For the fourth presidential election in a row, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is “testing the waters” for a potential presidential bid. He announced his interest via Twitter last week, where he added he would most likely run as the Green Party candidate. How amazing would it be if America’s third-party revolution came at the hand of someone who was once professionally referred to as “The Body”?
Ventura has a wild history and a wide range of accolades to his name. If he were introduced every time he walked into a press briefing like a queen or king from Westeros, it would sound something like this: “I give you Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, First of His Name, Member of the U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Team, Sergeant-at-Arms of the Mongols Motorcycle Club, Star of ‘Predator,’ Conspiracy Theorist, WWE Hall of Famer and 38th Governor of Minnesota.” The odds of Ventura running for president, let alone winning the nomination, are slim. However, I can’t help but entertain the idea of him championing the helm of the Green Party.
Ventura has long identified as an independent. He unexpectedly won the 1998 Minnesota gubernatorial election as a candidate of the Reform Party, and he is the first and only member of that party to hold a high-ranking position in government. Ventura launched an aggressive grassroots campaign and spent under $300,000 in his campaign, compared to his Democratic and Republican opponents’ $4.3 million. As a member of a party next to no one has ever heard of or remembers, Ventura never had more than one party ally in the state legislature at a time. Despite this, he was still able to pass some of his major legislation and greatly increased state spending.
Ventura managed to start construction of the Metro Blue Line and increased funding for public schools. He reformed the property tax system and cut car licensing tab fees, which returned nearly $2 billion to Minnesotan taxpayers in the form of “Jesse checks.” He strongly supported a one-house (unicameral) legislature, gay rights and abortion rights.
Often criticized for mishandling the state’s budget, Ventura went into office with $4 billion budget surplus and left with a $4.5 billion deficit during a recession. Ventura’s relationship with the media was inharmonious at best. He cited the media’s constant coverage of his personal life and the lives of his family members as reasons for not running for a second term as governor.
In this election, a Green ticket with Ventura’s hands on the steering wheel would look different from his run for governor back in the late ‘90s. Being a member of the Greens, “The Body” would have to campaign on curbing climate change and promoting green energy. It wouldn’t be surprising if he sprinkled legalizing weed and ending the wars overseas on there, given his advocacy on those issues in the past.
Ventura has experience in military, government, media and entertainment. He loathes both major political parties and is a conspiracy theorist who is openly skeptical of the events surrounding 9/11 and JFK’s assassination. He’s exactly what our country needs right now in a time of crisis.