3 lessons for Gary Johnson and the Libertarians from the past - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

3 lessons for Gary Johnson and the Libertarians from the past

Updated:
Gary Johnson (© Gary Johnson 2012) Gary Johnson (© Gary Johnson 2012)
  • ElectionsMore>>

  • This time, Obama fundraising is a bit of 'Scandal'

    This time, Obama fundraising is a bit of 'Scandal'

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:04 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:04:43 GMT
    President Barack Obama is calling on Republican lawmakers to cooperate while complaining that they have "gone off the rails." He is also urging Democrats to get over their complacency and vote Republicans out of...More >>
    Fact met fiction Wednesday in one of those Hollywood ways: The real-life president of the United States complains about "phony scandals" in the presence of the producer and the star of a hit TV drama about indignity and...More >>
  • Nunn and Perdue shift to fall battle of outsiders

    Nunn and Perdue shift to fall battle of outsiders

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:25 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:25:13 GMT
    Now that Georgia Republicans have settled on businessman David Perdue as their nominee for the state's open Senate seat, the real battle begins with a marquee match-up in the fall against Democrat Michelle Nunn...More >>
    New Republican nominee David Perdue and Democratic opponent Michelle Nunn used the first day of the general election campaign to retool the "outsider" arguments they've used to reach this point in a race that will help...More >>
  • Senator says he had PTSD when he wrote thesis

    Senator says he had PTSD when he wrote thesis

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:04 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:04:12 GMT
    Montana Sen. John Walsh's thesis written for the U.S. Army War College contains unattributed passages that appear to be taken word-for-word from previously published papers.More >>
    Sen. John Walsh of Montana said Wednesday his failure to attribute conclusions and verbatim passages lifted from other scholars' work in his thesis to earn a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College was an...More >>


By Dan Meade

(WORLDNOW) -- Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's nominee for the 2012 election, isn't trying to get elected president this year. Instead he is trying to break the Libertarians into the 2016 presidential race by winning at least 5 percent of the vote this year.

In his "Be The 5 Percent" campaign video Johnson lays out America's current woes -- perpetual warfare, lost jobs, increased levels of bankruptcy and debt -- and places the blame not on Obama's Democrats or Romney's Republicans, but at the very idea of the two-party system. He ends the video by calling viewers to "do something revolutionary - cast a protest vote that counts." If Johnson carries 5 percent of the total vote, the Libertarians will receive federal funding for the 2016 election. This funding would go a long way towards allowing the party to increase their exposure and dispel the notion that we live in a two-party electoral system.

Of course, America's politics have not always been dominated by only two parties. Over the years a wide array of "third" or "minor" parties have dotted the national landscape. Some have been more successful than others, but each has a lesson that the Libertarians can learn from as they prepare for the 2016 election.

Here are three examples of how a political party can rise to, or fall out of, contention for electing a president.

Organic growth - The Whig Party successfully elected two presidents, William Henry Harrison (1840) and Zachary Taylor (1848). The party came together in opposition to the policies of Democrat Andrew Jackson and backed the "American System" -- a philosophy of building a strong country through public works, a national bank and protectionist tariffs. They had a core set of beliefs, powerful leaders like Henry Clay, were able to function on a national level and elected politicians to numerous offices in government until breaking apart during the build up to the Civil War.

The Libertarians already have the philosophy and a national network in place. Federal funding could help Johnson -- who has already said he will run again in 2016 -- rally the party into a more cohesive group and raise his stature on a national level. Enough votes and exposure could also land him a place in the 2016 presidential debates, which would enhance his status as a legitimate contender.

Growth from division -- In 1912 the Republican nomination came down to a battle between sitting president William Howard Taft and former president Teddy Roosevelt. Taft won the nomination and Roosevelt's supporters left the Republican Party to form the Progressive Party with Roosevelt as their nominee. Roosevelt's "Bull Moose" campaign ended up splitting the Republican vote, allowing the Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win.

Riffs and fractures occur from time to time in political parties. Most recently, the Tea Party has formed and operated from under the umbrella of the Republican Party -- had they broken from the Republicans and joined the Libertarian Party it would have made the Libertarians stronger at the expense of a rival party, putting them in a better position for national elections.

Grassroots opposition -- Originating in Kansas around 1890, the People's Party (or Populist Party) arose when drought and depression led to economic hardships for many people in the South and West. The party was involved in the elections of 1892 and 1896, but only marginally. The 1892 candidate, James B. Weaver, only received one million votes while their 1896 candidate, William Jennings Bryan, largely ignored the Populists as he was also the Democratic nominee. This dual-nomination, and the infighting that led up to it, hastened the demise of the party.

The Populists tried to harness the anger many citizens felt at the state of the country and ride that wave to electoral victory, but they could not control it. The Libertarians could face a similar fate if they are able to attract enough voters disaffected with the two dominant parties but are not able to unify them into a larger, stronger Libertarian party. Without a strong plan or leadership, no amount of funding will be able to help them win a national election.

Dan Meade is the Senior Editor for Worldnow. You can follow him on Twitter here.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: Dowagiac Police report missing teenager found safe

    UPDATE: Dowagiac Police report missing teenager found safe

    Picture of Daven Lamont Brown (Courtesy: Regina Northrop)Picture of Daven Lamont Brown (Courtesy: Regina Northrop)
    UPDATE: Dowagiac Police report missing teenager Daven Lamont Brown has been located by his family and is unharmed. 
    Police say the family noticed "an increase in conversation" on social media after news reports came out that Brown was missing. They say those conversations led to information on where Brown might be, and he was found by family. Brown told police he was with friends the whole time he was reported missing and neglected to tell his family where he was.
    More >>
    UPDATE: Dowagiac Police report missing teenager Daven Lamont Brown has been located by his family and is unharmed. 
    Police say the family noticed "an increase in conversation" on social media after news reports came out that Brown was missing. They say those conversations led to information on where Brown might be, and he was found by family. Brown told police he was with friends the whole time he was reported missing and neglected to tell his family where he was.
    More >>
  • Woman found dead inside her burning home in Middlebury

    Woman found dead inside her burning home in Middlebury

    Police are still investigating after a woman was found dead Wednesday morning inside of her home in Middlebury. When authorities arrived at the scene, her house had caught fire.Elkhart County Sheriff Department deputies responded to the scene on the 11400 block of County Rd. 4 in Middlebury shortly after midnight Wednesday morning. Inside the home, they found 69-year-old Lona Chutsch dead inside of her burning house.More >>
    Police are still investigating after a woman was found dead Wednesday morning inside of her home in Middlebury. When authorities arrived at the scene, her house had caught fire.Elkhart County Sheriff Department deputies responded to the scene on the 11400 block of County Rd. 4 in Middlebury shortly after midnight Wednesday morning. Inside the home, they found 69-year-old Lona Chutsch dead inside of her burning house.
    More >>
  • Fatal motorcycle accident on US 20 in Elkhart

    Fatal motorcycle accident on US 20 in Elkhart

    A 42 year old Elkhart man was pronounced dead at the scene of a motorcycle accident Sunday just before 11 AM. The motorcycle driver was driving his Harley Davidson eastbound on US 20, when he crossed the center line near CO RD 13. He collided with a vehicle traveling west.Police reports say witnesses suggested the man may have been driving around 70-80 miles per hour. He was found not wearing a helmet. The driver of the car had only minor scrapes as injuries. The Elkhart County Crash Investig...More >>
    A 42 year old Elkhart man was pronounced dead at the scene of a motorcycle accident Sunday just before 11 AM. The motorcycle driver was driving his Harley Davidson eastbound on US 20, when he crossed the center line near CO RD 13. He collided with a vehicle traveling west.Police reports say witnesses suggested the man may have been driving around 70-80 miles per hour. He was found not wearing a helmet. The driver of the car had only minor scrapes as injuries. The Elkhart County Crash Investig...More >>
Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.