Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

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Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by bungobaggins on Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:26 pm

After this being mentioned in the main US election thread I thought it would be good to get started on this thread, sort of as a place to examine the third parties, discuss their platforms, put their candidates under a microscope. It seemed better to start sooner than leave it until the last minute. My political views have changed so much since I was a teenager, that I'm not sure what I really believe anymore, and I'm hoping this will help me see everything that is out there, or at the least become a well-informed voter before November.

I think the best place to start is with the three biggest third parties in the United States: Libertarian Party, Green Party, and the Constitution Party.

Starting with the biggest third party: Libertarian Party

Official Website: https://www.lp.org/

Platform: https://www.lp.org/platform

Preamble:

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.

Consequently, we defend each person's right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.

In the following pages we have set forth our basic principles and enumerated various policy stands derived from those principles.

These specific policies are not our goal, however. Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.

Section 1: Personal Liberty

Some things I like here, others are quite alarming.

The first thing that bothered me was this: “Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.” If you just glance at it, it makes sense. Yes, we should take personal responsibility for our actions, but if it weren’t for some government regulations we would have no way of knowing what we are consuming when it comes to food, and things like tobacco and alcohol. Don’t assume that companies would just slap that information on the product if they weren’t required to.

The section on Personal Relationships seems common sense and level headed, but does this sentence: “Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships.” mean that they would make no measure to recognize gay marriage?

It seems like they didn’t want to take a stance on abortion. The Self-Defense section conjures images of militiamen setting up explosives and machine guns in watch towers as a perimeter defense.

I like some of this stuff, but a good deal of it goes too far for me. There should be some kind of regulation for guns, we need to know what is in the food we’re consuming, or at least we need the information available to us.

The platform advocates for personal responsibility and not to aggress against others, yet gives any person the right to acquire any gun they want. If a mentally unstable person gets a gun and goes and shoots up a mall or a school they could prosecute him, but wouldn’t it be better to prevent him from getting the gun in the first place?

Section 2: Economic Liberty

On the section concerning Environment: they’ll leave it up to the free market to “stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems” though I think the more logical conclusion would be that the free market would chose what is most profitable, and not necessarily what is best for the environment.

I don’t like this: “Education is best provided by the free market…” I thought libertarians were more interested in public education going back to individual states that set their own standards, tests, etc. Which I kind of like. Public education should not be abolished.

On Retirement Income: I feel like younger people should have the option to opt out of paying in to Social Security. With the way things have been going, I don’t see the fund being viable by the time I get to retirement age (plus by then I’m sure the retirement age will have been raised to well past 70 years old). I’d rather take that money and put it into my personal savings, 401k, IRA, or whatever I want. Should it be abolished? No, it should still be there, but with an option to opt out. Obviously those that opt out wouldn’t be able to draw from the fund upon retirement.

Probably the most attractive part of the platform for me is on International Affairs in section 3. I’d like to see the US take a more non-interventionist route. Having done so in the past would have most likely prevented the current situation we find ourselves in in the Middle East.

I’d call most of these ideas too idealistic, and their reach (or rather lack thereof) reminds me of Sanders campaign. Lots of hopes and strategies for totally implausible outcomes. I have a coworker that says "Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which piles up first." That's what I thought when I read through the platform. It assumes people will be charitable, it assumes people will be responsible to the environment and others, etc.

Feel free to discuss the platform. Point out things you like, things you think are bat-shit crazy (I hope to do this with each party and to be as unbiased and open as possible). Next, when I've regathered my strength, we'll be looking at libertarian candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination.

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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by halfwise on Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:58 pm

I know someone who is an ardent Libertarian, and it strikes me as a case of pushing philosophy too far. I finally got him to admit a problem when we were both using a public park (hang gliding off a scenic overlook), and I pointed out to him that under Libertarianism there would be no public parks. He caved.

Third parties make some good philosophical points which can move the culture towards some direction or other, but they just aren't pragmatic enough for my tastes. I think pragmatism comes with finally tasting the limits of power, and except for Teddy Roosevelt, third parties have never tasted power.

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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by Eldorion on Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:35 am

Great idea for a thread, bungo! I'm glad you made it.

The section on Personal Relationships seems common sense and level headed, but does this sentence: “Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships.” mean that they would make no measure to recognize gay marriage?

The standard libertarian position is that the government should have no involvement in marriage whatsoever, so it wouldn't recognize any marriages. Getting gay married would be as simple as finding a church willing to perform the act. Of course, this means that the government would not compel any private individual or organization to recognize someone else's marriage, so there would be no protection from anti-gay discrimination. Anti-discrimination protections in general are generally rejected by libertarians. Though for my part, I would say that they are actually essential to preserving the liberty of groups who would otherwise be treated unjustly by society.

Obviously "total liberty" for everyone can't exist; people's rights and desires would clash against each other and someone would lose. Libertarians recognize this, but I am uncomfortable with the side they come down on a lot. They generally side with the privileged (such as property owners and members of socially accepted groups) and the response to injustice is "well, organize and try to convince other people to come to your side". But I believe an examination of the historical record shows that government intervention has made a massive difference for disadvantaged people of all kinds, and I find this to be an important goal that is worth some infringement on the rights of e.g. business owners.

Also agree with Halfy on the value of parks as well as free highways, bridges, schools, etc. The public education system has a ton of issues, of course, but I don't think replacing it with an entirely private market (which would not be free) is going to benefit the majority of students, especially not the most vulnerable. But libertarianism as a philosophy is not really equipped to consider the plight of society as a whole, or of the disadvantaged specifically, because it is so laser-focused on individualism.
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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by halfwise on Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:53 am

Regarding the marriage issue, I have argued (one or two years ago?) that government shouldn't be in the marriage business, except where kids are involved. And if gay couples can adopt, they would be covered by this. There should be some standard contract that provides for inheritance and visitation rights, but no air of sanctimony provided by the state. I don't mind if 5 people of mixed sex get into such a contractual relationship, so long as there is a required section that kicks in once kids are involved.

But yeah, government needs to step in some times. But when it steps in will change with society. 50 years ago gay rights would have been inconceivable; now it seems inconceivable not to have protections. Affirmative action has been mutating over the years, but it's not going away any time soon.

If third parties in America weren't so focused on single tenets they may get some traction. I think Rand Paul has been good for rounding out libertarianism.

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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by Orwell on Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:26 am

These Libertarians sound like Anarchists. I was one myself once - kinda - when I knew very little really about what Anarchists were. I'm talking Anarchist philisophy here, not those old Action Anarchists with their knives and bombs and a will to assassination.

Every 'ism' has it's problems whether Libertarianism, Anarchism, Capitalism, Socialism, Orwellism, Nationalism, Fascism, Feminism, Chauvinism... yarda yarda yarda...


I am taking this thread serious btw. It's an interesting idea to actually examine the political views of the minority parties. I just couldn't help making known my broad philosophical view of all purely ideological parties. Just saying.  Very Happy

At least these ideologues believe in something. I accept big party pragmatism, but it would be nice if not everything was done purely for short term gain at the cost of bigger ethical concerns... So says me, a slightly looney Quasi-Anarchist (Quasi-Green?)

Anyway, back to the smaller parties, lads. Fascinating stuff!  cheers

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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by Eldorion on Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:43 am

halfwise wrote:Regarding the marriage issue, I have argued (one or two years ago?) that government shouldn't be in the marriage business, except where kids are involved.  And if gay couples can adopt, they would be covered by this.  There should be some standard contract that provides for inheritance and visitation rights, but no air of sanctimony provided by the state.  I don't mind if 5 people of mixed sex get into such a contractual relationship, so long as there is a required section that kicks in once kids are involved.

I used to hear this a lot, but I don't really understand this argument. Since when has civil marriage carried any sense of sanctimony? We recognize it as an institution that people of any religion, different religions, or no religion can all participate equally. However you want to celebrate it privately is your own business, but you don't see (many, if any) people in this country calling for the union of two atheists or two Hindus to be denied the term marriage. Just comes across to me as at best semantics and at worst a smokescreen.

If third parties in America weren't so focused on single tenets they may get some traction.  I think Rand Paul has been good for rounding out libertarianism.

I agree with Rand on a number of things, and he's definitely an improvement over his father by virtue of not having the white nationalist connection, but I was disappointed at him tossing his principles out the window on the gay marriage issue.
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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by halfwise on Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:23 pm

Yes, what I was talking about was civil union. The problem is when people keep trying to say what governments do is marriage, when it should be ONLY civil union. Yes, it's semantics, but powerful semantics. Leave civil unions completely open and eliminate the word "marriage" from government, and suddenly a lot of friction disappears. You may not believe me, but I don't think anybody gives a rat's ass about civil unions, nonsensical as that may be.

The battlefront will then shift to what kinds of civil unions will be given government sanction to adopt kids. I don't think this fight will last as long as the 'marriage' fight did. Some basic caregiving requirements will be defined, there'll be some mild protest, and it will be over. Just my gut feeling.

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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by bungobaggins on Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:38 pm

https://www.lp.org/candidates/presidential-candidates-2016/

Looking at these candidates is kind of depressing. Most of the websites are either unfinished or look outdated (ca. 2002). My first plan was to discuss all of them, but I can't reasonably do that with there being 12. So I thought I'd cover the two that I recognized: Gary Johnson (former governor of New Mexico and LP Presidential nominee in 2012. In 2012 Johnson garnered 1,275,951 votes or 0.99 percent of the overall total. You can read about his 2012 presidential campaign here.), and John McAfee, inventor of that god-awful anti-virus software.

https://www.garyjohnson2016.com/

I swear this is the only website of all the candidates that looks legit.

A nice ad that is an introduction to the man and his accomplishments.



A little too Alex Jones-esque for my taste.



Positions at a glance:

• Cut taxes and balance the budget.
• Allow the private sector to create jobs.
• Term Limits for the US Congress.
• A government that adheres to its Constitutional limits.
• Always protect our Personal Freedom.
• An Immigration policy that is fair and promotes jobs.
• A government that doesn't spy without warrants or due process.
• Gary supports our troops and wants a strong and smart defense that works within budget constraints.

I do like the idea of term limits for congresspeople.

I like the evenhandedness of his immigration policy.

Having served as Governor of a border state, Gary Johnson understands immigration. He understands that a robust flow of labor, regulated not by politics, but by the marketplace, is essential. He understands that a bigger fence will only produce taller ladders and deeper tunnels, and that the flow of illegal immigrants across the border is not a consequence of too little security, but rather a legal immigration system that simply doesn’t work. Militarizing the border, bigger fences, and other punitive measures espoused by too many politicians are all simplistic “solutions” to a problem caused by artificial quotas, bureaucratic incompetence and the shameful failure of Congress to actually put in place an immigration system that matches reality.
Governor Johnson has long advocated a simplified and secure system of work visas by which willing workers and willing employers can meet in a robust labor marketplace efficiently and economically. Aspiring immigrants would undergo a background check, pay taxes and provide proof of employment.
Making it simpler and efficient to enter the U.S. legally will provide the greatest security possible, allowing law enforcement to focus its time and resources on the criminals and bad actors who are, in reality, a relatively small portion of those who are today entering the country illegally.

The rest, I'm sure you can imagine, is standard fare for a libertarian candidate, although I don't see anything here as radical as I saw with other candidates calling for the dismantling and rebuilding of the US economy. If the party has any hope to be taken seriously, they should renominate Johnson, because he's the only one out of all that I've looked at who actually has real world experience as a political leader in a legitimate position. He's not just some guy with a radio show and a BA in politics.



Actual photo of the other libertarian candidates:



John McAfee's website looks like it was made by a guy who decided to run for president, started a website the same day, and forgot about all of it the next day. At first I thought I needed to click the "Home" button to be redirected to a home page, because a lot of candidates websites open with a form to subscribe to a newsletter or to sign up for updates. But no, this is the home page. There is no page stating his position on issues, and I will not be signing up for his newsletter to find out any more information.

https://mcafee16.com/

I did find this video on his facebook page:



So his original intention was to create his own political party, somewhere along the line he must have decided that would have been too difficult, decided his views matched closely with libertarians, and threw his support behind the party.

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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by halfwise on Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:56 pm

I like Johnson's immigration policy. Seems like the same common sense approach as legalizing marijuana.

But I always laugh at the lines that combine lowering taxes and balancing the budget. Unless they state which cuts will be made, I see such statements as meaningless mob pandering.

I'm impressed enough by his immigration reasoning that I'd like to see what's behind the "Allow the private sector to create jobs" statement. Any reasoning on how to do that? (hope it's more than lower taxes and suddenly the private sector will explode).

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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by David H on Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:32 pm

The libertarians have always had the internal debate between purism and pragmatism going. That's a pretty interesting debate in itself! I see their national convention is May 26-30. Of course it never gets televised, but I wonder if it will appear on the web somewhere.

Yeah, don't expect to find people who are ready to move into the oval office among most of the minor party candidates. Nobody has any expectations of winning, which frees them to speak their minds (for good or otherwise). What you get instead in a sincerity that's often missing among the leading candidates. I find it refreshing after listening to the front-runners' carefully constructed talking points.


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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by bungobaggins on Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:05 pm

John McAfee throws himself into the middle of the San Bernardino iphone/Apple/FBI/backdoor controversy.

http://www.businessinsider.com/john-mcafee-ill-decrypt-san-bernardino-phone-for-free-2016-2

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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by David H on Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:59 pm

Good find Bungo! I think JM has just become my number 1 protest vote candidate. :carrot:

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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by Eldorion on Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:04 pm

Is McAfee still wanted for questioning over that murder in Belize?
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Re: Third Parties and the 2016 US Presidential Election

Post by halfwise on Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:06 pm

I think since the FBI may not want to get their hands dirty, and McAfee is out of the country, they should pass this over to the CIA as a black ops job.

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