In 1980, John Anderson was briefly a viable third party presidential candidate so it made sense that Marvel would come up with a storyline in which a group of activists attempt to convince Captain America to make a third party bid of his own. When The Daily Globe broke the news that Captain America was being courted by the New Populist Party, both the Democrats and the Republicans offered to nominate him. The Beast offered to be his campaign manager. (Imagine that!) The Wasp said that Captain America was the people’s choice. Iron Man warned that the red tape would get frustrating while the always logical Vision argued that, other than having a patriotic spirit, Captain America knew nothing about politics and international relations.
As a patriot, Captain America was tempted though, in typical Marvel fashion, his actual positions were kept vague. Ultimately, Cap turned down their offer because he felt that it was important that he remain above the pettiness of partisan politics. Captain America was meant to protect all the people of America, regardless of whether they voted for Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, John Anderson, Ed Clark, Barry Commoner, or even Gus Hall!
(In the end, the activists approached the wrong Avenger. Despite what he told Cap, Iron Man would have done it in a heartbeat.)
A later issue of What If… revealed that, if Captain America had run, he would have easily been elected President. Then, he would have been assassinated because almost every issue of What If… ended with everyone dead. It’s a good thing he didn’t run. By not running, he not only saved his own life but he also set a precedent that has kept a countless number of super powered individual from taking the plunge into electoral politics. It didn’t stop J. Jonah Jameson from running for mayor of New York but I doubt anything could have.
Could Captain America win the election if he ran today? As a fictional character who has a history of making questionable decisions and who is now over a hundred years old, it’s doubtful. Despite what happened in What If, it was probably just as much of a lost cause in 1980. If Howard the Duck couldn’t beat Carter and Ford in 1976, it’s doubtful Captain America could have beaten both Reagan and Ed Clark in 1980. Still, who better to rebuild America than America himself?
Captain America Vol. 1 No. 250 (October, 1980)
- Writer(s) Roger Stern, Don Perlin, Roger McKenzie, Jim Shooter
- Penciler(s) John Byrne, Ed Hannigan
- Inker(s) Josef Rubinstein
- Colorist(s) George Roussos
- Letterer(s) Jim Novak
- Editor(s) Jim Salicrup, Bob Budiansky
Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:
- Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance”
- The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
- Crisis on Campus
- “Even in Death”
- The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
- Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
- Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
- Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe
- The Death of Dr. Druid
- To All A Good Night
- The First Appearance of Ghost Rider
- The First Appearance of Werewolf By Night
- Captain America Punches Hitler
- Spider-Man No More!
- Alex Ross Captures Galactus
- Spider-Man And The Dallas Cowboys Battle The Circus of Crime
- Goliath Towers Over New York
- NFL SuperPro is Here!
- Kickers Inc. Comes To The World Outside Your Window