The only British political party that describes itself as libertarian is the United Kingdom Independence Party, or “UKIP”. Twenty years ago, it did not exist. Today, it has the support of anywhere between 7 percent and 14 percent of the British electorate. This rise from non-existence to a force in British politics so powerful that even the mainstream media have begun to identify it as the biggest threat to the governing Conservative party is all the more remarkable because the majority of the British electorate doesn’t actually know what the word “libertarian” means.
On our side of the pond, the much more robustly libertarian “Libertarian Party” of the United States, is more than twice as old as UKIP. Yet, even after all the unprecedented excitement for libertarian ideas that was generated by the extraordinary presidential run of Ron Paul, and even with the willingness of the American mainstream media to use the word “libertarian” (small “l”) to describe Dr. Paul and those who broadly agree with him, the Libertarian Party’s candidate, who has a very impressive executive resume, barely picked up 1 percent of the vote in November. The meager impact of the liberty movement looks even weaker when one considers that the USA is (arguably) the most libertarian country on the planet and (less arguably) the country with the most libertarian founding narrative.
Why, then, has the Libertarian Party — and more importantly, the much broadly based new liberty movement — failed to make a significant electoral impact, despite its recent tailwinds?
More specifically, why can’t a libertarian-leaning movement in the U.S., which is a libertarian-leaning country, have even one tenth of the success of a libertarian-leaning movement in the UK, a deeply social democratic country, despite working on the task for twice as long?
The answer — or at least the largest part of it — is surely not that elusive.
A new political movement or party never succeeds in practice (at the ballot box) because it has successfully educated a majority of a population in a whole new philosophy. Rather, it succeeds because it is identified with the winning side of the dominant issue (or perhaps two dominant issues) of the day about which a majority of voters are deeply concerned but feel that the mainstream parties do not speak to their concerns in any way that indicates that those parties really understand them. The widespread adoption of a movement’s broader political philosophy comes only as a result of the initial success of the movement: it is not a cause of the success in the first place.
In the case of UKIP, this dominant issue is the soft tyranny of the European Union as it interferes in the identity and the lives of the average Brit, reducing the power of Britons to shape their own culture. UKIP stands on the side of the British majority (who would likely vote, given the chance, to withdraw from the European Union), while the entire political establishment (the Conservatives (closest to our Republicans), the Labour party (closest to our Democrats) and the Liberal Democrats) not only insist that we have to be in this undemocratic entity, but also have actively pushed the nation into its jaws for at least two generations.
The lesson for the American liberty movement is that UKIP hasn’t spent the 20 years of its existence trying hard to educate people on the problems of the EU: enough people could already see those problems for themselves; rather, UKIP spent two decades speaking to a feeling already widely held but politically unrepresented. Although a vote for UKIP is in fact a vote for a pro-free-market, pro-national-sovereignty, pro-individual rights, small-government philosophy, UKIP doesn’t market itself by putting that entire worldview front and center: it likely knows how strange much of it would sound to the average Brit who has known nothing but social democracy since Margaret Thatcher.
Just as a sale can easily be lost when the salesman fails to stop talking after the sale has been made, UKIP simply connects with its new voters on whatever issue or two that voter is most concerned about, and then welcomes the new voter into the fold — rather than seeking to educating him or her in a new political orthodoxy.
Libertarian types are disproportionately rationalists of an analytical bent. They are therefore prone to the quaint but false idea that the best way to win a supporter is explain one’s view logically to as many people as possible. The reality, however, is that voters who adopt or even “try out” a new party come to accept its platform over time more by osmosis than logical deduction, as they discover that they feel comfortable with other members of the movement or party that they have newly joined. Ultimately, most of us are tribal beings so nearly all politics are the politics of identity.
Of course, all political activists rightly seek to persuade others of their core philosophy over time — but doing so is not necessary to the initial electoral success on which most movements depend to influence the political mainstream and increase their base.
To a first approximation, we can see the same in American’s history with the rapid rise of the Republicans as an anti-slavery party. This is a good example of a party that rose because it was on the right side an issue whose dominance as the issue of the day did not depend on the party’s staking out its historic position on it.
The fact that politics are invariably dominated by one or two issues at any particular time also explains the rise of less savory movements, such as Golden Dawn in Greece today, or the Nazis in the 1930s. This fact is worth noting only because it further illustrates that the right principles are not even necessary, let alone sufficient, conditions for political success: timeliness and connection to the masses are much more electorally powerful.
Applying this fact requires members of the liberty movement to recognize that liberty’s winning issue, on which they must focus when campaigning, may not be the most important issue as judged by the liberty movement’s own philosophy: rather, it will be the issue that is most important to everyone else, of which the establishment is on the wrong side but the liberty movement is on the people’s side.
This begs the obvious question: what is that issue? This may well be the most important question on which the potential electoral success of the liberty movement depends.
If the U.S. electorate were not so ill-informed and the American media quite so derelict, the answer would be, as it should be, the massive elimination of our civil (Constitutional) rights that has proceeded mostly over the last decade, driven by a politics of fear.
But, alas, our mainstream media are derelict and the American electorate is ill-informed at best.
Accordingly, I suspect that liberty’s best chance at the ballot box is the one issue that the overwhelming majority notice everyday, quite independently of what they hear on cable news. Interestingly, it is an issue that can best be described by a term that most in the liberty movement dislike intensely, but on which it is, more than any other political grouping, most in line with the American people. That issue is “economic justice,” used here to refer to that visceral sense, felt by Americans of all political stripes, that a system in which those with whom power is concentrated (the government) affords special privileges to those with who huge wealth is concentrated (corporations, especially in big finance) and certain other favored groups (lobbyists, public unions), cannot be allowed to stand.
The issue of “economic justice”, broadly defined as that which is lost when a market becomes something other than the free choices of individuals who transact for mutual benefit without forcing negative externalities on anyone else, has already birthed the Tea Party and the Occupy movement. It is starkest today because of the recent bailouts and the increasing visibility of excessive pensions and benefits of a few in the government’s employ, to be paid by taxpayers who are working every bit as hard but without enjoying similar benefits, to name just two examples.
Now, I am not sure that “economic justice” is the historic issue felt by all citizens and exacerbated by our political establishment that will see America’s liberty movement into the mainstream. But I do know that unless the liberty movement puts the finer points of political philosophy on the back burner and sets about finding the one or two issues that matter most to people who don’t even care how “libertarian” is spelled, with the humble purpose of making simple connections with the average working American, it will be in the electoral wilderness for longer than it needs to be. And ending the Fed might be a great boon to economic and social justice, but leading with that won’t help the movement connect to that average American if he’s not yet started through the movement’s reading list. (He hasn’t.)
Throughout history, political groups that have risen rapidly have resonated with the immediate experiences of the common man and woman: they haven’t (just) engaged in a nationwide educational project with necessarily limited resources.
And if all this reads like an argument for a crude populism, then I can only point out that elections are simultaneously the purest and the crudest popularity contests modern society indulges in. The fact that the words “popularity” and “populism” are almost the same is not an accident. If American liberty is to gain more of the first, it shouldn’t be scared by a little of the second.
Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
Why can’t Americans manufacturer rope and other products from hemp?
Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating their gold held by the FED for her in New York? Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy beginning to wane?
Why do our political leaders believe it’s unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?
Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?
Why should there be mandatory sentences–even up to life for crimes without victims–as our drug laws require?
Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights?
Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world-the one between Mexico and the US?
Why does Congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the Executive Branch?
Why does changing the party in power never change policy?
Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
Why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty?
Why can’t people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a “kill list,” including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.
Why is it is claimed that if people won’t or can’t take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?
Why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people?
Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?
Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren’t they the same?
Why don’t more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty?
Why are there not more individuals who seek to intellectually influence others to bring about positive changes than those who seek power to force others to obey their commands?
Why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars, both of which requires authoritarians to use violence, or the threat of violence, go unchallenged? Aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world’s great religions?
Why do we allow the government and the Federal Reserve to disseminate false information dealing with both economic and foreign policy?
Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority?
Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there’s such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?
In California, an incumbent Congresswoman, who has voted for the indefinite detention of citizens without trial (NDAA) and the surveillance state (Patriot Act, etc.), is expecting the voters of her district to return her to office. She does not believe that Americans should enjoy their fourth amendment right to privacy or their fifth amendment right to due process. She voted for corporate bailouts but against auditing the Fed to allow the American people to know which huge financial corporations (foreign and domestic) have benefited from the secret actions of our central bank.
Given her strongly anti-civil liberties positions, you’d be forgiven for thinking she is a neo-con Republican.
In fact, she is a Democrat. Her name is Nancy Pelosi and she’s running to keep her seat in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, in Tennessee, another incumbent, who has voted with Pelosi on all of the above and votes with our Democratic President 61% of the time, is expecting his constituents to return him to the Senate.
Given his agreement with Pelosi on everything that really matters (right down to farm subsidies), you’d be forgiven for thinking that he, too, is a “progressive” Democrat. In fact, he is a Republican, and his name is Bob Corker.
Americans live in a one-party nation where the take-down of basic civil rights, the surveillance state, complete abrogation of the Constitution and crony corporatism are matters of consensus — beyond debate by our lawmakers.
The votes cast by Pelosi that should insult every principled liberal in San Francisco are the very same ones that were cast by Corker and should insult every principled conservative in Tennessee. That seeming paradox arises because America’s federal politicians now have more philosophically in common with each other than they have even with the voters of their own parties. And if you ever need a definition of oligarchy, feel free to use that one.
This is the age in which the Pelosis and Corkers of our political establishment no longer oppose each other, because they find common interest in their assault on the Bill of Rights that contains those principles held dear by decent liberals and conservatives alike.
This is the age in which a vote for a party-funded Democrat is a vote against Democracy and a vote for a party-funded Republican is a vote against the Republic.
It bears repeating: Pelosi, a Democrat, supports indefinitely detaining Americans without trial and invading their privacy without warrant or probable cause, at odds with our Bill of Rights. Corker, a member of the party that is supposed to oppose her, agrees with her. Corker, a Republican, supports secret bailouts of large corporations. Pelosi, a member of the party that is supposed to oppose him, agrees with him.
But of greater interest than the homogeneity that characterizes our American oligarchy is the heterogeneity of the electoral fight-back it is finally spawning.
In California’s Eighth, Pelosi is being challenged by a man who loves liberty and the ideals of a Constitutional Republic. His name is John Dennis. Like most of his liberal constituents, he is passionate about civil rights. He wants government out of our bedrooms and our relationships. He wants no one to be detained without trial or to suffer an invasion of privacy without cause. He wants no innocent person killed in an unauthorized war against a foreign nation that does not threaten America. Where it matters, he is more liberal (in the true sense of the word) than Pelosi.
Dennis is running as a Republican. He could as easily be running as an Independent but running Republican is the smart thing to do in the top-two-go-through electoral system that prevails in California, as it helps him to concentrate the votes of all those who would like Pelosi gone. Dennis’ persistence and integrity have won him enough financial support to finance a TV ad that exposes Pelosi’s ongoing assault against the Bill of Rights, which most of her supporters still know nothing about.
In Tennessee, Corker is also being challenged by a man who loves liberty and believes in a Constitutional Republic. His name is Dr. Shaun Crowell. Like most of his conservative constituents, he loves civil rights. He wants government out of our bedrooms and our pocket books. He wants no one ever to be detained without trial or to suffer an invasion of privacy without cause. He wants no innocent person killed in an unauthorized war in a foreign nation that does not threaten America. Where it matters, he is more conservative (in the true sense of the word) than Corker.
Since the incumbent is a fake Republican and the Democrat challenger seems to be more worried about the threat of gay couples’ committing to each other than economic collapse or the locking up of innocent Americans, Crowell is running as a libertarian-endorsed Independent. He’s already well ahead of the Democrat, and many Republicans in his district rightly identify him as a truer example of their stated principles than the incumbent who has the (R) after his name. This fact explains his extensive backing by local grass roots and tea party groups. Crowell’s integrity has gained him more funding than any other libertarian-backed candidate has attracted nationwide.
Between San Francisco and Tennessee is Colorado’s third district, where a young (30 years young) woman called Tisha Casida is also fighting for liberty in a bid to be elected to Congress. Unlike Dennis and Crowell, Casida is in a political swing state, and her race, unlike theirs, is a three-way race, in which she takes on both a Democrat challenger and a Republican incumbent as an Independent. While her opponents benefit from all of that special interest money that comes with their big party affiliations, Casida is funded by small amounts from myriad individuals. It’s a pittance next to the big party coffers, but still more than any independent candidate in her district has ever received. It runs into the tens of thousands, and her constituents-to-be should be delighted with what she has spent most of it on — gas. Casida has been tirelessly criss-crossing her rural district, speaking directly to its people. She converts most of those she speaks to because she discusses the corruption of our single-party system and, most importantly, the root causes of the problems that face her voters — rather than advocating a new state-delivered injustice as a solution to a problem caused by an old one.
Casida’s district is very rural and includes many voters who are off the grid. Those of liberal sensibility call themselves self-sustaining. Those of conservative sensibility call themselves self-reliant. But when she meets them in person, Casida can win over majorities from both groups, who notice that she is addressing issues that her opponents don’t even mention. If Casida does not win in Colorado, it won’t be because she failed to convince most of the voters: it will be simply be because most of them have never heard her speak.
Running in very different races under different political “labels,” Dennis, Crowell and Casida have diverse backgrounds, but they are united by a sense of frustration and indignation, a simple belief in common sense, justice and freedom, and their active participation in a political fight to free the American people from an oppressive political regime. If that sounds familiar, it is because it is exactly America’s founding story. History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
The forces of oligarchy are the forces of homogenization and imposition. The forces of liberty, in contrast, are idealistic and pragmatic; diverse and adaptive. These are the very qualities that America “does best” — and in that fact lays our cause for hope. Dennis, Crowell and Casida are leaders in a movement that is harnessing America’s greatest strengths in the restoration of its greatest ideals. Those famously American characteristics suffice to justify our optimism that liberty shall again prevail in a renewed Constitutional Republic in which all citizens can live without fear or favor.
It is often said that it is darkest before the dawn. American politics are as dark as they have ever been, and no one knows when the sun of liberty will again peek above the horizon. The Blue Republican movement is proud to endorse John Dennis, Dr. Shaun Crowell and Tisha Casida . All the while ordinary Americans like them refuse to give up on our country and its political system, rest assured that the hour will eventually come when an oligarch gets beaten and dawn will break as the first cleansing beam of victory wakes a sleeping nation to the reality — and irrepressibility — of its promise.
Another Ron Fights the Bust: Another Ron Fights the Bust: Pummeling the Political Establishment in Seattle
One of the most troublesome developments for Americans who like democracy is the rise of the “top-two-go-through” voting system. America’s political system is already rigged to ensure that Democrat or Republican partisans always win, but this new voting system is set to make things even worse.
Under this new system, a primary election is held among all candidates (of whatever party) for a particular office. Only the two who receive the most and second-most votes may compete in the “general election.”
In a nation with a healthy multi-party democracy, a case can be made for such a voting system, but in a political duopoly such as exists in the USA, maintained by federal laws that protect that duopoly against ballot access and media access by others, such a system is pro-Establishment and anti-Democratic. It ensures that even insurgent non-Republicrat candidates are excluded from general elections, and prevents their ideas from being presented to the electorate.
The simple “most-votes-wins” system at least allows a strong third-party or Independent candidate to force the “major” Republican or Democratic candidates (his opponents) to campaign hard to secure a win against the potential “spoiler” effect of an Independent’s pulling enough votes from the Republican (Democrat) to let the Democrat (Republican) win. In contrast, the new “first-two-go-through” system allows the dominant party in very red or very blue districts to fill both slots on the ballot, securing the seat for the party without having to spend even a dime to compete with anyone else.
A better name for such a system might be, “The Establishment Always Wins”.
In such a system, running for Congress as an Independent in a deeply blue or red district with an entrenched incumbent would take a great deal of audacity and conviction.
Running for Congress in Washington’s 7th district, Ron Bemis has both. New to politics, he is simultaneously taking on both the “Establishment Always Wins” system and a 24 year-seated Democrat incumbent. His district includes Seattle, where the politics are much bluer than the sky.
Bemis’ positions, the success he’s already had, and the larger implications of his efforts for American politics make his attempt compelling.
Ron Bemis is a grassroots, pro-liberty, fiscally responsible Independent who wants government out of our bedrooms, relationships and personal morality.
Accordingly, he doesn’t see the country in terms of Left vs. Right, and he refuses to be put in a party box. If you ask him really nicely, he still won’t tell you for whom he will vote for President or, for example, his personal view of abortion, which he rightly says is not germane for a candidate for Congress who intends to keep his oath to govern within the confines of the Constitution. Like an increasing number of Americans, he understands that our politics are much more about them vs. us than left vs. right. “Them” comprises a political and economic class that continues to remove our basic rights and wealth to promote their own agendas, while “us” is the majority whose liberties and prosperity are being diluted by both parties.
Bemis spent just two months campaigning in his district’s primary, during which time he was outspent 15:1 by a historically high-spending ‘Big Money’ challenger. Not only did Bemis trounce the big spender: he received more votes than all of his challengers combined except for the long-seated Democratic incumbent, Jim McDermott. But Bemis’ greatest success was to ensure that the said incumbent did not pull the 80% of votes that he has long gotten used to receiving in this extremely Liberal city, but instead received his lowest share of the vote of any election (primary or general) in his 24 years on the job – a full 12 % lower than in each of his past four elections.
That success was enough to put Mr. Bemis in the two-candidate general election for Congress – all on a paltry campaign budget of $16K, which didn’t include a cent from the GOP or DNC. By any measure, in his effort to take on an Establishment candidate in a pro-Establishment electoral system, Bemis is doing unusually well.
McDermott, the man Bemis is trying to beat, is a Big Government Democrat who has voted to spend about 1000 dollars for each dollar that he has voted not to save- and that ratio has been increasing in recent years.
As a non-partisan, Bemis is not coming at McDermott on ideological grounds. Rather, he is making a case on simple principles and common sense. Advocating for a reining in of government, he nevertheless appeals to values that the Liberal majority of his District – and most Americans – care about. As he says, “That huge debt burden on us, and especially on every child and young person, is not fair, not caring, not progressive, not right,” adding that, “the US Government is overextended both domestically and internationally.”
Perhaps that is why at a recent campaign stop in Montlake, as blue as any other neighborhood in the city, one lady approached him to say, “I’ve always voted Democratic, but I’ll vote for you this time.” Bemis needs a few thousand like her and, by all accounts, is finding them. Indeed, McDermott’s ongoing refusal to participate in a proper public debate with Bemis is starting to look like the strategy of a man who’s worried about losing.
Interestingly, Bemis is garnering the support of heretofore Democrat voters despite having ticked a box to indicate that he “preferred the Republican party” when submitting his papers to run. In fact, Bemis has not been a member of either party since for the last forty years, nor has he anything very positive to say about any Republican president (or Democrat president for that matter) since Reagan. More to the point, he is not taking a red cent from the GOP. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that the Republican with whom he sees most eye-to-eye is Ron Paul, and like his namesake, he doesn’t like what the Republican party has become. Rather, he recognizes that whereas both parties are equally guilty of taking down our civil liberties and spending without limit, the beach-head for a return to sanity seems to be larger among Republicans. However, his favorite answer to the “why Republican-preferring?” question is that caucusing with the Republicans, who will be in the majority in the next Congress will be enable him to ensure that his principles have some positive, practical effect.
That very pragmatic view of party as a vehicle for a greater good – as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself – and the fact that Bemis is a non-partisan liberty candidate who is making his case to a mostly Liberal audience make him something of a model “Blue Republican“.
As the originator of that term to describe voters with a more liberal sensibility who put principle before party to switch support from Obama in 2008 to Ron Paul in the presidential primaries in 2012, I am often asked what the Blue Republican movement will do next. The answer is manifold. It will continue to expose the Left vs. Right divide as a distraction as both main parties continue to offend the most basic Liberal AND Conservative values. It will continue to support the takeover of the GOP by peace-loving, liberty-loving Constitutionalists, and it will continue to work to ensure that the disillusioned, Independent middle, comprising liberal and conservative-leaning voters, will swing their vote to candidates who care about civil liberties, peace and financial responsibility. The ultimate goal is to influence policy by forcing mainstream candidates to address these issues if they want to secure the median voter, which is required to win elections in a two-party system.
Part of this effort will be the official Blue Republican endorsement of pro-liberty, pro-peace, pro-Constitution candidates – especially in more Liberal parts of the country.
Bemis understands the Blue Republican case that statism and progressivism have failed to deliver a fair society and economy or a free and empowered citizenry. Like the Blue Republicans, Bemis can see that many of the Left’s favored means over the last couple of generations have actually moved the nation away from their stated ends. For all of these reasons, Blue Republican’s first endorsement in a Congressional race goes to Ron Bemis, candidate for Congress for Washington’s 7th district.
The road to dis-establishing our one-party-with-two-flavors Establishment will be a long one. The threshold at which exasperation with the political status-quo becomes a historic political upset is necessarily high. But Bemis should take heart from the fact that his district includes multiple precincts in which the GOP primaries were won by Ron Paul – thanks mostly to voters who had voted for Obama in 2008. And if ever a non-incumbent, non-partisan, liberty-loving, grassroots candidate with next to no money can win a seat in Congress, we shall have electoral proof of the shift in the political zeitgeist that many of us are convinced is happening.
As we know, “Ron” is a good name for an against-the-odds Congressman who puts store by a plain reading of the Constitution. When this session of Congress ends, America will be down by one Ron. How wonderfully unlikely it would be if Seattle, of all places, were to give us another one.
We discuss how the corruption of the RNC and DNC; the two-party system, the vote-third-party strategy for liberty, and how it’s not left vs. right: it’s us vs. them.
Over the last year, many of Paul’s supporters have claimed that the GOP can’t win without them. That’s either a threat or a promise. As any parent knows, neither should be made emptily.
Following all of the shenanigans against them throughout the primary season, and the RNC’s decision in Tampa to alienate them completely, Paul’s supporters have been considering how to vote in November.
Although most of them would like nothing more than to write his name in, they know that in most states, such write-in votes would not be counted, so as a statement of principle or protest, they would be rather ineffective, however satisfying they’d be to cast.
Therefore, I recently polled the 13,000-strong community of Blue Republicans, all Ron Paul supporters, to find out for whom they intended to vote for President.
An overwhelming 66% said they would be voting for Gary Johnson — the Libertarian candidate who shall be the only candidate other than Obama and Romney on the ballot in every state (absent yet more GOP mafia tactics). Sixteen (16) percent will be writing in Ron Paul, even though most don’t expect their vote to be counted, and Romney will attract the votes of a negligible 6%. (Margin of error +/-4%.)
These results may have serious implications for November’s election and signal the real possibly of an exciting shift in the trajectory of American politics.
The liberty movement is united in its belief that America’s two-party system, rather than a single party alone has brought America to crisis. Its members understand that those issues of agreement between the parties are much more important than are any issues on which they traditionally disagree.
There are myriad examples. Both parties support a monetary system that systematically moves wealth away from productive earners to a financial elite that operate under special government license; both parties favor cronies with well-paid lobbyists; both support a militaristic foreign policy that leads to loss of innocent life in countries from which we are not threatened; both parties have worked hard to eliminate the first, fourth, fifth and tenth amendments of your Bill of Rights through, for example, the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act and FinCEN (look it up), to name just a few.
The duopoly has for decades ensured that when the partisan Elephants and Donkeys agree on an issue, the people have no way of democratically acting on their own interests at the ballot box. This used to be the case because it was impossible for any third party to receive enough votes to influence the outcome of an election or even the flavor of politics that would follow it.
But today, things may be different. The liberty movement, two million of whom voted for Dr. Paul in the Republican primaries, is now a large, politically active and unusually coherent political force. Many of its core themes are consistent with much of what the Republicans say they stand for, but have arguably not acted on since Eisenhower retired to his farm.
Every presidential election since Reagan has been won by a margin of no more than 8.5%. That translates to about 11 million votes today.
For all I know, there may well have been 11 million people in this country who would have preferred a more pro-liberty, pro-Constitution, anti-cronyism, anti-militarism, smaller-government president to the guy who actually won in all of those elections. Indeed, on the two occasions a non-establishment candidate, Ross Perot, campaigned with full media coverage, his vote exceeded this 8.5% – and that was without benefiting from an organic and passionate political movement with a well-defined philosophy.
More importantly, right now, millions of Paul’s supporters who are against the status quo have an even deeper revulsion of the party that should embrace them, the GOP, than of the other party whose politics are even more antithetical to their own. The RNC’s disenfranchisement of Paul’s supporters have made large numbers of them feel in their gut that the “lesser of two evils” is really more “evil” than “lesser”, and a vote for the Republicans would be something like buying a “thank you” gift for the man who just burgled your house.
Is eleven million impossible? That rather depends on how many Ron Paul supporters there really are.
Despite the fact that a significant minority of Paul’s supporters feel that differences between their man and Johnson are show-stoppers, a large showing for Johnson could have some of the significant practical effects that they have been seeking all along.
First, it would help expand the liberty movement’s rEVOLution by getting it televised — at least, as a discussed statistic on the news shows on election night. That’s important because the rest of the country is awaiting proof that the liberty movement has the size and the wherewithal to impose itself on the mainstream.
No revolution in a country with such a dispersed population as the USA will likely be successful without being televised: because the beaming of a thing into every living room is the only way the people who are sitting in those living rooms — its non-participants — will really believe it’s happening. A political or cultural revolution changes a society only if it is visible and dramatic, for then people find that their old ideas no longer enable them to make sense of what is happening around them or, at least, make them curious enough to see what all the fuss is about.
A large Johnson vote beamed into American homes on 6 Nov. may do more to get people Googling his views and seriously considering the possibility of something other than the two-party system than any campaign ads he can make or money he can spend. And if his vote exceeds the margin of victory of the winner, and the pundits point out that Ron Paul’s following is mostly responsible, the Paulites will have ceased to be politically marginal, by definition.
Second, a large Johnson swing could hugely boost Ron Paul’s supporters in realizing one of their greatest political ambitions — a takeover of the GOP. Ron Paul has said – and proven in the last year — that the weakness of our democracy is such that working within a Republicrat party allows people to have a much larger platform and affect many more minds. If Gary Johnson does really well as a third-party candidate in November, it will likely be because Ron Paul didn’t run as one.
A Romney loss in November by less than the Johnson vote could force the GOPowers-that-be to consider a leader in 2016 who is credible with Constitutional voters who like their individual liberties.
As of now, the obvious beneficiary of such an outcome would be Rand Paul. Some in the liberty movement have never quite forgiven him for endorsing Mitt Romney, but that is probably to mistake a man’s methods for his principles and to take too lightly the importance of having an insider for an ally. Politics is a place for principles — not purism.
Saying Rand isn’t broadly pro-liberty because he endorsed Romney is like saying Obama isn’t broadly progressive because he has not collectivized farms. To both claims, the appropriate response is simply, “Look at everything else he’s done.” And most importantly, in supporting Romney, Rand kept a promise he made when he ran for Senate in Kentucky. That promise won him the support of the party that put him in the Senate, where, among other things, he defeated legislation that would have enabled the indefinite detention of Americans found innocent in a court of Law. Keeping one’s word is justification for anything that does no harm. When it does good, all the better.
But the ultimate justification for Rand’s approach would of course come be his presence on the inside when the party realizes it needs a liberty-focused Constitutionalist to lead its makeover after a few months of pondering defeat.
Very Sun-Tzu: “He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.”
If not Rand, then others: politicians support what is becoming more popular so that they may become more popular. If a large turn-out for Gary Johnson reveals that that civil rights are growing in popularity with the speed that the main parties are losing theirs, then all those peace-loving liberty fans who have worked so valiantly to take over positions in their county and state GOP may find that in a few years they’ll be able to vote for someone in their own party with a completely clear conscience.
And that would be a rEVOLution, indeed.
In all fields of human endeavor, winning by cheating is losing.
In a competition, when someone cheats, he gets disqualified. The disqualification does not make the runner-up the winner. Rather, it reveals that the man who appeared to be the runner-up had in fact been the winner all along.
In the race for the GOP nomination for president, therefore, Ron Paul won.
As the New York Times wrote yesterday,
Delegates from Nevada tried to nominate Mr. Paul from the floor, submitting petitions from their own state as well as Minnesota, Maine, Iowa, Oregon, Alaska and the Virgin Islands. That should have done the trick: Rules require signatures from just five states. But the party changed the rules on the spot. Henceforth, delegates must gather petitions from eight states.
When Mr. Romney and the RNC cheat so blatantly, they make the game no longer about politics: they make themselves ineligible for the vote of anyone who cares about his own morality, his own honesty or his own integrity — regardless of his politics. And from a purely practical standpoint, they invite Americans to ask if they want to live in a nation governed with the same contempt for those who don’t toe the party line as has been displayed both in Tampa and throughout the primary process.
But as a Ron Paul supporter, I can’t remember feeling so invigorated and empowered in my cause.
Not only did my candidate win: the GOP has given the Liberty movement the greatest gift it could have given us. It has induced a righteous indignation that will ensure that there will be no lull in the Liberty movement post-convention or post-election. It has educated us; it has brought us together like only a common hurt can, and it has freed us to do whatever needs to be done for the cause we love, wherever we need to do it.
To those in the Liberty movement who in the first flush of anger are saying they will never vote GOP again, I would humbly suggest that there is no better revenge than success and that success, therefore, is a dish best served cold.
Ron Paul has been fighting for the cause of freedom for 30 years. Even if Romney were to win the election in November — a possibility now massively reduced by the disenfranchisement of a large minority of Republicans who comprise its most energetic activists — eventually he’ll be just another ex-president. But the GOP’s behavior has just about ensured that Liberty will never be just another ex-movement. Thanks to GOP, a hardened, indignant and wiser Liberty movement will be as much “here” in four years or eight years as the Constitution will be.
And each time one of the main parties blatantly chooses power over honesty and fairness, it opens the unconverted to one of the most important messages of the Liberty movement: that the answers to our problems may not be found in the platforms or most of the people of the main parties that created them.
When I was observing the GOP caucuses in Seattle, I was able to ask a number of caucus goers who they voted for. Everyone I asked who was under 40 was there for Ron Paul. Everyone I asked who was over 65 was there for Mitt Romney. The younger adults would explain why they liked their candidate with passion, conviction, excitement and an unusual understanding of issues — in other words, the stuff that victories are made of. The senior citizens — every one of them — gave as justification for their support of Romney, “He’s the man who can beat Obama.” (The logic didn’t work so well for John Kerry, as I recall.)
I wanted to help them see the flaw in their answer by asking why they’d want to replace a large bank-funded, Patriot Act-supporting, NDAA-supporting, interventionist who doesn’t have a plan to reduce government spending in the foreseeable future with a …
You see, of course, why I couldn’t ask the question.
More to the point, the people who “like Romney” are the outgoing seniors. The future of the party will comprise, out of simple biological necessity, those younger, liberty-loving, peace-mongering Constitutionalists, the likes of whom the RNC has worked so hard to put down.
But things are even more exciting if I am wrong.
Think for a minute what happens to all these excitable young people if the GOP old guard stick around for long-enough to succeed in thwarting every effort the Paul supporters make to take over the party. In that case, the GOP will achieve something that no third party has: it will make third parties credible and their support significant. We may even look back at August 28 as the day when the seed of a brand new party was sown. Stranger things have happened.
Whichever way it goes, the GOP’s failure to integrate its liberty wing will seriously endanger the duopolistic political system on which they have depended for so long because the liberty movement is now simply too large to disappear.
Whether this liberty movement of critical mass changes the mainstream of U.S. politics by controlling the GOP, or by becoming the philosophically coherent minority that swings elections is, in the long-run, a choice for the Republican party to make. However, for this election cycle, the GOP appears to have made its choice.
It doesn’t really matter: a paradigm shift is already under way. As I wrote in “Ron Paul Can Win,” the best piece of evidence that this is so is that the means used to by those with an interest in the old, prevailing paradigm to maintain it become more contorted, and increasingly dependent on ignoring large chunks of reality — like the social and cultural phenomenon of hundreds of thousands of the nation’s youth filling stadiums to hear an old conservative politicians talk about even older philosophers and economists; the brute fact that the number of non-supporters of the main parties is unprecedented, or the simple expectation of fair play in competitive endeavors.
To my liberty- and peace-loving friends, I urge that our responsibility in November is to put the mainstream on notice that the Independent, post-partisan middle is now liberty-dominated and large enough to turn elections.
If the mainstream knows this, they will be forced — out of sheer self-interest and love of power — to give civil rights, peace and real markets more than lip-service. Remember, in a two-party system, the candidate who wins over the median swing voter wins the election. Controlling the “politics of the middle” therefore offers disproportionate political influence.
To that end, write in Ron Paul if a write-in vote will be counted in your state. If Ron Paul endorses someone, vote for him. Otherwise, vote Gary Johnson (or your favored third party candidate). Just remember that we wield influence by demonstrating to the GOP and DNC that we are the group that swings elections from now on. Therefore, a vote against Obamney is not enough. Even a vote via write-in for Paul is not enough if no one will ever see it. Constitutionalists, libertarians, Blue Republicans, down-the-line pro-peace progressives, protest voters, etc. must vote for Paul’s principles and get that vote counted.
I remain a Ron Paul loyalist. I suspect that the most principled politician of our time would consider a vote cast in good conscience for his values to be a vote for him. In fact, if you’ve come this far as a supporter of Dr. Paul, however you decide to vote in the November in support of his values, you can probably say without too much of a stretch, “I voted for Ron Paul in 2012.”
But for sure, you can already say that you supported him when he won the GOP nomination, because that, by any honest measure, is just what he did.
The Republicrats only have their duopoly if we give it to them. And you know what you get if you vote for the lesser of two evils, don’t you?
Hint: the answer is in the question.
This was one of the most entertaining interviews I’ve done to date…
From the site:
Robin Koerner, all-around good guy and founder of Blue Republican and Watching America calls Michael W. Dean all the way from jolly ole England and they talk about Ron Paul, elections, anarchy, minarchy, anarchism, small government, Constitutionalism, tyranny, the UK, the European Union, Greek Nazis and Commies, the problems with “cradle to the grave” socialism, why violence isn’t the answer, UK disarmament, making a living at liberty activism, the songbirds of England, how to pronounce Michael’s middle name, America’s perception on the world stage, street activism and more. Michael also books Robin for another interview on November 7th, the day after the US presidential elections.
Tomorrow, June 5th, is California’s Republican primary. GO VOTE RON PAUL, California.
Don’t you dare stay home. Each vote makes it easier to win this country back for liberty and peace.
A New Jersey Democrat who’s running for Congress in the state’s Tenth District asks, “Where Have Our Liberal Values Gone”.
The rEVOLution is bigger than a party…
My thoughts are here…
United Press International says, “Ron Paul strategy keeps things interesting”
The Daily Bell interviews Robin Koerner, who coined the term, “Blue Republican”…
These are the slides and audio from the presentation I gave at UC San Diego, entitled, “Blue Republicans and the End of Left vs. Right”
Here’s the blurb
Robin Koerner, who coined the term “Blue Republican“, explains how the USA is being run under a politics of fear, resulting in a massive take-down of civil rights, an increase in militarism and an entrenchment of crony corporatism.
Democrats and Republicans are equally guilty.
Their areas of agreement (monetary system, interventionist foreign policy, anti-Bill of Rights etc.) are fundamental and often unspoken, and have done more to bring the US to its current state of crisis than any disagreements they have, which are mere distractions to the true rise of tyranny and elimination of our Constitutional Republic.
Robin redraws American politics as divided not between Left and Right – an illusory divide – but between (classical) liberal and illiberal. He discusses the differences between how “Left” and “Right” (as usually defined) think, to find ways they can begin to speak in each other’s language to work together to reverse the tyranny that is being imposed by political and economic elites. He also challenges liberals to admit that the (state-driven, centralized) methods they have favored for decades have not – and cannot – deliver the social and economic justice they seek, and he suggests a new approach for principled liberals.
Thanks to Josh Marxen for compiling the video and to Youth for Ron Paul, San Diego chapter, for sponsoring the event.
We will be updating video and uploading corrected versions periodically