Arthur Drew was born in the state of Pennsylvania, in a rural farming and industrial community. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force, where he attended college while stationed in Washington state. He was also deployed for about a year to Vietnam. When his service was finished, he entered the private sector, initially focusing on aviation but eventually settling into the electrical servicing and manufacturing industry, in which he owned his own business.
Running as an Independent, Drew is critical of both Republican and Democratic policies, and he frequently speaks against President Obama's initiatives. He challenges the President's assertion that unemployment has dropped by nearly half since 2009, saying that their calculations flagrantly ignore those who have given up finding a job, and were made entirely for political gain. He also accuses the administration, and for that matter every administration and Congress in recent memory, of having service to corporate sector profits as their one and only goal.
Drew blames the phenomenon of outsourcing for the decline in American employment and the stagnation of domestic wages. He proposes the imposition of penalties on businesses that outsource labor overseas, with an emphasis on ensuring that these penalties cost more than a firm stands to save by shipping the jobs away. He also suggests using lower taxes, reduced interest loans, and other incentives to encourage companies to do business in the United States.
While he is sympathetic to environmental concerns and supports the Environmental Protection Agency's overall mission, Drew criticizes that agency's overly complex regulations, calling them confusing and saying they could leave private land owners unaware of whether they need to seek permits to modify their property. He calls for stronger oversight of the EPA to reduce its bureaucracy and provide clear, simple guidelines.
Drew is cautious on foreign policy, questioning American involvement in the Middle East and specifically against the terrorist group ISIS. He says that President Obama's commitment to help fight that organization will be felt well into his successor's administration, and he cautions that America's military should instead be used to secure the border at home.
Drew's strategy of using tax incentives to stimulate domestic business and industry is a conservative trait, while his support for government agencies like the EPA and his careful approach toward foreign policy are more leftist. As a result, most of his support is likely to be found among those in the center, who avoid politically veering far onto either side of the spectrum.
John Fitzgerald Johnson was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He shares little in the way of his academic history, but he speaks briefly of previous jobs he has held. He is a veteran (of which branch of the armed services is not known), an ordained minister, and an IT Architect. He is also a recording artist, and as founder of the GMJ International Entertainment multimedia company, has produced music for a variety of companies large and small under the stage name “The Real Grandmaster Jay”. He campaigns under the slogan “Only we can fix us”.
Johnson is an ardent civil rights activist who is extremely concerned with racial inequality. He is particularly focused on the issue of police brutality, and is a member of the Black Lives Matter movement. He calls for a mandate that all law enforcement officers be required to wear a body camera capturing footage that cannot be altered or deleted. He also wishes to establish a Federal Special Prosecutor division specifically for the review of all incidents of deadly force used by police, with officers found to have behaved improperly having their cases automatically escalated to federal crimes. Mandatory annual training of law enforcement in deescalation of force, as well as civilian review boards with oversight power over police, are other ideas he champions.
Beyond civil rights, Johnson has permissive views on immigration. While he supports tightening border security to prevent illegal crossings, he emphatically declares that he will not build a wall. He rejects any notion of deporting illegal immigrants currently present in the country (with the exception of criminals wanted in their original nation, whom he says could be welcomed back after being sent home), instead seeking to grant them legal status so that they could work for taxable income. He is an advocate of guest workers' rights, supporting legal representation for such people who may have been abused by their employers, as well as requiring those employers to provide reimbursement for housing, transportation expenses, and workers' compensation.
Johnson supports woman's rights, as well. He wishes to expand funding for Planned Parenthood, provide guaranteed childcare for all Americans, and require employers to provide at least one week of paid leave for mothers whose children fall ill. On the issue of labor generally, he supports twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave for all workers, two weeks of paid vacation, and a minimum wage increase to $18 per hour.
With his decidedly left-of-center political bent, Johnson is likely to find supporters among social liberals, especially those concerned with racial issues. Fiscal liberals would also find little to object to in his platform. Political conservatives are not likely to agree with most of his positions.
Johnson is nothing if not optimistic. On his campaign website, he makes a veiled reference to the accomplishment of President Barack Obama, the first black man to achieve the Oval Office. Johnson displays a picture of himself – also an African-American man – on which he has written the phrase, “Who says lightning doesn't strike twice?”