Libertarian Party

Libertarian Party Now Has Two Sitting Legislators in New Hampshire

First-termers Caleb Dyer (former Republican) and Joseph Stallcop (former Democrat) both switched their Party allegiance to Libertarian.

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Since the 2016 election, the Libertarian Party (L.P.) has gained two sitting state legislators in New Hampshire. Not by having L.P. candidates win in that election, but by having two legislators who won as a Republican and a Democrat switch allegiance to the L.P.

Caleb Dyer

The first was former Republican Caleb Dyer (Hillsborough 37, the cities of Hudson and Pelham) in February. This month, a new two-person Libertarian Caucus in the New Hampshire House of Representatives was formed when Democrat Joseph Stallcop (from Cheshire House District 4, representing the city of Keene's Ward 1) also went L.P.

Both renegades are 21 years old.

Dyer found the Republican House leadership basically trying to scuttle nearly every bill he sponsored or co-sponsored, and began to suspect it wasn't the Party for him. (The bills included one mandating police body cameras and one allowing for easier annulment of arrest records when no conviction followed.) He was told more or less that anything that wasn't a pre-set part of the state Party's platform, he'd be obstructed on. This didn't sit well with Dyer. (The Republicans currently have a strong majority in the House.)

In a February Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session, Dyer explained that when he runs for re-election as a Libertarian, he has the chance of appealing to normally Democratic voters: "I am a firm opponent of Republicans on a great many social issues. I support the decriminalization of sex work with Rep. Elizabeth Edwards (D-Manchester). I am a co-sponsor on HB656, the primary bill for the legalization of recreational cannabis. I am also fervently against the death penalty." In that same AMA he complained that the state GOP "do not seem very focused on reducing expenditures but rather focused on finding ways spend a surplus that we realistically don't have. Apart from this I also question the Republican party's commitment to the accountability of executive agents including police."

Dyer ran and won last year as a Republican with a reasonably libertarian message: for school choice and constitutional carry of weapons, against income and sales taxes and the drug war, and wanting to reduce business taxes and spending. His handout to voters didn't even mention party affiliation and called him a "young voice of liberty."

In his official statement announcing his party switch in February, Dyer warned Republicans that the Libertarian Party in New Hampshire last year winning ballot access for 2018 (with its gubernatorial candidate Max Abramson passing the 4 percent barrier), shows "that [the GOP's] constituency is slowly but surely growing discontent with their increasingly partisan representation. For elected Republicans like myself who have libertarian leanings this is a truly golden opportunity to establish ourselves as a viable alternative to this representation and become advocates for principled, classically liberal policy….We hope that in two years' time our perseverance will inspire hundreds of People across the state to submit themselves to their peers as Libertarian candidates."

Stallcop, elected in November running unopposed as a Democrat and as a junior studying political science at Keene State, was inspired into politics from a more left-learning direction; in his press release announcing his defection to the L.P. he credited "Personally witnessing the situation at Standing Rock" as a major impetus to his political awakening, as it "showed me the danger of relinquishing power and authority into an institution." (Stallcop did no fundraising for his unopposed race.)

In a phone interview this week, Stallcop says the Standing Rock situation initially disturbed him because of "shocking" scenes of protesters and media being mistreated "for the sake of protecting a subsidized industry," and at one point felt that a policeman was likely to have shot and killed him for walking across a line.

Stallcop noted that when he took a version of the libertarian "Nolan test" (which maps your political beliefs regarding economic and other freedoms in quadrants rather than just a straight line on which one can only be toward the right and left), he was firmly in the "left libertarian" quadrant. (He was passionate when elected as a Democrat at extending anti-discrimination laws in the state to cover the transgendered.)

When he ran as a Democrat Stallcop also advocated a higher state minimum wage, but says he now thinks differently.

He credits Libertarian Party member Mary Ruwart's book Healing Our World with helping shift his political attitude in a more libertarian direction. That book helped him see that "as long as you are for achieving goals without aggression, than you are essentially libertarian, and that me being more left-leaning in my classical liberalism doesn't mean I can't be a Libertarian."

A talk with Dyer helped Stallcop realize the L.P. was a reasonable option for him, though Stallcop says Dyer was "rather surprised about the speed of my decision" to switch; it took him just a couple of weeks of awareness of the L.P. option to make the jump.

Libertarian Party of New Hampshire (LPNH) Chair Darryl Perry, who sought the Party's presidential nomination in 2016 on a platform of hardcore no-state libertarianism, admits that Stallcop is "not the most libertarian guy" but is impressed by his obvious willingness to "learn more about what [Libertarian] beliefs actually are."

Stallcop, who says he felt no particular partisan attachment before running for office and even contemplated being an independent until he learned of the petition requirements, quickly found his the Democratic Party's leadership in the New Hampshire House stifling and annoying.

He felt like he was being basically ordered to vote party line without adequate factual backing for the positions the Democrats insisted he take. Stallcop particularly found their insistence on voting against "constitutional carry" (permitless concealed weapon carry) grating. "I find it funny that many people who raise issues of police brutality" never ask "if we had less of these laws that enable police to come directly up" to citizens, might that not be better? "People want to lock down police yet create all these laws that push police to be more aggressive with us."

As he said in a press release announcing his switch, "it seems there is no longer a place for me here [in the Democratic Party]. With a high regard for individuals personally working in their communities to implement positive change, I hereby transfer to the Libertarian Party."

The Power of a Two-Man Caucus

Can the new Libertarian Caucus in the New Hampshire state house grow? Stallcop isn't sure if he'll run again; it depends on where he ends up going to law school, since that choice may take him out of state.

Dyer is already committed to another run in 2018 with the L.P. banner. (His voting record, for your personal judgments on his libertarian bona fides.) It is a common complaint of state and local L.P. candidates that the Party apparatus is almost always unable to do anything to help them gain office. Perry, the state L.P. chair, says that "I know that we will be able to provide [Dyer] with volunteers for going door to door campaigning. The election is 18 months away" so hopefully more resources might be available from the LPNH by then, though "at this point we are not necessarily able to throw a bunch of money at any legislative seat."

That said, Perry is encouraged that unlike many states, New Hampshire House seats are often winnable with spending of less, sometimes even far less, than a thousand dollars. Neither Dyer or Stallcap felt they had any meaningful help from their former major parties either, beyond whatever benefit the mere label has for party-line voters.

Because of the multi-member district that Dyer represents, in which each voter gets to pick 11 different representatives (meaning the top 11 vote getters all get a seat) he could potentially end up in the House again as a Libertarian with only around 5 percent of the vote. (Back in the 1990s, when the L.P. had four sitting members in New Hampshire's House, Andy Borsa won re-election with the L.P. label in Dyer's district.)

Dyer feels good about how well known he already is around Pelham and Hudson, and feels well equipped to do the necessary door knocking to put him over. But he does hope the state L.P. will be able to help with door-knocking, setting up events, and otherwise start "building a base of voters" but even "one or two people" from the Party to help him door-knock, "I'd consider that a success. I don't expect them to provide crazy phone banks or anything that like" right away "though I hope they will get there." (He won last time spending only around $400, Dyer says.) Having activists knocking on doors will be "infinitely more helpful" than giving him another dollar.

New Hampshire's House is unusually large, with 400 members. Any individual legislator in a committee system controlled by a Party not the legislators' own will likely find actually getting bills out of committee very difficult. One of the issues Dyer hopes to legislate successfully on is easier ballot access for third parties.

Dyer, who works as a Christmas tree farmer with his dad, for that reason is on the Environment and Agriculture Committee. And even though every House member is supposed to be on a committee, the Democrats stripped Stallcop of his and he's currently committeeless.

Stallcop expects that their colorful rarity as a two-man Party caucus could make their media bully pulpit more powerful, and Dyer says the ethos of the way the House works might make it important for the Democrats or Republicans to work on making bills satisfying to them to make them technically "bipartisan."

Perry is quite sure that the New Hampshire state House has more than a few libertarian members who are so far reluctant to abandon the two-party system. Stallcop and Dyer agree, though neither will out anyone publicly. Dyer thinks as many as 10 percent of the legislature might have a natural home in the L.P.

While running a candidate for every House slot is a herculean task even the two majors generally don't manage, says LPNH head Perry, they do hope to field many more than usual next year and also hope to provide more clear "statewide branding, we are Libertarians and this is what we stand for" though he knows they won't be able to provide concrete support to everyone who runs. He expects them to try to figure out "more viable ones" and help them.

Dyer believes "If I won re-election in 2018 as a Libertarian the whole game changes. If I win in Hudson and Pelham, in the Speaker of the House's district, a warning shot will have been fired. People will really take notice. The Republican Party will be very dismayed."

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51 responses to “Libertarian Party Now Has Two Sitting Legislators in New Hampshire

  1. Maybe now they can get a vote on that hemp-for-pets bill.

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  2. Republicans are more likely to flip on social conservative issues than Democrats are to flip on economic issues, that’s for sure.

  3. That Dyer guy’s votes kind of suck, especially around school choice type issues from what I saw in the link. Maybe he’s changed his mind

    1. You are right. Dyer’s aggregate voting record — when he bothers to vote — is not exactly a model of libertarianism.

      1. Michael Hihn will be here shortly to explain to you how you’re what’s wrong with the LP today and with his Cato survey in hand.

        1. Is he off his meds agsin?

    2. Yep – the over/under I had was 5 comments before someone shits on one of these two. Thank you for what you do!

      Anything positive to say about an actual sitting elected official being a member of the LP on this so-called libertarian website? Do you just want to complain forever, and never, I don’t know, grow a movement that has the potential to alter the current course we are headed?

  4. Which one fills the vacancy of the red pill guy?

  5. A New Hampshire legislator named “Stallcop”. Is this an April Fools joke?

  6. 400 members in a state the size of New Hampshire and it’s great news that 2 are Libertarian? And both by weaseling their way into it, not winning as one.

    1. You’re right. We should tell ’em to get lost.
      Man, you’d screw up a free lunch.

      1. Agreed – leave it to the high browed Reason commenters to find a way, as my dad used to say, “To fuck up a wet dream”

    2. Eh, it seems to be more of an exercise in branding for the LP.

      Personally, I could do without it (as it is the branding for Republicans or Democrats is essentially meaningless anymore. Both support contradictory positions as it is convenient).

      But as far as advocating a more libertarian voice in government, it will work.

      It has to start somewhere.

    3. With the illictions rigged th’ way they are, this is all fair and fine with me. I look forward to the day whin–with the Nixon anti-Libertarian law repealed–the only way Ray-publeakans can finagle a seat in pollyticks is by first running as libertarians. then turning coat and sliding a poniard into Lady Liberty’s ribs once elected.

      1. Oh fuck off. Non existent of the garbage you write is remotely telemarketing clever the way you think it is.

  7. “Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.”
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/…..ocid=ientp

    The source is MSN, so knock off ten points already.
    Then we have the semi-famous un-named “US officials”. Sorta like that ‘player to be named later’ and never is.
    Add to that, Trump was already elected, so the hag still (everywhere and always, properly and deservedly) LOSES!
    Finally, what’s he trying to do, beat FDR at his game? FDR probably wasn’t the only POTUS to set up private comm. to other governments, but he’s the obvious example.
    So, is this the ‘smoking gun???!!!’. I’ll let Tony scream “TREASON!!!!”

    1. I don’t think it is a “smoking gun”. But let’s assume for a moment that the facts of the story are basically correct. What was the purpose of such a “secret and secure” hotline between Trump and Russia, *in the presidential transition period*? I don’t necessarily think it is “TREASON” or some such. But it does seem odd. Why would he do that?

      1. Maybe, like FDR in the hopes of getting better intel?
        More importantly, it’s not illegal and it’s within the remit of the President. IOWs, I’m sure it will be blown into a steaming pile of something, ‘details to be released Thursday!’.

        1. How about you stay on topic or post your stuff elsewhere? What does your post have to do wtg the article on this page? Just checking

  8. Hmm, half a percent is pretty underwhelming; aren’t ‘free staters’ alone like almost 2% of the state’s population? Maybe they should instead focus on a ‘free district.’

  9. “I support the decriminalization of sex work with Rep. Elizabeth Edwards (D-Manchester).”

    Yeah but how big of a market can there really be for sex work with Rep. Elizabeth Edwards?

    1. A bit:
      http://www.elizabethedwardsnh.com

      Interestingly enough, she’s apparently a Free Stater.

      1. Wow! We should send money and volunteers to try to get HER to defect to the forces of freedom and righteousness.

    2. Are they actually in favor of decriminalizing prostitution? Or just the ‘Nordic model’ bullshit?

      1. What’s wrong with Nordic models?

  10. This is super cool and important and all. But the real test will come when these two are up for reelection. Will the power of being an incumbent be enough to offset the lack of major party status? Not trying to be a downer, but I really want to know. I live in a state where you can do and say practically anything and still retain your incumbent seat at election time.

    1. The idea is to change the laws, not sit on your ass surrounded by treacherous leeches and looters. When mining interests subsidized looter populists in the run-up to the 1892 election, territories became states and _several_ looter politicians were seated amid the congressional boodlers. Within less than a year they had gotten the Communist Manifesto income tax written into the tariff act and brought the economy crashing down in ruins like Sampson in shoulder-length curls. This was accomplished carrying 5 states with 9% of the ballot yielding 22 electoral votes. Spoiler votes in this case packed at least six times the law-changing clout of entrenched partisan votes.

  11. “Stallcop noted that when he took a version of the libertarian “Nolan test” (which maps your political beliefs regarding economic and other freedoms in quadrants rather than just a straight line on which one can only be toward the right and left), he was firmly in the “left libertarian” quadrant. (He was passionate when elected as a Democrat at extending anti-discrimination laws in the state to cover the transgendered.)
    This guy is not a Libertarian. Both of these guys are just finding their party does not do what they want, so they switched to LP. If they run and win on a LP platform and vote for Libertarian causes, then I would accept they are probably Libertarians now.

    The Nolan chart makes the incorrect assumption that Liberals are for economic and personal freedom. They are not. This chart does not fully placed liberals in the authoritarian position. Classic liberals would be for the most freedom and Libertarianism now covers what classic liberals would find familiar.

    Modern liberals are socialists who use the state and authoritarianism to limit freedoms both personal and economic.

    1. Bingo. Neither of them are libertarian. I watched a video of Dyer speaking and he cited his main reason for switching parties was that the R’s didn’t do what he liked. Not for any political epiphany, not because he agreed with the LP, but because the R’s wouldn’t play ball with him.

      PS: He’s nearly as incoherent and disjointed a public speaker as Admiral Stockdale. At least Stockdale admitted he didn’t know what he was doing.

      1. Neither of them are libertarian. I watched a video of Dyer speaking and he cited his main reason for switching parties was that the R’s didn’t do what he liked. Not for any political epiphany, not because he agreed with the LP, but because the R’s wouldn’t play ball with him.

        What does that have to do with whether they’re libertarian, or how libertarian they are? Seems like a separate issue from the switch in parties.

      2. So? Austin Petersen is an antichoice conservative infiltrator. That impostor, flanked by an anarchist and a noob who’d only just joined made it as far as the finals in our political convention. Gary Johnson, whatever his faults, was the only credible neo-libertarian running and he got us a 328% increase in market share. Let the damn looters worry about being infiltrated and taken over for a change!

        1. Johnson is better identified as a pseudo-libertarian.

    2. Wrong. Search Google News and you’ll see that GO-Pee reaction to the Liberal Party writing the prohibition repeal plank that elected FDR and lost Hoover, the Klan, the WCTU and their party 5 elections running. Only then and only to Republicans was Liberal taken from Mein Kampf and applied to repealers as though we were communists. This is ordinary fluency in the English language still retained by Canadians, Australians and British Subjects, but lost on bigoted biblical boors.

    3. Andrew Willow described the modern progressive as one who strongly believes that all of their ideas should have the full force of law behind them. They also assume the rest of us are exactly the same in that regard. Which is why they are always so threatened by dissenting ideas. Not able to understand that many of us are able to separate their feelings from what should be law, and limiting ourselves to laws that are constitutional.

      This is one of the basic problems we will always have with the progressive, and why they never, ever stop.

  12. “People want to lock down police yet create all these laws that push police to be more aggressive with us.”

    Quibbles over whether he’s libertarian or not are not as important as the fact he’s having epiphanies like this one and was able to articulate it in one concise easy to remember sentence.

    1. Oh, it’s Reason, there will be quibbling

  13. It won’t take long for them to do something ridiculous that brings embarrassment to libertarianism. The LP is a farce.

  14. I live in Belknap county NH and have good libertarian bonafides. Maybe I could start a gofundme or something to get elected in the NH house. I bet reasoners would contribute.

    1. No – they’d find miniscule reasons to say you were a fake libertarian and claim they are the only real libertarian on this site. Are you new here?

    2. Belknap looks like its spelled backwards

  15. This is a tremendous tactic building on when the LP earned Roger MacBride’s electoral vote. That defection to the ranks of integrity was cast a month before the Republican-dominated Supreme Court decided against letting state legislatures mandate coathanger-only pregnancy termination within their collections of parishes. While post may not be propter on a one-off occurrence, the Nixon-dominated looter kleptocracy had only recently changed the tax code to subsidize looter parties–a political squandering of tax revenue that has not yet been corrected by the asset-forfeiture intransigentzia. The pattern of spoiler votes as the harbingers of hurried change in law and jurisprudence is as general and verifiable as the observation that, while all men are mortal, not all of us are suckers with stupid written all over our faces.

    1. You like to babble a lot. Also, if you think Roe V. Wade was constitutional, you’re an idiot. It definitely was not. But hey, don’t let that stop your big government plans.

    2. 2016 Electoral College final tally:

      Donald Trump – 304 (2 of 306 defected)
      Hillary Clinton – 227 (5 of 232 defected)
      Colin Powell – 3 (all pledged to Clinton)
      Ron Paul – 1 (pledged to Trump)
      Bernie Sanders – 1 (pledged to Clinton)
      John Kasich – 1 (pledged to Trump)
      Faith Spotted Eagle – 1 (pledged to Clinton)

  16. It’s really sad that you think libertarianism has gained by this.

    1. Do you math? The LP didn’t have the to seats after the election. Now they have a net gain of two seats. 0 < 2 - ergo, it's better.

  17. With 20,000 Free Staters there, they should be able to run a mere 400 candidates.

  18. If “stallcop” is a name like weaver or miller, hes in the right line of work (yes, I’m calling new Hampshire a toilet)

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