Third Party Second Bananas
Interviewed by Steve Willis on 9 June 2019. Reprinted by permission.
Q: By accepting the nomination as part of the Prohibition Party ticket you are carrying on an unbroken presidential election tradition that dates back to 1872. Is that a bit intimidating?
No, I don't think it's intimidating. I'm honored that I can help continue a tradition that's started more than 100 years ago.
Q: You have some campaign and election experience I'd like to ask about. You were elected as one of the Libertyville Township (Ill.) trustees which I assume is nonpartisan on the ballot but I see the Constitution Party even to this day lists you in that office as one of their elected officials. Also you have run for office as a Republican. What is there the Prohibition Party offers that is not available from those other two parties?
Compared to the other parties, in which I ran, the Prohibition Party is strongly against many types of drugs. I have a relative who got divorced because the spouse used cocaine, and that was depressing, for me.
Q: If I have my facts in order, you made a bid for the Prohibition Party presidential nomination in November, 2018 in competition with Adam Seaman (now the presidential candidate for the American Free Soil Party) and Bill Bayes (who won the nomination). What prompted you to seek the nomination?
In 2018, I sought the presidential nomination because two members of the party asked me to run. They thought that my views and experience would help me win the nomination and do well in Nov. 2020.
Q: After Mr. Bayes withdrew from his candidacy there was some readjustment and I see you were nominated as Mr. Gammons' running mate by a conference call on April 14, 2019. How did that come about and what is it like having a political event of this importance taking place over the phone?
Almost as soon as Mr. Bayes withdrew, party officers said that Mr. Gammon should run for president and that I should run for vice-president. I'm glad that we held a conference call, since that was a fast way to agree on the nominations.
Q: What are the reasons for the Prohibition Party starting so early with the nomination process compared to most other parties?
We started the process so early because small parties need a lot of time to get publicity, volunteers, and donations.
Q: You recently ran for Mayor of Las Vegas. I know the office is nonpartisan but running for that office in a place frequently called "Sin City" by outsiders must have been sort of weird for someone connected with the Prohibition Party. Or not?
Yes, my running for mayor of sin city was a little weird. I thought that I met enough people, from church, work, a radio interview, and precinct walking. I met two of my opponents, and I got almost as many votes as both of them, combined.
Q: The Washingtonian Movement of the mid-1800s was an initially successful attempt at helping alcoholics and educating the public but they fell apart as they stretched out into other social problems and created inner schisms. The Prohibition Party itself has split a few times in their history over whether to be a single focus or multi-issue party. The 2020 Prohibition Party platform is multi-issue with several very right-of-center planks. Do you think there could be a danger here of alienating potential centrist voters who might otherwise support your anti-alcohol message?
Our platform might alienate some moderate voters, but I'm glad that our platform includes many issues. I don't know many people who would vote for a candidate who only mentions one or two issues. That's why I think the detailed platform will help us gain votes.
Q: I recently read the 1900 Prohibition Party platform which was multi-issue but it also explained how each one of those issues related to the alcohol problem, including McKinley's occupation of foreign nations. How do you think the 2020 platform would look different if this method was applied to all the issues listed?
If our platform told how each issue is related to alcohol, it would say that, although we support the 2nd Amendment, if fewer people drink alcohol, fewer people will use their guns to murder.
Q: How do you plan to campaign in the next year and a half? Is the Prohibition Party fielding candidates for other elective offices in 2020?
I'll campaign mostly by using Facebook and Twitter. I hope to have some interviews on radio stations and with newspaper reporters. I don't know of any local candidates, in my party, for 2020, but that might change.
Q: How goes the battle with gaining ballot access across the USA?
I know that we'll be on the ballot in Arkansas. I think that we'll be on the ballot in Utah, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and Florida.
Q: Here's something I wonder about all the third parties-- How do you measure success in a campaign like this?
I think we should measure success by trying to get more votes than the Prohibition Party ticket got in 2016. That year, that ticket got about 5,000 votes.
Q: What are your thoughts on how the media has covered third parties in general and the Prohibition Party in particular?
I think that the media should talk about third-party candidates more. They probably don't mention the Prohibition Party, much, because the reporters think that our platform is only about alcohol. More of them should read our platform and see that it mentions about 10 issues.
Q: I know it is still early in the 2020 campaign season, but have you experienced any changes in your life as a result of being a vice-presidential candidate?
No, I haven't notice any changes, in my life, yet, because of the campaign.
Q: Thank you Mr. Collins very much for participating in this project.