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beyond Poly-Sci 101

College political science courses are a good starting point for learning about the process. But as anyone with 10 years or more in any field will tell you, what they learned in the real world turned out quite differently from what they learned in school.

In politics, the academics still explain election results while the voting public still believes those to be irrefutable facts.

My experience has been different from theirs.
2012 gov election stats 1
First, their view of, for a relevant example, Montana’s 2012 gubernatorial race.

The Democrat received 236,450 votes
The Republican received 228,879 votes
The Libertarian received 18,160 votes.

The fascinating, to me, academic conclusion is that the Libertarian gave the election to the Democrats. That had it not been for the presence of Ron Vandevender’s name on the ballot, Rick Hill would be the Montana governor today… having won exactly 247,039 votes.

I have been all over the USofA in Libertarian Party conventions and conferences. Universally, when discussing how we arrived at our Libertarian perspectives, the stories are split almost exactly in half: 50% from Republican backgrounds and 50% from Democrat. We all moved from strong feelings about economic liberty, or from strong feelings about personal liberty to the logical confluence valuing both sets of freedoms.

From whence cometh this mythology that Libertarians “steal” Republican votes?

There is no logical reason to assume that the little slice of the pie granted the Libertarian candidate came from one side more than the other.

2012 gov election stats 2Far more significantly, when talking with people who intended to, or actually did vote Libertarian, I found nearly all of them chose between not voting at all and voting Libertarian.

Try it yourself.

Ask as many people as you like – at any point in the campaign.

Are you going to vote R, D, Libertarian or not at all?
What you would have found in 2012 Montana:
30% Democrat
29% Republican
39% None of the above
2% Libertarian.

What you will find today is going to be similar… with mostly the same people voting the same party…
though most of them will say “I vote the candidate, not the party” …
(it is just that, by amazing coincidence, their favorite color always has the good candidate).

Now for the all-important follow-up question. Of those who answer “Libertarian”, ask them which of the remaining would they go for if there is no Libertarian on the ballot.

It’s going to take you a large survey audience to get the real answer. I have had the good fortune to socialize in large groups of Libertarians. I didn’t have to survey thousands of people to chat with a representative sampling of Libertarian voters. You can believe me or do your own research, but don’t call it complete by asking people who don’t know.

So, in answer to those who view me as a “spoiler candidate”, I do intend to take a slice of the pie. However, I not only think my campaign is incapable of stealing votes from the big boys, I do not even want to try for them.

My target audience is the non-voter.
The one that is fed up with business as usual.
The one who sees nobody on their television worth so much as an [X].
That 314,903 Montana adults who in 2012 saw nobody worth voting for.

Ted Dunlap won’t be on the TV, but he will be on your ballot.

Poly-Sci 101 says those who don’t vote are lazy.

[X] Ted Dunlap for Montana governor says,
“No, I wasn’t lazy.
The reds and blues just didn’t offer me a choice I liked.