Skip to comments.Election Spoiler May Turn Out to Be a Libertarian
Posted on 10/07/2004 5:27:21 AM PDT by Commie Basher
Just as in 2000, a third-party candidate could tip the balance in this year's presidential contest. This time, however, the spoiler may not be Ralph Nader, but a man whose name most voters have never heard.
The presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, Michael Badnarik, is on the ballot in 48 states. Mr. Nader, by contrast, is certain to be on the ballot in only 35 states, though he may pick up a few more by Election Day.
Democratic activists, many still fuming over Mr. Nader's perceived role in Vice President Gore's loss to President Bush four years ago, have brought court challenges to keep Mr. Nader off the ballot in places across the country.
By contrast, Republicans have said and done little about Mr. Badnarik, a 50-year-old computer programmer from Texas. Yet political strategists say he and the little-known Libertarians could affect the outcome in several battleground states crucial to Mr. Bush's re-election.
"The Libertarians are drawing somewhere between 1% and 3% - not big numbers, but in these very close races like the presidential contest, they could well be the margin of difference," a political science professor at the University of Minnesota, Lawrence Jacobs, said. "They pose a genuine threat to be the kingmaker in several swing states."
Most national polls don't ask about Mr. Badnarik, but some state surveys do. Polls done by Rasmussen Reports for Mr. Badnarik's campaign showed him with 5% of the vote in New Mexico in August and with 3% support in Nevada last month.
Newspaper polls haven't shown him doing quite as well. They often peg his support at roughly 1%, but even that number could prove decisive. In 2000, Mr. Gore carried New Mexico by 366 votes, or 0.06%.
Mr. Jacobs, who has studied third-party campaigns, said Mr. Bush's policies appear to have driven some conservative Republicans into the Libertarian camp.
"They see the president as a federalizer. You've got the debt. You've got 'No Child Left Behind.' You've got the new Medicare entitlement. You've got the Patriot Act. And you've got the war," the professor said. "It's a very different approach to government than a small government Barry Goldwater."
Mr. Jacobs said he conducted a survey in June and July in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa to examine support for third-party candidates. It showed that the vast majority of Badnarik voters described themselves as either Republicans or independents.
Mr. Jacobs also said that Libertarian candidates in 2002 appeared to have tipped statewide races against the Republicans in Oregon and South Dakota.
The danger for the GOP, the professor said, is especially great this year in states where Mr. Nader is not on the ballot.
"It creates a drain on Republican voters that the Democrats aren't experiencing," Mr. Jacobs said.
The Bush-Cheney campaign did not respond to a call seeking comment for this story.
The communications director for the Badnarik campaign, Stephen Gordon, said he believes his candidate is drawing votes from both Mr. Bush and the Democratic nominee, Senator Kerry of Massachusetts.
Mr. Badnarik has run a modest number of television ads in Nevada and in New Mexico. Mr. Gordon said the antiwar ads appear to resonate with some voters, while the message about government overspending hits home with others.
"They negate each other if we run them in the same area," Mr. Gordon said. "We may pick up 10 Bush supporters and lose 10 Kerry supporters.
"In a younger community, a college town, they are a lot more likely to be concerned about the war," he continued. "In an older, established, suburban community, they're not as interested in that."
This year, none of the third-party candidates has come even close to the threshold of 15% that the self-styled Commission on Presidential Debates has set for inclusion in the presidential and vice-presidential debates. While Mr. Nader has done little but gripe about the snub this year, the Libertarians have gone to court.
Last Friday, the Arizona Libertarian Party filed suit against Arizona State University, which is the host of the final Bush-Kerry debate, scheduled for October 13. The group is arguing that the school's sponsorship of the debate amounts to an illegal use of state resources to advance the two major political parties.
The university has replied that the costs of the event are being borne by private donors.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released last night showed Mr. Bush maintaining a small lead nationally following last week's debate. Mr. Bush had support in the poll from 51% of those deemed likely to vote, while Mr. Kerry had 46% and Mr. Nader had 1%.
A CBS News/New York Times poll, which was also released yesterday, had Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry tied at 47%, while Mr. Nader had 1%.
In those surveys, voters were not asked about Mr. Badnarik or other presidential candidates. That irks the Badnarik campaign. "Nader was included even though in a lot of key states he's not even on the ballot," Mr. Gordon said.
Mr. Badnarik will be on the ballot in New York, although the Libertarian Party does not have a regular line on the ballot. A spokesman for the state elections board, Lee Daghlian, said Badnarik supporters delivered more than 15,000 valid voter signatures by an Aug. 17 deadline to place their man's name on the ballot.
A professor of political science at SUNY Cortland, Robert Spitzer, said third parties have made a difference in a number of statewide races in New York, but usually by giving their ballot line to a major-party candidate.
"There's certainly been cases in recent years where third parties in New York have had a pretty big effect on outcome," Mr. Spitzer said. He pointed to the 1994 gubernatorial contest, in which Governor Pataki won with votes from the Conservative and Tax Cut Now ballot lines.
Mr. Spitzer said he sees the earnest, small-government message of the Libertarians as limiting their appeal.
"They're hampered by their consistency," Mr. Spitzer said. "It's a point of view that most Americans simply don't agree with. Even conservative Republicans that want to constrain the modern welfare state are not running to do away with it."
Other observers say, however, that the Libertarians have new energy this year.
"So many people who lean Libertarian have been arguing for years that the only effective thing to do is to work in the Republican Party," the editor of Ballot Access News, Richard Winger, said. "All those people ... have been rebuffed by what Bush does in terms of deficit spending and starting the war."
Mr. Winger said the anti-war message has been adding momentum to Mr. Badnarik's campaign. "He's certainly more opposed to U.S. involvement in Iraq than Kerry," Mr. Winger said.
Several campaign strategists said the Libertarians seem to win more support in certain states in the Southwest and Midwest. They appear to do less well in urban centers.
"There is more of this natural 'Keep government off our backs' mentality out West," a New Mexico-based political analyst, Joseph Monahan, said.
Mr. Badnarik was nominated by the Libertarian Party in May at its convention in Atlanta. In 2000 and 2002,he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the House of Representatives. He is a technology specialist, who has worked at nuclear power plants and on the once-secret Stealth bomber program.
While predicting a relatively strong showing for Mr. Badnarik, Mr. Jacobs, the professor at the University of Minnesota, cautioned that some voters ultimately shy away at the last minute from third-party candidates. "No question about it," he said. "You get kind of cold feet going to the ballot box."
When The New York Sun conducted an unscientific survey of anti-war protesters during a major demonstration in the city in August, most participants said they planned to vote for Mr. Kerry. Several, however, spontaneously stated their support for Mr. Badnarik. They also complained that the survey mentioned only Mr. Bush, Mr. Kerry, and Mr. Nader.
Mr. Badnarik has also made a concerted appeal for the votes of Muslims and of other Arab-Americans. Last week he attended the national convention of the American Muslim Alliance in Orlando. Mr. Badnarik accepted an award from the group and endorsed its complaints about government-backed discrimination against those of the Islamic faith.
"Muslims have borne the brunt of draconian government actions since 9/11," Mr. Badnarik told the group, according to a release from his campaign. "A plurality of American Muslims supported George Bush in 2000. Now they're looking outside the major-party club for candidates who support their rights."
Since the MSM has told us that Muslims are voting for Kerry this year, how is this going to hurt Bush. (end/sarcasm)
Should'nt this be posted under humor?
Yeah right. I think the LP will do even worse than they did in 2000, when I voted for them.
On 2000, while living in Massachusetts, I voted libertarian. I don't think I hurt Bush in that solidly commie state.
This year, I live in CT, where Bush is within 5% of taking it. I am voting to re-elect THE President.
That giant sucking sound you hear is all the credibility of this story swirling down the drain. Hel-LO? Ralph NADER?
Takes guts to admit that. :~)
Republicans ought to take heed. They are no longer the party of small government and low spending.
At best, Michael Badnarik is a Harry Browne without the charisma!
So the writer thinks that Michael Badnarik will get receive more votes than Harry Browne??? I really doubt it!
If that line doesn't qualify this as "humor", there is no such thing.
What about the theory that Badnarik will steal some anti-war Democrats?
Some have suggested that this campaign is actually helping Bush, since it opposes him on the big issues, like Iraq...
Losertarians are worse than the French.
The libertarians however are even WORSE than Bush regarding the illegal immigrant problem. Bush tries to put lipstick on a pig by saying his plan really isn't amnesty. The Libertarians are out and out proponents of amnesty!
The party's of "small government" have been a thing of the past for many, many years.
"We the people" want, nay demand, that the gooberment take from the rich (reads: hard working, everyday people like you and me) and give to the poor.
The Republicans are simply acknowledging that fact and are aquiessing to them in order to remain viable.
This isn't your fathers country anymore. ;)
Forget the chicken in every pot ... I promise you a high paying job and if you don't want to work I'll give you welfare, free prescriptions, medicade, medicare, hospitalization ...
So, roughly a month before the vote and no one knows him, yet he's the spoiler?
"The university has replied that the costs of the event are being borne by private donors."
Geez, with an organization like this behind the candidate, he can't lose!
Actually, my guess is that most of the Libertarian vote comes from people who vote 3rd party regardless of what the 3rd party is. That's the statistic that's coming out about Nader. When Nader is taken off of the polls, Bush actually does better. It's because Nader is simply the protest vote. Badnarik serves the same role.
Darn those Libertarians, voting their conscience and all. They must be stopped!
The Libertarians I know are voting for Bush.
Their dope got stronger.
Notice how the democrats used NAZI tactics and faught Nader off ballots and the republics didn't do it to the other guy.
The new Libertarian joke is "Why couldn't we have gotten the Goodnarik?"
I agree. However, recent polls among rank and file Libertarians are showing a turnabout on the issue, especially after 9/11. The latest Libertarian argument against open immigration is based on the definition of private property. The US, being the private property of its citizens, has every right to prohibit trespassers.
Sarcasm aside, if you know of anybody preventing a single Libertarian from casting their ballot, you should immediately contact the FEC. Because that's illegal.
Ridicule, however, is still quite legal.
See post #27.
Republicans to Libertarians = "Good Luck"
Democrats to Ralph Nader = "Die Trator"
-"...a man whose name most voters have never heard."-
This they call a spoiler? Wishful thinking.
If he's referring to the Libertarian candidate for Congress in South Dakota, I know the guy (he's a friend of mine and at one time was my high school math teacher.) He stepped out of the contest with a few weeks to go and asked his supporters to vote for John Thune. Not his fault that people voted for him anyway.
"The libertarians however are even WORSE than Bush regarding the illegal immigrant problem."
This is true, but I think something needs to be mentioned. Until the last few years, the issue with illegal immigrants has had little to do with national security. Before 2001, people were less concerned with terrorists crossing the border. The arguments were almost exclusively about illegals being a drain on taxpayer resources.
To be fair to Libertarians, those who believe in open borders also agree with eliminating the government hand-outs which make crossing the border so enticing for layabouts. The situation we have now is akin to the government leaving out a free chocolate cake, being shocked that people want to eat it for nothing, and then as a solution, deciding to place armed guards and barbed wire around the chocolate cake. It simply makes more sense to take the chocolate cake away instead of paying even more to put a fence around it. That's basically the libertarian position, and I find it very easy to be sympathetic to that idea before 9/11.
On the other hand, I don't think there is some kind of constitutional problem with limiting immigration. If the government wants to do that, it has the constitutional authority to do so. I don't think anyone arguing the opposite is on firm ground.
Of course, it was a pre 9-11 vote. But in reality, it was a pre-2000 Florida recount vote. That experience is what made me a partisan Republican. The LP vote was a protest vote against big government. Pointless in the end, but for some reason I couldn't see that until I'd actually done it. And then to see the recount mess, and the lengths the dems would go to, and it made me close ranks. Then 9-11. We have to choose one of these two men to be our president.
Walk away from the war on terror and open the boarders even wider?
I don't think so!
I don't know. I've voted straight libertarian for quite some time now, and I avidly follow the Libertarian Party, and I think Badnarik is running a better campaign than Browne did.
Badnarik is a realist, and he knows that he won't win the Presidency, and he has focused his campaign in "battleground" states in which the population is massed in a small number of areas. New Mexico is a a great example; 85% of New Mexico's population is in three cities, and the libertarians can run tv ads in those cities and, perhaps, swing the outcome of the Presidential election.
Only time will tell as to how he does nationally, but I think he's running a fairly clever campaign.
That is a scary word to a lot of people. Some people want Big Government to micromanage every part of their lives--that way, when they fail, they can rationalize.
Ah, the comfort of having someone else to blame.
Isn't that the very essence of a herd-mentality?
Every libertarian I know is a respectable non-drug user who's just trying to scale back local government and taxes.
It's saying none-of-the-above. A perfectly understandable position.
There are more Democrats than Republicans who will vote for Badnarik. Funny that the liberal press chooses to give him some free publicity about now, though.
Republicans have abandoned their fight for smaller government nad most freepers responded with a wimper (if that).
What a cheap attempt at making the LP look like anyone even knows the name of their candidate.
He forgot to mention McCain-Feingold (signed by Bush)
From the Libeltarian site.
CRIMINAL INVADERS unite.
The benefits of open immigration
BY MICHAEL TANNER
America has always been a nation of immigrants. Thomas Jefferson emphasized this basic part of the American heritage, taking note of "the natural right which all men have of relinquishing the country in which birth or other accident may have thrown them, and seeking subsistence and happiness wheresoever they may be able, and hope to find them."
The Libertarian Party has long recognized the importance of allowing free and open immigration, understanding that this leads to a growing and more prosperous America. We condemn the xenophobic immigrant bashing that would build a wall around the United States. At the same time, we recognize that the right to enter the United States does not include the right to economic entitlements such as welfare. The freedom to immigrate is a freedom of opportunity, not a guarantee of a handout.
A policy of open immigration will advance the economic well-being of all Americans. All major recent studies of immigrants indicate that they have a high labor force participation, are entrepreneurial, and tend to have specialized skills that allow them to enter under-served markets. Although it is a common misconception that immigrants "take jobs away from native-born Americans," this does not appear to be true. In 1989, the U.S. Department of Labor reviewed nearly 100 studies on the relationship between immigration and unemployment and concluded that "neither U.S. workers nor most minority workers appear adversely affected by immigration."
Is it possible to get less than 00.31%?