The myth of the “independent” voter
A new poll finds that just 5 percent of voters are truly “independent” – ideologically centrist and unaffiliated with either political party.
by Stefan HankinOctober 2014Archive, Etc., Featured, Politics.
Image credit: Getty
Public polling over the past year has suggested that politically “independent” voters are on the rise.
In January, Gallup announced that those who identify themselves as “Independent” now make up a full 42 percent of the voting electorate. In March, Pew showed that Millennials increasingly see themselves as independent from a political party. These results suggest that political campaigns have a bigger slice of the electoral pie to woo than ever before.
The data, however, say otherwise.
Not all Independents are moderate, and not all moderates are Independent. In fact, the two groups barely overlap.
Our latest polling for Republic 3.0 (a nationwide survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted Sept. 30 – Oct. 2) shows us that the term “Independent” is fairly meaningless when it comes to thinking about key voters. In the news media, the terms “Independent” and “moderate” are often used interchangeably to mean those voters who fall in between Democrats and Republicans in their political beliefs.
However, if you ask voters about their party affiliation – Democrat, Republican, or Independent – as well as their political ideology – liberal, moderate, or conservative – it becomes clear that not all Independents are moderates and not all moderates are Independent. Instead, voters call themselves “Independent” as a way to describe a wide variety of political positions.
In fact, we found that the share of voters who consider themselves both “Independent” and ideologically “moderate” make up just 5 percent of the overall electorate! Here’s how we arrived at this conclusion:
The party affiliation results in our national poll are fairly consistent with results from a recent Pew survey and other public polls. We found that 26 percent of voters identified themselves as Republican, 36 percent as Democrat, and 36 percent as Independent.
If we eliminate the voters who say they are Independent but lean towards one party, what’s left are just 20 percent of voters who say they do not lean in one direction or another. A third (33%) of voters either identify with the Republican Party or lean in that direction, and 45 percent identify or lean towards the Democratic party.
partyideologyFrom an ideological standpoint, 29 percent of voters consider themselves to be “liberal,” 24 percent “conservative,” and 47 percent “moderate.” But to get a better understanding of voters’ ideologies, we also asked how they see themselves in comparison to their elected officials.
About half (51 percent) of voters rate Congressional Democrats as more liberal than they are, while about half (53 percent) rate Republicans as more conservative than they are. The overlap – those who see Democrats as more liberal and Republicans as more conservative – i.e., those who make up the actual middle – make up just 20 percent of likely voters. Another 20 percent of voters place themselves in line with one of the parties, while 43 percent consider themselves more liberal or more conservative than they view the Congressional parties.
As we see above, 20 percent of voters in our poll self-identify as “Independent” and do not acknowledge that they lean towards either party, and the same percentage (again, 20 percent) of voters fall in the ideological center – that is, they see themselves as more liberal than Republicans and more conservative than Democrats. If these two groups – true Independents and true moderates – consisted of the same voters, then the term “Independent” would indeed be a useful identifier, and campaigns would have a somewhat healthy number of voters to pursue.
Unfortunately, these two groups are far from overlapping.
As the chart below shows, 15 percent of voters who call themselves Independent actually place themselves ideologically in line with one of the parties in Congress (“Democrats with a Home” and “Republicans with a Home”); these voters seem simply to be uncomfortable labeling themselves as a member of a particular party, or prefer to think of themselves as Independent even if the label is not accurate.
The largest group (37 percent) of those using the Independent label actually consists of voters who place themselves on the edges of the political spectrum: strong liberals and conservatives who think Democrats and Republicans are in fact too moderate. These voters use the term “Independent” to mean they fall outside of party lines, but not to mean they fall between the two parties ideologically.
In fact, among the voters who identify themselves as “Independent” in our poll, only a quarter – just 5 percent of the overall electorate – fall into the standard, commonly-used definition of an Independent: voters who do not identify with a party and at the same time place themselves ideologically between Democrats and Republicans.
If we wanted to be more generous about the percentage of voters who make up the middle-of-the-road group, we could add in those voters who call themselves “Independent,” but are either confused in their ideology or believe they identify with both parties. Including these “confused” and “bi-political” voters would bring the persuadable portion of the overall electorate up from 5 percent to 10 percent. Either way, any suggestion that the political middle is on the upswing because more voters identify as Independent is tragically misplaced.
If we want to have a real understanding of what is happening in the electorate we need to move away from the twin myths that: (1) the number of Independent voters is increasing; and (2) “Independent” and “moderate” are interchangeable terms.
Yes, the number of people who are not registering as a member of a party is increasing, but that does not mean the number of truly independent voters is on the rise. Furthermore we need to stop focusing on Independents as the end-all-be-all of electoral success and start looking at the truly moderate voters – including those who identify with a political party – because that is where elections are actually won or lost
Green Party 2016 Platform
Jill Stein 2016 Platform
Our Power to the People Plan
Climate Action: Protecting Mother Earth and Humanity
•Enact an emergency Green New Deal to turn the tide on climate change, revive the economy and make wars for oil obsolete. Initiate a WWII-scale national mobilization to halt climate change, the greatest threat to humanity in our history. Create 20 million jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, conservation and restoration of critical infrastructure, including ecosystems.
•Implement a Just Transition that empowers those communities and workers most impacted by climate change and the transition to a green economy. Ensure that any worker displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits as they transition to alternative work.
•Enact energy democracy based on public, community and worker ownership of our energy system. Treat energy as a human right.
•Redirect research funds from fossil fuels into renewable energy and conservation. Build a nationwide smart electricity grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources, giving the nation clean, democratically-controlled, energy.
•End destructive energy extraction and associated infrastructure: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, natural gas pipelines, and uranium mines. Halt any investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, and phase out all fossil fuel power plants. Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies. End all subsidies for fossil fuels and impose a greenhouse gas fee / tax to charge polluters for the damage they have created.
•Protect our public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators. Ban neonicotinoids and other pesticides that threaten the survival of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
•Support a strong enforceable global climate treaty that limits global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius and provides just financial compensation to developing countries.
•Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe.
•Support organic and regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.
•Protect the rights of future generations. Adopt the Precautionary Principle. When an activity poses threats of harm to human health or the environment, in the absence of objective scientific consensus that it is safe, precautionary measures should be taken. The proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof.
•Invest in clean air, water, food and soil for everyone. Clean up America.
•Enact stronger environmental justice laws and measures to ensure that low-income and communities of color are not disproportionately impacted by harmful pollution and other negative environmental and health effects.
•Support conversion to sustainable, nontoxic materials and the use of closed-loop, zero waste processes.
Jobs as a Right, and Key Support for Labor
•Create living-wage jobs for every American who needs work, replacing unemployment offices with employment offices. Government would be the employer of last resort, and the unemployed would have an enforceable right to make government provide work. Create direct public employment, as the Works Progress Administration did, in public services and public works for those who can't find private employment.
•Advance workers’ rights to form unions, achieve workplace democracy, and keep a fair share of the wealth they create.
•Enact the Green Deal full employment program to create 20 million green jobs in sustainable energy, mass transit, sustainable organic agriculture, clean manufacturing and improved infrastructure, as well as social work, teaching, health care, after school and home care, drug rehabilitation and other service jobs.
•Provide grants and low-interest loans to green businesses and cooperatives, with an emphasis on small, locally-based companies that keep the wealth created by local labor circulating in the community, rather than being drained off to enrich absentee investors.
•Replace NAFTA and other corporate free trade agreements that export American jobs, depress wages, and undermine the sovereign right of Americans and citizens of other countries to control their own economy and political choices. Enact fair trade laws that benefits local workers and communities.
•Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act which banned secondary boycotts and permitted state "right-to-work" laws. Enact a federal just cause law (to prohibit firing without just cause,) and outlaw scabbing on striking workers.
•Guarantee economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities, with effective anti-poverty programs to ensure every American a life of dignity.
•Establish the right to a living wage job.
•Reform public assistance to be a true safety net that empowers participants and provides a decent standard of living.
•Free universal child care.
Health Care as a Right:
•Establish an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health program to provide everyone with quality health care, at huge savings by eliminating the $400 billion annually spent on the paperwork and bureaucracy of health insurance. No co-pays, premiums or deductibles. Access to all health care services, including mental health, dental, and vision. Include everyone, period. No restrictions based on pre-existing illness, employment, immigration status, age, or any other category.
•Eliminate the cancer of health insurance, which adds costs while reducing access to health care.
•End overcharging for prescription drugs by using bulk purchasing negotiations.
•Eliminate health disparities in communities of color and low-income communities. Ensure easy access to health care in communities of color, including community health centers.
•Allow full access to contraceptive and reproductive care.
•Expand women's access to "morning after" contraception by lifting the Obama Administration's ban.
•Avoid chronic diseases by investing in essential community health infrastructure such as local, fresh, organic food systems, pollution-free renewable energy, phasing out toxic chemicals, and active transportation such as bike paths and safe sidewalks that dovetail with public transit.
•Ensure that consumers have essential information for making informed food choices by expanding product labeling requirements for country of origin, GMO content, toxic chemical ingredients, and fair trade practices.
•Prioritize preventive health care, including physical activity, healthy nutrition and pollution prevention.
Education as a Right:
•Guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university.
•Abolish student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude.
•Protect our public school systems from privatization.
•Use restorative justice to address conflicts before they occur, and involve students in the process.
•Evaluate teacher performance through assessment by fellow professionals. Do not rely on high stakes tests that reflect economic status of the community, and punish teachers working in low income communities of color.
•Replace Common Core with curriculum developed by educators, not corporations, with input from parents and communities.
•Stop denying students diplomas based on high stakes tests.
•Stop using merit pay to punish teachers who work with the most challenging student populations.
•Restore arts, music and recreation to school curriculums.
•Ensure racially inclusive, sensitive and relevant curriculums.
•Use Department of Education powers to offer grants and funding to encourage metropolitan desegregation plans based on socioeconomically balanced schools.
•Recognize poverty as the key obstacle to learning. Ensure that kids come to school ready to learn: healthy, nourished, secure and free from violence.
•Increase federal funding of public schools to equalize public school funding.
A Just Economy:
•Guarantee a living wage job for all.
•Set a $15/hour federal minimum wage, with indexing.
•Break up “too-big-to-fail” banks and democratize the Federal Reserve.
•Support development of worker and community cooperatives and small businesses.
•Make Wall Street, big corporations, and the rich pay their fair share of taxes.
•Create democratically-run public banks and utilities.
•Provide full protection for workplace rights, including the right to a safe workplace and the right to organize a union without fear of firing or reprisal by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.
•Ensure equal pay for equal work, ending discrimination based on race, gender, or generation.
•Enact paid sick leave and family leave, strong overtime protections.
•Take action against wage theft.
•Oppose two-tier wage systems (e.g., for young people and individuals with disabilities).
Freedom and Equality:
•Expand women’s rights, including equal pay and reproductive freedom. Pass the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment).
•Protect LGBTQIA+ people from discrimination.
•Defend indigenous rights, lands and treaties.
•Support immigrants’ rights. Create a welcoming path to citizenship for immigrants.
•Halt deportations and detentions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants., including the shameful practice of night raids being used to terrorize refugee families.
•Improve economic and social conditions abroad to reduce the flow of immigrant refugees, in part by repealing NAFTA, ending the failed drug wars, and halting CIA and military interventions against democratically elected governments.
•Demilitarize border crossings throughout North America.
•Protect the free Internet. Oppose the Online Piracy Act and all other legislation that would undermine freedom and equality on the Internet.
Criminal Justice Reforms
•End the failed war on drugs. Replace drug prohibition with harm reduction. Legalize marijuana/hemp. Treat substance abuse as a health problem, not a criminal offense.
•Release nonviolent drug offenders from prison, removing such offenses from their records, and provide them with both pre- and post-release support.
•End police brutality, mass incarceration and institutional racism within our justice system. Support the Black Lives Matter Movement.
•Demilitarize police. End use of SWAT teams and no-knock raids for drugs and serving papers.
•Repair our communities rather than dump resources into the prison-industrial complex.
•Establish police review boards so that communities control their police, and not the other way around. Appoint dedicated investigators to investigate every death or serious injury at the hands of police.
•Enact laws to require independent outside legal representatives to investigate and prosecute any killing or brutality by the police rather than prosecutors involved in the local criminal justice system.
•Eliminate harsh mandatory sentencing requirements which often result in unjustified sentences.
•Limit Use of Force: replace shoot-to-kill as the only response tactic; train officers in conflict resolution; deeply review personnel records of transferring officers and screen for excessive force complaints.
•Police Training: Conduct periodic training on de-escalating mental health crises, restorative justice and conflict resolution, mental health self-checks and privilege and bias self-checks.
•Demilitarize the police: End training from Israeli Defense Forces on occupation-style policing; End 1033-style programs that transfer military equipment to civilian law enforcement and incentivize police departments to return military-grade weapons to federal government. End use of SWAT teams and no-knock raids for drug offenses and serving papers.
•Community Representation: Institute elected community oversight boards with subpoena and indictment powers.
•Body Cams/Film the Police: End the prosecution and retaliation of citizen filming of police incidents, and withdraw federal funding from police departments with needlessly high rates of camera shutoff or disrepair.
•Fair Police Contracts: Keep officers' disciplinary history accessible to police departments and the public. Eliminate delays in interrogating police officers involved with civilian shootings. End paid leave or desk-duty for police officers being actively investigated for a civilian shooting or deadly force.
•End For-Profit Policing: Eliminate department quotas for tickets or arrests. Eliminate excessive fines on low-income civilians and property seizure, except in cases of conviction where the state establishes clearly that property is subject to forfeiture.
Justice for All:
•Enforce the Bill of Rights by protecting the right to free speech and protest, to be secure from unwarranted search and seizure and invasion of privacy, as well as our other Constitutional rights.
•Terminate unconstitutional surveillance and unwarranted spying, close Guantanamo, and repeal indefinite detention without charge or trial. Repeal the unconstitutional provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that give the president the power to indefinitely imprison and even assassinate American citizens without due process.
•America's youth should not be put in jail for offenses they commit.
•End discrimination against former offenders who have paid for their crimes and should get a fresh start.
•Abolish the death penalty.
•End persecution of government, corporate and media whistleblowers.
•Issue an Executive Order prohibiting Federal agencies from conspiring with local police to infringe upon right of assembly and peaceful protest.
•Repeal the Patriot Act that violates our constitutional right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
Peace and Human Rights:
•Establish a foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law, human rights, and nonviolent support for democratic movements around the world.
•Cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases. Ensure a just transition that replaces reductions in military jobs with jobs in renewable energy, transportation and green infrastructure development.
•Stop U.S. financial and military support to human rights abusers. Barring substantial changes in their policies, this would include Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.
•End the US’ role as the world’s arm supplier.
•End use of assassination as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy, including collaborative assassination through intermediaries.
•End the destructive US economic and military intervention into the affairs of sovereign nations. Such intervention serve the interests of multinational corporations and global capitalism over the interests of the vast majority of the citizens of those nations.
•Freeze the bank accounts of countries that are funding terrorism, including the Saudi royal family.
•US policy regarding Israel and Palestine must be revised to prioritize international law, peace and human rights for all people, no matter their religion or nationality. End US policies that have supported the worst tendencies of the Israeli government in its treatment of the people of Palestine.
•Restore the National Guard as the centerpiece of our defense.
•Ban use of drone aircraft for assassination, bombing, and other offensive purposes.
•End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, withdrawing troops and military contractors.
•Join 159 other nations in signing the Ottawa treaty banning the use of anti-personnel land mines.
•Lead on global nuclear disarmament:
•Rejoin the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the US dropped out of in 2002 when it installed missiles and missile bases in Turkey, Romania, and Poland.
•Agree to Russia’s proposal to jointly reduce US and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,000 nuclear weapons each. Also call for all countries to the table to negotiate a treaty for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
•Remove US nuclear weapons in Germany, Belgium, Turkey, Italy and the Netherlands.
• Support Russia and China’s joint effort to open negotiations on a treaty to ban weapons in space.
• Pledge to end any further laboratory or sub-critical nuclear tests at the Nevada and Novaya Zemlya test sites, and end all nuclear weapons research, design, and modernization at the weapons laboratories.
•The US must take the lead in nuclear disarmament by itself starting to disarm. We should create a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East region and require all nations in the area to join.
Empower the People: Fix our Broken Elections with Real Democracy
•Eliminate the doctrine of corporate personhood that among other things has been used to justify unlimited corporate spending in elections with a constitutional amendment to clarify that only human beings have constitutional rights.
•Enact electoral reforms that break the big money stranglehold and create truly representative democracy: full public election financing, ranked-choice voting, proportional representation, and open debates.
•Protect voters’ rights by enforcing and expanding the constitutional right to vote (including a new amendment if necessary). Enact the full Voter's Bill of Rights guaranteeing each person's right to vote, the right to have our votes counted on hand-marked paper ballots, and the right to vote within systems that give each vote meaning. Make voter registration the responsibility of government, not a voluntary opt-in for citizens.
•Restore Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, requiring preclearance by the Attorney General or federal district court of DC to election law changes in areas previously found to limit voting rights.
•Abolish the Electoral College and directly elect the President using a national popular vote with ranked-choice voting..
•Restore the right to run for office and eliminate unopposed races by removing ballot access barriers.
•Guarantee equal access to the debates to all ballot-qualified candidates.
•Provide equal and free access to the airways for all ballot-qualified candidates, not just those with big campaign war chests.
•Eliminate “winner take all / first past the post” elections in which the “winner” may not have the support of most of the voters. Replace that system with ranked choice voting and proportional representation.
•Enact statehood for the District of Columbia to ensure the region has full representation in Congress, and full powers of democratic self-rule.
•Restore voting rights to offenders, including while in prison.
•Replace partisan oversight of elections with non-partisan election commissions.
•Reduce barriers to voting by making Election Day a national holiday.
•Enact simplified, safe same-day voter registration to the nation so that no qualified voter is barred from the polls.
•Protect local democracy by making clear that acts of Congress establish a floor, and not a ceiling, on laws relating to economic regulation, workers’ rights, human rights, and the environment.
A Humane Federal Budget with Fair Taxes
•Increase government revenues for social needs by restoring full employment, cutting the bloated, dangerous military budget, and cutting private health insurance waste.
•Require full disclosure of corporate subsidies in the budget and stop hiding subsidies in complicated tax code.
•Rewrite the entire tax code to be truly progressive with tax cuts for working families, the poor and middle class, and higher taxes for the richest Americans.
•Strengthen rather than cut Medicare and Social Security. Remove the cap on social security taxes above a certain level of income.
•Maintain and upgrade our nation's essential public infrastructure, including highways, railways, electrical grids, water systems, schools, libraries, and the Internet, resisting privatization or policy manipulation by for-profit interests.
•Establish federal, state, and municipal publicly-owned banks that function as non-profit utilities and focus on helping people, not enriching themselves.
•Create a Corporation for Economic Democracy, a new federal corporation (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.
•Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means nationalizing the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and placing them under a Federal Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department. Prohibit private banks from creating money, thus restoring government's Constitutional authority.
•Manage pension funds by boards controlled by workers, not corporate managers.
•Regulate all financial derivatives and require them to be traded on open exchanges.
•Restore the Glass-Steagall separation of depository commercial banks from speculative investment banks.
•Impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.
•Offer capital grants to non-profit developers of affordable housing until all people can obtain decent housing at no more than 25% of their income.
•Create a federal bank with local branches to take over homes with distressed mortgages, and either restructure the mortgages to affordable levels, or if the occupants cannot afford a mortgage, rent homes to the occupants.
•Expand rental and home ownership assistance and increase funding for public housing.
•Use Department of Housing and Urban Development authority to grant or withhold funds in order to encourage state and local governments to take positive steps to desegregate housing, including ending zoning laws that effectively prohibit multi-family housing, prohibiting landlords from refusing to accept Section 8 vouchers, increasing Section 8 voucher amounts so that poor people can move into middle income neighborhoods, prohibiting the use of Low Income Housing Tax Credits to increase low income housing in already segregated neighborhoods, and building new public housing in middle income communities that is high quality and mixed income.
Libertarian Party 2016 Platform
As adopted in Convention, May 2016, Orlando, Florida
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.
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.
We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.
We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life—accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action—accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property—accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.
Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.
1.0 Personal Liberty
Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.
Individuals own their bodies and have rights over them that other individuals, groups, and governments may not violate. 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.
1.2 Expression and Communication
We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.
Libertarians advocate individual privacy and government transparency. We are committed to ending government’s practice of spying on everyone. We support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, property, and communications. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records.
1.4 Personal Relationships
Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.
Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.
1.6 Parental Rights
Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs. This statement shall not be construed to condone child abuse or neglect.
1.7 Crime and Justice
The prescribed role of government is to protect the rights of every individual including the right to life, liberty and property. Criminal laws should be limited in their application to violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or to deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Therefore, we favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes. We support restitution to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. The constitutional rights of the criminally accused, including due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must be preserved. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law.
1.8 Death Penalty
We oppose the administration of the death penalty by the state.
The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights—life, liberty, and justly acquired property—against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the presence of personal defense weapons on their own property. We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.
2.0 Economic Liberty
Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.
2.1 Property and Contract
As respect for property rights is fundamental to maintaining a free and prosperous society, it follows that the freedom to contract to obtain, retain, profit from, manage, or dispose of one’s property must also be upheld. Libertarians would free property owners from government restrictions on their rights to control and enjoy their property, as long as their choices do not harm or infringe on the rights of others. Eminent domain, civil asset forfeiture, governmental limits on profits, governmental production mandates, and governmental controls on prices of goods and services (including wages, rents, and interest) are abridgements of such fundamental rights. For voluntary dealings among private entities, parties should be free to choose with whom they trade and set whatever trade terms are mutually agreeable.
Competitive free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Governments are unaccountable for damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights and responsibilities regarding resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Where damages can be proven and quantified in a court of law, restitution to the injured parties must be required.
2.3 Energy and Resources
While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.
2.4 Government Finance and Spending
All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.
2.5 Government Employees
We favor repealing any requirement that one must join or pay dues to a union as a condition of government employment. We advocate replacing defined-benefit pensions with defined-contribution plans, as are commonly offered in the private sector, so as not to impose debt on future generations without their consent.
2.6 Money and Financial Markets
We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Markets are not actually free unless fraud is vigorously combated. Those who enjoy the possibility of profits must not impose risks of losses upon others, such as through government guarantees or bailouts. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies and unconstitutional legal tender laws.
2.7 Marketplace Freedom
Libertarians support free markets. We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of entities based on voluntary association. We oppose all forms of government subsidies and bailouts to business, labor, or any other special interest. Government should not compete with private enterprise.
2.8 Labor Markets
Employment and compensation agreements between private employers and employees are outside the scope of government, and these contracts should not be encumbered by government-mandated benefits or social engineering. We support the right of private employers and employees to choose whether or not to bargain with each other through a labor union. Bargaining should be free of government interference, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.
Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Recognizing that the education of children is a parental responsibility, we would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.
2.10 Health Care
We favor a free-market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.
2.11 Retirement and Income Security
Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Libertarians would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals. We believe members of society will become even more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its activity in this realm.
3.0 Securing Liberty
The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government. Government is constitutionally limited so as to prevent the infringement of individual rights by the government itself. The principle of non-initiation of force should guide the relationships between governments.
3.1 National Defense
We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.
3.2 Internal Security and Individual Rights
The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights shall not be suspended even during time of war. Intelligence agencies that legitimately seek to preserve the security of the nation must be subject to oversight and transparency. We oppose the government’s use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have, especially that which shows that the government has violated the law.
3.3 International Affairs
American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.
3.4 Free Trade and Migration
We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.
3.5 Rights and Discrimination
Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Members of private organizations retain their rights to set whatever standards of association they deem appropriate, and individuals are free to respond with ostracism, boycotts and other free-market solutions.
3.6 Representative Government
We support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be free to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. We call for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. We advocate initiative, referendum, recall and repeal when used as popular checks on government.
Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.
Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval
It's possible, I think, but quite hard.
The case of Evan McMullin shows what you have to do. You have to pursue a regional strategy. You have to win at least a few states.
Who is Evan McMullin?
McMullin, 40, is a native of Provo, Utah. A graduate of Brigham Young University and The Wharton School of Business – the same school that Donald Trump graduated from – McMullin served as a Mormon missionary in Brazil. He went on to serve as a CIA agent in the Middle East, north Africa and southern Asia.
McMullin later worked for the Investment Banking Division for Goldman Sachs and as a senior advisor for the House Committee of Foreign Affairs. He later became chief policy director of the House Republican Conference.