The Libertarian Party: "There is absolutely no reason for us to dance with either George or Hillary."

The Libertarian Party weighs in on calls for the libertarian vote to consciously ally itself with either the Republicans or the Democrats; unsurprisingly, they conclude that both major parties are faithless partners for a true libertarian.

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  • ||

    Yeah! Here's to not lowering your standards.

  • ||

    I am a card carrying Libertarian for just that reason. In the face of, just about every politician in the past 30 years, it confounds me that anyone believes libertarians would be better off with Republican X or Democrat Y. Both major parties are just awful from beginning to end. I don't care how moonbat or hopeless the LP is. I can say without resorting to hyperbole that they are 10,000,000,000 better than anything else.

  • ||

    A "true" libertarian is a loner, and loners don't win elections.

  • ||

    "Hillary"

    Hugo Chavez in a pants-suit.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Warren, your point is well taken, yet a majority of the Reason staff and a majority of the commenters here seem disinclined to vote for the LP candidate.

    That truly baffles me. If it is accurate when we say that voting is relatively useless anyway, from a pragmatic standpoint as well as a moral one, why on earth would you not vote for someone who shares most of your views?

    Sole exception might be Ron Paul v the LP in the general election (but that's a pipe dream).

  • ||

    I think in the long run, pushing the issue of preferential voting (like they do in Australia) may be the only way to get a LP candidate to win.

    I vote for someone only if they have a chance of winning. Sorry. With preferential voting, I could take a chance on a lone whacko and not lose whatever little influence I had.

  • ||

    The LP should be supporting Ron Paul. He has access to far more resources, has been receiving far more mainstream attention (even if not much) than any LP candidate will, and he's not only consistently talked about Libertarian principles, he's been applying them in practice--something NONE of the LP candidates will be able to say.

    But the "party of principle" just wants their insignificant little team to "win." It's not about electing Libertarians, it's about not electing team members. Sad, sad stuff. I, for one, have bailed on the party of Bob Barr.

  • John Norris Brown||

    Justin is right, Paul represents the Libertarian's best bet for winning. Of course, the "best bet" still isn't a good bet, but at least he could get some attention and possibly get the GOP to move back towards limited government. A limited victory to be sure, but progress nonetheless.

  • Ken Hagler||

    Given the changes to the party platform and embrace of Bob Barr, I'd have to say that the Libertarian Party is _also_ a faithless partner for true libertarians.

  • ||

    TWC,
    If Ron Paul could win the Republican nomination, there would be no need for the Libertarian Party.

    Your point about most of the Reason staff (and purt near everyone else) buying into the false dichotomy, is well taken.

    I really try to understand this but it eludes me. If you can't vote for the LP, I will still support your decision to, vote for a write-in or not vote at all. A libertarian voting for a major party candidate, I just can't figure.

    Alas

  • ||

    {on why I only vote for possible winners}

    One day I signed up to join a gym with a friend of mine.

    The first day there was a vote on what radio station to listen to. Three choices...Top 40, Southern Rock, and a blank.

    After discussion, in the blank, we wrote in the "New Wave" station (this was the eighties, give me a break). We had principal. You see, neither of the two choices were as good as new wave.

    Top 40 beat Southern Rock by one vote.

    To this day, if I hear "I Want to Dance With Somebody," I spontaneously defecate myself.

  • ||

    Cab,
    You could afford a gym membership but not a Walkman?

  • ||

    I can't vote for the LP until they show me some practicality. I don't want ideology. I want practical solutions.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I want practical solutions.

    Lamar, so do I. But here's a couple that don't seem too practical, one from each party.

    1. GWB's war in Iraq.

    2. The four months that the Democrat majority in Congress has declined to end the war. It really isn't about dead American soldiers, otherwise the war would have been done the day Pelosi swore the oath.

    I don't agree with everything the LP stands for, but the LP represents about 90% of what I believe in while the Dems represent about 3% and the Republicans about 7%.

    The LP should be supporting Ron Paul

    Justin, I think you're absolutely right. The LP should back Ron Paul. I think they could do that and still field their own candidate once Paul is eliminated from the contest.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Speaking of that, does anyone know why the LP isn't backing Ron Paul?

    I could see them taking a pass on Dana but not Ron Paul.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Thanks Warren, look, there's two of us.

    Cab, I can see where your vote might help on a ballot initiative but the chances of one single vote making any real difference is quite small. I do make it a point to get out and vote no on everything I can here in the Great State of Californicate (that rhymes).

    The only time I ever really saw a vote count matter was a couple times back when our sheriff nearly lost his job. The votes were very, very close, as I recall, within a dozen or so out of tens of thousands. I voted for the chick and against the sheriff.

  • ||

    The four basic political philosophies are libertarian, conservative, populist, and progressive. The Democratic and Republican parties are not synonymous with any of those. The Republicans generally pull in fiscal libertarians and social conservatives. They occasionally grab some of the populists (aka the Reagan Democrats). The Democrats pull in a much wider variety of civil libertarians, progressives, and populists. This is why the Democrats tend to have more problems with internal strife than the Republicans.

    The minor parties do tend to coalesce around a single political philosophy. Unfortunately, the only people willing to devote the time to build a party from scratch - in an environment where the rules are rigged to crush their efforts - tend to be the "true believers". Hence, we have the patients running the asylum over at the Libertarian Party.

    So what does a libertarian do? Vote for the LP as a protest vote? Try to figure out which of the Democrats or Republicans offend them the least? Or just sit at home and gaze at his or her navel?

  • Larry A||

    The four basic political philosophies are libertarian, conservative, populist, and progressive.

    The two basic political philosophies are libertarian and authoritarian. The first believes the people should rule the government, the second believes the government should rule the people.

  • ||

    The two basic political philosophies are libertarian and authoritarian. The first believes the people should rule the government, the second believes the government should rule the people.

    Larry, I agree with you. The real debate is between libertarians and populists (limited government vs expanded government). In my mind the progressives and conservatives are split personalities and mirror images of each.

  • ||

    The Republicans and Democrats have plenty of bad ideas and have screwed up a lot, but couldn't it also be said that their very chokehold on the system is the root of the problem? Maybe the right thing to do is vote against Republicans AND Democrats, no matter what - vote for a third party regardless of which one it is. When the two major parties have weakened, we can actually get some decent ideas thrown into the hopper.

    That said, I'm behind Ron Paul - and if he doesn't make it, I'll vote for the LP.

  • ||

    Political power comes from the ability to regulate some human activity. People with wealth will contribute to the political powers-that-be to get regulations written in their favor.

    So progressives, conservatives, and populist all have something to offer the wealthy. Libertarians only offer to reduce regulations and institute an open-market. So, the wealthy will never donate libertarian causes, therefore the two major parties will never care about libertarians.

  • Timothy||

    Why I'd sooner not vote or write in something ridiculous than vote LP? Bullshit like this:

    http://www.jacquelinepassey.com/blog/2006/11/bruce_guthries_.html
    http://www.jacquelinepassey.com/blog/2006/11/post_election_t.html

    It's like some sort of whacked-out evangelical cult, not a serious political movement. "We got 1.2% YAY!" When that few people know about you or care what you think, the problem probably isn't them, it's probably you. The LP needs to rebrand itself to have any chance in hell of being taken seriously, and if people want any sort of libertarian policy to advance they need to rethink voting for unelectable but philosophically superior candidates. Not that voting matters, but it's WAY easier to convince a lot of folks that X Republican is better than Y Democrat than it is to get them to pay attention to the blue guy.

  • Timothy||

    Note, I do not mean changing philosophies, I mean actually paying attention to PR for once.

  • ||

    I don't put too much stock or hope into voting individual liberterains into office. While it is nice in a "just in case a mircale happens" sort of way to make an effort to do so, I think it would be better to adjust to the reality that not a liberterians are going to get into office at this time and try to steer the goverment into liberterian in other ways. If we had a handful of liberterian congressmen and dogcatchers in power, that wouldn't make as much of a diffrence than if people consistantly voted out incumbents or if the power among parties was split (I could think of how to word it, you know that thing where the president is a Republican and the House is Democrat?).
    I doubt concentrating on that would make a large bit of diffrence, but I would rather concentrate my political engergies on those methods then wallowing in the delusion that my perfect canident has a snowsball's chance in hell to win.

  • ||

    I don't think libertarians can directly influence elections in any appreciable way.

    What we need is a political equivalent to Penn & Tellers bullsh!t TV show to embarass elected officials and make them accountable for their actions.

  • ||

    Also, I don't mind voting for people who aren't the liberterian ideal that much if they seem to have a chrasima or comptence, which a lot of people seem to look down on for a reason to vote for someone. I'd rather have Kinky, Jessie Venture, or Clinton as my govenor over Badnarik any day of the week. In fact, I bet all 3 of those would get more liberterian legislation through; no state congress would take Badnarik seriously enough to want to play ball with him on a consistent basis.

  • ||

    "What we need is a political equivalent to Penn & Tellers bullsh!t TV show to embarass elected officials and make them accountable for their actions.

    Bullshit does do that; they've had shows on enviromental hysteria, drug war, subsidies, the gays, bla, bla, and bla, and they do a pretty good job of getting the point across and spreading the libiterian gospel. If someone was to make a show about nit-picking pork-barrel projects, I doubt many people would have as much intrest (I know I wouldn't)

  • ||

    If nominated I'll vote for Obama because he's black. No, really, I'm serious.

  • ||

    If someone was to make a show about nit-picking pork-barrel projects, I doubt many people would have as much intrest (I know I wouldn't).

    Not pork-barrel projects. The idea would be to "challenge" specific elected officials.

    The standard TV audience loves to watch powerful people get trashed. It would be a run-away success.

  • ||

    If nominated I'll vote for Obama because he's black. No, really, I'm serious.
    It will end white guilt forever.

  • ||

    TWC-I'll give you one reason not to vote for the LP candidate: it only encourages them.

  • ||

    I vote for someone only if they have a chance of winning. Sorry. With preferential voting, I could take a chance on a lone whacko and not lose whatever little influence I had.

    Do you have any concept of probability? Because your vote for a D or an R has no effect whatsoever on the outcome of the election. Seriously, the probability that your vote will have any influence whatsoever on the outcome is practically zero. Your only influence is through your words and deeds. Voting is just democratic masterbation. I do it, but I vote to express my dissatisfaction with the main parties. You might as well vote your conscience, because the D's and R's don't need you at all.

  • Paul||

    they conclude that both major parties are faithless partners for a true libertarian.

    'nuff said.

  • Paul||

    The LP should be supporting Ron Paul. He has access to far more resources, has been receiving far more mainstream attention

    My opinion as to why Ron Paul has been receiving a lot of media attention lately is largely due to the fact that mainstream media find him an odd curiosity at the moment. And key words are "at the moment". Most mainstream liberal news outlets are always hungry for stories about breaks in Republican ranks. Understandably. I'm sure Fox News is just as hungry to report on rifts in the Democratic party. Having said that, imagine, if you will, Ron Paul runs for president, and begins to get some traction. If you think the mainstream press is going to give him a pass when they discover that *gasp* this man actually wants to shrink government, you've got another thing coming. He'll be morphed into the anti-christ so fast no one will even know what hit him.

    Know this: The mainstream media is NOT skeptical of government, they're skeptical any number of given administrations, but they're never skeptical of government. It's a very fine distinction, but an important one. Most journalists will criticize an individual or political party, but will almost always carry water for the institution of government- especially when no specific face is attached.

  • NotEvenARocketScientist||

    The LP should be supporting Ron Paul

    libertarians and even Libertarians can and do support Ron Paul. The LP, as an instutution, cannot for two reasons:

    1) They can't support any candidate until that candidate is duly nominated by the party in a proper convention.

    2) Ron Paul is a candidate (at this moment, at least) of another political party.

    BTW, Paul has given contradictory answers about whether he would consider running a third party campaign.

  • ||

    "A libertarian voting for a major party candidate, I just can't figure."

    What if it's someone like Paul? Hell, what if it was someone like Jeff Flake? He's not really a libertarian but he's a hell of a lot better step in the right direction than most of what's out there.

  • ||

    Ron Paul WAS the Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 1988. I voted for him.

  • ||

    There's another practical reason why the LP, as an institution, can't really back Dr. Paul. Only a handful of states, most notably New York, allow "fusion" candidacies, where the same person appears on the ballot as the candidate of 2 or more parties. In most of the states, supporting the candidate of one of the two official parties would mean either running nobody on the LP line, or trying to qualify a "paper candidate." Why bother doing that? Because, in many states, gaining a certain percentage of the presidential vote cast will ensure that a party qualifies for a ballot slot for the next 2 or 4 years. If the LPs in states where the 2008 presidential election has this importance don't run somebody, they may have to spend a ton of dough for petitioning in 2010 or `12.

    So, why not wait until Our Ron runs his course in the Republican primaries, then nominate him to once again carry the Libertarian banner? Some states have "sore loser" laws, that make it illegal for defeated primary candidates to launch independent or "third party" campaigns. I'd be happy to back a legal challenge to all this, but there have been suits in the past, and SCOTUS has allowed the restrictions.

    One could argue that risking what little institutional stability the LP has been able to maintain on the 2008 presidential race would be a game worth the candle, however.

    See: Wikipedia on Fusion

    Richard Winger's Ballot Access News has an article that argues that sore loser laws won't necessarily hamper a Paul candidacy, and even if they did they would only restrict a presidential candidate in four states.

    Kevin

  • ||

    I do have a suggestion that is Constitutionally elegant, even if state legislation may have been passed to thwart it. Could the LP run slates of "uncommitted electors" in the several states, especially any where a "sore loser" is barred from heading the ticket?

    Kevin

  • ||

    It's not as if Libertarians haven't tried the approach recommended by many an armchair quarterback: running candidates who wear suits and ties, who have a reputation in the community and previous electoral success, and who concentrate on practical politics instead of theoretical platitudes.

    I remember, for instance, the campaign of Judge Jim Gray here in California. Judge Gray was a former military man (JAG), a former Federal attorney, a currently sitting superior court judge, and an outspoken, authoritative, and persuasive critic of the War on Drugs. This guy could barely get media coverage when he came to town. The major party candidates (including incumbent Babs Boxer) wouldn't debate him. (The media could have raised a stink about the "Gray-out," especially as they went on to complain about the lackluster senatorial race, but they didn't bother.) After a season spent criss-crossing the state in "retail" campaigning, Gray garnered a vote total that was commensurate with the dearth of coverage he received, and with third-party results in general. Maybe he still wouldn't have won, but how different the campaign would have been, had Gray debated Democrat Boxer and Republican Jones. At least, perhaps, real issues would have been discussed.

    Gray isn't the only well-qualified "suit and tie" LP candidate who has had such a disappointing experience, just the one I know the most about, from actually having followed the campaign closely and even participated in it in a small way.

    In the 2006 election cycle, however, I saw an encouraging sign. A great many articulate Libertarians got to debate their major-party opponents on TV, at least once. I think that the more the voters see Libertarians in debate on TV, the more they will see them as "legitimate" options. And the more that Libertarians come back to run again, reminding voters in these TV debates that they were RIGHT in their prescriptions during the previous run, the more people may get the idea that we need to put these people and their sensible ideas into office. It also doesn't hurt that more and more libertarians running for state and federal office do so from a springboard of current or recent service in local and regional elected office.

    There are now a great many excellent ingredients in the pot. It seems to me as if we just need to stir well, apply appropriate heat, and give that mixture a little time to simmer and blend. Judging from the several impressive candidates I saw scattered across the country via C-SPAN in 2006, I think 2008 could be a good year for us, especially if people who are already disillusioned with the GOP grow disillusioned with the "new broom" Demo majority. We'll see. One thing is certain: you can't win if you don't play.

  • Edward||

    We Americans are far too pragmatic for our own good. It's always whatever works, with no consideration given ideolgical purity. Where has it gotten us? What libertarians need is a charismatic leader who can break through this American penchant for the middle road and get us to embrace the unpredictable consequences of a radical political agenda. Others--the Russians and the Chinese, notably--have done it. Why can't we?

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