The Little Party That Saved America (with a little help from our friends)
by George Phillies
Having gone on at considerable length about the Republican Party and its War on America, we now reach the momentary denouement: The Republicans have lost.
They lost the House. They lost the Senate. With the Senate, they lost the ability to install far-right judges. With Congress, they lost the ability to field ultra-right legislation. In the next two years, there will be no more Patriot Acts. There will be no more Military Commission Acts. There will be no more Real ID acts.
And while the Democratic Party deserves much of the credit, in the end it is the Libertarian Party that plausibly has saved the America judiciary, at least for the moment:
I turn to three Senate elections:
Tester (D) 198,302 49%
Burns(R) 195,455 48%
Jones (L) 10,324 3%
The Libertarian Party was far more than the difference between the two votes, with a candidate likely to have drawn far more Republican than Democratic Party voters. The candidate, Mr. Jones, who gained some publicity a few years ago through contracting argyrosis and turning himself blue, has now done one better: He turned his state blue.
Then there is Missouri:
Here the difference is close to the Libertarian total, but the Libertarian total is larger. And by spreading the Libertarian message of peace, freedom, and prosperity (Gilmour polled as large as 9% at one point), Gilmour contributed to separating Republican voters from their (if you will forgive the pun) Senator, making Missouri Talentless.
Finally, when the Democrats did not bother to show up in Indiana:
Lugar (R) 1,155,577
Osborn (L) 169,858
Of course, there are a few things that Libertarians might reasonably ask from the Democratic Party in exchange for our help, recognizing that we all live in the America that we just saved. The most important is a systematic easing of ballot access laws.
In New Hampshire, the libertarian who was elected ran as a Democrat: Under New Hampshire law, that candidate was legally unable to run as a Libertarian. His choices were Democratic, Republican, and Independent. The newly-blue New Hampshire legislature could correct this. For example, many states allowed ‘independent’ candidates within reason to choose their own ballot line name.
In Massachusetts, more than 2/3 of all state legislators ran unopposed. This includes, incidentally, five surviving Republican State Senators. In most of Massachusetts, voters for state legislature had less choice than did voters in the old Soviet Union, where it was technically legal to vote “No”. I can readily name people who have tried to run for office, collected far more than the legally required number of signatures, only to discover that the bulk of their signatures were invalid, e.g. Jim Fredrickson, who collected more than 6000 signatures in an effort to run for Congress as a Libertarian, only to have ¾ of his signatures invalidated.
It is legitimate to judge a legal process by its results. If a middle school admission exam mysteriously passes 90% of boys and only 9% of girls for no rational reason, a reasonable observer infers that something discriminatory has been build into the exam. We don’t have to argue about what the something is; in the absence of an overwhelming state purpose, we insist that matters be fixed.
Massachusetts’ ballot access laws float in the same boat. When most voters in most races get to choose between their one candidate and leaving the ballot blank, it is time to lower ballot access obstacles until choice becomes present. (As a reasonable first step, try cutting signature requirements in half, and if that doesn’t work, cut them in half again.)
In Georgia, almost no third party candidates have run for Congress in most of the past century.
George Phillies is a contributing editor for Liberty For All. You can contact Dr. Phillies at firstname.lastname@example.org.