BHM Feature: African American Presidential Candidates: 2001-2019

(This is the final installment in Caribbean National Weekly’s feature during Black History Month, 2019)

Carol Moseley Braun

John Parker was the candidate in 2004 for the Workers World Party, a U.S. communist political party. Parker received 1,330 votes. The ticket was endorsed by the Liberty Union Party of Vermont. Parker has been a union organizer and a public school teacher, and is a coordinator of the International Action Center.

Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun is an American diplomat, politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first female African American Senator, the first African American Senator for the Democratic Party, the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in an election, and the first female Senator from Illinois.

She served from 1999 until 2001 as US Ambassador to New Zealand. In 2004, she announced her candidacy for the Democratic Party in the presidential elections, but subsequently withdrew her candidacy before the Iowa caucuses. She entered the race for mayor of Chicago in 2011, but lost her bid in the election won by Rahm Emanuel.

Rev. Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr. is an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister, television/radio talk show host and a former White House advisor for President Barack Obama. In 2004, he was a presidential candidate, and in the primary elections leading up to the Democratic Party nomination won by Senator John Kerry, he won five primaries.

Cynthia Ann McKinney is an American politician and activist currently teaching at North South University, Bangladesh. As a member of the Democratic Party, she served six terms in the United States House of Representatives. She was the first black woman elected to represent Georgia in the House. She left the Democratic Party and in 2008, ran as the presidential candidate for the Green Party of the United States. In the historical presidential elections won by African American Barack Obama, she won 150,061 votes.

Barack Obama made history in November 2008 when he broke the glass ceiling to become the first African American to be elected as US President, with his ticket receiving 69,498,215. He defeated Republican ticket, Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

 

In his re-election bid in 2012, he was challenged by the Republican ticket of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and his running mate Congressman Paul Ryan. The Obama- Biden ticket was again victorious with 65,915,796 votes.

Stewart Alexis Alexander is an American democratic socialist politician, presidential nominee for the Socialist Party USA (SPUSA) in the 2012 election, and former SPUSA nominee for Vice President in the 2008 election. He and his running mate Alejandro Mendoza received 4,405 votes in the 2008 presidential elections.

Andre Nigel Barnett is an American politician and entrepreneur. He was a candidate for President in 2012 as the nominee of the Reform Party. He is the founder of the information technology company WiseDome Inc. His ticket received only 956 votes in the elections.

Peta Lindsay is an American anti-war activist. She was a presidential nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation in the 2012 election. Prior to her presidential bid she attended Howard University, and in 2003 was a lead organizer of the January 2003 protest against the Iraq War. She was recognized by The Washington Post in March 2003 for her anti-war activism in a piece entitled “Student Leader Sees Through Bush Propaganda”.

 She was nominated as the candidate for the party despite being ineligible to become president due to her age; she would need to be at least 35 in order to take office. Lindsay was on the ballot in 13 states, and received 7,791 votes.

Herman Cain is an American politician and author, business executive, radio host, and syndicated columnist. A Tea Party activist from Georgia, he was a candidate, along with eventual nominee Mitt Romney, for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.  

In May 2011, Cain announced his presidential candidacy, and some Republicans considered him the party’s answer to Barack Obama when his proposed 9–9–9 tax plan and debating performances had made him a serious contender for the Republican nomination. However, as he began winning primaries his campaign faced allegation of sexual misconduct which Cain denied although he would later announce the suspension of his campaign.

Benjamin (Ben) Solomon Carson Sr. is an American politician, author and former neurosurgeon. Having made a failed bid to be nominated as the 2016 presidential candidate for the Republican Party, he was appointed by Donald Trump, eventual winner of the 2016 elections as the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in January 2017. Entering the Republican primaries in 2015 he withdrew from the race in March 2016 after gaining nine delegates in the primaries.

 Born in Detroit, Michigan, and a graduate of Yale University and the University of Michigan Medical School, Carson was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland from 1984 until his retirement in 2013. As a pioneer in neurosurgery, Carson’s achievements include performing the only successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head; performing the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins; developing new methods to treat brain-stem tumors; and reviving hemispherectomy techniques for controlling seizures.  He became the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the country at age 33. In 2008, he was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

 Willie L. Wilson is an American businessman and politician from Chicago, Illinois who has run unsuccessfully for both Mayor of Chicago, and also for President representing the Democratic Party in 2016.

Candidates in the 2020 Elections

Another keenly contested campaign between candidates representing the Republican Party and the Democratic Party will be held in November 2020.

While at the time of writing, it is expected that President Trump will again be the candidate for the Republican Party. Black candidates for the Democratic Party include black Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Corey Booker.

Several early polls have Senator Harris, a former California attorney general whose father is Jamaican, as a favorite among the current slate of Democratic candidates. She has been drawing large crowds at her campaign stops, and is much sought after for media interviews and appearances.

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