The presumptive major-party candidates for president are setting records for unpopularity, leading many voters to search for a choice not named Trump or Clinton.
Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson has reached a party record 13 percent in the polls. Green Party candidate Jill Stein, an anti-Israel Jewish physician who has offered the top of the ticket to Sen. Bernie Sanders, is getting 5 percent in four-way polling.
Now an observant Jew from Dunwoody has launched a long-shot presidential campaign, hoping to win at least 270 electoral votes as a write-in candidate.
But Marc Urbach is not joking around. He’s not trying to make a statement about the nation’s two-party system, nor is he hoping just to raise certain issues.
Urbach acknowledges that a write-in campaign has a tiny chance for success, but he seems sincere in his belief that there is a chance.
“I think I have a shot if I can get Donald Trump in a debate for 30 minutes,” he said in an AJT interview a week after he announced his candidacy during a call-in appearance on a Denver radio show July 7.
Asked why Trump would ever debate him, Urbach smiled and said, “Well, that’s the thing.”
If you’re looking for a candidate who can claim the middle ground between Trump and Hillary Clinton, Urbach probably isn’t your guy.
“The Tea Party has found their man,” reads a press release about his campaign. Urbach, a former history teacher in Gwinnett County public schools who worships at Congregation Ariel, calls himself a constitutional patriot and aims to win the support of “the biggest party of all, the American Party.”
Urbach is no fan of the current occupant of the Oval Office, whom he blames for causing a 280 percent increase in war deaths and a 350 percent increase in wounded troops in 2009 by changing the rules of engagement in Iraq.
“I don’t believe Barrack Hussein Obama is mentally competent to hold office,” Urbach said.
He said an appearance outside Independence Hall on the Fourth of July persuaded him to launch his quixotic quest. Because of nearby festivities, he spoke to a sparse crowd, but he said the patriots were impressed by his knowledge of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and urged him to run.
Anyone, of course, can issue a statement announcing a write-in candidacy for president. But Urbach said he is devoting 15 hours a day and what money he has to back up his words with action. He is contacting state governments to see what, if anything, he needs to do to have write-in votes for him counted in November, including in Georgia, and he has an agent booking him on radio shows to get his name out there.
The Pittsburgh native and University of Florida graduate, who’ll turn 49 in August, is a critic of open-door immigration, especially from the Muslim world, and wants to fire everyone in the Office of Refugee Resettlement. In an echo of a longtime Republican threat, he also vows to close the Education Department. He hopes for a test case in court to restore school prayer, and he aims to institute either a flat tax or a simple tax.
But Urbach is no big-business Republican. He said one of this country’s major problems is that top executives are hoarding money and paying their employees oppressive wages, contravening biblical directives.
His belief in a return to the documentary foundations of the United States, including Judeo-Christian principles, inspired him to self-publish a book last August called “Believe: Do We Need a Third Great Awakening?”
His answer is in his campaign slogan: “Return America to righteousness.”
“We’re living in the greatest country in the world,” Urbach said. But “we have pockets of sin all over the place.”