Before there was the wild presidential run of Donald Trump, there was another absurd (albeit much more endearing) campaign by an East Village hippy looking for political greatness. A fun and fascinating recollection by Ephemeral NY tells the tale of Louis Albolafia, a 27-year-old abstract expressionist artist, nudist, and the first person to establish a runaway shelter and hotline in New York, who ran on the “Love” party ticket. Though Albolafia was obviously not the term winner (that title goes to Richard Nixon), he did get a considerable number of write-ins during the race.
As Empheral shares, he was a nudist who came up with the slogan “What Have I Got to Hide,” his catchphrase paired with a nude illustration of him covering his privates with a bowler hat.
At the “love-in” that kicked off Albolafia’s ’68 campaign, he addressed the crowd with these words: “In running for the Presidency I’m trying to bring about a world unity. We should be a country of giving and giving and giving. The way we’re going now, we’re all wrong. We could be giants; we should be 10 times above what the Renaissance was.” According to the New Yorker, the event also had a “banana concession for people who want to get high smoking bananas.”
Amazingly, Albolafia received quite a few votes, earning an impressive 300,000 write-ins. He even appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” But alas, none of it was enough to beat Nixon. And, in any case, you had to be (and the law still stands today) 35 years old to be president anyhow. Albolafia was eight years short.
[Via Ephemeral NY]
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Neighborhoods : East Village