Sunday, February 24, 2008

The 2008 Primary Season Wrap-Up

Most of my readers are registered in the GOP, but as you know I'm registered Libertarian (I'll explain why in a future post), and I voted for Michael Jingozian in the Libertarian primary because he was essentially the only guy who came right out and said (to paraphrase) "We're not going to get elected to anything major in 2008. I'll use my nomination as a fundraising platform to get people elected to local offices, and then in '12 we'll be in better shape." The winner, Wayne Allyn Root, at least has a little experience getting media exposure, so he'll do a good job at the same endeavor.

Having said that, The Cato Institute and one-issue interest groups seem to have done a lot more for the LP's positions than the LP ever has. If I were in a strategy position in the LP, I would be forging alliances with all those groups, and that I know of at least, they have not been. Hey NRA, gun ownership is right in our party constitution! Can't you spare a few dimes so we can at least win XYZ local elections?

So I was saddened, but not surprised, to see this little news release on the LP's website.

That's right guys! The most closely allied major party, whose positions have been drifting away from yours steadily for 20 years, has finally chosen a candidate whose positions represent a movement back toward real conservatism. So pull a half-assed media stunt that the press doesn't even cover, and makes the bigger party take you even less seriously. Strong work! Bravo!

This kind of confrontational message between allies is rarely useful in politics. After your allied party loses a big election that in some ways they really did bungle, alright, fine (like when in 2004 the day after the election MoveOn.org on their email list referred to the Dems as "professional election losers").

My $0.02 (I'm an amateur but so it seems are the people running the LP):

Pick one or two issues that really get people's blood pressure up. There are a lot in the LP that a majority of Americans agree with.

Pound the hell out of those one or two issues with some TV spots. Show how the GOP is representing them less effectively.

Will you win the election? No. But if Root can win a few % in some Southern states where those ads air (read: take a few % away from McCain exactly where he's already vulnerable), that might hurt. After a lost election, the GOP might be more amenable to incorporating elements of the LP's platform into its own.

Supporting Paul(link) would have been smart, actually, but I suspect he's cruising for a cabinet position with McCain at this stage; more influence with the Secretary of X couldn't have hurt.

If you think this strategy is unrealistic, think about the other side of the political spectrum in the 2000 elections. Nader got about 90,000 votes in Florida. The final count was that Gore lost there by about 5,000. Most of Nader's votes would have been Gore's in a 2-party election. The Democrats got a clear signal: support Green Party issues, or you can get hurt. For this reason it would be interesting to do a news analysis and see if there were more environmental references were in Kerry's 2004 campaign speeches vs Gore's in 2000. (This just in, Nader is in the 2008 race and of course the Dems are none too happy about it.)

1 comment:

The young fogey said...

I've voted for LP candidates on and off since 1992 and registered Libertarian in 2004. Like probably about 2/3 of Pennsylvania's LP (according to one member) I've switched back to Republican (joined to vote for Pat Buchanan in the 1996 primary) to vote for Ron Paul in the primary in April. Was tempted to change again to Democrat to vote for Obama so Clinton doesn't get the Dems' nomination - of the three candidates being given a chance (Obama, the mad bomber and the war witch) he's the least of all evils; at least he voted against the Iraq war. But I remember the 2006 election when I voted a mostly Democratic ticket for the first time - the great referendum on the war. The results?

In November I'll only vote for the candidate I really want (that is, write in Paul or vote for the LP candidate) but Obama like Kerry four years ago will get my honk not my vote. (Like Paul I think the world would be a better place if more liberals were like Dennis Kucinich.)

I may go back to the LP after this is over.

Supporting Paul (link) would have been smart, actually, but I suspect he's cruising for a cabinet position with McCain at this stage...

What? How would Paul doing that advance his views?

Thanks for the info on Root. Looking at the LP candidates I know about George Phillies seems a pill (he's anti-Paul) but capable and willing to do the right things in office; Christine Smith seems underqualified (her CV: running a music festival and writing a book about John Denver); Steve Kubby believes all the right things and I agree with his big cause (legalise drugs) but I fear he's a one-issue Johnny. I know none of these people will be given a chance to win the White House but I want even my token protest candidate to be somebody I can support for real.

And your strategy sounds good: more people would be libertarians if they knew the facts (a spectrum/possible coalition from the conservative Protestants of the Constitution Party to left-libertarians); pick a couple of hot topics and pound on them.