The Dark Horse, an independent "candidate" for Ohio Governor, has earned the endorsement of legendary offbeat politician and performance artist Vermin Supreme.
Timothy Grady, the self-described "deeply flawed individual" who created The Dark Horse as a commentary on America's partisan politics, describes his creation as "the next generation Vermin Supreme" and is proud to earn the endorsement of its spiritual forebear.
"Perhaps no one in politics is more of a role model to The Dark Horse than Vermin Supreme," Grady wrote in a press advisory announcing the endorsement. "It is not easy to run an entirely serious campaign focused on substantive and marginalized issues while confronting head on the absurdity of our staid and choreographed political theater. Is this a joke? Are you breaking character? Who is in on the joke?"
On its website, The Dark Horse is described as "an idea, not a person," one that reflects Grady's own interests in economic policy and innovation. He says that he's perfectly willing to hand over the mantle of the Dark Horse to another worthy person, (at which point he would assume the role of campaign manager.)
The Dark Horse may not even earn a spot on the Ohio ballot as a write-in candidate. But victory is not the goal for parodic and performative campaigns such as this one.
"The driving purpose of the Dark Horse campaign is to keep the peace, to lower the temperature, to lower the stakes," wrote Grady. "In a time where political polarization is at an all time high, where violence in the name of political power is ever more tolerated, when the nation is at its most divided since the Civil War, maybe an alternative politics should exist. Serious politics and policy doesn’t hinge on adopting a harsh partisan identity and playing a role. Maybe we stop pretending it does."
The Dark Horse launched its campaign back in August on a platform that included "Little Ohio Flags for All," (inspired, no doubt, by Vermin Supreme's campaign platform to provide free ponies.) The theatrics and symbolism, the Dark Horse says, are purposeful.
"The governorship is a start," it says, "but what we really want is your attention."
Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...