1. Morris the cat
A cat is on the ballot for the upcoming mayoral elections in Xalapa, the capital city of Veracruz, Mexico. The feline, named Morris, is the running with the campaign slogan "Xalapa Without Rats." Corruption is rampant in the city, corrupt politicians are known as "rats," and two residents added domesticated rat predator Morris to the race to make a statement.
One of the students behind the cat's campaign was quoted as saying, "Candidates here almost never fulfill their promises. Our candidate promises to sleep, eat, yawn and play in the dirt and that is what he will do if he wins the election." "CandiGato Morris" — a play on "candidate" (candidato) and "cat" (gato) in Spanish — seems to have reached critical mass, overtaking three out of the four other (all human) candidates with 100,000+ Facebook likes and thousands of Twitter followers.
Nominating a non-human candidate for an elected position is a political strategy others have employed throughout history and around the world for one reason or the other. Here are seven other famous but less than able-bodied nominees, including some who triumphed when the ballots were counted.
2. Incitatus the horse
Roman horse Incitatus was a trailblazer, because his rumored political career is the earliest-recorded case of an animal involved in politics. There is disagreement over the details of the tale of Incitatus, the favored steed of emperor Caligula. In Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Roman historian Suetonius wrote that the leader was planning to appoint Incitatus to consul but died before making it official.
3. Boston Curtis the mule
In 1938, voters in Milton, Wash., nominated Boston Curtis to precinct committeeman in the Republican primary without realizing he was not a human. The city's mayor, a Democrat, had orchestrated Boston Curtis' candidacy as a prank to embarrass the opposing party.
4. Cacareco the rhino
An unexpected candidate was elected to a seat in Sao Paolo's city council in 1959: Cacareco, a 5-year-old rhinoceros inhabiting the local zoo. A group of students was behind Cacareco's successful run, with voters casting their ballots for her to express their dissatisfaction with local politics. The results were declared null and void and Paulistas hit the polls again the following week to cast ballots for a more fitting (human) candidate, but the expression "Voto Cacareco" ("I vote for Cacareco") came to symbolize a protest vote.
5. Tião the chimpanzee
Brazilians have turned to zoo animals on more than one occasion in politics. The fictitious Brazilian Banana Party presented chimpanzee Tião for the Rio de Janeiro mayoral election in 1988. They were careful about choosing their candidate, mindfully picking ornery Tião, who ran with the slogan "Vote monkey, get monkey," for his infamous bad temper. Voters looking to express frustration with politicians duping them once in office earned the chimp third place in the election.
6. Clemente the cartoon
In the midterm and presidential elections that followed Argentina's debilitating economic crash in 2001, many voters opted for the write-in candidate Clemente, a popular but particularly pathetic-looking cartoon character resembling a wingless, armless bumblebee, or featherless bird. His absence of arms was said to represent his inability to rob people, as voters expressed their frustration at what they believed was a dearth of candidates who could properly handle the economic crisis.
7. Ecuadorian foot powder
Pulvapies foot powder company staged an advertising campaign to coincide with municipal elections in Ecuador in 1967. The slogan was "Vote for any candidate, but if you want hygiene, vote for Pulvapies." The foot powder prevailed in the tiny seaside town of Picoaza, and the defeated candidates threatened to sue the mastermind manufacturer.
8. Pigasus the immortal
In 1968, amid high tensions surrounding U.S. politics, the Youth International Party put forth a 160-pound pig, "Pigasus the Immortal," as a U.S. presidential candidate. His platform was a pile of garbage. The Yippies, as they were called, rationalized his candidacy with the idea that elected candidates "eat the people," but this nominee was one the people could eat. Pigasus' entrance in Chicago was dramatic: Police carried the hog off citing a law prohibiting livestock in the city. His handlers — the Chicago Eight (then Seven) — were arrested and hit with charges that included intent to start a riot.