Press release from Tom Knapp:
Earlier this year, former US Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) left the Democratic Party’s presidential race to instead seek the nomination of the Libertarian Party. While that party passed him over in favor of former US Representative Bob Barr (R-GA), his ideas seem to be catching on with Libertarians.
The latest endorser of Gravel’s “National Initiative for Democracy,” which would enable a process for direct lawmaking by popular vote, is Thomas L. Knapp, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for US House of Representatives from Missouri’s 2nd District.
“The National Initiative isn’t perfect,” says Knapp, 41, of Greendale. “I’d prefer that it included a super-majority requirement and an explicit set of reservations analogous to the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. But we’ve learned from experience that putting national lawmaking authority solely in the hands of 537 people in Washington results in a broken process dominated by corporate and sectional interests and geared toward protecting those interests rather than our rights.”
The National Initiative for Democracy would allow citizens to make or alter laws via an initiative and referendum system similar to those currently used in 24 states. Knapp points out that libertarian activists have successfully used those systems to promote and pass pro-freedom legislation such as protection for the rights of medical marijuana patients and limits on government’s powers of taxation and eminent domain.
“While many libertarians distrust democracy and fear its devolution into mob rule,” he says, “it seems unlikely to me that the American people would legislate as corruptly and incompetently as their representatives in Washington have. The National Initiative provides for a period of deliberation and debate, with any new law requiring affirmation by voters in two separate elections. Meanwhile, we frequently hear that Congress has passed new legislation without waiting for it to be printed so that they can actually read it.”
Knapp faces incumbent Republican Todd Akin and Democratic challenger Bill Haas in the November election. The Libertarian Party, one of three established political parties in the state, will run candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, six of Missouri’s nine seats in the US House of Representatives, and several state legislative and local offices.