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Previously in Web Citations:

Menace to Society

The hype isn't the most annoying thing about the new Star Wars release.

All Crime, All the Time

An online news site gives the people what they want.

Cutting-Edge Coupons

The digital revolution comes to a supermarket near you.

Not Your Father's Antiwar Movement

Are these the new peaceniks? Opposition to Clinton's war has made for some very strange bedfellows.

Someone Who Cares Wants You to Know

As Emily Post might have said, sometimes anonymity is the best policy.

Wheeling and Dealing

It all comes down to this: Would you buy a used (or new) car from these Web sites?

Lifetime Achievement

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) was a filmmaker who kept his distance from Hollywood. His vision appears ever more original -- and lonely.

Modem Bride

Wedding planning made so easy even your mother can handle it.

Be Fruitful and Multiply

When it comes to modern reproductive technology, many are turning to the Web for a helping hand.

See the complete Web Citations Index.

Front Runners
June 9, 1999

Presidential Seal The conventional wisdom these days has it that the "pre-primary" portion of the presidential-election season is already over. This may well be the case: candidates are finding it important to declare their intentions and to jockey for position earlier and earlier. Although election day isn't exactly around the corner, several campaigns are actually well underway -- to the extent, in fact, that one little-known independent candidate, Matthew Smith, has already taken stock of his chances and decided to put his campaign on hold. "The spirit is still very much alive," he said ruefully in a recent announcement explaining his decision, "[but the] campaign is dormant now, and for some very good reasons." Not least of those reasons is how little time remains before the voting begins: only twenty-five years.

Twenty-five years? That's right: the race is on for the presidency in 2024, and there are already plenty of candidates. Herewith, a brief survey of the field as it currently appears online.

Noah Detweiler
"I'm Noah Detweiler, an 11 year-old Democrat from Lexington, MA. I will be running for President in the year 2024, and I hope I can count on your support."

Platform Highlights
Capital punishment ("just plain wrong"), drug use ("focus more on how drug use starts"), gun control ("owning a gun or any other weapon is a privilege, not a right"), school prayer ("I would much rather prefer to have a 'quiet time' than a 'prayer time'").
Adam Jones
Adam Jones "My name is Adam Jones and I am a 17 year old Republican from Michigan, and I am running for the Presidency in 2024.... I have been asked how America can trust someone who has been running for the White House since age 10. My question to them is, how can America not?"

Platform Highlights
Capital punishment ("an effective deterrent against crime when rationally, evenly, and convincingly utilized"), drug use ("those who sell or are caught possessing drugs must be punished to the fullest extent of the law"), gun control ("Guns should not be regulated"), school prayer ("What's wrong with a moment of silence at the beginning of the day?").
Timothy Kistner
"I was born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 13, 1985. I became actively interested in politics on July 29, 1994, when my family and I were given a private tour of the White House by Mrs. Clinton's private secretary. We were allowed to enter the Oval Office and my younger brother and I were given permission to sit in the President's chair. We had photographs taken."

Platform Highlights
Affirmative action ("exactly the type of thing which our country needs"), assassinations ("at certain times the Untied States must take action to kill foreign leaders who threaten to destroy the lives of millions of people"), crime ("We must work to end it, and to do so we should hire more qualified police officers"), elections ("We should hold elections over three days on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to increase turnout").
Chris Peek
"Thank you for coming to my Online Campaign! I know the 2024 elections are 25 years away, but I like the old cliché 'The early bird catches the worm.' ... Out of all the jobs I could choose at my age now, why is it being President? Well besides the fact of being the leader of the free world, being President allows me the opportunity to 'right the wrongs', both in America and around the world."

Platform Highlights
Gun control ("Less Guns in the public=Less violent crimes due to guns"), public schools ("More $$$=Better Schools"), welfare ("set up to help people get back on their feet, not to sit home and collect free money").
Christian Shelton
Christian Shelton "I am a 16 year-old Californian Democrat. I hope I can count on your vote in 2024 and be the first Democratic president elected from California! ... Since the age of 8, I have been politically active and have wanted to serve this great nation through the Presidency.... Until the day I reside in the hallowed halls of the White House, or hold an elected position, I will remain Citizen Shelton, or should I say Patriot Shelton."

Platform Highlights

Drugs ("We need to toughen the light sentencing given to drug pushers and dealers"), gun control ("Through the mixture of stopping the flow of illegal weapons and a gun checking system, the US can look forward to lower crime rates and safer streets"), school prayer ("should never be allowed to occur"), welfare ("doling out welfare checks for life to someone who is able bodied and capable of working is just plain wrong").
Can these candidates keep up their enthusiasm in the years ahead, as the race for the presidency heats up? Do they have what it takes? Have they entered the race at the right time? Have they, one might indeed ask, fully digested the thoughts posted by Matthew Smith at the time of his withdrawal from the 2024 race? "What happens," Smith wrote,
if I nail down 2024 as a date and then, come 2024, I'm in the state house of Representatives, or in the middle of my first term as governor, or still mired on the city council? Not good places from which to launch a successful presidential campaign.... What if the president elected in 2020 turns out to be the best president this country has ever had? I wouldn't want to unseat such a person.... What if the government goes bankrupt in 2010 and the ensuing collapse causes a class war that plunges the country into anarchy? I'd rather be living in St. Lucia.... And what if I decided not to run at the last minute? That would be a very public humiliation, one I can do without.
All in all, it may be too early to tell how things will turn out in 2024. Perhaps it's better just to focus on the 2020 race ...

--Toby Lester

Join the conversation in Post & Riposte.

More on Technology and Digital Culture in Atlantic Unbound and The Atlantic Monthly.

Toby Lester is the executive editor of Atlantic Unbound.
Copyright © 1999 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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