There are no elected Libertarians in Georgia — yet. Ridiculous ballot access restrictions all but ensure this. The psychological games of “you’re wasting your vote” and “you’re helping to elect the worst candidate” help our opponents maintain their ineffective positions of power.
One might be discouraged by these facts and feel that libertarians have no power, but that is simply not true. In fact, there is an argument to be made that Libertarians are a powerful political organization in Georgia.
Our power lies in strategy
How could this be true when we have no official representation at any level of government? Because libertarian voters are often the deciding factor for statewide offices. In runoff elections (whether we vote or choose to stay home) our votes determine the outcome of this purple state.
The question then becomes—if we hold this power how do we best wield it? The answer is to make sure that mainstream candidates know they are not entitled to our votes. If they want them, they must earn them. It would serve duopoly candidates well to not view Libertarians as inconsequential.
In a recent MSNBC news story (in which US Senate candidate Chase Oliver was characterized as a “spoiler”), LNC Chair, Angela McCardle, made it quite clear that Chase has earned every vote that he receives. Her appropriate reply was, “If Republicans fear that Libertarians are going to be spoilers, Republicans need to run more liberty-minded candidates.”
Although they use the term “spoiler” to ridicule Libertarians, maybe it is time to embrace it. Maybe it is time to agree that we will indeed spoil these unfair and biased elections—elections which do not represent the will of the people but instead feature establishment-chosen and curated candidates. Perhaps we should be the determining factor that ensures that politicians no longer view their positions as a gift which is handed to them on a silver platter but rather a responsibility that should be earned.
The strategy of our foes
It is important to note that the influence of the LP is becoming more apparent to the powers-that-be. Rather than appealing to these voters through better policy and choosing candidates whose views more closely align with the desires of those that they represent, however, the response for many is to simply make it even harder for divergent voices to be heard. In other words, pleasing their constituency is a less-attractive option than keeping competition off of the ballot.
Can we ignore that, as the LP gains momentum, the efforts to squelch the LP increase? The arguments for excluding the LP were that the organization was small and did not matter. We are now at a point where “mattering” cannot be denied and the powers-that-be revamp their arguments to achieve the same goal.
The fact that influential people are openly advocating to use political trickery to deny representation is, in itself, an indication of an alarming mindset of political entitlement. How can deliberately scheming to eliminate competition for political power be interpreted as anything other than an attempt to undermine the “democracy” they hypocritically praise?
How we move forward
Republicans and Democrats maintain their positions of power through crony relationships with big money and special interest. Libertarians will never have big money and special interest backing them: that would contradict the very nature of our political philosophy.
This means that if we want to obtain our ultimate goal (freedom in our lifetime) we cannot play by the same rules. We have to employ strategies that operate outside of those traditional methods by accumulating a toolbox full of tools that work in our favor. “Spoiling” races should be one of those tools.