Category Archives: Arkansas

Victory for the AR Libertarians! Election by the numbers

After running an incredible campaign, educating hundreds of thousands of Arkansans about the libertarian philosophy and the LPAR, our esteemed gubernatorial candidate Frank Gilbert earned 16,217 votes on Tuesday.

I hope you will help me congratulate Frank on a well-fought race. His determination, ability to truly connect with voters and his charming attitude were a breath of fresh air this election season. I firmly believe that our members could not have nominated a better candidate for Governor.

Now, what do our candidates’ vote totals mean?

Frank’s record-breaking vote totals (1.92%) show a marked increase over votes for Gary Johnson in 2012 (1.52%) and blew away the Barr/Root 2008 results (0.44%). Frank succeeded in winning more hearts and votes than any top-of-the-ticket candidate in AR election history in a year with less than 50% voter turnout. Congratulations, and thank you, Frank!

Unfortunately, we were not able to reach the state-mandated percentage requirement (3%) to retain our ballot access for 2016. This means that we will again have to raise tens of thousands of dollars and re-petition in order to run Libertarian candidates in 2016.

While this is not the outcome we were hoping for, I hope you will join me in celebrating the many Arkansas Libertarian victories in 2014.

*Arkansans elected THREE Libertarians this year! Congratulations to Mayor-elect Bobby Tullis of Mineral Springs, to Constable-elect Jacob Faught in Gentry and to Alderman Casey Copeland of Prairie Grove for his third consecutive win.

*Results show an increase in percentage and vote totals for Libertarian candidates. Our top-of-the-ticket returns improved from (approximately) 0.4% in 2008 to 1.5% in 2012 and again to 1.92% in 2014. Liberty is rising! In 2012, 96,116 votes were cast for 16 Libertarian candidates in 18 races (4.17%). In 2014, we significantly increased our number of candidates and more than quadrupled our number of votes. Our 28 candidates earned 387,687 votes out of 7,746,462 votes cast in their races. That’s a solid 5%.

*Looking only at our four Congressional races, we can see that a minimum of 65,712 unique voters cast ballots for Libertarian candidates in this state. Compare this to 37,082 votes cast for our four Congressional candidates in 2012, and you can see a 56% increase in the number of Libertarian voters in this state, even with lower voter turnout this year.

*Every Arkansan had at least nine Libertarian options on their ballot this year. Arkansas voters were among the luckiest in the nation with such a high number of Libertarians on each ballot.

*The LPAR was the only political party to have a candidate in every single debate hosted by AETN. This opportunity allowed our candidates to reach new voters and educate Arkansans about the libertarian philosophy throughout these repeatedly-televised debates.

*From 2012-2013, the LPAR’s membership increased by an extraordinary 65.38%. We also saw a 23.26% membership growth from 2013-2014. Lifetime memberships in the LPAR will see an increase of 300% by the end of this year. Arkansans with memberships in the National LP grew by 17.98% this year as well. Our social media pages are being followed by more people than ever. Even our facebook page “likes” have almost doubled since the time of the 2012 election. While these are not election results, we count this as yet another victory in our efforts to move Arkansas towards freedom.

If you would like a breakdown of all Libertarian candidates’ races, you can view our election results page HERE.

LPAR Election Results

I hope that you will join us in celebrating these victories. We have a long road ahead of us to put Libertarians on the ballot in 2016, and we need YOUR help to make that happen. If you haven’t already, please consider joining the LPAR as a state party member. Party memberships start at only $10/year and those funds help support the daily operations of the LPAR. We also greatly appreciate our monthly Torch Club Sustaining Members, whose monthly contributions help us better plan for the future. To thank our monthly donors, we offer LPAR exclusive merchandise, and it’s not too late to get on our upcoming shipment of gratitude gifts.

We thank you for your support, your votes and your help this election season. We want to continue offering Arkansans more freedom by putting Libertarians on the ballot. Will you help us?
Live FREE!

Jessica Paxton
Chairman – LPAR
chair@lpar.org

A personal “thank you” from the LPAR Chair

While we wait on the last county to report it’s election totals, I wanted to take a moment of your time to give some amazing Arkansans the thanks they so truly deserve. Without our candidates, the LPAR would cease to exist as a political party, and it is because of these folks that you had the option to vote for true freedom-fighting candidates this year. While we had some rousing victories and some heart-breaking defeats, our candidates consistently stood tall in a sea of opposition, all the while unwavering in their desire to win elections and initiate positive change in this great state.

I want to send my heartfelt gratitude to these 28 Libertarians who sacrificed their time, energy, money and free time to run for office this year. Whether participating in debates, knocking on doors, waving signs or doing countless interviews, these men and women have gone above and beyond in their quest to bring more freedom to Arkansas. Their spouses, families, friends, neighbors and campaign teams have sacrificed countless hours to support these candidates and I want to also thank each and every one of you for believing in them.

And finally, I want to thank every Arkansan who cast a vote for a Libertarian candidate. With each election cycle we grow stronger, earning more and more votes and winning more elections. While it’s an uphill battle, it’s a battle that’s worth fighting. And I thank you for standing beside me as we march forward, advancing each year, moving closer and closer to a Libertarian world. A world in which we will eventually take over. And then leave you alone.

Please join me as I sincerely thank your 2014 Libertarian heroes:

-Frank Gilbert for Governor

-Chris Olson for Lt. Governor

-Aaron Cash for Attorney General

-Jacob Holloway for Secretary of State

-Brian Leach for Auditor of State

-Chris Hayes for State Treasurer

-Elvis D. Presley for Commissioner of State Lands

-Nathan LaFrance for US Senate

-Brian Willhite for US Congress Dist 1

-Debbie Standiford for US Congress Dist 2

-Grant Brand for US Congress Dist 3

-Ken Hamilton for US Congress Dist 4

-Wayne Williams for State Rep Dist 15

-Marc Rosson for State Rep Dist 20

-Greg Deckleman for State Rep Dist 31

-Rodger Paxton for State Rep Dist 51

-Taylor Watkins for State Rep Dist 80

-Eddie Moser for State Rep Dist 95

-Michael Kalagias for State Rep Dist 96

-Glen Schwarz for Pulaski County Judge

-Shawn Hipskind for Saline County Judge

-Val Emmons for JP Dist 2 Pulaski County

-Chris Parks for JP Dist 2 Lonoke County

-William Brackeen for JP Dist 13 Pulaski County

-Whit Hyman for Constable in Springdale

-Jacob Faught for Constable in Gentry

-Bobby Tullis for Mayor of Mineral Springs (nonpartisan)

-Casey Copeland for Alderman in Prairie Grove (nonpartisan)

Stay tuned for a detailed election analysis, coming tomorrow!

Jessica and (my biggest supporter, without whom I would be lost – thank you!) Rodger Paxton

Live FREE!

Jessica Paxton
Chairman – LPAR
chair@lpar.org

Can Frank Win?

This is a question I have heard over and over since Frank Gilbert announced his candidacy last year. To be honest, it is one of my favorite questions to hear a voter ask. The answer is always “yes.”

Frank has a track record of winning elections. In fact, he has held more elected offices than “front-runner” Asa Hutchinson. So, yes Frank can win; he already has. I guess the better and bigger question is, can Frank win the gubernatorial election? Once again the answer is “yes.” Will it be easy? No.

Before I go any further, I think it would be best if I defined what victory would be. The Libertarian Party is actually seeking two victories on Election Day: ballot access and a Libertarian governor. One is very much within our reach. With just 3% of the vote, the Libertarian Party will retain ballot access, ending the two-party system in Arkansas. This would be a huge victory for the Libertarian Party, saving us more than $30,000 in petition costs per election cycle.

Electing a Libertarian governor will not be easy, but it is doable. After all, the United States has been faced with more impossible challenges before. It was not an easy task for the founders to win America’s independence; in fact, it was improbable, but they did it anyway. Until Arkansas takes that same stand to declare its independence from the Republicrats and Demopublicans (as Frank likes to call them), Arkansas can never move forward.

Arkansas Republicans ran on repealing Obamacare, but instead they expanded it, along with every single Democrat in the Senate and House. Frank Gilbert is the only candidate in this race who unequivocally opposes the Obamacare “Private Option.” He is also the only candidate that supports putting parents back in the driver’s seat, by passing universal school choice.

Our quest isn’t as hard as what our founders faced. We can declare our independence through the ballot box.

But can Frank win? Perhaps a more compelling question is this: Can Arkansas win? We face the choice of a career politician, a D.C. lobbyist, or a hard-working and principled citizen like Frank Gilbert as our next governor. In my opinion, Arkansas can win only if Frank wins. And that can only happen if we stop asking questions about what is possible and start voting for the best choice, regardless of political party team-loyalty.

—Tyler Harrison, LPAR Executive Committee Member, At-Large

Coleman Supporters Welcome!

I respect the hard work and expansive spirit that made Coleman for Governor the most interesting and exciting thing to come out of the Arkansas GOP in my lifetime. But the truth is, I would cherish that work ethic and that spirit continuing with Gilbert for Governor!
—Frank Gilbert

Earlier this year, I wrote my first article for the LPAR Blog, Why I left. It was a short explanation for why I left the Republican Party to join the Libertarian Party. While not completely identical, I feel that my reasoning for swapping parties relates to what happened in Arkansas on May 20th.

I already identified as a libertarian, but I still believed that the GOP was the best vehicle to implement libertarian policies. I was wrong. After leaving the GOP, mainly because of how they treated Ron Paul at the 2012 convention, by changing the rules at the last minute to prevent him from fighting Romney for the nomination, I joined the Libertarian Party.

After being called a Paulbot by fellow Republicans, I knew that I wasn’t welcome in the GOP; only my vote was. Well, I decided that I would take my vote somewhere else. Today, I ask Coleman supporters to do the same. I cannot tell you how appalled I have been at the treatment from other Republicans towards Coleman supporters online. From calling them Colemanistas (whatever that means), to making fun of how bad they were going to lose to Asa Hutchinson, I knew how Coleman supporters must have felt.

Asa has already asked Coleman supporters to join his campaign, and Curtis has endorsed Asa (sort of). Curtis promised he would, and he is a stand up guy for keeping his word, but remember that your vote still belongs to you. You decide.

Now, I won’t pretend that there aren’t some differences between Curtis and Frank Gilbert, but they are minute when compared to the differences between Curtis and Asa. Curtis and Asa disagree on BIG issues: Obamacare, school choice, common core, and minimum wage.

Looking at what Curtis’ campaign was about (Let Arkansas Prosper), it’s clear which candidate stands closer to Curtis Coleman supporters: Frank Gilbert.

We will gladly welcome Coleman supporters to both the Gilbert campaign and the Libertarian Party of Arkansas.

—Tyler Harrison, At-Large Member, LPAR Executive Committee

Gilbert for Governor News Release – AR TV Biased?

For Immediate Release: May 28, 2014

Contact:  Frank Gilbert

501 317-5087 or Toll Free 855 662-8551

arkliberty@gmail.com

Libertarian candidate for Governor, Frank Gilbert, has accused several Arkansas television stations of bias and failure to serve the public interest.

KATV in Little Rock, KAIT in Jonesboro and KHBS/KHOG in Northwest Arkansas have announced that they will air a debate between the Republican and Democrat candidates for governor. The debate will be held on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on October 7th.

Gilbert denounced the stations for failing to include new party candidates in the debate.

“The decision to ignore and therefore silence half the candidates in this race is inexplicable,” Gilbert said. “The stations have chosen to ignore their mandate to work in the public interest. They have also ignored the majority of Arkansans who believe we need a third political party,” he continued.

Gilbert did not exclude the possibility of legal action, but concluded, “These broadcasters need to rethink their decision. Just because the old parties will be buying more advertising, is no reason to ignore other candidates.”

Gilbert and Green Party candidate Josh Drake will be on voters’ ballots in November, but not in this debate unless something changes.

Reforming the Electoral System Now

In Plato’s treatise, “The Republic,” several different practical forms of government are discussed, including a criticism of democracy. During Plato’s lifetime, the Greek city-state of Athens had already practiced a direct-democracy style of government for many generations, and Plato had some very unflattering opinions concerning democratic politics. In summary, Plato theorized that only those individuals who are motivated by influence and control would seek power in a democratic society and that most citizens would relinquish their decision-making authority to a political class of demagogues. Similarly, Socrates also professed the sentiment that a democracy based on lawlessness is dangerous. In the dialogue, “Gorgias,” Socrates theorizes that everyone participating in the political process can suffer greatly if the society agrees to commit heinous acts such an unjustified military action against another nation for the sake of resources. Plato and Socrates agreed that the ideal ruler of a government is a philosopher concerned with the welfare of all the nation’s citizens and the pursuit of wisdom rather than wealth and power.

In the American experiment of government with a constitutional republic and democratic elections, it is crucial that those individuals seeking elected office are endowed with the wisdom to serve and help rather than the desire to rule and control. Otherwise, this experiment with democratic government is doomed to failure, as history has demonstrated in the classical republics of Greece and Rome. While many are unaware, all American citizens are potentially very politically influential. This heavy influence occurs because the decisions made by our leaders can directly affect the whole world. This moral imperative creates a responsibility to select leaders that will make thoughtful and wise judgments. Therefore, narcissistic, egotistical, and self-promoting leaders are the most dangerous enemies to a democratic form of government. They represent the ruin of a free society.

As Americans, it is our duty to be engaged in some form of leadership, even if it is simply staying informed about international events and domestic policies. To otherwise disregard this sacred duty is a perilous act of negligence. However, what is most discouraging is that ordinary Americans, outside of the political aristocracy, are no longer allowed to participate in the electoral system. In the United States, the elections only allow for two political parties to participate, which creates a basic duopoly on power and access to the government. While a majority of voting Americans may actually like the current two party system, it is not a legal or justified political arrangement, because it eliminates minority representation. This is the kind of democracy that Plato warned us about, and this is how a democracy turns into tyranny for those individuals who seek to speak the truth instead of what is politically advantageous.

As an American, it is no longer my right to run for public office unless I have the blessings of the plutocratic mafia that currently controls the two major political parties. Thus, to say that our elections in America are free would be an outright lie or a misunderstanding of the democratic process. Currently, only the well-vetted insider is allowed to even run as a political candidate, and no outside voices of dissent are allowed to seriously participate. This current system is allowed to exist through unconstitutional ballot access laws and by auxiliary devious means of bureaucratic control. These have the effect of banning and discouraging other political parties from engaging in elections. If this outrageous trend is allowed to continue, our democratic system of elections is doomed to only produce tyrannical and narcissistic leadership and to serve the interests of a powerful elite against the will of the people.

In my opinion, Americans should demand that this electoral system be reformed immediately, to allow all political parties and citizens to participate, regardless of economic or ideological disposition. Otherwise, the distant warnings of the past regarding the evils of democratic tyranny will haunt the United States, and the citizens of this country will be enslaved in governance by oligarchy.

—Jacob Holloway, LPAR candidate for Secretary of State

Campaign Season is here!

I’d like to encourage all Libertarian Party of Arkansas members to be active campaigners for the many Libertarian candidates we have on the ballot in Arkansas this year. It took a lot of hard work and money to achieve ballot status for our candidates, and we need to make sure that effort was for a good reason.

You can find our list of Libertarian candidates at the LPAR web site. Pick out at least one campaign (or more) that you can commit to work for. There are many ways that you can help—from telling your friends, to door-to-door campaigning, to making a financial donation, to arranging events for the candidate, to attending events with the candidate, and much more.

Our candidate for Governor, Frank Gilbert, will provide the LPAR with continued ballot status if he receives at least 3% of the vote in November. That would save us a lot of time, effort, and money. It’s up to us to do what we can to make that happen. So let’s GET INVOLVED!

—Kathleen Wikstrom, LPAR Vice-Chair

The Non Aggression Principle, as I understand it

The “Non Aggression Principle” (or NAP) is an ethical doctrine that states that aggression is wrong, aggression being defined as the initiation of physical force or fraud against persons or property, or the threat of the same. In order to join the national Libertarian Party, you must affirm that you “oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.”

In a letter to Francis Gilmer in 1816, Thomas Jefferson stated it like this: “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” He went on to say, “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.” (emphasis mine)

We all understand that to practice the NAP we can never initiate force against individuals or against their rightly-acquired property. As I have come to understand this concept, I equate force with violence, whether physical (actually touching another person) or non-physical (fraud). This ethical stance does not include self defense, for in that case we are responding to an initiation of force against ourselves or our property. I am no pacifist. As R. Lee Wrights put it during a speech at one of our State conventions, “Break into my house and you’ll see how much of a pacifist I am.” This is the easy part of the NAP, and I think most people get that, heck, it was stuff we were taught in preschool. “Don’t take other kids toys, don’t hit other kids, etc.”

Taking this to a higher plane, how does this apply to our system of government? Most of us understand that codifying morality is in direct opposition to the NAP. For example, I may believe that prostitution is immoral, but it should not be illegal. To a sharper point, I believe that the “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation” part of the Fifth Amendment is in direct violation of the NAP. If the owner of the rightly-acquired property doesn’t want to sell, no one, not even the government, should be able to take that property from the owner, regardless of the price offered. Again, those are things that I, at least, see as fairly easy concepts. But what about those things that we find both morally and ethically reprehensible? Wouldn’t it be one of the tenants of good government to correct societal wrongs?

In my opinion, the answer is a resounding NO. To back that up, I will go back to what Thomas Jefferson said above: “law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” Individuals, even those that are what society deems to be “outside the norm,” have rights, too. Even when their actions are reprehensible, as long as they do not initiate force, either violently or by fraud, against another individual or their property, they have every right to be as disgustingly repugnant as they want to be. To paraphrase a famous quote attributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you do, but I will defend to the death your right to do it as long as you don’t initiate force against another individual.”

I do not believe that it is provided anywhere within the Constitution for our government to become the arbiter of societal wrongs. The “general welfare” clause has been brought up during discussions of this nature, but James Madison said this of the “general welfare” clause, in a letter to Edmund Pendleton in 1792:

If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.

If the “general welfare” clause allows the government to be the “righter of wrongs” (also becoming the arbiter of what is right and wrong), it would, in my opinion, completely invalidate the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution.

The real problem with having government make laws that make certain aspects of human nature illegal hinges upon the “or else” clause that is inherent in all laws. These laws have, as part of their inevitable conclusion, the barrel of a gun pointed at a person’s head. Let’s take anti-discrimination laws as an example. First, these laws provide that the government is the sole arbiter of what is, or is not, discrimination. Is that something we really want the government to decide for us? Next, if a business, as that is where most anti-discrimination law is directed, is found to be in noncompliance with this law, what happens? A government official will visit that business, point out the noncompliance, and probably extract a bribe (aka: fine). The government will then monitor the business for any further noncompliance. If the business continues this practice, it will be shut down and the owner arrested. What if the owner doesn’t want to be arrested? Well, here is where the “or else” clause kicks in. Now the owner is in defiance of the will of the government, so other government officials, with guns, will show up to arrest the owner, who will then either be incarcerated or killed—all because he or she was in violation of government approved behavior. Am I saying that I approve of discrimination? No. But there are much better, non-physical, ways to cure this “societal” ill, provided by a free market.

In conclusion, the Non Aggression Principle should be the guiding principle for all we do in life, not just in the political sphere. Realizing that violating the rights of the individual (even those individuals whose actions are morally repugnant) violates the NAP is essential to understanding this ethical principle. Laws that define appropriate human behavior violate the NAP. Even if they are intended to “do good” by correcting inappropriate behavior, violation of these laws ultimately leads to the initiation of force against a person or their property. To that point, I will leave you with one more quote:

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. —Mahatma Gandhi

—Mark M. Young

We the Employers need to adopt new hiring criteria

We the EmployersEvery couple of years, voters hire representatives to do the job of protecting the interest of the people. It has been common practice to elect lawyers and business owners, in the hopes that they have answers that the “average” person does not. But this strategy has not worked out well for “We The People,” — we the employers need to adopt new hiring criteria.

After all, lawyers and business owners have, at the very least, a dual focus: on their own career and on representing constituents. I’ve had a career, but now I’m a stay-at-home mom. Raising my children is my career. Their future is my focus, and a better future for Arkansas means a better future for my children. That’s why I’m running for Congress.

I’m not running for Congress so that I can begin campaigning for re-election the minute I step into office. I’m not here to make deals and sell our country’s future to increase my own power, the power of my party, or the power of government. I’m not here to make important contacts, gain status, get a title, or create new regulations that will benefit my business.

I’m here for one reason: to make sure my children have MORE freedom—to make sure they aren’t indentured to an over-reaching state with an endless appetite for squandering the labors of the people it was created to protect. I want to reduce, and even eliminate, the enormous burden of debt that we are leaving to our children.

The future of America is intricately tied to the future of my children. That is why I will work tirelessly to restore freedom for all Americans and why EVERY vote I make will be for more freedom and less government.

-Debbie Standiford, Libertarian Candidate for US Congress, Arkansas’ Second District

Why I Left

Since joining the Libertarian Party, I have been asked numerous questions by friends, family, and strangers. Usually the first question is, “What the hell is a Libertarian?” My favorite one is, “Aren’t they the ones that want to legalize weed?” Both of these questions are great, and provide an outlet to answer why I am a libertarian, and more importantly why I am a member of the Libertarian Party.

To give you a little background information about myself, I have considered myself a libertarian since 2010. I was an avid Ron Paul supporter, and I would probably still be in the GOP, had he not been treated the way he was at the RNC convention. It was there I realized “you people” were not welcome in the party.

I was now politically homeless. After attending my state’s Libertarian Party convention a little over a year ago, I was sold. For once I was in a room where I was not a “Paulbot” or a Continue reading