Jeremiah Pent was born in Arlington, Texas, and raised in Fort Worth. After graduating from high school and marriage, he and his family moved several times around the country, and currently reside in Pennsylvania. He briefly studied at Texas Christian University, but would eventually earn his Masters Degree (in Divinity) from the Westminster Theological Seminary. Professionally, he is an entrepreneur, having founded and run several businesses in a number of industries including agriculture and toy manufacturing.
Pent speaks in broad terms of the need to address the social and economic issues facing the US. He believes the biggest problem currently plaguing the nation is its own lack of unity, and that all other challenges can more easily be overcome if the divisions between religious and ethnic groups can be ameliorated. Other than admitting that this will be a difficult (but achievable) task, however, he offers few specifics on how it might be accomplished. Economically, he favors a balanced budget, advocating the maintenance of a federal government that operates within its means just as, he says, average American families must do. He believes this goal can be reached through middle class tax cuts and a careful restructuring and streamlining of the government's operations.
Pent is particularly preoccupied with the American educational system and its importance to the nation's children, and speaks at length of ensuring that schools are staffed by competent teachers able to properly guide and instruct their students. Once again, however, he is sparse on describing any specific changes which he feels should be made to or by the schools.
An independent candidate, Pent worries over the stark dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats, and claims that these two parties collectively represent only about a third of the American population. He points out the fact that George Washington, the nation's first President, was himself an independent, and that many Presidents immediately following him also did not formally belong to any political party. Concerned about the influence wielded over politicians by wealthy donors, Pent has pledged to accept campaign contributions only from individuals, not rich supporters who act through Political Action Committees and super PACs.
Due to Pent's reluctance to discuss his specific policy ideas, it is difficult to evaluate which voting demographics would be most likely to support and oppose him.
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?”