A surprising look at how the Libertarian party performed in the 2000 election

A surprising look at how the Libertarian party performed in the 2000 election

By E.J. Pagel

A surprising look at how the Libertarian Party performed in the 2000 election

Our team of U.S. House candidates won nearly 1.7 million votes, nearly double our record-setting total from just two years ago. Richard Winger, publisher of Ballot Access News said, “There has never been a minor party–or any party other than the Republicans and Democrats–that ever got even a million votes for U.S. House. I think it’s stunning!”

We accomplished this, in part, because of another record we set a few months ago–when we became the first third party in 80 years to run candidates for a majority of U.S. House seats. Our average candidate received 20% more votes than in 1998, 68% more than in ’96. This year, our average U.S. House candidate received 6,544 votes. That’s about 500 more than the average Green Party candidate; about 1,500 more than the Reform Party; and 2,000 more than the Natural Law Party.

Over 3.3 million Americans voted for at least one Libertarian Party candidate, making us #1 in total minor party votes. Ralph Nader personally garnered 2.7 million votes, but the Green Party’s other candidates didn’t fare so well. Including Nader’s votes, only 3.1 million Americans voted for at least one Green candidate.

More Americans still voted Libertarian than voted Green. We know of at least 30 Libertarian election victories in November, versus 18 for the Greens. We haven’t heard that any of the other minor parties elected anyone to public office at any level. Libertarians now hold 383 public offices, up 114% from four years ago. Over 200 of these positions are elective offices. Libertarians have twice as many elected officials as all other minor parties combined.

As of October 18, we’d raised $2.7 million. Our nearest competitor, the Natural Law Party, raised $1.32 million. The other minor parties, including the Greens, each raised less than $100,000. In the presidential category, Ralph Nader was way out in front, according to FEC reports (This was probably a direct result of the massive amounts of free media coverage he got from fawning liberal reporters.). As of October 18, Nader had raised $5.41 million from individuals this year. That compares to $1.25 million for Harry Browne and $2.29 million for Buchanan.

And, of course, Nader received $723,307 in federal matching funds, while Buchanan extorted $12.5 million in political welfare from the taxpayers. We may still have to contend with a billionaire candidate or media celebrity in the 2004 presidential race.

No minor party reached 5% of the vote to qualify for federal money for the 2004 election. That means that next time, no minor party will be subsidized by the taxpayers. We’ll all have to compete on our own merits. That’s good news for the Libertarians. We have the largest base of contributors, the most extensive network of state and local organizations, the most candidates and the most elected public officials of any minor party in America.

According to Richard Winger, we’re ballot-qualified in 25 states for 2002–versus only 21 for the Greens. That’s slightly ahead of where we were after the 1996 election. Meanwhile, in the wake of the Buchanan debacle, the Reform Party maintained ballot status in just 12 states–down substantially from 35 states after the 1996 election. The once mighty Reform Party is now tied with the Natural Law Party and behind the Constitution Party by 13 states.

We’ve added 25,774 new registered Libertarian voters since 1998, versus 17,748 for the Greens and 7,344 for the Constitution Party. The Reform and Natural Law parties actually lost thousands of registered voters over the past two years.

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