In an unprecedented presidential election between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, very little attention has been paid to Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian candidate for president of the United States, or her running mate, Jeremey “Spike” Cohen, who are polling at less than 2 percent, according to RealClearPolitics’ average. But in an election in which Trump and his team’s connections to extremists and endorsements of their causes have been well documented, it appears that he is not the only person appearing on the ballot in all 50 states with extremist connections.
In a private Boogaloo group chat on the social media platform MeWe, user Zakk Mando shared a photo of Cohen standing next to five men in Hawaiian shirts—the signature uniform of the Boogaloo movement—last Thursday. After sharing the photo, Zakk Mando followed up with a message to the group (some of whom hail from Missouri) a minute later, “Hung out with Spike at Waffle House last night.”
Just two days earlier, Zakk Mando had claimed that he and other Boogaloo bois would work security for “Spike” Cohen.
“Me and my Missouri bois will be working security for Spike Cohen tomorrow. Get your local goons and train. The time.is long gone for shitposting to be effective. If you hsvent found a group of guys you can get face to face with by now, you’re behind the curve and the rest of us think you’re a cosplayer,” he messaged the group.
Cohen had participated in a campaign event at Casa Juarez, a Mexican restaurant near St. Louis, Missouri, on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 21, the same day Mando claims to have served as security for Cohen and hung out with him at the Waffle House.
Right Wing Watch reached out to the Jorgensen-Cohen campaign for comment. We did not receive a response at the time of publication.
The Boogaloo movement is a right-wing militia-style movement that believes a race war, civil war, or revolution is imminent. “Boogaloo” is extremists’ slang for civil war; it’s also referred to by followers as Big Luau, the Big Igloo, or the Bungalow (thus the Hawaiian shirts its members regularly wear). The movement is made up of loosely affiliated groups, and while its ideology is hard to pin down, it has connections to Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups and has more recently embraced right-wing libertarian ideology. Some adherents claim the movement is race-blind, but the movement includes neo-Nazis and accelerationists who are hoping that the protests against racism and police killings following George Floyd’s death “will kick off the boogaloo,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
And it’s not all talk either. A Texas Boogaloo extremist drove to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he helped set fire to a police precinct. Federal agents found that seven of the Wolverine Watchmen militia members who plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and try her for “treason” are tied to the Boogaloo movement.
The particular Boogaloo MeWe group whose members claimed to work security for Cohen have also promoted Jorgensen in their group. When one member of the group posted his filled out ballot but did not vote for Jorgensen earlier in October, two other members were quick to criticize him. Another member posted a link to Jorgensen’s interview with Matt Welch, editor-at-large of the libertarian magazine Reason, on Twitter.
In early June, an adherent of the Boogaloo movement was arrested for murdering two police officers; just days later, Jorgensen appeared on a podcast associated with the movement, The Guardian reported. When The Guardian asked Jorgensen about the podcast and the movement, “Jorgensen declined to specifically repudiate the support of the boogaloo movement.” Jorgensen told The Guardian: “The media tend to lump together peaceful protesters and those who advocate violence, and paint the entire group as being violent. … The boogaloo movement is highly decentralized and comprises both those who are aligned with the principle of nonaggression, and some who run counter to it.”
Cohen himself has defended an adherent of the Boogaloo movement. On Oct. 9, Cohen published a thread in which he defended Mike Dunn, a Boogaloo extremist who was arrested for openly carrying at a park in Newport News, Virginia, where Cohen held a campaign event. (Virginia is an open-carry state, but the city passed an ordinance that guns are not allowed in parks and government buildings.) “This arrest is a reminder that most of the tyranny we suffer on a daily basis is local,” Cohen wrote, ending his thread with #JusticeForMikeDunn.
While the Jorgensen-Cohen ticket may not have a shot at winning the election, their ticket is pulling in about 5 percent of national registered and likely voters, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll from September. That number could have big impacts on the presidential race.
In 2016, Independent candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein took home 3.3 percent and 1.1 percent of the vote respectively. More than 7.8 million voters cast a ballot for someone other than two major party candidates, but less than 80,000 votes in three states (Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania) decided the election in favor of Trump.