September 9, 2015
Software pioneer John McAfee (whose life often plays out as if Michael Bay directed a film written by the Brothers Grim) has announced a bid for President in 2016. McAfee hinted his intentions of a 2016 presidential bid to Wired early on Tuesday and within hours The Hill reported that McAfee had filed the necessary paperwork to enter the 2016 race under a “new party”.
This is yet another bizarre twist in a presidential election that as of a few days ago added Larry Lessig, the Harvard Professor and the creator of Creative Commons who is running solely to “fix campaign finance reform.” Although McAfee’s site doesn’t have any information on his stance on issues as of yet, it’s likely that his primary focus will be on government surveillance.
The former Lockheed Martin consultant and founder of the antivirus software now owned by Intel has been very open about his distaste for government surveillance from mass NSA data collection and Police Stingray Spying to his objections that the government has asked Apple and Google to build “back-doors” into their systems to allow government collection of information.
While Lessig’s campaign was started to stay laser-focused on the issue of campaign finance reform. It’s likely that McAfee’s campaign will focus more on his eccentric life, including allegations of drug dealing (denied by McAfee) to allegations of shootouts with police (denied by the police) than on any single policy issue.
McAfee is by no means running as a referendum candidate, but he may be able to act as a lighthouse into the dark corners of government. More than his exploits in Belize, and more than any other candidate, McAfee is a name that means security. At a minimum John McAfee will, much like Larry Lessig, pressure other candidates to seriously discuss major political issues that would otherwise be ignored.
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