People are going to be pissed off no matter who wins this election and that is a very important social dynamic I believe is vastly under appreciated by the majority of mainstream pundits and analysts out there. This is also very distinct from the environment that prevailed in 2008. Four years ago, the financial markets were crashing and the economic future of America was circling the toilet bowl, yet a majority of Americans embraced the potential of a young, inexperienced biracial politician from Illinois who was saying all of the right things. Despite the gigantic disappointment he has proven to be as President, there is no denying that he had all of the Democrats and most Independents under his spell on this day four years ago.
Fast forward to 2012 and the county isn’t “divided” as mainstream media talking heads like to say. The country is pissed off. Genuine and legitimate frustration permeates the land from sea to shining sea and rightly so. Ever since the banker coup of 2008, crony capitalism has been institutionalized as the only real way to make money. If you aren’t connected or “too big to fail,” sorry but America isn’t the place for you. What makes the economic nightmare so much worse is that it is being coupled with a complete and total decimation of civil liberties. One by one the Bill of Rights is being ignored and indeed trampled on systemically by the political and economic oligarchs emboldened by their successful takeover of the executive, legislative and for the most part judicial branches of government.
– From the 2012 post: The Seventy Percent
The following data points are simple incredible.
From The Hill:
The Libertarian Party has seen a sustained surge of new members joining, with first-time registrants in May on pace to increase 20-fold over the same period from last year. New data obtained by The Hill shows that the Libertarian National Committee averaged around 100 new members a month last year, bottoming out with just 74 first-time registrants last May.
But beginning in early 2016, as the contours of the Republican and Democratic races began took shape, new membership began creeping upward to 148 in January, 323 in February, 546 in March, 706 in April, and now 1,292 in the first three weeks of May alone.
From 74 registrants to 1,292 in a year. While the absolute numbers remain small, that’s an extraordinary increase. Here’s what it looks like in chart form:
For the last year the Libertarian Party would get about 100 new members a month. Then, starting in January... pic.twitter.com/Bvu26wGUT8
— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) May 25, 2016
The Libertarian National Committee has also seen a spike in fundraising, bringing in $205,000 in April, its largest monthly haul since 2004.
A party operative told The Hill they are on pace to double that figure in May, estimating a $400,000 haul.
Those figures come against a backdrop of polls that find the two likely major party candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, suffer from historically low approval ratings.
The Libertarian Party will hold its nominating convention this weekend in Orlando.
Gary Johnson, the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, is favored to win. He was also the party’s standard bearer in 2012, when he won about 1.3 million votes – a party record.
Several recent polls found Johnson taking 10 percent in a three-way match-up against Trump and Clinton.
I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012, and I’m probably going to vote for him again in 2016. And don’t tell me that I’m “throwing my vote away.” Throwing my vote away would be checking a box next to a name I don’t believe in and have very little agreement with just to stop the other person. I have too much self-respect to play that game. More importantly, how has the lesser of two evils worked out for America over the past several decades?
Of course, it’s not just people with libertarian sensibilities who appear finally fed up with politics as usually. Liberal-leaning supporters of Bernie Sanders feel the same way (see Bernie or Bust), and many have pledged to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein instead of Hillary Clinton.
She could recently be found making a whole lot of sense in an interview with The Hill:
Stein, who was the Green Party nominee in 2012 and is the near-certain standard-bearer this time as well, told The Hill that the likelihood of Trump and Clinton being the major-party nominees “creates a very propitious situation for the American people to actually have some choices.”
She insisted that the majority of people backing Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, are doing so in order to keep Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, out, rather than out of any real love for the former secretary of State and her policies.
“How about we allow the public to view the legitimate alternative to that?”
Asked what she would say to a voter who was sympathetic to Green Party policies but feared gifting the White House to Trump, Stein replied: “The first thing I would say is that Trump was created by the politics of the Clintons. Putting the Clintons in power will only fan the flames. Hillary is not a solution to Trump; the Clintons are the cause of Trump.”
She added, “The second thing I would say is, ‘Don’t be talked out of your own power.’… We need a policy of courage, not cowardice. We need to bring that courage into the voting booth. To adopt a position of cowardice in the voting booth is to surrender to a predatory political system on all fronts.”
“You have got to fix the rigged political system,” she said. “If you only have choices that are funded by the big banks, fossil fuels and the war profiteers, that’s what you’re going to get.”
For some of my thoughts on Gary Johnson and the 2012 election generally, see the following posts published four years ago: