One of the things I’ve encountered occasionally while behind the Libertarian Party booth at the County Fairs the last two weeks is “I think Libertarians should just run as Republicans and Democrats and change the party from within.” Here are a list of reasons why this is a bad idea and ultimately doesn’t work:
-Libertarians are not Republicans and Democrats. This is the most obvious reason. I could simply end this blog here, but I won’t. Time and time again, the two major parties has constantly rejected actual free market ideals, even if Libertarian-leaning Republicans win their respective seat. Libertarian-leaning people in Congress and Senate are either out-voted by the establishment majority of their party, or even (like Rand Paul), outright support the establishment majority shortly after criticizing it. Elder Republicans come from the Reagan-era drug war days and others are salivating over another excuse to bomb (aka “liberate”) another country. And now, more Republicans than not have sided with Trump’s tarriffs, starting a trade war with China, and the white nationalists have embedded themselves too far inside to EVER accept the “open borders” or “Ellis Island” concept most small-l libertarians endorse. Democrats abhor the term “free market” like the plague and, despite any criticism toward Republicans over their foreign policy, still endorse military interventionism, they just want a different approach. If you are concerned with the military-industrial complex’s hold on America’s wargames, it won’t end with a Democrat in office.
-Running as part of the two-party system does not shine a light on the core problems and policies that created the two-party system in the first place. Example: The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has a rule stating that any candidate to participate in their televised debates must have over $250,000 raised in their coffers to be considered. Not just to be in the debates, but just to be considered in their debates. This also applies to Senate candidates - which made this all too ironic when, in 2016, Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson wanted to debate Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Russ Feingold - you know, the guy who co-authored the McCain/Feingold act, supposedly to “get money out of politics?” Strangely we didn’t hear a peep from the Feingold camp about this requirement. Can’t imagine why - the two-party system doesn’t want to give voters a choice. This is why some people call the two parties a “one party system.” Just like how big corporations will regulate smaller competitors out of business to line their pockets, so do Republicans and Democrats - all the while claiming they are looking out for your interests.
Some states like Ohio require signatures equal to 1 percent of the last presidential or gubernatorial vote - which equaled to about 56,000 votes in the 2012 general election - to win party recognition on the ballot. In Tennessee for example, independents only require 25 signatures for Governor, but third parties actually require over 33,000 signatures to be recognized. Republicans and Democrats, though? Far, far lower requirements for signatures - or maybe even none at all, depending on your state. Just about anyone running for office will tell you that collecting signatures is the hardest part of the campaign.
Running as a third party candidate will expose these problems so we may start putting either market pressure on media outlets, or petition the government to lower signature requirements - or perhaps increase the signature requirements for the two parties to even the playing field.
-If a small-l libertarian runs as a Republican and loses (like Austin Petersen in Missouri’s Senate primary), that candidate will not be on the ballot. That means less choice for you, the voter, unwittingly putting you further in a situation to possibly hold your nose and vote the lesser-of-two-evils, all over again - and then ironically complain about how bad our election system is.
People want choice. A very simple question I ask people in person at County Fairs is, “Do you feel the two party system is working for you?” And I get the immediate reply of “No.” I have encountered people who don’t vote because they feel their views are not properly represented by the candidates shown, and are brow-beat by the two major parties to think any effort to make a change by their single vote will mean nothing. As it’s been said, the strongest voices in America aren’t the ones who voted for the winning candidate - it is the ones who didn’t vote. The Silent Majority. We can curse them and say “You don’t have any right to complain then,” but that’s not going to solve the issue. What’s going to solve the issue is giving people opportunity to have their voice heard on the ballot. This means making it easier for third parties to have ballot access, this means putting pressure on media outlets to pay more attention to third parties, this also means abandoning the two-party system and being a part of something that accurately reflects your views better.
Looking at small-l libertarian Republicans who win a race here and there, and declaring that they are changing the two-party system from within, is much like spotting a plant that found its way through a crack in a cement parking lot and saying "See? We can still have a garden, it just takes time." Instead, we should crack the cement open, and plant our own seeds. If you’re a small-l libertarian but vote Republican or Democrat - the revolution starts with you. Come join us at the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin, say goodbye to a system that has done such a toxic disservice to your county time and time again. We need you now!
Brian Defferding is on the Winnebago County Board for District 6 in Wisconsin. He serves on the Planning and Zoning Committee.
We had some great conversations at the Outagamie and Winnebago County Fairs over the last two weekends in Seymour and Oshkosh! At the Outagamie County Fair, 6th State Assembly candidate Mike Hammond showed up Thursday and Friday and spoke with people, followed with Lt. Governor Candidate Patrick Baird on Saturday. In Oshkosh, candidate Baird showed up again to talk to voters and formerly introduce himself. Winnebago County Board District 6 representative Brian Defferding stuck around and chatted with people both weekends of the fair.
People thanked us for being there, and interested in what we have to say and offer for the country. We are seeing people wanting a change with our elections and our government. It's exciting to see! All we ask is for is for voters to give us a chance. Next up is the Shawano County Fair on Labor Day weekend - Mike Hammond will need your help! If you would like to help staff the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin booth, contact Mike Hammond directly on Facebook. We will have a double booth space this time - let's pack this area with people!
Next up on our agenda is the Fox Valley Libertarian social hour meet-up. It will be at Sammy's Pizza on Commercial St. in Neenah, WI at 7pm on Wednesday, August 8th - that's this Wednesday. We meet up every second Wednesday of every month. It's an informal social hour, but if you have any business related things you would like to bring up, by all means please speak about it. We want to reach out to as many demographics as possible, promoting the concept of voluntary solutions, helping Libertarian candidates get elected, or work on repealing laws and ordinances in your local government.
Phil Anderson has returned from leading his youth group in Scotland and will be hitting the ground running soon for his Governor campaign. If you are interested in having a yard sign up, email Phil at email@example.com. They will be printing en masse yard signs soon! Phil also made some waves by announcing his campaign will be accepting bitcoin donations.
That's all for now - hopefully we will see your face soon at our meet-ups, but if you can't make it, don't be a stranger and email us at either firstname.lastname@example.org, or like/message the Fox Valley Libertarians or Winnebago County Libertarians on Facebook! Thanks for tuning in with us - lots of good things happening!
"God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it.” ~ Daniel Webster
Today we celebrate the Fourth of July, formerly known as "Independence Day." I say, “formerly known as" because July 4 may be a popular celebration but not so much for our "independence."
When the American colonies declared their independence and gained their freedom from one of the largest empires in the world, it was a momentous occasion. Ours was the first nation on the planet in which the individual was considered more important than a government. Furthermore, the government was restricted by a written constitution, so they couldn't make the rules up as they wished.
Today, we aren't as free as we once were or as we should be. More than ever, Wisconsinites love our country but fear our government.
The wisdom of our Founding Fathers was written down. The powers of the national government were designed to be limited and the ratifying states would not have approved the Constitution without a written Bill of Rights. Article Ten says quite clearly that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." What a gift that was! The problem is, we can't depend on politicians to honor it, even though they take an oath of office to do so.
If our state government is merely an administrative zone for Washington, what is the point? The Environmental Protection Agency is after Wisconsin power plants that burn economical coal fuels. (Where is the Office of Energy of our DNR?) This will increase energy costs for Wisconsin industry and other consumers. Wisconsin jobs and industries are threatened by trade policies imposed by Washington.
The Agriculture Department is issuing "guidelines" which may restrict cranberry juice drinks in our schools. Who should be issuing guidelines for our schools?Read more
Wisconsin is home to thousands of military veterans. Unfortunately, veterans have a disproportionately high rate of certain debilitating medical conditions as compared to the general population.
The Veterans Health Administration treats many of the veterans dealing with health issues with opioid pain medications. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to abuse, addiction and even fatal overdose. But, the VA and Attorney General Brad Schimel recently announced that they will give veterans a “Dose of Reality.” A rather ominous name for this campaign, and rightly so.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice may not know much about pain management but they intend to work with the VA to “give military veterans and active service members, and their families, the tools and resources to prevent opioid abuse.” They boast that the VA has made significant progress in reducing opioid prescribing. Unfortunately, the VA has resisted making all recommended alternative treatments available to veterans.
Cannabis has been found to help many patients suffering from conditions that can afflict veterans as a result of their service, including chronic pain, cancer, ALS, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorders, and phantom limb pain. In 2017 all major veterans service organizations in Wisconsin passed a number of resolutions on health care, including one supporting medical cannabis for veterans with a doctors recommendation. AG Shimel and Wisconsin government continues to ignore the veterans' position.
The Libertarian Party of Wisconsin will field 10 candidates on this fall’s ballot. Signatures for ballot access were submitted to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, and officially approved.
“We have focused on promoting good candidates across the state,” says Phil Anderson, Chair of LPWI. “I’d say we did better: we have GREAT candidates across the state.”Read more
LPWI: Mike McCabe joins Libertarians in decrying WBA Gubernatorial Debate criteria as ‘flagrant conflict of interest’
Today, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate and founder of Blue Jean Nation Mike McCabe joined Libertarians in calling out the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association regarding the clear conflict of interest of their gubernatorial debate criteria.
From McCabe’s Twitter account: “Broadcasters that profit so greatly from selling political advertising say money and polls rather than ideas and vision for the future should determine whose message is worthy of being heard. Do they know a flagrant conflict of interest when they see one?”
“Mike McCabe is absolutely right,” says Phil Anderson, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin and candidate for Governor. “The WBA criteria are clearly meant to favor those interests, namely establishment Democrat and Republican campaigns, that pour money into WBA members’ pockets during campaign season. The voters deserve to hear all sides in the debates- and qualifying for the ballot should be enough.”
The WBA criteria require, among other hurdles, that a candidate have raised at least $250,000 to qualify for their debate.
“$250,000 is an excessive amount. Campaigns that try to remain free of outside influence from special interests are disadvantaged. The WBA is not only not serving the public interest, they are putting the interests of actively corrupt candidates, campaigns and parties above the interests of the people of Wisconsin,” finishes Anderson.
“With another record year of opioid overdose deaths, Wisconsin eyes fixes” (Wisconsin State Journal headline, 5/9/2018) So, Wisconsin still needs a “fix” after all these years?
Does the State Journal (and other papers) simply re-write press releases put out by the Governor’s office or does a reporter actually have an opportunity to ask challenging questions so a news article provides some facts which might be useful for a reader to put the Governor’s words in perspective?
Governor Walker is, ironically, quite proud of his “Fight” on this government induced “health emergency.” His office has published lists of numerous bills he has signed, executive orders issued, and cites millions of dollars spent. There is a campaign television ad focusing on how he has fought opioids coming to a station near you.
Keep in mind that, last year there was only a 7% increase in fatal opioid overdoses over 2016 in Wisconsin. Emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased by only 109%, the greatest rise among sixteen states closely tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Wisconsin is #1!) Undeterred, the Walker Administration prescribes more of the same; more laws, more bans, more record keeping, more prisoners, and more spending.
Unfortunately, simply banning or restricting opioid prescriptions has had some unintended negative outcomes, namely increased use of heroin or other drugs with uncertified purity and potency. The Journal of Internal Medicine published two studies that conclude that medical marijuana (or medical cannabis) laws have the potential to reduce opioid prescriptions.
“Reducing the supply of legal prescriptions for opioids is pushing people into black market heroin/fentanyl abuse,” pointed out Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer, a Phoenix surgeon and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “The number one cause of drug deaths is drug prohibition. We need to change our focus to harm reduction. We need to change from a war on drugs to a war on drug deaths.”
Even though legislation was introduced in 2017 to permit Wisconsin doctors to prescribe safe, non-addicting medical cannabis, the bills never got out of committees. Wisconsin is almost surrounded by states where patients can get safe medical cannabis. “Wisconsin is open for business;” the pharmaceutical business.
Anderson for WI Governor: Ready to accept Bitcoin donations, via FEC Compliant BitPay, pending WEC guidance
Madison, WI, May 3rd, 2018 – Libertarian Party candidates are ready to accept Bitcoin donations, pending WEC guidance.
“We’ve set up a BTC donation portal, using FEC compliant BitPay,” stated Phil Anderson, Libertarian candidate for Governor. “We won’t use it until the WEC gives guidance, but we are ready, and confident that Wisconsin government can keep up with technical and financial innovation.”Read more
Things in our state capitol are not always what they seem to be. April has been no exception.
A bill described by opponents as an assault on free speech, democracy, and on our constitutionally protected rights passed the Legislature, barring the state from contracting with companies that participate in an economic boycott of a repressive, apartheid government, Israel. Opponents argued at a public hearing that the bill was dangerous and anti-democratic. [Note: Norwegian MP Bjørnar Moxnes has nominated the international protest movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions for the Nobel Peace Prize!]
On the Easter weekend, following passage of the Wisconsin bill, a thousand unarmed Palestinian protesters were shot, injured, or killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza. Where was the outrage?
There was no outrage. On the following Monday, Governor Walker signed legislation making it illegal for Wisconsin companies to participate in an economic boycott of what South Africa calls, “the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state”
Further doubling down on the anti-democratic theme of the law, it also prohibits state agencies and local governments from establishing their own policies on boycotting Israel.
“As governor, I will restore local control to counties and municipalities.”
Gov. Scott Walker on the campaign trail.
In contrast to his campaign rhetoric, time and again, Governor Walker has signed legislation into law which has either restricted the authority of local elected officials or imposed burdensome mandates on local governments.
The right to organize boycotts, to marshal economic pressure to effect political change, is protected under the First Amendment,” explains the National Lawyers Guild.
The American Civil Liberties Union has argued that a similar Arizona law violates the First and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution by forcing contractors “to disavow their participation in political boycotts.” Wisconsin taxpayers must now be prepared to pay to defend restrictions on civil rights in Wisconsin!
Human Rights Watch reports that fifty years after Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, “it controls those areas through repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights.”Read more
Madison, WI, April 17th, 2018 – Libertarian Party candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor call for elimination of the Wisconsin personal income tax.
“As Governor, I will do everything in my power, including wielding the line item veto, to get rid of the state income tax,” stated Phil Anderson, Libertarian candidate for Governor. “For too long, Wisconsin government has overtaxed and overspent, rewarding cronies and mismanaging funds. It’s time for the gravy train to end.”Read more