Gary Johnson

Former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Ed Clark: "I think this year is like 1980"


Las Vegas—In 1980 Ed Clark became the only presidential candidate in the history of the Libertarian Party to crack 1 percent in an election and since then the party has struggled to come close to that high-water mark. In fairness to the other Libertarians that have run for president, Clark's campaign was buoyed by the personal fortune of industrial titan and current Reason Foundation board member David Koch. Current Libertarian Party front runner Gary Johnson may not have the deep pockets of the Clark/Koch ticket but Clark sees huge potential in Johnson's candidacy and the future of the LP.

"I expect that he will do four or five times better than I did," said Clark, in a brief interview outside the convention hall.

Clark, accompanied by his wife Alicia, said he sees many similarities between his candidacy in 1980 and Johnson's in 2012.

"I think this year is like 1980, which was a tremendous year for Libertarians. Everybody was turned off by the government because of Vietnam, people were turned off by the inflation of the 70s, and people in California were turned on to the thought of small government by Prop 13. That made a lot of people available for another alternative in 1980. I think there is the same potential here. I think Gary has the personality, the character, and the background to do it," he said.

The prospect of Johnson doing well in 2012, and possibly running again in 2016, is even more exciting to Clark because the party has strong state parties and an organization that did not exist when he ran. Clark thinks the party has to capitalize on the current political climate, and the only way to do that is with Johnson.

"To establish the Libertarian Party as an alternative in this election, I think, really opens the door for fantastic opportunities four years from now," Clark said.

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  1. Clark’s campaign was buoyed by the personal fortune of industrial titan the son of Satan and current Reason Foundation board member David Koch.

  2. I thought Friday Funnies was in the morning?

  3. Based on the cross-section of people in MA I’ve talked to, I think Mr Clark is on crack;

    People aren’t saying a pox on both houses and looking for alternatives. The ones saying a pox on both houses are walking away.

    Most people who vote are looking at the Team that they fear the most and voting for the Team that has the other color. Period.

    Take the people at the engineering company I was working at last fall: The liked much of what Ron Paul said, but wouldn’t vote for him over Obama because Paul would let Iran nuke Israel. These were bright people who were very good at their jobs.

    In effect, the two Teams have converged on a set of policies that they have propagandized the population as being the only rational policies on the table. Nobody advocating stuff outside that set has a chance.

    The two teams stomp and slime and scream and rant and argue about bullshit differences and give the appearance of a titanic struggle and the traumatized voters, like sheep fleeing a border collie stay in their little pens voting for Team Red/Blue.

    Barack and Mitt would have to be caught on an open mike actively colluding and have it publicized by the mass media for the Libertarians to get 1% again. And even then the Libertarians would probably fuck it up.

    1. Just walk away. The Wasteland Party.

      1. “Vote Warty: Let there be an end to the horror.”

        1. “Vote for the Warty/Fat Tank of Gas ticket in 2012…fear is his ally”

        2. Really, because I would think that would be a different but equally horrible type of horror.

          1. Just walk away.

    2. +…I dunno, a lot more than 1.

    3. Tarran, your cynicism is inspirational. I too am looking forward to Biden in 2016.

  4. With Citizen’s United and the superpacs Johnson could get enough financial backing to get that 4%.

  5. Getting all misty over the year we got 1%? Lame.

    1. Yeah, so is getting misty about a musician that died. Yet people do.

    2. In your face, 99%ers!

  6. I think it is extremely unlikely that Johnson gets “four to five times” what Clark did, barring some miracle like they actually let him in the debate or some billionaire donates $25 million to a superpac supporting him.

  7. Ed Clark is overly optimistic. 0.1% for Johnson?

    1. .1% if he can turn out his base in droves.

  8. We’re an hour away from the convention, Mr. Quinn.

    1. Enjoy a nice tall glass of colloidal silver for me.

  9. The LP was still fairly novel in 1980 and got a surprising amount of media attention. Even as a 7th grader at the time, I knew who Ed Clark was.

    Now, it’s more of a novelty.

    1. John Anderson was running quite well as an independent in 1980 and kind of fizzled late.The LP picked up some disaffected Anderson voters.

  10. The Libertarian Party is about to break into the two party system this election.

    It’s been that way for the last 40 elections.

    1. “…last 10 elections.”

      joe’s law strikes again.

  11. people in California were turned on to the thought of small government by Prop 13

    And that’s why California is the small government, low tax, business friendly powerhouse we all know and love today.

  12. I was only six at the time but I think I remember my father being a John Anderson supporter.

  13. Unless the LP gains majority control at the State levels of government, it won’t matter.

    Unless, Timmy the Magical Election Unicorn appears in a shower of magical pixie dust, and magically appoints leprechaun Electors to the very real Electoral College.

    That’s when we’ll win fer sure…

  14. Sounds like a rock solid plan to me dude.

  15. Very good article.

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