Yes, this is true. Gabriel Rothblatt, the first transhumanist to run for a US Congressional seat, has lost to Bill Posey. Acquiring roughly 65% of the popular vote, Bill Posey won Florida’s District 8 House of Representatives seat. Considering that most of Florida has voted for a Republican in office, Rothblatt fought valiantly for his spot and showed his opponent that he meant business. Being met with polarized views, many saw Rothblatt has having a chance to winning against Posey. Seeing that both have a pro-space platform, it was a matter of choosing a conservative over a liberal. Even though he was a Democrat in a largely Republican area, Rothblatt has shown that he can bring a good fight to Florida conservatives.
Rothblatt, from Melbourne Beach, has been the Democrat ticket for Florida’s District 8 area. Being financially backed by his parents, helped to create the political action committee called SpacePAC and had a space-oriented platform. His father, Martine Rothblatt, was the founder of Sirius satellite radio, undergone transgender surgery in the 1990s and founded Terasem Faith. “Terasem is not a religion. It is all religion,” he said. “If you walked into the middle of one of our services, you’d think you were in a monastery, or maybe a yoga session,” he said. “You are asked to not leave your original faith, but to bring it into the conversation.” This unorthodox background has made him an interesting opponent for Bill Posey, the Republican running for reelection. Posey, being the son of a NASA engineer and himself a former employee of NASA, has served on the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and is a researcher on government accountability and transparency.
Even though he gave Posey quite a fight, it was not enough to win a seat in Congress. One possible reason for this was due to being seen as “too radical” by others. National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Katie Prill wrote, “It’s clear that Rothblatt is wasting his time and his family’s millions in his quest for Congress because his radical ideas are too extreme for Florida families.” Even though certain Republicans feel that he is too extreme, others say this is irrelevant. But Posey’s spokesman, George Cecala, offered instead, “It all comes down to the real issue, and that is Bill Posey is a conservative and Gabriel Rothblatt is a liberal. People should look at that issue and make up their minds.” Even with the polarized views by Republicans, his own fellow Democrats backed him on his campaign. Beth McMillan, chair of the Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee, said Rothblatt’s faith in technological immortality is not a concern. “He’s not the first person to believe that. … I’m not saying it will happen. But who am I to say it won’t happen? “He’s our candidate,” she said. “We support him.”
Even with his loss, he opens the door for other transhumanists to become part of the political action. This includes Zoltan Istvan, the author of The Transhumanist Wager. Even though Istvan’s platform is far too extreme for him to gain any momentum, these two are showing that transhumanism is slowly becoming more involved with political proceedings. It shows that transhumanists are ready to make real change and the movement is becoming more relevant in everyday life. With Rothblatt obtaining roughly 35% of the votes, he showed that transhumanism is becoming more openly acceptable and not just a movement based on fringe ideas. Perhaps next time he runs, he just might win.
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