Libertarian Party

Florida Senate Candidate Bears Any Burden for the Libertarian Party

Paul Stanton deals with debate disappointments, state party sourness, and presidential ticket travails, and fights his way to tomorrow's electoral finish line.

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Paul Stanton is the Libertarian Party's candidate for federal Senate in Florida, running against incumbent Republican Marco Rubio and Democratic challenger (and former Republican himself) Patrick Murphy. While Stanton hasn't been included in tons of polls, in a couple he hit very high numbers for a Libertarian running against two major party candidates: 9 percent and 10 percent in two September Public Policy Polling (PPP) polls.

Paul Stanton website

By one reasonable interpretation of the stated eligibility rules for a late October Senate candidate debate sponsored by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association, Stanton should have gotten in.

But after being asked to consider the matter formally, the debate hosts said no, Stanton wasn't getting in, based on disagreements over the "independence" of PPP since an organization called VoteVets that had given services in support of rival Murphy had paid for the poll, and interpreting a contradiction in their stated margin of error against Stanton. [correction: the post originally and mistakenly appeared without that italicized clause]

Stanton complained in strong terms, suggesting that it was possible they were violating a Federal Election Commission rule that prohibited mere major-partyhood from being the decisive "objective" criterion for a debate invitation. A different independent candidate, Steven Machat, did sue over his exclusion.

In a phone interview with Stanton this afternoon, he noted that while he had some idle thoughts about using the law against the debate hosts, in the end he could not: "I don't think those laws should exist, so it was: do I stand on principle or go for blood? And I couldn't in the end use government force and coercion to accomplish a political goal. It would be a violation of everything I stand for."

Stanton does admit, not too glumly, that the failure to get into the debate in October was a huge blow to his chances to really break out and get noticed. Other debates he might have been in, his major party challengers just refused to go to. They were not going to help legitimize the Libertarian Party.

Hearing Stanton discuss some of what an outsider might consider the ups and downs, with lots of downs, of his Senate run was a curious experience: so much of what he said struck me as such a heap of annoyance and unpleasantness my own sense of disappointment overwhelmed me on his behalf.

But I wasn't getting that bad attitude from him. Stanton's still very pleased with what polling data he has, though he credits how well he seems to be doing to the "political environment" of unhappiness with Rubio and Murphy. "I'm not pretending I'm some great hero everyone wants to rally behind."

The debate exclusion was far from the first problem Stanton had. The Libertarian Florida Senate race got off to a weird start last year, when the only person publicly vying for the spot in the primary was Augustus Sol Invictus, a loud and proud black magician, goat sacrificer, fomenter of armed revolution, admirer of the trappings of fascism, and friend and lawyer to white identity groups.

The L.P. has no power over a registered voter with the Party jumping through the state's hoops to be on the primary ballot, and the Party lost its then-state chair Adrian Wyllie over what he saw as insufficient willingness on the Party's executive committee's part to disavow and boot Invictus. You see, they didn't feel he'd done anything that violated the L.P.'s "non aggression principle," that is, he hadn't directly, physically damaged anyone's person or property with his peculiar beliefs.

Stanton entered the primary, after coughing up $10 grand, because he couldn't quite bear seeing Invictus be the standardbearer of his Party. Stanton was a fresh convert, brought in via Gary Johnson's 2012 presidential run. "I ran because no one was representing libertarian principles," Stanton says. He especially wanted a peace candidate, and Invictus openly celebrated war. He beat Invictus, 74-26 percent, in the August primary.

You can beat a rival candidate, but it's harder to beat the world's half-formed vague impressions. Thanks to how mediagenically colorful Invictus was, when Stanton the winner went out in the world as the actual Senate candidate for the Libertarian Party in Florida, lots of people he'd run into would "ask about goats and white supremacy."

Far from the advantage of positive branding a candidate might want out of a Party, "it became a detriment" because Invictus had managed to work his way into so many people's consciousness as the representative of the Florida L.P. Stanton says he knows of other downticket candidates in Florida who abandoned the L.P. label they would otherwise have embraced because of Invictus.

That wasn't all. At least a couple of Invictus' loyalists got on the state Party's executive committee, and Stanton thinks that might be part of the reason he hasn't gotten what he considers a high level of support from the Party. Invictus' former campaign manager, Stanton says, would "like" on Facebook violent threats against him. So, what did the Party do for him? Well, some county affiliates issue voter guides, and some of them listed him. But he isn't sure that they always do so much to get those guides out there.

Stanton has been working a more than full-time job as a computer programmer and data analyzer for Frontier Communications, navigating an $11 billion acquisition for the company, while also running for Senate.

He did all the things: "traveled around the state, pretty much all the state except Jacksonville, almost every weekend went out to do something, different political rallies, Jill Stein, Adam Kokesh, meet people and whatnot." An old army buddy, Jon Warburton, came down from Idaho, as a volunteer, to manage the campaign. He asked lots of people face to face for money, and drew around $20,000, though he hated asking. "It was hell to do. I don't like begging people for money. I work for a living, and here I am panhandling." Half of that money went to the primary filing fee, though the state's rules involve kicking back some of it to the Party itself, which kicked back its approximately $3,000 portion back to Stanton's campaign.

His messaging front and centers such perceived "left" libertarian issues as peace, the drug war, and poverty. As he explains himself on his web site:

As Senator, he will advance the principle of non-aggression, seeking to end the United States involvements in the Middle East and mitigating the harm we have already caused. Additionally, he advocates for an end to the "War on Drugs" and incarceration of users, and instead advocates for treatment and education for those who are addicted. He demands an overhaul of the federal tax system, where even those who are poor are still overburdened with taxes on the fruits of their labors through a "War on the Poor."

He is enough of a data hound that getting voter lists from the state and crunching data to get good mailing lists for begging Libertarians for money and informing them of his campaign was easy. He started to find it hard to sell big picture Libertarian principles face to face. Stanton thought through out loud in our interview how to get people to understand that, say, wanting drugs to be legal wasn't cover for some nefarious desire to do drugs or have one's drugged-out associates running wild in the streets. But principles can be harder to grasp for some voters than policy.

He's never done an illicit drug, ever, insists this veteran of stints in Iraq in the mid-'00s, working in the "triangle of death" as personal security for a bomb squad with the 101st Airborne. He did once have to rescue a friend trapped by debt and violence in a "drug house," unable to seek any official help because of the whole drug angle. That experience helped make the drug war a very big issue to Stanton.

But mostly this combat veteran cares about peace. His vet status "makes it harder for people to call me a whiny scared hippie," though he says he's the kind of veteran who does not like to "use war vet status as an armor."

Nor does he want to talk that much about the presidential ticket, except to insist he is certainly voting for Johnson, far and away the best choice, he makes sure I understand. Still, Stanton was a bit let down that the presidential campaign stonewalled any attempt on his part to speak to the crowds at Johnson and/or Weld's Florida events.

That's even though, Stanton notes, they had no problem appearing on stages with Republicans there and elsewhere. All he kept being told was they didn't have time to properly vet the downticket L.P. candidates and thus couldn't take any chances.

None of this is delivered like he's complaining; it's just the facts. I asked him about all the details of his Senate race, and he told me. It sounds like the sort of needless stress and strain that might break a man, but he's not at all discouraged, near as I could tell. It helps that he believes in this cause; he can't see whatever troubles it involved as needless. Peace and liberty are important, and someone has to step up for them.

I ask him a question, meant to be about his vision of the Party's near future, about how the next few years will be affected by what might happen tomorrow, what the Party's situation in 2020 might be like depending on if Trump or Clinton won.

He interprets the question, rightly enough, as about his Senate race.

"Are you asking me if I'm going to run for re-election? Well, I have not decided yet. I'll have to ask my family."

He's being sly, no doubt. At the start of our conversation, he gave a more sober guess of 5-6 percent for himself, which would constitute half a million votes in that vast swampy state.

Regardless, that ability to either hotly believe in victory or dryly accept loss is the beating heart of the modern Libertarian candidate. No matter what happens, Stanton's not done.

"I plan, since I do data for a living, to help the Party with voter data, and I'm treasurer of the Volusia County [branch of the L.P.] and will focus more on local issues." If he can't do foreign policy, he likes local issues more. But he's sticking around no matter what.

"It's my party, and my movement. It's not like I own it, but I'm part of it, and why would I want to surrender the ideas of anti-violence and peace and civil liberties?"

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92 responses to “Florida Senate Candidate Bears Any Burden for the Libertarian Party

  1. So realclearpolitics has the final columns from Trump and Hillary posted. The Trump one is full of fake realities (everyone loves blaming NAFTA), but the Clinton one is just ridiculous.

    She literally talks about how we need to remove special interest wallstreet money (yeah and you get paid 250k to make a “speech” at Goldman Sachs), fight for the rule of law, bring people together, etc.

    I saw one of my idiot facebook friends post how Hilary is the MOST Qualified President and is the ONLY one to unite the country! You have to be a fucking idiot to actually believe that with a straight face.

    It’s like these fucktards don’t care about being honest to others or themselves; all they care about is “winning”, like a bunch of Walter Whites.

    1. They believe it because they get all their news from social media and the derpnet.

    2. A prog friend told me that Clinton is the most qualified Presidential candidate of his lifetime.

      And before you ask, he is more than 3 years old.

      1. I hate a prog friend sincerely say “I don’t understand why people dislike Hillary so much”

        Really… Hillary is one of the most hated politicians in the entire country and you seriously don’t know why. Or is it because you chalk everything up to sexism against Hillary or racism against Obama? It’s like you are not capable of actually accepting criticism of your candidates.

        I guess that’s what happens when your news sources are the Daily Show, Samantha Be, Vox, and the Huffington Post

        1. I hate a prog friend

          Some friend you are!

      2. This might be the most unbearable thing I’ve had to hear throughout this election.

        If you want to say that you think she’s the better option, that’s fine. But this idea that she’s the most qualified person to ever run for president when she’s never even been a mayor before? She was an attorney, a first wife, a Senator and Secretary of State. She always answered to other people. Yet that makes her the most qualified person to ever be in the office of President? The person who runs the entire country?

        1. Given the depth of her corruption… and ability to manipulate large numbers of people into supporting that corruption, I’d say she’s pretty qualified.

          1. And she’s great at passing legislation that names post offices.

      3. A prog friend told me that Clinton is the most qualified Presidential candidate of his lifetime.

        Not that we’re very CIA friendly here, but if he’s older than 25 George H.W. Bush would like a word with you.

        Over the last hundred years? She’s absolutely mid-tier, if you’re purely going with experience (and totally ignoring whether she was actually competent at any of her jobs).

        1. HW is arguably the worst president over many decades. Well, not counting Obamacare.

          But any governor is more qualified. Rick Perry knows how to preside over prosperity. Answer: pay off a few cronies and get the fck out of the way.

    3. The internet has done something great for politics: it’s turned millions of individual citizens into robots repeating talking points they read from the political campaigns’ twitter accounts.

    4. bring people together … unite the country

      I really think they just have contempt for anyone not like them. The only unity that matters to them is the unity of like minds.

      1. There’s nothing that will unite a country like declaring your political opponents to be deplorables.

        1. They don’t matter. It’s not like they’re people, or anything.

    5. Unite the country, indeed. Take a look at the projected electoral map and tell me that Hillary Clinton will unite the country.

      1. The deplorables and irredeembles will be united in the camps. You right wing nuts are never happy.

  2. And I couldn’t in the end use government force and coercion to accomplish a political goal. It would be a violation of everything I stand for.”

    THEN WELCOME TO THE LOSERS CORNER, MR HIGH AND MIGHTY!

    1. Yes but he’s won the hearts of literally dozens of bethonged libertarian purists, most of whom don’t live in FL.

    2. I know. I know. But damn isn’t it fine to see a politician stand on his principles. It almost never happens.

    3. Hahaha… Libertarians and our ethical germophobia. Doing the right thing for the right reason at the wrong time and coming out unsullied and unheeded.

  3. I think it’s time for him to stop letting his mom cut his hair

    1. Listen, providing employment opportunities for the blind is something I think every civil society should strive for.

  4. I voted in the August primary specifically to vote for Stanton over Sol Invictus. Voted for him happily in the general.

    1. Wait, you people have a freaking sun god running?

      In response to Invictus’s campaign, Adrian Wyllie resigned from his position as chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida, calling Invictus a “violent Fascist and Neo-Nazi” whose ideology was incompatible with libertarianism and saying he did not want to be part of the same party. The chairman also accused Invictus of supporting eugenics and for “sadistically dismembering a goat in a ritualistic sacrifice”.

      Invictus responded by admitting he once wrote a paper advocating eugenics but has since changed his mind. He admits he sacrificed the animal as part of a pagan ritual to give thanks for surviving a pilgrimage he undertook in October 2013 but denies it was “sadistic”

      What the fuck Florida.

      1. Florida Man. It’s a real thing.

  5. traveled around the state, pretty much all the state except Jacksonville

    Look dude you’re already in Florida, it’s a little late to get snobby.

    1. Jacksonville is my home city. I’d avoid it too.

      1. We would avoid your home city no matter where it was.

        1. I promise not to drug you…ok I can’t really keep that promise.

      2. I’ve long advocated handing Jacksonville to Georgia. Don’t think they’d take it though.

  6. Hearing Stanton discuss some of what an outsider might consider the ups and downs, with lots of downs, of his Senate run was a curious experience: so much of what he said struck me as such a heap of annoyance and unpleasantness my own sense of disappointment overwhelmed me on his behalf.

    Maybe that’s why Nick should have covered this, Brian.

    Give Nick a shovel and the manure pile of American Politics, and he’ll shovel away convinced there’s a libertarian pony in there somewhere.

  7. He beat Invictus, 74-26, in the August primary.

    FYI, those aren’t percentages, but actual vote counts. #LibertarianMoment

  8. I and my wife voted for you Mr. Stanton. One of the few votes I didn’t cringe at casting.

    1. Can you post a link from a more reputable source than CNN?

      1. I thought it was a nice way for people to kill two birds with one stone– watch John Oliver and catch up on Trump hate.

      2. Speaking of which, Anonymous supposedly released a video of CNN staging a carbomb in Iraq I believe, but I can’t seem to find it. Has anyone seen it? If so, credible or bullshit? Nothing would surprise me at this point.

    2. Meh, Simpsons did it first.

    3. His first mistake was believing that anyone who matters actually gives a flying fuck about what he thinks.

  9. Do people actually watch Senate debates?

  10. I’m thinking of going to the polling place tomorrow and writing in Satan. There is no possible way that anything good comes out of this clusterfuck. We are fucked one way or other. Damn, this shit is depressing.

    1. Why would you write in Satan when they are already on the ballot?

      1. It’s Hyp’s codeword for Hillary.

      2. Satan was actually a real being who prided himself as being the master of evil. But then he watched Democrats and Republicans for a while and committed suicide.

        1. ….it’s more Shakespearean in nature.

          “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

        2. That reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. To make a long story short, seven beings who embody concepts/yadda-yadda. One of ’em is Destruction. In the series they tell about how he retired and stopped doing his job because humans didn’t need him anymore.

  11. Didn’t know a whole lot about him other than one interview I saw online but glad I gave him a vote now. Thanks for taking on the job of running, Paul.

  12. Hey, this guy doesn’t sound so- wait, he works for Frontier?

    Burn him alive.

    No, wait, that’s not fair. But seriously, that company is evil. Well, okay, not necessarily evil, but so inept that…

    Well, it’s a long story. And he’s tainted by association. The company stinks, their departments are so broken and ineffectual that no one can actually help you when you call, they schedule appointments then miss ’em, then are told you’re cancelling service so finally send a technician after you’ve told them, in clear, unambiguous terms, that you are done with them and their incredibly ineffectual company. And then they send you a bill (that they assured you they wouldn’t), and no one at their customer service number is capable of doing a thing about it.

    I get that the company is in a messy time but they’re terrible. After fighting with them for two weeks to get internet service, I called up someone else in the area and got service within an hour.

    So yeah, I’m gonna judge the guy by who he works for. Not that I’m a Florida voter. And I’ve already voted. But still!

    1. Frontier took over Verizon’s Fios service here in Dallas, and the services was noticeably worse. It was so bad that they upgraded us from 15/15 to 50/50 to make up for the network inconsistency.

    2. Dudes gonna need a job

      http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/loc…..24761.html

    3. So, basically, they’re Comcast?

      1. Ugh. Comcast is so bad it makes me a vocal supporter of Verizon.

        1. They’re the worst company in the history of civilization. I could write a fucking book on the stupid shit they’ve done since I’ve been stuck with them.

  13. It sounds like the sort of needless stress and strain that might break a man, but he’s not at all discouraged, near as I could tell.

    That’s because he’s on the marijuana. I don’t care what he claims, if he’s a libertarian, he’s using. Wake up, Doherty.

    1. Libertarians only care about, like 3 things. First of all The Pot of course. 2nd, the Koch brothers getting a tax break. And 3rd, making sure women and children die for lack of health insurance.

      That’s all there is to know.

      1. 4) Taco trucks’ right to Uber-drive prostitutes to the private-jet airport terminal for Bitcoins and raw milk.

        1. When that’s legal we’ll know the singularity is upon us.

      2. I really really want to legally own an RPG. Only reason I identify as libertarian.

        1. I own a bunch of RPGs on Steam.

          1. ruchnoi protivatankovi granatomiot
            to be clear, russian hand held grenade launcher, not rocket propelled grenade as is commonly thought.

  14. The Libertarian Florida Senate race got off to a weird start last year, when the only person publicly vying for the spot in the primary was Augustus Sol Invictus, a loud and proud black magician, goat sacrificer, fomenter of armed revolution, admirer of the trappings of fascism, and friend and lawyer to white identity groups.

    AND THEN EVERYTHING WENT ALL DOWNHILL AFTER THAT

    1. It was the only time this election was actually entertaining.

  15. Ok, I’m trying again. Damn squirrels.

    Why do you hate Hilary?

    Something to hopefully make you laugh before the part about a boot stamping on a human face forever.

  16. Nick Gillespie awoke in a bare room lit by a naked bulb. An old TV in the corner flickered to life and displayed a ghastly puppet. It spoke to him.

    “Hello, Nick. You don’t know me, but I know you. I want to play a game. Here’s what happens if you lose: the door to your cell will open. On the other side is STEVE SMITH. And he’s had nothing to eat for weeks but oysters seasoned with Spanish Fly. Your only hope of escape is to use your beloved Jacket to distract the beast. Only the most disgusting substance will attract him. That’s right, you must smear your jacket with *deep…dish…pizza*. The combination of it and your scent will distact STEVE SMITH long enough for you to escape. Look around Nick and know I’m not lying. You’d better hurry up. Your jacket or your life. The choice is yours.”

    1. You know the Jacket would sacrifice Nick in an instant. It can always find another host. It WILL always find another host.

      1. Kennedy as the Jacket?

    2. I can’t wait until Jigsaw gets a hold of the commentariat.

      1. Junior awoke in a bare room lit by a naked bulb. An old TV in the corner flickered to life and displayed a ghastly puppet. It spoke to him.

        “Hello Junior. You don’t know me, but I know you. I want to play a game. Here’s what happens if you lose: MTV’s Kennedy will soon wake from her sugar crash and run her mouth until you die from the frustration of being constantly interrupted. To avoid this fate, you must persuade Virginia Postrel to unlock the door. However, this task will not be easy as she knows you’re one of those jerks in the comment section. Your only hope is to drink cocktails and talk about how much you love open borders, gay marriage, and her book. Yes, Junior. You must *become* a cosmotarian. Look around and know I’m not lying. You’d better hurry up. Live or die. The choice is yours.”

  17. Wait, so the LP of Florida had Invictus “loyalists” on the board? The guy is a certifiable nut job. Are you kidding me?

  18. Spot the Not: Evan McMullin

    1. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests.

    2. I humbly offer myself as a leader who can give millions of disaffected Americans a better choice for President.

    3. We need to be smarter about fighting poverty?that’s an issue I’m very passionate about.

    4. Join our cause. It is a cause of unity and a cause of liberty.

    5. We need a change agent that understands what makes this country special and that isn’t about dividing people.

    6. Just as the American Revolution required men and women devoted to liberty and freedom to stand up and be counted, this moment calls a new generation to the same sacred task.

    1. 1) President Goodspeech in ID4

      1. Shit, I knew I recognized that one.

    2. Egg McMuffin?

  19. The Deadspin staff reveals who they’re voting for

    I don’t think I need to quote anything and I don’t think you need to click the link. You already know.

    1. Without clicking the link, it’s probably either Darrell Castle or Evan McMullen.

    2. I could have been reading who the staff of Salon is voting for there.

    3. That’s some real intellectual diversity at Deadspin.

  20. What does the commetariat think of gateway pundit calling a trump landslide?

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.co…..ide-polls/

    1. The number of Democrats voting for Trump?

      Turnout and independent voters will determine the election.

      Republican turnout looks strong. We don’t know how independent voters will vote.

      Despite CNNs constant spin about Hispanic voters are going to decide the election, that’s probably bullshit. They’ve been saying this shit for a decade. They said the same thing in 2010 and 2014 and what happened? Democrats got their asses handed to them.

      My guess is that the race is so tight, that anyone making predictions is just guessing or it’s wishful thinking.

    2. I think those assumptions are a bit insane. Trump may win, but it’ll be 275 or 280 at most.

      1. That’s only because they forgot to also adjust for illegal and dead voters.

        1. ^This

  21. O.T: I’m starting to wonder if I may be seeing the beginnings of Chicago slowly flipping during this election season. So we just had another “police involved shooting” over the weekend. In this particular case, the guy that got shot was brandishing a firearm almost within arm’s reach of the responding cops (seriously, there’s a clear photo of this). He also apparently had a prior for assault. As should pretty much be expected at this point, the Black Lives Matter crowd – being the PR geniuses they are – hitched their wobbly wagon to this downed martyr immediately. Given the current state of polite society, their presence was met with a response from the Blue Lives Matter crowd. So how does our brilliant mayor respond? By denouncing “racially, culturally or ethnically tinged language,” of course.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/…..story.html

    1. For reference, here is the aforementioned photo:

      https://imgur.com/lrkebPy

  22. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

  23. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. Im using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I do,

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  24. “do I stand on principle or go for blood? And I couldn’t in the end use government force and coercion to accomplish a political goal. It would be a violation of everything I stand for.””

    And thus the LP loses again.

    Damnit people. The ruling oligarchy are the ones committing act of force and violence against us with these laws that prevent us and others from participating fully in the political area.

    Self defense is permissible, which includes grabbing your assailants weapons and using them against them

  25. “do I stand on principle or go for blood? And I couldn’t in the end use government force and coercion to accomplish a political goal. It would be a violation of everything I stand for.””

    And thus the LP loses again.

    Dammit people. The ruling oligarchy are the ones committing act of force and violence against us with these laws that prevent us and others from participating fully in the political area.

    Self defense is permissible, which includes grabbing your assailants weapons and using them against them

  26. The comment system is stuttering

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