With John McCain running as a Democratic Party prisoner of war, there is no Republican presidential candidate. This leaves an opening for the Libertarian Party.
About 20 percent of American voters perceive themselves to be politically "liberal," and about 40 percent perceive themselves to be "conservative." With McCain and Obama dividing the liberal vote, there are enormous opportunities this year for libertarian candidates who emphasize values that heretofore have been called "conservative:" patriotism, optimism, and common sense.
Consider the winning political campaigns and the winning political party Ronald Reagan built. What did Ronald Reagan's Republicanism stand for in the eyes of the voting public? He was seen as the quintessential patriot. Barack Obama's drop in polls every time he is perceived as weak in patriotism proves you cannot win an American election by bad-mouthing America. Reagan also constantly radiated optimism. Americans will not vote en-mass for a candidate with a defeatist consciousness. Finally, Reagan poked fun incessantly at "insane liberal schemes?" American voters intuitively recognize and appreciate down-to-earth common sense in a candidate and tend to be turned off by over-intellectualism.
Libertarians do not have to sell out their precious "principles" to present themselves as optimistic common sense patriots. They only need to make a decision to emphasize those issues where they can honestly feel optimistic, honestly feel patriotic, and honestly present simple common sense arguments.
The most difficult challenge for libertarians is to avoid extreme positions.
Libertarians love to spout off loudly about their extreme positions. This a pathological condition commonly known as an "ego trip," the desperate need to appear different from the vast majority, or from most Republicans and Democrats; the addictive craving for a separate identity. It momentarily satisfies libertarian egos, but it does not and cannot win elections and influence others in a positive way.
Advice to libertarian candidates: if your true position is extreme, shut up about it and be willing to talk in less extreme terms. This is not violation of principle. It is loyalty to common sense, loyalty to gaining ground, loyalty to principle in a broader longer-range perception.
Example: In foreign policy, do not campaign on what is perceived as "head in the sand" non-entanglements and anti-war policy at all costs. Continually and incessantly emphasize common sense decisions.
Barack Obama wants to withdraw American help to Iraq no matter what the cost. John McCain wants to keep a large American presence in Iraq no matter what the cost. There must be a middle ground that would be viewed by the public as eminently sensible. You don't even have to spell out your middle ground. Simply point out that the other guys are extreme and you would look for more common sense solutions.
In domestic policy, stand on libertarian strength: the economy. Most Republicans and Democrats know little about economics. John McCain admits it. Barack Obama is too arrogant to admit it. Obama's economic populism, nearly full-blown socialism, would sink America's economy into a dismal swamp for many years to come.
Libertarian strength is educating the public on economics; simple common sense economic arguments for free markets and free trade such as are outlined in The Spiritual Basis of Free Markets
Common sense foreign policy and common sense economics. Optimism and patriotism. These are the keys to winning elections, and ultimately to influencing millions of Americans ... maybe even building a libertarian-oriented major party.
If you are a freedom lover interested in winning politics be sure to see: Course in Political Miracles
For a great discussion on Christianity vs. State Socialism see: Christianity vs. State Socialism
“I did not understand what made me free, nor what my freedom is, nor where to look to find it. Father, I have searched in vain until I heard Your Voice directing me. Now I would guide myself no more. For I have neither made nor understood the way to find my freedom. But I trust in You. You Who endowed me with my freedom as Your holy Son will not be lost to me. Your Voice directs me." (Prayer from A Course in Miracles)
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