California has a reputation for electing unusual candidates, and it appears the 2016 congressional race will offer another chance.
Twenty-eight-year-old Marvin “Knife” Sotelo entered the race on Thursday, making his announcement in the back room of a cafe in Cal State Long Beach. His resume cites experience as a dietary aide, musician and mixed martial artist, and most recently as a film producer, and satanic priest.
In fact, Sotelo is running under the banner of the Grassroots Party, an organization that was created in 1986 to oppose drug prohibition. The party shares many of the political leftist values of the Green Party of the United States but with a greater emphasis on marijuana/hemp legalization issues.
While his claims might stir up some fear, the candidate says those who share his religious beliefs are misunderstood. “We take the name Satan in concept only. Any other connection is thrust upon us by anxious, ignorant, and/or misinformed people.”, Sotelo said.
When asked by a reporter, “Is it true you’re a gangster?” The candidate replied “Yes, I am.” He claims that he might as well be honest about his lifestyle before someone starts any type of smear campaign against him.
Sotelo insists he wants to be taken seriously, and offers up a 4-point platform that details his stance on everything from tax relief for farmers, to education, and drugs on his official website.
The biggest eye opener, and the one that challenges his credibility, is the candidate’s plan to deal with certain criminals. The self professed satanist says instead of imprisoning those who steal information and proprietary innovation but also not limited to murderers, rapists, and other dangerous offenders, he would have them all shipped out to private prisons for his own financial gains. “When the government does things in secret, it’s probably committing a crime. When a whistleblower gets sent to prison while the criminals are not punished, our nation loses an important piece of itself,” Sotelo says. “I feel any terrorist, or any criminal who violates the rights of an innocent person gives up their rights under the constitution for protection.”
The long-shot prospect of a satanic congressman doesn’t seem to faze people in his hometown of East Los Angeles. “I know he raps”, admitted one lunch customer at the George’s Greek Café.
Another objected to Sotelo’s satanic stance, and his voiced opposition of the Catholic God. “Sure, there’s gonna be some people who vote for him and I wish him the best of luck, but I just hope and pray those good folks who are out there taking their vote seriously would look at candidates of ‘any’ of the other sides, that they know are gonna uplift their neighbors”, opined Jeffrey Carson, the director of operations of Run For America.
Others dismissed the candidacy as a publicity stunt, or a harmless diversion. “Do you think California is ready for a congressman who is a satanist?” a reporter asked Nena Alvarada. “It depends on what his views are,” she replied with a hearty laugh.