Elijah Manley is no ordinary young 20-year-old undergraduate student at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, southern Florida. He is, in fact, running for the American presidency in 2020 as a nominee for the Socialist Party of the United States of America (SPUSA). Although the age of any presidential candidate must be 35 years old or order, Manley is the youngest person to run for the highest office in the land and is officially filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Manley said that he personally decided to run for the office, with no intention of winning the election, because of the multiple candidates running in the Democratic Party presidential primaries who have little to no platform to run on. Manley, who is also a member of the Green Party since the SPUSA permits dual party membership, also wanted his own platform to focus on the younger generations impacted by a wide variety of economic, political, social, and environmental inequalities.
This is not the first time Manley has been involved in politics. Growing up in a lower income family household in southern Florida, Manley wrote letters to his political representatives and worked on various political campaigns as well as became an activist during the majority of his youth. By the time he graduated from Fort Lauderdale High School, Manley decided to turn his personal grassroots experiences into action when he ran in 2018 to become a school board member for the Broward County Public Schools at the age of 19 years old. Although he lost, Manley continued to stay politically active.
When asked about why public opinion support for a major third party is high, Manley said that ordinary people are dissatisfied with the two major political parties over their disconnection from the voters and believes that a third party could become a “caravan for change” in order to improve lives. Manley also believes that the future of the progressive left in the United States can be a people-powered coordinated effort through grassroots social organizing in local communities as well as running electorally through the Democratic Party, a third party, and or as a non-partisan independent.
As for advice for young people who want to run for office or get politically active, Manley said to be yourself as an individual and that you do not have to respond to everything so that way there is more focus on outreach as well as a platform.
Manley is running on a progressive platform that includes a living wage, universal healthcare, a Green New Deal, a non-interventionist and non-militarist foreign policy, and a progressive tax system.
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