The People's Candidate

Article excerpt

Openly gay presidential candidate David McReynolds doesn't think he'll win--he just wants to spread the word about socialism

You've probably never heard of him, and you may not even be able to vote for him--depending on where you live. But that's OK with 70-year-old David McReynolds.

The openly gay Socialist candidate for president has no grand notions of actually winning his bid for the White House. Instead, McReynolds says, he is using his candidacy to raise awareness of issues ignored by George W. Bush and Al Gore while trying to bring back an air of thoughtfulness to the sometimes misunderstood left wing.

"I could have played the grandfather in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street," says McReynolds, a stark contradiction to the militant lefty popularized by the media.

Involved in leftist politics for more than 50 years, McReynolds has even run for president before--20 years ago. He had no intention of hitting the campaign trail again until a recent influx of young people into the Socialist camp left the party with an age rift; party leaders thought McReynolds was the best person to bridge the divide between young and old. "They felt I could present a nonsectarian position for them," he says.

The candidate, who has lived in the same apartment on Manhattan's lower east side for approximately 40 years, first publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation in 1969 in a magazine dedicated to the peace movement, which was always at the top of his political agenda. …