Former Presidential Candidate and World Federalist Association President John B Anderson passed away of natural causes in Washington D.C. on Dec. 3 at the age of 95.
Anderson, who served as a Republican in Congress from 1961-1981, ran for President as an independent in 1980 and earned 7 percent of the vote. He ran on a platform that stressed a balanced budget and a 50- cent a gallon gas tax combined with a 50 percent reduction in Social Security taxes. Anderson served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Field Artillery in World War II and later earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1949. He worked for the State Department, as a part of the Foreign Service, from 1952 to 1955. Writer Jim Mason penned a book titled “No Holding Back” on Anderson’s 1980 presidential run. Mason interviewed Anderson several times for the book.
“Anderson’s 7% finish in 1980 has greatly undermined the importance of his presidential campaign,” Mason said. “Even in defeat, it has influenced numerous future candidates. His was the first candidacy to expose how voters would appreciate a new realism in campaigning and demonstrated the interest that exists in candidates who run against politics-as-usual. His campaign reawakened the faith of voters that politics could be more truthful, pure, and honorable.”
The former congressman and presidential aspirant served as president of the World Federalist Association from 1992 to 2003. The WFA fights for a system of world law based around strengthened democratic institutions. In the years after his run for President of the United States, Anderson taught international law at a number of universities.
Anderson compiled an impressive list of accomplishments as an internationalist. He promoted the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, a treaty to create a forum for prosecuting accused war criminals. Anderson was passionately committed to making war illegal. This was grounded in his experience as a World War II veteran. Anderson was haunted by the prospect of nuclear war in a world where nukes are proliferating and where there are no governing institutions to stop it.
The former congressman hated corruption and injustice. Throughout his life, the more he saw of injustice and war, the more committed he became to put his politics in service of world peace. He believed that justice for all can be a reality only when there is universal law that applies to all equally, backed by democratic regional and global institutions with the authority and tools to enforce that law.
Former Salt Lake City (2000-2008) Mayor Rocky Anderson, no relation to John B. Anderson, ran for President in 2012 on the Justice Party ticket. The Justice Party stood for social, environmental and economic justice. Rocky Anderson said he felt John Anderson would have approved of the party’s platform. He also said that he talked with John Anderson before his presidential run. Rocky Anderson was an ardent opponent of the 2003 Iraq war and advocated for the impeachment of President George W. Bush. John Anderson spoke at Rocky Anderson’s inauguration for Salt Lake City mayor.
“He was bright, principled and classy,” Rocky Anderson said. “Everything we are missing in D.C. at this point. I voted for him in 1980 and admired him so much when he served as head of the World Federalist Association.”