Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson accepted the presidential nomination of the Justice Party, which he helped launch a month ago, calling for an end to corruption in both parties and "government to the highest bidder."
"If people in the Arab world were able to organize at the grass roots â¦ and overthrow at the risk of their lives the dictatorships in their countries," Anderson said Friday, "we can overthrow the dictatorship of corrupting money on our government."
It was a notly contested nomination, with Anderson the only candidate and the party steering committee awarding Anderson the nod. About 50 supporters attended the announcement at the University of Utah and ate free pizza.
Anderson acknowledged that the political cards are stacked against him, but insisted the country is hungry for change and could shock the system if they embrace his vision.
"Wilder things have happened," Anderson said, "but my view is we absolutely have to do this as a nation and even if we lose, we can have an enormous impact on the future of this country."
The Justice Party is currently on the ballot in Mississippi and gathering the 2,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot in Utah. Anderson said he also may sue to get on the ballot in California or run as the Peace and Freedom Party candidate.
Anderson blasted President Barack Obama, accusing him of lying during his presidential campaign, "shrugging off" war crimes and letting Wall Street swindlers off the hook, and was equally critical of Republican Mitt Romney, who he said has sold out his political positions and has no core beliefs.
Anderson said that, if he is elected, he will reform the criminal justice system, invest in education, implement compassionate immigration reform, respect human and civil rights, dismantle the military-industrial complex, protect the air and water, take steps to stave off climate change and end "wars of aggression."
"A major third-party challenge in this race, speaking straight to the American people can make all the difference, regardless of the result on Election Day," Anderson said.
Anderson cited studies that said Americans are craving a third party and said that the time is ripe to break the "Republican-Democrat duopoly."
Daniel Geery, a former teacher who brought his 3-year-old grandson to the event, was one of those ready for an alternative.
"We're down to, not the lesser of two evils anymore, but just evil," said Geery, who agreed with Anderson's position on most issues but was especially concerned about the deterioration of the environment.
"I think there is a growing disenchantment with the Democrats and Republicans," said Gabe Scalise, a U. student and Anderson supporter. "I don't see why a lot of people wouldn't share the views he described. It would bring equality to a lot of people."