By Mark Wachtler
February 23, 2015. Alexandria, VA. (ONN) Take it from someone who has been fighting this fight on behalf of independents and opposition party candidates for 25 years - the tide is turning in our favor. We know it rarely seems so, especially for those of us who’ve only recently had our eyes opened, or as the millennials call it, been enlightened. But it’s true. The American people are waking up and joining our ranks like never before. And the Libertarian Party’s end-of-year newsletter provides the evidence to back that sentiment up.
The Libertarian Party message is spreading at a historic pace. Image courtesy of Imgarcade.com.
Best year ever
The latest edition of the Libertarian Party’s print newspaper LP News is a must-read for Libertarians everywhere. The first four headlines on the front page alone document a record-breaking year for the Party. They include, ‘More Libertarians included in 2014 Polls than Ever’, ‘Best Ever LP Ballot Access after a Midterm Election’, ‘Best Ever Midterm LP Media Coverage’, and ‘Record top-of-ticket Votes in Midterm’.
We knew 2014 was a pretty good year for those of us in the opposition. But we didn’t think it was a ‘record breaking’ year. So your author pulled some stats going back to the first year I left the establishment Parties and joined the opposition. It was 1988 and this independent has never looked back since. But the numbers back up the Libertarian Party’s claim - they had their best year ever. Even more, it wasn’t a one-time fluke. It’s been a three-year growth spurt that has seen the Party more than triple in size.
Illustrating that fact, we took a look at the Libertarian Party’s Presidential nominee in every election going back to 1988. Famed GOP libertarian Rep. Ron Paul was the LP’s candidate that year and he garnered 0.47% of the vote and just over 431,000 votes. Now, take a look at all the following years’ results (from USElectionAtlas.org):
Year – Nominee – Percentage – Votes
1988 – Ron Paul – 0.47% - 431,750
1992 – Andre Marrou – 0.28% - 290,087
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1996 – Harry Browne – 0.50% - 485,798
2000 – Harry Browne – 0.36% - 384,532
2004 – Michael Bednarik – 0.32% - 397,265
2008 – Bob Barr – 0.40% - 523,433
2012 – Gary Johnson – 0.99% - 1,275,923
What was the magic formula that led to the record breaking results in 2012 and again in the 2014 midterms? We at Opposition News believe it wasn’t so much what the Libertarian Party or its candidates did, but rather the American people and the federal government. In short, the LP has the right message at the right time - smaller government and the rescue of individual freedom.
Libertarian Party growing
One of the headlines from the latest edition of the Libertarian Party newspaper front page shouts, ‘LP registration up 8.3% over last 7 months, more than all other political parties together’. That statistic suggests that not all boats are rising in this tidal wave of government overreach. Americans are angry about our Imperial Presidency and a Congress crippled by corruption. And they’re showing up at the Libertarian Party’s door in record numbers.
The article in LP News documents how from the beginning of the 2014 Primary season in March to the General Election in the beginning of November, Libertarian Party registered membership grew by 8.3%. The report compares that to a 2.7% increase for independents, 1.0% for the GOP, 0.7% for Democrats, and a 2.1% increase for the Green Party. “This is more evidence that mainstream political opinions are converging with the views that the Libertarian Party has been espousing since its founding,” touted LP National Committee Chairman Nicholas Sarwark.
Breaking the blackout
Another report in the latest LP News celebrates the unprecedented news coverage the Libertarian Party garnered from America’s corporate media industry in 2014. It’s worth reminding readers that your author first launched Opposition News, and its predecessor Whiteout Press, for the sole reason of giving independent and opposition party election candidates some news coverage, any news coverage, even if it’s just by a tiny little news outlet like us. Now, the Wall Street owned media is slowly catching up.
‘Several LP candidates were featured in national media because they ran in races that potentially could swing the balance of power in the Senate, or in tight races for Governor,’ the LP News account begins, ‘Their coverage included Fox News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, Newsmax, MSNBC, Breitbart.com, the Huffington Post, ABC News, USA Today, the Daily Caller, Fox Business Network, the Beacon, and TIME.’
Power in the precincts
Possibly the most impressive of the many records set by the Libertarian Party from 2012 through 2014 is the number of total votes their ‘top of ticket’ candidates received in each state. Normally, the Governor’s race is at the top of the ballot. But in states where there were no Gubernatorial elections in 2014, the race at the top was the contest for US Senate. After tabulating the votes garnered by each state’s main race, the Libertarian Party compared the results to their candidates’ totals back through history, as well as the vote totals of other opposition parties.
‘Based on preliminary vote returns, Libertarians running on the top of the ticket on their respective ballots may top 1,500,000 votes,’ the LP News report announces, ‘This would make the Libertarian Party the first party in the history of the United States, aside from the Democrats and Republicans, to receive more than 1,500,000 top-of-ticket votes in a midterm.’
One reason this is such an important statistic is because it all but proves that the massive influx of new Libertarian Party voters during the 2012 Presidential election wasn’t a one-time fluke or the attraction of Governor Johnson’s magnetic personality. For whatever reason, almost one million Americans switched to the Libertarian Party in 2012. And the 2014 vote totals show that they didn’t just stay, 225,000 additional American voters joined them.
Record ballot access
We’ve always urged independent and opposition candidates to make ballot access one of their top issues, both for awareness as well as the sympathy vote that comes with the knowledge. For example, here in Illinois where Opposition News is located, independent and opposition party candidates need to collect over 20,000 signatures to run for US Representative compared to 500 for Democrats and Republicans running for the exact same office.
The original reason for that has always been a fairly legitimate one - insuring there aren’t so many candidates on the ballot that it’s nearly impossible to vote. But the two establishment parties have solidified their monopoly on America’s democracy by enacting ballot access laws that all but ban opposition candidates from running. One state at a time however, the Libertarian Party is breaking that glass ceiling.
‘The Libertarian Party is on the ballot in 30 states after the November 2014 general election,’ the LP News report celebrates, ‘This is the best showing for ballot access after a midterm for a non-establishment political party ever, according to Richard Winger, editor and publisher of Ballot Access News.’ The report goes on to note that it’s been over 100 years since an alternative party had near automatic ballot access in that many states.
Inclusion in the polls
Illustrating why some of us old timers are a little giddy with excitement over America’s growing political epiphany these days, LP News documents another record breaking example from the 2014 General Election. ‘At least 113 polls for statewide or federal offices conducted through Oct. 19 included Libertarians,’ the account reveals, ‘In 57 of those surveys, the Libertarian polled at 6 percent or higher.’ Compare that to your author’s 25-year experience of never, ever seeing local opposition party candidates included in polls.
As we’re all aware, it’s impossible to poll anything other than zero if your name is not included in the polls - establishment dirty trick #1. And like dominoes, the sponsors of the televised debates always use those poll results as their excuse for not inviting our candidates to participate - establishment dirty trick #2. And if you’re not in the televised debates, the voters don’t know who you are and assume you’re some kind of wacky fringe candidate or you just don’t matter - establishment dirty trick #3.
Now imagine having lived through 25 years worth of American elections, with no mention ever of your candidates or Party on TV or in the polls. Suddenly you turn on your television and open your newspaper in 2014 and not only do you see opposition candidates included in the polls, some of them are garnering double-digit support from voters. The report lists some of the Libertarian candidates who made that a reality in 2014. They include, ‘Adrian Wyllie for Governor in Florida (13 percent), Sean Haugh for US Senate in North Carolina (11 percent), and Jim McDermott for US House in Alaska (12 percent).’
Libertarian Party All Stars
One of the reasons your author enjoyed the latest issue of LP News so much is because it included a treasure trove of November election results that shined a much deserved spotlight on the Libertarian Party’s most successful and popular 2014 election candidates. The account even broke out the top ten Libertarian vote-getters by actual vote total and again by percentage. It also broke out separate lists for LP candidates that faced only one opponent, and another for Libertarians that faced-off against a Republican and a Democrat, and still managed to garner an impressive vote total.
Coming in at number one, garnering more votes than any other Libertarian Party candidate in 2014, was John H. Monds who received 710,408 votes in his bid for Georgia’s District 1 Public Service Commission seat. The next three spots on the top ten list are occupied by Libertarian candidates for Judge in Texas. Each of the three garnered just under 500,000 votes. They include Quanah Parker, William Bryan Strange III, and RS Roberto Koelsch. Libertarian candidates in Missouri, Michigan, Arizona, Illinois, and two in Florida, also made the top ten list for total raw votes received.
Additional top ten charts in LP News touted the candidates who received the highest percentage of the vote. One chart was for non-partisan races where party affiliation isn’t included on the ballot. The other list detailed the top ten finishers in partisan races where the candidate was proudly featured as the Libertarian Party candidate. William McBride in Louisiana running for Washington City Council in a partisan race won with 58.7% of the vote. In non-partisan races, the best Libertarian finisher was Bobby Tullis in Arkansas who won the Mayor’s race in Mineral Springs with 73.4% of the vote.
As readers can see, 2012 was a record-breaking year for the Libertarian Party, and 2014 was even better. That’s a trend that should put a smile on the faces of Libertarian voters and generate excitement for what looks to be another record-breaking year in 2016.
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