Campaigns/Elections

LP Senate Spoiler Watch Continues: Keep Your Eyes on Montana. But Don't Hold Your Breath 'Til You Turn Blue Waiting for a Settled Outcome

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All this is probably changing by the minute, and I'll be going to sleep soon, but right this second, the Montana Senate race, according to CNN, has Democrat challenger Jon Tester ahead by about 5,500 votes of Republican incumbent Conrad Burns. And guess how many votes the Libertarian candidate Stan Jones has? 7,085.

I just heard on Fox that Burns may be blaming electoral machinery malfunction for his apparent loss. It all may seem more or less interesting 6 hours from now, but for now….veeeery interesting.

And the most interesting part? You might not remember Stan Jones by name. But you might remember him by reputation–as a sort of living symbol of LP absurdity. He is the candidate most famous for having turned his skin blue through the overuse of collodial silver, giving him a condition known as argyria.

The notorious and much-derided Blue Man Candidate just might end up being the pivot of the balance of power in the United States Senate. It's too perfect to be true in the morning.

NEXT: If the GOP Ends Up Losing the Senate By One, Blame the LP....

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  1. Okay, someone come up with a blue joke. Go on, be creative!

  2. Some people just won’t vote for an Andorian-American, I guess.

    Kevin

  3. Nice article on argyria at the Rotten Library:

    http://www.rotten.com/library/medicine/quackery/argyria/

    Warning: It’s kind of creepy to look at first thing in the morning.

  4. The notorious and much-derided Blue Man Candidate just might end up being the pivot of the balance of power in the United States Senate. It’s too perfect to be true in the morning.

    Oh. My. God.

    Stan Jones, all is forgiven.

  5. The spoiler in Indiana was a LP candidate, Eric Schansberg cost Mike Sodrel his seat!

  6. I just don’t get why you attribute LP candidates as being the reason why the Republicans lost. People vote LP cuz they don’t want to vote for evil anymore (be it the lesser or greater). If a libertarian wanted to punish the Reps, they’d vote Dem more than they would vote Lib.

  7. Metalhead, get a grip. Do you seriously think that one more vote for a Dem will make the Reps think twice about why they didn’t get that vote? At least by voting Lib, the message isn’t lost about what one wants.

  8. I think it’s important to realize how many votes you get simply by being on the ballot, and how many votes you get by the lack of other choices on there.

    A Libertarian Candidate last night pulled in a whopping 26 percent of the vote in one congressional race last night. I wouldn’t necessarily consider that any sort of endorsement of the LP by 26% of that district, but rather due to the fact that only two people were on the ballot and the LP candidate was one of them.

    Furthermore I’m not entirely sure what LP spoliling accomplishes. If the LP only ran candidates against the most un-libertarian of Republicans, it would be a much better tactic as you could keep them out of races by having more libertarian GOP candidates.

    The LP doesn’t do that though, often trying to get on every ballot possible. As such, I’m not sure what the expected GOP reastion is supposed to be (assuming the spoiling is aimed at the GOP).

  9. If the LP only ran candidates against the most un-libertarian of Republicans, it would be a much better tactic as you could keep them out of races by having more libertarian GOP candidates. – Again

    There’s a problem with that tactic. In order to run a campaign, you need some ground troops, preferably ones who live in the district. Some of those “least Libertarian Republicans” live in areas where LP rank-and-filers, or sympathetic non-LP independents, Ds and Rs, are pretty thin on the ground. Such minor successes as the LP has had tend to have been in such places as Alaska and the Southwest, where the culture has supported “leave me the hell alone” as a perfectly acceptable response to politics.

    By your lights, we could also run candidates in solidly Dem districts where the incumbent is virtually a socialist and the Reps don’t bother running a challenger. Recruiting potential LP candidates in the core of our urban areas might be tough. Hell, they once got me to do it, and it was comfortable down there at the bottom of that barrel.

    Kevin

  10. Kev:

    The problem, as I see it, is that the Libertarian party isn’t very good at presenting an image of libertarianism that would go over very well in large cities, where a large amount of basic government services are required just to keep the city running. However, a more moderate libertarian figure running on a pro-business, pro-civil liberties platform (like a typical northeastern or california republican, minus the gun control and soft spot for millitarism) could probably make some headway.

  11. the h-dawg | November 8, 2006, 9:33am

    I guess someone woke up on the wrong side of the polls this morning.

  12. Kevrob,

    But ultimately you’re trying to accomplish something. Running an LPer against Flake doesn’t accomplish anything. Flake isn’t really a staunch libertarian, but he follows a larger number of libertarian tenets than most anyone in congress.

    If we assume, correctly, that they can’t actually win any of these races right now, the next best reason is to pressure candidates who might win into dealing with you. When you waste time running against Flake, you’re trying to directly twist the arm of someone already far more sympathetic to you than most any existing congressman, and indirectly you’re telling the party as a whole that you don’t care how libertarian a candidate they run, you’re going to run against them if you can. You’re not really spoiling anything, because you’ll be there regardless of how they behave. So what incentive do they have to modify their behavior?

    I dunno seems counter productive to me. Seems to me a better idea to pool national resources and target a smaller number of elections where the main party candidates are repugnant instead of merely unsatisfactory. Easier said than done of cours,e but I think it at least has a chance of success.

  13. The perfect theme song for the Stan Jones campaign would have been Eiffel 65’s Blue.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4id5fgLwsu0

    I’ve linked the You-Tube video to my name.

  14. LP candidates don’t always pull votes from the right. Some have suggested that Schansberg got a lot of his from lefties who liked his message on helping the poor.

  15. I think the LP should run in all races if possible. That doesn’t mean we have to vote for the LP vs candidates like Ron Paul. In fact the LP alternatives don’t need to be dyed in the wool libertarians to get my vote, they just have to try on some big issues, like reigning in spending, protecting the 4th amendment etc.

    But in the absence of any such vocal principles, or if they are adamantly anti-liberty on a “big” issue, they won’t get my vote and it will go straight to the LP.

    In short, I’m perfectly willing to vote for someone other than an LP candidate, but that candidate has to earn it. The GOP in general is not a proxy for a reasonable place for libertarians to vote.

  16. Happyjuggler,

    The point is to use LP participation in an election as a stick to use against Republicans. Give us a socially conservative and fiscally liberal Republican candidate and you better believe the LP will fight like hell to get on the ballot and fight even harder to siphon as many votes from you as we can. Give the LP something more digestible and we’ll leave you be for now.

    I don’t see how under current election laws the LP can accomplish anything other than influencing one of the two major parties to its own benefit. I still think the GOP is the best shot at doing that. I don’t see how trying to spoil every Republican regardless of their policy beliefs accomplishes that.

    What if an LP candidate did wind up spoiling an election for a Paul or Flake in favor of your standard Democrat? What on god’s green Earth would that accomplish? If spoling is the best case scenario in an election and in this case spoiling would hurt your professed cause, what on Earth are you doing running a candidate?

  17. I ran in a city-wide non-partisan election, where the primary had a field of 7 candidates: establishment New Dealer-type Dem guy, a youngish “maverick” Dem state legislator, an older Dem ex-legislator who had also been a state cabinet official, a female New Party/Greenie/Mobe type, an ambitious but politically inexperienced black executive, and a retired black postal worker with a speech impediment. I beat the guy who talked funny.

    I didn’t get many votes, but I did allow those who wanted to a chance to vote for lower taxes, less regulation, and school choice, be they Republicans, independents or conservative Democrats. I was quoted on broadcast TV ~40 times. {Yes, my campaign manager was obsessive about logging all media apperances.} I have it on good authority that I changed the terms of the debate, as one of my people heard one of Former Cabinet Official’s people upbraid him for answering one of my barbed criticisms of New Dealer and him during a joint forum that was cablecast.

    Maverick ex-legislator beat New Deal guy in the runoff, and went on to build a reputation for restraining spending and supported school choice, eventually imploding in a sex scandal. My efforts seemed to have borne some fruit.

    As for picking one’s spots for running LPers, it probably makes most sense to run paper candidates, if any, against the more libertarian candidates of the other parties. One could always run a more energetic campaign in the next district over. Sometimes you have to run somebody, as when a statewide election can gain you ballot status for the next cycle with a good enough showing. It was fun to confound sterotypes, as for example, the time I was at a joint appearance before the local “gay chamber of commerce.” The room was full of business people who were normally Democrats, because of social issues, but agreed more with me about taxes and regulation. Since I didn’t have the stigma attached to “conservatives” or the GOP, they could talk to me without instant revulsion. It was fairly early in the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the members actually applauded my snotty comments about governments’ poor record at keeping such things as infection status confidential.

    Talking to the local chapter of the Constitution party, a stalwart pack of Old Straight Guys, wasn’t near as much fun. We did manage to convert the youngest of their members to libertarianism and the LP, and thereby saved him from hanging about with anti-Semitic loons. {Insert joke about the new pack of loons he was associating with here.} Savor the small victories.

    Kevin

  18. I would like to thank Stan Jones for turning the US Senate blue.

    Stan is the man!

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