WALLINGFORD — Former presidential candidate Deez Nuts is like a lot of American voters.
He doesn’t like the Republican or Democratic nominee, and has no idea how the country wound up choosing between what some consider two of the most polarizing politicians in recent history.
“I don’t know what happened, because they are probably the two most disliked people they could have picked. Yet, the only two people that were favorable, John Kasich and BernieSanders ...” said Brady Olson, 16, trailing off as he shook his head slowly in disbelief.
“I don’t know what to say about that.”
Olson, of rural Wallingford, made international headlines last year while running for president under the moniker Deez Nuts.
WALLINGFORD | The 15-year-old Iowan running for president as "Deez Nuts" was not happy to be…
The name, swiped from a popular Internet meme, was his 12-year-old brother’s idea.
The highlight was when nearly 10 percent of North Carolina residents contacted by Public Policy Polling said they’d rather vote for Deez Nuts than billionaire businessman Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The memory still brings a grin to his face.
“I got 10 percent,” he said with a shrug.(tncms-asset)f13458e1-b3d8-5071-b06f-c14664f3997e(/tncms-asset)
On Wednesday, almost a year after his candidacy began to make headlines, Olson sat down on a leather sofa in his parents’ living room to talk politics.
The big-screen television on the wall in front of him was set to CNN, on mute. For the most part, Olson was able to not be distracted by the channel’s coverage of the Republican National Convention.
He’s been watching the action pretty closely, but figures the sizzle of the event has dissipated now that the effort to replace Trump as the nominee has been squashed.
“Eh, they’ve got everything worked out,” he said, clearly disappointed. “It’s sad.”
There was some dissention earlier in the week, but no real drama.
“There was just screaming,” he said.
Olson wanted more.
“I was hoping they’d have a roll-call vote,” he admitted.
He has even lower expectations for next week’s Democratic National Convention, predicting it will be “the most boring convention ever.”
“There’s no actual ongoing effort to deny Hillary Clinton the nomination, and even if there was it would fail horribly just like this one did,” he said, of the failed attempt against Trump. “Plus, you look at the people she’s considering for vice president, like Tim Kaine? That’s the safest bet you could take.”
Beyond his upcoming junior year at Graettinger-Terril High School, Olson isn’t sure what his own future holds.
He doesn’t even know who he would vote for, if he were old enough, in November’s general election.
“I’ll probably just stay here and try to not to think about,” he said, “because I don’t like either one of these two.”
If he could, he’d consider voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein or Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente Guerra, who ran for the Democratic domination.
Lamenting the polarization of politics, Olson hopes that he and the rest of America will someday have a broader political spectrum to choose from.
“I think it’s time for a third party that’s in the middle. The parties used to be here, like a Venn diagram,” he said, holding his hands close together. “And then slowly, it’s like a rubber band just getting stretched out so there’s no one in the middle.”
Though he enjoyed the experience, Olson doesn’t plan on reviving the ‘Deez Nuts’ campaign for a second crack at the Oval Office in 2020 — people got over his first candidacy so fast he figures there’s no interest in a second — but does have his eye on another political post.
Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.
The office has long been held by Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, who is expected to roll to an easy victory over Democratic challenger Kim Weaver after handily defeating Sioux City Republican Rick Bertrand in the party primary.
Olson, who is not a fan, is giving King a 9-year heads up.
“If Steve King’s still there and I still live in Iowa by the time I’m 25, I’ll think about it.”