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Eric Sundwall: ‘Long live the Libertarian Party’

Eric Sundwall in the Examiner:

While some partisans lick their chops in anticipation of their new political spoils and others their wounds from electoral battle, Libertarian Party members of NY and activists are scrambling to determine if in fact they may have ballot status. Reminded of the 1998 effort of the Working Families Party that woke up the next day with forty five thousand votes, long time third party activists like the Greens Mark Dunlea has reminded this Redlich staffer that miracles can happen outside Lake Placid in New York.

The two to three week period after the election includes not only the constant prattle of talking heads until 2012, but also a re-canvassing of election districts and the absentee count. This yielded Ralph Nader over eleven thousand votes in 1996. The WFP eventually got 51K after this period was over. Given a new voting system, and the trained humans brought to you by the inherently flawed government, we might still have a go at this. Additional question has also come into play as to whether New York State violated Federal law with regards to military ballots sent out late. With potentially over 300 thousand votes still out there, another one percent might yield the 3-4 thousand the LPNY needs to gain ballot status. Believe it or not, military tends to give a higher percentage to our party then the general public. Go figure, it must be all that talk about the Constitution they took an oath to.

Even if the LPNY doesn’t reach it’s goal, it’s noteworthy to mention that this year represented the best effort, ever. In no small part due to the quality of it’s candidate and staff (ahem), but also the recognition that building good will towards and in third parties is hard to do. Everybody wants to ‘win’ but usually only the either/or warfare between two gangs of thugs ever do. This year the Greens and the Libertarians worked hand in hand to elevate the discussion and bring a debate for all candidates for the office of governor to debate. We know that Howie and the Greens are rooting for us to succeed still.

The success that we did achieve was based on professional development with the news media and the relationships fostered. The low budget campaign produced videos that made national news networks, raised money for an innovative television ad and produced radio spots run in targeted markets for maximum impact. After an excellent debate appearance, a spirited grassroots effort caught fire and almost delivered the holy grail for libertarians in New York, fifty thousand votes. While it’s not clear what famous New Yorkers like libertarian Murray Rothbard would have done with this prize thirty years ago, certainly it would produce the ability for all fiscally oriented conservatives and liberally minded social activists to produce hundreds of new candidacies. We need more condemnation of the drug war and tolerance for people who want to build mosques.

The Libertarian Party of New York will carry on despite the final results of this election. That’s what good activists and believers do despite all the odds. But it shouldn’t do so at the expense of good sense and work well done. Intolerant faux liberty candidates and oddities at the election booth can’t squelch the fire that the people of this country have long ignited in the hearts of the world. Unfortunately, even rebelling colonists paranoid about English ‘factions’ couldn’t create a perfect system. The consequence of this single plurality design has been two dominant parties since the country was split by civil war. Others always try, but rarely prevail. Others see the extremes being tamed and business getting done. Still others, always land in the periphery and still want to play. Some slither from sinking ships with some treasure tucked away.

In the special places reserved for third party results there are only so many seats available in New York’s musical chairs version. Multiple candidates have to compete for hearts and minds with limited resources and means. The notion that we must form parties to have candidates is antiquated. Technology and prosperity has eliminated these needs that were once considered practical mechanisms of power. A ‘party’ shouldn’t need fifty thousand devotees willing to divest itself from the two horse race game in order to compete in all other heats. A two horse race that is always for the demi-king of the agreed upon territory. Otherwise you must succumb like a subject in order to be just a parasitical organization.

The system is collapsing as we speak. The old design specs, however noble, have long been shown to have serious flaws. Even the countries we conquer now and reconstitute set up proportionately representative systems that allow parties to compete more fairly. All the Harvard and Cambridge grads have been so bludgeoned with this insular statist civic, that few can see, let alone act beyond it.

For the next few weeks I’ll still be fighting the inanity of it all and hopefully we emerge with an operation that doesn’t require hours in the hot summer sun begging sycophants and cretins who could care less about the place of humans in the absurd political universe. Of course, it only confirms my favorite political story. The Myth of Sisyphus.

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  1. paulie paulie July 29, 2020

    Pretty sure we reported that here. It was a while back.

  2. Eric Sundwall Eric Sundwall July 29, 2020

    Alas, poor Tom. Don Silberger recently informed me that he had passed.

    Just DuckDuckGo’d myself and came across this in some of the first entries. Will circle back to check the 2020 crowdsourcing. lol

    This still applies though. Good luck LPUS & NY.

  3. Dr. Tom Stevens Dr. Tom Stevens December 14, 2010

    Re: 15

    Your bias as Campaign Manager for Warren Redlich knows no bounds!

  4. Eric Sundwall Eric Sundwall December 14, 2010

    The LPNY was united in ousting Stevens and Sloan. Hence the success of this year’s effort.

  5. paulie paulie November 8, 2010

    @10 agreed

  6. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi November 8, 2010

    Political movements should be about ideas prevailing. If winning an office advances that, I’m for it. I’d say winning an office could be a great way to make change, but for a 3rd party to be influential in the public square, it gaining larger percentages of votes would be an excellent measure of effectiveness. Ron Paul well represents one model for effectiveness, but not the only one, and of course many Ls disagree with him on important issues.

    Redlich should be applauded for doing a good job of getting the LPNY close — and possibly to — an important stepping stone. Despite a crowded field, he did an excellent job in the debates, “winning” by some accounts.

    Hopefully, this effort can be built on.

  7. Thomas M. Sipos Thomas M. Sipos November 8, 2010

    Dondero: “P0litics is about WINNING. … winning is what matters.”

    Yet another reason why antiwar peacenik Ron Paul — the man who fired Dondero — is among the greatest libertarians in America today.

  8. Eric Dondero Eric Dondero November 8, 2010

    Oh Lord. A 10 paragraph article about “wonderful gains for the New York Libertarian Party,” yet not a single Libertarian was elected to any office in the entire Empire State in 2010.

    P0litics is about WINNING. Greater percentages are nice little academic excercises. Ballot access is nice. But winning is what matters.

  9. pete healey pete healey November 6, 2010

    @June- I think I couldn’t disagree more. IRV isn’t proportional and does almost nothing to help third party types. The main thing it does is to reinforce the two party game (I no longer consider it a system, because a system requires rationality and logic, and some sense of even-handedness). Your sense that PR should be the “eventual goal” but that “right now” IRV is all we should hope for is the problem not the solution.

  10. June June November 6, 2010

    While PR should be the eventual goal for legislative bodies, right now what we really need to push in the way of electoral reform is ranked choice, or as it’s more commonly known, instant runoff, voting.

    The larger the candidate field, or from our perspective the greater the voter’s choices are, the easier it is to make the argument for this type of reform as it totally eliminates the so called spoiler effect. This year that we can also point to the Democrats underhanded support of LP candidates in order to split the vote as as another argument.

    This year many candidates were elected only by plurality. Fairvote has done an analysis on all this and plans an update as more info keeps poring into them. I know they plan to make a major push this year for IRV and all third parties should get behind that effort.


  11. Best We Can Do? [Lake] Best We Can Do? [Lake] November 5, 2010

    wish the libertarian movement the best, as they have a great philosophy in the 6 decades of run away government growth ………….

  12. pete healey pete healey November 5, 2010

    Eric Sundwall’s sentiment bears repeating, “The system is collapsing as we speak. The old design specs, however noble, have long been shown to have serious flaws. Even the countries we conquer now and reconstitute set up proportionately representative systems that allow parties to compete more fairly.”
    I worked last spring to bring myself (as a PR advocate) and a couple of Libertarians to the Greens for a campaign together, but was rebuffed. Maybe next time?

  13. George Whitfield George Whitfield November 5, 2010

    Eric Sundwall, Warren Redlich and the New York Libertarian Party ran a great campaign. Best wishes on breaking the 50,000 goal. And thanks, Lake, for the link to Andrew Gray’s article.

  14. Best We Can Do? [Lake] Best We Can Do? [Lake] November 5, 2010


    Gray says Libertarians are already in the Kansas House

    Andrew Gray
    Nov. 5
    Aaron Couch
    The Kansas City Star

    Andrew Gray received 3 percent of the vote on Tuesday as the Libertarian candidate for Kansas governor.

    His showing was better than for any third-party candidate in recent history, receiving twice the votes of the previous Libertarian candidate.

    He’d also like to see Libertarians in the state legislature, and said some might already be there.

    Apparently, seven or eight representatives have told Gray that they consider themselves Libertarians, but are afraid to embrace that label publicly. (after Don Lake continuously complained of D/R monopoly ………..)

  15. Best We Can Do? [Lake] Best We Can Do? [Lake] November 5, 2010

    For the next few weeks I’ll still be fighting the inanity …………………. [of the LP itself?]

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