And they devised a secret language of signs and scrawls used to alert their passing brethren to danger or opportunity. A crucifix chalked on the side of a house meant that religious talk would get you a free meal inside. A picture of a cat meant “a kind woman lives here.” […] And a picture of an H with sunrays around it meant that the hour had come: it was time to overthrow the government of the United States.
We all shared a good laugh as we listened to Hodgman wax nostalgic about the hoboes descending on Washington, only to be wiped out by polio. But now the hoboes are back, and they’re ready to overthrow the government for real this time.
Mr. Pearcy and other drifters and homeless people were recruited onto the Green Party ballot by a Republican political operative who freely admits that their candidacies may siphon some support from the Democrats. Arizona’s Democratic Party has filed a formal complaint with local, state and federal prosecutors in an effort to have the candidates removed from the ballot, and the Green Party has urged its supporters to steer clear of the rogue candidates.
The view, though, is different along Mill Avenue, where the first-time candidates appear to have been emboldened by the exercise, as Mr. Pearcy’s street corner campaign speech last Thursday night attests. Dressed up spiffily, he described himself as the illegitimate son of a stripper who had had run-ins with the law and a tough childhood but who had pulled his life together.
“I’ve been homeless,” he said, his eyes darting back and forth. “I got a place. Anyone can do it. We’re all good enough.”
There was nodding all around, more than when he went into his pitch to solve the budget deficit through the installation of solar panels. As Mr. Pearcy went on, Mr. May whispered “focus, focus, focus” into his ear to get him back on track and help prepare him for a debate in early October, which will be televised across the state.
Right now it all looks like nothing more than harmless Republican shenanigans. It’s doubtful any of these hobo candidates will gain a plurality of votes this election. But what happens when these newly-emboldened hoboes run in the next election, without their Republican puppetmasters? What happens when they start running in every race? What happens when the hoboes start winning these races? What happens when they seek higher and higher offices? What if, someday, a hobo becomes President? What then?
This is only Phase 1. Be prepared.