L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 291, October 3, 2004
"The traffic jam at the spaceport was almost nonexistent"
In an interview with Michael Badnarik, you prefaced one of your questions with an assertion that no one with a modicum of intelligence actually believed Badnarik would be elected president. Now, in your "Cat Came Back" essay in this week's Libertarian Enterprise, you say:
"Third, if you care about America, the one way to change things is to vote for Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party Candidate for President. No, he won't winthis time"
There has been a campaign tradition among BOYN and non-BOYN presidential candidates going back at least as far as Pat Paulsen to never concede that even a remote possibility exists of losing the election. "As your president.." "When I take office..." are common prefatory phrases to their list of promises. Even the goofball pro-weed candidate, Budd Green (who wore a big stovepipe hat and chose his van driver as his running mate) spoke with confidence of the Green Administration, as if it were a foregone conclusion and the upcoming election were just a formality. Libertarians don't seem to follow this tradition, though. In fact, Harry Browne is the only candidate I know of to announce his candidacy and concede the election in the same sentence. In 1996, Browne told us "..not this year, but maybe 2000 and definitely 2004." He moved the deadline in 2000, and now you seem to be moving it again.
If all we are doing is sending a message to BOYN that it ought to act more libertarian if it wants to stay in power, we are tilting at a windmill. We are wasting the time and money of all the people who have obtained signatures that ultimately placed Michael Badnarik on 50 ballots. Because, best case, that is all BOYN will do: find a way to act more libertarian. And we will keep losing. After all, if the candidate's own party leadership is confident that he will lose, what is a voter to think? Why waste a vote on someone considered a loser by his own party? To his credit, Badnarik does not seem to be making this concession, but you are. Like it or not, you are the Pope of Libertarianism. You inspire all of us.
But don't feel like the Lone Ranger. Libertarians nationwide seem to follow this puzzlingly limp-wristed doctrine. We have to stop. Whether the Libertarian candidate in question is running for POTUS or assistant prothonatary of Cattawampus County, he must be in it to win it. And he must be able to look any interviewer in the face (or telephone receiver) and say just that when asked a question that starts with "Of course, you are aware that there is no possible chance whatsoever that you will win this election..." And everyone supporting him must do the same, or the Libertarian Party will forever remain a great subject for sci-fi novels and very little else.
So, help President Badnarik out. Write about his possible Cabinet appointments. Express your concern about whether he has reserved a U-Haul in Austin in time for his move in January. Don't shoot the guy in the foot! I know we both want a free country, and right now, today, Badnarik has the best way to get one. And he WILL win this time.
Thanks and Best Wishes
Thank you, John, for your opinion. The alternative, however, is for the candidate to claim he can win, which will mark him in the non-libertarian public eye as a member in good standing of thre bow tie and propellor beanie set.
Our candidate stands a much better chance of changing the culture if he's realistic and truthful about his current political prospects.
Do you vote Libertarian?
Are you getting tired of seeing our candidates getting 3% to 5% in the elections?
Do you want to do something but you just don't know what to do?
I've got a small thing that everyone who reads this can do.
Get 20 people registered to vote as Libertarians by 2006.
Just 20 people. Less than one each month.
If polls can be believed roughly 1 in 5 people like what we are talking about.
However since we cant afford advertising and most media wont talk to us, we need another route to find them.
You are that route.
If by September of 2006 everyone who voted for Libertarian candidates in this election gets 20 people registered to vote as Libertarians and reminds them to vote in the 2006 elections we can actually win some seats at county, state and even federal levels.
How does this work?
Roughly one-third of the people vote in non-presidential elections. Thus a large pool of non-voters is out there.
In a given election we get around 3% of the votes. Say a district has 10,000 people voting. We would have then 300 votes. If each one of those voters gets 20 new people as Libertarian voters that would make 6,300 votes in that district. Let the Republicrats and Demopublicans split their 9,700 remaining votes between them. Evenly split, which is the norm these days, each major party idiot gets 4,875 of those votes and our guy blows them both out of the water with over 6,000.
Certainly there are many paths to the top of he mountain, this is but one more to try.