LP Monday Message: Candidates, don’t drop out!

August 16, 2010

Dear Friend of Liberty,

This is a special message for everyone, but especially for the over 800 Libertarian candidates running throughout America.

Candidates, have you been approached by Republicans or Democrats telling you to drop out of the election?

If any Republican or Democratic candidate (or their campaign staff) asks you to drop out of your race, here’s what I recommend:

1. Decide right now you absolutely will not drop out under any circumstances.
2. Send a description of your opponent’s request to me at wes.benedict@lp.org.
3. Call and email the local press and tell them what happened, including the fact that you absolutely will not drop out of your race, and shame on the other guy for asking.

I know this has been happening in some areas. I want to take your individual stories and compile them into a nationwide press release on this topic. If the Democrats and Republicans are going to use these sneaky back-room techniques, I want the world to know about it.

Every August it seems like Republicans especially, but also some Democrats and independents, contact Libertarian Party candidates and ask them to drop out of their races. The typical argument is something like, "I’m better than the other party, and you might be helping the other party win, so please drop out and support me. After I’m elected, I’ll see about a spot for you in my administration."

Don’t give in to these self-serving big-government hypocrites. Politicians preach about honor and integrity, and then have the gall to tell Libertarians to betray the people that nominated them and cut and run.

Republicans will always smoothly apologize for how Republicans grew government faster than they should have, but this time things will be different. Fool me twice, shame on me — and I’ve lost count of how many times the Republicans have tried to fool us on this.

Meanwhile, Democrats have kept fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, failed to end or even downsize the War on Drugs, and show no respect for civil liberties.

If Republicans and Democrats consistently acted according to Libertarian principles, they might earn Libertarian votes, and that’s with or without Libertarian Party candidates in those races.

But the fact is, Republicans and Democrats will pay lip service to liberty during campaign season, and then forget all about it once elected.

John McCain is one exception. He didn’t even pretend. He famously suspended his campaign for president in 2008 to rush back to Washington, DC to twist arms and pass the government expanding TARP bailouts, and he continues to be a huge-government Republican. John McCain is still in office, and it’s laughable to think he has changed his big government ways.

Fortunately, this year, Libertarians in Arizona have the option to vote for David Nolan, one of the founders of the Libertarian Party, instead of huge-government John McCain.

Two years ago, Republican operatives in Texas picked a few self-described libertarian-leaning Republicans and had them contact Libertarians to get them to drop out. While many of the stories are no longer online, Libertarians got a lot of press coverage over this in Texas by exposing it and standing firm.

Here is some of the coverage that’s still online:
Houston Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

What’s funny is, I don’t think there’s much reason to believe that Libertarian candidates "hurt Republicans." I’ve seen some circumstantial polling evidence that suggests Libertarians hurt Republicans more, some that suggests Libertarians hurt Democrats more, and some that’s about even. I think a lot of people just jump to conclusions based on their personal feelings.

The bottom line is, libertarian voters need Libertarian Party candidates to vote for. Win or lose, every vote for a Libertarian candidate sends the right message.

As Pat Dixon, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas recently wrote, "November will soon be upon us. I do not promise overnight success, but I do expect significant growth that will alarm our opponents, grow our influence, attract more support and investment, and influence policy. That will only happen if we remain on the ballot. Without candidates on the ballot, we don’t have a product to offer to the voters. Don’t fall for the promises of pandering politicians."


Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee

P.S. If you have not already done so, please join the Libertarian Party. We are the only political party dedicated to free markets and civil liberties. You can also renew your membership. Or, you can make a contribution separate from membership.