Tsūvian From Tsū Social Network Throws Hat In Ring For Presidential Race (Updated)
A 'write-in candidate is a contender in an election whose name does not appear on the ballot, but for whom U.S. voters have the right to vote for nonetheless. To do so, all they need to do is write in his or her name on a ballot. While these type of candidates rarely win, they often attract sizable followings from groups or organizations they are affiliated with.
Such is the case, with one C.Bret Campbell who is able to not only stimulate interest from people within his country, but from hundreds of others from around the world. Why? Because he is a Tsuvian, a member of a young upstart social network called Tsu, which to its own credit has attracted almost 5 million U.S. and international users in a little over a year's time.
Successful Write-in Candidates of the Past
Write-in candidates for the presidential race can compete in any election within the United States. While typically they garner a very small chance of a victory, there have been some strong showings by write-in candidates in state primaries, if not in national elections:
- In 1928, Herbert Hoover won the Republican Massachusetts presidential primary on write-ins, polling 100,279.
- In 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt won the Democratic New Jersey presidential primary with 34,278 write-ins.
- In 1944, Thomas Dewey won the Republican Pennsylvania presidential primary with 146,706 write-ins. He also won the Oregon Republican presidential primary with 50,001 write-ins.
- In 1960, John F. Kennedy won the Democratic Pennsylvania presidential primary with 183,073 write-ins, and he won the Democratic Massachusetts presidential primary with 91,607 write-ins.
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader ran a write-in campaign in 1992 during the New Hampshire primary for the presidential nomination of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Declaring himself the "none of the above candidate" and using the Concord Principles as his platform, Nader received 3,054 votes from Democrats and 3,258 votes from Republicans.
The Tsuvian's Backstory
Known on Tsu as @JediBret, Campbell considers himself a “Master Jedi” stemming back to identification to the Jedi warriors of the original Star Wars days, not the 2016 iteration. Co-founder of Middle Tennessee Music with Joshua Smotherman, his day job is focused on independent musicians, venues and web partnerships. Wearing many hats, he acts as a consultant, webmaster, and online marketing director for bands, artists, indie labels.
Also a musician and self-described "hack producer," over the course of the last few years, he's been directly involved in thousands of shows for MTM -- and with Aaron Young of Hangout Records -- they've aided hundreds of musicians set up their gear properly for on-line performances on YouTube, Google Hangouts and a handful of streaming platforms.
Hashtag the Candidate
Using the hashtag #WriteInBretForPresident for their online communication, fellow Tsuvians are engaging with Campbell on the social network to learn more about his candidacy.
For instance, seeking to understand the viability of his run for president, a fellow Tsuvian -- who goes by the Royal name of Arch Duke of Tsu - MarcAnthony Foote -- asked Campbell his party affiliation? Campbell responded humorously reminiscent of a modern-day Will Rogers: ”I don't think any of the parties would have me... financially I lean conservative, morally I'm pretty liberal.”
On a more serious note, when asked if he would ever consider amending the constitution to keep up with the times, Campbell vowed: “Of course with a government of the people by the people for the people, when the people convince their representatives to amend the constitution by following proper procedure, it should be done. The president does not have the power to do this on his own. Congress is there to write the law, the president is to approve or disapprove it.”
Tsuvian Kay Villarosa (aka @BeautifullyUnfinished) was curious as to what Campbell’s wife, the prospective First Lady would choose for her china pattern in the Oval Office? Reverting back to his proclivity for tongue-and-cheek answers, Campbell said, “she'll probably go with antique Sorrento in green, or basic 10-side Phaltzgraff (betcha didn't know I knew anything about "classic" American dishes, huh?)”
When Villarosa responded that he knew more about dinnerware than her, he referenced his mother’s influence: “Mom was sort of a ‘style’ aficionado... I swear she was trying to get our house in ‘Southern Living’ growing up.’”
Interviewing the Would-be Jedi-in-Chief
Q: Why do you want to become president?
"This country needs someone who has the conviction to say, 'no,' and stand by it. My grandmother would use her one-finger-jedi-chest-poke to knock these crazy son of a (can I say that?) back into their seats and fix everyone of our problems with a cross look. That's the kind of strength we need. Besides, have you seen what my wife looks like in a dress and high-heels?"
Q: What qualifies you to be the Leader of the Free World?
"I can do my own business taxes, read and understand legal documents without trying to interpret them to mean something they don't, and cook a mean steak or vegetarian kosher dinner. I have run successful businesses, I can read a blueprint and use a wrench and hammer. I have run charity campaigns. I look great in a mini-skirt.
Oh, did I mention that I play guitar better than any of the others, and even better than Mr. Clinton played sax or Mr. Huckabee plays bass (even though I give props to both of those gents for their musicianship.)"
Q: What is this first thing you would do in office?
"Walk around it and have a real good look at the room, then I'd sit at the desk (which I have not seen since I was 12 years old, but I still remember it's beauty and the powerful aura of honor and perseverance that emanate from the pores of the wood having been soaked with the sweat and tears of every man who has ever had to make a decision affecting millions in the history of our country) and call my Mom. Second, I would end any sort of federal prohibition of hemp or cannabis or which would deny or infringe upon the rights of the people regarding the same."
Q: Do you think you have a shot going up against the major contenders?
"Everyone knows that social media has had the largest impact on the past three presidential elections. This campaign started on Tsu- first as a little joke and then picked up by others. Of course I have a shot! If each of my padawans and fellow Jedi harness the power of the millions of followers they can reach, I definitely have a shot."
Q: Why did you choose Tsu to kick off your campaign?
"Let me refer to the parable of the mouse and the elephant. We all recall the pictures in our childhood books of the elephant dancing around trying to get away from the mouse. TSU is the network that stood up to Facebook. Facebook basically chose the winner of the past two elections. Imagine, if the majority of TSU's 5 million users were able to decide that a Jedi deserves to be in the White House and then spreads that conviction throughout the Tsuniverse, in addition to all other social networks. How powerful would that be?"
Within no time at all, the word of Campbell’s write-in candidacy ran rampant throughout the Tsuniverse. Personalized campaign posters came flooding in by folks like Charity Queen Donna Stewart, Krysanthe-Tsu Sorceress, Chiara Conti, yours truly (aka Social Media Scientist) . . . and even an endorsement by Snoopy.
And keeping up with the shifting political climate we are all experiencing this campaign season, Campbell's supporters even acknowledged Trump’s recent decent decision to ban the Fox News Debate.
One such post noted: "On the heals (pun intended) of Ted Cruz turning to Snapchat to mock Donald Trump's decision to skip the Fox News Debate, with a new filter that features a yellow duckie coiffed with Trump’s hairstyle, asking 'Where is Ducking Donald?' -- the idea was too good not to steal for our Tsuvian candidate!”
Stranger than Reality?
With all the surprises voters witnessed to date, writing in the name “C.Bret Campbell” on the 2016 ballot seems like it has just as much a shot as a reality star.
In fact if there are some TV network producers out there looking for a new angle for their next reality show, they couldn’t do any better then to document @Jedibret maneuvering the campaign trail up until the elections. Now, that would make for some darn good TV, don't you think?
== UPDATE: Music Video Parody was just uploaded for all of C Bret Campbell's Fans & Followers: