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> Do we want the libertarian to win Elections, Is this party ONLY a party of ideas?
CruisingRam
post Oct 10 2005, 07:25 PM
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From a debate on the reality of libertarianism, I thought I would start a new topic on some comments, by Izdarri and myself flowers.gif

"Could be, CR, but if we were going to run with my centrist coalition idea, I think that should be done either independent or with a new third party. I like the LP the quixotic way it is. It's good to have at least one party that's all about principle and not about getting elected.

I think more could be done with the LP without changing its basic character, because you don't necessarily have to win elections to advance libertarian ideas. But to do it effectively, we need to get a lot more major media coverage than we've been getting. I think the LP should compromise just enough to be able to nominate a libertarian celebrity.

There are several admitted libertarians in Hollyweird: Clint Eastwood, Kurt Russell, Drew Carey. That would get us some coverage and some serious fundraising power. There are also some fairly well known libertarians outside of Hollyweird: TV newsguy John Stossel, T.J. Rodgers, CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, talk radio hosts Neil Boortz and Larry Elder -- but I'm not sure any of those has enough name recognition with the general public to get the full celeb effect, though all of them are very articulate and would make fine candidates if we could convince them to run. Whoever it is, the goal is to get enough poll numbers to be a serious threat of "spoiling" the election: that's what would make the LP a big news story and get us into the debates.


So, this brings us to a fundamental question among those of us that express Libertarian ideals

1) Do we really want to be an electable party, or to be a forum of libertarian philosophy, that spills into "mainstream" political debate- and this is the way we get more freedom?

2) Or do we need to adapt, and start winning some elections, with each candidate able to run on his own platform, but not really commiting to ALL the parties platforms- like you can be a Republican, but a pro-choice one, even though that is a real huge issue in the republican base?
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Irrational344
post Jan 21 2006, 03:58 AM
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I believe that the platform for the LP is too good to be true, the nation is not ready for it. Most of the changes would be drastic, like eliminating welfare, public schools, and legalizing drugs and prostituition. That would be too big of a step for the US.
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mindmesh
post Aug 31 2006, 05:42 PM
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QUOTE(Irrational344 @ Jan 20 2006, 11:58 PM) *

I believe that the platform for the LP is too good to be true, the nation is not ready for it. Most of the changes would be drastic, like eliminating welfare, public schools, and legalizing drugs and prostituition. That would be too big of a step for the US.


I disagree. I believe that Americans have been trained to fear the Freedom they once proudly wore as a badge of honor. Now we use the word, but it no longer has meaning. I don't think it would be a good idea to just start changing everything. It should be changed slowly. None of these issues could be done over night. Especially the legalization of drugs. Think about the Bureaucratic mess involved in that money pit. We just need to find Americans that aren't afraid of freedom, or convice people that there is nothing to fear from Freedom. us.gif
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Liahona
post Nov 1 2006, 04:56 PM
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I went to college in alaska in the 70s and the LP won some elections and did respectable in others. For example, in the 1976 Presidential election, the LP candidate came in second (beating Carter) in some precincts. It can be done, but not nationwide and probably not statewide for most states.
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Seamus
post Jan 17 2007, 06:41 PM
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1) Do we really want to be an electable party, or to be a forum of libertarian philosophy, that spills into "mainstream" political debate- and this is the way we get more freedom?

Both. The LP has more than 600 candidates currently in office and has more than 200,000 members, both statistics more than all other 3rd parties combined. The LP has garnered more than a million votes in each of the past three federal elections, something no other third party has ever done. It's a decent start for a new era 35 years in the making.

Congressman Ron Paul (R/L-TX) has demonstrated is that the more voters know about what libertarianism is and what it stands for, the more people are willing to vote for it. As a member of both the GOP and LP (former LP Presidential Candidate in 1988), Dr. Paul sends regular newsletters to his constituents (all of them with mailboxes, anyway), which has gained him an almost unassailable following of voters in his district. He's survived heavily funded attacks from both sides unscathed.

I like the path Dr. Ron Paul has taken by being a member of both the Libertarian Party and a major party at the same time. More Libertarians who want to seek office at the federal level should consider aligning with their major party of choice with the understanding that the candidate will make decisions based on libertarian principle rather than partisan politics. The reason I like this idea, for now, is that the U.S. Consititution's Electoral College is not well-suited to the presence of more than two parties at the federal level.

For federal Libertarian candidates, both major parties would seem equally valid, so long as the candidates are as clear as Dr. Paul that they are beholden to libertarian principles (smaller government, lower taxes, etc.), and not the D or R after their names. This means that they will face stiff opposition in primaries from the Democrans and Republicrats; but if Dr. Paul's experience is any indication, once their constitutents get a taste of libertarianism, they'll never go back.

Once we inject a healthy dose of libertarianism into both major parties at the federal level, we can be in a better position to determine how important it is to us to try to win at the federal level under our own brand name.

2) Or do we need to adapt, and start winning some elections, with each candidate able to run on his own platform, but not really commiting to ALL the parties platforms- like you can be a Republican, but a pro-choice one, even though that is a real huge issue in the republican base?

I don't think the LP needs to compromize on principles in order to improve the flexibility of its platform. If there are any issues with the platform, they seem to be rooted in failing to accurately reflect the deeper libertarian principles, often to falsely take a position on an issue when our principles would say there is room for both positions and no need to choose one over the other. In other words, if we were to apply more libertarian principles to the platform itself, it could become flexible enough to accomodate more.

One obvious plank that should be improved is the Abortion plank. It starts out well by acknowledging that libertarian principles support both sides of the abortion debate and libertarians are in about a 50-50 split on the abortion issue, but then procedes to take the pro-choice side, as if doing so were somehow necessary. However, the party's two most prominent candidates, Harry Browne (pro-choice) and Dr. Paul (pro-life), have a much better unifying position consistent with libertarianism: the Constitution clearly leaves regulation of most social issues (including murder) to the states, so the federal government should neither ban nor condone abortion, but leave the issue to state and local governments; a position which would require overturning Roe v. Wade. At the state and local levels, both of the major libertarian positions on abortion would remain valid, and neither would be subverted by the national LP platform.

The more folks know about libertarian principles, the more obvious it is that they have very little to do with the left-right split, but focus more on the root causes of most issues-- how the country has moved away from its core organizational principles and needs to scale back. On social issues, the left needs to stop trying to oppress the right, and the right needs to stop trying to oppress the left. The best way to handle most of the contentious social issues is to localize them, at least until a consensus naturally bubbles up; not to centralize them in defiance of the Constitution as both major parties seem to prefer. Our brand of "up to liberty, down with tyranny" (vertical) politics actually have a much resonance than traditional left-right-center ("horizontal") politics; we have simply failed to get our message out to a large enough audience in words everyone can understand.

I sure hope they let Dr. Paul into the 2008 GOP Presidential debates and that John Stossel does a big ABC News special on him. Debates are not necessarily Dr. Paul's forte, but he'll definitely get people thinking.

This post has been edited by Seamus: Jan 17 2007, 06:44 PM
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Contumacious
post Aug 27 2007, 03:44 AM
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QUOTE(Seamus @ Jan 17 2007, 01:41 PM) *
1) Do we really want to be an electable party, or to be a forum of libertarian philosophy, that spills into "mainstream" political debate- and this is the way we get more freedom?


What distinguishes us from the demopublicans is the fact that we subscribe and adamantly adhere to a set of principles. We can not not water down our ideals in order to get elected.

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