The Libertarian/Republicrat Fusion Swindle

Rolf Lindgren sent along a really exhaustive list of Libertarian backed candidates getting burned by both Republicans and Democrats:

Wisconsin Libertarian Ben Masel, running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat, was promised a chance to speak at the democratic party state convention. This was a primary reason for running as a democrat, as Ben could address all the democrats about medical marijuana and other related topics. The Democrats reneged.

Another Wisconsin Libertarian Dave Redick said he was running as a Republican for U.S. Senate so he could get more news coverage. However, Dave is not getting any news coverage now and will get none after he loses the primary. Nor did he get to speak at the Republican convention last month. And Republican bloggers continue to make fun of him.

Minnesota Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Sue Jeffers was a keynote speaker at the MN LP Convention in April, but now the MN LP is left with no candidate as she says she will now run as a Republican:

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Weld said he would run as a Libertarian even if he didn’t get the nod from Republicans. His promise was caught on video, but he’s since turned coat on the deal and isn’t running, leaving the NY LP without a candidate:

Yet another from Wisconsin (which may be excusable with an explanation)… Former LPWI Treasurer Craig Mohn is running for Assembly as a democrat. However, his website makes no mention that he was a Libertarian or holds any Libertarian values, beyond a couple vague statements.

And another Wisconsin… Libertarian Dan Long (also winner of the most annoying website) is running for Assembly as a Republican. Dan has never gotten one iota of respect from the Republican Party and his website doesn’t mention anything libertarian. He is also in a liberal “one-party” district in Dane County that Democrats always win, so the argument to run as a Republican to win is ridiculous.

It’s painfully apparent that this strategy isn’t going to yield much fruit. While I commend those Libertarian campaigns that can sneak under the radar of the two major parties, it’s clear that we need to do much work in building our own party brand instead of working within other parties.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. update: Ben, who is an LPWI Officer, has just been reinstated for a lunch speech. (although he is not listed on the program)

    he still won’t beat Senator Herb Kohl in the primary, but I’m glad he is getting to speak afterall.

    For those who don’t know Ben, he is the leading marijuana activist in Wisconsin and probably the whole midwest.

    I’d still rather he ran as a Libertarian

  2. 2nd update – Just spoke with Dave Redick. He says he is “99% sure” he will switch over to the Libertarian Party for Senate, as he still has a month to get signatures.

  3. A few of these people appear to ahve abandoned our party for another one, and thus have ceased to be libertarians. A noteworthy case appears in Florida, where a 2004 Libertarian candidate became a Democrat this time. However, he is an exception to the general rule in that the Democrats welcomed him into their party and are supporting him.

    Ilana Freedman run for Congress as an L in 2002, switched parties to run as an R and got little of the promised support, and lost in the primary apparently to a man whose petitioning was apparently aided by friends of the incumbent D.

    Party gains and losses run in both directions, but it appears clear that the fusion, run-a-democrat-or-republican, switch parties and the like arrangements usually work out poorly for us.

  4. Frank Gonzalez, the 2004 Libertarian candidate who became a Democrat, is welcomed into the Democratic Party because he’s focusing on the major issues where liberals and libertarians agree. Another observation is that Libertarians are usually welcomed into a major party when they have the balls to run in an area where no one else wants to run. Frank Gonzalez is the first Democratic challenger since 1998. I think some of the problems facing Libertarians who run as Republicans is that social conservatism is very important to the activists in the base and that’s what killed Weld, who’s pro-choice. Fusion candidates need to be smarter and remember that they’ve got to focus on the issues where the major party’s base overlaps with libertarianism.

  5. Question if I may. Did the LP have a candidate in the
    race in Calif to replace Cunningham?

  6. Yeah, somebody named King. I can’t seem to find how he did – there was a 5-point gap that somebody must have filled. If it was only our guy, that’s pretty good.

  7. Brian P. Bilbray (Rep) ”“ 60,319 votes ”“ 49.33%
    Francine Busby (Dem) ”“ 55,587 votes ”“ 45.46%
    William Griffith (Indep) ”“ 4,492 votes ”“ 3.67%
    Paul King (Libert) ”“ 1,875 votes ”“ 1.53%

    Griffith was a border protector of some sort.

  8. Don’t these candidates realise that the probable reason behind one of the major parties offering them help if they change parties is to just get them out of the way?

    (big breath)

    It gives them the flip-flop feel to me.

  9. Okay, well, now we know for certain that the RLC-DFC option is basically out in most conditions. You live and learn. We’ve now learned a concrete lesson that we can apply to the rest of the Party and the libertarian movement in general.

  10. Twice I ran as an LP candidate and lost. I did not expect to win. I ran to promote libertarian ideas to the public. I did get a lot of publicity. Later, I ran as a Democrat and won 3 out of 3 races; and everyone knew that I was a small “l” libertarian.

  11. Frank Gonzalez was the most effective Libertarian candidate for Congress in 2004, but his campaign staff was mainly Democrats, who wanted to back a challenger to the incumbent Republican.

    He is running as a Democrat this year, but clearly has the same hard-core Libertarian views he had two years ago.

    Other real libertarians have run as Republicans without abandoning their commitment to liberty – Ron Paul, Ken Lindell, and others.

    A real libertarian who runs on a major party ticket should be supported by libertarians. If you don’t want to support them, that’s ok. But quitting the LP is not the same thing as abandoning Libertarianism.

    I don’t know how long Sue Jeffers has been involved with libertarians, but it seems that she has less commitment than the people I have mentioned. But she still links to the LP website on her campaign site.

  12. Kansas has a former LP candidate that is trying the same thing – Dennis Hawver ran as a Libertarian for Governor in 2002 and switched to the Republicans this year with the intent of being in all the forums and debates (a “libertarian Republican”) – did not work he has been left out of several that I am aware of already.

  13. Anybody who understands the dynamics of party politics should recognize there is no benefit to an “open mike” philosophy at convention or in the nomination process.

    Political parties have one thing to sell, and one thing only–a message. Of course some messengers are better than others, but at the end of the day it is still the message that matters to the party.

    There are two ways to assure your message is dominates the discussion. (1) neutralize those within your party who have a different message, and (2) silence opposing party messages as much as you can. Notice that both of these strategies are anti-marketplace.

    The only reason a Democrat or Republican would possibly be interested in what a Libertarian may have to say is in how that Libertarian can help the D or R to win, or if the L already has a large enough constituency to influence the outcome.

  14. Although there are a few exceptions, it seems to me the focus for our efforts is to run the best people we can recruit as Libertarian Party candidates.

  15. Wow. Ohmigod. What an epiphany! I can’t beleive this is true.

    Why to dumbatarians have to keep learning the same lessons over and over again. Why is this so damned hard to figure out?

    I’m still waiting for the profusive ass kissing that I’m owed, thank you very much.

  16. DD

    When you are elected to something higher than dogcatcher then I will kiss yer anarchist-ass. Until then my lips are firmly planted on my wife’s butt.

  17. DD

    I’m still waiting for you to learn something from the LP’s past thirty years of failures. Doing what we have always done will get us what we have always gotten. SQUAT! The job of the party is to get people elected and that is exactly what they were trying to do. I applaud the NYLP and others for trying something different. It may have not worked out this time but maybe in the future it will. If we go back to doing the same stupid things we have been doing in the past we will get nowhere. We need to continue to try different things to see what will work. My biggest fear with all this is that we will go right back into the same rut we have been in for over thirty years. The same rut that DD wants us to stay in as he wants us to continue doing what has failed us for over thirty years. We can’t stop trying new things just because the first time it doesn’t work. If we do we deserve to lose and to lose badly.

  18. While working within the 2 major parties is a good idea in theory, in practice it does not work. While I admit I have recently switched parties a number of times, when I turned 18 I was registered as a Democrat and was active in Democratic Party politics from 1992 – 1994. From 1994 to 1998 I was a Republican and while active in Republican politics I learned about and became a libertarian. In 1998 I registered as a Libertarian coming to the healthy conclusion that the 2 parties are interested in holding power and nothing else. Like I said on this subject at my blog:

    “Until the mercantilist power structures in place are brought to an abrupt halt or collapse in this country, liberty will not be realized and anyone attempting to try to influence one of the 2 major parties may make some progress but it will not be enough to change the culture of the party itself.”

    The true home for libertarians is the Libertarian Party and it is the best vehicle to further liberty.

  19. terryp

    what has doing new things done though? look at weld et al through the same lens you apply to history. If you say that history hasn’t given us results, tell us what results the weld fiasco has provided. history has given us LP candidates with a very small chance of victory and a very large pulpit. the weld fisaco took even that away, because it discouraged lifetime LP members from trying to go for that particular race. Bascially, the weld fiasco reversed all the small gains that the LP has made through history, and this is a good thing?

  20. John

    I am not saying that the Weld fiasco gave us any results, but to use this failure as a way to just go back to the way we have always done things will get us nowhere. We need to continue to try different things to achieve success. We can’t expect succes if we just continue doing the same things that have never given us success. Some people call this the definition of insanity.

    While I agree having Weld as our candidate didn’t work out as well as we would have liked, it at least gave us the potential opportunity for some big things that your “garden-variety” libertarain candidate could never have given us. It just didn’t work out. With a different candidate in a different situation it might have.

    You said “Bascially, the weld fiasco reversed all the small gains that the LP has made through history, and this is a good thing?”

    Your kidding right? What exactly did we lose and it certainly is not all the small gains we have made throughout history. Give me a break

  21. Wow, this is really sad. I thought I’d found another gathering of libertarians, but instead I see the incoherent Party that promises freedom via control of others.

    Then they wonder why they “don’t sell.”

    Why can’t you Partyers mind your own business while living a principled life, rather than a pragmatic one filled with lies about the social benefits of concentrated power in your hands?

    Is this really that hard? Is it really a worse fate than selling out in order to “create a message” under the guise of “educating others?”

    At least I can be thankful that evil-do(good)ers such as yourself can never win. Even ignorant voters know enough to avoid incoherence.

    All herds are assembled by someone for slaughter, even ones branded LP.

  22. Starchild,

    Is that you?

    I can tell by your ‘liberty’ video.

    Your words words are extremely profound, or they are incomprehensible to me.

    You’re the guy Adam Dick said was ‘the smartest guy in the LP’.

    PS – Josh Schroeder is a republican DJ from WI, not a Libertarian. He also got the year mixed up, Redick ran for Assembly in CA in ’84 (as well as ’82)

  23. Whatever you say, Mr. Vice Chair. I’m just going off of information from this site:
    which says that he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives, you know, in Washington D.C. in 1982 and 1984 in California’s 1st Congressional District; and that he lost the primary for California’s 24th Assembly District on March 2, 2004. He received 7067 votes and Ernie Konnyu won the Republican Primary with 15,262.

    I have no reason to doubt the League of Women Voters.

    And for the record, I never claimed to be a Libertarian. I merely said that my main problem with Redick was not his political philosophy, but his carpetbagger status.

  24. no hard feelings, Josh, I saw your funny post on Albatross! :-)


    I’m a big Monty Python fan as well.

    This is a national site, and most Libertarians don’t know Redick here either, just trying to keep them updated.

    Actually you may be correct, maybe he ran in ’84 and ’04?

    btw – you ask on your Albatross post; “Anybody know if Tyberg has any Libertarian leanings?”

    That’s interesting because I clicked on ‘Tyberg’ and the name ‘Tim Krenz’ popped up as his campaign manager. Tim is a former member of the LPWI and an old friend of mine.

    How about a radio interview?

  25. Rolf, honestly, I wouldn’t want to waste your time. I’m on a little college radio station in Mequon that doesn’t even reach all of campus. I can probably count the number of regular listeners on both hands. And I don’t podcast. And since it’s summer, so I’m not doing the show until September.

    My comment about Tyberg was a little harsh. I just wish he would get out of the way because I think that Nick Reid has a great shot at Dave Obey and that Jeff is only holding Nick Back and helping Mr. Obey.

  26. My appearance at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Convention went over pretty well. 160 signatures on my Nomination Papers, 140 campaign contributions of $1 each, all I’m accepting.