December 20, 2014

Libertarian Candidates made History in 2014

Mark Wachtler

December 20, 2014. Sacramento, CA. (ONN) If you are a Libertarian, there is reason to celebrate. It turns out the Libertarian Party’s candidates in last month’s midterm Election made history. While few LP candidates won their respective races, the Party’s state affiliates attracted more voters than any other third party in any midterm Election since the Progressive Party in 1914. And the 2014 Libertarian Party only missed dethroning Teddy Roosevelt’s national slate for the top spot in history by 18,000 votes.

The 2014 Libertarian national candidate slate made history last month finishing second only to Teddy Roosevelt’s 1914 Progressive Party.

Making history

‘The 2014 Libertarian total is the second highest number of votes ever for a minor party, for a midterm year top-of-the-ballot races,’ Ballot Access News reported four days ago. The news outlet defined ‘top of the ballot races’ as literally the office at the top of each state’s Election ballot. For most states, the race used was for Governor. If there was no Governor’s election, the statisticians used the state’s US Senate race. For the five states that had neither office up for re-election in 2014, the race that was listed at the top of the ballot was used.



The Libertarian Party wasted no time releasing an official announcement noting the accomplishment. “The Libertarian Party won more votes in top-of-ticket races in the November 2014 election than any alternative party in the United States in the last 100 years and the second-highest in the nation's history,” the LP press release three days ago touted.

Crunching the numbers

As calculated by Ballot Access News, here is how the four largest US political parties fared in the 2014 midterms based on top-of-ticket totals (from Ballot Access News):

  • Republican: 40,934,236, down 5.9% from the party’s 2010 total of 43,507,666.
  • Democratic: 36,887,850, down 10.1% from the party’s 2010 total of 41,043,721.
  • Libertarian: 1,471,101, up 44.9% from the party’s 2010 total of 1,015,009.
  • Green: 416,303, down 18.1% from the party’s 2010 total of 508,041.

The author notes, ‘The chief reason the Green total declined between 2010 and 2014 is that in 2010, the Green Party was on the ballot for Governor of California, and it polled 129,231 votes. In 2014, the California top-two system kept all minor party candidates off the ballot for Governor.’

The Libertarian Party announcement however, counters that the LP was also on the 2010 California ballot but not on the 2014 ballot, and the Libertarians still managed to increase their overall national total by historic numbers. ‘In 2010, the Libertarian Party also had a candidate on the ballot for Governor of California, who polled 150,895 votes,’ the LP release details, ‘So despite the fact that California's top-two system kept the Libertarian Party's candidate for Governor off the ballot in 2014, costing the LP a comparable number of votes this year, the Libertarian Party's overall nationwide vote total still increased sharply rather than declined.’



Historic leader board

As researched and published in the Ballot Access News report, here are the historic totals tabulating third party top-of-ballot candidates over the years (from Ballot Access News):

  • 1914 Progressive Party - 1,489,151
  • 2014 Libertarian Party – 1,471,101
  • 1998 Reform Party – 1,407,005

For what it’s worth, your Opposition News author was intimately active in two of the above three historic campaigns. With that perspective, here’s a quick synopsis of the exciting revelation. In both the 1914 and 1998 elections, the Progressive Party and Reform Party were brief shooting stars across America’s political landscape. In both instances, the Parties had all but disappeared by the following midterm election.

Poised for further success

The 2014 Libertarian Party is a completely different dynamic than the other two historic moments. While 1914 Progressive Party supporters immediately moved on to other Parties like the Bull Moose Party or even the Republicans or Democrats, and the 1998 Reformers moved to other Parties like the Independence Party when the Buchanan Brigades took over Ross Perot’s creation - 2014 Libertarian Party voters and volunteers aren’t going anywhere.

The perfect analogy is the old lesson of the tortoise and the hare. The hare instantly shot to the lead with great speed and ease, only to burn out and fall asleep. The tortoise was slow, steady and ceaseless, and won. In the real world, Ross Perot’s Reform Party and Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Party were like the hare that shot to the front of the pack on the coattails of a single dynamic leader.

Can anyone name a current Libertarian Party leader or politician on the same level as Teddy Roosevelt or Ross Perot? No. And that’s the exciting difference between the top three opposition Party election finishes in US history. The Libertarian Party’s 2014 historic success wasn’t due to the dynamic personality of one man. It was due to the dynamic personalities of 50 statewide candidates and a grassroots bottom-up infrastructure built over the course of two decades. And that suggests the current Libertarian Party won’t vanish into history, but will instead continue on to bigger and better things.

For more information on the Libertarian Party, visit LP.org.

 

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