Steve G.

Robert Milnes: “The Libertarian Party Is Now Well Defined”

In Libertarian on August 6, 2008 at 7:51 pm

The following was written by Robert Milnes, and is reproduced with permission of the author.

Several months ago I said that the most important development in Third Party politics in 2008 has been the Cato Institute study The Libertarian Vote. It was spectacularly verified by the Ron Paul campaign. There is a glass ceiling of the libertarian vote of 13%; 20% if you include the crossover vote as in the ongoing Gallup Governance Survey. Hence Ron Paul did not win a single primary. Winning the republican nomination by a libertarian is all but impossible. Further, under the American system an all libertarian ticket cannot win either. Multiple third party endorsements of a ticket have been tried unsuccessfully also. However what has not been tried is a ticket comprised of two persons of different parties or inconsistent political philosophies. A Progressive Alliance ticket consisting of a libertarian and a green, man and woman could possible add their inclusive vote, estimated at 40%, instead of splitting it. That combined with the Libertarian Party’s reknown ability to get onto 100% or nearly of ballots, could actually win. However winning the White House would be problematic if such a progressive administration has a democratic and republican Congress. Therefore a complete Progressive Alliance Strategy would be to coordinate the downticket vote by encouraging only one Libertarian OR Green on Every ballot. That should get many such ballots elected. Hence it is up to the Libertarian Party to recognize its limitations in an all libertarian ticket and potential to win by installing such a fusion ticket.

  1. As I discussed here:

    It is arguable that Ron actually did win the Louisiana caucuses.

    The hits just keep on coming.

    I associate the term Progressive with the group of Progressives such as Woodrow Wilson who were hard, vicious, repugnant racists.

    I associate the Green Party with communism, given the hard, vicious, repugnant anti-property views of so many of them.

    Racism and anti-property views are antithetical to libertarian philosophy.

  2. Hey Robert,

    I have tried the Green Libertarian alliance:

    See the Austin Chronicle: The Endorsement Roundup

    Here were the results.

    See the Austin Chronicle: Benedict Whipped

    But it was fun!

  3. Could some green lefty commie comment about what they associate rightists & libertarians with? I’d rather not. Jim, you miss the point. BTW, Who cares whether RP/RP won louisiana? & let’s not bother with the Ron Paul mystery authored racist writings, OK? Libs & Greens don’t have to like each other or agree or change into the other in order to make this work. Otherwise it is lose again to the dems/reps. You like them better? LP & BTP CANNOT WIN, OK? Unless MAYBE a fusion ticket is tried. Libs certainly have a penchant for getting on ballots, for all the good it does them. VOTES. You need VOTES. Where ELSE are you going to get enough of them, OK? So, look in a mirror & smack on some aqua velva & wake up & smell the coffee, OK?

  4. wes, 18% is a lot better than maybe 1%. i assume the incumbent was a rep? & did you or the lp endorse a green on a comparable ballot where there was no lib? Fun? OK! But was it as fun as winning?…oh… never mind.

  5. In other words, I’m calling for LP suspension of BOTH Barr & Root pursuant to party bylaws for cause. Replacement with this type fusion ticket. Openly with much appropriate fanfare. With expectation to be VERY competitive & into the debates. Without the Green, Nader & BTP tickets.

  6. The guy at the head of such a fusion ticket needs extremely good life insurance. Itr would be worse than having a Clinton as veep.

  7. A few (rehashed, for the nth time) on what’s wrong with Bob’s plan:

    1) He conflates “libertarian” (a political and/or philosophical orientation defined in various ways by various definers) with “Libertarian” (a partisan affiliation defined by membership in and/or support for the Libertarian Party). The two are NOT the same thing.

    “The Libertarian Vote” identified a portion of voters as “libertarian” on the basis of a fairly loose definition (a laundry list of policy positions). It’s a huge leap from “libertarian” loosely defined to “Libertarian” as a partisan affiliation. Most of the “libertarians” defined in the study have chosen to remain with the Democratic or Republican parties for one reason or another, and the LP not having merged/coordinated with a “progressive” party is almost certainly NOT a significant factor in that choice.

    2) Now reverse that for “progressive” voters. Their decision not to go in large numbers for the Green Party is almost certainly NOT driven by the failure of the Greens to merge/coordinate with the LP.

    So, how would taking two sub-1% parties and merging “coordinating” their votes, magically make them so attractive to those voters who haven’t found them attractive before that double-digit percentages of voters would jump the partisan fence for them?

    3) Bob’s plan ignores simple political mechanics and forces.

    In some states, third parties which have become “established” HAVE NO CONTROL over whether or not they run candidates. For example, in Missouri if the Greens established ballot access (they do occasionally but have trouble making the 2% retention bar), the LP couldn’t enter into a “one Green OR one Libertarian per ballot” deal with them, because the LP is an established party and has no control over whom or whether it nominates.

    And even in states where the parties DO control their own nominations, entering into such a deal can endanger their ballot access if they are foregoing running a candidate in a particular race so that the other party can do so.

    Once again, I’ll use Missouri as an example:

    In Missouri, once a party has petitioned for ballot access, it can retain that ballot access in four-year increments by receiving 2% of the vote in any statewide race (2%+ in lower races maintains access in the smaller district where it was achieved, but obviously parties would prefer to maximize).

    So, this year the statewide elections are for governor, lieutenant governor, state treasurer and attorney general.

    Suppose the LP and the Greens entered into a deal such that there would be only one candidate of each party for each of those races … but not all races are equal. Third parties perform better for lieutenant governor on that menu than they do for the other races. So which party gets to retain ballot access by polling 2%+ for lieutenant governor, and which party draws the short straw and likely polls less than 2% for governor and/or state treasurer and/or attorney general?

  8. Jeffreyquick, i’m not sure what you mean. There are built in checks & balances. + Secret service. + possible additional private security. There are always various possibilities when dealing with politics.

  9. Knapp the knaysayer, There is a counter argument for all your kneejerk knegative knowitall gnosticisms. I’ve already proposed a balanced independent entity to decide such matters as opposed to relying on the 2 parties. But, the biggest argument for trying this is this: If not tried, won’t we all have twisted guts from regret?

  10. Tom, another way of saying that is that the burden is not on me to prove this strategy before everyone tries it. The burden is on you all to prove I’m wrong by trying it bona fide & failing.

  11. You know LP. GP, BTP & Nader will lose & I will say I told you so & I & a few others will say you know maybe we should’ve tried that.

  12. Bob,

    We could also try to win the election by setting ourselves on fire in front of the Post Office or whatever …

    … and no, the burden of proof wouldn’t be on the people who say that sounds like a fucking stupid idea, it would be on those who think it would work when there’s no reason to think that it would.

    You’re asserting that merger/coordination will turn ~1% of the vote (LP/GP combined) into ~30% of the vote … but you can’t explain how that would happen. It’s just some kind of magic, apparently.

    No, I won’t have twisted guts from regret because I declined to endorse a strategy for which I’ve yet to see any reasonable argument.


  13. Tom, again, how many times do I have to explain that it would happen very similarly to what happened in 1912? About 40% of voters would vote for a progressive ticket THAT THEY THINK HAS A REASONABLE CHANCE TO WIN. In that instance it was the sheer presence of TR. In our time it will take a fusion ticket with enough ballot access. Why are you so obstinate about this?

  14. Ballot access alone is not enough. It would still take sheer presence in 2012 just as it did in 1912, and even then it was not quite enough.

  15. paulie, agreed. I have proposed Gravel/Kwiatkowski or Ruwart OR Milnes/Kwiatkowski or Ruwart. Gravel would have to be publicized as NI4D kinda quirky former US Senator elder statesman. Milnes-me, well…school of hard knocks expired Mensa progressive activist. & we would have to do a little better than Teddy Roosevelt! He had San Juan Hill & Nobel Peace prize, we have the internet. I think it is worth a try!

  16. Bob,

    The situations in 2008 (and likely 2012) are not very comparable.

    Neither you, nor Gravel, nor Kwiatkowski are popular 2-1/2 term former presidents with considerable support in the major party on whose ticket you served those terms.

    Neither you nor any other proposed “Progressive Alliance” candidate can hope to unite a large portion of that successful former party with grabs from third party movements that already have real, if diffuse, voter power behind them (the Populists and Prohibitionists).

    Nothing against a “progressive alliance,” but if it is not realistic in its assessments, plans and goals, what’s the point? I can buy rainbows and moonbeams from the parties separately if I want them — no cartel needed.

  17. Does. Not. Compute.

  18. Tom, I do not think it has to be that specifically comparable to work. why is it that the lp, gp & cp & Nader have about enough ballot access to win but get about 1% each more or less? It is because they naturally split the non rep & dem vote AND one does not manage to sufficiently garner enough of it by crossover, wide appeal etc. So, there is sufficient vote that could be garnered by one candidate but usually that does not happen. Now, if a ticket could be comprised that voters accept as appealing to two of the parties then the rest could join in their support as it’s support grows because it would be more and more possible that ticket could actually win. why can’t you see that dynamic?

  19. There are two main classes of available voter as i see it.

    First is the “protest vote” – aka the “Anybody but the incumbent” vote. (I once voted for a Communist – the alternative was Tip O’Neil, I figured there was something to be said for truth in advertising…)

    The other is the “believer” voter, who is voting because they like the message of the alternative candidate.

    The Milne concept WOULD maximize the protest vote, which I would estimate at no more than 10% in most cases, maybe 25% in the case of someone like Ted Kennedy who is either worshiped or hated… Running multiple 3rd party candidates does split this vote, so having just one would concentrate it.

    This is NOT going to be enough to win the election, else the incumbent wouldn’t be there to beat…

    The “believer” voter is NOT likely to switch under the Milne plan, unless the chosen party for that race was one that would have gotten that vote anyway – for instance a Ted Kennedy voter might be tempted by a Green, but probably wouldn’t be by a Constitution or LP candidate…

    However it is almost always a tough job to strip votes away from an incumbent – so it is most unlikely that the two sets of votes combined would be enough in any case.

    I don’t see any advantage to the parties not on under the Milne proposal that would justify them skipping a race, nor do I see any 3rd party victories coming from it.


  20. Neither you, nor Gravel, nor Kwiatkowski are popular 2-1/2 term former presidents

    Neither was T.R. He was only elected once and served less than 2 terms.

  21. G.E., correct. However Tom’s observation that I & Gravel & KK & Ruwart are not former presidents is also. But he is holding the bar unnecessarily high & blaming the victim. If that is a necessary criterion, then a successful third party run by a non former president would be impossible. We do not know that.

  22. Arthur Torrey, very astute. I hadn’t thought about it in those terms. Agreed, a CP voter probably would not be likely to switch. But a Nader or even an otherwise loyal GP or BTP voter likely would, sensing that the fusion ticket could win. The big prize would be to get wavering dem & rep & independent voters.

  23. Can the overthrow Barr/Root movement take credit for the recent loss of their meetups & emails?

  24. Bob,

    No, I don’t think so.

    There are mosquitoes around the writhing victim, occasionally diving in for a drop of blood or two — the anti-Barr wing, or if you will, the libertarian wing, of the libertarian movement.

    However, the victim has also repeatedly opened its left and right femoral arteries with the razor blade of its own incompetence.

    The latter observation is much more likely to explain why there’s so much blood on the floor.

  25. Tom, ok. Just doesn’t look or sound good for the LP.

  26. […] Robert Milnes: "The Libertarian Party Is […]

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