Rise of the Libertarians…Or not.
The Daily Dose/November 17, 2016
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Foremost Humorist
RISE OF THE LIBERTARIANS…SORT OF: On the plus side, Libertarians shattered previous election highs in this past election, both nationally and locally. Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson tripled his national vote total, and Libertarian candidates for Congress showed similar gains.
Fly In The Ointment: On the downside, the gains weren’t substantial enough to make much of a difference.
Taking everything into consideration – almost universal dissatisfaction with our government, the two worst major party candidates ever, et al – and it would not have been completely surprising to see Libertarians get ten, perhaps 15 percent of the vote…Perhaps one or two would have been elected to Congress.
Scoreboard, Baby: But it didn’t happen. Not even close, really. This wasn’t too surprising and we speak from some experience in this matter.
Gaylon…Vote Early, Vote Often: We were the Colorado Libertarian nominee for the United States Senate in 2014 and a nominee for the House of Representatives this year. Having been out there hustling votes for a couple of campaigns, it’s not surprising at all.
Quote That Sucker: One of the things we hear frequently on the campaign trail is “You know, Gaylon, I like what you stand for, too bad you have no chance to win”.
Well, heck, if you think I have no chance, then I have no chance. On the other hand, if you do think I have a chance, and you tell ten people who think we have a chance then, hell, we have ourselves a groundswell.
That never happened, though. The problem, I’ve decided, is us humans stick with the familiar even when it is not serving us well and the two-party system is nothing if not familiar. America has been a two-party country since before the Revolution. The only thing that’s changed are the names of the parties. We’ve gone from Federalists and Democratic-Republicans to Democratic-Republicans and Whigs to Whigs and Democrats to Democrats and Republicans.
Running The Numbers: Gaylon For Congress this year did do better than Gaylon For US Senate did two years ago. In 2014 we got 2.6 percent of the vote and our 52,864 votes were a record for a third-party candidate in a Colorado US Senate election. This year we got five percent of the vote – though the actual vote total didn’t break any records – almost twice as many as two years ago, and about average for Libertarian House candidates this year.
We weren’t a factor, though. We were hoping the margin between the major party candidates would have been close enough for the other loser to blame us for stealing their votes, but the Republican incumbent easily won reelection.
GREAT MOMENTS IN FORMING A COUNTRY: The United States and Panama – officially recognized as a country only a few exciting days earlier – sign a treaty allowing the US to build a canal across Panama.
Dry, Technical Diplomatic Matter: Hilariously, no Panamanians signed the treaty. Secretary of State John Hay signed for the United States, and a Frenchman known as Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla signed for Panama despite the fact he had not been in Panama for 17 years.
Bunau-Varilla was the French Diplomatic Representative in Panama, a title he purchased from a group of zany Panamanian rebels. He was no more entitled to sign a treaty on behalf of Panamanians than Santa Claus was.
For most of 1903 Panama had been part of Colombia, but the rascals in the Colombian Senate rejected a treaty that would have given the US a perpetual lease to build a canal in present-day Panama. US President T. Roosevelt would have none of this, of course, and in November Panama was recognized as an independent nation, with the US Navy on the scene to prevent pesky Colombian interference.
IT ALL STARTED WITH A MOUSE: Steamboat Willie, the first synchronized sound cartoon, premieres in New York City on this date in 1928. Directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, Steamboat Willie had been produced over the summer at a cost of about $5,000, about $70,000 in today’s money.
So This Is Where That Phrase Came From: In Jonestown, Guyana, Jim Jones and members of his People’s Temple drink Kool-Aid laced with poison in a mass murder-suicide on this date in 1978. 918 Americans died.
It was the single largest deliberate loss of American civilian life until the 9/11 attacks. Jones himself died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Thought For The Day: One is constrained to respect the perfection of this world.– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harvard Divinity School address, 7/15/1838
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: After the Democratic-Republican Party won the presidency in 1800 (Thomas Jefferson), the next party to win the presidency was the Democratic Party in 1828 (Andrew Jackson).
Today’s Stumper: The Trivia feature will return.