The Mythical Five Percent

One of the reasons that I have a hard time taking political libertarians seriously is because many of them operate in a fantasy land where the electoral process is fair and the only thing needed for another party to gain prominence is hard work. Take the Libertarian Party struggle to reach the mythical five percent of votes. Many political libertarians naively believe that if their party can get five percent of the national vote that their party will be granted federal campaign dollars. But that’s not how the political process works. Washington is giving us a glimpse of what will happen if the Libertarian Party ever obtains anywhere near five percent of the national vote:

In order to gain gain major party legal status in the state of Washington, the Libertarian Party needed to get 5 percent of the vote in the presidential race. As the final counting for the state dragged on for weeks, the state party looked on eagerly as it seemed they’d just make the cut.

And indeed, according to the public data on the Washington secretary of state’s website on election results, they did! 5.01 percent as of this morning for Gary Johnson for president in that state. Seeing this, Ballot Access News thought major party status was a done deal.

But you didn’t think the state would make it that easy, did you? This week, as later reported in Ballot Access News, the secretary of state Kim Wyman announced that the L.P. did not in fact qualify.

Why? Because that public total doesn’t include the sacred-to-Washington-process write-in vote.

This is despite the fact, as Winger reports, that the state has never even announced any counts of such votes for the past 24 years. But Wyman insists that including the write-ins will be done, and will dunk Johnson’s percentage below 5.

This is another example of the layers of protection that exist within the State to protect it from unwanted influence. In this case the write-in votes, which haven’t been counted in almost a quarter of a century in Washington, appear to be the layer of protection against the Libertarian Party achieving major party status in Washington. Once major party status is denied to the Libertarian Party the politicians of the state will likely pass a law upping the required percentage to 10 percent or more to protect against this kind of thing happening again.

Politics by its very nature is a practice of deception, lies, and changing rules. Libertarianism is an anti-statist philosophy, which means it will never achieve success in the political realm.

2 thoughts on “The Mythical Five Percent”

  1. May I suggest that instead of questioning the dubious nature of politics that a candidate, party*, etc present a strong enough position as to blow past the ‘layers of protection’. I’m thinking of an attitude and action like Puller’s when the Chicom overran the Yalu River.

    This past election cycle I read up on the L.P and came away confused. So I sought out some L.P. voters and found that among them they couldn’t come to consensus even on the base issues.

    Therefore, right or wrong, the layers of protection are not to blame as a discombobulated L.P.

    *party; I detest political parties as much as I detest labor unions. Except, in the case of the former the consequence affects us all to a much greater extent. When I cast my vote, I am voting precisely for the individual candidate or proposition, it is never the party which has gained my vote yet whichever way the vote goes, we are stuck with a party.

    1. The Libertarian Party is going to be discombobulated because they are trying to advance the philosophy of libertarianism which is at odds with statism (and, therefore, politics).

      It would be akin to members of the Communist Party trying to use capitalism to advance their cause. In the end, there is going to be a great deal of inconsistency amongst the members of that group.

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