from Ballot Access News
Massachusetts Senate Results
January 19th, 2010
At the point at which 94% of the vote had been counted in the special U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, the vote was: 1,148,400 for the Republican nominee; 1,029,600 for the Democratic nominee; 22,100 for the Libertarian who was running as an independent candidate. The percentages at that point were: Republican 52.2%; Democratic 46.8%; Libertarian independent 1.0%.
Here is a newspaper interview [Dedham’s Joe Kennedy: ‘We made a statement. People listened’] with the Libertarian candidate, Joseph Kennedy, conducted after the results were known.
I would say that Joe Kennedy’s 1% is what everyone expected, except for people who believed some people would get the Kennedy name a bit confused…. which of course did not happen.
The MA race went from being a bore with little national coverage just about 5 weeks ago to being the hottest topic (the whole coming up to the election) for neo-cons and Wayne Allyn Root types. This allowed for Kennedy to slip tremedously for a few reasons:
1) People learned through local, state-wide, or national press easily that this Kennedy had nowhere close to any relation, not even son-in-law or anything. I believe that cost Kennedy a few percentage points.
2) The press did not cover Kennedy as anything more than a fringe candidate. Kennedy never received an interesting endorsement, and never raised enough money early on even be in the same sentence as the R’s and D’s.
In my opinion, even if everything went Kennedy’s way he still would have only received 5-6% of the vote.
I do not know how powerful or known the LP is in MA, but did this help or hurt them?
Ls, like most/all people, are conflicted. OTOH, we want to achieve certain goals, OTO, we are our own worst enemy, wallowing in self-pity and victimization.
It IS ironic, Around, that even “radical” Ls often modify their macho-flash “principle” when they actually run for office. Perhaps intuitively if not intellectually, a “radical” L realizes that advocating debt renunciation or unilateral nuclear disarmament doesn’t play in Peoria, or probably virtually all of the country. Macho flash positioning only leads to discreditation and fringe marginalization. It’s political streaking that sets the cause of liberty back, even if it stokes jubilation in our Inner Anti-authoritarian. The further we are outside the mainstream, the fewer we attract to our cause. Narrowcasting to the fringe of malcontents assembles a few thousand malcontents perhaps, but to what end?
I thought there was a Libertarian Congressional Campaign Committee to assist LP candidate who were running for office. Apparently there isn’t or it is dead in the water.
There is a saying in the business world “that the failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine”.
That idea works in politics as well as business.
p.s seems to be a bit of a problem with the submit button this a.m.
Ah yes… “The Great Libertarian Macho Flash”. That was some good stuff that Michael Emerling (Cloud) put out. I wonder why the party has just stalled so badly? Infighting doesn’t help (but does give a sense of purpose to those who really don’t want to win elections) and neither does over hyping expectations. *sigh*
Lunatics,blue men, “the constitution was never ratified,” NAMBLA supporters, heroin in school yards, no. Emerling/Cloud warned about “Macho Flashing” thirty years ago. Mostly, LP candidates listened.
Around, being on a “soap box” to influence the majors and to educate a remnant has some merit.
Being a soapbox lunatic? Not so much….
What you see is what you get. Given the two party duopoly, the voters’ general belief in a government-provided free lunch, and the necessity to explain the benefits of individual liberty in more than 30 second sound bites to a distracted American population, the LP is going to continue to get 1-2% of the vote in elections
(of which probably half is just protest votes, not committed libertarians). Maybe we need to embrace the vision that David Nolan had in 1971: that the party existed to use the soap box afforded candidates to inject libertarian ideas into the political debate? This means spending just enough time and resources to accomplish this goal. Worrying about GOTV and door to door and big bucks for tv ads may just be a waste of resources that could be better spent “spreading the word” in less expensive ways: using LP credentials to speak to service clubs, writing letters or op-eds to the paper, adding libertarian support to organized single issue groups that do have the ear of politicians, supporting (or starting) a viable libertarian group on your local campus.
Embrace the fact that libertarian ideas are soundly and continuously rejected at the ballot box and structure the LP for what it can do and not what it has never been able to do.
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