Meet Brock Pierce, the Drug-Legalizing Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur on the Presidential Ballot in 16 States
Odds are you’ve heard about the nontraditional presidential candidacy of a certain Kanye West. Chances are decent, too, that you may recall the late-breaking run last time around by independent ex-CIA agent Evan McMullin.
But what if I told you that there was a 2020 candidate on more ballots than either the rapper or the Mormon, who also happened to be a fiscally hawkish cryptocurrency entrepreneur whose policy page begins with “Re-legalizing cannabis” and ends with “Your body is yours“?
Meet Brock Pierce, one of the more unusual characters to ever make it on the presidential ballot of 16 states. Pierce in his four decades on the planet has been a child actor (The Mighty Ducks), teenaged dot-com cautionary tale (at the notorious Digital Entertainment Network), online gaming pioneer, and founder of the cryptocurrency Tether. Controversy has followed him at every step, including during his 17 weeks as White House aspirant. (See this July interview with Forbes for Pierce’s responses to several of the accusations.)
“I obviously identify with and resonate with and connect with my libertarian brothers and sisters on so many levels,” Pierce told me in a phone interview Saturday. And yet, like Unity 2020‘s Bret Weinstein (with whom Pierce says he’s had several conversations), the independent believes that our current political crisis is grave enough (“we’re probably going to have another wave of riots, potentially civil war, economic sort of carnage,” he says) that all pre-existing third parties, as well as millions of disgruntled Democrats and Republicans, should assemble into a cross-partisan movement based more on values and integrity than tribal loyalty and narrow ideology.
Pierce, to be sure, also favors policies libertarians might find less congenial, such as a Universal Earned Income, and re-writing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Regardless, he vows, this is only the beginning: “I think by November 5th, I’m going to announce that I’ve already got 35 to 40 states [ballot access] already done” for 2024, he says. This may be the first time you’ve heard of Brock Pierce, but he swears it won’t be the last.
The following is an edited version of our conversation.
Reason: Why the hell are you running for president, Brock Pierce?
Pierce: I can summarize it in one word: Love.
Pierce: Love for this country. Love for the American people at a time where we need love and unity. These United States feel very much like the divided states right now. We’re divided politically, economically, racially. We face very real existential threats environmentally, technologically, arguably pandemically. Conflicts potentially with other nation-states. We have to find a path to unity, we need visionary leadership that has their finger on the pulse regarding things like technology, fiscal policy, the list goes on.
Reason: You joined us in July, right? Why so kind of late in the scheme of things, or what was…the triggering mechanism that caused you to jump in in July, as opposed to July of the previous year?
Pierce: Well, I’m an independent candidate, and so July 4th is the day that I announced. An auspicious day for an independent candidate!
I turn 40 in two weeks, and so I am laying the foundation and the groundwork for a presidential run in 2024. I’ll have been running for essentially four and a half years.
Reason: I see. So look, I write for a libertarian magazine, we’re really disproportionately into stuff like blockchains, like ending the war on drugs, legalizing marijuana, balancing the budget. You’ve got all of those things checked off, and in fact, they are prominent in your emphases. Why not take a run at the Libertarian Party, which actually has ballot access in 50 states?
Pierce: I obviously identify with and resonate with and connect with my libertarian brothers and sisters on so many levels. The thing that I think needs to happen though is, we have to find a way of uniting the third parties. The last third party candidate to be elected president was Abraham Lincoln. And Abraham Lincoln was able to unite the third parties by creating a government of rivals, you know, divided we fall, united we stand. Clearly we need to bring on the libertarian community. We gotta like Voltron with all of these groups, because we are bigger, the independents are bigger, than the Republicans, the independents are bigger than the Democrats. But we’re consistently divided. And so I clearly intend to speak to and connect with libertarians.
In terms of 50-state ballot access, I’ve got that solved already. I was able to do 16 states, and could have done 25 at least, and that’s starting on July 4th. It took the Libertarian Party probably a couple of decades to figure out how to do it; I’ve got it figured out in six months. It’s not that hard.
Reason: What are the big priorities, or things that you think need to be changed, that your independent candidacy or presidency is uniquely poised to address or affect?
Pierce: Well, I think part of it is how we measure and define our success. What is our aim as a nation? If you don’t have an aim or a vision, you’re going to wander aimlessly. And so, how do we create a unified vision as a country?
One of the things I like to talk about is, the way that we’ve been measuring our success historically as a nation has been by growth, or GDP. The problem with growth is it assumes that we have infinite resources, which we’ve known for quite a while we don’t have. It also doesn’t differentiate between positive and negative growth, and we also have a lot of crony capitalism, right? And so I think ho
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