David John Thistle is a retired veteran running on the 2020 presidential ballot. Formally serving as a Navy Seal, Thistle is now running in New Hampshire as a Democrat with plans to put his name on the Pennsylvania ballot. Originally from Massachusetts, Thistle is currently residing in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Thistle says that he is running for president because other people asked him to run, including his father who recently passed away. Thistle believes the presidency of service, and he says it is not something a person runs for. Rather, the president “applies for the job” and the American people decide. Thistle believes it is in bad taste to talk poorly about the competition. Thistle says Republicans asked him to run because they are angry the Republicans in office stalled making decisions on the budget and instead chose to go home for re-election season. He also said that the mothers of those who overdosed on opioids asked him to run, because they feel there is no accountability in Washington, something Thistle wants to achieve.
Thistle is a disabled veteran who describes his disability as simply “challenges other people don’t have.” He believes everyone is given a different gift in life, and there are ways to overcome the challenges one may face. During a phone interview, Thistle said, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you you are disabled.” Thistle mentioned that he recently faced discrimination for his disability. Due to complications from his brain tumors, Thistle was unable to hear well and spoke loudly at the minor candidate debate in Texas. His microphone was cut off and he was not allowed to speak. Thistle later emailed those responsible and reminded them of his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Opioid Crisis: The Veterans Administration is the second largest budget in the government, and doctors working under VA funding are overprescribing veterans’ opioids, contributing to the opioid crisis in America, Thistle says. He says the families of those who are struggling with opioid addition personally asked him to run for president in order to address this issue that he believes the government needs to be held accountable for.
Accountability in D.C.: Thistle believes Washington should be setting an example for the American people, and the president of the United States is not excluded from that belief. He affirms that we can, and should, hold each other accountable as a nation.
Clean Energy: He strongly believes in clean energy. Thistle is spearheading the National Clean Energy Initiative, which is a wind turbine project designed to provide clean energy in the country. The windmills are from General Electric in New York. Thistle states that he will continue the windmill project even if he is not elected.
Campaign Money: Thistle does not want to spend campaign money on bumper stickers and TV ads. He believes that one should not need to be rich to run for President, and the prices for putting one’s name on the ballot in certain states are too high.
Local politics expert Erin Dwyer has experience working in Philadelphia politics and running campaigns for local politicians. She is currently working in professional development at Temple University. These are her thoughts on minor candidates in the presidential ballot.
In order to gain name recognition for an alternative campaign, some individuals will choose to run for a major election like the ‘presidency for exposure,’ Dwyer says. Some minor candidates feel that the major candidates fail to represent them and the people they are running for, and so they decide to run in order to represent a population that is not being discussed by major presidential candidates. Many minor candidates, like Thistle, have specific issues that they’re passionate about.
Why They Gain Traction: Minor candidates are usually natives, or locally known, and they are able to connect with their supports in a personal way, as opposed to those running on major platforms. Their passion about specific issues gain traction for those who hold similar stances and they often represent the “underrepresented”. Dwyer says that minor candidates are not to be discounted, because some have been successful due to the personal connections they are able to make with their supports.
Thistle believes that running for the presidential office is one of the greatest civic duties held by an American citizen. He wants to move the nation in a positive direction in order to set an example for younger generations. Thistle also believes that issues such as climate change should go beyond politics and be recognized as a national issue that needs to be addressed in order to guarantee the prosperity of the nation’s children.