Longtime leader of the Prohibition Party, Earl Dodge, Jr., was born in Malden, Massachusetts on December 24, 1932. He joined the Party at age 19. Later, he became chair of the Party in 1979. It was while the party was operating under the name of the National Statesmen Party. It re-instated the Prohibition Party name after the 1980 election.
The Party was created in 1867 to bring about prohibition. It was an important force in US politics during the late 1800s and the early decades of the 20th century. The Party is the oldest “third party” in the US. It has nominated a candidate for president of the US in every election since 1872.
Earl Dodge was the Party candidate for vice-president of the U.S. in 1976 and 1980. He then became its candidate for the presidency in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004.
Learn about these other Party candidates.
Dodge posted a Party website which also promoted sales from “Havel’s House of History.” To what extent Earl Dodge benefitted from this arrangement is not known. He had reportedly avoided paying Social Security taxes on his income from the Party by routing it through the National Prohibition Foundation, which he controlled.
Dodge received substantial Party funds to build an addition onto his house for use as the Party office. Indeed, the office was moved into his house. But the only “addition” the building inspector could find was a portable tool shed in Dodge’s back yard.
The Party historian is James Hedges. He reported that Dodge had “amassed a notable personal hoard of political Americana, with an emphasis on Prohibition Party material.” Money to develop this was provided by the Prohibition Trust Fund Association. However, in 2004, the Trust Fund withdrew its support for lack of a satisfactory accounting from Dodge.
Historian Hedges noted that the American Political Items Collectors organization refused to renew Dodge’s membership. It did so sometime before 1995. That was after several members alleged that Dodge had visited their homes. They said he distracted them and took some of their possessions. He was no longer allowed into display areas at the meetings.
The Party’s treasurer of ten years, Earl Higgerson, resigned. That’s because he said Dodge refused to let him, the treasurer, see the Party‘s account books. He also said Dodge refused to let him see the list of donors or sign a check card at the bank. Nor learn what actions Dodge may have taken in his name as treasurer.
Higgerson reported that Dodge controlled another financial operation in addition to the Party. It was the National Prohibition Foundation. When he asked about it, Dodge reportedly told him that it was “none of your business.” Dodge’s daughter then replaced Higgerson as Treasurer of the Party.
There were growing concerns that Earl Dodge badly mismanaged the Partisan Prohibition Historical Society. As well as the National Prohibition Foundation. As a result, directors took over the Society in 1997 and the Foundation in 2001.
Dodge held an invitation-only meeting at his home. Then he claimed that it was the lawful nominating convention of the Party.
A majority of the members of the Prohibition National Committee called a public meeting. Then they unseated Dodge as chair of the Party. The Prohibition National Committee then ran Gene Amondson as its presidential candidate. But Earl Dodge also ran. He claimed that he was the legal and rightful candidate of the Party.
Dodge and his group of followers left the historic Party and created another. They named it the “National Prohibition Party.” It was incorporated in Colorado in late 2003. In the 2004 election, Dodge received 140 votes. Amondson got 1,944.
In an interview with Reason magazine, Earl Dodge conceded that “immediate prohibition today is impracticable: ‘There’d be no point in enacting a law without majority support because you couldn’t enforce it, and drinking is an ingrained practice in America.’ So while ‘prohibition is the ultimate answer, in the meantime we favor education’ and the semi-prohibitionist steps advocated by groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving.'”
Earl F. Dodge never succeeded in winning a political race. He died on November 7, 2007. His obituary was in the New York Times and other newspapers.
Earl Dodge Candidacies
- 1954 – Massachusetts Governor’s Council – 5,459 votes
- 1956 – Massachusetts Secretary of State – 10,030 votes
- 1958 – Kosciusko County Commissioner, Indiana
- 1959 – Winona Lake IN Council – 42%
- 1960 – U.S. House (IN-2) – 553 votes
- 1966 – US Senate from Kansas – 9,364 votes
- 1968 – Presidential Elector from Michigan – 60 votes as write-in on E. Harold Munn slate
- 1969 – Kalamazoo City Commission [MI] – 6,470 votes
- 1974 – Governor of Colorado – 6,419 votes
- 1976 – Vice President of the US- 15,934 votes
- 1978 – Governor of Colorado – 2,198 votes
- 1980 – Vice President of the US – 7,212 votes
- 1982 – Governor of Colorado – 3,496 votes
- 1984 – President of the US- 4,242 votes
- 1986 – Governor of Colorado – 8,183 votes
- 1988 – President of the US – 8,002 votes
- 1990 – United States Senate from Colorado – 11,801 votes
- 1992 – President of the UsS- 935 votes
- 1994 – Governor of Colorado – 7,722 votes
- 1996 – President of the US – 1,298 votes
- 1998 – Regent At Large, Colorado State University – 9,930 votes
- 2000 – President of the US – Candidate in the Independent American Primary – 480 votes
- 2000 – President of the US- 208 votes
- 2004 – President of the US – Candidate in his new National Prohibition Party – 140 votes.
National Prohibition (1920-1933) not only failed. Worse than that, it caused many very serious problems. Nevertheless, many people and groups support neo-prohibition ideas. They also strongly defend the many remainders of Prohibition that continue.
Surprisingly, almost one of five U.S. adults favors making it illegal for anyone to drink any alcohol. That is, of any age or for any purpose. However, not even Prohibition did that. In fact, millions of people drank legally during that period. Discover more at What did Prohibition Prohibit? It Wasn’t Drinking Alcohol.
- Hedges, J. Architect of Oblivion. (E. Dodge.)