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Rocky Anderson will Not Run for Congress or President

Rocky Anderson, the former Democratic Mayor of Salt Lake City, and the founder and 2012 presidential nominee of the progressive Justice Party, has definitively ruled out third party runs for U.S. Congress in 2014 and for President in 2016.

When asked via e-mail about the possibility he would seek, as the Justice Party nominee, Utah’s newly formed 4th U.S. Congressional district seat, which conservative Democrat Jim Matheson captured in November,  Anderson immediately replied “no.” Then, when asked if he would run again for president in 2016, Anderson gave the same response.

Anderson, who by the latest count received roughly 42,199 votes for seventh place in the 2012 presidential race,  had been speculated to run for president again in 2016 as the Justice Party nominee. The party is slated to hold a national convention some time next year to elect party officers.


  1. No Difference No Difference December 28, 2012

    OTOH, you never know who your friends will be sometimes. They say that war makes for strange bedfellows; that probably applies to politics also.

  2. No Difference No Difference December 28, 2012

    Perhaps I should qualify this by excluding any parties that take corporate or special interest funding. Does that take care of it?

  3. NewFederalist NewFederalist December 28, 2012

    “The only thing important to me is that we can call upon our allies when we need them, not to attack them for having different ideas… An example is election reform; nearly all groups agree on this point.”

    Except for the two largest groups who actually make the decision.

  4. No Difference No Difference December 28, 2012

    How can you get people with disparate ideologies to agree to a common platform with common strategies? If you could, there would not be these factional groups.

    The only exception I can think of would be if there were some sort of personal vendettas going on. But I don’t believe that tells the real story in most cases (albeit it does apply in a few). Some people feel very passionately about a certain thinking.

    For instance, consider the Trotskyists v the more traditional socialists. There are at least half a dozen Socialist parties in the U.S. Each of them feels that they have the best idea and the best approach.

    My feeling is, let them. The general conclusion, I have found, is that these groups all show up at anti-war rallies and other more leftist activities. The more respect (not necessarily agreement) one has for their individual ideas, the more cooperation is to be had. This is key in coalition work; I have some experience in this, and I can assert it is true.

    Yes, you certainly do have the right to tell someone that you feel their approach or ideology does not make sense. It is in respect of that very notion, Paulie, that I prefer to leave peace alone.

    The only thing important to me is that we can call upon our allies when we need them, not to attack them for having different ideas. For me, that applies most significantly for groups on the Left (meaning anti-Tory, anti-authoritarian), but it can also be useful for wider issues concerning democracy. An example is election reform; nearly all groups agree on this point.

  5. paulie paulie December 28, 2012

    No one is trying to force anything.

    I was addressing the problem you say they are trying to solve by starting a separate party. My experience lends me to believe they are far more likely to make it worse, not better, by doing so.

    You can take that for whatever it’s worth, but an attempt to coerce anyone it ain’t. That would be against my ideology.

    Yes, you have the right to do your thing, whether it makes sense or not. And I have the right to tell you whether I think it makes sense.

    While I’m open to hearing evidence that would change my mind, from what I’m hearing you say, it doesn’t.

  6. No Difference No Difference December 28, 2012

    People do have the right of free association, so parties, caucuses, coalitions, and other types of political organizations will continue to exist in some form or another.

    I understand completely the frustration with this fact, but I believe it is best to simply respect each group’s right to exist and figure out ways to work together through coalitions and non-partisan associations.

    If and when two or more of these groups discover that it might be best to merge, they will do so. Forcing or legislating the issue deprives individuals of their right to peacefully assemble and exercise free expression.

  7. paulie paulie December 28, 2012

    Well, yeah, but I’ve never seen party splintering making those types of problems better.

    That’s irrespective of ideology, place, time….further factionalism always seems to make issues like that more, not less, pronounced.

  8. No Difference No Difference December 28, 2012

    So many posters here are upset by various remarks here and about the web concerning the Green Party and the GP’s reputation, image, etc.

    The concept of the GP is not “icky” or undesirable at all; I would not have spent 4 trying years in it if I had felt that way.

    The trouble with the GP is needs a good house cleaning. My experience of it is one of autistic, authoritarian, reactionary symbolism and equivocation/inaction. Serious mental health issues seemed to abound, manifested in paranoia, control issues, and other impedances to party unity. Grassroots democracy, a stated party value, was not to be seen anywhere within, even on its best days.

    Now, some here claim that Stein has fixed that; if her campaign has truly flushed out the difficult elements within the party, then it may be a good time to rejoin.

    I agree that the JP’s platform is nearly identical, in essence, to the GP. But for people like myself with a bad taste from the GP, the JP did seem like a decent alternative.

    The trouble with the JP, like some issues I encountered in the GP, is lack of understanding of the political system and dreams of blue sky solutions and ridiculous party posturing.

    I think it is best if a party behaves in accordance with its own stated beliefs and principles INTERNALLY. If the membership of a party is grounded, it has a better chance of selling itself as a believable and trustworthy alternative to the voters.

  9. clay clay December 18, 2012

    I’m still trying to figure out why he ran for President at all.

  10. johnO johnO December 17, 2012

    A Socialist Workers Party member is running for Jesse Jackson Jr’s seat. The question now is will the Socialist Equality Party, Socialist Action Party, Socialist USA, etc etc run as well. This will help which Dem member wins primary. Dem primary looks pretty brutal so the SWP member needs all far left voters. Will be interesting who the R’s, Greens, Libertarians, CP, and other center-right go for.

  11. paulie paulie December 17, 2012

    Actually, I was thinking the SPUSA would also be an important part to a united multi-tendency democratic/revolutionary socialist electoral party.

    Good luck. The small socialist sects seem to be hell-bent on small ideological differences and personality conflicts.

  12. paulie paulie December 17, 2012

    You (or someone – I thought it was you) posted it in open thread comments. I’ve been meaning to get to it as a post, along with a bunch of others.

  13. Scott West Scott West December 17, 2012

    Though I haven’t seen it reported here, the Justice Party sent an email last week announcing that the convention was pushed back from February to November 2013. I’ll see if I can find and forward.

  14. Deran Deran December 16, 2012

    Actually, I was thinking the SPUSA would also be an important part to a united multi-tendency democratic/revolutionary socialist electoral party.

  15. Oranje Mike Oranje Mike December 16, 2012

    I would love the leftist parties to form a US Socialist Party. The unintended humor in our election cycles would make it all worth it.

  16. Deran Deran December 16, 2012

    The Green Party and the Justice Party share a great deal of ideological similarities, they are progressivist parties in the US tradition of progressivism. The Peace and Freedom Party is a socialist party. anti-capitalist, the Greens and Justice are not anti-capitalist, they are progressivists, more like social democrats/labor in Europe.

    I do think they P&F could be a vital part of a US socialist party.

  17. paulie paulie December 16, 2012

    noble pursuit in helping Romney

    Contradiction in terms

  18. Steven Berson Steven Berson December 16, 2012

    Got to say @3 and @5 totally nailed it. I myself was disappointed Rocky didn’t make any actual platform differences for the Justice Party from the GP.
    I think if he had come out as a “Balanced Budget Socialist” that was wanting to strongly fund social and infrastructure programs but never to the point of incurring more deficits and debts – meaning at this point there would have to be massive spending cuts – that he could have captured a segment that is still unrepresented that wants fiscal sanity from government but still sees pro-active government as potentially having a positive role – unlike what most purists in the LP do. Unfortunately “Balanced Budget Socialists” continue to be unrepresented and incredibly marginalized – even though I think this actually fits the profile of a huge segment of Americans – that is likely just as large as the libertarian segment.

  19. Concerned Citizen Concerned Citizen December 15, 2012

    I don’t want to attack Rock for his noble pursuit in helping Romney but at least CP candidates are genuine and truly believe what they say. That’s what I was talking about in calling lefties gullible.

  20. NewFederalist NewFederalist December 15, 2012

    It would seem to me the Greens and the Justice Party and the Peace and Freedom Party should just sit down and discuss the founding of a new Progressive Party which would give everyone a fresh start. I know from a ballot access perspective this might not be ideal since some states would almost certainly have to keep a different name but it just seems pointless to keep running nominees who basically stand for the same ideals under different labels against one another. Just my $0.02 worth and I am not even a prorgessive by any definition of the term.

  21. Mark Hilgenberg Mark Hilgenberg December 15, 2012

    I agree with Green Party Voter, he would be a good fit in the Green Party, there are very few differences. It seems like the Greens are very fractured which may pose a problem.

  22. NewFederalist NewFederalist December 15, 2012

    “You lefties sure are a gullible bunch.”

    And the righties are not? Ask the CP why they don’t get more support.

  23. Concerned Citizen Concerned Citizen December 15, 2012

    You lefties sure are a gullible bunch. Rock Anderson is a good man who tried to prevent this country from becoming a third world cesspool. Rock is good friends with Mitt Romney and both endorsed each other in years past. Rock’s goal was to run a lefty campaign and take enough votes from obama to sway the election to his friend. Unfortunately it didn’t work so I guess he no longer has any reason to run.

  24. Green_Liberal Green_Liberal December 15, 2012

    I can see some justification for forming a new party if there was evidence that the Green Party is a worthless instrument, that it is co-opted, infiltrated, that it’s structure is self-defeating etc. Some Justice Party advocates online seem to skirt around such accusations without actually making them. What apparently was said was the Green Party’s “brand” was “tainted”. This is somewhat comprehensible. But in his campaign, despite posturing as neither left nor right, Anderson’s policy prescriptions did nothing to distinguish himself policy-wise from the Greens….he could just as easily be characterized as a “lefty” or a “70s liberal” as the Greens.

    There is a worthwhile book to be written about the Greens b/w 1996-2012 at its implications for progressive third party politics in the future. It seems that what played out in 2012 has partial origins in the Greens disfunctionality and failure to unify with the Nader campaign in 04 and 08.

    Insufficient attention has been paid to the Greens lack of any real presence on the Net or outreach to the youth. This generational gap is playing out in Europe currently where the new Pirate parties are usurping the old Green constituencies, while the Greens are becoming a party of middle-class middle-aged liberals.

    Agree with Deran–we need a revitalized progressive 3rd party and the Greens should be leading rather than blocking it.

    I think a “Justice Party” as a new working people’s 3rd party is a great idea but forming a party so late in the game (Dec 11!) was a non-starter…Rocky’s best bet to further the cause was to either enter the Green Party or primary Obama.

  25. Deran Deran December 15, 2012

    @GP Voter.

    I sill don’t get how the Independent Green Party of Virginia can make any claims to Stein’s campaign or the actual national GP? You Virginia only party is a conservative political party. Your party is not a part of the national Green Party.

  26. Green Party Voter Green Party Voter December 14, 2012

    Dr. Jill Stein’s Green Party campaign for President was excellent. Dr. Stein – with an inclusive, positive, intelligent, and collaborative Green Party campaign pulled many Independents and former Greens back to the Green Party. I was absolutely one of those Greens. And my state Green Party prospered, thanks to the intelligent, helpful work of Dr. Stein.

    I would like to see Rocky Anderson take over leadership of the the state Green Party, and run as a Green Party candidate for any local, state, or perhaps U.S. Senate office.

    That’s the sensible future for Rocky Anderson. Doctor Stein has repeated she is eager to work with Rocky, as have Greens across the country.

    Come on Rocky. Help lead the Green Party.

  27. johnO johnO December 14, 2012

    Maybe he’ll run for Salt Lake City mayor again. This time on his new parties line. Justice Party in Utah’s biggest city. Less R’s more J’s.

  28. Ben Schattenburg Ben Schattenburg December 14, 2012


    A seriously dumb move. An Anderson/Stein ticket would have been been incredibly successful. Anderson or any “Justs” have thus far failed to give a coherent explanation for how they are distinct from the Greens beyond saying, in essence, that the Green Party is just icky. I seriously hope Anderson abandons his vanity project and joins the Greens now that he’s discovered to futility of building a redundant 3rd party.

  29. Kyle Kneale Kyle Kneale December 14, 2012

    I will be interested to see if the Justice party sticks around for a long time or goes by the wayside the way of the NLP and the Reforms.

  30. Jeremy C. Young Jeremy C. Young December 14, 2012

    I’ll never understand the idea that because you don’t like the current leadership of a third party, you should try to replace that third party with another third party with a different name. Third parties have very little going for them, and about all they have is their brand — people know what the Green, Libertarian, and Constitution Parties are and what they stand for. If you found a new party, unless you are a big shot like Theodore Roosevelt or Robert La Follette or you have a genuine popular movement like the Populists, the loss of the existing brand will be fatal. That’s what Anderson has discovered.

    The Green Party has historically had serious infighting, perhaps worse than what the LP had to deal with from 2006-2012. And it has run some terrible candidates, and had a very good candidate (Ralph Nader) try to rip its heart out. But I would argue that Jill Stein has gone a long way toward repairing the damage done to the party infrastructure. I was proud to vote for her, and I would have been proud to vote for Rocky, if only he hadn’t decided that his brand was more valuable than the Green Party brand and torpedoed his own candidacy. What a dumb move from a truly talented politician.

  31. Rob Rob December 14, 2012

    I voted for Mayor Anderson but, to be candid, I never quite figured out why he helped create a new party that is similar to the Green Party. I was disappointed with Mayor Anderson’s total votes. I have to say I was impressed with Jill Stein and her campaign and I hope–but I’m not counting on–the Greens can build on this momentum. In any case, I’m curious where Mayor Anderson and the Justice Party go from here. I’m not optimistic.

  32. Deran Deran December 14, 2012

    It’s interesting that the calls for a national party conference gets no coverage on the official party website? And I can find no separate website talking about the organizing of such a national convention.

    I think this talk of a national meeting, a continuance of the JP, is mostly a wish of some people who’ve been active independent Left politics for 20 or so years.

    As far as Anderson, I never thought he had any staying power. he fancied himself another Ralph Nader, but he has none of Nader’s history or superpowers.

    Personally, I would like to see a new progressive party to supplant the enfeebled Greens.

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