John B. Anderson’s Quest
It was September 21st, 1980, and The white-haired fox John B. Anderson stood on the podium, ready for the first Presidential debate against Ronald Reagan. That man had already beaten him once, in the Republican Primary. And he would beat him again, he knew. John polled at just fifteen percent; the race was between Carter and Reagan. It was a lost cause, but not one he could abandon. He needed to use this… this terrible election with two subpar choices, with a discontent American people and an opening for a third party… an Independence Party, maybe… that could break the hold of the two-party system and free America from the political strife and corruption that had plagued the country for a decade.
The Moderator Bill Moyers approached the stage, and Ronald stepped onto his own podium. John knew it was almost time to–
John B. Anderson now stood in a fairly large room that looked like some senator’s office. On top of the main desk was what looked like a fancy television screen, displaying a static image with text underneath. Several unfamiliar figures, four older men and one woman, sat on the sofas in front of the desk. All of them looked at John with excited gazes.
“We’ve been expecting you,” one of them said.
“I… Is this some trick by the Carter campaign?” he asked. Where was he? What was going on?
“No,” the woman said. “We’ve brought you here, forward in time.”
“Come, sit down.”
One of the men got up and spun around the television screen to face them. He began touching the screen, and it scrolled along with him. What kind of technology did they have? This had to be some sort of Soviet trickery… the screen now showed an ugly man with orange hair and skin.
“This man, Donald Trump, is the winner of the 2016 Republican Primaries,” the man said. It was 2016? No way; they wouldn’t still have been using chairs and desks that far into the future. “Do you know of him?”
“Uh, no, I’m not familiar. Can I go?”
The men and woman all looked at each other. “Does he… I don’t think he knows who we are,” he said. “We should introduce ourselves.”
“I’m Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York, business mogul, and 8th-richest man in the world.”
“I’m Jon Huntsman Jr, former Governor of Utah and former Ambassador to China.”
“I’m Susan Collins, a Senator from Maine.”
“I’m George Pataki, three-term Governor of New York and… well, I was a candidate in 2016 as well.”
“And I’m Bill Nelson, Senator from Florida.”
All of them stood up to shake John’s hand. “We’re such a fan of your work,” Huntsman said. “We look up to you and the work you did on FairVote.”
“What’s FairVote?” John asked.
“Uh… nevermind. You haven’t founded it yet.”
Yet… Was he really in the future? But… why?
“We came to ask for your help,” Bloomberg said, seemingly answering John’s inner thoughts. “You must succeed where we all failed.”
“What?” John was still extremely confused.
“We want you to help us create the Independence Party and defeat Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in November. Your current self is too old for the job, and his Justice Party never took off. But you… your lasting legacy on the two party system is something we have to take advantage of.”
“My… lasting legacy? What did I do?”
“You failed spectacularly and got less than ten percent of the vote, showing that voters will not vote for a third party unless there is no other alternative.”
There was a knock on the office door, and a short, impish man walked into the door. He shook John’s hand as well. “Graham. Lindsey Graham,” the man said. “I’d like to welcome you to 2016.”
“I have some questions about what exactly your goals are with me. Why do you want me to run for President and create a third party?”
“Because we hate the main two candidates and need someone to vote for that does not represent the ideological extremes, and that can act as a true centrist candidate for Americans to support. We’ll get you on the ballot in at least 40 states. You just have to do the campaigning.”
“But if I lost in 1980, then why do you…”
“We want you to lose again.”
Lindsey patted John on the back. “Go out there at get’em, tiger.”
John B Anderson won the election with 63% of the vote that November, coming twenty-nine points ahead of second-place candidate Gary Johnson.