Archive for Monday, May 24, 2010

Kansas Libertarians see rising number of voters registering with third parties

May 24, 2010, 9:22 a.m. Updated May 24, 2010, 12:00 p.m.


— Kansas Libertarians are frustrated, and they say they aren’t alone.

As one of the minor parties in the state, Libertarians have long struggled to gain members and influence Kansas politics. But the party chairman tells the Topeka Capital-Journal that the tide may be turning.

Andrew Gray says the party has seen registrations rise in recent years as more voters become frustrated that the Republican and Democratic parties have blurred the ideological lines that used to separate them.

“People are beginning to understand there is no longer a red or blue but a horrible shade of purple,” said Gray, of Topeka. “One can no longer differentiate between the two parties.”

Gray said more Kansans are identifying themselves either as Libertarian or unaffiliated voters heading into the 2010 election.

Registration statewide among Libertarians is up since August 2008, from 9,152 to 9,777 as of May. In Shawnee County, where Gray is based, the numbers have risen from 523 to 599.

Still, one political observer sees Libertarians and other minor parties as outsiders looking in on the process in Kansas.

Mark Peterson, associate professor of political science at Washburn University, describes Libertarians as an “oddity of Kansas politics.”

“There’s not a lot of them,” he said.

Those not signing on with a party register as unaffiliated and that sector has increased by more than 7 percent, from 451,631 to 484,995. Peterson suspected most of those voters were aged 18 to 24 years old.

“I really don’t understand why anyone would register unaffiliated — especially in a state like Kansas, where the primary elections are where the action is,” he said. “If you don’t vote in the primary, you get whatever the parties decide they’re going to put on offer in the general election.”

Democrats have added to their ranks since 2008, increasing from 449,058 to 463,225 registered voters. Republicans are still the dominant party, though the numbers have fallen from 741,786 to 738,750.

The new Kansas smoking ban, which takes effect July 1, has stirred interest among Libertarians, including an unsuccessful petition drive to overturn the Topeka city smoking ban. The party in general believes in less government intervention in individual lives and protection of liberties.

Gray said the party is trying to show potential members that change starts at the local level. No Libertarians serve in statewide office or in the Kansas Legislature, the latter of which is controlled by Republicans.

“You may not be able to change what is happening in Washington, D.C., but you can in your own backyard,” he said.

Gray also said the party’s messages of a limited government, fiscal conservatism and the sovereignty of the individual are beginning to resonate well with Kansans, “especially now with the ever-increasing encroachment of the federal government.”


Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

anrchy = no government libertarianism = limited government designed specifically to defend the rights of the people (in America as defined by the bill of rights) and the constitutionality of laws penned by federal and state legislatures.

tomatogrower 7 years, 11 months ago

There are actually Libertarians who want to make a woman's right to choose illegal. Seems pretty hypocritical to me. Everyone has rights, but women.

UfoPilot 7 years, 11 months ago

except when the the mother WANTS the baby. Then it's a baby. Why do you think that is?

tomatogrower 7 years, 11 months ago

Some religions and non religions believe that it is not a human unless it is viable. Tell me why should a woman who has been made pregnant by rape be subjected to 9 more months of what amounts to rape. And why shouldn't it be the woman's decision anytime. She is the one who has to make the decision and live with whatever decision she makes. If you believe that government should not dictate to people, how can they dictate to women? Or are rights only for white guys?

Patrick Wilbur 7 years, 11 months ago

Find out for yourself - Douglas County Libertarians meet Wed night at 7pm at the Lawrence Public Library. This is a great opportunity to help quality candidates during the upcoming election season.

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 11 months ago

So, does the Libertarian Party view a public library as a valid function of local government?

If so, I must reconsider that this party may, after all, be relevant.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

Not speaking for the party, but I find public libraries to be a waste of space. I have my own shelves with thousands of books that interest me (and that I paid for). I made it through grad school without ever stepping into a library other than my own.

If you think we should be paying for space for bums to sit in air conditioned comfort while better people work in the heat, you aren't libertarian material. Stick with the whiny liberals.

headdoctor 7 years, 11 months ago

Wonderful, now we have the abominations of the modern Republican party merging with the modern abominations of the Libertarian Party. I just can't wait to see what kind of rabid offspring results from this. And to think people thought the Neocons were a pain.

Note to self. Buy large bottle of Excedrin and a very large container of K-Y.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

LOL. To your left and to your right. Libertarians throw everything into disarray with their rational thought. We are pro choice on everything.

dinglesmith 7 years, 11 months ago

Libertarians range from those that believe in small, non-interfering government to no government at all. I would also remind everyone that Barry Goldwater, the conservative libertarian icon, fought the religious right on all issues of personal freedom including abortion and gay rights. Libertarians have a difficult time coexisting with either Republicans who promote Christian Nationalists views on social policy or Democrats who promote Socialist views on government services. I really wish the Republicans would throw the fundies out and go back to being more Libertarian.

headdoctor 7 years, 11 months ago

Nice wish list but Barry Goldwater and other like minded people are gone along with most of the old Republicans. The handful of old style Libertarians left can't do much and even though they may have some great ideas their plans don't fit to well with the Modern Libertarians. Much of their ideology is one large conflict and not very practical for modern times.

UfoPilot 7 years, 11 months ago

Marginalize by name calling. Typical Socialist tactic.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 11 months ago

Tom, I would not use God and rascism in the same comment as if they have anything in common.

Perhaps in the twilight years of your life on this earth, you can figure out what is bugging you so much and find some peace of mind.

I don't think Obama is your problem.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

Libertarian is the only political philosophy not based at least in part on lies. Kansans are starting to find the truth.

headdoctor 7 years, 11 months ago

Sure it is based on lies. Lies to their self. Many ideas of the modern Libertarian party have never worked for any length of time any where on the face of the planet.

avoice 7 years, 11 months ago

Neither have Socialist ideas. Ask the good folks in Greece and several other European countries.

geekyhost 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, it's certainly not based on evidence or history, either.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

This country was founded on libertarian ideals. The original 10 amendments read like a libertarian manifesto. It worked fine until FDR turned it into a welfare state and kennedy turned it into a nation of cowards.

geekyhost 7 years, 11 months ago

Nice try, but all modern American political movements have their roots in the philosophies espoused by the founding fathers. We could talk about their socialized health care for sailors, too.

If by "worked fine" you mean "owned slaves," "had a civil war," "claimed property people were already occupying" and "didn't let women vote," then sure, you've got a point. We'll forget about how FDR were a reaction to the profound boom and bust cycle perpetuated by the oft libertarian touted laissez-faire economic policy.

The word "libertarian" itself at the time referred to a theological philosophy of free will vs predetermination.

Adrienne Sanders 7 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone else think it's odd that the article seems to conclude that unaffiliated voter= Libertarian?

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

We can't take over the GOP, but the GOP is in spirit the least of two evils by a wide margin.

Clark Coan 7 years, 11 months ago

Too bad the Green Party was never able to qualify for the Kansas ballot because the Dems and Reps enacted such stringent rules.

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago

Well it's really simple: people who want to change the government have long realized that it's much easier to hijack the apparatus of one of the two parties at the local level then it is to build a new party from scratch. The neo-cons and the religious right did it most recently in the Republican party, before that it was the Civil Rights movement in the Democratic party. And before that it was the New Deal Democrats. The closest thing we've had recently to a viable third party was H. Ross Perot, and all that managed to do was split the ticket.

puddleglum 7 years, 11 months ago

Libertarians are as much of a joke as librarians.
heck, either way, it don't make no difference to me, cuz I'm a pretty person and I can basically get what I want through charm or outright bribery. I had a liberty coin one time and that didn't get me elected so why should I care if a few ugly kansans want to throw their vote to the libertarians? have a nice time putting out the fire on your house-jerx!

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

Libertarian candidates will, by and large, pull votes away from Republican candidates.

Go Libertarians!

geekyhost 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree with you there. I'd rather get rid of parties and vote for individuals.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

to raise the betterment of all

To each according to his need, comrade.

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