Libertarians are nut-cases and spoilers, right?
Except that in North Carolina, Libertarian candidates are actually surging, and some--like Jan MacKay, running for State Senate in District 15--are actually talking about strategies for (stop, wait for it) getting elected.
Here's an excerpt from a recent communication Jan sent to a number of supporters:
I received word from NBC 17 that they will tape me delivering a two-minute prepared statement. If they post a video on the internet, I will quickly send word. It will probably be taped in a couple weeks. Imagine that...mainstream media is actually giving Libertarian candidates an opportunity! The last time NBC 17 put me on the air was when I led a protest ride in opposition to mandatory helmet laws, which rode circles around the Governors Mansion on New Years Day! I have met with the State Employees Association. I am looking forward to going to a "Kids Vote" forum at the NC Museum of History, and will do everything I can to support a "violence against women" campaign on the same day.
We have a long way to go. In marketing, we learn that one of the things we need to do is identify and overcome the biggest objection. I have identified it as "electability". People want to vote for someone who has a decent chance of winning. They have never seen a Libertarian win an NC state senate race, so we have to show them what it looks like. In three way races, people do not want to vote for a "spoiler" candidate, because that opens the door for the greater of two evils to defeat the lesser of two evils. If a third party candidate can be seen as electable, this is no longer an issue. This is the problem Bob Barr faces in running for President. It is the challenge Mike Munger faces in running for Governor of North Carolina. It is the greatest challenge of any underdog in a three way election race. As such, I must get people to realize that despite my lack of financial wealth, I am not such a longshot. "Hey, it is a very real possibility that Jan can be elected!" If I can get 80% of the unaffiliated vote, and 60% of the female vote, I will be elected! I have to get them to actually envision a Libertarian in the NC Senate. Oh, what fun it will be to have full-time libertarian vigilance of the duopoly and the self-enriching games some of them play in Raleigh!
There might be some snippets for you at my site. One of them is about proposed offshore drilling off the coast of Cape Hatteras. This is currently a hot topic in NC news. North Carolinians kicked the fossil fuel energy barons out of Cape Hatteras in the 90's. I am urging them to do it again. The other is about manufacturing jobs. Instead of focusing on fossil fuel, I want NC to get bold and push hard to become a world leader in the manufacture of renewable energy products, with federal backing. The approach I would like to see NC use is to reduce the cost of manufacturing by creating an ecologically-sound network of local suppliers, significantly reducing the transportation lead time, with the result being lower inventories, and programs to allow state buildings, homeowners, and businesses to afford the energy products produced here.
Interestingly, my college thesis and term project was wind energy, and I actually attempted to build a small demonstration model wind energy turbine, using the type of friction generator which powered bicycle headlights long ago. That was thirty-two years ago! No, I didn't attend the same ivy league college as Al Gore! It is good to see renewable energy resources finally being considered seriously. It's too bad we waited so long.
In the next month, I am going to let people know that I am not just a civil rights activist and biker. Likewise, I am not a politician. Despite numerous visits to the legislative building in Raleigh, I am not a political insider. The only elected public office I ever held was when I lived in a small New England town. My neighbors nominated me and unanimously elected me water district commissioner, and chairperson, in an election process that lasted two minutes. This was during a time when we needed to overcome a long history of differences in order to merge water districts. The result was a complete success. In Wake County, and North Carolina, we have been experiencing extreme drought conditions. We have a choice of either doing a rain dance or recognizing this problem as extreme and not going away on its' own. Deforestation in order to support overpopulation will make rainfall deficits and worse. We have already seen disastrous conditions for farmers and an effect on the general population. The Falls Lake reservoir is mostly in NC Senate District 15. The once mighty Neuse River flows through it. Both are resources we must protect. My experience as a water district commissioner and environmentalist might come in handy.
I am also a manufacturing expert/business analyst/information technologist, with extensive knowledge of how the Pacific rim has been able to target specific industries to dominate, and has taken advantage of trade agreements. One of my opponents has expertise which is useful if we want to build apartment complexes for an already overpopulated metropolis. This is contrary to quality of life, as evident by drought conditions and traffic congestion. The other candidate knows how to make short-term financial gains from the stock market. I bring knowledge to the table which can get NC to think long-term, and become a world leader in manufacturing renewable energy products, or for that matter, any products, on a level that can compete against any country and put America back to work.
I'll be waiting to see how this plays out.