We’ll all find out soon whether next week’s elections yield the “Democratic wave” so many political seers have predicted. There isn’t much doubt, however, about another kind of electoral wave that has been building across America and is set to crash on Tuesday.
That tsunami is the property-rights backlash, which is the direct result of last year’s misguided and deeply unpopular Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London. A narrow Court majority decided that the Constitution’s “takings” clause somehow allowed the government to seize private property not merely for “public use” but also on behalf of other private interests. . . . No fewer than 11 states (see nearby table) have ballot measures designed to limit government’s ability to pilfer private property for someone else’s private economic development. Eight initiatives would enshrine those restrictions in state constitutions, and polls show that most are headed for victories.
State Libertarian Parties should learn a thing or two about the time and effort that goes into these winnable single issue campaigns versus candidate races that keep losing (most times far outside the margin of victory). A noble strategy to follow would be to reposition our political efforts into putting initiatives on ballots at the state level and solidly building a roster of qualified candidates up from the local level for the next two election cycles.
Of course, this idea of actually playing the game of politics won’t fly with those libertarians who don’t care about winning in the first place and view our cause as an educational one.
Update: Brian Lewis at News Leader:
After meeting with a couple of Libertarian candidates this year, I’ve decided it’s not the party, it’s the people whom the party gets to run for office.
I know; running for office is a tough, thankless task. And the Libertarians start with a high hurdle to overcome. There just aren’t very many of them. It’s hard to campaign when you’re trying to hold down a full-time job and also get out and knock on doors and raise money.
Except the two Libertarian candidates I talked to expressed a disdain for raising money. Tom Martz, who is running for state representative in the 139th district, said he didn’t want someone to think that they could buy his vote on an issue just because they contributed to his campaign. It’s a holier-than-thou approach.
They’re the pure candidates, not tainted by money from their supporters. Essentially all other candidates are prostitutes, politicians of easy virtue.
This brings up two problems. One, if a politician isn’t going to raise money, then he isn’t serious about running for office. Two, a politician ought to have the integrity to vote the way either his heart or his constituents want him to vote. A financial supporter could have some small amount of influence but should take a back seat to more important factors.
The bottom line though is that the Libertarian candidates I met seemed much more passionate about Libertarian philosophy than government and winning campaigns.
This is the major divide in the Libertarian Party and we need to figure out how to come to terms with ourselves.