Dan Phillips: Run Jesse Run! (For President as a Libertarian)

Jesse for President

Run Jesse Run!

By Dan Phillips, MD.
March 16, 2015

Jesse Ventura has long been discussed as a possible candidate for the Libertarian Party (LP) presidential nomination. Now Ventura is addressing the issue himself . Ventura seems to want to use the Libertarian Party as a vehicle for ballot access without actually joining the party. He plans to run on the claim that if elected he will be the first President since George Washington who is not a member of any party, and joining the LP would obviously invalidate this talking point. Ventura appears to envision an anti-Establishment fusion campaign, because he mentions former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as a potential running mate, that is heavily focused on opposition to war.

First of all, I’m not sure this is technically feasible. Party rules and ballot access laws are complex so whether or not a Ventura campaign along these lines could actually happen would have to be confirmed.

I’m also not sure how open LP delegates would be to Ventura. Many LP members are sensitive to the perception that they are a collection of kooks and outliers, so some are very squeamish about candidates who are overtly associated with conspiracy theorizing.

Also, it’s not clear that LP delegates would be open to someone who essentially wants to use their party for ballot access, without wholeheartedly embracing the Libertarian label. I am not an expert on Ventura’s politics, but his rhetoric suggests that he leans heavily libertarian. His history of affiliation with the Reform Party (the Independence Party in Minnesota where he was elected Governor) also suggests someone who is practical and independent minded and doesn’t want to be tied down by ideological labels.

I’m not a Libertarian Party member, so they can take my advice for what it’s worth, but I think LP members should seriously consider a Jesse Ventura nomination. Here’s why.

The way I generally perceive of ideological third parties, such as the LP, the Constitution Party and the Green Party, and the way most members and supporters perceive of them, is as purer expressions of ideologies that are already expressed but to lesser degrees by the two dominant parties. So for them the third party serves as a vehicle to carry the banner of the pure ideology that is insufficiently represented by the two major parties. Note that I am using ideology here in the non-Kirkean sense, so my conservative friends don’t object, for lack of a better word. Also, by ideological third parties I mean in contrast to centrists or “good government” third parties, which are usually ostensibly about eschewing ideology.

People who view their participation in third parties through this lens are therefore going to focus on how well their party’s potential nominees represents the ideology they are seeking to advance, whether it be libertarianism, Constitutionalist conservatism or environmentally sensitive liberalism. A common tension seen within the parties is between the purists who seek pure ideologues and pragmatists who are willing to accept some lack of purity in order to nominate a “big name” or more mainstream candidate. (The point of pragmatist third party members, who have essentially disavowed pragmatism by joining a third party in the first place, has always been a bit lost on me, but that is a subject for a different essay.)

I am not knocking this conception of third parties. In fact, it is generally the way I view the role of third parties. But I would like to suggest that there may be another way to conceptualize the role of a third party, one that could be embraced when the opportunity presents itself, that makes a Ventura candidacy potentially very appealing.

All the ideological third parties agree that there is insufficient difference between the Republican and Democrat parties. In fact, they would broadly agree that the two major parties are both war, bankster, corporatists parties that prop up the Establishment at the expense of the common man. They just disagree on the direction reforms should take.

So if the common enemy is the current Regime, and if you believe that the current Regime must fall before meaningful progress toward your vision can be made, is it not feasible to see the current battle, for example, as less libertarian vs. statist and more outsider vs. Elite? And from this conception it could follow that it is less important in the grand scheme of things that your party’s candidate precisely represents your particular ideology and more important that he be able to actually strike a blow, both real and rhetorical, against the Powers That Be.

Viewed in this manner, perhaps the best candidate is not the one who most effectively combines ideological faithfulness and pragmatic concerns, but the one who could potentially make the most impact monkey wrenching the system. A candidate’s ability to monkey wrench the system is not the same as his electability, in fact, it likely renders him unelectable. But it is related to his ability to appeal to a mass audience and potentially peel off large blocks of votes.

This is where a candidate like Jesse Ventura comes in. There are a lot of important issues from the outsider perspective, whether right, left or libertarian – central banking, the monetary system, corporatism, etc. – but I would suggest that the most important outsider issue at the moment is foreign policy, because it is the issue that is the most imminent.

Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve and our funny money system aren’t going anywhere any time soon, nor is our entrenched economic system, but both Republican and Democrat members of the War Party are quickly trying to plunge us into potentially disastrous wars with Iran, Syria, ISIS and Russia, and this could potentially be averted, as escalation in Syria already was, by a large outcry from the masses. Since Ventura seems poised to focus on foreign policy, based on his video, and since he has become a face of opposition to war because of his lawsuit against Chris Kyle and the hysterical response of the jingoist caucus to it, Ventura is potentially the strongest anti-war and anti-Establishment statement that the LP could make right now.

Consider the impact of nominating Gary Johnson, who is no libertarian purist himself, again (ho hum) vs. the impact and statement made by nominating Jesse Ventura who would, if nothing else, shake things up in a way that would be uncomfortable for the Establishment. It is particularly important that non-interventionists have a spokesman representing our views this election cycle because Rand Paul seems to be quickly abandoning any pretense that he wants to be our standard bearer in the GOP. And the Democrats look poised to anoint the very hawkish Hillary Clinton despite a base that is supposedly anti-war. It remains to be seen how much traction Jim Webb can get in the Democrat primary, but my hunch is that he is a much less plausible Democrat nominee than Rand is a GOP nominee.

So give it some thought LP members and potential delegates. You might just join me in the cry of “Run Jesse Run!”

Dan Phillips is a blogger from Georgia. He often blogs about the Constitution, and sometimes about alternate parties.

138 thoughts on “Dan Phillips: Run Jesse Run! (For President as a Libertarian)

  1. Joe Wendt

    If Jesse Ventura wants the support of the LP (and the ballot access), he should at least join the Party. Pay the $25-$50 for membership, name a Libertarian running-mate, and support LP candidates. The Reform Party nominated two candidates that wouldn’t commit to their party (Buchanan & Nader), and look where it is now. If Jesse wants the LP’s ballot access, then he should join the Party and seek the nomination.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    OK, so what are the areas in which Ventura DISAGREES with the LP?]

    My recollection is that when he ran for governor he talked to the Minnesota LP and came away with the impression that he could get along with them but not vice versa — and that the main sticking point was that they just couldn’t stomach his support for state-subsidized light rail transit.

    I doubt that maintaining or expanding AmTrak would be a big Ventura for President platform plank. Is there anything else?

    My prediction is that if Ventura is the LP’s 2016 presidential nominee, he will poll between 1 million and 2 million votes.

  3. Robert Capozzi

    tk, not a bad estimate. Many, many wildcard swing factors for JV, or GJ. If the candidate gets a good fundraising and campaign team. How the Rs and Ds nominating process goes. For ex., if it becomes Bush/Clinton early in the process, more airtime could go to interesting also rans. If RP2 is out of the mix early. etc.

  4. Seymour Results

    Not a bad sentiment. By claiming he wants to essentially “use” the LP, but won’t mention the name, indicates he hasn’t really thought through what he’s doing. He’s alienating the Libertarians (increasing the cost or possibility of winning their nomination at their convention), for no gain to himself. He could easily win their nomination, by reading their platform, and then adopting the issues within it as his own. However, he doesn’t want to do this, because he wants the ability to pander to the economically-illiterate (most of the people in the USA) on certain issues (Healthcare, to some extent). He reasons too much by analogy, and not enough from “first principles.” In addition to first principles in physics and economics, there are also “first principles” in political science, political organization, strategy, philosophy, etc.

    Ventura’s “reasoning” that “Rather than pay for war, give everyone ‘free’ healthcare” assumes that the market distortions introduced by FDA-controlled and big-Pharma-controlled “healthcare rations” would be acceptable. It also assumes that money not spent on the military would go to socialized medicine, in something resembling an efficient manner.

    It’s never smart to create the “unintended consequence” of making it more profitable for a rationed system to decide for someone to die, rather than continuing to provide them “treatment.” (This entire approach also often prevents a cure, stalling the roll-out of cures, to recoup costs spent inventing “treatments.” by sending the message “we humans can’t do healthcare without force involved” –thus stalling incentives for innovation by allowing non-innovators to pick winners and losers).

  5. Rob Banks

    I doubt that maintaining or expanding AmTrak would be a big Ventura for President platform plank. Is there anything else?

    Increasing minimum wage, pro govt medical insurance, signed biggest tax increase in MB history, called himself teachers (union) pet, basically governed as DFL (Democrat). Those would be some of the big ones.

    He may be a 9/11 truther now, but in the immediate aftermath of the attacks he suggested a draconian crackdown on civil liberties.

  6. Rob Banks

    My prediction is that if Ventura is the LP’s 2016 presidential nominee, he will poll between 1 million and 2 million votes.

    What was your pre-election prediction for Johnson in 2012? What is your prediction for his totals if he is the nominee again in 2016?

  7. Joe Wendt

    “My prediction is that if Ventura is the LP’s 2016 presidential nominee, he will poll between 1 million and 2 million votes.”

    I would actually think he would get closer to 4 million votes, just because he well-known from his wrestling, acting, television careers, and therefore has a fan-base that would blindly support him. Johnson on the other hand, would probably get between 500000 to a bit over a million again, primarily because outside L-libertarian circles no one knows who the hell he is.

  8. paulie

    I expect Johnson to about double what he did last time, with an outside chance of a bigger breakthrough.

    I don’t see Ventura beating what Nader did in 2000, and most likely not even beating what Johnson did in 2012…which is all a moot point because I don’t see the LP being stupid enough to change the rules nominate a non-member who does not even want to be considered a Libertarian at all, who disagree with the LP on major policy areas, will most likely show up in the US just about in time for the national convention with no groundwork laid (if he doesn’t miss it altogether), who wants a VP nominee who doesn’t even pretend to be libertarian(ish), etc,etc, etc. Honestly, it’s a non-starter.

  9. Thomas L. Knapp

    “What was your pre-election prediction for Johnson in 2012?”

    To the best of my recollection, I didn’t make any prediction as to his vote totals. The closest I came to doing so was this, at my blog, in May of 2012:

    “I’m personally more skeptical than Steve [Newton] as to whether or not Johnson will have any great effect at all on the outcome (aside from possibly determining the disposition of New Mexico’s five electoral votes — he’s that state’s former two-term governor).”

    So to the extent that that was a prediction of whether or not Johnson would affect the outcome, it was generally correct (he didn’t even cover the major party vote spread in New Mexico, let alone any other state).

    And I did express mild surprise after the election that he had broken 1 million votes, so that could be retro-fitted as an incorrect prediction that he wouldn’t.

    “What is your prediction for his totals if he is the nominee again in 2016?”

    Fewer votes than he got in 2012.

    In 2012, it was obvious to everyone who wasn’t living in a complete fantasy world that it was going to be a blowout for Obama*; the “wasted vote” factor was somewhat minimized. People who might have voted Republican or Democrat if it looked close felt free to cast their votes elsewhere.

    While it’s never safe to assume much 19 months out from a presidential election, I’m assuming here that the 2016 race is going to be quite a bit tighter and that a lot more money will go into pushing “wasted vote” stuff at voters who are open to “defensively” voting major party even if they have another preference.

    Additionally, we have one historical datum on how two-time LP presidential nominees perform. Harry Browne did a little worse the second time out than he did the first time. A third party candidate who runs more than once loses a little bit of “novelty” media. Instead of being covered as “the former New Mexico governor who left the GOP for the Libertarian Party,” Johnson will be covered less, and he’ll be covered as “that third party guy who got 1% last time.”

    * I predicted the presidential outcome for 48 states and got all 48 right — I left Florida and North Carolina as tossups; if I had been forced to predict those two, I would have predicted Obama for both of them, which means I would have been wrong on 1 of 50 states … and IIRC, North Carolina ended up pretty damn close.

  10. Robert Capozzi

    Extrapolating from Browne may or may not make sense, TK. 1996 might have been similar to 2012, with 2016 being like 2000…kinda, yes. 96 a very weak Dole vs. incumbent Clinton ~ a somewhat less weak Romney vs. incumbent Obama. But we don’t know what the dynamics of 16 will be, other than that there will be no incumbent.

    GJ COULD be a better candidate in 16, although from the clips I’ve been seeing in the past year, my sense is he’s the same flavor as 12. OTOH, he still has time to rev up his engines.

    This time he’s pretty much the weed candidate, given his day job, which is a 2 edged sword.

  11. paulie

    “In 2012, it was obvious to everyone who wasn’t living in a complete fantasy world that it was going to be a blowout for Obama*; the “wasted vote” factor was somewhat minimized. People who might have voted Republican or Democrat if it looked close felt free to cast their votes elsewhere.

    While it’s never safe to assume much 19 months out from a presidential election, I’m assuming here that the 2016 race is going to be quite a bit tighter and that a lot more money will go into pushing “wasted vote” stuff at voters who are open to “defensively” voting major party even if they have another preference.”

    Supposing that is true, why would it not also apply to Ventura or wheoever else the LP could run?

  12. paulie

    Additionally, we have one historical datum on how two-time LP presidential nominees perform. Harry Browne did a little worse the second time out than he did the first time.

    Yes. But the second time he was dealing with what was expected to be, and indeed was, a razor thin finish between Gore and Bush, plus he had Buchanan and Nader to contend with – and still managed to come in barely behind Buchanan. So that’s not much basis.

    A third party candidate who runs more than once loses a little bit of “novelty” media.

    While Browne is the only precedent in the LP, there are any number of alt party prez candidates that ran more than once. Some did best their first time out; others did better on subsequent tries. So there are clearly a variety of balancing factors at work.

  13. paulie

    This time he’s pretty much the weed candidate, given his day job, which is a 2 edged sword.

    I don’t think he will be just the “weed candidate” but we’ll see.

  14. paulie

    Mind you, if he does end up being just the weed candidate, that has a lot of potential too… I don’t think it will happen, but if it does it may or may not be a bad thing.

  15. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Supposing that is true, why would it not also apply to Ventura or wheoever else the LP could run?”

    Where did I say it wouldn’t?

    I’m guessing that Ventura might do a little better than Johnson would, for a couple of reasons:

    1) It would be his first time running for president, so he’d probably get the same kind of “novelty” coverage that Johnson got in 2012, instead of the “ho-hum, the 1% guy is running again” coverage Johnson will get in 2016.

    2) I’m not sure what a name recognition poll linked to past accomplishments would tell us about people’s in-depth knowledge of the two, but Ventura’s name itself just happens to be more distinctive and memorable.

    Pound for pound I’m not sure that Ventura would make a BETTER impression. But he’d make MORE of an impression. Possibly enough more of an impression that even at a lower approval rating he’d knock down more votes.

    As of now, neither of them gives me the urge to give up on NOTA.

    If NOTA wasn’t an option, I’d go for Johnson over Ventura. I have significant agreements with Johnson, but based on Rob Banks’s description of Ventura’s positions, Johnson looks more libertarian-leaning. And my impression of Ventura, admittedly based on limited exposure is that he either:

    1) Just says whatever comes into his head at the moment; or

    2) Just says whatever he thinks will be popular with the audience he’s talking to.

    Neither which augurs any reliability as a campaigner. What if the day after the nomination, he suddenly comes up with the idea of promoting “hey, why don’t we kill all the Puerto Ricans” or something?

  16. Joshua Katz

    This discussion is the argument for NOTA in a nutshell. The question is if we should spend all our treasure to not influence the election, or should spend all our treasure to influence the election slightly by nominating someone who doesn’t hold the same values we do (at least arguably.) I would suggest a different path. 1 million, 2 million, 4 million – who cares? Go play in a league you can win.

  17. paulie

    “This discussion is the argument for NOTA in a nutshell. The question is if we should spend all our treasure to not influence the election, or should spend all our treasure to influence the election slightly by nominating someone who doesn’t hold the same values we do (at least arguably.) I would suggest a different path. 1 million, 2 million, 4 million – who cares? Go play in a league you can win.”

    Don’t feel like repeating myself right now. I care, and I explained why in some detail on previous threads. And we are by no means spending all “our treasure” nor is there any one pot of “our treasure” for us to direct.

  18. paulie

    1) Just says whatever comes into his head at the moment; or

    2) Just says whatever he thinks will be popular with the audience he’s talking to.

    After briefly looking over ontheissues.org, I think you are correct.

    He apparently flip flopped on quite a few issues, some of them multiple times.

  19. Andy

    Joshua, most of the population does not give a rat’s ass about local races, and unless libertarians were to gain a majority in local government some place, getting more Libertarians elected to Soil and Water Commissions, Planning Boards, Library Boards of Trustees, etc…, will not make a rat’s ass bit of difference, especially since Libertarians would still be a minority in all of these places, which means they’ll be outvoted in their positions.

    Not running a candidate for President would be political suicide for the LP.

  20. Robert Capozzi

    pf: Mind you, if he does end up being just the weed candidate, that has a lot of potential too… I don’t think it will happen, but if it does it may or may not be a bad thing.

    me: Yes, I agree. I said it’s a 2-edged sword. Stoners and people who feel strongly that weed should be legal might like such a protest vehicle.

    His being in the herb business could turn some off, too.

    My guess is it might actually be a net plus in terms of vote totals and L sympathies.

    The really nice thing about GJ’s positioning is he’s a sober, serious dude who was a guv. He’s also got a sense of humor.

    The CT community might like to be able to vote JV, but that too is a 2-edged sword. Non-CTers might think he’s a crackpot. To me, this seems like worse baggage (for some) than GJ’s (also for some).

    At the moment, Johnson/Cuban without the Fair Tax sounds like the best plausible outcome. I’d vote for them, at least!

  21. Thomas L. Knapp

    Well, that’s ONE argument for NOTA. There are a number of arguments for NOTA; this one isn’t one that I find especially persuasive, but to the extent that I’m promoting NOTA, I’m happy with however anyone gets to the conclusion.

    Some thoughts:

    There is a difference between “influencing” an election and “affecting the outcome of” an election.

    The LP has “influenced” every presidential election it has ever run a candidate in and over time has “influenced” the direction in which the major party candidates go. I very much doubt that we would be as far along the line on ending the war on marijuana or on achieving marriage freedom for same-sex couples as we are if not for 40+ years of LP agitation. It’s not that every major party politician thinks “I have to move on these issues or people will vote Libertarian.” But we’ve played a major role in creating the discussions that eventually forced them off the dime on one side or the other and turned these issues into battles instead of just assumed norms.

    The LP has “affected the outcome” of at least one presidential election. In 2000, Harry Browne got more votes in both New Mexico and Florida than separated the two major party candidates in those states. If New Mexico had gone the other way due to his absence from the ballot, Florida wouldn’t have mattered. If Browne hadn’t been on the ballot in Florida, it might well not have come down to a recount and a SCOTUS decision.

    Every four years, a few fantasists think we’ve reached a turning point and that there’s a chance to elect a Libertarian president. They’re always wrong, and many of them are new people who get disillusioned as soon as they learn it ain’t that easy.

    The fact is that the last time a new political party won a presidential election was 1860. And the only reasons the Republicans won that election were:

    1) That they had filled the vacuum created by the collapse of a previous major party (the Whigs); and

    2) That they benefited tremendously from a three-way split in the other major party (the Democrats), with the northern Democrats running Stephen Douglass, the southern Democrats running John Breckenridge, and from John Bell’s “Constitutional Union Party” candidacy knocking out Breckenridge in three southern states and more than covering the difference between Lincoln’s plurality and Douglass’s loss in California.

    Short of some series of collapses and crises like that, which we have no power to create but can only await and hope to exploit, it’s unlikely that a Libertarian presidential slate will ever be competitive for the presidency.

    But that doesn’t mean Libertarian presidential campaigns are useless.

  22. Andy

    Some “CTers” voted for Gary Johnson last time. Remember, Gary Johnson got endorsed last time by Alex Jones and Jesse Ventura, and that Gary Johnson appeared on The Alex Jones Show more than once, and that Jesse Ventura actually campaigned for Gary Johnson.

  23. paulie

    Yes, just as some pot legalization enthusiasts would no doubt vote for Ventura. But Ventura clearly is more associated with one and Johnson with the other.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    A, sure, I don’t disagree. CTers will vote for non-CTers, but non-CTers might hesitate voting for a crackpot.

    GJ’s call for transparency is code to the CT community that he is not unsympathetic to their issues. But a heavy-duty CT advocate is far more likely to alienate the vast majority of voters.

  25. Jed Ziggler

    “Not running a candidate for President would be political suicide for the LP.”

    Damn right. Plus one of the goals for the party should be to give as many people a chance to vote Libertarian as possible. What better way to do that than to have the Libertarian candidate for president on the ballot in every state, plus DC and Guam?

    Sure, the local candidates are the ones that can win, but the presidential ticket, even if it isn’t perfect, calls attention to the party & increases chances of winning those races. The LP MUST have a candidate.

  26. Joshua Katz

    Yes, you’re right Paulie, it has been well rehearsed. I suppose I should save my frustration at watching debates about irrelevant fractions for the convention.

  27. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Not running a candidate for President would be political suicide for the LP.”

    Not even close. Outside the party itself, it would barely be noticed.

    Except, of course, by people whose livings depend on things like gathering petition signatures to put presidential candidates on ballots. But they’re not a major demographic.

  28. Joshua Katz

    RE: Local offices – yes, people care less. That’s why there’s an opportunity to win. I would dispute the claim, though, that you need a majority on a board to control it. I am on a commission of 5, with 2 Republicans and 2 Democrats. If there is enough partisan thinking (and there are ways to encourage your fellow members to behave in a more partisan way) you end up with a swing vote.

    But yes, you need a lot of wins to influence local governance – and I propose we go get them. You need a lot of boards within most municipalities to win. Get them. Or I’ll work on it here in CT while you burn yourselves out saying “we’re going to beat 1%!”

    I for one am tired of following the same old reach for the ring procedure for 40 years without appreciable progress. I think libertarians tend to overestimate the role we played in making marijuana, marriage, etc. serious issues. Those issues had significant lobbies outside the LP that were perfectly capable of injecting them into the conversation – which is why marijuana at least has proceeded in a not quite libertarian direction as it progressed.

    I have come to the position that, to the degree you can define degrees among various evil things, zoning and land use laws are among the most destructive things government does. For me personally, that’s another reason to focus on local races. If we could make progress on those issues in many places nationwide, we’d be looking at a massively different country – one which would have less excuses for, say, police militarization. I’ll roll back anything I can, of course, but I think the highest dividends currently available are in zoning law. That’s just me.

  29. Andy

    Tom, there is plenty of money to be made gathering signatures on initiatives, referendums, recalls, for other parties besides the LP, and for candidates running for offices other than President.

    Reality is that the LP is only a very small player in the world of ballot access, and getting paid exclusively to put the LP Presidential ticket on the ballot is only a fraction of LP ballot access.

    If I was just interested in money, I probably would not work LP at all, or would only do it on rare occasions. Heck, as it stands right now I have not worked on any LP drives in almost a year.

    If I was just out for money, I’d seek out the highest paying ballot initiative work (regardless of ideology), and then I could hook up a voter registration deal with whichever party would pay me the most money, which would likely be the Republicans.

    So your little snipe that my comments were financially motivated has no bearing in reality.

    Sure, I like to make money, but money is not my only interest or motivation, and the fact is that I would have a lot more money right now if I had thrown ideology “out the window” a long time ago.

    So your little snipe at me has no bearing on reality. Reality is that the highest percentage of the population that pays any attention to politics at all pays attention to the office of President. This is the campaign where Libertarians can reach the most people. Many people in the Libertarian Party and movement got involved because of a Presidential campaign. Also, there are a lot of states that have a vote test for ballot access where if a candidate for President gets a certain percent of the vote the party gets automatic ballot access in the next election.

    So yes, it is a fair statement to say that not running a candidate for President would be political suicide for the LP.

  30. Thomas L. Knapp

    “So yes, it is a fair statement to say that not running a candidate for President would be political suicide for the LP.”

    Yes, it’s just fair.

    But I have yet to see any evidence whatsoever that it’s true.

    Fair and true aren’t the same thing.

  31. Andy

    Josh, getting lots of Libertarians elected to low level local offices when the offices are spread out across the country does little or nothing to make us more free. If Libertarians were to take the majority in a local government, this could make a difference in that locality, but this will not happen unless Libertarians have a majority of the voters in a locality.

    I have been hearing the “run for local office” line since I joined the party in 1996, and it has not accomplished jack squat.

  32. Andy

    Take a survey. Most Libertarians and small “l” libertarians came to be Libertarians/libertarians because of a Presidential campaign.

  33. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Take a survey. Most Libertarians and small ‘l’ libertarians came to be Libertarians/libertarians because of a Presidential campaign.”

    Well, the second sentence would seem to indicate that someone has already done what you suggest in the first sentence. Got a link? Or have you just decided that it’s true and want ME to do the work of proving it for you?

  34. Andy

    Tom, this my own anecdotal survey that comes from talking to (in person and online) thousands of big “L” and small “l” libertarians from all over the country since 1996.

    Presidential campaigns are the best advertising and recruitment vehicles we haven.

  35. Thomas L. Knapp

    Andy,

    My own anecdotal experience is that presidential campaigns build the party’s membership a little, for about six months, every four years; and that the party’s active membership consists mainly of two groups:

    1) People who have been members for more than 10 years and will be members until they die; and

    2) People who joined the party because they got excited about the last presidential campaign and will no longer be members by the next presidential campaign.

    Of course a few of the first group die off in every presidential cycle, and a few of the new people end up staying, but let’s be honest with ourselves:

    At any given time the paid membership of the LP fluctuates between 10,000 and 15,000 (with a one-time rise culminating at 30k driven by direct mail that dropped off as soon as the mail ended), the ACTIVE membership of the LP fluctuates between 1,000 and 2,000, and if the LP sits out a presidential cycle neither of those numbers will likely budge very much.

  36. George Phillies

    In my opinion, a number of state parties would not put up with there being no Presidential candidate on the ballot, and soon thereafter there would be several Libertarian Parties.

  37. Andy

    Tom, it is not just about party membership. I am talking about Presidential campaigns recruiting more libertarians in general, both big “L”and small “l”.

  38. Andy

    Also, it should be pointed out that many LP candidates for state and local office piggyback their ballot access and votes off of Presidential campaigns.

  39. Thomas L. Knapp

    Andy,

    Well, both our experience on that end is anecdotal.

    My estimate is that of the small-l libertarians I know, perhaps 25% have ever been involved in the LP in any way.

    And I suspect that people who became libertarians because of the LP are greatly outnumbered by people who took one look at the LP and said “if that is libertarianism, not only no but fuck no.” At least that’s my impression of the last decade or so.

  40. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Also, it should be pointed out that many LP candidates for state and local office piggyback their ballot access and votes off of Presidential campaigns.”

    I suppose that’s possible. In the only state where I have experience (Missouri), it’s exactly the opposite — the presidential campaign gets ballot access because the LP there maintains its ballot access with 2%+ of the vote in a statewide race every four years (never, to the best of my recollection, has the presidential vote total made that 2% mark — it’s always the lower offices that secure the ballot access).

  41. Joshua Katz

    Sure, controlling a locality has no effect elsewhere – other than the example set by that locality not collapsing into chaos and blowing itself up in some corporate orgy. But the people there will be freer. I’d rather successfully promote a little freedom in a small place than unsuccessfully promote a lot of freedom in a large place.

    And yes, I agree you’ve heard that for a long time and it’s done nothing – likely because no one listens.

    The idea that we can promote our message through a Presidential campaign because people pay attention to Presidential candidate assumes that they listen to all Presidential candidates. They don’t – they listen to two, and generally that ‘listening’ consists of making fun of one and agreeing with the other, even if otherwise they wouldn’t like what they’re saying. I still run into more people who don’t know who Gary Johnson is than who do – let alone Harry Browne. Most know Barr, but from the Clinton fight, and I get “he ran for President? When?”

    I think we both know the one Presidential candidate of ours who is actually well-known – but he is known for his run with another party, not with us. My experience simply doesn’t accord with this claim. We get candidate-specific members and volunteers, that is true – but most don’t stick around. Maybe that’s our fault – but if so, we’re not likely to change it in the next cycle.

  42. Andy

    Libertarians have been running for local offices since I joined the party in 1996. Every once in a while, a Libertarian gets elected to a local office, but this does not make much of a difference because Libertarians do not get elected to majorities to where they have “control” over any of these localities.

    So unless you concentrate enough Libertarians in one locality to where you can “take over,” the local office thing does not accomplish much.

  43. Rebel Alliance

    I’ve noticed a pattern, that everyone who wants Jesse to run is *not* from Minnesota.

    Jesse is a real mixed bag, and Libertarians should be wary of nominating him. As governor, he had proposed & supported heavy state subsidies to build the light-rail system in the Twin Cities. On the other hand, when the state budget was in surplus at the time, the D’s & R’s wanted to blow the money on pet projects, but Jesse championed giving it directly back to the people with tax rebate checks, and he followed through after he won.

    He would be a controversial candidate for the LP, attracting some people but causing others to bail out of the party. Many of the public think he’s gone off the deep end with his conspiracy stuff. But he’s generally been a strong civil liberties advocate. He was one of the few who was skeptical of the government reaction to 9/11, and he championed gay marriage rights before voters were on-board with that issue. On the four-quadrant political spectrum, I wouldn’t call Jesse a “libertarian”, I’d consider him a “libertarian-leaning liberal”.

    One attribute about Jesse is that he actually tends to be honest, saying what he means and meaning what he says. So if he says he wants to use the LP to obtain ballot access but not run under the Libertarian banner, that’s exactly what he intends to do. And that’s his track record as well. During & after his term as governor, he was heavily criticized by the leaders of his Independence Party for his failure to stump for other IP candidates or engage in party-building efforts. Basically, they believe Jesse was ego-driven and all about building himself up, largely refusing to work with them. I think folks in the LP can expect the same.

    I voted for Jesse in ’98 and thought he was a pretty good governor, considerably better than either the D’s or the R’s. He would probably make a decent president. But is Jesse Ventura appropriate as the lead spokesman of the Libertarian Party, and will he help build our party? I’d say No and No.

  44. langa

    I think libertarians tend to overestimate the role we played in making marijuana, marriage, etc. serious issues.

    I agree with this 100%. The increased support for marijuana legalization is almost entirely due to people no longer believing that weed is any more dangerous than beer, rather than people suddenly accepting the libertarian “right to ingest whatever you want” argument. Similarly, the increased support for gay marriage is almost entirely due to people no longer believing that homosexuality is immoral, rather than people accepting the libertarian arguments for freedom of association. Claims to the contrary amount to little more than wishful thinking.

  45. Andy Craig

    No party ever built itself up from winning Town Planning Board and Water Commission seats and not contesting higher offices, into being a major-party that won higher offices. The first year they tried in a single state (WI), the Republicans elected several Congressmen, a majority of the state legislature, and thereby a US Senator. There was no decades-long period of winning local government positions, they ran for and won high-profile partisan offices. Which isn’t to say local races don’t matter and that Libertarians who run for such races shouldn’t be supported and commended, they absolutely should, it’s just as much a part of what the LP does as the higher offices. But it’s not some kind of road to winning higher offices in large numbers or building the party into a serious political force. A party that *only* ran candidates for obscure (and in many states nonpartisan) local offices that get zero public notice, won’t be around for very long.

    As for nominating NOTA, it’s not going to happen. I think nominating Ventura would be sheer lunacy, and isn’t going to happen either, but I’d vote for him before I supported NOTA. The state parties aren’t going to throw away their ballot access for nothing. They’ll put a disliked imperfect candidate on the ballot, or nominate their own candidate, before they voluntarily have no candidate at all for President. And has been explained at length, not running a top-of-the-ticket candidate is a guaranteed loss of ballot access in many states. Not just for the 2020 Presidential nominee (if we have one), but also for downticket partisan elections in that state. If we took this local-only strategy to its logical conclusion, and also didn’t run candidates for any “unwinnable” statewide vote-test offices, then *all* of our ballot access would be gone in two to four years.

  46. Green_w_o_Adjectives

    “As governor, he had proposed & supported heavy state subsidies to build the light-rail system in the Twin Cities. On the other hand, when the state budget was in surplus at the time, the D’s & R’s wanted to blow the money on pet projects, but Jesse championed giving it directly back to the people with tax rebate checks, and he followed through after he won.”

    Sounds like a citizen’s advocate to me. Did the light rail project go through or did the duopoly, in service of monied interests, stop it in its tracks?

  47. Andy

    FYI, light rails are often supported by monied interests. Why? Because building, operating, and maintaining then requires big money, and there are people who profit from this.

  48. Thomas L. Knapp

    “As for nominating NOTA, it’s not going to happen. I think nominating Ventura would be sheer lunacy, and isn’t going to happen either, but I’d vote for him before I supported NOTA. The state parties aren’t going to throw away their ballot access for nothing. They’ll put a disliked imperfect candidate on the ballot, or nominate their own candidate, before they voluntarily have no candidate at all for President.”

    And what would be wrong with that?

    “And has been explained at length, not running a top-of-the-ticket candidate is a guaranteed loss of ballot access in many states.”

    No, it hasn’t been “explained at length.” It’s been “claimed in brief” — without a single such state actually being named.

  49. paulie

    Jesse’s views do not really fit with the Green Party either.

    True. I probably should have added a smiley on that one.

  50. paulie

    No, it hasn’t been “explained at length.” It’s been “claimed in brief” — without a single such state actually being named.

    Again untrue. See prior thread(s) starting with the one linked above.

  51. Andy

    Tom, I think that my anecdotal evidence is stronger than yours because mine includes being on the ground talking to I do not even know how many people while working on petition drives in 33 states over a period of close to 15 years. I have also attended numerous big “L” and small “l” libertarian meetings and events all of the country. So my survey is much larger than yours.

  52. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Again untrue. That which you say hasn’t been discussed in this discussion has been discussed — just not in this discussion!”

    There, fixed that for ya.

  53. paulie

    And before you give me any shit about making money off prez campaigns, as explained by Andy above, I could (and have) made more as a non-ideological petitioner … and even more than that in other lines of work I was in in the past. I do a lot more activism on a volunteer basis, and working with the LP and alt parties/independents as much as I can is because I believe in it…I could be making more otherwise.

  54. Thomas L. Knapp

    I’ve never given anyone any shit about making money off presidential campaigns. I just opined that those who make money off presidential campaigns would likely be among a very, very, very few Americans who would notice or care if the Libertarian Party didn’t run one in 2016.

  55. Andy

    The most common answer to how a person got involved with the liberty movement is because of a campaign, usually for President.

    The two names I have heard the most are Ron Paul (by far #1) and Harry Browne.

  56. paulie

    Tom: beyond the million plus who actually exercised the choice to vote for a LP presidential candidate last time, there were milions more who appreciated having that choice, yet chickened out when it came to the top of the ticket. Yet quite a few voted LP downticket… that would have never heard of the LP otherwise if the prez campaign never happened. Or maybe got their exposure to libertarian ideas, even if they never voted for any LP candidates, with some of them their libertarianism grew over time in other ways. Some do go in and out of the LP and end up in the movement in other ways.

    What about those downticket candidates? Many of *them* came into the party and/or decided to run due to a prez campaign, or sometimes more than one.

    Cut out the prez run…it starts falling apart. Like pulling a thread, or cutting a hole in a dam. It happened to other alt parties. It would happen to us. And all these argumets were already hashed out on the prior thread already linked….why not just follow the link instead of repeating ourselves?

  57. paulie

    That’s way, way more people than make less of a living than we could otherwise by working with the LP to give people those choices.

    And there are ripple effects far beyond the ballot quantifiable numbers.

  58. Andy

    Ridiculous statement, Tom. Heck, over the last 8 years Ron Paul has likely recruited more people into the Libertarian Party than anyone else, and he did this while not even running as a Libertarian Party candidate.

    College campus libertarian clubs have also exploded in size in recent years, and this is in large part because if Ron Paul.

  59. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie,

    So we’re right back where we started.

    You think skipping a presidential campaign in 2016 would do major damage to the LP.

    I don’t.

    I doubt we’re going to change each others’ minds.

    Similarly, Andy isn’t going to convince me that a conservative Republican who knows how to talk libertarians into writing checks is necessarily a libertarian.

  60. paulie

    TLK

    Arguments about whether Ron Paul is a libertarian or a conservative aside, are you claiming that none of the people he got started to either become active in politics at all, think outside the establishment box, or some of both….none of those people ended up as what even you would acknowledge as libertarians? I would definitely have to disagree on that one.

  61. Robert Capozzi

    jk: I have come to the position that, to the degree you can define degrees among various evil things, zoning and land use laws are among the most destructive things government does.

    me: I’ve never developed my own list, but this one isn’t intuitively near the top for me. Why is it for you?

    Factories in a residential area seems not something that leads us to Jubilee, although it may!

    Strikes me that land is still QUITE bountiful.

    Still, I’d like to hear your case…..

  62. Andy

    Other names I hear in regard to how people got involved in the liberty movement:

    Michael Badnarik

    Gary Johnson (becoming more common)

    Ed Clark

    Andre Murrou

    Roger McBride

    David Bergland

    Sometimes I hear the name of an LP candidate for Governor or US Senate.

    Sometimes I hear the name of a “celebritarian” like John Stossel or Andrew Napolitano.

    Sometimes it was due to a friend or family member or a random meeting of somebody who was a libertarian.

    Sometimes people will cite a website or a book or an article from a magazine or newspaper.

    Sometimes people will cite a film they saw, or because of something they heard on the radio.

    I have never heard anyone say that they became part of the liberty movement because of a candidate for local office.

  63. paulie

    Andy’s original points was that Ron Pau has brought a lot of people into the libertarian movement. As I understood your response, you counter-claimed that since Ron Paul is not what you consider a libertarian, he has not brought people into the movement. It’s certainly possible I misunderstood you; How else would you like me to interpret what you wrote above?

  64. Andy

    I have worked on 36 LP ballot access drives in 19 states since July of 2000. Only 6 of them were just for the LP Presidential ticket, as the others included other LP candidates, or were for the party as a whole, or were for candidates for offices other than President.

    Out of the 6 times I worked LP ballot access drives that were only for the Presidential ticket, I worked on petitions for other groups at the same time on 4 of those occasions.

    So this means that the grand total of instances where I just worked exclusively to get ballot access for only the LP Presidential ticket was TWICE.

    TWO times where I only made money by just collecting signatures for the LP Presidential ticket over a period of almost 15 years is not that much, and these two instances only amounted to two weeks of work.

  65. Thomas L. Knapp

    I don’t particularly care one way or the other how you interpret what I wrote above. But it would probably make sense to interpret it as I wrote it rather than in some other way.

  66. Rebel Alliance

    “Sounds like a citizen’s advocate to me. Did the light rail project go through or did the duopoly, in service of monied interests, stop it in its tracks?”

    Green_w_o_Adjectives … yes, construction of the light-rail project started at the end of Jesse’s term and has been operating for some time now. Debate continues as to whether it was worth it. It covers the same routes that the buses did, at multiples of the cost. The railcars usually seem rather empty compared to the bus system which is heavily used. I ride the bus often, but haven’t ridden the rail once, it simply doesn’t go where I want it to.

    Actually, once the state approved it, the monied interests influenced its route. Its first legs terminated at the Mall of America and the downtown business district. It doesn’t follow the high-density traffic routes, so people are still stuck on the freeways during rush hour.

  67. paulie

    I don’t particularly care one way or the other how you interpret what I wrote above.

    I guess that makes sense, if your goal is to be cryptic rather than to communicate what you actually mean.

    But it would probably make sense to interpret it as I wrote it rather than in some other way.

    I thought I had. I guess you don’t want to explain what it actually was you really meant. I can live with that. If someone else wants to explain it, maybe I’ll be enligtened. Otherwise I will have to remain in the dark.

    I am spending way too much time here as usual as it is; trying to read the same thing again and trying to re-interpret it…not worth it.

  68. Jed Ziggler

    “Cut out the prez run…it starts falling apart. Like pulling a thread, or cutting a hole in a dam. It happened to other alt parties. It would happen to us.”

    Just look at the Socialist Party USA. When the Socialist Party decided not to field a candidate in 1960, newspapers hailed it as proof that socialism had failed in America. The party never recovered. True, the party had already been in decline, but within a few years it was almost completely dead. In 1972 what little was left of it formed Social Democrats USA (a party that only fields local candidates, and is therefore unsurprisingly ineffective).

    Thankfully a group of supporters did reconstitute the SPUSA, although some consider this to be a separate party from the old Socialist Party of America. Today’s SPUSA has nowhere near the support it had in the days of Eugene V. Debs & Norman Thomas, but it’s in a much better state than it was when it stopped participating in the presidential electoral process.

  69. paulie

    I have worked on 36 LP ballot access drives in 19 states since July of 2000. Only 6 of them were just for the LP Presidential ticket, as the others included other LP candidates, or were for the party as a whole, or were for candidates for offices other than President.

    Out of the 6 times I worked LP ballot access drives that were only for the Presidential ticket, I worked on petitions for other groups at the same time on 4 of those occasions.

    So this means that the grand total of instances where I just worked exclusively to get ballot access for only the LP Presidential ticket was TWICE.

    TWO times where I only made money by just collecting signatures for the LP Presidential ticket over a period of almost 15 years is not that much, and these two instances only amounted to two weeks of work.

    Exactly. And note that in the vast majority of the cases Andy and I worked on petition drives that put the presidential candidate as well as other candidates on…some of them the same drives and some different…most of the money came from LP national, sometimes from the prez campaign, rarely bulk of it locally arranged. So yes, in most cases it is the state and local candidates that piggyback.

  70. Green_w_o_Adjectives

    Rebel Alliance,

    The problem with light-rail in the United States is our cities were not planned for light rail but instead for automobile traffic (which is, of course, unsustainable over the long run). Light rail ought to be about maximizing health and convienience. It should be about transportation from designated residential areas to designated commercial or industrial areas and back, cutting out the necessity of commuting via automobile or bus.

    But if you put corporate power in control of light rail, then light rail won’t be about the health and convience of citizens….it will be another means of ownership and profit for corporations. Since corporations ultimately make more money via car traffic and fossil fuel sales, then corporate control leads to ineffectual, useless light rail.

    The sad thing is there were trams in most American metropolitan areas prior to the 20s-30s. But government investment in roads (an investment which was also oriented towards maximizing the USA’s capability to defend itself at home–consider how the Autobahn system in Germany made wartime transporation more efficient) in the 50s set us down the unsustainable car culture path we’ve been on since.

  71. Jed Ziggler

    “Sounds like a citizen’s advocate to me. Did the light rail project go through or did the duopoly, in service of monied interests, stop it in its tracks?”

    I’m always surprised how much progressives push for obsolete technology. We have cars and airplanes now, we don’t need trains. What’s next, pushing a government-funded horse & buggy project?

  72. paulie

    If it wasn’t for all the red tape strangling innovation we’d have long had jetpacks and maybe teleporters by now, or something even better.

  73. langa

    If someone else wants to explain it, maybe I’ll be enligtened. Otherwise I will have to remain in the dark.

    Sure, I can explain it. It’s just one of TK’s typical anti-Ron Paul cheap shots — no more, no less. Looking for logic in it is just a waste of time.

  74. Thomas L. Knapp

    What it meant was what I said. Andy considers Ron Paul and the Paul cult to be part of the “libertarian movement.” I don’t.

    At no point have I ever said that nobody ever eventually made their way to the libertarian movement via Ron Paul or the Paul cult. I’ve just said that the Paul cult and the libertarian movement aren’t the same thing.

  75. Andy

    Tom, you destroy your own credibility when you make statements that are that absurd.

  76. Thomas L. Knapp

    Does Ron Paul destroy his own credibility when he makes the same statements?

    I was as big a Ron Paul fan as anyone, even though I thought that the GOP was hopeless.

    Then I got his first fundraising letter for his 2008 presidential campaign. His three big selling points? Keeping the Mexicans from getting over the Rio Grande, keeping the gays from getting married and keeping women from having abortions.

    Mentions of foreign policy: Zero.

    Mentions of the Drug war: Zero.

    Mentions of any libertarian position on any issue: Zero.

    Then I saw him on one of the Sunday news shows. “The Libertarian Party? Yeah, I ran on their ticket once, but I’ve always been a Republican.”

    And then the newsletter content came out and I found out that all the accusations I’d been defending him from for years were true. And then some.

    Fuck Ron Paul. He gets to be part of the libertarian movement when he decides to do something other than cash its fucking checks.

  77. Jed Ziggler

    I tend to agree more with Tom on Ron Paul. I won’t say he’s not part of the liberty movement, but his positions on immigration & gay marriage don’t strike me as very libertarian. He’s not the grand hero of libertarianism that Andy & the like make him out to be, and Rand Paul doesn’t even come close to being a libertarian, despite a few points of agreement. The same goes for Jesse Ventura, though I’d definitely vote for Ventura over Randall on gay rights & commitment to non-duopoly politics. I admire Gov. Jesse, I DESPISE Rand Paul. I voted for Ron Paul once, I probably would not do so again.

    That’s not to minimize the good things Ron has done, I just don’t worship him like some do.

  78. NewFederalist

    Not to mention the incompetent and overpaid staff he assembled from his family and in laws!

  79. Andy

    You know, I have debunked this misinformation about Ron Paul’s record on this site so many times that at this point I will flat out say that Tom Knapp and Jed Ziggler are intentionally lying. The only other explanation would be that they are stupid, or that they have bad memories, but I suspect intentional lying at this point.

    I know that Tom and Jed do not venture out into the real world very often, but I do. There are many, many big “L” and small “l” libertarians out there who got to where they are because of Ron Paul. If you can’t see this you are incredibly dense or you are not being honest.

  80. George Phillies

    Tom Knapp is telling the truth. Readers may recall that Ayn Rand effectively recruited some number of people into our party. She was our declared enemy and wanted us to shut down.

  81. Andy

    Ron Paul voted on more than one occasion to INCREASE visas for foreign workers. Ron Paul also voted against a border fence, and he voted against putting troops on the border.

    Ron Paul correctly pointed out that marriage is a state issue, and is not a federal issue, and he also said that states should not be in the marriage licensing business in the first place.

    Ron Paul is pro-life, but he considers abortion to be murder and therefore the initiation of force. Some may disagree, but Ron’s reasoning here is consistent with libertarian principles. Oh, he also said abortion should be left to the states, which is the same position as Gary Johnson.

  82. Jed Ziggler

    “There are many, many big “L” and small “l” libertarians out there who got to where they are because of Ron Paul.”

    I never said he didn’t. He also caused a lot of social conservatives & right-wing nutbars to join the movement & start calling themselves libertarians, watering down the message. Thus why I’m lukewarm on RP at best.

  83. Andy

    Ron Paul has done far more good for liberty, and for the Libertarian Party, than Tom Knapp, Jed Ziggler, and George Phillies combined, and it is not even a close contest.

  84. Andy

    If you want to talk about watering down the libertarian message, look at the 2016 LP ticket of Johnson and Gray.

  85. George Phillies

    The most important feature of light rail is that it is almost as expensive as rail to install, and has in general much higher maintenance costs than real rail, or so I was assured by the former (and now late) head of the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority.

  86. Thomas L. Knapp

    Yes, Andy, I’m sure Ron Paul did all of those things.

    He’s an adept politician who’s quite agile at playing both sides of every fence and getting people who are radically opposed to each other to both believe that it’s THEIR side he’s REALLY on when he tells one of them one thing and the other the exact opposite.

    There are two ways of looking at someone like that.

    One is the way you do (“it’s everyone else he’s lying to, not me”).

    The other is the way I do (“since I know he lies to at least some people, safest to assume he lies to everyone”).

  87. Andy

    The following Libertarians endorsed Ron Paul for President when he ran for the Republican nomination:

    David Nolan

    David Bergland

    Mary Ruwart

    Aaron Russo (was instrumental in recruiting Ron Paul to run for the Republican nomination)

    Gary Nolan

    Steve Kubby

    L. Neil Smith

    Ernie Hancock

    Lew Rockwell

    Glenn Jacobs (aka-“Kane”)

    Michael Badnarik.

    There were others, but that’s a pretty damn impressive list of people to have endorsing your campaign right there.

  88. Andy

    I was obviously not completely happy with the 2012 LP ticket of Johnson/Gray, but even so, I would rather see a repeat of them in 2016 than NOTA. The LP not having a Presidential ticket for 2016 would be flat out stupid.

  89. Andy Craig

    Getting back on-topic, which was Jesse Ventura and not Ron Paul, how’s this for a hypothetical: Ventura runs for the Libertarian nomination (“as an independent”), storms out of Orlando in a self-righteous huff when he is rejected, says he’ll continue as an independent, names an anti-war left-leaning running mate (McKinney, Sheehan, somebody along those lines) and seeks the ballot lines of other single-state and minor parties that do have some precedent of rallying around a fusion/independent Presidential ticket. Any takers on that scenario?

    I don’t know the timing of the relatively-late June 2016 LNC would play into that, but setting that aside, would there be any willing fits among other minor parties? Say if he were to secure the Reform, Justice, Peace & Freedom nominations, picks up some of the half-dozen Americans Elect ballot lines that still exist, and a handful of single-state parties like Independence in MN and Liberty Union and Moderate Party. Plus the states where he could get onto the ballot as an independent relatively easily. Maybe even split off a Green or Const. or Libertarian affiliate or two (crazier things have happened). That probably wouldn’t get him to 270+EV, but it could get him in the range of a dozen states, maybe more. Enough to get him some attention, and inclusion in alt-party debates and coverage. Which is the most he could really hope for anyway.

    Of course this is assuming he’s even serious about running at all, which I’m inclined to think he isn’t. But if he is serious about running, and puts any kind of lead-in and public effort into campaigning pre-LNC, I don’t know that not getting the Libertarian nomination would actually stop him once he’s that committed. Nor would it be the first time he reacted spitefully to being scorned by the LP.

  90. paulie

    Getting back on-topic, which was Jesse Ventura and not Ron Paul, how’s this for a hypothetical: Ventura runs for the Libertarian nomination (“as an independent”), storms out of Orlando in a self-righteous huff when he is rejected, says he’ll continue as an independent, names an anti-war left-leaning running mate (McKinney, Sheehan, somebody along those lines) and seeks the ballot lines of other single-state and minor parties that do have some precedent of rallying around a fusion/independent Presidential ticket. Any takers on that scenario?

    Not unless he gets a very generous billionaire sugar parent/VP.

    Otherwise he’ll be on in so few states with a start that late that it will be embarrassing.

  91. paulie

    Of course this is assuming he’s even serious about running at all, which I’m inclined to think he isn’t.

    Bingo. He just wants attention.

    But if he is serious about running, and puts any kind of lead-in and public effort into campaigning pre-LNC, I don’t know that not getting the Libertarian nomination would actually stop him once he’s that committed. Nor would it be the first time he reacted spitefully to being scorned by the LP.

    He’ll be in Mexico while all that lead-in stuff happens.

  92. Andy

    It will be too late for him to get on many ballots by that point, and the Greens and Constitution Party would likely reject him as well. If he made any ballots, it would likely be so few that it would be embarrassing.

  93. Joshua Katz

    Libertarians tend to run for local office in a shotgun fashion, not a coordinated fashion. The party still nominates more candidates above the state rep level than below.

    RC: I agree it’s not intuitive, but my view is that the destruction of mixed-use neighborhoods, together with highway funding, creates a scenario where people are far more exposed to ‘nickel and dime tyranny’ which is, in my view, a much bigger threat in America than the more dramatic kinds of tyranny. Zoning laws, as a result, prevent economic mobility. This is also dangerous, as it creates a desperate class that sees no real way out of poverty. This creates a permanent lobby for welfare programs, and increase violence – which, in turn, is an excuse to militarize the police. Furthermore, desperate people with initiative go into illegal activities, giving even more excuses to militarize the police. The WoD, for instance, would be less destructive without zoning laws.

    By the way, as a result, while I don’t like the way Ventura went about it (i.e. using government) I do think we need more low-cost-of-entry forms of transportation, and that trains can be a part of that, so I’d disagree with the idea that we don’t need trains now that we have cars. To use a small example, what’s the best way to get around NYC? And NYC has its subway run by the government. The market could run it far better, and it would outstrip driving by even more.

    The market, in fact, is coming up with answers, while government tries to destroy them. Uber and Zipcar are market solutions to the problems created by single use neighborhoods. Government continually fights with them – and I suspect that part of the reason is precisely that the system they’ve built allows for revenue-farming, and these market innovations get in the way of that. If I can’t afford to register my car, I can use a Zipcar. It’s still not the best economic decision (which goes with the fact that the poor make financial decisions that the rich would never make) but it’s a lot better than going to jail for an unregistered car – and with time, it can expand and prices can drop to where it is more rational for anyone than buying a car would be.

    I don’t think the scenario where Ventura uses a loss at the LP convention to launch an independent/mixed party run is likely. I think what’s more likely is that Ventura is talking about seeking our nomination to hype up another tv show or something, or just to keep his name in the news. Again, his most libertarian days were his days as a commentator where he did nothing but attack jingoistic patriotism. If Jesse the Commentator could run for President, I’d be somewhat more interested than the current Jesse. (Just like Republicans would probably prefer the Reagan-era Hulk Hogan over the guy who slept with Bubba the Love Sponge’s wife.) The costs of doing something like that would be too high. He’d probably need to revive those segments of the Reform Party that favored his side, secure a few Constitution/Green/Libertarian states, which is unlikely, and petition in a bunch of states. I don’t think he’d have the money, unless his running mate were, I don’t know – Donald Trump? Hmm, that actually could work, come to think of it. They’re similar in that neither is serious about running whatsoever.

    Ventura/Cuban? Actually, I think we should do some outreach to Cuban since he identifies as a libertarian. I doubt he’d want to run, but he might well drop some money into something that looks credible – but he’d demand that it look credible, not pie in the sky.

  94. Thomas L. Knapp

    Nice analysis, Joshua.

    There never has been any substantial “McDonald’s in a residential neighborhood” problem.

    That’s just the excuse used to sell planning and zoning — which are then gamed to give the people who can afford to put a McDonald’s next to your house the power to do anything they damn well please.

    Like instead of putting a McDonald’s next to your house, condemning your entire neighborhood at fire sale eminent domain prices to put a strip mall and a McDonald’s where your home used to be.

  95. paulie

    ” To use a small example, what’s the best way to get around NYC? ”

    Due to government red tape bound retardation of technology advancement and propagation, most likely right now jitney cabs.

    For anyone who does not know, basically minivans that do pick up and drop off various people and have several riding at a time, but are privately run and go where people want them to, cheaper than taxis, more expensive than buses, and in between in terms of A to B time and convenience.

    Naturally the state is cracking down.

    Taxis that are not paying extortion rates to be part of the taxi cartel and its insane level of regulation are another way..also being cracked down on.

    There are many other alternatives, and generally speaking government is working overtime to limit them and make them inconvenient – cutting the middle out of the market and leaving people with long waits on buses that don’t run convenient routes, paying out the ass for taxis, trudging thru the sleet, or spending insane amounts of time and/or money on parking.

  96. paulie

    “I don’t think the scenario where Ventura uses a loss at the LP convention to launch an independent/mixed party run is likely. I think what’s more likely is that Ventura is talking about seeking our nomination to hype up another tv show or something, or just to keep his name in the news.”

    Yep! And good points about zoning.

  97. Joshua Katz

    TK – agreed. My town is heavily zoned and planned (although that’s starting to change.) A few of my planning colleagues not only go crazy about every commercial use in town, they also go crazy if they don’t like the particulars of a commercial use in the commercial section – such as a restaurant or, god forbid, a treatment center, near the water – that should be only marine use. They also didn’t like, 7 years ago, the small drug store smack in the middle of a residential area. A few millions later, the drug store was pushed out through zoning, roads were rerouted, traffic lights redone by a traffic engineer paid by Walgreens, and a Walgreens went in.

    Interestingly, it was this outrage that pushed our current First Selectman to run. He recruited me to run because he wants opposition to corporate welfare on the boards and commissions.

    I’d put part of it in the ‘privilege is invisible’ category. Privilege has time to sit on these boards, and the concerns of the privileged go more in the direction of wanting the town to look ‘pretty’ – i.e. follow whatever emotions they happen to have about other people’s land – rather than, say, letting people rise out of poverty. One memorable fight we had was about a small business building a garage for trucks to back into. One commissioner wanted it to face the opposite direction from the plans – and didn’t seem to care that if it faced that direction, trucks couldn’t back into it.

    Emotionally, the only time I want to deny special permits is when permit-seekers come in cringing and saying “and we’ve made this because we know you want it this way…” I sometimes feel an urge to say no on principle because they’ve given in so much. I don’t, of course, just saying.

    Paulie – exactly, anything that reduces revenue farming and special privilege gets cracked down on. The medallion system isn’t just to keep fares high, although it does that well. It’s there so they can fine gypsy cabs.

  98. LibertarianGirl

    over 100 comments, not gonna read them lol, my thoughts are, um no , no fucking way , and aint gonna happen , then I remember Barr/Root and think, please guys no, dont buy the hype , whats in a name? and fuck the notoriety bandwagon…..

  99. Robert Capozzi

    jk: ‘nickel and dime tyranny’ which is, in my view, a much bigger threat in America than the more dramatic kinds of tyranny. Zoning laws, as a result, prevent economic mobility.

    me: Thanks for this. I’m not sure I agree. Is economic mobility substantially better in Houston than elsewhere? Is there less tyranny there?

    Methinks I’ll stick with a list that will include: WDM; an interventionist fp; high, manipulative taxes; dirigistic regulations of commerce; social nannyism.

    For me, zoning might be among the last things to go on the asymptotic path toward anarchy.

  100. Joshua Katz

    RC: Like I said, I’m “moving towards” this position. I find it persuasive, but as of now, I’m not entirely convinced it’s the highest priority, I’m just inclining that way. I worked in Houston as a paramedic. I’d say, at least in the areas I worked, economic mobility was substantially worse than other places I’d lived and worked. The vast majority of my patients didn’t even understand the concept of living a less poor life. The police were also notably brutal, but I can’t say that’s worse than other places, unfortunately.

    However, I don’t know how well that comparison would work, in any event. I don’t think the effects I’m talking about can work in a city or town; it has to be looked at nationally, even though the laws are local. If one city has particularly had zoning laws, people would move.

  101. ATBAFT

    While it has been noted above that the Republican Party was the last new party to elect a president, in1860, it should be remembered that the Republicans had won 48% of the seats in the U.S. Congress in 1858 (Dems won only 42%) and had been a substantial minority in the Congress elected in 1856. So I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a Libertarian president until the LP first wins a whole bunch of Congressional races.

  102. Robert Capozzi

    atbaft, one observation proves nothing. But…what was the pattern of R wins at the state level pre-1860?

  103. ATBAFT

    Robert, per Wikipedia, the nascent GOP did pretty well at the state level:

    “The party launched its first national convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in February 1856, with its first national nominating convention held in the summer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,[7] presided by Francis Preston Blair.

    John C. Frémont ran as the first Republican nominee for President in 1856 behind the slogan: “Free soil, free silver, free men, Frémont and victory!” Although Frémont’s bid was unsuccessful, the party showed a strong base. It dominated in New England, New York and the northern Midwest, and had a strong presence in the rest of the North”

    Of course, it is foolish to call the GOP a new party as it was a new coalition of Whigs, Free Soilers, Abolitionist Democrats, etc. allowing it to be immediately successful. The LP is truly a new party. Perhaps if the GOP collapsed and significant members joined the LP it could, as a “new party,” seriously contemplate having national success.

  104. Joshua Katz

    I agree that timing is a huge deciding factor for a new party. It’s very unlikely, unfortunately, to rise to national prominence after more than a few years of obscurity. It’s also unlikely to do so absent some political event making the party a natural place to look, as the collapse of the Whigs did for the Republicans. Another factor that can limit the success of a party is, of course, being strongly ideological, which makes it hard to form coalitions.

  105. Robert Capozzi

    atbaft: Of course, it is foolish to call the GOP a new party as it was a new coalition of Whigs, Free Soilers, Abolitionist Democrats, etc.

    me: Yes. Foolish.

    Being “ideological” doesn’t necessarily preclude being successful. Being dogmatic, I’d say, does preclude success.

    Now, if the ideology is based on falsehoods, I’d say that too precludes success. Such is the lot of the LP, being based on deontological absolutist L-ism.

  106. Joshua Katz

    RC: Being false precludes success? Experience suggests otherwise. Being ideological precluding success is too strong; my point was that there is a reason the vast majority of parties work with coalitions, not narrow bands of co-believers.

  107. Robert Capozzi

    jk, yes, falseness precludes REAL success, I’d say. Lenin won, but he did not succeed, as I see it. His ideology was riddled with falsehoods, and led to untold pain for millions. I would trace his lack of real success to the falsehoods represented in Leninism.

    Thanks for allowing me to clarify.

  108. Sean Scallon

    I must respectfully disagree with my friend Dan Phillips. Jesse Ventura should not get the LP nomination and would not be much of an asset to the party even if he did.

    For the LP to come of age they must now ignore vanity/celebrity candidates like a Ventura. If Jesse is not willing to take the plunge as a full LP member (and he hasn’t in the past when offered), why would anyone consider voting for him as a Libertarian? It would seem odd to people that here’s a man who wins a party nomination but doesn’t wish to be a member of the party. How would anyone explain that? Vote the candidate and not party?

    Secondly, this is not the Jesse Ventura of 1998. There is no sense of practical politics in the man anymore. He will simply say whatever comes into his mind. Now some people may find it refreshing but most will find it just offensive. And when you consider that the LP wants to shed its “kooky” imagine and become an accpetable, mainstream political party, giving the LP Presidential nomination to Ventura would be an enormous step backwards. The LP doesn’t need a its candidates spewing a steady of 9-11 Truth or any other conspiracy theories that Jesse wish to pontificate on. It will coimpletely distract from the party’s overall message and the party will gain nothing for it.

    Third, Jesse is just not much into party building. He didn’t do much for the Reform/Independence Party of Minnesota and now the party is on its deathbed there. Back in 1998 he was willing to work with people like Dean Barkley who built the Reform/Independence Party of Minnesota from scratch because they were good friends and shared common views on politics. It’s doubtful the Jesse Ventura of 2015, more mecurial and isolated and suspicious, is going act in the same fashion with the current LP leadership. He would campaign pretty much on his own accord and not really care about other LP candidates or the party itself.

    In short, to give Ventura the LP nomination would be surrendering it to him. And for what? There’s no guarantee he would do any better than Gary Johnson in 2012 and it may in fact do worse thanks to whole “American Sniper” trial. While I believe Jesse was defamed by Chris Kyle and had every right to sue in court for this defamation, many others, including people who would have supported Ventura or would have been big fans of Ventura, feel he sued the widow of a war hero and have turned their backs on him. Someone that controversial is not somebody I would want flying the banner for my party in a presidential campaign.

    If Ventura really wants the LP nomination, he needs to join the party and campaign for it just like the other candidates. Only in this way can he legitimize himself to party members and activists. Any other way would be a waste of time and could be very damaging to the LP if Ventura runs a poor campaign which was only about himself and not what the LP stood for. The LP needs to rise above this nonsense, not get involved with it.

  109. Andy

    The LP will always be considered to be “kooky” by people who do not really believe in individual freedom. It is best to say the heck with them rather than trying to pander to them.

  110. Jim Tanner

    Lots of people who DO believe in freedom consider Ventura to be kooky as well, and then there are his views on some economic issues that don’t line up with libertarians at all, as well as the fact that he is not interested in helping the LP or even calling himself a Libertarian or joining the party at all. It would be a very dumb move by the LP to even consider this seriously.

  111. Andy

    I have followed Jesse Ventura for many years and I have never heard him advocate for even one “conspiracy theory” that is “kooky.”

    Jesse Ventura has taken a few issue stances where I disagree with him, but even so, he is far from being a kook.

  112. Jim Tanner

    Your standards for kookiness are obviously very different from a lot of other people’s, including a lot of people who want to make government much smaller.

  113. Guess what

    Ventura for President is a great idea if you’re for winning and breaking the establishment’s lock on the US Presidency and effecting real pro-liberty political change.

    It’s not such a great idea if you’re for stroking the ego of LP activists.

    Most LP convention delegates are more concerned with the latter, but that could change.

  114. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Ventura for President is a great idea if you’re for winning”

    Whether or not Ventura would be “pro-liberty” as president is an interesting and debatable question.

    Whether or not Ventura could win the 2016 presidential election under any even remotely forseeable circumstance isn’t.

    If he had the same kind of money as the “major party” candidates he MIGHT break the 10% mark. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

    Absent that kind of money, low single digits and probably sub-1%.

  115. Andy

    Ventura does not espouse any “kooky” theories. He says what the facts are after he investigates things. Ventura will dismiss something if he thinks that there is not enough evidence to back it up. Go on YouTube and watch his confrontation with David Icke where he dismisses his Reptilian theory for lack of evidence.

  116. Trent Hill

    I rarely agree with Tom on matters of prognostication–but I think he’s right. If Ventura doesn’t get some real money backing him–more than $5m, then I think he’d end up with 1-3%, max.

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