|Years active||2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020|
|Known for||United States presidential campaigns|
|Political party||American Solidarity Party (2019–)|
Independent (before 2019)
Joe Schriner (born March 3, 1955) is an American political activist and journalist. Schriner has run for the United States presidency in five consecutive election cycles spanning from 2000 to 2016. He has primarily run as an independent candidate, until the 2020 presidential election when he will run as an American Solidarity Party candidate instead. He also ran as a Republican during the early portions of the 2000 and 2016 presidential election cycles. He also vied unsuccessfully for the Green Party presidential nomination during the 2008 election cycle.
Before becoming a perennial candidate, Schriner spent a significant amount of time travelling across the United States and conducting ad hoc interviews with individuals he met. Schriner purports that these subjective experiences leave him better-informed about national social, political, and economic issues than experienced policymakers. He has been interviewed by numerous media outlets over the years and has spoken at various colleges and universities.
Schriner has been billed as "average Joe" in the media. He is also sometimes referred to as "Joe the Painter." He is currently self-employed as a house painter. In addition, he is a free-lance writer for his hometown newspaper, The Bluffton News.
Schriner spent his freshman year at Bluffton College in Ohio. After taking a year off from school to work, he transferred to Bowling Green State University. He majored in journalism, wrote for BG News, and completed an internship as a reporter on Ohio’s Troy Daily News. Schriner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Bowling Green State University in 1978.
Schriner began his career as a journalist after college for the Sandusky Register. He was assigned as a bureau reporter to cover Huron, Ohio. He wrote about the town government and issues facing the local school division, in addition to various human interest features. Schriner left the Register after two years.
In 1983, Schriner began working at a halfway house in Lorain as a drug and alcoholism counselor. The halfway house was a 90-day treatment program run operated by the Lorain County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (LCCADA). During the next two years, Schriner pursued seminar studies to become a certified drug and alcoholism counselor. After receiving this certification, he became an outpatient counselor (also with LCCADA), specializing in both individual and group counseling. Schriner eventually developed one of the first outpatient treatment models in the Midwest for "adult children of alcoholics". He later went into private practice in Cleveland, specializing in drug addiction, alcoholism, and addictive family system dynamics in the late 1980s.
In 1990, Schriner phased out his private counseling practice and took to the roads of America to begin extensive cross country research that would eventually lead to him running for president. He traveled some 100,000 miles from 1990 to 1998 interviewing people about a wide variety of issues. Information from these interviews would then be plugged into extensive position papers.
During this time, he also became a "lay Catholic speaker" talking in numerous churches throughout the country about such topics as: abortion; euthanasia; the poor; environmental stewardship. (He believes in a Consistent Life Ethic and a good deal of his political platform revolves around the precepts of Catholic Social Teaching.)
Schriner declared to run for U.S. President the first time with a speech at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA, on April 30, 1999. He initially declared as a Republican candidate, but then switched to independent after George W. Bush won the Republican Primaries. During that campaign, Schriner and his family were on the road for 19 continuous months and traveled 20,000 campaign miles. The family did a number of what they referred to as Americana Tour Routes: Old Route 66; the Old National Pike; and he Lewis & Clark Trail, among others. For this campaign, they also did a 2,000-mile Back-to-Basics Tour through the Midwest on bicycles. His travels for this campaign are chronicled in the book: Back Road to the White House.
Schriner ran again in 2004, with him and his family logging some 40,000 campaign miles. They, again, did tours with Americana themes: the Country Music Highway; the "Black Belt Region" Tour; a "Coast-to-Coast" Tour. In addition, the Schriners campaigned heavily in Ohio this election, including a 1,300-mile Buckeye Trail Tour. A hallmark of the campaign is doing regular, and impromptu, "back road stumping" on small town street corners, in diners and in village parks. In addition, during this time he talked at the University of Dayton, the University of Toledo, and Greenville College.
During these two campaigns, the Schriner family accumulatively traveled some 50,000 miles. Besides the small town stumping, during this time Schriner also talked at Holy Cross College, the University of Notre Dame, LaGrange College. The family also did an extended "Immigration Border Tour" looking at Hispanic Immigration issues, as they traveled the San Joaquin Valley looking at farm worker issues. During part of these campaigns, the Schriners also moved to a hardscrabble area of Cleveland, Ohio (just west of the inner city) to do outreach work with the Catholic Workers there. In between campaign tours, the Schriners lived in Cleveland for five years. Schriner wrote the book America’s Best Urban Neighborhood about the family’s experiences in Cleveland. After the Cleveland experience, the Schriners moved back to Bluffton in 2011. Schriner has also written two books about Bluffton: America’s Best Town and America’s Best Town 2. He writes that Bluffton has the "best quality of life" when it comes to such things as town camaraderie, civic activism, outreach to the poor, environmental stewardship, and downtown vibrancy. These are all qualities that he emphasizes in his political platform.
In keeping with the grassroots nature of Schriner’s campaign, he initially put up a campaign flier on a general store bulletin board in Beaverdam, Ohio, in October 2014. Schriner subsequently declared his candidacy in a podcast on the home page of his official campaign website. This marks his fifth consecutive run for president.
Schriner has traveled the country extensively, interviewing a wide variety of people for a comprehensive series of lengthy position papers on many topics of the day. The lynchpin of his campaign revolves around a "Consistent Life Ethic" that sets him against abortion, euthanasia, poverty, global warming, nuclear proliferation, violence on the streets and anything else that can end life prematurely. Schriner was one of the featured speakers at the Consistent Life 25th Anniversary Conference in Chevy Chase, Maryland (March 9–11, 2012). Schriner has also repeatedly said that he and his wife Liz are running as "concerned parents" from the Midwest.
Shortly before the 2016 election Schriner and his family moved to Steubenville, Ohio.