Jerome Segal, a philosopher and progressive activist, announced Wednesday that he is running for president as the nominee of a party he created — the socialist Bread and Roses party, which Maryland certified this year.
That means Segal, a 75-year-old Silver Spring resident, will appear on the Maryland ballot for the 2020 election. He and his nascent party are trying to qualify for the ballot in other states, he said.
Segal, who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Ben Cardin in the Democratic primary last year, said he does not “have any fantasies about actually being president” but wants third parties to have a larger role on the national stage. State officials certified the Bread and Roses party in January.
“This is really about ideas and about adding something to the current political discourse that is lacking,” Segal said in an interview ahead of his announcement. He said he doesn’t know how many people identify as members of Bread and Roses, but he noted that he gathered about 15,000 signatures on his petition for the state to recognize it as a political party.
Segal, who last year sold his stock in Apple to finance more than $250,000 in newspaper ads that called him “Maryland’s Bernie Sanders,” said he thinks the Democratic Party is too focused on finding short-term solutions to existing problems, rather than thinking more broadly about cultural changes. Segal, the author of a book titled “Graceful Simplicity,” said he wants Americans to have more free time to spend with their families and less time at work.
He said that part of his platform is that every citizen should have “a legal right to employment” and that he would also look to shorten the workweek and require paid vacation.
“This is an extraordinarily wealthy society, and we have missed our potential,” Segal said. “We are a society that is anxious and competitive, and there is a resistance to equal opportunity. . . . Our vision is of a society that has more winners.”
The Bread and Roses party takes it name from the famous labor strike of 1912 by immigrant textile workers in Lawrence, Mass.
He said that despite some disagreements with the Democrats running for president, he shares their desire to replace President Trump and does not plan to campaign in swing states, where it might cut into votes for Trump’s opponent.
“We are not going to be a spoiler,” Segal said of Bread and Roses.
He said he differs from the mainstream Democratic Party on foreign policy, including the belief that the United States should immediately recognize the Palestinian territories as a state and support its admission to the United Nations.
Segal, a longtime critic of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, said the United States should cut funding for Israel if the country annexes the West Bank. Segal condemned the Trump administration’s opening of a U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and said he would support recognizing a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.