Posted by Tom Knapp at Kn@ppster:
Liberty for Massachusetts? Unlikely, but worth pursuing anyway
I’m taking a break — just finished another 100 name/phone number matches for the Massachusetts Libertarian “Get Out The Vote” phone banks — and I’d like to take a minute to formally endorse Joe Kennedy.
He’s not one of “those” Kennedys, as he’s gone out of his way to make clear (Democrat Martha Coakley’s campaign has also been vocal in driving home that point, for obvious reasons).
This Kennedy is the pro-freedom candidate — the only pro-freedom candidate — in today’s election to fill the US Senate seat vacated by Ted Kennedy’s death.
Just to elaborate a bit on that point: If you’re a Massachusetts voter and you vote for anyone but Joe Kennedy today, you’re voting against freedom, baseball, apple pie, Mom and America.
Whether or not you’re a Massachusettsian, if you’re voting or working for or donating to or talking up any candidate except Joe Kennedy today, you’re pissing on the graves of the Lexington and Concord Minutemen. You’re spiking the cannon that Knox dragged down from Ticonderoga. You’re making a mockery of the Boston Tea Party and you’re dancing in the blood of Samuel Gray, James Caldwell, Crispus Attucks, Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr.
Yes, it really is that simple.
Can Kennedy win? Well, yes — if a plurality of Massachusetts voters decide to support him.
Is that likely to happen? Of course not. Libertarians haven’t yet persuaded a plurality of Massachusetts voters that we represent their highest aspirations while the Republicans and Democrats represent nothing worthy of support.
Does it matter whether or not Kennedy wins? Yes, it does. Because he will not win, the Senate will remain 100% anti-freedom instead of becoming even a paltry 1% pro-freedom. Over the course of Ted Kennedy’s unexpired term, it’s likely that that one pro-freedom vote would have made a difference in any number of bills — passing them, defeating them, or amending them to make them better.
Since he won’t win, does it matter which of the two anti-freedom candidates wins? Not really.
There are differences between Brown and Coakley, and between their parties, but not differences substantial enough to merit supporting either one. Do you really care that much whether the creatures gnawing the flesh off your bones are coyotes or happen to be hyenas?
Voting for or otherwise supporting Joe Kennedy means never having to say you’re sorry. It means knowing that you did the best you could do for Massachusetts and for America. That’s something worth knowing about yourself even if 95% of the people around you couldn’t, wouldn’t, or didn’t put down the Demopublican crack pipe.
It’s about 4am in Massachusetts right now. The polls open at 7am and close at 8pm (unless the rules have changed since November).
Photo from fOTOGLIF
Scott Brown wins the election by 4-7%. Maybe more, but I think that’s a reasonable projection.
All three candidates will be working their Get Out The Vote operations to the very last minute, but Brown and Kennedy have the advantage.
It’s winter weather with snow and rain in the forecast. Democratic voters are already demoralized. Maybe they’ll brave the cold and wind and sludge to vote, maybe they’ll stay inside where it’s nice and warm.
Brown voters are energized — not for any particularly good reason, but hey, people in India get killed in senseless religious stampedes all the time, don’t they?
Most Kennedy voters are ideological voters. They never expected their candidate to win. Although they’re doing their best to make that happen, they’ll vote come hell or high water to have their dissenting voices heard, to send their message, to register their preference in the face of the knowledge that that preference will not be realized … this time.
Scientific Wild Ass Guess: Brown 49%, Coakley 46%, Kennedy 5%.
But I could be very wrong.
There will be controversy.
If Brown wins by a smidgen, of course, we’ll have the whole “hanging chad” recount routine a la Bush v. Gore, Franken v. Coleman, etc.
If Coakley wins, the margin won’t matter — all we’ll hear about for the next six months is vote fraud, whether there’s any evidence for it or not.
If Brown wins, his seating will be delayed. All it takes is a few local clerks willing to stall for the full 15 days they’re allowed before they have to certify their tallies to the Secretary of State. Other delaying tactics become available after that. Unless the Senate Democratic Caucus’s party discipline breaks down completely — which is possible if enough Senators start seeing pitchforks and tar in their re-election futures — Brown will be sworn and seated when Joe Biden and/or Harry Reid damn well feel like getting around to it.
While Brown’s seating is delayed, Republicans will try to keep temporary appointee Paul Kirk, whose replacement is to be chosen today, from voting in the US Senate.
Their argument is complete BS (hint: “Qualified,” as used in the General Laws of Massachusetts, specifically alludes to “qualification by oath” — an elected official becomes “qualified” when he’s sworn in, which can’t happen until the election is certified), but they’ll make it anyway. Not because they think it’s a winning argument, but because they’ll be playing primarily to people who’ll believe, well, pretty much anything. Barack Obama is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim! Saddam Hussein planned to attack the US with flying killer robots! And so on, and so forth.
The two best things that could happen to the Democratic Party, and the two worst things that could happen to the Republican Party right now would be:
– Scott Brown winning today’s election; and
– ObamaCare going down in flames.
If Brown wins, the Democratic base gets re-energized/re-mobilized for this year’s campaign. If Coakley wins … hey, a Democrat won in Massachusetts … yawn.
If Brown wins, we get to find out whether the Tea Party populists are the real thing or just political streetwalkers. The GOP establishment thinks it’s bought the Tea Parties for a one-night stand (a threesome with Dede Scozzafava Lite) on January 19th, and it thinks it can buy them again for a Tuesday night gangbang in November.
If the GOP establishment is right, the Tea Partiers will take the money on the nightstand and start lubing up for Round Two. If the GOP establishment is wrong, the Tea Partiers will back third party candidates in November. My guess is that we’ll see some of both, and that there will either be two distinct Tea Party movements or one pale shadow of a Tea Party movement by November.
If Coakley wins, the Tea Party movement may be able to forget what a bullshit whistledick hack of a candidate Brown was, tell itself that the money on the nightstand must have been accidentally dropped there, and convince itself that its gentleman admirer really does plan to leave his wife for it after the … special party (“really, honey, the ball gag and handcuffs will be fun and my buddies will use condoms, I promise — let’s just get adventurous this once!”) … in Novemeber.
If ObamaCare fails, the Democrats get to blame them there obstructionist Republicans for the next ten months. If ObamaCare passes, the Democrats have to spend the next ten months defending it. Which explains why GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been busting his ass to make sure it passes.
I don’t know if the Democrats have really thought this thing out yet. I get the feeling that they really will push ObamaCare through. Won’t be the first time they’ve snatched defeat from the jaws of … well, lesser defeat.
The GOP will pick up seats in both houses of Congress in November. A Brown victory probably means a minimum of two fewer pickups in each house, though, and dumping ObamaCare would cut the GOP’s gains even further.
I’ve never thought that “covers” implies that. “On the ground coverage,” yes. Or “reports from…”
However, feel free to change the headline.
Give me a call, I’ll put you in touch if no one else has yet.
“It was a nice try, but next time go for substance instead of cheap headlines.”
We went for both, and got both.
“Anyway I really don’t care.”
Coulda fooled me. Is that why you have been commenting on this topic so much, even before it dominated IPR?
“I was hoping Coakley would win”
“I was just disappointed that George Phillies or Carla Howell didn’t step up to make this a more interesting race.”
Getting Phillies, or anyone else who was registered to vote Libertarian on the state-specified date, would have been too expensive. Massachusetts requires 10,000 valid signatures, but candidates who are registered unenrolled can collect them from all voters, whereas Libertarian candidates can only collect them from registered Libertarian and unenrolled voters.
Carla Howell may be registered unenrolled now, but she is far too busy with the Sales Tax Rollback campaign to have run herself this year.
Capozzi @ 55:
I’ll concede that this Senate election was an unusually significant one. But I’m not extrapolating a general conclusion from this one case. I’m pointing to this one case as yet another piece of evidence that even when a Libertarian candidate for Congress receives a great deal of public exposure, that candidate’s final showing is utterly pathetic.
I’m also saying that Libertarians shouldn’t keep blaming the Wasted Vote Syndrome after each election as if the WVS weren’t a factor in every three-way (or more) partisan race. It IS, and it WILL BE, because that’s the nature of the system. If the LP can’t figure out how to dramatically lower the WVS effect and at least have admirable showings in major partisan races–which would at least inspire others to get into the fight–then what’s the point of interminably spinning its wheels?
Smart Libertarians don’t feed trolls.
Make a deal with the left progressives.
Tom, don’t you hear the people here in IPR moaning, yearning, for more votes? Traction. Something. Why are you so negative as lg commented? So obstinate as I say. People here are looking to you for some answers, some action. You SEEM to have just about ALL the answers. When I ask you a question, I usually get an encyclopedia of a reply! So, can you step back & recalibrate this situation? Instead of the liberals getting the progressive vote & electing Obama, libertarians could get the progressive vote & elect…a good ticket. Not Barr/Root. Progressives wouldn’t support them. Some good ticket. & a mixed full slate of Libs & Greens on coattails.
Tom, come on. I meant the Iowa caucuses. You know that. Everybody was big surprised. Where did all this progressive support for Obama come from? In Iowa? Same thing should apply to MO. The progressives are there. They don’t seem to be interested in the Green party. Many operate within the democratic party. Most wind up voting democrat. They are around Branson, I’m sure. Almost hiding, maybe, but there.
“If Libertarians can’t figure out a way to overcome this obstacle and consistently get double-digit vote percentages , the LP is just interminably spinning its wheels.”
I agree that we’re spinning our wheels.
There may be an alternative to continuing to hope for the kind of traction you’re thinking of (“double-digit vote percentages”), though.
As some point, maybe we should consider engaging the four-wheel drive and going off-road.
JT, extrapolating from this election is especially contra-indicated. We can’t know, but if this election had been — as originally thought — a Coakley Coronation, I suspect JK would have done better in the polls. When it became a race of national significance, less so.
The way for the LP to gain more votes is to gain more votes. The institutional challenges are large, but expecting a leap from our usu. low-single-digits or less to double digits is unlikely in one step function. Being in the farm leagues does allow us the luxury of some experimentation, but this particular experiment was a one-off outlier, given the extraordinary circumstances.
Knapp @ 6:
Kennedy debated his opponents three times.
He appeared not just on local radio and TV, but nationally on Fox News.
He was covered at full story length (as opposed to just a mid-sentence mention of the “also running is” variety) not only in the Massachusetts press, but in the New York Times.
Question: What does it mean when a Libertarian candidate for Congress gets that much public exposure–a rarity for such a candidate–yet still only receives 1% of the vote?
Yes, the Wasted Vote Syndrome was a big factor here. In partisan elections with more than two candidates, IT USUALLY IS, because every election cycle is “the most important one” for many people. If Libertarians can’t figure out a way to overcome this obstacle and consistently get double-digit vote percentages , the LP is just interminably spinning its wheels.
I can’t believe you actually try to convince him that… oh, never mind. It is so pointless.
If you’re resting your case on the 2008 Iowa Democratic primary, your case is particularly screwed.
Iowa doesn’t have a presidential primary.
ATC, not a bad outcome. Joe K did a great job promoting peace and liberty, esp. under the circumstances.
Brown winning — all due respect to Butler Shaffer — is helpful to liberty. Losing cloture is a big deal in context. Gridlock’s about the best we can hope for in the short term.
The counties and districts overlap. I guess due to dem/rep tinkering/gerrymandering.
Tom, Iowa 2008 democratic primary. Progressives come out of nowhere in droves to support Obama. They think he is going to end the war as opposed to Billary who voted for the war. I rest my case.
You cant GOTV if there’s no V to GO. Patty would be stupid to promote a “progressive-libertarian alliance” in a district with, for all practical purposes, no progressives to ally with.
Let me see if it’s possible to clue you in:
Branson, Missouri (in Taney County) is about 45 miles south of the national headquarters of the Assembly of God and about 45 miles north of the national headquarters of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
It’s remarkably “progressive” for where it’s located — most of its inhabitants are only slightly to the right of, say, Pat Buchanan. They’re mostly very nice people, but … well …
I can think of precisely one “progressive” issue that might have any mojo there at all. Most of the people I knew there who cared about that issue made it a point to live in the woods near a state line for a reason, and most of them had missed getting across that state line quickly enough at least once, resulting in ineligibility to vote due to felony gardening convictions.
Tom, this election in MA had a lot of hoopla & turnout. That is unlikely for the one in MO. We can take advantage of that with our own GOTV.
& please, EDUCATE the voters!
OK everybody, I found one. Special election GA House District 19 Paulding County February 23. Qualifying M-W, Jan 25-27 various hours. Fee: $400. Let’s get a Lib OR Green on this ballot who declares support for The PLAS. & then MAXIMUM support from both libertarians & progressives.
johncjackson @42, yes, but recent special elections Lib 9% in GA where there was no progressive/Green. 6% in CA where there was no Lib. for Green in heavy republican district. There is about 7% crossover. Plus if The PLAS was tried, it should go as high as 40%.
C’mon folks. It’s almost always 1%, if that. When it comes to Libertarians, all these 5% polls always end up at 1% or less when the actual voting happens. There’s always some “pressure” from somewhere. The LP is a 1% party at best in any real race with 2 viable major party candidates.
Congratulations to Joe Kennedy for getting the libertarian message out, and even getting national publicity that there is a libertarian option.
Congratulations to Joe for proving that a Kennedy can be beat in Massachusetts!
Congratulations to Scott Brown for being an underdog winner. May he help to stop Obamacare! After he resigns his current job, there will be one less vote for Romneycare in the Massachusetts State Senate.
Dr. Lieberman regarding your comments at 22. An advertising executive once commented that 50% of his money was wasted. He just didn’t know which 50%. Sometimes it ain’t about new members. It’s about getting the word out.
I am so sick and tired of this democratic/republican bullshit.
Joe Kennedy 1% indicates strong pressure on voters to chose their lesser of 2 evils.
As any long time observer of 3rd party politics can attest…if the race is close, 3rd party support drops off dramatically.
Hence the 1%, I’ll take the criticism that hindsight is 20/20, but believe it or not, I’ll predict the same thing for the next race.
Republicans take the 3rd party threat seriously…they will be out in force, beating the ‘wasted vote’ drumbeat – for as long as it resonates, and it still does – and will privately admit that there support of small government is spotty, but will claim its better than the Democrats.
As we know, its not better, the insipid waffling Democrat/Republican that goes on year after year, is the process we are fighting against.
Anyway, I personally get this message out from the start – no the candidate won’t win…no I don’t care which of the major party candidates wins. No I don’t have any secret desire that the Republican wins. could care less.
I think its effective to get that message out early and hard, otherwise you let the Republicans define the debate, they do – and it works for them, and hence the ‘surprise’ 1% every single election of importance.
I wish there was more agreement about this, at websites like this….I wish we all knew the score, and could repeat the playbook verbatim ahead of the game.
The republican victory in MA is just backlash from last years’ democratic victories. The usual duopoly results. Quite predictable.
I just checked. Evidently Karla May has strong democratic party associations. She is not evidently splitting off as a progressive.
Mik Robertson @34, I see. Evidently candidates have not been certified yet. I was going to ask here whether there are any more special elections to try The PLAS before November.
There is a special election for the representative in the General Assembly in the 147th district in Montgomery County coming up in May, just across the river from you. If you want to try PLAS, this may be your opportunity.
I think there is a lot of time between now and November for a lot of things to happen. To throw away the health care reform issue when you have clear majorities in both houses of the legislature and the executive branch, what does that say?
If health care reform passes, it will still be a while before the provisions kick in, so there may be hope people will settle down by November. That issue has the D’s backed into a corner. They did not handle it very well.
It would be helpful to find out whether Karla May is a libertarian or progressive.
There is only a republican and a Libertarian on the ballot. We do not know how that will shake out. We can educated guess with indicators as you have pointed out. But the only way to KNOW is to try it.
Tom, thank you for the more specific information in Missouri. However, it doesn’t matter. Whether Tweedle is a right libertarian or left. Whether the district is heavily republican or democratic. We must go full steam ahead & damn the torpedoes! Come Hell or High water we must proceed. We are sick & tired of the status quo.
Massachusetts and NJ are known progressive states. However there have been recent republican victories. Chris Christie beat liberal democrat Corzine. A liberal democrat like Obama is not good enough. Obama won with progressive support. We need real progressives and libertarians to win. Let’s use The PLAS to vote out democrats and republicans and vote in libertarians and real progressives. Libertarians and real progressives can work together.______________________0
I very well could be wrong, but you left out the part where I noted that the local clerks can delay the certification whether Galvin likes it or not.
If Reid doesn’t have any delays planned at the Senate level, then that means one of two things: They’ve got ObamaCare nailed down for passage before Brown is seated, or they got smart and decided to throw the fight so they have a 2010 campaign issue.
Patty Tweedle is a great candidate, and I’m sure she’ll run a great campaign. I’ll help her with that campaign in any way I can.
I haven’t been critical/skeptical of the “Progressive-Libertarian Alliance Strategy.” All I’ve said is that if you want people to help you push it, you need to come up with a version of it that makes sense and is based in reality rather than in fantasy.
Here’s the part where I explain to you why even an improved/realistic version of the PLAS doesn’t make sense in Missouri’s 62nd state legislative district.
That district covers parts of Stone and Taney County, Missouri. I’m up in St. Louis now, but I’ve lived in Stone County and worked in Taney County.
These are two of the most conservative, Republican counties in Missouri.
For example, in the 2010 primary election for the top of ticket (governor), 4,811 Stone County voters cast ballots in the GOP primary. Only 782 cast ballots in the Democratic primary, and only 8 in the Libertarian primary. In Taney County, those numbers were 5,662, 906 and 15. In both counties, the more conservative candidate (Sarah Steelman) outpolled the statewide GOP nominee, Kenny Hulshof.
In both counties, John McCain collected 68% of the vote in November, while Bob Barr and Ralph Nader combined polled 1%. Cynthia McKinney got not a single write-in vote in either county.
For a Progressive-Libertarian Alliance Strategy to be successful, there have to be
1) Libertarians and Progressives available to ally with each other, and
2) A candidate that both factions can comfortably rally around.
In my opinion, neither of these preconditions exist in the 62nd district. There’s no base of voters to appeal to, and Patty is, to the best of my limited knowledge, a “right libertarian” who probably wouldn’t play that well with progressives.
That’s not to put down Patty. As a matter of fact, I think she’s probably the perfect LP candidate for that district. If you run into a progressive in Branson, odds are it’s a yuppie who pulled his Volvo off of Highway 65 to get gassed up for the last leg of the journey to Eureka Springs.
Knapp wrote: “If Brown wins, his seating will be delayed. All it takes is a few local clerks willing to stall for the full 15 days they’re allowed before they have to certify their tallies to the Secretary of State. Other delaying tactics become available after that.”
But the AP is reporting: “The people of Massachusetts have spoken. We welcome Scott Brown to the Senate and will move to seat him as soon as the proper paperwork has been received,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said he would notify the Senate on Wednesday that Brown had been elected.
I challenge Dr. Phillies to support Patty Tweedle as much as he did Joe Kennedy.
He also did not ask for it. I regret that also.
Joe Kennedy is an Independent with libertarian association. Therefore he would have been worthy of PLAS support. However, he did not receive it. I regret that.
I challenge Dr. Phillies or any official of the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts to give me the value of x:
x = [(the Amount of money spent on the Joseph Kennedy Senate campaign) + (amount of time volunteers donated to the campaign, including signature gathering, @ $15 per hour)] / [(the number new, dues paying members of LAMA generated by the campaign) + (the number of new,dues paying members of the National Libertarian Party generated by the campaign)]
I admit that the value of x could change over the next month, but even now, knowing the value of x would be instructive.
In District 57 there are 2 candidates, a democrat and an Independent, Karla May. I do not know whether May is a libertarian or progressive worthy of PLAS support. In District 27 there is a democrat and republican, therefore both unworthy of PLAS support. PLAS should only support a Libertarian, Green or Independent with libertarian or progressive association.
Joe Kennedy at 1%? I seriously think it would be best for the Libertarians and Greens to give PLAS a try. What can they lose?
This is a tragic defeat for the forces of divine absolute monarchy and feudalism.
We here at the Conservative Feudalist Party don’t care who has power, as long as one group gets as much power as possible. That way they can force their will on the population. So we are supporting Democrats for now. Better luck in November.
This special election is a disaster. As usual. I hereby challenge Tom Knapp re: upcoming special election in MO for state representative District 62 on Tuesday, February 2. There are 2 candidates, a republican and a Libertarian, Patty Tweedle. He has been an outspoken critic and skeptic of The PLAS. Conventional wisdom is this Libertarian should lose big to the Republican. However, with The PLAS, she should win. I challenge him to campaign for this candidate giving The PLAS a fair try. Again, I am willing to campaign for this candidate. I call on all libertarian and progressive/Green activists and donors to immediately support Tweedle and Knapp and myself in this effort.
Just a side note on the headline: I don’t believe it’s accurate to say that I “covered” this election.
I write from Missouri, and most of what I write is opinion and from-a-distance analysis.
“Coverage” implies shoe-leather, an actual presence on the ground where things are happening and reportage of facts that can only be discovered from there. I’d like to have done that for this campaign, but I didn’t.
Of course I will officially declare it the end of the Republican Party nominates Sarah Palin for president and then she will fail to the point that the Republican Party will start losing ballot access.
“Brown voters are energized — not for any particularly good reason, but hey, people in India get killed in senseless religious stampedes all the time, don’t they?”
Thanks for the laugh. I needed it tonight.
I am sorry your candidate lost. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and meant well. As you posted elsewhere the idea was his name would grab more media attention and get votes, and I thought it was a mistake.
Hopefully libertarians will learn from this. Of course they’ve been burned before by “celebrity” candidates or, as in this case, a candidate with a “celebrity” name. Obviously Wayne Root is trying to become a celebrity and use the LP to promote his own personal agenda. Though I used to be a libertarian I still admire and respect people like George Phillies and Mary Ruwart, who offer much more substantive alternatives to the major parties. Even if you don’t win elections at least you’re putting ideas into the arena that are different from the conventional wisdom.
Bless you, Debbie Spillman!
And next time, CALL ME!
I LOVE phone banking for Libertarians.
“It appears that Joe Kennedy is getting about 1% of the vote, ”
Which is about what libertarian candidates usually get just by putting their name on the ballot.
It was a nice try, but next time go for substance instead of cheap headlines.
Anyway I really don’t care. I was hoping Coakley would win, but I’ve always respected libertarians for their ideas even if I don’t agree with them. I was just disappointed that George Phillies or Carla Howell didn’t step up to make this a more interesting race.
The Joe Kennedy phone bank showed up at the last minute. Hat tip to Debbie Spillman for making it the success that it was. The phone bank was a coast to coast effort for which we here in Massachusetts are profoundly grateful. Hopefully some day we will be able to return the favor manyfold.
It appears that Joe Kennedy is getting about 1% of the vote, so his campaign did not eventuate quite as positively as might have been hoped.
Joe ran in an extremely competitive atmosphere that was presented nationally as being critical to the future of our Republic. That presentation tended to discourage votes for our party.
Joe received at least five credible death threats from Republicans who wanted him out of the race. He and other members of the LAMA state committee were bombarded with email messages from Republican sources, urging that he be persuaded to withdraw. I do not recall another libertarian candidate for statewide office who was subject to anything like this level of pressure to withdraw. The pressure on Joe shows that we are moving in the direction of being recognized as a serious opponent.
However, Joe set recent records in the Commonwealth for a libertarian for media coverage and mention, appeared in a series of debates, and brought out volunteers we had not seen before. His campaign also shed light on limitations and weaknesses of our State Association and other Party groups in their ability to lend appropriate support to Libertarian candidates. LAMA looks forward to improving the situation as this election year advances.
I am ashamed that Joe didn’t get the 5% that I expected. But all I can say is that I’m proud to see the Republican Party slowly self-destruct itself with these people who are so hypocritical on taxes and health-care. Soon hypocrisy will destroy the Republican Party and it will leave room for the LP and CP to take over.
“Brian Holtz // Jan 19, 2010 at 7:31 pm
Libertarian Carla Howell got 12% in the 3-way 2000 Senate race, but the black Republican candidate self-destructed with reports of personal legal problems. Libertarian Michael Cloud got 18% in the 2-way 2002 Senate race. In all the other MA Senate outcomes I can find, the Libertarian scored under 1%.”
I’m pretty sure that the Libertarian Party candidate for US Senate in Massachusetts in 2008 – Robert Underwood – recieved 3% of the vote.
Whatever he got I know that it was enough to get the Libertarian Party major party status in Massachusetts. The fact that the Libertarian Party has major party status in Massachusetts is one of the reasons that Joe Kennedy ran as an independent instead of as a Libertarian. In Massachusetts, there is a petition requirement for major party, minor party, and independent candidates. It is 10,000 valid petition signatures for statewide office. The signature requirement actually becomes more difficult when you get major party status because only people who are registered to vote under your party banner or who are registered unenrolled (as in not registered to vote under any party banner) count as valid signatures on your petition. If you run as a minor party candidate or an independent anyone who is registered to vote regaurdless of how they are registered count as valid petition signatures. If Joe had run as a Libertarian Party candidate instead of as an independent he probably would not have made it on the ballot due to the fact that his campaign lacked the money and the organization necessary to overcome the major party petition hurdle.
OK, I have to ask, Massachusettsian? Isn’t the technical term ‘Bay Stater’?
@5 In 2008, Bob Underwood for U.S. Senate got 3.1% of the vote in a three-way race.
@6 I think that is a good assessment, candidates can be good at getting getting media coverage and getting a message out. Joe Kennedy did that well.
I think even the Barr and Root appearances don’t make the LP look bad, although I would highlight some other things and perhaps take a little different position here or there from what they have said.
Candidates can continue to draw attention even after a losing a high-profile campaign. When our own Ken Krawchuk does speaking engagements, he is often presented as being the former Libertarian Party candidate for Governor. Look at Sarah Palin. So Joe Kennedy may still have a positive impact for the LP in Massachusetts, and possibly beyond, long after this race.
I’m all for winning elections, and short of that getting the highest vote totals possible. I’m not a big Howell-Cloud fan, but I certainly won’t contest the claim that their double-digit totals made the LP look more viable as a “real political party.”
That said, there are other metrics of success, and I think that we can already chalk up Kennedy’s campaign as having been beneficial to the Libertarian Party and the libertarian movement.
Kennedy debated his opponents three times.
He appeared not just on local radio and TV, but nationally on Fox News.
He was covered at full story length (as opposed to just a mid-sentence mention of the “also running is” variety) not only in the Massachusetts press, but in the New York Times.
There’s the obvious question of whether he made the party look good in the coverage. I think he did. And even when I think a candidate’s coverage makes the party look bad (cough … Barr … cough … Root … cough … cough), I don’t fault that candidate’s work ethic in seeking that coverage.
If Kennedy’s campaign accomplishes absolutely nothing else, it leaves the Massachusetts Libertarians with some tools — voter lists with phone numbers looked up, etc. — that can be used in subsequent campaigns.
The polls just closed in Massachusetts. If Kennedy’s votes cover “the balance of power,” we’ll be hearing even more about him, and we’ll have opportunities to exploit that we wouldn’t have had if he hadn’t run.
Libertarian Carla Howell got 12% in the 3-way 2000 Senate race, but the black Republican candidate self-destructed with reports of personal legal problems. Libertarian Michael Cloud got 18% in the 2-way 2002 Senate race. In all the other MA Senate outcomes I can find, the Libertarian scored under 1%.
I hope I’m wrong, but I think Kennedy will get only 2-3%, with the late tightening of the race increasing the wasted-vote syndrome.
How come nobody told Volunteers they could phone bank for Joe?
I would have LOVED to.
If Kennedy had gotten the online money Brown, did, then he could be the only battling Coakley for the seat. Brown beat out Kennedy for Tea Party support early on and they could have had it.
Alright….who’s turn is it to pack the Demopublican crack pipe!
My prediction is that Kennedy gets at least 5% of the vote.
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