t happen overnight, but then I don’t expect to die tomorrow – do you? We have to start somewhere.

    I hear so many people talking about how Bernie let them down but did he? Sanders was always going to be Sanders and he wasn’t going to change simply because people wanted him too. He was all about policy and was never going to get into dog fights and I respect him for that. If the voters didn’t understand that about Sanders, then they weren’t paying attention. They tried to create something that wasn’t there. And if Ventura runs, I am sure they will do the same thing. Of course, Ventura likes wrestling matches so if that is what you want to see, then I guess he’s your candidate! Somehow I’d prefer to see something else.

    1. Buckeye

      I agree with changing Congress. But to do that we must first change State governments. State House and State Senate seats are where most Congressman come from. Don’t forget Governor, and Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer or state judiciary.

      The rich minority and the rural minority have connived for some 120 years to have a dictatorial stranglehold on almost every State government. That gives a minority control over shaping Congressional districts and forcing this country into a right wing, pro-business, anti-freedom agenda.

      ALL efforts must be focused at STATE GOVERNMENT.

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        If you want to change state government, you should go down one more level and work on local government. This is the bench and where you learn how to get things done. Everyone ignores it, it’s hard to recruite candidates, yet so much power exists here and the elections are easier to win.

  19. Tom

    Consider that as a professional wrestler for the WWE, Jesse Ventura knows full well what it’s like to work a hard, demanding, dangerous job while the people who “employ” you do as little as possible to compensate you for the risks you take. WWE’s business practices with respect to their contractors are pretty well documented and I could see even a die-hard libertarian thinking that maybe people should be fairly compensated for their work and that rich guys who take advantage of their workers are the flip side of lazy welfare bums.

    I still don’t know as I’d vote for him if I was in a swing state, but if he promised that if he won he’d powerbomb Trump off the podium on Inauguration Day….that’d be pretty hard to say no to. :)

  20. ex-PFC Chuck

    Trying to get through moderation again, having reworded the one thing I can think of that might have bounced it.
    Native Minnesotan here; lived here all but a 12 year period that ended 40+ years ago. Also I was a member of t he Independence Party under whose flag Ventura was elected governor in 1998 and did some GOTV work for him in the campaign.
    The MN IP was centrist. It was founded by former Republican Dean Barkley to support Ross Perot for president in 1992. Barkley was alienated by the growing influence of the Christianist right in his former party. When Ventura decided against running for reelection in 2002 the IP nominated former Blue Dog Democrat Tim Penny, US Rep in the 1st Congressional District. Penny was polling well up until the last few weeks when both legacy parties, amid the upheaval of Senator Wellstone’s accidental (?) death, bombarded the media with wasted-vote-FUD commercials. One of Ventura’s last major actions as governor was to appoint Barkley, who had been his closest advisor during his term, to fill out the remaining weeks of Senator Wellstone’s term.
    Ventura as governor was a mixed bag. Most impressive was how he handled appointments. For the state administrative offices and judges subject to his appointment authority, he publicly called for applications. Many of the responses he received were from people with experience and competence pertinent to the office but not deeply involved in party politics. To my recollection there was never a scandal in the news that involved one of his major appointments and they all performed quite well and the business of day-to-day the state government went smoothly.
    On the down side Governor Ventura had three problems that come to mind. One was a matter of unfortunate timing and another might not be as much of a problem in the current election cycle. But the third was an instance of colossally bad political judgment, and not only in retrospect but groaningly obvious at the time.
    About a year and a half into his term Ventura proposed a tax rebate from the state’s rainy day fund which he argued was excessive. The legislators found it hard to say no to that and it soon became law. Within a few months the dot com bubble burst, tax receipts dropped dramatically, and the state budget was in deficit. This gave his Republican successor, Tim Pawlenty, all the excuse he needed to gut numerous state programs the GOP had had in its cross hairs.
    Governor Ventura failed to embrace H. L. Mencken’s advice not to pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel, and thus had continuously running feuds with the media, especially the St. Paul Pioneer Press. This may not be as much of an issue for him in 2020 unless he actually wins the election. Prior to that, as has been mentioned up thread, is the problem he may have getting press attention at all. Plus, maybe he has learned from Trump how to handle hostile press better.
    As governor, Ventura chose as his signature issue on which to build his legacy the conversion of the state from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature. His argument was built on the fact that many critical policy decisions are made out of the light of day in conference committees. This may be true, but just think about it. This is an issue that requires a Constitutional amendment. In Minnesota constitution amendments must be approved by state-wide referendum, but the MN Constitution does not provide for referendum by initiative. Amendments must originate in the legislature. Ventura was elected under the umbrella of a third party, which didn’t have a single legislator in either house. Regardless of the pros and cons of unicameral vs. bicameral, did it not occur to him he had no chance in hell of getting legislators, not a single one of whom was in his party, to vote for a proposed amendment that would put a third of them out of their jobs?
    Tragically in betting his farm on a unicameral legislature he passed up an issue that could have had real impact. In 1998 the MN IP had candidates for other state Constitutional offices as well. The man running for Secretary of State, whose name for the moment remains in the write-only part of my aging memory, aggressively campaigned throughout the state on Instant-Runoff-Voting – now more commonly known as Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). He did a lot to raise the profile of our dysfunctional electoral system but interest in the issue waned when Ventura ignored the issue after the election. Had he taken it up it would have done a lot to help the MN IP become a permanent part of the state’s political configuration.
    On the personal appeal side, Ventura elicited a visceral negative reaction on the part of many women, especially better educated ones. After Trump that may not be as much of a problem, considering the fact that as far as I know he has no woman-grabbing baggage. Unlike the probable nominees of the two legacy parties.
    In short, I would vote for him again.

    1. Oregoncharles

      “Ventura elicited a visceral negative reaction on the part of many women, especially better educated ones.”
      I can see this; his style is hyper macho (right out of WWE). From a Green POV, that would be very odd representing an explicitly feminist party.

      OTOH, I notice that Krystal Ball of “Rising” couldn’t help mentioning his biceps. Viscerlal reactions can work both ways.

      Interesting that with that manner, he appears to have no “grabbing” baggage.

  21. SteveS

    As a Minnesotan, my view is that he was a good governor. His problems were that he was a huge narcissist and couldn’t keep his mouth shut (both things which actually lead to great success in modern America, as has been well demonstrated).
    While governor, he did surround himself with capable people, unlike Trump, and he was more an actual populist, unlike Trump who talks populism (I’ll work so hard for you) but then dumps on the people who gave him his office.
    Jesse is socially liberal and fiscally moderate and that has been the dominant disposition of most Minnesota governors of recent decades. It sells well here.
    His biggest political strength is his ability to keep himself in the news every single day which, again, has been proven to be the single most important modern US political skill.

    1. Felix_47

      I saw the video of him on the View. He is quite articulate in comparison to Biden. The contrast is remarkable given that Biden is a lawyer. Ventura understands the damage war has done and does to us. He would get my vote and donations.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      Yes, I saw that while writing my 11:39 am comment. By that time I was mostly finished and decided to post it anyway. He hasn’t closed the door completely.

  22. sharonsj

    I already decided to vote Green. Jesse would be a bonus.

    The more Congress goes along with Trump, and the rich get nearly everything, the more the “fuck you” vote grows.

  23. Pelham

    I’ll join the crowd here favoring Ventura. The simple fact that he was a governor — and proved at least semi-competent in an executive job — gives him more credibility than the majority of the Dems who sought their party’s nomination. A military background helps, too. The wrestling not so much, but I can overlook that.

  24. Alex Cox

    When Ross Perot was running for President, Jesse V was in charge of his Reform Party. After Perot dropped out as I recall Jesse proposed replacing him with Donald Trump! And Oprah as VP.

    This did not come to pass. But he seems smarter than Trump and Biden, and would erase them in the debate which will thus not take place. I hope he comes back and goes for the Green nomination. On the basis of these comments alone, Howie seems worse than useless.

  25. William Kreml

    Thanks, Charles

    My sense of it, at this moment, is that he doesn’t have much of a chance at the Green Party nomination. Howie is already half way home on delegates and Jesse has not even begun to qualify under the Article Ten requirements. Had he started earlier, he might have had a chance although Howie has had strong support. Hope you will continue to participate with us Greens. We had a good meeting. We have three candidates for November and plans beyond that. Bill

  26. Anarcissie

    If Mr. Ventura ran well enough to get some Electoral College votes, so that no candidate received a majority there, the election would move to the House of Representatives, “voting as states”, would it not? That does not seem like an impossible development.

  27. Chauncey Gardiner

    After being gut-punched repetitively, Ventura beats the options of either not voting or, in an effort to encourage longer term positive change, voting for the governance equivalent of “Springtime for Hitler” from Mel Brooks film “The Producers”, which would carry correlated risks. In that film, a theater producer and his accountant, as part of a scam, deliberately produced the worst musical they could in anticipation of failure.

  28. Jeremy Grimm

    This isn’t 1930s Germany but the fracture of US politics is not dissimilar. Those who rule the US have created an extremely volatile political situation on the eve of what could become the Greater Depression.

    As for Jesse Ventura, his candidacy would offer a second choice of a demagogue we might vote for — although he does seem to offer a choice even more unpredictable and dangerous than Trump. Great! The American People can chose between two dangerous demagogues and the hollow shell of a genuinely Evil politician acting as a place holder for those same powers that presently rule and feel they might find greater advantage from ruling through their wholly owned senility rather than through their current Mercurial demagogue.

    How does the metaphor go? “Playing with matches in a basement flooded with gasoline.”

    I am torn between writing in Sanders and leaving my vote for President blank. Since I intend to vote by mail I think I’ll write-in “NONE OF THE ABOVE” just in case someone tries to fill the blank space for me after-the-fact. Since it isn’t even clear my vote will be counted no matter who I vote for I am not sure any further concern about the election is as the saying goes — worth the candle. I really need to get off my duff and relocate to higher elevation in some small community with fair rains and good dirt.

  29. Tobin Paz

    Ventura would crush Trump if given the stage. It would be a 99% vs the 1% WWE Hall of Famer smackdown. As a Green Party voter I’m not aware of any issues that I don’t agree with him. He even came around on climate change.

    A hard working navy seal vs the draft dodging mogul… everybody would pay to see that. And who wouldn’t love to see Ralph Nader, Michael Hudson, and Ellen Brown on his cabinet. But the best part would be watching Liberal heads explode when they found out that he had a show on RT and that Trump asked Ventura to be his running mate on the 2004 Democratic ticket.

    Independents are still the largest voting block. Ventura would deliver out a record turnout.

    1. Tony Wright

      I thought Big Arnie running for Governor of “Caleefornya” was pretty unbelievable – but look what happened. It is not as though either Biden or Trump are exactly appealing (or competent, except as enablers for the 1% or the Military Industrial Complex).

  30. Matthew G. Saroff

    Given Vesse Ventura’s virulent hate of Teachers’ Unions and the Public College system demonstrated during his time as governor of Minnesota, why the hell would the Greens nominate him?

  31. lordkoos

    I think what people like about Jesse V is that he is plain-spoken, as Sanders was. That alone isn’t enough to make someone a good president but people find it refreshing. Everyone is sick of mealy mouthed politicians who talk out of both sides of their mouth.

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