“I have prior knowledge that not only will I run for president, but that during one of the elections — which would have to be between 2016 and 2028, because I’m not running past that — I’m either elected president or vice president,” explains Andrew Basiago, a lawyer from Seattle who claims to have traveled in time and just launched an independent campaign for the presidency of the United States. He adds, just for good measure, that this information comes from people with career associations in the CIA so it’s pretty solid.

And there’s Donald Trump still speculating based on polling data.

Basiago’s statement might sound bizarre, but it’s in keeping with his relatively consistent world view. For many Americans, the birth certificate truthers represent the fringe, the 9/11 truthers represent a fringe beyond that, and the folks worried about the Illuminati represent the fringe beyond the fringe beyond the fringe. Basiago is a leader among the people even further removed from mainstream beliefs and, one might argue, reality. He believes in a lot of stuff: teleportation, aliens, the existence of Sasquatch, that Nikola Tesla wasn’t who historians say he was, and so on. A few years ago, Basiago rose to semi-prominence after telling the story of DARPA’s Project Pegasus, which ran from 1968 to 1972 and, according to him, led to the successful development of teleportation technology and a space-time hologram machine. Teenage Obama was involved. Now, Basiago wants to be president, an outlandish notion that would have sounded more outlandish six months ago.

To be fair, Basiago has seen great leadership in action. He says he once traveled back in time to 1863 and witnessed Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg. He also says he’s been to the future, 2054 specifically, so he has a notion of the historical pitfalls a commander-in-chief must avoid. One could even argue that his sojourn on Mars in 1981 is relevant foreign relations experience. After all, there were aliens.

Basiago says he’s had conversations with both President Bush’s, President Clinton, and President Obama literally decades before they served as president. They were given prior notification of their presidencies. And that’s part of the reason Basiago went public about Project Pegasus a few years ago. “Our secret time-travel capability is informing things like the process by which we select the president,” he explains, sounding every bit the reformer. “The cover-up has gone on for too long.”

Basiago is hoping his presidential campaign will be the catalyst for the U.S. government to disclose information about radical technologies and make them accessible to the general public. Besides acting as powerful tools by which the secret happenings of the government are allowed to, well, happen — Basiago says time travel and teleportation could help us reduce 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions attributable to human transport. “Primarily, my goal has been to bring forth the teleportation technology that Project Pegasus developed forward, and utilize it in the civilian sector,” he says.

As part of mapping a presidential campaign around that goal, Basiago has decided to focus on three themes: truth, reform, and innovation. He seeks to be the most honest and transparent president that’s ever held office; to change up the power structures of the executive office; and to make technological innovation the centerpiece of his policies.

If there was one precipitating event, Basiago says it was Obama’s betrayal of his Mars Jump Room comrades. He’s referring to the time he and his fellow Project Pegasus colleague William Stillings revealed to the world that a teenage Obama had served as a fellow “chrononaut” in the ‘80s, and traveled to Mars in the process. It’s a betrayal, Basiago says, because Obama, as the commander-in-chief, was “literally lying, to deny the involvement of a set of Americans who put their lives at risk at a very young age, doing what their country asked of them.” In his mind, it was an event that encapsulated the “calculating, shallow opportunism” of our country’s current leaders.

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Basiago refers to the devices they use as having “quantum access capability”, and could be divided into two broad categories. The first is physical teleportation of someone to the past for a future event. The second is what he calls chronovision: the ability to create a hologram that basically works as a looking-glass to gather intelligence of a specific place and time. The former was developed based on papers left by Nikola Tesla after he died in 1943. The latter, the “chronovisors,” were developed by two Vatican musicologists, and passed to the U.S. government by Rome afterward.

Basiago says the government chose to take both technologies, and weaponize them as a way to send troops to different times and places in an instant, as well as gathering very valuable intelligence. Obviously, they wanted to keep this secret.

Another reason to stifle the release of this technology, Basiago says, was grounded in “ephemeralization,” an idea coined by the famous innovator Buckminster Fuller. Ephemeralization refers to the idea that technological advancement leads to an ability to do more with less, until you can do anything with virtually nothing. Basiago says U.S. scientists advised the government to hold off on making the Tesla teleporter and the chronovisor known to the public, as it would radically erase whole industries and jobs focused around conventional transportation.

Basiago says “the problem with this analysis, is that it’s not true. It’s biased. The historical record actually shows that when we introduce the best available technology…it actually leads to more production, less environmental impact, and more job creation.”

In other words: Basiago is positioning himself as the most tech-friendly candidate in this year’s race. “Knowing about these things will allow the public to understand and participate in the advancement of new technologies,” he says. When presidents push forward huge technology projects, like the space program during Kennedy’s administration, he argues, America mobilizes and benefits. This line of argumentation is certainly missing from the current campaign and is a bit of a breath of fresh air coming from a candidate. In fact, it’s not the only thing to like about Basiago as a politician. Supporters of Bernie Sanders might appreciate his vow to end predatory practices in banking, and Donald Trump voters would probably agree with his hard stances on immigration and foreign aid. Things only become truly problematic when he starts talking about adding Sasquatch to the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. (Teddy Roosevelt was a believer too, FWIW.)

The only real suspicious thing about Basiago’s campaign is that it’s starting as he wraps up work on a book he hopes will be a best seller. That has a bit of the stench of Ben Carson-style opportunism to it, even if Basiago sounds like he has genuinely public-minded goals. The foremost among these is to tell the big truths.

Andrew Basiago — despite what his CIA contacts say — will never be president. He’s easily dismissed as crazy; though he’s probably more on the eccentric side of things. All that said, his main goals — truth about technology and green energy — are reasonable enough. Most Americans believe that the government is hiding information about UFOs and they believe this for good reason: The government has historically hidden information about UFOs. That doesn’t mean aliens and X-Files, just that transparency has never been the default mode for government agencies. Is the government hiding time travel from us? That’s unlikely. But it doesn’t seem far-fetched in this day and age to believe that important technologies — technologies with the potential to help stop climate change — might exist away from the public view. And technologies, the real show-stopping ones, can change the world as much as any policy.

So, no, Andrew Basiago is not going to challenge Hillary Clinton or even Donald Trump, but he is challenging the idea that voters have enough technical knowledge to operate effectively in their own interest. And that’s interesting. It’s worthy of consideration. It’s an act of very peculiar patriotism.

Photos via Natalie Barletta/Flickr

Neel is a science and tech journalist from New York City, reporting on everything from brain-eating amoebas to space lasers used to zap debris out of orbit, for places like Popular Science and WIRED. He's addicted to black coffee, old pinball machines, and terrible dive bars.