Prohibition Party’s Bill Bayes to Run for President

According to Rick Knox, national chairman of the Prohibition Party, Bill Bayes, the Prohibition Party’s 2016 vice presidential nominee, will seek the 2020 presidential nominations of both the Prohibition and Constitution parties.

Bayes, 66, lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he owns a manufacturing business.  He is a former teacher and band director.  His role as the running mate of 2016 Prohibition Party presidential nominee Jim Hedges, marked his first run for public office.  The Hedges-Bayes ticket received 5,617 votes, the most for the party since 1988.

Earlier this month, Bayes again ran for office, standing in the Republican primary for city council in Hattiesburg.  In a three man race, he finished third with 41 votes or 4 percent of the total.  You can watch him participate in a debate for the race here.

Bayes considers himself politically conservative.  In an interview last year with Mississippi Today, he expressed pro-Confederate positions, strong support for States’ rights, and endorsed the controversial HB 1523.  He linked his decision to join the Prohibition Party with the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential nomination of Senator John McCain, whom Bayes described as a “liberal democrat.”  Bayes said the only presidential candidate he “really” voted for was Ronald Reagan.

39 thoughts on “Prohibition Party’s Bill Bayes to Run for President

  1. NewFederalist

    Prohibition and Constitution nominations. Why stop there? AIP? American Heritage?

  2. NewFederalist

    Perhaps. It was Amondson who brought down the Dodge machine and opened up the party for potential future growth.

  3. Michigan Voter

    I was hoping Hedges would run again. He was interesting to listen to. He actually was progressive on environmental issues and thought it would be a way to get younger people to pay attention. I am by no means a Prohibitionist (sipping a beer as I type this), but Hedges is the first ever Prohibition Party candidate I would have considered if I was doing a protest vote.

  4. Jonathan Makeley

    Hedges decided he was too old to run again in 2020. Although, it’s still two years until the 2019 convention, so its not certain yet that Bayes will be the nominee (though there’s a good chance he will). It may be possible that another member may seek the nomination, as with 2012 (where both Hedges and Fellure sought the nomination), or that events come up that direct things in a different direction, as with 2016 (where initially Greg Seltzer sought the nomination before being appointed to the Maryland board of elections, and Hedges who was seeking the vp nomination then sought the presidential nomination).

  5. Tony From Long Island

    But who will be the candidates for the Whigs and the Free-Soil Party?

  6. Rev. James W. Clifton

    Bayes and Knox, according to several Party members, have been in collusion to divide the Party and create the American Independent Statesman Party.

  7. JamesT

    Interesting. I wonder given the rise of fringe ideologies and contrarianism if the PP can get a larger cult following in the years to come. I’m morbidly fascinated by them

  8. Tony From Long Island

    Why would anyone be fascinated with a party whose name itself harkens to one of the most failed experiments in American history?

  9. Jonathan Makeley

    National Prohibition was actually rather successful in reducing alcohol use and improving conditions in society. Much of what people think about prohibition is actually based on myths created after the end of prohibition, which don’t match up with the actual historical facts.

  10. Tony From Long Island

    And why should the government be involved in reducing alcohol use?

    Prohibition created one of the greatest crime waves in the history of our nation.

    Regardless, I find your claim of reduced alcohol use as a result of prohibition to be dubious at best. Maybe DURING prohibition, since it was ration difficult to procure it, but I’m sure the day it ended alcohol use per capita was not much different from the day that it began.

  11. Jonathan Makeley

    No it didn’t. That is one of the myths about national prohibition. The nation’s crime rate decreased by about 1/3rd during the period of national prohibition. Actually the prohibition period helped end one of the largest crime waves in the nation’s history; the crime wave of the 1910’s.

  12. NewFederalist

    Jonathan… are you a member of the Prohibition Party? You seem very well versed in party history.

  13. Cody Quirk

    In fact if not for Prohibition my great uncle wouldn’t have gotten wacked at such a young age, in the war zone that was Chicago then.
    And sadly still is… Albeit for different reasons.

  14. Cody Quirk

    One of the few benefits -never mind the high murder & incarceration rates.

  15. dL

    National Prohibition was actually rather successful in reducing alcohol use

    The use of some forms of alcohol. It also triggered an increase in consumption of more toxic forms of homemade alcohol like moonshine. I had a jar of that once…man…

    improving conditions in society.

    Subjective criteria RE: that. My objective criteria in judging other’s subjective moral criteria is that if takes a bunch of laws and uniforms w/ guns to enforce it, your subjective moral criteria for an improved moral society sucks…

    The nation’s crime rate decreased by about 1/3rd during the period of national prohibition.

    Not versed in the relative crime stats of the time off the top my head, but I imagine that if prohibition had been enforced to the letter of the law, those crime stat would have been just a wee bit higher than what was recorded. Of course, it goes w/o saying that prohibition turned localized/regional gangs into an international syndicate.

    All this is a bit of red herring. There’s little chance of the old alcohol prohibition returning. The modern alcohol prohibition is increased age limits for legal consumption and the DWI racket.

  16. ATBAFT

    I bet if we criminalized eating more than 2,000 calories per day, we could cut obesity rates by more than 50%. Wonder how the Prohibs explained Jesus turning water into wine so the party blast could continue?

  17. NewFederalist

    Read Charles Wesley Ewing’s “The Bible and its wines”. Explains it all.

  18. NewFederalist

    In the interest of full disclosure… I wanted to vote for Professor E. Harold Munn, Sr. in 1964, 1968 and 1972. He was the presidential nominee of the Prohibition Party all those years and a professor at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Hillsdale does not accept ANY money from any level of government. Unfortunately, the Prohibition Party failed to secure a position on the Michigan ballot for any of those elections so I voted for other nominees. I believe that write-in votes are rarely tabulated. I voted absentee ballots for grandparents until I was old enough to vote on my own.

  19. paulie

    Who did you end up voting for in 1964? I know in another old thread you mentioned that you voted for Wallace in 1968 and iirc Schmiz in 1972, correct?

  20. NewFederalist

    I voted my Great-Grandmother’s absentee ballot for Barry Goldwater. My choices were Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson and Eric Hass of the Socialist Labor Party. Of those three I went for Goldwater.

  21. NewFederalist

    Year Nominee preferred Actual vote cast
    1964 E. Harold Munn, Sr. Barry M. Goldwater, Sr.
    MI Prohibition Party Republican Party

    1968 E. Harold Munn, Sr. George C. Wallace, Jr.
    MI Prohibition Party American Independent Party

    1972 E. Harold Munn, Sr. John G. Schmitz
    MI Prohibition Party American Independent Party

    1976 Roger L. MacBride Roger L. MacBride
    MI Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    1980 Edward E. Clark, Sr. Edward E. Clark, Sr.
    TX Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    1984 David P. Bergland Ronald W. Reagan
    TX Libertarian Party Republican Party

    1988 Ronald E. Paul Ronald E. Paul
    TX Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    1992 Andre V. Marrou Andre V. Marrou
    NM Libertarian Party Libertarian Party
    (Now regret not voting for independent candidate H. Ross Perot)
    1996 Harry E. Browne Harry E. Browne
    NM Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    2000 Harry E. Browne Harry E. Browne
    NM Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    2004 Michael J. Badnarik Michael J. Badnarik
    PA Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    2008 Charles O. Baldwin Robert L. Barr, Jr.
    PA Constitution Party Libertarian Party

    2012 Gary E. Johnson Gary E. Johnson
    PA Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    2016 Darrell L. Castle Darrell L. Castle
    PA Constitution Party Constitution Party

    My complete voting record.

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  23. paulie

    There were several states where they had enough signatures to get on the ballot in 2016 but the paperwork got messed up in one way or another. Hopefully those mistakes will not be repeated.

  24. Darcy G. Richardson

    Best of luck to Mr. Bayes in his quest to extend the longevity of America’s oldest third party.

    Speaking of the Prohibition Party, my latest book — The Lowest Ebb: Norman Thomas & America’s Minor Parties in 1944 — will be released in mid-July. I’ve already promised copies to a few IPR regulars — New Federalist, Trent Hill, Peter Gemma, Tom Knapp, Richard Winger and perhaps one or two others — but I should have a few extra copies once the book is published if anybody here would like a complimentary softbound copy. Since my supply will be limited, it’ll obviously have to be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    Needless to say, I wish I could send a free copy to everyone at IPR, but that’s just not feasible. If you’re interested in receiving a free copy, shoot me an email at darcyrichardson at comcast dot net.

    While my book contains an extensive political biography of the Socialist Party’s Norman M. Thomas, “America’s Conscience” and arguably the greatest civil libertarian in American history, it also includes three rather lengthy chapters on the Texas Regulars and the incipient anti-Roosevelt movement brewing in the “Solid South” that year. The latter, of course, was a disquieting precursor to the Dixiecrat movement of 1948, which ranged from New Orleans industrialist John U. Barr’s year-long quest to draft Virginia’s reluctant Harry F. Byrd, Sr., for the presidency to the unsuccessful efforts of leading anti-fourth term Democrats to persuade colorful Texas Sen. W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel, one of the New Deal’s most outspoken and arguably most quotable critics, to mount a third-party candidacy. I also devoted a couple of chapters in my narrative to the biographically-neglected Claude A. Watson, the Prohibition Party’s quick-witted presidential nominee in 1944.

    In addition to Watson’s spirited candidacy — the first of two campaigns that eventually pushed the Prohibition Party’s presidential vote totals back into a respectable six figures — my book also covers quite a few of the dry party’s state and congressional candidates that year, including 79-year-old former congressman Charles H. Randall of California, a man regarded by many as the father of national prohibition who was mounting yet another unsuccessful political comeback hoping to regain the House seat he held during World War I. In addition to the party’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidates — and there were quite a few impressive dry candidates that autumn — my book also includes the candidacy of E. Harold Munn, a relatively young member of the Hillsdale College faculty who later waged several bids for the presidency (as New Federalist astutely pointed out in an earlier comment in this thread). Munn was seeking a seat in the Michigan Senate that year while doubling as his party’s statewide communications director.

    Watson, incidentally, was the only candidate for the presidency in 1944 to make an extensive tour of the south.

    Mounting the first of two consecutive campaigns for the presidency that year, the amiable and well-informed yet little-remembered Los Angeles lawyer — rattling off statistics from memory faster than a speeding train — claimed that repeal of national prohibition had actually prolonged World War II. He also asserted that it contributed to a marked increase in crime and juvenile delinquency, as well as an overall decline in productivity due to a spike in work-related absenteeism in the decade following the end of the “Noble Experiment” in 1933. Citing those same statistics, the pink-cheeked, fast-talking Prohibitionist — one of the most colorful presidential candidates in American history — later wrote a book about the country’s moral decline following repeal, facetiously titled Repeal Has Succeeded, which was published shortly after his little-remembered 1944 campaign.

    Railing against a product that “makes a man see double and think half,” the proud Prohibitionist waged a particularly vigorous campaign for the presidency that year — a candidacy that was all the more remarkable given wartime rationing and the relatively severe travel restrictions placed on each of the minor-party candidates — and nearly finished ahead of the Socialist Party’s widely-recognized Norman Thomas, America’s leading third-party activist whose support at the ballot box sadly plummeted to an all-time low that year.

    Despite his dismal showing that year, Thomas later said that he was more proud of his 1944 candidacy — the most grueling and excruciatingly difficult campaign of his lifetime — than any of his other five tries for the presidency.

    Unfortunately, the so-called “Greatest Generation” had little time for anybody running outside the duopoly in wartime America. It was a critically important election, but to the vast majority of the electorate the Thomas and Watson candidacies, as well as the energetic candidacy of the Socialist Labor Party’s Edward A. Teichert, a little-known western Pennsylvania steelworker who outhustled and outspent his minor-party rivals — all three of whom, adhering to their respective party platforms, had plenty of profound things to say that year — apparently weren’t even worthy of a footnote in American history.

    For those who might be interested, you can read the book’s somewhat lengthy introduction here.

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