Have you ever looked into a the soulful eyes of a dog or the steely, merciless peepers of a shark and thought, “I would follow you anywhere, if only you would lead.” Sometimes, they’ve done just that. We’re going to take a look at the best animals ever to hold, or run for, public office. Get ready to lay some newspaper down on the seat of power, because not all candidates are housebroken.
1. Incitatus Did It First
Man, the Romans get to everything first. Or do they? There are all kinds of rumors about Incitatus, the infamous Caligula’s favorite horse. We’re not sure whether Incitatus was made a Senator, was soon to become a consul when Caligula was killed, or was only a rumor created by Caligula’s enemies. Whatever his status, he unquestionably ran on the popular, “Support me and you won’t be killed,” ticket – which had worked so well for humans both before and after. What isn’t in question is the horse lived the life of the kind of Roman who wouldn’t have a problem running for office. He was said to have a marble stable, a full complement of servants, and eat oats mixed with gold flakes. People would be invited to dine at the horse’s house. Some people see the elevation of Incitatus (historians first thought it was an a historical truth rather than rumor because the horse wore dress patterned on that of a consul), as a mark of madness in Caligula. Others say that he was only making a satirical point as to how useless and demoralized the actual assembly was. Either way, Incitatus is perhaps the most famous non-human government official.
2. Pigasus the Immortal Will Let You Eat Him
The most famous American animal politician has to be Pigasus the Immortal, who was brought to the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The Yippies, Youth International Party, endorsed Pigasus as their candidate, one the grounds that usually candidates were elected and ate the people, but this candidate would be elected and then eaten by the people. That, they maintained, was the only difference between their candidate and any other in the United States. Pigasus might have been able to run for office (both dogs and cats have run since then) but he was not allowed to be walked around the streets of Chicago, because he was technically livestock. Pigasus was taken to an Anti-Cruelty Society pen. His handlers were taken to jail. The entire brouhaha surrounding the 1968 convention ended up with the infamous Chicago Eight (and then Chicago Seven) being tried.
3. Not that Lucy Lou
Not all animals have as hard a political row to hoe as Pigasus. Lucy Lou (note the different spelling) ran for the position of mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. This might have been novel in some other town, but in Rabbit Hash, an animal had a better chance than a human. The precious mayor was a black lab, and Lucy was running against dogs, cats, a mule, and an opossum. Lucy became Mayor Lou when she got 8,000 votes. The single human running for mayor dropped out of the race on Election Day with what had to be a bit of a sour concession speech. The other animals dealt with the blow as best they could.
4. Tuxedo Stan is Noble in Defeat
The trick to a successful animal campaign is to keep it free of “issues.” Tuxedo Stan, a medium-haired tuxedo cat, very recently made a brave run for mayor of Halifax by trying to keep the focus on Halifax’s problem with feral cats. Spay and neuter services are few, and not many residents have taken advantage of them, leading to a huge explosion of homeless cats. A noble cause, but a bummer. Tuxedo Stan got a further setback when Anderson Cooper endorsed his candidacy on Anderson Cooper 360 on September 24th of this year, making Tuxedo Stan only the second cutest thing associated with his own campaign. Although he and his campaign managers, Hugh and Kathy Chisholm, ran a dedicated campaign, Mike Savage swept the mayoral election as of October 20th.
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