After reading The Governor’s Solution (A fascinating book about the Alaskan Gov. Jay Hammond) there were a few things that left an impression, not the least of which was how libertarian the Governor was. This fact was to my surprise and enormous delight. So much so that I forwarded a copy of this script to The Chosen One, The Fearless, All Knowing, Supreme Leader Dr. Ron Paul.
An assertion I have is that if the Libertarian Party was as established in 1974 as it is now Gov. Hammond would have at the very least considered himself a subscriber of libertarian ideals. Thus, helping project the party forward out of obscurity. In other words, the party needs a hero, an outstanding figure to represent the movement.
This would consequently turn a two-party system into a three-party system, and most likely would begin a chain reaction leading toward an explosion of multi-layered representation as well as policy reform in regards to bi-partisanship. To support my side of contention I will first offer my evidence of Gov.
Hammond espousing libertarian beliefs. Secondly, I will provide a basis for my thoughts on why a prominent figure is all the party needs to become a contender in an election. Third, why one instance of this circumstance would permanently effect the bi-partisan landscape.
The first point backing up my first assertion of Gov. Hammond being Libertarian is the fact that he ran as an independent in a legislature that was at the time over 85% democrat. This, along with his statements regarding his motivation for running as an independent, shows that he had differences in ideology from both democrats as well as republicans.
In regards to proposed legislation and taxes involved with economic wealth and resources of his borough and how little of it was going to Alaskans and how much was going elsewhere, Hammond said, “While I would like folks to think altruism was my major motivation, the prime factor, of course, was simply money” (Hammond, Pg. 9)
This might have well been said by Ayn Rand herself. He also recognized Alaskans chagrin toward government by saying “So adverse are most Alaskans to taxes that even should one be devised which made them money most would oppose it. Naively, I thought this was simply due to ignorance.” (Hammond, Pg. 10). His stance on the independence and individual responsibility of Alaska Natives is indicative of “big L” libertarianism.
“Native leaders decried what they perceived as growing dependence on government programs, which could make drones of some of the most self-sufficient of the Earth’s peoples…it would seem freedom of choice and self-determination could do much to retain self-respect, while meeting what the people themselves felt to be their primary needs —far better than “Great White Father” paternalism.”
I personally appreciate his understanding of Austrian economics, whether by design or happenstance.
“Nothing gives folks a greater feeling of accomplishment and worth than self-determination, sense of ownership, and personal responsibility. When obligated to fund and maintain power plants, schools, community centers, local roads and airfields from their own pockets, people are likely to count coins more carefully and maintain standards in which they can take pride.
When government provides those programs gratis with few strings attached, inequity, duplication, and inefficiency too shackled many villages to dependence on both state and federal largesse, but has encumbered Alaska with government service costs per capita far in excess of any other state.”
Onto my second assertion, Libertarians need a hero. Admittedly, if Hammond did run as a Libertarian he probably would not have been elected. But if he did, he would have been a shining example and most likely would have cut short the development process required for a third party to gain national recognition.
I understand that this statement is conjecture. However, during our class we have learned that leaders are chosen based on the state of the economy, and the immediate job climate. Per the mainstream media, those two things were in favor of the democratic party, yet Trump is president-elect. He is in effect a historical and statistical anomaly.
A factor that was not often mentioned was Trumps dominance in the media, whether it be positive or negative he owned the front page, and according to Chuck Thompson, a columnist and author, that is indicatory of why he won.
Based on this, one could theorize that if Trump ran Libertarian he would have won. A singular and identifiable figure who catches headlines with a supposed pragmatic demeanor would do wonders for the party, or any party for that matter. In the wake of this election, nobody will be able to completely refute this theory.
For the argument that it would change the bi-partisan landscape, is the simple fact that once a third-party president moves into the white house, the flood gates will open. Also, the fact that states who have elected third party legislators are more likely to vote third party again supports this theory. Another thing to consider, is in this age of information, the bi-partisan program will no longer be able to sustain itself.
With more candidates taking to social media and every word they say will be accountable, traditional mediums will dry up and become less impactful. The magnitude of ways you can engage your audience will promote dissention and eventually splintering within the party. In fact, it is being said that this is already happening, and the lines of bi-partisanship are beginning to blur. Good news for third parties who will undoubtedly be nourished by the purge of ex-first-party members.
I could have gone on about how Hammond would have served well under a Libertarian banner. I could go on about what a third party needs to break into the mainstream, and when it happens, not if it happens, how it will change every subsequent election for a long time thereafter. Though for some of this I can only speculate, these theories are closer to reality than before.
Hammond, Jay. “Diapering the Devil: How Alaska Helped Staunch Befouling by Mismanaged Oil Wealth: A Lesson for Other Oil Rich Nations.” The Governors Solution(2012): 5-55. Web. Edited By Todd Moss
“Chuck Thompson on New Media.” Interview. Video blog post. Rosemarie Alexander, n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2016.
“Jay Hammond.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.