90% of Americans support a third party

The Lou Dobbs Show on CNN apparently asked its viewers a question on Tuesday: Would you consider membership in a third party? As of the latest reporting (via DailyKos), 90% of them said “yes.” Coming on the heels of Greenspan’s prediction of a viable centrist third-party candidate for President in either 2008 or 2012, this is big news. Obviously, the people are getting fed up with Republican betrayals of the Constitution and fiscal discipline, and Democratic betrayal of their spines.

Will this translate into unprecedented Libertarian successes in 2008? Well, in order for that to happen, we’ll have to give the voters what they want-fiscal discipline, an end to the war in Iraq, and a moderate stance on immigration, along the lines of the LRC’s proposal or Chuck Hagel’s proposal. And that’s pretty much it. Maybe a few tangential issues, like marijuana decriminalization or some other issue that enjoys broad public support, but that’s it. We have to be credible, and only run on those principles that the voters support. This, of course, means that the LRC has to be leading the Libertarian Party by then. After all, if we don’t give the voters what they want, someone else will… and diehard libertarian though I am, I’ll probably vote for that man.

But just by looking at the Republican candidate circus, it’s evident that we can probably just expect more of the same from them. As for the Democrats… as time passes it looks more and more like Clinton’s got the nomination clinched. The voters are crying out for an alternative-it is our duty to give it to them.

posted by Stuart Richards
  • disinter

    After all, if we don’t give the voters what they want, someone else will… and diehard libertarian though I am, I’ll probably vote for that man.

    Why? This logic, or lack thereof, boggles my mind…

  • Devious David

    90% of Americans said yes…. assuming that the third party had the penetration and power of the D’s & R’s. Beleive me, they would rather waste their votes on the establishment and then complain about it. The American people are totally unwilling to accept responsibility for anything – their finance, their children etc. Thus, the are SURELY unwilling to accept the responsibility of casting their ballots accordingly.

    I have a person or two at work exhibiting possible interest. He put up the wasted vote fallacy and I explained the wasted vote fallacy through the lense of responsibility to him and it worked. He simply had no choice but to agree with me. Muahahaha I am going to have him by November.

    I think a valuable tool to overcome the wasted vote is a number of packaged answers that particularly revolve around responsibility and turn the “wasted vote” around to the TRUE interpretation.

  • Stuart Richards

    Why? This logic, or lack thereof, boggles my mind…

    Because anyone who would get us out of Iraq, do something about the debt, fix immigration and restore some civil liberties will get my vote… whether they’re a Libertarian candidate or not.

  • Devious David

    Hmmm.. I read the LRC’s immigration proposal and think it’s well written and thought out. And I am a hard-liner.

    You know Thomas Jefferson had some warnings regarding immigration that have been borne out in history. Specifically that immigrants will bring their habits (in particular towards government) with them from their home country and needless to say, their governments would not be as friendly towards liberty as Americas would.

    Kinda like New Jerseyites going to Florida and then turning it into New Jersey – just warmer. And then complaining and not understanding how it got like that.

    I also like the idea of all government business being in English exclusively.

    The LRC has done some good work here.

  • http://strangeland.blogdrive.com stranger

    while i think it’s great that third parties are, at least hypothetically, viable, i’m not sure your proposals are enough. frankly i think the LP’s biggest problem in getting the vote out is straight-up education. yeah, i know, i plug the education thing a lot, but frankly it’s true. do you know how often i tell people i’m a libertarian and they ask me, “is that ralph nader’s party?”

    people don’t know who we are, they don’t know what we stand for, and as much as it hurts to say it, there are some very supportive members of the LP who don’t help. i experienced this myself in my last state of residence, and when i moved here i met a few libs in my philosophy dept and they all say they’re not involved with the party for one reason – the local party here is comprised of weirdos who have no concept of REALISTIC campaigning. so they figure why waste their time. the LP, in my opinion, needs a massive wake-up call if we expect to have any influence whatsoever in 2008.

  • Stuart Richards

    Well, to my knowledge the LP is working on a “branding” campaign for 2006 that will get our name out to the average person and associate it with positive things. I’m not entirely sure how they’re going about it, you might want to inquire at lp.org but there is a conscious effort being undertaken as we speak.

    As for the crazies… don’t just complain about them, DO something about them. Run as a Libertarian candidate on a realistic platform and show them how it’s done, and then they’ll either shut up and learn (if they just had no clue how to run a real campaign), leave (if they don’t think you’re “principled” enough because you didn’t repeal all taxes as soon as you entered office) or help you out.

  • disinter

    Stuart,

    You mean to tell me the LP is even *considering* marketing?? Holly shit I have died and gone to heaven.

  • disinter

    I can’t get the Hagel link to work…

  • Stuart Richards
  • Stephen Gordon

    I’m a bit skeptical of the marketing plan, but will support anything which we haven’t tried before which might have a chance of working.

  • Stephen Gordon

    …the local party here is comprised of weirdos who have no concept of REALISTIC campaigning. so they figure why waste their time

    It happens both ways. There are also many in academics so disparage any realpolitik libertarian solution.

    I’m working here to find ways to bring the best of the academic world and those who work realistic campaigns together: The academics for education, the political types for politics, and finding meaningful roles for those who have stood in the way of both.

  • disinter

    Stephen,

    How did you guys find out about the marketing plan? Is there info about it somewhere?

  • http://donsobservs.blogspot.com/ Don Bangert

    Your World With Neil Cavuto carried a similar segment talking about third parties as a viable option in ’08. He had a representative from the LP as well as the former Perot campaign manager. Sorry, I didn’t catch any names.

    Hmmm… wonder what’s going on here? Why the sudden change of heart? Is this the same media who wouldn’t even report on Badnarik and Cobb getting arrested while trying to serve the debate commission with a show cause order (http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=40843).

  • Stuart Richards

    How did you guys find out about the marketing plan? Is there info about it somewhere?

    Yeah, one of the LP officials did a live chat and the transcript was posted on the front page about what… two, three months ago? They used to do this fairly regularly; I thought it was a good idea.

  • disinter

    Stuart,

    Thanks for the info. I rarely visit that gawd-awful site, my bad.

  • Graham

    It’s different before and during a campaign. Before it starts ( and AFTER people get who they voted for), the media is always open to speculating on alternative candidates. Also note, they focus on well-known and big-money candidates. When election time comes around, they dont report on the small money “no name” “3rd” parties.Perhaps it would be different if a well known, well funded candidate emerges.

  • Stuart Richards

    What’ll probably happen is some rich guy will run, a la Ross Perot, on the issues listed above, and if nothing else act as a major spoiler. The difference is that if the LRC leads the party by 2008, that rich guy will be running as a Libertarian.

  • Stephen Gordon

    Mike- It is often covered at LNC meetings. I’d search Sean Haugh’s reports on google.

  • Stuart Richards

    Yeah, dude’s all about the LP marketing… he’s definitely the go-to guy.

  • http://allencountylp.blogspot.com/ Mike Sylvester

    I like The Libertarian Party and I am a Libertarian.

    That being said, The Libertarian Party has to become more mainstream and has to learn how to appeal to more people.

    One of the first things that should be done is The National LP platform must be abolished. It has to be replaced with a shorter platform that makes more sense to the average American.

    The Libertarian Party also needs to back off on The War on Drugs. Instead, we should emphasize State’s rights and the rights of States to pass the laws that their citizens want (Like medical mj).

  • http://disvoter.blogspot.com The Disenfranchised Voter

    The LP should back off of fighting for people’s natural right to decide what you put into their own body?

    I think not.

  • http://libertarianyouth.blogspot.com Nigel Watt

    What the hell did happen to those live chats? I liked them.

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    The LP won’t stand a chance in important elections until either the anarcho-libertarians leave or the moderate-libertarians take over. And unfortunately it’s always the anarcho types who are yelling the loudest. The moderate-libertarians are too busy acting sane.

    The Reps never act as conservative as they’d like to, and the Dems never act as liberal as they’d like to – and the LP can’t act as libertarian as we’d like to if we ever expect to be taken seriously and get elected.

    Is the LP a debate club or a political party? I used to be hardcore LP but now I honestly wish that we moderates would break away and start their own party. Look at Europe, almost all the countries have large liberal (libertarian) parties active in government.

  • Stephen Gordon

    The LP won’t stand a chance in important elections until either the anarcho-libertarians leave or the moderate-libertarians take over.

    Phil, how do you support that statement? I’ve already laid out my defense here.

    My strong opinion is that the key problem is not with moderates or anarchists, but with those who wish to engage in politics and those who don’t.

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    My strong opinion is that the key problem is not with moderates or anarchists, but with those who wish to engage in politics and those who don’t.

    But are “those who don’t wish to engage in politics” currently heading the LP and making all the big decisions? And if so, aren’t all those people the anarcho-types?

  • Stephen Gordon

    Phil,

    I think I personally know everyone on the LNC or who works at the national office — some of them quite well. I’d say there is a pretty broad mix of views covering most or all of the political bases.

    I can only think of two anarchists, off the top of my head.

    I believe the key problems have to do with lack of political experience, trying to employ business methodology to politics, assumptions that most people vote based on ideology, limited resources, and a few minor power game.

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    I think I personally know everyone on the LNC or who works at the national office — some of them quite well. I’d say there is a pretty broad mix of views covering most or all of the political bases.

    How about the LP electorate, the people who nominated our Presidential candidate the past three terms? Browne and Badnarik were definitely in the more radical end of the spectrum. And it seemed that all the possible nominees during the past two LP Presidential debates were on the extreme side…cause that how you win the nomination, being anything but extreme got you boo’s from the audience.

    I see your point about the need for real “politicians”. But politicians are sleezy, corrupt, lying, cheating….even the most moderate of Libertarians couldn’t even stoop to their levels. Republican and Democrat politicians become politicians not because they want to make a difference in the world, but because they want power. Complete opposite from us Libertarians.

  • Stephen Gordon

    While I worked hard for Badnarik, it’s open knowledge that I ran Russo’s campaign — and found Nolan a more viable candidate. Barry Hess is a close friend, too.

    I understand your commentary about the LP electorate. However, there isn’t really a dime’s worth of difference in their platforms (including Hess/Browne).

    The issue, IMO, is who is more electable with a non-libertarian audience.

    While most certainly are, politicians are not, by default, sleazy. Ron Paul serves as the obvious example. And some Libertarians can be sleazy, too.

    Let’s start picking some candidates who can win races.

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    Let’s start picking some candidates who can win races.

    I agree completely. But anarcho-types won’t ever win anything important, and moderates won’t get support from their LP peers.

    I think that by becoming more moderate, we’ll gain more public support find those more worthwild candidates that we so desperately need.

    The issue, IMO, is who is more electable with a non-libertarian audience.

    Absolutely, but even if Jesus ran on a radical libertarian platform, he wouldn’t get elected. :-)

    Enjoying the discussion Stephen! (I visit this blog multiple times a day, about time I start commenting more often!)

  • Stephen Gordon

    Phil – I hit your blog pretty often, too. Welcome.

    A lot of what could happen with an “anarcho-type” candidate would depend on the platform offered. Obviously, an anarchist platform would not win any election today (except perhaps in a few communities in the southwest US). However, an anarchist with a limited government could well win.

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