The true obstacle to the success of the Libertarian Party is the failure of the American media to inform the voters about all of their choices. Libertarian candidates not only fail to get many votes they also fail to get name recognition. Day in and day out people read newspaper articles and watch television reports about the election, which contain no hint whatsoever that anyone other than a Democrat and a Republican will appear on the ballot.
That is the problem. It is not about money. If the media covered the Libertarian candidates the same way it does the major party candidates people would know who they were and what they stood for . The necessary money would flow from that knowledge. Also, it is not about the program. The Libertarian Party offers the core values of what it means to be an American. It presents a political philosophy based on freedom of individual actions that has historically been responsible for unparalleled success in every field of human endeavor. Once enough people are aware of the life they could have without the oppression of the state they will use the power of their vote to obtain the liberty that they need.
Awareness comes from education but you can not educate someone unless you have their attention. The Libertarian Party clearly does not have the attention of the American populace. There are two ways to get it. First you could run someone famous who already commands the stage. When the Libertarian Party chose the distinctly unknown Michael Badnarik as their presidential candidate that option was foreclosed. The second way to obtain a national classroom is by deed.
In his post below Roderick T. Long, talking about the fact that Badnarik was arrested for civil disobedience at the last presidential debate, says “This doesn't strike me as a particularly useful tactic …” . I very much disagree with that sentiment.
Because the Democrats and Republicans already have all of the attention that they need and very much more than they deserve their fundamental task is to avoid turning people off. The job of the Libertarian Party, on the other hand, is to turn people on. I do not think that employing a tactic of Gandhi and Martin Luther King to demand a place, for someone on the ballot in 48 states, in the discussion of our future as a nation is crazy. I think it is inspiring and one of the best things I have seen a Libertarian candidate do in a long time. Michael Badnarik may not fully succeed in his effort to educate the American people but at least he is trying.
To those who say what happens with the Libertarian Party is of little consequence, I ask what is the alternative, abject slavery, bloodshed, one of the other parties will change? For the latter to happen the Libertarian Party must have some kind of achievement. If ten percent of the vote in this next election came the Libertarian’s way it would have a profoundly positive effect on the way we are governed. If you do not believe me here, ask yourself this question, which is closer to Ralph Nader’s worldview George Bush’s campaign rhetoric in 2000 or his domestic policy since taking office?comments powered by Disqus
Keith Halderman - 10/10/2004
I understand and agree with your point about how much of the election coverage is trivial and distracting. However I think the main reason it is like that comes from the fact that on the most important issues Bush and Kerry pretty much agree. Both want continue the war in Iraq and the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs. It is a toss up as to who would be the more enthusiastic warrior. Remember, Kerry would need to prove his toughness. Neither has any intention of reducing the size of government. Both have horrible records on civil rights. Neither are overly scrupulous about the truth. If there was Libertarian being covered all sort of assumptions would challenged and this would be interest to the public and the press. A libertarian could ask why do we need only one governement for Iraq or why are we fighting an expensive drug war that actually encourages people to use drugs?
elle m larkin - 10/10/2004
I too, commend Michael Badnarik for his actions on Oct 8th 2004. If a supposedly "non-partisan" debate committee will not allow someone on the ballot in 48 states to have a part in the so called "debate" what is a candidate like Michael to do? By employing the tactics of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Badnarik and Cobb are doing everything they possibly can to show the American public that we do have a choice this November. GO MICHAEL!!!
Jonathan Dresner - 10/10/2004
"If the media covered the Libertarian candidates the same way it does the major party candidates...."
We'd know how much money they have, who their pollsters are, and where they went to elementary school.... not so much their policies.
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