July 02, 2004

Michael Badnarik - 2004 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate

I am a very strong supporter of Michael Badnarik, and have been for some time. He is a Libertarian, seeking to reduce intrusive government and at all sectors, cut taxes, restore our civil liberties, and allow the personal and economic freedoms we all deserve.

His nomination is often called a Cinderella story. He campaigned for months on less than s hoestring budget. He and his campaign manager would travel the country in a dated Kia, staying in the cheapest motels and often walking out of restaurants for fear of cost. He taught an eight-hour Constitution class as he went, and used the proceeds to fund his campaign. He showed up at events, debates, and conventions. Everybody found it quite admirable but few thought he would win the nomination.

He did fairly well in online polls, but Gary Nolan won all the non-binding primaries. Then Aaron Russo stopped running as an Independent to join the Libertarian race - which he had been planning to do anyway. Eventually it looked like a clear Russo win with Nolan in second. The debates the day before the nomination vote changed everything.

Besides the fact that Nolan and Russo had longstanding dispute they couldn't put behind them, Michael Badnarik gave the clearest explanations, the best delivery, and the most charisma of the three. Nolan had experience and Russo had flamboyance, but Badnarik was intelligent, genuine, witty and clearly the most Presidential. He won because of the debate, because the next day the third nominating ballot gave him a majority of the delegates.

Now the hope is that after making peace with Nolan and Russo - who are from most accounts honorable men with genuine commitments to liberty - he will put their experience and strategies, respectively, to good use with his personality. Russo in particular had three great strategies: commission his own polls to show support for the Libertarian candidate, protest and civil disobedience outside the debates if they refuse to let the Libertarian debate, and a HEAVY focus on radio but especially on TV ads. This is a great strategy.

Spending on advertisements in Reason magazine or the LP News is a dead-end. Libertarians are going to know who Badnarik is and whether they're voting for him or not. The one who aren't yet supporting him will not be swayed in most cases by seeing an ad in a low-circulation magazine they read. Wayward libertarians will be attracted to the campaign when it shows real promise outside the usual suspects. They are cynical, they need to see some real action after the dismal performance of the Browne '00 campaign.

Getting TV ads out there shows legitimacy. They need to run ads in a couple states and maybe just specific markets. They should focus on swing states where Libertarians can spoil the state: New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, maybe Wisconsin, and perhaps Ohio. There are other states, but these are close states, and Florida and Ohio can very likely swing the entire election: making Badnarik the spoiler. Putting ads in these states, even if just in a few suburban, independent-heavy or pro-liberty regional markets within those states, can have a major impact on the legitimacy of the campaign.

Badnarik needs to run ads to show that his campaign is not irrelevant.

Further, he needs to run polls to show that his campaign has public support and room to grow. Russo's polls show that public support for a Libertarian grows into the mid to high teens if he is the only candidate against the draft or against the war in Iraq. There is clear room to grow, and the poll showed five percent were considering the Libertarian before assuming he was the only anti-war or anti-draft candidate.

If you support the effort to put Badnarik into the polls, please visit this link and register your support - consider making a contribution, as well.

There is room for the Libertarian to grow with very little campaigning - imagine what ads and hard work could do, especially in what is clearly a very close race. Badnarik could mean the balance of victory or defeat in 2004.

That's why it's critical that all the fence-sitters make a show of support for the cause, even if you have reservations. I have reservations and qualms about the overall effectiveness and strategy of the party for the last two decades as well. I am trying to improve them, but until that point I am strongly supporting an honest candidate that we can all bach. I ask that everyone put their hang-ups aside to vote for Badnarik in what will hopefully be a turnaround-breakout year for the party.

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