Vote with pride, fellow Americans.
Kasey Cross in 500 Words On Mar 22, 2016 in the Odyssey Online approved for print by K Cross
This November will be my first election that I can vote in, and I’ve already got my candidate picked out.
I’m not a Trump supporter, I’m not vying for Hillary, and I’m definitely not “feeling the Bern” (which, by the way, is a tagline that really just makes me think of a bad UTI). I’m supporting a third party candidate.
Ultimately, the response that I get when I tell others I’m voting third party is that I’m “wasting” my vote. To all my third party friends who are getting the same backlash: don’t listen to them. You’re vote isn’t wasted, and I’m about to tell you why.
To all my political bullies: you’re wrong, and I’m about to tell you why.
1. “A vote for a lesser evil is still a vote for evil.”
A good friend of mine once told me this, and it’s my go-to response for anyone trying to tell me my vote is a waste. If you want to vote for Trump because you truly believe he’s good for this country, you go right on ahead. Vote with confidence and vigor, as all Americans should. But don’t vote for Trump just because you “don’t really like him but he’s better than Hillary.” Think of it this way: Voldemort and Dolores Umbridge are running for president. Voting for Trump because you don’t like Hillary is essentially voting for Voldemort because you don’t like Umbridge. Congratulations, you just voted to become a Death Eater and watch the world burn. You really don’t have to do that though, because conveniently Dumbledore is running as a third party candidate, and would voting for Dumbledore be a wasted vote?
2. A vote for a candidate you believe in is never wasted.
Back up to point number one, when I said if you’re voting for Trump because you believe in him then it’s okay. A little anecdote: when I was fourteen and learning about government (shoutout to the lovely Ms. Mion of Northside High School) I promised my future self I would always vote. Lots of people around the world would kill for my right to vote (and do) and I promised 18-year-old me that no matter what I believed I would still vote. And I don’t do anything half-assed. The point is this: even if the government is horrendously corrupted, and the Electoral College will probably screw you over in the end, take advantage of your right to vote and do it with some class. Do your research, find a candidate that, if they won, you think would change the country for the better. Vote for them. At the end of the day you can sleep soundly knowing you took advantage of the right that our forefathers fought so bravely for. You go to church because you believe it’s good for you, you eat your vegetables because you believe they’re good for you– why not vote for a candidate because you believe they’re good for everyone?
3. You may have more in common with a third party candidate than you think.
My candidate of choice (and I promise I’ll reveal him later, for those of you who haven’t read my articles before) once said he started running to get people talking. The more we talk about the third party candidates, the more we find out that we stand together on many of the same issues. Libertarians, for example, are fiscal conservatives, social liberals, and non-interventionists. The Georgia Libertarian party tagline is “Smaller government. Less taxes. More freedom.” Who can’t get behind that?
4. Vote third party and bring down the power Democrats and Republicans hold over everyone.
Let’s face it: the candidates for both parties this election are, in a word, dreadful. Sure there’s Bernie and Trump, who can do no wrong among their staunch supporters, but the fact is that they’re both extremists. And the Electoral College doesn’t like voting for extremists. Then there’s Hillary, Cruz, Carson, and Kasich—the more watered-down counterparts of Trump and Bernie. The beauty of voting third party is that when more people do it, the party will win more and more of the popular vote. In the future, third-party candidates could be allowed to debate alongside partisan politicians, and get just as much recognition as the democrats and republicans. And for the voters that means more choices. Say goodbye to the annoying “I hate all of the candidates” posts. Say goodbye to having your vote dictated for you. *happy dance*
5. How dare you tell me I’m wasting my vote?
This last point is frankly just about human decency. Let’s just reflect for a moment on how you’d feel if I told you that your vote was a waste. Let’s think about how ugly it sounds to tell someone that they shouldn’t vote for a candidate they support because “they’re never going to win anyway.” Those who truly believe a third party candidate will never get elected are the reason for two horribly corrupted parties. And anyway, who are you to say if my vote “counts” or not? I don’t see you in the Electoral College.
So folks, go on and vote for whomever you want, because if you truly support them then no vote is wasted. And please remember be kind to your fellow voters, they’re exercising their rights just like you—and it totally counts.
Oh yeah, the guy I’m supporting? Gary Johnson. Stay tuned for an article next week on Gary’s stance on “the issues.” In the meantime, here’s one to tide you over.
By Zach Boyle published in Being Libertarian March 23, 2016
One problem I believe facing Libertarians is where they are focusing their reach. Instead of vying to be a regional force, they are trying to grow too big, too fast. While I understand some states make it so third parties must field presidential and congressional candidates to get on the ballot, I believe the state parties should focus on local and state candidates, since those are where delegates and talent are grown. While you don’t have to solely focus on mayors and county boards, you should probably limit your resources to state representatives, as your ground game would be easy in many states. If you have a decent amount of volunteers, but not a crazy amount, you could feasibly phone-bomb most of the people in the district. If the office is a more local position or is in a rural area, it might not be expensive to have a shot at winning simply if you were to pass out inexpensive fliers. Add in town halls and free media and you could be talking double digits for local positions.
Another tactic for Libertarians to try if fellow libertarians fail to mount local attempts, is to form local parties. While many people may not rally around someone because of school choice or economic free trade zones, as it is harder to link either with national vitality, local parties (“X state First” policies) would be able to directly link them to the health of their state, not only for the fact the policies work, but the marketing has been “stolen” so to speak. The appeal to emotion would be huge.
While some social issues should be thrown in to keep it interesting, controversial issues should be avoided in the platform, like prostitution or abortion, but not banned from the discussion. Fiscal issues should then take center stage, as well as issues of personal choice, such as no-fault insurance, privacy, and school choice. Fiscal issues could include lowering or eliminating the state income tax, encouraging legal tender by creating a development bank that could create gold-backed money, repealing occupational licensing, and other such measures. In some states, it could gain popular support from general populists.
One key area libertarians should invest in is get-out-the-vote (GOTV). There are many disillusioned individuals who just need a nudge to be able to vote with a clear conscience. This is where GOTV comes in and creates a strong third or second place, or if you are lucky, first place. But the fact is that there are thousands if not millions of people that are simply fed up with the current slate of candidates. If, for instance, you look at the evangelical vote alone, there were millions that sat home in 2012 and did not vote for Mitt Romney. While some of their reasons were petty, I imagine many were tired of seeing moderates clinch the GOP nomination. With some effort and coordination, it is possible to capture partially fiscally conservative votes to the LP. I believe the return on investment in GOTV would be huge, but one that is not widely talked about by the LP.
So, to summarize, libertarians, and in general, the Libertarian Party, need to create “safe spaces” for libertarianism to thrive. Areas like Minnesota (history of independent voting) and on a smaller scale smaller communities would be more receptive to these strategies. If the national Libertarian Party were to focus more of its resources on hyper-competitive markets and invest in GOTV and other measures, I believe the LP could win.
by Kimberly McCurry
Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico wins 2016 Michigan Straw Poll for the Libertarian Party
Delegates from throughout Michigan gathered in Berkley, Michigan this past Saturday for their quadrennial Straw Poll of support for candidates seeking the nomination of the Libertarian Party for President of the United States. Six candidates vied for their support. Delegates could donate to as many candidates as they choose up to the campaign finance limit.
Businessman and former two-term governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson was the run-away choice for voters, who in this one-of-a-kind event donated campaign dollars as “votes”. Only members of the Libertarian Party of Michigan were permitted to make donations, but anyone was allowed to come and listen.
The combined 4-digit fundraiser showed the growing support for Libertarian candidates, who hope to provide sensible alternatives in this unusually divisive presidential campaign season.
Mr. Johnson received 65% of the vote in a six-way contest which included publisher and media production manager Austin Petersen of Missouri (16%), and news media personality Darryl Perry of New Hampshire (7%). Anesthesiologist Marc Feldman of Ohio, software pioneer John McAfee, and new-age activist Joy Waymire of California also finished in single percentage digits.
Marc Feldman, while trailing in dollar volume, inspired delegates with his $5 campaign and off-beat humor which conjured the broad support model seen this year by Senator Bernie Sanders. While offering a very different vision of government than the Vermont Senator, Mr. Feldman agrees that money has bought influence at all levels of government. Feldman only trailed Johnson by one in the number of delegates contributing to his campaign.
Since 2004, the Libertarian Party of Michigan has led the nation with its unique “put up or shut up” campaign fundraising event. It has served as a bellwether of success at the LPUSA national convention – with every eventual nominee participating in previous Michigan Straw Polls. Gary Johnson was also the winner of the 2012 event – and went on to earn the nomination of the Libertarian Party that year.
By Committee Chair Bill Gelineau
Michigan LP members from throughout the state gathered in Berkley on March 19th for our quadrennial Straw Poll of support for candidates seeking the nomination of the Libertarian Party for President of the United States. Six candidates vied for our support. Members could donate to as many candidates as they wish up to the campaign finance limit.
This year’s event was a great success due to the enthusiasm and organization of the team. There were huge challenges to make it all work.
At one point, we had 8 candidates committed to participation in the event – in the last week, 3 of the candidates pulled out of the event – with only one of those choosing to send a representative.
Nonetheless, we had a great turnout of over 50 activists – as well as a number of guests and representatives of campaigns. The spirit and generosity of the activists present made for a really exciting event. 6 new members joined – and many new faces found their way to their first Libertarian Party of Michigan event.
Many thanks to our credentials team for helping keep it all straight. Andrew Hall, Emily Salvette, and Jason Brandenburg coordinated the membership certification and signed up new members. The food (including ample soda and beer) was organized by Jim Fulner and his team from the LP of Oakland, Wayne, and Genesee:
Apparently, it’s a real task to cook sloppy joes in batches for 50 – but Jim and his team did it well. Everyone had a good time while enjoying the presentations.
Marc Feldman, an anesthesiologist and our current Region 3 representative to the National Committee, was the one “live” presidential candidate. He inspired delegates with his $5 campaign and off-beat humor which conjured the broad support model seen this year by Senator Bernie Sanders. While offering a very different vision of government than the Vermont Senator, Mr. Feldman agrees that money has bought influence at all levels of government.
According to the rules, only candidates present were permitted to make presentations. After introducing the other 6 representatives, members were able to interact with Mr. Feldman and the representatives of the campaigns. Many questions were asked and answered.
See the Press Release for More
by George Phillies – Continued from March
Your Monthly Step:
Last month, I described finding a board or office, or perhaps two of them, that you found interesting. If you are following this path you’ve done some reading on what the board does, attended a meeting if you could, and tried to learn what they were doing. Now you have to ask: Can you get involved in what you are seeing? Could you be effective if you got involved?
Many appointed boards have terms. If there are no vacancies waiting to be filled, and the next vacancy is well in the future, becoming an appointed member is not a possibility. If you are looking at an elected board, you need to see the election schedule. That’s the full schedule, not when election day happens. There is some date at which you have to file papers, can first take out nominating petitions, or whatever, and you need to be prepared well before then.
You also need to ask yourself if you can do reasonably well by being a member of the board you are watching. If most of the topics the board treats are beyond your depth, you might be elected to the board at some future date, but you are at risk of doing a bad job, which is not goof for your olitical future. Remember, though, most boards are composed of regular people not much different from you; if they can do well, you can, too. Your next step, then is to decide if you have found a good board, and to find out how you might get onto the board. If either answer is in the negative, you need to stop and try again.
Oh, yes, in some small towns in parts of America, there are lots of minor elective posts, like Cemetery Commissioner. Some of those jobs may be vacant. Alas, it is only in small towns that these posts exist; for many Americans, this alternative route to elective office is not available. The step you heard this month is more an introspective step than a do-something step. It’s better to take this step now, rather than trying to get involved in your local government in a way that will not work, at least for you, and possibly waste months and months of your time.
State-imposed wages lead to unnecessary extra costs for taxpayers
By Phil Von Schlosser as originally published in Michigan Capitol Confidential 12/22/15
In Michigan, government entities, such as school districts, must pay all contractors union wages for construction projects — the so-called prevailing wage. This wage rate is established by the state and is based on wages collectively bargained for by unions in the region where the construction work is being done. Market wages set by open competition are explicitly forbidden. The law was first enacted in 1965 when a much larger portion of Michigan’s construction force was unionized, but today, in the construction industry, only one-fifth of workers belong to labor unions.
In other words, when companies bid on government construction jobs, a one-fifth minority now effectively sets the wages for the entire industry. It may have been plausible to argue these wages were “prevailing” many decades ago, but today, the law’s title is nothing short of a misnomer. In fact, only six states still set state construction wages in such a manner. It is time for this archaic law to go.
Basic economics predicts the consequences of such a law. A market’s pricing mechanism reveals relative scarcity and sends pricing signals via supply and demand, promoting the most efficient allocation of resources. Price- and wage-control laws prevent such equilibria by imposing an artificial ceiling or floor, resulting in deadweight loss. A 2015 study by the Anderson Group estimates that, from 2003 to 2012, an average of $127 million per year, or $1.3 billion total, was added to education-related construction costs.
Some argue, however, that government-determined wages are necessary to address social ills. But this argument doesn’t bode so well when it comes to Michigan’s prevailing wage law. Average construction wages are nearly triple the minimum wage — prevailing wage only pads the pay of already relatively well-paid employees, all at taxpayers’ expense.
According to a 2007 Mackinac Center study, the law artificially inflated construction wages by an average of 40-60 percent above market wages, increasing overall project costs by 10-15 percent. For example, in the Detroit metro area, the going market wage for electricians in 2005 was $30.83 per hour. However, when electricians were hired by a public school district in 2005, Michigan’s prevailing wage law forced districts to pay all electricians $46.88 per hour — a 52.1 percent wage inflation.
Higher prices tend to reduce demand. Michigan’s prevailing wage law, therefore, results in fewer overall construction jobs. Since government entities are forced to pay union wages for all construction work, firms that employ higher-wage workers are given an advantage. The result is a disadvantage for lower-wage workers, which places labor unions in a desirable position. Labor unions passionately defend this law, as it effectively forces taxpayers to subsidize inflated wages while protecting their members from fair market competition.
Fortunately, Michigan lawmakers are interested in repealing this law. Rep. Amanda Price introduced House Bill 4001 in January to repeal the law, and the Senate passed Sen. David Robertson’s similar proposal, Senate Bill 3. However, because unions receive a concentrated benefit from the law, they join together to lobby hard against it. And Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder also vowed to veto any attempt to repeal the law, honoring a deal made with state Democrats for supporting the failed road-funding plan, Proposal 1.
But there’s additional action on this front, led by taxpayers themselves. A coalition organized to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law submitted petitions with more than 390,000 taxpayer signatures; however, the coalition quickly retracted the petition after learning a hired contractor had duplicated signatures. A new effort is now prepped to launch. If 252,523 validated signatures are submitted by June 1, 2016, the law’s fate will be decided by voters in a Nov. 2016 ballot proposal. If voters approve, the repeal can pass without the governor’s signature.
However well-intentioned Michigan’s prevailing wage law might have been when passed in the 1960s, there’s little case to be made for it today. It is now costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually — and is certainly no longer representative of prevailing construction wages. Michigan is one of six states left in the nation to hold onto a similar law. As the state tries to address its fiscal woes and infrastructure, the opportunity cost of allowing this costly law to remain on the books is simply too great.
If you would like to submit a story for the newsletter please send submissions to: email@example.com.
Scotty Boman, Political Director
Libertarian Party of Michigan
Allegan and Lapeer County, MI – Libertarians performed better in the March 8th special general election, then did the incumbents in their primaries. The Libertarian Party of Michigan was the only minor party to field candidates in the special elections for State Representative that were held on March eight; they had candidates on the ballot for two of the three open house seats: Arnie (“Arnis”) Davidsons finished with 6.13% of the vote in the 80th District, and Tracy Spilker finished with 4.86% of the vote in the 82nd District.
In the Primary leading up to the 80th District special election expelled incumbent Cindy Gamrat earned 962 votes while Arnie Davidsons earned 1,424 votes in the general election, and expelled incumbent Todd Courser earned 415 votes in the 82nd District Primary election, while Tracy Spilker earned 1,154 votes in the general election. This was a notable improvement for Davidson who had run against Gamrat in the 2014 election which Gamrat won. In 2014 the total voter turnout was 28,086 as compared to the special election turnout of 23,229, yet Davidsons had only earned 1,003 votes in 2014.
Libertarian Party of Michigan political director, Scotty Boman commented:
The core TEA Party vote that went to the expelled incumbents in the Primary, and Libertarians in the general election was likely cast by people who believed there was more wrong with Lansing than the mutual infidelity of two legislators. It was the other things they had in common that motivated their expulsion and on going prosecution. The affair just provided the Republican Party establishment with a reason that could be sold to the public. Any use of public resources was negligible compared to the resources expended in the subsequent expulsion, special election, and on-going prosecution.
They attempted to take down the partisan caucus system in the State House. Gamrat was expelled from the Republican Caucus after exposing the loyalty oath members were compelled to sign, which secretly committed them to obeying the wishes of their caucus rather than their constituents, and Courser wanted these caucuses to be subject to the open meetings act.
On their websites, Davidsons and Spilker both expressed opposition to the secret legislative partisan caucuses and pledged greater transparency and accountability to constituents. With Gamrat and Courser eliminated in the Primaries, their core support base found the Libertarian alternative to be their best option. In an announcement promoting a live appearance by Davidsons, Stephen Young, Chairman of the Allegan County Tea Party, wrote:
The Republican and Democrat candidates running in the March 8th election for Michigan’s District 80 State Representative are neither fiscally conservative nor constitutional in their goals for Allegan County and Michigan… Arnie Davidsons is the Libertarian Candidate for District 80 and is the only fiscal conservative. -END-
March was a busy month. We had an election on May 8th where Arnis Davidsons and Tracy Spilker received over 5% each which is better than average for our candidates and we hope to continue this momentum into the November Election.
We’ve been not stop go getting ready for the Straw Poll at the beginning of the month which you read about earlier, and the following Special Delegate Election for National Convention. The Straw Poll was entertaining with Marc Feldman giving a great speech. After the votes were tallied we went into the Delegate Election where we elected 24 Delegates to the National Convention and 2 Alternates.
We have also been working on setting up our State Convention and have some amazing news to share in the next few days on this topic. For more information on this event please visit: https://michiganlp.org/conventions. Information will be available on Sunday April 10th, 2016. In addition we still have several alternate delegate positions available that we will be revisiting at the State Convention so make sure to check it out if you are interested. Make sure to sign up as a member by April 14th to participate in the voting and delegate selection positions.
Our Vice Chair and Political Director have continued reaching out to people considering running as Libertarians in the general election this year. We are looking at the political winds and do believe that we can make a difference this year. There are no real liberty candidates running in a large amount of races this year and we would like to provide those options to you. We do plan on having a training session at the end of April to help with paperwork and filing instructions. If you, or anyone you know, may be interested in running for an office at any level please contact Scotty Boman at firstname.lastname@example.org. The political director is even holding a small training session now and planning another one later for candidates.
We are still looking for more articles about legal proceedings, legislation, ballot proposals, and the libertarian philosophy. If you’re interested in sharing an information article please e-mail email@example.com. We are a volunteer organization so submissions are always welcome.
Kimberly McCurry, LPM Chair
March 19th, 2016 Berkley, MI – Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was the undisputed winner of a Straw Poll event hosted by the Libertarian Party of Michigan. On Saturday (March 9th) a near capacity crowd filled the Knights of Columbus Hall in Berkley, Michigan. Their purpose: Show support for the person they thought should be the next President of the United States.
Six campaigns participated in the event. Each campaign had a table at which a campaign representative (or candidate) would hand out literature and answer questions about candidates. Only Libertarian Party of Michigan members were allowed to vote. But this wasn’t a one-person-one-vote occasion; rather votes were purchased for $1 each with donations to campaigns.
One candidate, Marc Feldman, attended in person and asked that all but $5 per contributor be donated to the Libertarian Party of Michigan rather than his campaign. He gave a speech to the attendees before the ballots were cast. Another candidate, Bart Lower, attended, but joined the race too late to participate in the Straw Poll.
When the dust settled, one candidate had received more votes than all other candidates combined: Governor Gary Johnson who received 5,650 votes. Trailing far behind were Austin Petersen 1415 votes; Darryl Perry 616.04 votes; Marc Feldman 575 votes, John McAfee 230 votes; and Joy Waymire with 60 votes.
Michigan Field director for Gary Johnson 2016, Scotty Boman, was elated saying, “Emily Salvette was an outstanding representative of the campaign, and she clearly made the case for Gary Johnson’s nomination at this event.” Boman went on to say,
“In the long struggle by 20th and now 21st century patriots to bring a genuine alternative to voters we have never had a more qualified and capable champion of personal and economic freedom than Gary Johnson. If FairDebates.org is successful, the Libertarian nominee will be included in the Presidential Debates with the Democrat and Republican. If that person is Gary Johnson, those watching will have no trouble recognizing him as the most reasonable choice for President.”
Scotty Boman Michigan; Field Director Gary Johnson 2016; 4877 Balfour Rd.; 313.247.2052; firstname.lastname@example.org
This Release has been sent out as a volunteer action by Scotty Boman. No funds were required.