The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Chip Minemyer

January 15, 2012

Chip Minemyer | Fresh voice in the political wilderness

— Do you believe the U.S. political and economic systems are failing because elected officials are bought and sold and global organizations have too much power?

If you do, then Robert Hall just might be the candidate for you.

Hall, a 55-year-old Illinois native, is running for president of the United States as an independent.

To date, his campaign has been a grass-roots effort primarily through YouTube, Facebook and other social media channels.

A Web search for an-nounced presidential candidates brings up Hall’s name   – and many others, some offering voices of change in a dense wilderness.

In a telephone interview, Hall said he sees a broken political system that is dominated by big money and outside influences, a system that sends to Washington people who really aren’t serving those who put them in office.

And he sees a U.S. economy that is being overtaken by companies in China and elsewhere while our nation’s leaders either look the other way or take payoffs to let the takeover happen.

“We have a $10 trillion consumer-driven economy. The rest of the world is trying to get their hands on it, and we’re not doing much to protect it,” Hall said.

“I want to let people know that they no longer have to vote for the lessers of evils.”

He bemoans experts’ predictions that $7 billion will be spent by people running for office in 2012, even though the offices will pay a fraction of that amount.

Hall points to candidates who accept money from foreign interests and business leaders, or from companies that make their products in other countries.

He said: “Candidates tell them, ‘Come here and do enough to get us re-elected and you can have the place.’ ”

Hall added: “The biggest employer in Saginaw, Mich., is the Chinese army. Are you OK with that?”

And: “American culture is being looted. There is basically one party – money – and both the Republicans and Democrats are part of it. It’s run by multinationals.

Politics has always been crooked.

“But in the past, at least the crooks were American crooks.”

Is the nation ready for his message?

Hall says signs of unrest such as the tea party and Occupy movements suggest the moment is right for a new direction.

“We are living in strange times,” he said. “There’s a restlessness on Main Street, U.S.A. It’s a powder keg where people are looking for something they can get behind. I really think people are ready to embrace a non-politician.

“I didn’t see anybody else doing anything about it,” he added. “It’s a lot crazier not to run for president than to run for president.”

Among his platforms:

* Reducing the trade deficit by convincing American companies to make products at home and also convincing American consumers to support and even invest in companies that employ people in this country.

He said: “Workers and consumers are the same people.

“They don’t realize the damage they do to their own economy by supporting somebody else’s economy.”

* Rebuilding America’s manufacturing base and reviving the country’s trade heritage, while shifting away from “the fictious economy of Wall Street,” which he says is to blame for the ongoing recession.

* Reducing U.S. dependance on foreign energy, which he says has drained the economy and pulled this country into “unnecessary” wars. He said, “We need truly American oil and alternative energy industries, with U.S. government policies in place to protect them.”

* Eliminating the federal income tax, and reducing the size and influence of the IRS, and replacing income taxes with consumption-based taxes.

* Tightening immigration controls to freeze the drug trade.

* Enacting an extreme campaign finance overhaul to reduce the amount of money spent on elections and, by extension, rein in the control money has over the political system. He said: “Ninety percent of the time, the guy who spends the most money gets elected. Or re-elected.”

The odds are long against Hall even making a dent in the presidential chase.

He’s not rich and he doesn’t have the backing of any major corporations.

Which, he says, is exactly the point.

“I’ve had a lot of people who have said to me: If people knew about you, they would vote for you,” he said. “The lefties and the righties and the people in between – they all see that what we’re doing isn’t working.

“Nobody wants to support the loser,” Hall said. “But if enough people vote for the loser, then the loser becomes the winner. And suddenly, everybody wins.”

Here’s hoping third-party candidates such as Hall find a place on the national stage, and opportunities to at least join the debate – before it’s too late.

“It’s for the country, it’s for the kids, it’s for the principles involved,” he said. “Somebody has to do it the right way.”

Chip Minemyer is the editor of The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5091.

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You can learn more about independent presidential candidate Robert Hall at: 2012Campaign  


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