Throwback Thursday: For today’s Throwback Thursday segment, ATPR is travelling back in time to April 26th, 2008, the day when Florida Baptist pastor, columnist and radio host Chuck Baldwin handily won the Constitution Party’s presidential nomination, and Tennessee lawyer and longtime CP activist Darrell Castle likewise trounced his opponents to secure the Constitution Party’s vice-presidential nomination (the runner up to Castle, Scott Bradley, became Castle’s vice-presidential running mate eight years later in the 2016 presidential election).
According to Wikipedia, Baldwin was at first a reluctant candidate:
Baldwin announced on April 10, 2008 that he would seek the Constitution Party presidential nomination at the party’s April 23–26 convention in Kansas City, Missouri. His run was believed to have arisen from draft efforts within the Constitution Party, who feared the party would nominate a pro-Iraq War candidate like Alan Keyes. Until the convention, Baldwin did not campaign and in an April 17 interview with Miller Politics, he stated that he was “not running” but merely placing his name into consideration, “trusting that God will reveal His will accordingly.” 
During the convention, the party’s founder Howard Phillips endorsed Baldwin and gave a passionate speech in which he referred to Keyes as “the Neocon candidate” who “lingered in the Republican Party until a week ago.” 
The results of the voting, also from Wikipedia:
|Constitution Party National Convention presidential vote, 2008|
|Max Riekse (Michigan)||4.5||0.87%|
|Daniel Imperato (Georgia)||1.0||0.19%|
|Susan Ducey (Kansas)||1.0||0.19%|
|Constitution Party National Convention vice presidential vote, 2008|
|Scott Bradley (Utah)||58.0||11.33%|
|Don Grundmann (California)||43.7||8.54%|
|Mad Max Riekse (Michigan)||13.3||2.60%|
|Susan Ducey (Kansas)||8.0||1.56%|
The Baldwin/ Castle ticket went on to run on an platform strongly opposed to globalism, advocating for the end of the Federal Reserve system, taking a hard-line stance against illegal immigration, a no-compromise pro-life stance, support for Second Amendment rights, opposing the Iraq war and supporting a foreign policy of non-interventionism, opposing the Patriot Act and similar measures, and calling for the United States to withdraw from the United Nations. In May of 2008, Baldwin also addressed ongoing public scrutiny of the 9/11 attacks and whether or not there could have been government involvement in the attacks:
“I don’t know whether there was any kind of an inside apparatus involved in this or not… If there’s duplicity involved in some kind of conspiracy, then let’s find out who it is and prosecute whoever’s involved.”
Baldwin’s campaign went on to pick up a few high-profile endorsements, including that of former Indiana congressman John Hostettler, author and columnist Jerome Corsi, radio talk show host Alex Jones, and most notably, on September 22nd, 2008, Baldwin won the formal endorsement of Congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul. Paul had initially given his support to four third party candidates in a September 10th press conference: independent Ralph Nader, Green Cynthia McKinney, Baldwin and Libertarian Bob Barr. However, less than two weeks later, Paul clarified his stance in favor of Baldwin, stating on his Campaign for Liberty website:
The Libertarian Party Candidate admonished me for “remaining neutral” in the presidential race and not stating whom I will vote for in November. It’s true; I have done exactly that due to my respect and friendship and support from both the Constitution and Libertarian Party members. I remain a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and I’m a ten-term Republican Congressman. It is not against the law to participate in more than one political party. Chuck Baldwin has been a friend and was an active supporter in the presidential campaign…
…I’ve thought about the unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate, and he has convinced me to reject my neutral stance in the November election. I’m supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.
(Barr was the only of the four candidates Paul initially endorsed who refused to attend Paul’s press conference at the National Press Club, a situation online bloggers dubbed “Snubgate” and extensively covered by IPR at the time).
On October 23rd, 2008, Baldwin participated in a 90-minute long debate with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, moderated by journalist Chris Hedges and broadcast nationally on C-SPAN. On November 3rd, a day before the election, Baldwin, Barr and Nader sat down for a debate in Cleveland, Ohio which was also televised by C-SPAN.
On Election Day, November 4th, the Baldwin/Castle ticket was on the ballot in 37 states (in 2012 this number would drop to 26 for the Virgil Goode/ Jim Clymer ticket). Baldwin and Castle became the most successful Constitution Party ticket in history by total vote count; the ticket received 199,314 votes, or 0.15% of the vote.
Today, Baldwin lives in western Montana and is the pastor of a non-denominational Christian congregation called Liberty Fellowship which refuses to register as a 501(c)3, tax-exempt group, unlike most U.S. churches. Castle is the 2016 Constitution Party presidential nominee who, in a similar situation to 2008, has garnered some support among libertarians dissatisfied with the Libertarian Party presidential ticket.