By Gabe Carroll
When Bernie Sanders stormed on to the 2016 presidential campaign stage, many branded him as “too socialist”. However, for his rivals further to the left, the Vermont Senator is not the right person to be carrying the banner of democratic socialism. For them, his views are hardly socialist, compared to the political revolution with which they hope to end capitalism in the United States. Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik and Angela Walker are running for President on the Socialist Party USA ticket. Their platform is openly radical, if not revolutionary, and their objective isn’t votes but visibility. The campaign is crowd-funded, and because neither candidate is a full-time politician many campaign appearances are made via Skype. They will only appear on the ballot in a handful of states while having write-in status everywhere else.
“Obtaining ballot status for a third party, especially a revolutionary party, is incredibly difficult,” says candidate Mimi Soltysik, 41. “Ballot access laws are quite prohibitive.” With his June web-address to supporters Sanders began re-tooling his campaign to encourage a tactical vote for Sen. Clinton to beat Trump, without giving a formal endorsement. Sanders is continuing his campaign by pushing strongly — and successfully — for a more radical platform within the Democratic Party. Soltysik and Walker on the other hand are pushing forward with their campaign outside the two major parties, running for President while talking about revolution, and insisting that elections alone are not the answer.
According to Walker and Soltysik, their campaign is about giving expression and a platform to the struggles of everyday people, not to themselves as individuals. The mainstream candidates, including Sanders, campaign with the benefit of Secret Service details, and speak to crowds of thousands. Soltysik, a community organiser, and Walker, a bus driver who is also a mother and grandmother, work their day jobs and campaign in their free time, speaking to small groups of supporters in leftist spaces and in live web addresses, and organising social events in restaurants and supporters’ houses....