St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Save the Libertarians in Missouri

While the Libertarian Party has been a fixture on the Missouri ballot for a couple of decades, its ballot status is in jeopardy this year. In order to remain on the ballot without a new statewide petition drive, at least one of a party's candidates must get 2% of the vote at least every four years (two election cycles). The party regularly met the 2% test every election for several years, until 2008. That year, none of their candidates got 2% in any of the seven statewide contests, perhaps because they had to share the votes of disgruntled conservatives with the Constitution Party. That means that Libertarians must meet that test this year or be off the ballot, and this is a year in which there are only two statewide contests in which they can qualify. Other contests (such as the 9th District congressional race in which no Democrat filed) don't count for statewide ballot qualification.

We need to help save the Libertarians by voting for their statewide candidates. They are Jonathan Dine for U.S. Senate and Charles Baum, CFP for State Auditor.

I don't belong to the Libertarian Party. They and I have a fundamental disagreement over the proper role of government, but I do like their civil libertarian and anti-war stands, as well as their consistent support for reform of drug laws. They also make positive contributions to political discourse. More manipulative types also believe that Libertarians siphon votes away from Republicans, but I don't believe any party is entitled to anyone's vote.

I know it's hard to cast a vote like this when it means not voting for your own party's candidate. That's easier when the contest is not close and your vote won't affect the outcome. Unlike usual contests for U.S. Senate in Missouri, this year's match between Robin Carnahan and Roy Blunt looks like a blowout. Moreover, neither one of them really deserves our votes! Dine favors the civil libertarian and drug reform policies that I like about Libertarians. His non-interventionist foreign policy positions are better than those of any of his opponents (including Carnahan) and, for that matter, better than the war policies actually put in place by President Obama. With the seat realistically out of reach for Democrats, Libertarian Jonathan Dine deserves our votes for U.S. Senate.

We might also consider Charles Baum for State Auditor. The state is best served if the auditor is from a different party than the governor. Incumbent Democrat Susan Montee was a good choice when elected during the Republican administration of former Gov. Matt Blunt, but she has turned into a lapdog for fellow Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon. That could conceivably make a case for Republican Tom Schweich (who, at least, is from the moderate Danforth wing of the Republican Party), but what happens if Republicans unseat Nixon in 2012? Since a Libertarian governor is highly unlikely any time soon, a Libertarian auditor would be an ideal check against any governor, be she Democrat or Republican. Our votes probably won't elect him, but we can sure help him top 2%.

It's hard to tell which Libertarian is more likely to get 2%, so I suggest voting for both of them. Then go ahead and vote for your usual party down ballot.


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