I have been trying to get these thoughts out for public consumption for a while. I was hoping to have it be an extremely well thought out essay detailing why I am such a fan of the ideas I am about to espouse. But for right now, this will have to do.
I am going to give the bare bones thoughts, pros, and cons. In theory, over time I will flesh it out into something a little more readable. I will also be able to tweak it based on all of your comments and criticisms that you start sending in the second you finish reading it.
Bottom line, I think we should only run candidates in two types of races. The first race is one where there is only one major party candidate. The second type is one where the margin of error between the major party candidates is less than 5%.
To put it another way, we do not run candidates in is ones where both major parties are represented and one of them won the last election by more than 5%. If you do some research I think you will find that the vast majority of races fit into this category.
So the first thing this strategy means is a decrease in the number of candidates we run in any election. It means we get to focus our resources. Many people believe that running large numbers of candidates are a good thing. They believe it gets the name out there. It shows we are a “real” party. I disagree.
It does get our name out there. The people will see lots of libertarians, but they will be libertarians that aren’t doing anything. So many of our candidates don’t even crack 1% much less the margin of error. This allows people to dismiss us as irrelevant and not worthy of attention. If they aren’t going to give us attention they sure as hell aren’t going to vote for us.
A major party has taken all its money, connections, and party loyalty and could not even get within 5% of the other major party. What hope is there for us? Yet.
Let’s start with the unopposed races. A big advantage of going up against only one major party opponent is that there is no “wasted vote” syndrome. An even bigger advantage is eliminating the “lesser of two evils” syndrome. In a typical three-way race, a Libertarian can only hope to scrape up the more radical (I don’t mean that in a negatively) elements of the electorate. The more moderate elements vote against their least favorite major party.
In a two-way race, the candidate gets the typical 1% diehards, small l libertarians who typically vote for the major parties, and also the people who just don’t like the other major party candidate for any reason.
The long-term advantage is that if this strategy is applied we will see the “Massachusetts effect” take place in many localities. That means many places are essentially a one party place. Just by showing up we can become the second party in these places. Probably not on a statewide level like Massachusetts, but wouldn’t it be nice to even have a Libertarian county or two.
I will pause on this essay for right now, and come back to the advantages of the less than 5% races later and how you can implement these ideas even if no one else agrees with them. I beg you to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your thoughts. Again, I apologize for the very crude state this essay is in.