Matthew Tully took on the Libertarian Party over. He begins:
But for me, nothing says election season like a complaining Libertarian. If Election Day is approaching, Libertarians are griping and moaning and whining about being ignored, mistreated, forgotten and generally shunned by the media.
The Libertarian Whine is one of the true campaign constants. It is to elections what potholes are to spring, or what mosquitoes are to summer.
That is, an annoying and guaranteed event.
Even as a Libertarian, I can sympathize with him. Rarely a day goes by where I don’t get some poorly written or overly hyped Libertarian press release in my inbox. Words like “you’ve got to cover this” generally fall on deaf ears because I don’t “have” to do anything I don’t want — and I don’t generally consider some Tax Day protest (with 5 whole protesters) at some Post Office very newsworthy.
Tully’s article was precipitated by an e-mail from LP candidate Mike Kole.
Kole, who has held various top posts in the Libertarian Party, wrote to tell me what Libertarians strive for most.
No, not a more limited government. But, rather, more press for their campaigns.
“I try not to be too critical of reporters,” Kole wrote in his e-mail. “But I have to say, I am rather frustrated with the lack of inclusion Libertarians get, and that I get, in The Star.”
You see, every election year Libertarians run with huge dreams for offices big and small. Generally, they grab somewhere around 2 or 3 percent of the vote.
“I’m relegated to the sidelines,” Kole complained.
That’s what happens, Mike, when you get only 2 or 3 percent of the vote.
I’ve got to agree with both Kole and Tully on this one. From a writer’s perspective, two to three percent of the vote isn’t worth the same coverage as the Rs and Ds get. However, less than 1 percent (as Tom Knapp and I once calculated) of the mainstream media mentions us. Many major media outlets have Libertarians on blackout status. A reasonable amount of campaign coverage would be roughly consistent with election results. In this case, two to three percent would be fair — but less than one percent wouldn’t be.
“If I earn 10 percent,” Kole wrote, “the Libertarian Party will become a major party, on par with the Democrats and Republicans.”
This was when I started wondering just what they spike the water with down on Libertarian Avenue. Major parties don’t earn 10 percent. They win elections — with, say, 51 percent — every so often. With the exception of a rare head-scratcher, Libertarians don’t win elections. [snip]
I’ll believe that when a Libertarian candidate actually wins a statewide office in Indiana.
Or, at least when one hits that elusive goal of 10 percent.
Hey guys, you got it straight from the horse’s mouth. We’ll start getting coverage when we actually start winning. While I’d argue that we’ve earned slightly more coverage than we receive, it’s time for us to start creating some real world results for them to cover.