Former three-term South Dakota senator Larry Pressler made news this summer when the Republican-turned-Independent endorsed Hillary Clinton in the wake of the devastating shooting at the Orlando nightclub, Pulse. But his latest book, An Independent Mission to Save Our Democracy, details his political career and his quest for a successful third party. We sat down to lunch with Senator Pressler to find out more about his political perspective, Election 2020, and his new book.
He Is a Republican Who Supports Hillary Clinton
For 2016, he's #WithHer. But come next week, he's got his eye on 2020.
He Tried to Run as a Third-Party Candidate in South Dakota
Senator Pressler was the Republican representative from South Dakota for three terms from 1979-1997. Tired of the shortcomings of a two-party political system and having a change of heart on the issue of gun control, he came out of retirement in 2014 to run as an “Independent-Centrist,” but lost to former South Dakota Governor, republican Mike Rounds. A Mormon and Vietnam veteran, he spends most of his time in Washington lecturing at local universities.
He Wants to Go Beyond the Major Two Parties in the Senate
He’s a member of the Centrists Foundation, whose goal, he says, is to get at least five Independent-Centrists in the Senate.
He Believes Campaigning Early for 2020 Could Land an Independent Candidate in the White House
"Looking into the next cycle of American politics after 2016, I sincerely hope that somebody like Jon Huntsman [would] start right away," says Pressler. "Three years in advance. Run as an independent, and not be coy about it. Say, 'I want to run for president and I’m not going to wait...'" Another key, he suggests, is money. "It almost takes a very wealthy man to do it. It’s a struggle to be in the public life because you’re constantly raising money." If he’d had it his way, Michael Bloomberg would have launched an Independent campaign early in this cycle.
He Wants Voters to Cast Their Ballot for either Clinton or Trump This Tuesday
He does not want you to write in a candidate on Election Day, saying "We’ve got Hillary and Donald Trump of the major parties—responsible citizens have got to figure out who they’re going to vote for and vote."
To learn more about Senator Larry Pressler and his latest book, visit LarryPressler.com.