Document:LP News 1973 March-April Issue 13
State LP's Active
After a three-month post-election period of relative inactivity, state LP organizations across the country are swinging into action for 1973, Among the activities being undertaken are membership drives, state· conventions, and the entrance of LP candidates into nwnerous state and local races.
OHIO LP is busy preparing to host the 1973 National Convention. Under the able leadership of State Chairman Kay Harroff, the Ohio party has grown to nearly 50 members, and has scheduled a major press conference to announce their plans. In addition to preparing for the National Convention (which will be advertised in Reason, Outlook, SIL News and Human Events; see enclosed ad - reprint and registration material), the Ohioans are planning a state convention for this fall.
NEW HAMPSHIRE LP members are working with libertarian state legislator Nelson Pryor to get the Liberty Amendment resolution through the. NH legislature. New NH LP Chairman is Bill Zebuhr, 6 Southgate Drive, Nashua NH.
HAWAII LP held its state convention on January 15; they now have 35 members. Hawaii LP produced and distributed 1,000 copies of a brochure entitled "Public Enemy #1 -- Government!" at a rock festival; response was good. Copies available from Hawaii LP, at their new address, PO Box 57, Kaaawa, Hawaii 96730.
MASSACHUSETTS LP Chairman Paul Siegler and National ExecComm member Mark Frazier were interviewed at length by the Boston Globe. Siegler and Walter Ziobro also had a 1/3 page letter in the Fall River Herald News, advocating de-regulation as a solution to the city's transit problems. Bay State LP now has about 60 members.
NEW JERSEY LP had its state convention Feb. 24, and nominated John Goodson of New Brunswick as their gubernatorial candidate; the election is this year. Also nominated were Ralph Fucetola and Philip DeBlock, for State Assembly. Their convention, which was addressed by Murray Rothbard, received good newspaper coverage; one columnist noted that dissatisfied conservatives are turning to the LP for consistent philosophy.
ARIZONA LP also held its convention Feb. 24; about 75 people attended. New State Chairman is Nathan H, Stevens, 6417 N. 52nd Place, Scottsdale AZ 85253, A second convention, to hammer out a platform, is scheduled.
ALASKA LP held its convention Feb. 11; guest of honor was John Hospers, who appeared on nearly a dozen Alaska radio and TV stations, and spoke to a group of nearly 100 people (and that's a lot, in Alaska!). The LP there is actively supporting movements to legalize prostitution and is also co-operating with a secessionist movement.
TEXAS LP members were in evidence at the recent national convention of the National Women's Political Caucus; they distributed material by Lynn Kinsky, Sharon Presley, and Mike Holmes. Copies available from Georgiann Trammell, 3734 Drwnmond, Houston TX 77025. Georgiann has also been appointed Acting Secretary of National LP, to replace. Diana Amsden of New Mexico, who resigned for personal reasons.
NEW YORK FLP (Free Libertarian Party) has its state convention scheduled for March 30 thru April 1; about 150 are expected to attend.
MICHIGAN LP now has almost 100 members; their convention is scheduled for May 4 and 5, at the Pick-Fort Shelby Hotel in Detroit.
OKLAHOMA LP is fielding Steven Brown as its candidate for the City Council in Norman; this is a non-partisan election. Okla. LP is also working with other groups to set up an outfit which will pressure to have libertarians and conservatives included in cultural programs.
COLORADO LP is fielding three candidates for City Council in Colorado Springs.
CALIFORNIA LP, largest in the country (400 members, or 1/6 of the national total), held its convention March 9-11, with 125 members participating. Ed Clark, National Vice-Chairman, was elected State Chairman, with Ed Crane and Bill White as Regional Vice-Chairmen. Main project for the coming year: circulation of petitions to place on the '74 ballot a referendum making all legislation automatically expire unless re-passed every so many years (exact number of years not yet decided). Good idea; other states might consider doing same.
NOTE: California LP alone now has more members than National LP had one year ago!
X. MINORITY PARTIES IN AMERICA
There is a myth, continuously promulgated by our educational institutions and news media, to the effect that the two-party system is the ultimate political ideal -- that only cranks and madmen ever challenge this hallowed institution, and that third parties are un-American. Thus, the role of minority parties in our history is ignored, or where that is impossible, downplayed as uch as possible.
Nonetheless, the minority-party tradition is in reality very much a part of our history, and minor or "new" parties have on occasion had a very real effect on the course of political events.
Perhaps the most striking example is the rise of the Liberty Party (Abolitionists) in the 19th Century. In 1840, this group drew only 7,000 votes in the Presidential election; by 1860, this anti-slavery party had evolved into the victorious Republican Party, which supplanted the Whigs as one of the two major parties. The result of this upheaval was the abolition of slavery in the United States.
In the 20th Century, minority parties have played equally important roles. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive (Bullmoose) Party drew 27½% of the popular vote (4,1 million out of 15 million cast), coming in ahead of the regular Republicans. In that same election, the Socialists' Eugene Debs drew 900,000 votes, or 6% of the total. As a result, the Democratic Party candidate, Woodrow Wilson, was elected" President with only 42% of the vote; Murray Rothbard has described Wilson as "the biggest S.O.B. in American history."
Other minority-party candidates who have had a major impact on a 20th-Century Presidential election include Robert Lafollette, whose Progressive Party got one-sixth of the vote in 1924, Strom Thurmond and Henry Wallace in 1948, and George Wallace in 1968.
Still other minority-party candidates have played a role in our history by putting pressure on the major parties to adopt their programs. Notable examples are the Prohibitionists in the first two decades of this century, and six-time Socialist candidate Norman Thoma in the 1930s and 1940s .
And the minority-party tradition is far from dead. According to Congressional Quarterly, there have been no less than ninety minority party Presidential candidates in the last eleven elections (1932 through 1972).
Analyzing the vote totals received by these ninety candidates, we find some significant patterns. Of the 90, fourteen received so few votes that their totals are not given; six received less than 1,000 votes; ten received from 1,000 to 3,000; six (including the LP in '72) received from 3,000 to 10,000; thirteen received from 10,000 to 30,000; 28 received from 30,000 to 100,000; seven received from 100,000 to 300,000; two got between 300,000 and one million; three received between one and three million; and only one (George Wallace) received over three million votes.
These figures indicate that there is an invisible "dividing line" at about the 100,000-vote level. Below this line, minority parties are simply drawing votes from people who are already committed to the stands taken by the party; above 100,000, the party is tapping a broader pool of public dissatisfaction with the way things are.
Thus, in order for us to have a measurable effect on the course of national politics, we will have to build the LP up to the point where we join that relatively elite group of minority parties which can draw 100,000 votes in a national election.
Can we do it? In order to answer this question, we must look at the results of the 1972 election, as they pertain to minority parties. For in these figures lie not only the clues to our own future prospects, but the clues to the future of other minority parties as well.
The American Party, 1972 successor to George Wallace's American Independent Party of 1968, got 1.11 million votes for its Presidential candid te, John Schmitz of California. This is less than 1/9 of Wallace's 1 68 showing, but indicates a broad enough base to provide for its continued existence. The American Party was on the ballot in states whose votes add up to about 2/3 of the national total; thus, if the AP is on the ballot in all states in 1976, it could be expected to draw on the order of 1½ million votes, or 2% of the national total. If the GOP nominates a "liberal," and the AP can come up with a candidate as well known as George Wallace, their vote might be even higher. On the other hand, the AP may well continue to go downhill; the States' Rights Party, which drew 1.2 million votes in 1948, was able to muster only 111,000 votes in 1 56 and only 45,000 by 1960 (they didn't run a candidate in 1952). By 1964, the States' Rights Party no longer existed. All indications are that the American Party plans to stick around, however, and for at least one more Presidential election, it will probably remain the largest minority party.
The People's Party is not, strictly speaking, a party at all; rather, it is a coalition of numerous left-liberal parties which operate under various names in different states. Nationally, it is the successor to the New Party (two factions) and the Peace and Freedom Party (also two actions) in 1968. The four NP and PFP tickets (one of them a "no candidate" ticket) drew 110,000 votes in 1968; the 1972 Spock-Hobson ticket drew only 78,000. Nonetheless, this is a strong showing, since Spock was on the ballot in only ten states, representing about 25% of the national electorate, and Spock himself said that he hoped McGovern would win, thus deliberately undercutting his own campaign. Given SO-state ballot status, the People's Party could well draw upwards of 300,000 votes nationally in 1976 -- especially if the Democrats nominate a "moderate." If, on the other hand, the Dems run another McGovern type, the People's Party could find itself squeezed out between the Dems on one side and the more militant leftist parties on the other. Like the American Party, however, the People's Party is likely to stick around for at least another election.
The Socialist Workers Party is the most aggressive of the various leftist parties. Its vote totals have risen steadily from 8,000 in 1956 to 65,000 in 1972, The SWP also has a built-in source of funds; the former owner of the Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Company left the SWP the proceeds of his holdings in his will. SWP was on the ballot in states representing 50% of the electorate in 1972; given its militancy, it could draw upward of 150,000 votes in 1976, given 50-state ballot status. And since the SWP has been around since 1948, when the Trotskyite faction split off from Norman Thomas' Socialist Party, it is virtually certain that the SWP is here to stay.
The Socialist Labor Party has been around since 1892. In the last five elections, its vote total has hovered right around 50,000 (1972 total: 54,000). The SLP is going nowhere; SWP is getting all the new blood. SLP may plod along indefinitely, but has no prospects of becoming a significant third party.
The Communist Party is another loser. Its high point was in 1932, when it drew 103,000 votes. Last year, after years of being kept off the ballot in virtually every state, it managed to get on the ballot in states containing 50% of the population; it pulled 25,000 votes. Thus, at best, it might get 50,000 if it were on the ballot everywhere. Americans just aren't about to buy anything labeled "Communist" (although they may well if it's labeled something else).
An interesting observation along these lines: the vote for parties openly calling themselves Socialist or Communist has dropped steadily for the last 60 years. The best they have ever done is Eugene Debs' 6% in 1912; by 1932, Norman Thomas was able to muster only a bit over 2%, with all Socialists and Conununist combined drawing 2½%. By 1948, Thomas could draw only one quarter of 1%, and last year the SWP, SLP and Communists got one sixth of 1% between them. Duririg this same period, however, virtually everything the Communists and Socialists advocated in the 1930's has been done.
In addition to the five minority parties already covered, a number of others made the scene in 1972. The Prohibition Party, whose all-time high vote of 259,000 occurred in 1904, was still hanging on last year, it polled 13,000 votes. By 1976, it may well be defunct. The America First Party, on the ballot in one state, drew 1,743 votes. The Universal Party got 199. And others, such as the Loyal USA Party, Realist Party, and Geronimo Party, received too few,to even be recorded.
And where does all this leave us? What can we learn from these figures, and from our own vote totals?
Fortunately, there are three states where we can compare our results with those of two other parties (Socialist Workers and Communist) on a head-on basis. In Washington and Colorado, LP, SWP and CP were all on the ballot. In California, all three were write-ins, and all three waged organized efforts. These are the results:
These figures show a consistent pattern. Overall, and in each state separately, we received more votes than the SWP and the CP combined. In each case, we got approximately twice as many votes as the SWP, and three times as many as the Communists.
Above, we have estimated the SWP I s potential national total at about 150,000, given 50-state ballot status. This would indicate that we could draw 300,000 under the same circwnstances. Or, using the CP 1 s nationwide potential of 50,000 votes as a yardstick, we can estimate our own at 150,000.
In sum, given 50-state ballot status, we can reasonably estimate our vote-gathering potential as 150,000 to 300,000 nationwide -- enough to have significant effects. And this assumes that we do not increase public awareness of and sympathy for the libertarian viewpoint to a higher level than it was in 1972! So if we do what we are capable of, 500,000 to 1,000,000 votes are not beyond our reach!
You will note, however, that all of these projections are on the basis of 50-state ballot status. And to indicate just how vital this is, note that all three minor parties shown above drew only about 90% as many votes in California as in Colorado -- even though California is nine times bigger in population. This shows that being on the ballot multiplies votes by a factor of ten. Thus, striking down discriminatory ballot laws is our most important project. So if you haven't written to Senator Bayh yet, do it now!
BITS & PIECES
NEW ADDRESS FOR LP NATIONAL HQ
Effective immediately, all correspondence to LP National should be sent to Box 31638, Aurora, Colorado 80011, We are no longer at 7748 Lowell, Westminster, and letters sent to that address will be delayed or lost.
NEW BROCHURE AND BUTTON IN STOCK
At long last, we now have available a new LP Recruiting Brochure, which replaces both the old "Break Free" campaign brochure and the blue Membership Application. This is an attractive, high-quality brochure with a built-in Membership Application, and is listed on the enclosed Order Form. Also listed are our new "Declare Your Independence" buttons. Items not listed on the Order Form are no longer available.
ABOUT OUR "NEW LOOK"
The striking graphics on our new brochures, buttons, bumperstickers and stationery are the work of John James, a talented young designer who also happens to be the Vice-Chairman of the Colorado LP. Anyone who could use John's talents, for a very reasonable fee, can reach him through LP National.
"WHAT IS LIBERTARIANISM?"
That's the title of a very well-written new 20-page booklet by Antony C. Sutton of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. This is an excellent introductory piece for use in educating potential recruits and media people. Available for 50¢ through most state LP organizations (do not order from LP National).
"LAISSEZ FAIRE" STICKERS AVAILABLE
You can now get self-adhesive circular "LAISSEZ FAIRE" stickers, 1¼" in diameter, from the Ohio LP. These are in the same design as our famous buttons, printed in blue on white paper. 100/$1; 500/$3; 1,000/$5; 5,000/$20 from Ohio LP, 22125 Libby Road # 102-I, Bedford Heights, OH 44146. Buy a bunch to put on your Income Tax forms.
NATIONAL TAX PROTEST DAY
Saturday, April 14, will witness a series of nationwide anti-tax demonstrations. Over 100 local groups are expected to participate. If you are not already in on this, write to SIL, 304 Empire Building, Philadelphia PA 19107 for information on how to participate. This will be an excellent opportunity to hand out literature promoting the LP, and also the Liberty Amendment (see last issue of LP NEWS). Order LP and LA material now to be prepared.
OUTLOOK MATERIAL ENCLOSED
Enclosed for your convenience is material from Outlook, the number-two magazine in the libertarian movement. Why not subscribe?
325 MORE HOSPERS-NATHAN VOTES UNEARTHED
Last month, we reported that a total of 4,466 votes for the 1972 LP ticket had been found. Since then, we have learned of 89 in New Jersey, 85 in Oregon, 54 in Michigan, 39 in Florida, 35 in Minnesota, and 23 in Georgia. These bring the known tallied total to 4,791, At this point, we are sure that over 5,000 H-N votes were cast.
KARL BRAY IS NEWEST LIFE MEMBER
TAX RESISTERS MULTIPLY
The number of people battling IRS tyranny continues to rise. A is A News (9730 Hyne Road, Brighton MI 48119; $5/yr and well worth it) reports the formation of the Committee for Equality and Justice, 6305 Camino Ocho SW, Albuquerque NM 87110. This outfit, led by Malcolm Dillon, is challenging the Constitutionality for the Federal Income Tax. The National Observer for 3-10-73 contains an article on tax fighters Phil and Sue Long of Bellevue, Washington. And in Utah, the Taxpayers Legal Defense Fund has been formed to aid John Grismore, another victim of the IRS (TLDF's address: 1644 Laird Ave, SLC Utah 84105). Karl Bray is on their Board of Advisors. In San Diego, a Federal Kangaroo Court found the San Diego Ten guilty of "rescuing siezed property" and imposed probation and levied fines on the hapless defendents. Public sentiment is turning against the tax extortionists of the IRS; be sure to take advantage of this, by participating in the National Tax Protest Day activities.
LIBERTARIAN MUCK-RAKING TASK FORCE FORMING
Libertarian activists at Harvard University announced just before press time that financial backing has been pledged for a major muck-raking investigation into HEW and HUD this summer. The project is the first step in the creation of a permanent "Nader's Raiders" style libertarian outfit in Washington ... if enough libertarians can be found to make the whole thing feasible. Anyone interested in participating (on a living-expenses-only basis) should contact the project's initiators immediately, as a minimum of six people are needed to launch the undertaking. The Task Force will be directed by A. Ernest Fitzgerald, who was purged from a gov't post after revealing $2,5 billion cost over-runs in the C-5A program, and will hopefully produce a major report for release this fall. For details, write Libertarian Task Force, Lowell House D-51, Harvard University, Cambridge MA 02138; or phone Larry Siskind (617) 498-2927.
Declare Your Independence