Concord, New Hampshire, June 19: Libertarian Party of New Hampshire Presidential candidate George Phillies has filed his candidacy papers with New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner. “Being nominated for President is the highest honor a political party can bestow on one of its members,” Phillies said, “and I will do my utmost to show that New Hampshire’s trust is not misplaced.”
Speaking of the National Libertarian Party, which separately nominated a different Presidential candidate, Phillies said: “The New Hampshire Party has been collecting signatures for me since Spring 2007. Unfortunately, the people of New Hampshire in their wisdom do not permit political parties to replace their Presidential candidate. I was chosen as the candidate, and so I must remain.”
Truth in advertising: I supported Phillies for the LP nomination, and would have preferred him to Bob Barr.
That aside, Phillies' intent to take the money he's raised or invested in his campaign, and his willingness to campaign in New Hampshire represents a variant of a favorite son strategy that Libertarians would be well-advised to consider.
1. Not only isn't the Barr/Root ticket going to win the presidency, but it is not going to be able to campaign vigorously in every State; that's a trick that even the Demopublicans can't master with millions of dollars in slush funds.
2. In the last two presidential elections the LP has not managed to top roughly 2,700 votes; that's about one half of one percent in 2000, which was the best showing. On the other hand, in 2000 the difference between Bush and Gore was just 7,211 votes. If you add up what Harry Browne and Pat Buchanan received, you get 5,372. In 2004, the difference between Bush and Kerry was 9,274; the total third-party vote (Badnarik, Nader, Peroutka, and Cobb) was 5,012. Noting that New Hampshire went GOP in 2000 and Dem in 2004, if the LP (and possibly Ralph Nader figured in the total) can total somewhere in the vicinity of 7,000 vote, the third party vote could prove to be the critical difference between Obama and McCain.
3. Go back to number one, and remember what we should be trying to accomplish in 2008. If you presume that the cause of liberty is not advanced by the election of either Demopublican Statist, then the best outcomes we can reasonably expect are:
a) Spreading the word and breaking the 1,000,000 vote barrier (and, yes, I do know that no one but us will combine Phillies' NH vote with the rest of Barr's total).
b) Pointing out that third-party movements have moved up from being considered spoilers to holding the balance of power in multiple states including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Montana, Nevada, and others.
You know what I'd consider the optimum outcome for 2008? Barr/Root captures over one million votes, and third parties throw the electoral battle unpredictably one way and then the other, which will go a long way toward denying a critical element of legitimacy to either Obama or McCain.
Now enter Dr Phillies in New Hampshire, campaigning intensively where Barr/Root can't, and expanding the chances that one more state will become too chaotic to be predicted.
That is a good thing.