See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Another Dem named Lyndon 

A group of Democrats — including two former state legislators from Detroit, a state rep from Kalamazoo, a handful of leaders from union locals and a few county-level party officials — wants to know why state party leaders aren’t allowing perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche onto the Michigan ballot.

A better question might be: Why in the hell would anybody be supporting a LaRouche candidacy? The guy has run for president eight times, with one of those runs hampered by the fact that LaRouche was confined to a federal prison cell, where he was serving time for tax evasion, mail fraud and conspiracy. Over the years, LaRouche’s politics have careened from the far left to the other end of the political spectrum, with critics at one time or another pegging him as everything from a Marxist to a Mussolini-style fascist.

In 1989, in an exposé produced for the nonprofit group Political Research Associates, writers Chip Berlet and Joel Bellman described LaRouche as the “Elmer Gantry of American politics, mixing equal parts of cynical con and fanatic fervor.” They added: “LaRouche’s political ideology is authoritarian. His view of history is paranoid. His economic theories are similar to Italian Fascism. His conspiratorial views are laced with racial and cultural bigotry and a large dose of anti-Jewish hysteria.”

Others have simply described LaRouche as a “brilliant nutcase.”

So why is LaMar Lemmons, an African-American former state legislator from Detroit, urging state Democratic leaders to put LaRouche on the ballot for the upcoming caucus?

“I have been following Mr. Larouche’s publications for about two or three years,” says Lemmons, who sees the candidate as an FDR-style New Deal Democrat. Lemmons first learned about LaRouche from Ed Vaughn, another former state legislator from Detroit who is also urging his party to include the candidate on the ballot. Lemmons says he did his own research into LaRouche’s past and that “I could not find anything of real substance showing that he is anti-black or anti-Semitic.”

The state Democratic Party, following the lead of national party chairman Terry McAuliffe, is refusing to put him on the ballot for a variety of reasons. For one thing, as an ex-felon, LaRouche is unable to register to vote in his home state of Virginia. So, technically speaking, he’s not a registered Dem. Also, his past positions are simply too extreme. According to Mark Brewer, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, the party is under no obligation to accept someone as a candidate just because they choose to call themselves a Dem. “We have the right to determine who’s on the ballot.”

Someone might find it ironic that, according to the most recent information posted on the Center for Responsive Politics Web site, LaRouche has raised more money than Wesley Clark, Dennis Kucinich, Carol Mosely Braun or Al Sharpton. Brewer calls that fact irrelevant.

Lemmons is calling the Michigan Dems, well, undemocratic.

“I think it is dangerous to suppress ideas … to exclude someone from the process is un-American,” says Lemmons.

Maybe LaRouche can follow the lead of Ross Perot and start his own party. We’re not sure what it should be called, but we have the perfect mascot in mind: a chameleon. Send comments to

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 25, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2020 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation