Looking ahead to November: A cloudy crystal ball

by David F. Nolan

While most of the postings here in the last couple of weeks have centered on various candidates’ prospects for the Libertarian Party nomination, very little has been written about how things are likely to shape up in the general election. And since a lot of the discussion here has revolved around how one candidate is likely to fare vs. another, perhaps some perspective is in order.

First, no Democrat since Jimmy Carter (1976) has received a majority of the popular vote. Carter received 50.08%. Thus, it seems reasonable to predict that the Democratic nominee will not receive 50% or more in 2008 either. If the Democrats choose Obama, his percentage could easily drop to 45% or lower, as there are a significant number of lower-income white voters who simply will not vote for a black Presidential candidate.

The Republicans’ prospects are a bit brighter. Their candidate received more than 50% of the popular vote in 1980, 1984, 1988 and 2004. Two of those four showings were for Ronald Reagan, however, and John McCain is no Ronald Reagan. Dissatisfaction is running high in the GOP, and third-party supporters are hoping that as much as 5% of the electorate might defect to the Libertarian and/or Constitution Party candidates.

A plausible scenario is that McCain could get 48% of the vote, Obama 46%, and the remaining 6% could go to the LP nominee, Ralph Nader, Chuck Baldwin, Cynthia McKinney, and a handful of splinter candidates.

How that 6% would break is anybody’s guess. If the LP nominates Barr or Gravel, the argument goes, its candidate could get the lion’s share: as much as 3% of the total. Root and Kubby each have their own constituencies, so either of them might do well also. The remaining LP hopefuls face an uphill battle getting recognition, and might draw fewer votes—leaving Ralph Nader at the top of the heap.

Could any of the above-named candidates actually tilt the election from McCain to Obama or vice-versa? It’s certainly possible, but not very likely. If the Electoral College contest is close, as it was in 2000 and 2004, a relative handful of votes could tip a swing state like Ohio one way or the other and thus swing the election. Whether this would do much to boost the fortunes of the party that “caused” the “upset” is another question. Ralph Nader’s impact on the Florida vote in 2000 is still hotly discussed—but I haven’t heard anyone claim that it boosted the Green Party into enduring prominence.

Thus, IMHO, choosing a candidate in the hope that he (or she) will temporarily boost a party’s vote totals is chasing a chimera. Party-building begins at the grass roots, and involves convincing people that your party’s principles and policies are sound. A “celebrity” candidate may produce a short-term “sugar rush,” but little in the way of long-term nutrition.

34 Responses to “Looking ahead to November: A cloudy crystal ball”

  1. Scott Lieberman Says:

    “by David F. Nolan

    Thus, IMHO, choosing a candidate in the hope that he (or she) will temporarily boost a party’s vote totals is chasing a chimera. Party-building begins at the grass roots, and involves convincing people that your party’s principles and policies are sound. A “celebrity” candidate may produce a short-term “sugar rush,” but little in the way of long-term nutrition.”

    ***************************************

    Even though many Libertarian Party members concentrate on Presidential vote totals, the REAL reason we run a Presidential nominee is to increase the number of dues paying members. That way, the Libertarian Party has a larger base of financial contributors, campaign volunteers, and candidates, for the next election cycle.

    The Nolan still thinks that political campaigns are a cost-effective way of educating people. But, that’s not the way it works. You get your candidates elected based on their personalities, and then you convince the voters that your candidate’s principles work by actually getting them passed into law. I wish it was otherwise, but no one has the power to change human nature. People vote based on emotions and feelings, not on facts. And not even The Nolan has the ability to change that fact.

    Just because we admit that the 2008 Libertarian Presidential nominee will not get elected to the Presidency, that does not change the fact that his or her success in getting new donors to the Libertarian Party will be based much, much more on their personality and style, as opposed to their particular policy prescriptions.

  2. NewFederalist Says:

    I think Mr. Nolan’s analysis is spot on. I would only suggest that a “celebrity” nominee may do more than just produce inflated vote totals. If new supporters are attracted to the LP then it is up to the LP to convert them to libertarians. I believe a number of current party stalwarts were attracted to the party as a result of Ron Paul’s 1988 race. I understand what Mr. Nolan is saying but I think he may be seriously discounting the party’s ability to open some minds once they are in the tent.

  3. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    And, the top of the ticket candidate has a profound effect on the down ticket races.

    A voter choosing any opposition candidate is far more likely to vote for ANY opposition candidate down ticket. I ran a (paper candidate) county campaign in 2000, and got 4 1/2 % of the vote. That was pretty much the total of the Nader, Buchanon and Brown combined vote.

    PEACE
    Steve

  4. Gene Trosper Says:

    # NewFederalist Says:
    May 17th, 2008 at 10:58 am

    I think Mr. Nolan’s analysis is spot on. I would only suggest that a “celebrity” nominee may do more than just produce inflated vote totals. If new supporters are attracted to the LP then it is up to the LP to convert them to libertarians. I believe a number of current party stalwarts were attracted to the party as a result of Ron Paul’s 1988 race. I understand what Mr. Nolan is saying but I think he may be seriously discounting the party’s ability to open some minds once they are in the tent.

    Thank you for pointing that out!

    I have long been an advocate for having an established “education program” within the LP that would build new, principled Libertarians.

    Many of us who enter the LP have a general idea of what Libertarianism is like and with time, we grow in our knowledge and conviction. My wife, for example, was a Democrat when I married her. Shortly afterwards, we attended our first LP meeting. Within a year, she knew the rationale behind such things as property rights and self-ownership. To this day, she is a diehard, principled Libertarian.

    Like I said in another thread: it’s the presidential campaign’s job to attract voters (and members) to our cause. It’s OUR job to educate and build new Libertarians.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Scott,

    You write:

    “the REAL reason we run a Presidential nominee is to increase the number of dues paying members”

    Well, no. That may be the reason why YOU think we SHOULD run a presidential nominee, but it’s not necessarily the reason why we DO run a presidential nominee.

    Here’s why we run a presidential nominee: Because the bylaws say that unless the delegates vote for NOTA, we’re going to run a presidential nominee.

    In other words, we run a presidential nominee because we run a presidential nominee. Everything beyond that is a function of why the DELEGATES think we’re doing it, as expressed in their choice of a candidate who says why he or she is running.

  6. Tannim Says:

    I think anywhere near 40% for McCain is very optimistic. He’ll probably be lucky to hit 40%, IMO.

    I say that because the guy has so many scandals out there that aren’t being reported yet. Just today add the Jamie Rubin thing to the pile, where he called Rubin a liar when Rubin had the video proof as backup, making McCain look like a fool.

    With the FEC appearing to finally getting close to having a quorum, we’re going to see that hit the media again, with its negative connotations for McCain and potentially breaking his campaign financially as well.

    And none of that even factors in the recycling of his adultery, mob ties, Vietnam record, Keating 5, temper, health, mental state, voting record, and legislation record.

    And none of that factors in the two pending lawsuits over his eligibility, or the waiting-in-the-wings Black Mesa genocide scandal that he’s mixed up in and partly responsible for.

  7. Robert Milnes Says:

    David F. Nolan, Not so Fast! Tom makes a point. The delegates decide ha ha collectively with their choice of nominee. Based on what that candidate says, does, resume, history etc. You have overlooked the big gorilla in the room-me & the progressive alliance strategy. What if the delegates say in effect we are tired of politics as usual & go for the brass ring? A Great Experiment to try to actually win; close to be sure, but win by the rules which the dems & reps abide by. If I were to get the nomination, OR SOMEBODY THAT ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR THE STRATEGY, the word would get out that a left libertarian, which I believe Teddy Roosevelt was, or Green in LP suit, or generally recognized leftist which I am got the LP nomination. That makes voting for the LP ticket a real viable option for ALL leftists. There should be a bump in the polling. What if it goes to 5%? Then I go to the GP convention & get their endorsement of the LP ticket. That eliminates 2 of your 4 aforementioned competitors for the third party vote, the Green, very possibly McKinney & for all practical purposes since he won’t get comparable ballot access, Nader. (thank God!) It also possibly adds to LP ballot access, D.C. & W.VA & maybe others if needed. ANOTHER BUMP! Maybe 10%. Then voters see this ticket could get into the debates if it reaches 15%. So it creeps up & reaches that threshold. Debates> another bump! > gradually approach 30% & over. Very competitive in a three or 4 (Baldwin CP) way race. So, as Hillary supporters say, Not so fast!

  8. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Bob,

    Neither you nor your progressive alliance strategy are “the big gorilla in the room.” As a matter of fact, you’ve already said that you WON’T be in the room in Denver.

    Wishing doesn’t make it so.

  9. Robert Milnes Says:

    Tom, no, I said that I probably wouldn’t be able to attend the convention. You yourself pointed out that it is not necessary to attend the convention. A nomination in absentia is possible. I would like to attend. I’m trying. But if I can’t get enough support, I can’t. I’m not able to donate or lend to my campaign like a millionaire republican or entrepreneur candidates or I would. immeasurable libertarian support to Ron Paul has led to that fizzle. Now Bob Barr gets lib support for a losing conservative strategy. Since I was cheated out of my house I can’t mortgage or sell it like Nolan. Just because you say it isn’t so doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t so. Take that swipe from my hairy hand spin meister. And you ARE good!

  10. Robert Milnes Says:

    Consider yourself backhandedly complimented.

  11. Laura Says:

    McCain is going to lose big. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not much of a political prognasticator.

  12. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Laura,

    You write:

    “McCain is going to lose big. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not much of a political prognasticator.”

    The thing about prognostication is that you don’t know how good you are (or anyone else is) until the results are in.

    However, I seem to recall that as of May 2007, virtually everyone had written off McCain as a competitor for the GOP nomination. Everyone except me, that is. When Dean Barnett opened a betting pool for when McCain would shut down his campaign, I bet on January 20th, 2009. At this point, that still looks like a reasonably good bet.

    The Democrats are still savaging each other over their own nomination, and they’ll have less time to put the pieces back together and unite behind their candidate than the Republicans. The day after McCain sewed it up, GOP hotheads were talking about walkouts and such. They’re already starting to fall back in line. By October, the GOP walkout vote will be, as always, miniscule.

    And, however ugly it may be, Nolan has one thing right—there’s a segment of the white blue collar electorate that isn’t ready to pull the lever for a black candidate, period. I’m not sure how big that segment is, but my bet would be 5-10%, at least half of that normally Democrat-leaning. If, as seems likely, Obama is the nominee then that will come right out of his hide.

    The next bet against McCain seems to be the “scandal” bit. That dog hasn’t hunted for a long time. The Democrats managed to get a pot-smoking, womanizing draft-dodger elected in 1992, and 1996, and the Republicans topped them with a coke-snorting, alcoholic deserter in 2000 and 2004, even if the Supreme Court and Diebold respectively had to intervene to put him over the top.

    Will McCain win? I don’t know for sure, and a lot can happen in five months, but in my opinion the odds favor him.

  13. Robert Milnes Says:

    Again, as usual, I agree with Tom.

  14. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Bob,

    OK, so you MAY be in Denver. Or you MAY have proxies to carry the flag for you.

    But the fact remains that neither you nor your strategy are “the big gorilla in the room.” Big gorillas are very visible and impossible to ignore. They loom over the proceedings and dominate them. You’ve been generally ignored, and demonstrable support for you as a candidate or for your strategy has so far been so small as to be essentially unmeasurable. That’s not “big gorilla in the room” stuff.

    COULD you or your strategy be a factor in Denver? Sure—every so often, a flipped coin lands on its edge. But big gorilla? Nope.

  15. jacksmith Says:

    HILLARY CLINTON IS THE GREATEST CAMPAIGNER IN AMERICAN HISTORY

    HILLARY CLINTON CAN BEST WIN IN NOVEMBER:

    IT’S ABOUT ELECTABILITY

    It’s time for everyone to face the truth. Barack Obama has no real chance of winning the national election in November at this time. His crushing defeat in Pennsylvania, and loss in Indiana and West Virginia makes that fact crystal clear. His best, and only real chance of winning in November is on a ticket with Hillary Clinton as her VP.

    Sen. Obama has zero chance of winning against the republican attack machine, and their unlimited money, and resources without Hillary Clinton. Zero chance.

    It is absolutely essential that the democrats take back the Whitehouse in November. America, and the American people are in a very desperate condition now. And the whole World has been doing all that they can to help keep us propped up.

    Hillary Clinton say’s that the heat, and decisions in the Whitehouse are much tougher than the ones on the campaign trail. But I think Sen. Obama faces a test of whether he has what it takes to be a commander and chief by facing the difficult facts, and the truth before him. And by doing what is best for the American people by dropping out of the race, and offering his whole hearted assistance to Hillary Clinton to help her take back the Whitehouse for the American people, and the World.

    Sen. Obama is a great speaker. And I am confident he can explain to the American people the need, and wisdom of such a personal sacrifice for them. It should be clear to everyone by now that Hillary Clinton is fighting her heart out for the American people. She has known for a long time that Sen. Obama can not win this November. You have to remember that the Clinton’s have won the Whitehouse twice before. They know what it takes.

    If Sen. Obama fails his test of commander and chief we can only hope that Hillary Clinton can continue her heroic fight for the American people. And that she prevails. She will need all the continual support and help we can give her. She may fight like a superhuman. But she is only human.

    Don’t be fooled by the pledged delegate, and math arguments. Neither candidate has the necessary pledged delegates. The entire delegates counts, and votes from Florida, and Michigan are not even being counted. Plus the democratic caucuses, and primarys have been heavily corrupted by fraud, and vote cheating. The only relevant question now is who can best WIN IN NOVEMBER and take back the Whitehouse for the American people. And the answer is HILLARY CLINTON. Everyone knows that now.

    Sincerely

    Jacksmith… Working Class :-)

    p.s. Cynthia Ruccia - I’m with ya baby. All the way. “Clinton Supporters Count Too.”

  16. Tannim Says:

    IF Hillary Clinton is such a great campaigner, then why is she LOSING???

  17. Robert Milnes Says:

    Tom, unless libertarians have cold feet. Fear of success? Fear of revolution, even slow revolution? “Slow revolution is better than no revolution.”That would explain a lot. Ignore the big gorilla because it scares the bejezis out of you. & certainly DONT SUPPORT i.e. encourage, the beast.

  18. NewFederalist Says:

    Tom Knapp- When are you going to learn not to encourage Milnes? Why do you keep treating him like he is in any way serious? He needs professional help. God help him but he is delusional. He is best ignored.

  19. disinter Says:

    Well said Mr. Nolan!

  20. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    NewFed,

    Point taken on Bob, but we’re friends and I prefer to engage, rather than ignore, him.

    But, to another of your comments:

    I think Mr. Nolan’s analysis is spot on. I would only suggest that a “celebrity” nominee may do more than just produce inflated vote totals. If new supporters are attracted to the LP then it is up to the LP to convert them to libertarians. I believe a number of current party stalwarts were attracted to the party as a result of Ron Paul’s 1988 race. I understand what Mr. Nolan is saying but I think he may be seriously discounting the party’s ability to open some minds once they are in the tent.

    This is perceptive in more than one way, but also raises a question worth discussion.

    Yes, a “celebrity” nominee may do more than attract votes; he or she may attract new party members; and hopefully those new members, if they are “less libertarian” when they come in the door, will grow “more libertarian” over time.

    However: Would you agree that it might not be the best idea to intentionally court a pool of members whom you expect to NOT become “more libertarian” once in the party no matter how persuasive you are, and whom you have good reason to fear might actually swamp the party numbers-wise and remake it in their own image?

    That’s a risk that deserves to be weighed.

    In point of fact, you use the example of Ron Paul, and I think it’s reasonable to believe that his 1988 campaign may have been the turning point at which the LP moved deeply enough into the GOP’s shadow to halt any momentum it might have, precisely BECAUSE any (I don’t think there were many—membership was still only at 11,000 as of 1994 and I don’t recally a huge “Paul spike” before that) new members attracted by Paul came to the LP regarding it as a “conservative” party and pulled it to the “right.”

    Now, let’s talk about Bob Barr. Here’s what he said on the radio the other day:

    Republicans ought to embrace my effort, because we’re going to be pulling people out to vote who otherwise wouldn’t be voting and some of them might vote for Republican candidates on the down-ballot.

    That’s not exactly a “come on over to the LP” approach in the first place, and to the extent that it might attract new members, it seems to me that those new members are likely to be “true conservatives” who dislike McCain and are looking for … another Republican Party.

    I have big problems with that.

    One of them is that it would be dishonest of us to affirm the notion that we are “another Republican Party,” or a “conservative” party, in welcoming those members. We claim to be exactly the opposite: “a libertarian political entity separate and distinct from all other political parties or movements.” So if Barr sends a pile of new members our way on the line he’s taking right now, we either have to lie to those new members … or tell them at the door “we don’t agree with our presidential candidate on this.”

    Another is that if we get a pile of “true conservatives” looking for “another Republican Party,” then, well, we’re small enough that if we aren’t quick and persuasive in “converting” them, they might easily just simply swamp the party and remake it TO BE a “true conservative new Republican Party,” persuasion and “internal education” (geez, that phrase creeps me out) notwithstanding.

    That risk always exists, regardless of who our presidential candidate is and what he or she says … but any increase in that risk should be carefully weighed against the alleged benefits.

  21. Laura Says:

    John McCain will not win in November.

    First of all, if the Republicans have unlimited money, why are they sending me surveys every week asking for money? Does anyone know how much money John McCain has raised compared with Obama?

    Also, the Republicans are demoralized about McCain. It’s going to be much easier to stay home than to go to the polls to vote for him. The pundits may have closed ranks but the grassroots have not.

    Some rank-and-file Republicans say it will be better if the Democratic nominee wins so that the Republican Party can unify to fight against socialized medicine, amnesty for illegals, etc. If McCain wins the Republicans in Congress will go along with all of his bad ideas since he will be the “leader of their party.”

    Lastly, the Democrat candidates have received more votes in the primaries than the Republican candidates have. “Republican” has become a dirty word in the mind of the average voter.

  22. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Laura,

    You write:

    “First of all, if the Republicans have unlimited money, why are they sending me surveys every week asking for money?”

    Well, they don’t have “unlimited” money … but how do you think they got the money they have? By sending you, and millions of others, surveys every week asking for money, of course.

    “Does anyone know how much money John McCain has raised compared with Obama?”

    As of the latest FEC reports (April monthlies), McCain’s principal committee had raised about $82 million, $15.5 million of it in March, and had about $11.5 million cash on hand. Obama’s principal committee had raised $240 million, $48 million of it in March, and had about $51 million cash on hand.

    That’s a big disparity, but it leaves out soft money and party coordinated expenditures, and it may not be indicative of how much either one WILL raise or dispose of in the coming months. These gaps can close fast under the right circumstances.

    Because McCain became the GOP nominee-apparent early, he has more time to put HIS party back together than Obama or Hillary will have to heal their own party. The Dem contest may very well come down to a floor fight at their national convention over seating the Florida and Michigan delegations and to last-minute strongarming of superdelegates. To put it a different way, Obama may end up spending $50-$100 million more dollars winning the Dem nomination with legal maneuvering, ad campaigns to get the grassroots to lean on their superdelegates and on the DNC credentials committee, etc.

    While McCain has less money at the moment, he’s free to spend that money courting the general electorate rather than his party’s primary voters. And once the Dems have their nominee, the RNC will make more big money pushes to use on demonizing that nominee.

    I’m not saying that McCain WILL win. I don’t know that he will any more than you know that he won’t. But he’s not a longshot. He’s definitely in the running.

  23. NewFederalist Says:

    Tom Knapp- I see your point. The choices appear to be nominate someone who will continue to attract no meaningful media attention, very little money and very few votes and keep the LP small but pure and perhaps happy OR take a chance and dive into the deep water of real politics with all the attendant risks of being overrun by people who are not really libertarian. Tough choice but the first option is a sure loser (like the last 36 years) while option number two offers at least the hope of breaking through and becoming a meaningful part of the public debate even if the positions taken by the nominees are less than “pure”. BTW, I am not really a Barr supporter. I would like to see a ticket that would attract attention, however. To me that ticket would be Barr/Gravel or the other way around. It won’t happen but it would be interesting to see how the party might handle some measure of success.

  24. Laura Says:

    Tom,

    I’m willing to stake my reputation on it (not that I have much of one since I’m fairly new to this site). McCain will lose unless there is another 9/11 or some outrageous Democrat nominee scandal breaks loose.

    Even with all of those surveys the Republicans are sending out, most of the grassroots are not donating.

    While campaigning for Ron Paul, the one thing that got my attention more than any other was the large number of voters who said that they vowed they would never vote Republican again. There was no convincing them otherwise.

    You are correct in saying that McCain is in the running (especially with Republican controlled diebold machines), but I get the feeling you and Mr. Nolan don’t comprehend the depth of animosity towards McCain.

  25. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Mr. Nolan makes two important points in my opinion.

    1-“Ralph Nader’s impact on the Florida vote in 2000 is still hotly discussed—but I haven’t heard anyone claim that it boosted the Green Party into enduring prominence.”

    Ralph Nader got 2.8 million votes in total. His acceptance speech to the Green Party (2+ hours I believe) spent a of of time trying to reconcile his positions with the Greens. Yes he has some similarities, but the Green PArty saw “stars” with Nader, just as some Libertarians are seeing “stars” with Barr. The long term effect of Nader’s 2.8 million votes (remember that he has been a household name for 40 years!) is . . . what . . . virtually nothing. He doesn’t even run as a Green anymore. IS this a somewhat similar precursor if the LP nominates Barr (without the 2.8 million votes)?

    2-Mr. Nolan points out, in finishing the point above, “Thus, IMHO, choosing a candidate in the hope that he (or she) will temporarily boost a party’s vote totals is chasing a chimera. Party-building begins at the grass roots, and involves convincing people that your party’s principles and policies are sound. A “celebrity” candidate may produce a short-term “sugar rush,” but little in the way of long-term nutrition.”

    Exactly. Barr, W.A.R. and any other supposed “celebrity”, without a principled, believable, fully libertarian platform will NOT give the LP any long-term notoriety, regardless of how many votes is received (and it ain’t going to be anywhere 2.8 million!)

    I am an LP county chair. . . at the grass roots level. I am in the process of rebuilding it, in the hopes of affecting local politics. THIS is where the party building starts, and must be supported by “Libertarian” candidates on up the ticket, to the presidential nominee. If I was running for a state house seat, I could NOT run a Libertarian campaign, in contrast to Barr’s “medical marijuana” stance. Why, because the War on Drugs is waged on the street of every locality in America, not the Capitol or the White House. The War on Drugs with all the violence and repercussions is very real across the cities and towns of America. I want to end this violence. Barr, as the LP nominee would be a counterproductive impact on such a campaign.

    From the local party and candidate perspective, Barr would be very bad for the LP.

  26. Robert Milnes Says:

    New Federalist, thank you for making my case.

  27. John C. Jackson Says:

    Ok. I know not to put too much trust in “the media”, BUT according to everything I hear/read the number of partisan Republicans is at an all-time low with many more Democrats and many more independents. Combined with dissatisfaction with the Republican administration, I am not so sure that the GOP is so likely to hit 50%.

    Then again, people managed to elect GWB- TWICE. So the hell if I know.

    I am not a fan of Obama, but I must admit I probably prefer him (slightly) to McCain ( in a lesser of 2 evils gun to the head type scenario). Nothing surprises me, but the number of racist idiots is a little eye-opening at times. I don’t understand how ( supposedly) such a high % of Dems would vote for McCain based almost entirely on race. But I could see it happening, especially as “bi-partisan” as McCain is.

    Not to be too much of an “elitist” but the #1 reason I don’t think Libertarians will ever have electoral success is intelligence/reasoning of the typical “voter.” When such a large % of people vote on things like flag pins, names, and fear-mongering..well, you know.

  28. disinter Says:

    Then again, people managed to elect GWB- TWICE.

    I am not entirely certain that he actually won either time…

  29. Laura Jenkins Says:

    The “celebrity” candidate.

    Look every race of a Green, Libertarian, or Constitution Party candidate needs a celebrity. And there are enough of them unemployed to have running and promoting positive political alternatives.

    One time candidates are fine. The real way to build a local celebrity is for a serious Green, or third party candidate to run every year for several years.

    We all know how the media largely ignores third party candidates. But even that disadvantage can be turned into a positive, if the candidate remains focus and runs year after year.

    The Green Party’s Howie Hawkins has done this in New York. The Independent Greens of Virginia have Gail”for Rail”Parker www.GailParker.us.
    Gail “for Rail” ran for House of Delegates in 2005
    U.S. Senate in 2006, Chair County Board of Supervisors 2007, and now 2008 U.S. Senate.

    This going over the heads of the media directly to the people, and building a friendship, a relationship, and trust over years. That is how third parties must build their own “celebrities”.

  30. Jack Jackson Says:

    Barr/Gravel would be the strongest ticket for the Libertarians.

    Ross Perot is clearly supporting Barr behind the scenes, with Russ Verney managing Barr’s campaign.

    Putting Bob Barr and Mike Gravel together gives two well known, and even widely respected personalities to the ticket.

    It means more media coverage, and awareness that there is actually someone other than just brand X & Y out there.

    The other advantage: with Gravel on the ticket there is the potential of fusion with the Green Party at that convention in July.

  31. Balph Says:

    Obama loses at least as many blue collar white votes for his stance on guns as he does for being black. And McCain wins many of those same votes for being the real deal militarily.
    ——
    Presidential vote totals are noise dominated. Branding from the presidential candidate is important. A party that nominates an ideologue who robotically applies the same logic to pedophilia as to marijuana sends the message that the party places ideology over common sense. If the party nominates a serious pot smoker for president, then the party sends the message that it doesn’t take the rigors of the presidential office seriously. If the party elects a nerd for president, then the party demonstrates that it is clueless about the fact that U.S. president is a leadership position. If the party elects a conservative, then the party indicates that it leans to the Right. If the party nominates a huckster in the lowbrow world of sports gambling who has televangelist hair and talks like he’s been to too many Tony Robbins seminars…

  32. JT Says:

    David Nolan: “Thus, IMHO, choosing a candidate in the hope that he (or she) will temporarily boost a party’s vote totals is chasing a chimera.”

    How choosing a candidate who people outside the LP will see in order to build the party? Unless the presidential candidate has shown that he or she can get on TV (more than once every few weeks), it doesn’t matter who it is. That person will be invisible.

  33. Robert Milnes Says:

    Balph, so what are you saying, you reach me by a process of elimination?

  34. Robert Milnes Says:

    Jack Jackson, now where did I hear that strategy before?...

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