Campaign 2000: The Elvis National Party, Part I: Elvis Announces Running Mate
GRACELAND, TN — A throng of party loyalists crowded the front steps of the Graceland Mansion today as Elvis Jerome Presley announced his choice for vice president on the Elvis National Party ticket. With a large smile and a generous flourish of his white silk cape, presidential hopeful Presley named California State Senator Ron Calhoon as his number two. Calhoon had topped Presley's fabled short list for months, so the nomination was hardly a surprise, though the decision was frowned upon by party hard-liners. Although Calhoon is serving in the highest elected office held by anyone in the Elvis party, he is seen as a black sheep, shying away from donning the jumpsuits and sequins worn by many of the party's old guard.
Sen. Calhoon delivered a brief prepared speech in the Graceland rose garden wearing a conservative three button suit, large round sunglasses, and a pompadour. "It is with great honor and profound humility that I accept this invitation to be the next vice president of the United States of America! I know that together we can make a difference," said Calhoon. Calhoon claims that the Elvis party offers the voters of this country something different, and that the country is ready for a change. "How many times," said Calhoon, "are we going to need to endure the humiliation of shamed government officials before we as Americans can stand up and be proud of the people we elect to public office?"
The selection of Sen. Calhoon was widely seen as the best way to balance the Elvis ticket. Shirley Hales of the Center for American Politics, a Washington, D.C., thinktank, said, "Mr. Presley's views on gun control and foreign trade policy — particularly with Mexico — are widely known. And although very popular within the party, they are seen as somewhat unyielding to undecided voters. Sen. Calhoon's more moderate stands will soften the Elvis party image, making it more palatable to the wide range of swing voters, from Soccer Moms to Generation E, who will ultimately determine the outcome of this election."
Elvis Jerome Presley, a nephew to the performer and party namesake Elvis Aron Presley, denies rumors that he chose to announce his running mate so soon after Democratic hopeful Al Gore to steal the limelight away from his fellow Harvard alum. "We had put off this announcement as long as we deemed necessary. Our decision had nothing to do with what has been going on in other parties," said Presley.
Campaigning began immediately after the announcement and a brief luncheon, with Presley and Calhoon both boarding the busses that will take them on their whirlwind tour through the eastern U.S., ending at the party convention in Miami. As they waved from the open bus windows, hands heavy with thick gold rings, the party loyalists present cheered and shouted, "Wait for Miami!" Said one Elvis impersonator who had come from Ohio to witness the event, "I think that the naming of Senator Calhoon was a healing gesture within our party. The time for change had come. This could be our year and we all know it." Meanwhile, Elvis party members everywhere are watching the polls, waiting for Miami.
[Continue to Part II.]