Vermin Love Supreme (born c. 1961) is an American performance artist and activist who has run as a candidate in various local, state, and national elections in the United States. Supreme is known for wearing a boot as a hat and carrying a large toothbrush, and has said that if elected President of the United States, he will pass a law requiring people to brush their teeth. He has campaigned on a platform of zombie apocalypse awareness and time travel research, and promised a free pony for every American.
In 2011, he participated in the Occupy Boston protests. He is the subject of the 2014 documentary, Who Is Vermin Supreme? An Outsider Odyssey, which follows his 2012 campaign and explores his life as an activist and political prankster.
Supreme grew up near Boston, Massachusetts and is said to be the oldest of three children. He graduated from Gloucester High School in the 1980s, then moved to Baltimore to attend art school, but he dropped out and began booking bands for underground clubs.
In 1986, he joined the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament in protest of nuclear weapons. In 1987, he began running for public office. He legally changed his name to Vermin Supreme in the 1990s while still in Baltimore.
In 2006, Supreme donated one of his kidneys to save his mother. He is married and has no children.
Supreme discussed his political views in a 2008 promotional video. He stated he was registered as a Republican at that time, but that he leaned toward anarchism. He asserted that libertarians "are just about abolishing the government and letting shit fall where it may," which he called a mistake; he also asserted that Republicans want to nullify the government, but "offer no alternative to helping people other than charity." Supreme's vision of anarchism holds no need for government, but depends on citizens to take responsibility for themselves and for others, citing "mutual aid and support and care to our fellow citizens" as key elements. To that end, Supreme called for a gradual dismantling of the government, while citizens take up the slack. He asserted that Americans no longer know how to be citizens, placing some of the blame on schools that teach in "very twisted and jingoistic fashion".
In the video, Supreme discussed his presidential campaign. He describes his "joke humor" campaign as a response to the lies people are fed by the media and by the government.
Vermin Supreme working the crowds during the New Hampshire primary
Supreme campaigned in the Washington, DC Presidential primary in 2004, where he received 149 votes.
Supreme campaigned in the New Hampshire Republican primary in 2008. He received 41 votes (0.02%) in the New Hampshire primary. According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), he also received 43 votes, nationally, in the general election.
Vermin Supreme campaigned as a Democrat in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.
The following are some of the milestones in this campaign:
- October 29, 2011: He participated in a satirical debate against a representative of the campaign of deceased British occultist Aleister Crowley.
- In May 2012, he visited the second largest regional high school in Maine to give a speech about his campaign style to a government class.
- July 14, 2012: Supreme made an appearance with The Yes Men at 2600: The Hacker Quarterly's HOPE Number Nine conference during the Saturday keynote.
- August 25, 2012: Supreme announced his new political party, the Free Pony Party, and that he has chosen fellow fringe opponent Jimmy McMillan as his running mate. Conversely, McMillan stated he was still running for president on his own Rent Is Too Damn High platform, and that Supreme would be McMillan's running mate.
- October 5, 2012: He participated in a debate hosted by Peter Schiff in the Peter Schiff Radio Show, which featured a panel of overlooked presidential candidates including Jimmy McMillan on the Rent Is Too Damn High Party ticket; Santa Claus, independent write-in candidate, and Edgar Lawson, write-in Republican presidential candidate.
Supreme attempted another presidential run in 2016. He embarked on a tour of 20 cities to build support for his campaign and sought to qualify for matching funds from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). He filed as a candidate in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary on November 21, 2015, and received 259 votes in the primary on February 9, 2016, coming in fourth after Martin O'Malley. He was, however, not invited to return to the Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum, due in part to him glitterbombing Randall Terry at the event in 2011. Shortly before the primary, he was observed questioning Republican candidates Chris Christie and Ted Cruz through a bullhorn. On March 4, 2016, he switched his affiliation to the Libertarian Party, claiming his rightful position as Sage and Oracle for Libertarians throughout America, and possibly Belize as well. He received the vote of a single delegate in the first round of presidential nomination voting at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention.
Supreme co-wrote and stars in the 2009 film Vote Jesus: The Chronicles of Ken Stevenson, in which he poses as a right-wing political candidate to gain access into the world of American fundamentalism.
In 2012, Supreme starred in a web series entitled Learnin' with Vermin that uses a fictional version of his presidential campaign as a platform to teach political concepts such as voting methods.
A documentary following Supreme on the 2012 campaign trail and exploring his life and work as an activist and political prankster called Who Is Vermin Supreme? An Outsider Odyssey was funded through a Kickstarter campaign and premiered at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival on April 9, 2014. The film was directed by Minneapolis-based filmmaker Steve Onderick and features founder of the Rent is Too Damn High Party, Jimmy McMillan, and Boston-based singer-songwriter and comedian Rob Potylo. The film was released to the general public on Vimeo on Demand on January 30, 2016.
Supreme has also collaborated with performance artist, activist and musician Rob Potylo in the web series Quiet Desperation.
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- ^ Svennjhami (30 May 2012). "Presidential Candidate Visits High School". iReport. CNN. Retrieved 10 June 2012. The HS visited was Mount View High School in Thorndike, Maine. He introduced himself to the assembled students by saying: "I am Vermin Supreme and I am from the internet."
- ^ "Speakers - HOPE Number 9". Hopenumbernine.net. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
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- ^ Nick Reid (November 21, 2015). "Ben Carson and Vermin Supreme file for president on deadline day". The Concord Monitor.
- ^ "2016 Presidential Primary Results". February 10, 2016.
- ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "Inside the Beltway: Fringe candidate 'Vermin Supreme' banned from New Hampshire candidate forum". The Washingtion Times. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- ^ "Vermin Supreme mocks Christie in N.H". Philly.com. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- ^ Rothkopf, Joanna. "Ted Cruz Gets Trolled by Pro-Pony Presidential Candidate Vermin Supreme". The Slot. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- ^ Jent, Greg (March 1, 2016). "Presidential Candidate Switches to the Libertarian Party". The Libertarian Republic.
- ^ "Vote Jesus: The Chronicles of Ken Stevenson". VoteJesusMovie.com. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- ^ "Learnin' With Vermin". YouTube.com. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- ^ "Who Is Vermin Supreme? A Documentary". Kickstarter. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- ^ "Who Is Vermin Supreme? An Outsider Odyssey". Snow Arch Films. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
- ^ "Quiet Desperation". http://quietd.com. Rob Potylo. Retrieved 2 June 2014.