November 30, 2000
While watching the election returns come in on election eve, I noticed a very interesting fact that most observers seem to have overlooked, what with all of the excitement surrounding the close race for President. What I noticed is a significant level of discontent with both major parties - more than most would think. For the rest of this article, I will just call it the "Discontent Factor" and it has nothing to do with the race for President. Here's how it works out.
Both Nationally and here in Houston and Harris County, Texas, Libertarian Presidential candidate, Harry Browne, was unable to muster even one percent of the total vote. Many people would mistakenly take this number to reflect the Discontent Factor. However, this figure is misleading. It would seem to indicate a very small level of discontent with the two major parties. Yet, other figures from certain lesser races show quite conclusively, that the Discontent Factor is actually much higher.
Because of the success of Republican and Democrat campaign rhetoric, many voters were really afraid to vote their conscience in the Presidential race, which means that the Presidential race is not a valid indicator of discontent. But, not so in the many races here in Houston and Harris County, Texas, where there was only one major party candidate on the ballot along with a Libertarian candidate. As I watched the returns for the many judges, constables and several state representative races with only one major party candidate, I noticed a consistent 13% to 17% of the vote in every one of those races went to the Libertarian candidate. For the rest of this article, I will refer to these races with only one major party candidate and one minor party candidate as "Lightly Contested Races."
It didn't matter whether the major party candidate was Republican or Democrat. The Libertarian candidate's number was always between 13% and 17%. This is the Discontent Factor. It indicates much more accurately than do the skewed Presidential results, the level of discontent Americans feel for both the Republican and Democrat parties.
Since there was the possibility that some of those numbers could have been members of the opposing major party casting a "Protest Vote," I decided to conduct my own informal and very unscientific survey. In the 24 hours beginning Wednesday morning after the election, I called 68 of my friends and business associates. Hey! I said it was unscientific.
All 68 had voted in the previous day's election. Among that group, 39 were Republicans, 18 were Democrats, 10 "considered themselves" Libertarians (though only 1 was a documented Libertarian) and 1 was a former (pre-Buchanan) supporter of the Reform Party.
When I asked the Republicans who they voted for in races where the only choices were either a Democrat or Libertarian, only 1 of the 39 said that she had even voted in those races. That one said that she voted for the Libertarian. Since the vast majority of the major party candidates who faced only a Libertarian challenger were Republicans, that one would have had an effect in only a very few races. This could even be a big part of the difference in the 13% and 17% results.
When I asked the Democrats who they voted for in races where the only choices were either a Republican or Libertarian, every last one told me that they didn't vote in those races. In fact, most were quite adamant in saying so. Since, as stated above, most of these types of races in this area involved Republicans, we can assume that if this sample is accurate, there were very few, if any, "Protest Votes" by Democrats in these races.
When I asked the 10 Libertarians and the Reformer who they voted for in races with only a Republican or Democrat against a Libertarian, as you might expect, all 11 of them had voted for the Libertarian. But, when I asked the 10 Libertarians and the Reformer who they voted for in the Presidential race, 7 Libertarians and the Reformer said that they had voted for Dubya and 2 Libertarians had voted for algore (as you might expect, most of my Libertarian friends are conservative). In fact, those same 10 told me that they had voted for one of the major party candidates in every race where both major parties were represented along with a Libertarian . In other words, 10 of the 11 third party supporters had bought into the misleading rhetoric of the two major parties in those more heavily contested races. But, that's another issue.
This voting pattern is why those Lightly Contested Races are so important. We can reasonably assume that the percentage of votes for the Libertarian (or other third party candidate) in those races comes fairly close to the real number of Libertarians and other voters who are discontented with both the Republican and Democrat parties.
So, it seems that those Lightly Contested Races are a good measure of the Discontent Factor. What I encourage each of you to do is to look at those Lightly Contested Races in your area and look at the percentages for the Libertarian (or other single third party candidate). If the numbers are fairly consistent among the various races, then the average percentage for the Libertarians is the Discontent Factor.
Here in Harris County, Texas, the Discontent Factor is around 15%. If that number is consistent across the United States, then it does not bode well for either of the two major parties. That's almost half way to the percentage of votes needed to win a close three-way race. Ladies and gentlemen, that has the makings of a viable third party. If those people ever realize that the rhetoric coming out of both major parties, about how a third party candidate can't win, is hogwash and actually vote their conscience, the entire political landscape could change.
Will that happen soon? I doubt it. Since the major media won't point this out and this web site only took slightly over 43,000 hits this month, very few of the discontented will ever be exposed to this line of reasoning. My point is that if they ever do realize their power and numbers, the Republicans and Democrats could be in for a big surprise.
Right now, it's only a Discontent Factor. And, both major parties and the major media would have us dismiss it and believe that the Discontent Factor is very small, as witnessed by the very small number of third party votes for President. Yet, even the small number of votes for Nader was enough to give at least two states to Dubya. But, as I have shown here, there are other more revealing factors to be considered.
Do the leaders of the Republican and Democrat parties have their heads in the sand? Are they pretending that if they cover up this high Discontent Factor long enough, that it will just go away? Or, do they already realize the seriousness of this threat and are maybe just hiding it, while they implement some sinister method of suppressing it?
You be the judge.
Look at the facts. Check out the results of the Lightly Contested Races in your area. Think about what I have said here. Then decide for yourself. Is the number of people who are discontented with both major parties really small, as the leadership of those parties and the major media would have you believe? Or is the Discontent Factor really much higher? Are the voters really content with the status quo and continuous erosion of their rights? Or, is there a rising ground swell of discontent that threatens both major parties?
But most importantly, if the Discontent Factor really is high enough to pose a threat to both major parties, do you really believe that those party officials are just sitting around waiting for that discontent to materialize at the polls? Or do they already have some sinister plan in the works for suppressing that discontent?
How long will it be before that discontent reaches intolerable levels? Just remember that there are only three normal responses of individuals to intolerable discontent with their government. Their choices at that point are 1) become a victim, 2) armed insurrection or 3) flee to a more favorable jurisdiction.
Every year sees more restrictions on gun ownership in the United States, which severely limits the possibility of successful armed insurrection. So, it would seem that very soon, if we don't change our voting habits, discontented Americans will have only two choices - become a victim of an oppressive government or leave.
But, the wealthy are already taking the second of those two options. There is good reason to believe that in excess of 90,000 Americans (mostly wealthy) chose expatriation last year* and that the number of Americans seeking foreign citizenships and permanent residence is doubling every two years. Of course, if you are not wealthy, leaving probably isn't even an option. That means that you get the dubious honor of being the martyred victim.
So, what are you going to do?
Even children learn quickly that if you stick your hand into a fire and it burns, that you shouldn't stick your hand into a fire. Yet millions of adult voters seem to think that if they just continue to vote for the same Republicans and Democrats who are causing their discontent, that the result will somehow be magically different this time. It won't. In fact, history shows that each time, it gets worse.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that all Republican and Democrat elected officials are at fault. In fact, I can think of quite a few who are doing what they can to turn things around. Congressmen Ron Paul, John Linder, Billy Tauzin and John Hostettler come to mind, though there are several others. But, voting for a Republican or a Democrat, who has already helped take away some of your rights, just because he claims the same party affiliation as you, is like the child sticking his hand back into the fire and expecting not to get burned. Why is it that so many American adults seem to think that learning from experience is only for children?
It's time that Americans open up their eyes and realize that things won't change until we stop electing the same people who have helped put us in this position. We must stop thinking so much about what party a candidate claims allegiance to and start considering whether or not the candidate will stand up for the Constitution and the Rights of the citizens of the United States, regardless of party affiliation.
If you are among the major party leadership or part of the party faithful, then this should serve as a wakeup call. The level of discontent with both major parties is not yet critical. But, if the major parties continue to move away from the Constitution and towards ever larger government, that discontent will continue to grow. Sooner or later, the discontented will wake up and register their united discontent at the polls. You can prevent that from happening or you can hasten it. The choice is yours.
On the other hand, if you are among the discontented, you have two years to mobilize with others before the next Congressional election. But, don't count on success. After all, remember that most of those discontented voters, who cast protest votes in insignificant races, voted for a Republican or Democrat for President this year. Also, remember the three common responses to discontent with government, that are rapidly being whittled down to just one? I suggest that, as a backup, you also establish an exit strategy. That is, assuming that you can afford to leave if things get too bad.
There is still time to turn things around, but time is running out. I have no reason to believe that my meager efforts will have any effect. But, I will keep trying as long as I can. If enough of us who are discontented with the status quo, continue to speak out over the next two years, maybe our tiny voices will finally be heard at the polls. Or maybe the leadership of the major parties will wake up to what is happening and give us less reason to be discontented with their leadership.
Thanks to many of our own elected officials, our choices are being rapidly reduced. If your choice at the polls has recently been for the Lesser Evil, you might want to reconsider that choice in future elections. After all, the Lesser Evil... is still Evil. But then...
It's YOUR choice.
* The number of Americans leaving the USA is derived from a limited amount of information from the US Bureau of Consular Affairs, the IRS and certain foreign consuls. Up to now, each new piece of information has served to further strengthen the previous data. Because of the sources of the current data and his offshore experience, the author is thoroughly convinced of the validity of the numbers, but it is his intention to continue gathering this data until the numbers are totally irrefutable. If you have access to any verifiable data of this nature or know someone who does, please email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your contribution will be appreciated.
See related articles and supporting documents:
- Tick - Tick / The Economy Bomb
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