In 2000, four-time US Presidential Candidate Gus Hall died on this day at Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan, New York. Hall led the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) since 1959 when he had also received the Order of Lenin.
Childhood Mentor by Eric Oppen & Ed.He ran for president four times, in 1972, 1976, 1980, and 1984, the last two times with Angela Davis. Due to the great expense of running, the difficulty in meeting the strenuous and different election-law provisions in each state, and the difficulty in getting media coverage, it was decided that the CPUSA would suspend running national campaigns, while continuing to run candidates at the local level (a policy decision that would remain in effect until 2008).
Whilst comrades deeply respected Hall for serving as leader until his death, it was universally agreed that a breakthrough was required for the CPUSA. A sharp change in direction was offered by a self-styled "skinny guy with a funny name". Because in his biography "Dreams of my Childhood Mentor" Barry Obama described how his mother met the revolutionary communist intellectual Frank Marshall Davis during his early years in Hawaii. Davis influence would steer him away from his failed law studies towards his eventual leadership of the CPUSA, a path Obama would describe as "Walking a straight line in a crooked world".
"Walking a straight line in a crooked world"His elevation to leadership took the CPUSA to a new level, enabling Obama to credibly run as a third party candidate for the Presidency in 2008. Deeply concerned that he would split the left-wing bloc vote, President John F. Kerry would threaten Obama with indictment under the Alien Registration Act, a fate which had also befallen Hall who had spent eight years at Leavenworth Prison for his advocacy of Marxist thought.
The Act was proposed by Congressman Howard W. Smith of Virginia, a Democrat and a leader of the "anti-labor" bloc of Congressmen to legislate against war-time traitors who sought to "to teach and advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government by force and violence". President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Act during 1941. alongside his own Executive Order 9066 ("Japanese American internment") which called for the forcible relocation and internment of approximately 110,000 Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans to housing facilities called "War Relocation Camps", The Smith Act was still on the books in 2008, presenting an opportunity for a desperate President to win a second term, beating his more charismatic contestant by fair means or foul.