White House Watch: Young Broward Activist Not Deterred By Age Limit

elijah Manley. Photo via elijah Manley, Facebook

Joe Biden is in – and so is Elijah Manley. The race for the White House has many storylines and one is the wide age gap between candidates. The two most recent entries are a 76-year-old former vice president and a 20-year-old queer activist from Broward County, Florida. 

This is Biden’s third run for president and Elijah Manley’s second.

That’s right, second.

In the face of a constitutional requirement that a person be of age 35 or older to serve as president of the United States, Manley campaigns in nontraditional ways. 

“We have nothing to lose,” he said in a telephone conversation with SFGN on Monday.

A check of the Federal Elections Commission website shows Manley is indeed one of the many candidates who have filed for the country’s highest public office. This cycle, Manley is running as a Socialist.

“I’m to the left of Bernie Sanders,” Manley said.

Manley has carved out positions described as “socially progressive.” He says repeatedly he is not going to win, but yet understands how his campaign can make a difference.

Manley said he intends to speak on issues that are often overlooked in the country’s political dialogue. He said getting a message out to young people is central to his efforts.

“They don’t see anybody their age doing this,” he said, adding. “There’s nothing legally stopping me from doing this. We have nothing to lose.” 

In Broward County, Manley came up short in his 2018 campaign for school board, but did manage to collect 43,000 votesoverall.

“I am a part of the LGBTQ community,” he said.

He also notes the absence of a gay black member of the U.S. Congress is a motivator. Manley has been a vocal advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement and often speaks about police brutality.

One should be careful to dismiss Manley’s candidacy as a shallow publicity stunt considering his training. He has participated in two functions with the United Nations. Manley has met with global youth leaders in South Korea and New York. He talks fondly of Korean candlelight coalitions for human rights and his encounters with diplomats from France and Nigeria.

The Green New Deal, Manley said, “makes sense.”

“It works everywhere else in the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, Biden jumped into the race on Monday in Pittsburgh, declaring he is a “union man.” 

The vice president to Barack Obama said he’s running in 2020 to restore America’s soul, rebuild its backbone and “unify this nation.”

Donald Trump wasted no time in trolling Biden.

“Pittsburgh jobless rate hits lowest point since the early 1970s (maybe even better than that) and Sleepy Joe just had his first rally there. Fact is, every economic aspect of our Country is the best it has ever been!,” Trump tweeted, referencing a report in the local Post-Gazette.

LGBT Field Notes:

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a gay man, has accused South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a gay man, of “pushing a hate hoax” against Vice President Mike Pence. When asked about those charges, Buttigieg told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “I’m not a master fisherman, but I know bait when I see it and I’m not going to take it.”