IOWA CITY — If nothing else, Peta Lindsay is realistic about her chances of being the next president.
“I have no illusions of winning,” the presidential candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation said while campaigning in Iowa City this week.
It’s probably just as well because if the 28-year-old Los Angeles resident wins, she won’t be eligible to take office. The U.S. Constitution requires the president be at least 35.
In fact, neither Lindsay nor her foreign-born running mate, Yari Osoria, is eligible to serve. Their names won’t appear on the Iowa ballot because they could not sign an affidavit of eligibility that Iowa requires. Gloria LaRiva, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, will appear on the Iowa ballot instead.
The party opposes those requirements, according to Sarah Sloan of its Washington office.
“The way the electoral system is rigged, everyone knows only the Democratic or Republican candidate actually has any chance of winning,” Sloan said. “So, technically, it’s not an issue for us.”
Lindsay, who is on the ballot in 13 states — more than any other Socialist candidate — agrees that the electoral system is a “sham for working people.”
Political observers estimate President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney will spend $2 billion on their campaigns.
“You don’t get that kind of money without the support of the biggest banks and corporations,” Lindsay said. “And look at the top donors, they’re often the same on both sides, so no matter if it’s a Democrat or a Republican who wins, the capitalists always win. The banks always win. The corporations always win.”
So she’s trying to raise issues Romney and Obama don’t. Lindsay expects a record number of people to vote for third-party candidates this year “because so many people are so disillusioned.”
“A lot of people believed in Obama, really believed they would get change,” she said. “There are a lot of people who go into the election looking for change, and they aren’t going to get it from those two candidates.”
Another goal of the Socialism and Liberation ticket is to unite people organized around various issues to create a larger, more powerful movement.
“We believe that change doesn’t come from the politicians,” said Lindsay, a graduate school student who wants to teach high school history. “We believe that change comes from the movement, from organizing the people.
“If you look at all the progressive things we’ve won in this country — civil rights, women’s rights, labor rights — it’s not like these were gifts of the politicians,” she said. “These were things the people, thousands of people, organized and fought for.”
For more on Lindsay and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, visit www.pslweb.org.