What sets him apart from all the rest? McCubbins is a cat.
Seventeen-year-old Isaac Weiss filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on behalf of the Feline-American who lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
The political feline even has his own campaign slogan: “Limberbutt McCubbins is a candidate we can all get behind! Meow is the time!”
And while Limberbutt’s owner, 18-year-old Emilee McCubbins, admits starting the campaign was a lark, it’s been getting some serious attention.
Perhaps not realizing the “Demo-cat” is not human, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow mentioned Limberbutt McCubbins in a recent program, while making fun of some of the stranger names on the campaign rolls of the FEC.
With that invitation, people searched for the unusual name, and quickly found the campaign website.
Support has quickly grown on social media: a Facebook fan page has attracted more than 4,500 likes, #MeowIsTheTime became a trending topic on Twitter.
The grassroots effort for Limberbutt has been stronger than for some of the registered human candidates.
The folks at the Tampa Bay Times Politifact began to wonder if a cat could in fact be elected President of the United States of America.
But the rest of the steps necessary to qualify for the nation’s highest office can be a barrier to non-human candidates.
According to the Federal Election Commission, a candidate must raise or spend $5,000 to be considered “official.” But a spokesperson notes the specific language in the election code refers to “individuals,” not animals.
And there’s the question of age; Article II of the Constitution states that “no person” under age 35 who’s not a natural-born citizen can be president.
Limberbutt is only 5. Weiss is certain the Feline-American would be able to leap over such legal hurdles, claiming that Limberbutt is 36 in cat years.
“The Constitution doesn’t say it has to be human years, ” he told the Miami Herald.
And Limberbutt has his own birth certificate scandal, since he is an adopted stray. But Weiss has an answer for that, too: “It doesn’t seem likely that he walked all the way to Louisville from Canada, or Mexico, or swam from Cuba.”
But that may not be enough.
Michael Gilbert, a professor of election law at the University of Virginia, tells PolitiFact he’s “quite sure that any court that considers the matter will interpret the Constitution to require federal officeholders to be human beings.”
And Constitutional law scholar Sarah Duggin of Catholic University points out that the 14th Amendment restricts citizenship to human beings, meaning the Limberbutt McCubbins is constitutionally prohibited from becoming president.
“I suspect that there might also be a strong case for arguing that cats are aliens, and it’s very hard to argue that cats are subject to anyone’s jurisdiction, just kidding,” she added.
So, even if you love cats, it’s unlikely the White House will become a cat house anytime soon.
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