Independent presidential candidate Buddy Roemer offered a mix of social and economic platforms aimed at reclaiming American status in a speech before around 40 people at UC Berkeley Tuesday.
Roemer served four terms as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1980s before serving as the governor of Louisiana from 1988 to 1992, during which time he switched to the Republican Party. In his speech at the Goldman School of Public Policy on Tuesday, Roemer emphasized that special interests — like lobbyists and political action committees — are impinging on the operations of government and creating a situation in which money breeds interests. Campaign finance reform, he said, is fundamental to the freedom, sovereignty and transparency of politicians.
“When Goldman Sachs calls, they can talk to a secretary or an assistant, but not to me,” Roemer said, referring to the effect his $100 donation limit would have if he becomes president. “Washington is not just broken. It’s bought.”
He said that while there are problems in American government, foreign trade imbalances are also increasingly threatening. Roemer asserted that China’s national currency, the renmibi, is kept artificially low in value to increase Chinese exports. At the same time, he said, American products are often not accepted into the Chinese market without regulation or delay.
“I’m not a warrior. I’m a fair guy, and I would go to China and say, ‘Let’s level this out,’” Roemer said. “We’re letting them get away with murder, and it ought to be stopped.”
Roemer initially entered the 2012 election as a Republican candidate. But after dismal polling and name recognition as well as no debate invitations from major networks, Roemer left the Republican Party in February for an independent run. Now he is part of the Americans Elect platform, which uses social media and online tools to promote alternative candidacies.
In an interview with The Daily Californian following his speech, Roemer admitted that one of the greatest problems facing his campaign is that many people do not know about his platforms or who he is. But he said he is relying on youth, specifically at universities, to mobilize his campaign.
He said in the interview that many students were encouraged by his sense of optimism about the American economy and future and appreciated his stance on campaign contributions.