‘A case for a different Libertarian Party’

William Niskanen is chairman of the Cato Institute, and served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration. Trying to figure out how third parties could have more political influence, he offers “A Case for a Different Libertarian Party”:

The effectiveness of the Libertarian Party and almost all other third parties in U.S. history in promoting their policy positions has usually been counterproductive, because running a third-party candidate reduces the vote for the less undesirable of the major party candidates. A disciplined group that is prepared to endorse one or the other major party candidate in a close election, however, can have a substantial effect on the issue positions of both major party candidates.

Niskanin gives four conditions that have to be met in order to do this successfully, and admits:

Maybe it would be better to term the organization that I have described as a libertarian political action committee or a liberty caucus rather than a libertarian party.

See this blog for some comments on Niskanin’s proposal.

11 Responses to “‘A case for a different Libertarian Party’”

  1. ken Says:

    Another fact-free article, this time from a guy who owes his eminence to the LP.

    “Radical” and Liberal Libs are being appointed regularly and elected by landslides, and form coalitions every day. But many have left the LP since the LRC take over. nonetheless, they sure know a lot more about political negotiation and the actual numbers than this senile fool, or the LRC and LNC combined. And they sure won’t be told about behind the scenes action anytime soon, since they now can be relied on to mess everything up.

  2. Chuck Moulton Says:

    I don’t think the Libertarian Party and Niskanen’s ideas are mutually exclusive.

    Why not create a Liberty PAC and only apply Niskanen’s plans in districts where there are no Libertarian Party candidates? Then both approaches could be tried and we could compare the results in the competitive free market.

    I would be willing to help with such a project.

  3. scott broomfield Says:

    Two Points:

    1) It’s when a system breaks that real need for change becomes apparent. Maybe that is, finally, now.

    2) The problem with the Libertarian Party isn’t its message, it’s its marketing. How is it that year after year the libertarians have the best product and the worst packaging?

  4. Clark Says:

    ..niskanin, who, but another fucking republicrat idiot, gives a shit what some rotten ronnie reagan ‘economic advisor/’expert’—who couldn’t explain the origin, nature, etc. of even one dollar despite his hole agape frequently as to illion$—thinks?..

    ...but have a good day!..

  5. Stefan Says:

    The LP can endorse ant not field a candidate in a district when the Republican or Democrat is fairly liebertarian and it would be smart for 2010 to mostly only field on districts where the LP has a realistic chance of winning in a three or four party race. It is better to concentrate of a few districts and fund those candidates to the maximum, than have many candidates with little money among themselves. It would be good if the LP can field candidates with some name recognition in the area and use its strongest candidates for a district, rather than a candidate for senate or governor. Those that run for senate or governor this year have build some name recognition and should go for congress in 2010 AND organize in the next few months already.

  6. Ferenc Says:

    Normal Americans must vote for third or independent party candidates in their districk. We must send as much as possible Libertarian, Constitution, and other third party members to Washington, but dem. or rep.
    God Bless

  7. Kirk Mcquest Says:

    Sounds like a compromise of principle from the ‘party of principle’. Isn’t this really just suggesting that the LP join the GOP? As a Libertarian I could not support this, and I suggest that it is a slippery slope. I have little in common with the neo-cons that have taken over the GOP and I find that the LP is the only and last bastion of true liberty for freedom loving Americans.

    We have to gain support based on our principles and beliefs, not compromise our principles to gain support. Let’s not put the cart before the horse, stay libertarian!

  8. Buddy Coats, Jr. Says:

    I agree that we have right ideology and philosophy however, we have not done a good job of marketing libertarianism for the public. If we continue in the future the same as we have in the past, this party will go nowhere.

    We should not change our fundamental beliefs in liberty and freedom but we must package and market our ideas far differently than we have in the past if we expect to see increasingly larger numbers of people turning to the Libertarian Party for the answers that the Republicans and Democrats are not and can not provide.

    Please don not misinterpret these comments as thinking I’m suggesting we “water down” our ideas and/or philosophies. Never in a million years would I ever suggest that we change our ideas. How could we possibly change what we know to be right and good and effective just to “draw” more people to our cause? If we did this we would ring as hollow and be as empty as is the two major political parties are now!

  9. Josh Says:

    While I have my dissappointments in the LP, the case above is really say “don’t try if you don’t have support”, which is the old Catch-22, how can you have support if you don’t show some organization, or see what the difference is votes is? If numbers can be so easily predicted, one of the parties will pick up on it anyway.

    In other words, nothing a 3rd party can do that the 2 major parties can’t do better, other than attract angry irrational voters.

  10. Clark Says:

    ....dumbasses, ‘POLITICS,’ like nearly everything else, is controlled by ‘the people with the MONEY’..

    ...you see, “MONEY” is very important..

    ...but most of you folks are worse than ignorant about ‘MONEY’..it’s nature, origin, etc..

    ...therefore, i assert you are worse than ignorant about ‘POLITICS’..

    ...so maybe stfu and learn what a fucking ‘dollar’ is before working your cheesecake chutes too much about ‘POLITICS’...

    ...that felt good!..

    ...and have a good day!...

  11. Lojiko Says:

    Thanks you very much and go to hell, Mr. Niskanen. I’m in it to win it, not just “influence” it.

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