Dr. Tom Stevens announces plans to form Personal Freedom Party in New York

In IPR comments on a previous post, Dr. Tom Stevens writes

In light of the continued failure of the LP in New York, the Personal Freedom Party will be giving it a shot in 2014. They just adopted a platform which you can see at:
http://drtomstevens.blogspot.com/2010/11/personal-freedom-party-adopts-platform.html

This assumes that the LPNY in fact failed to obtain the 50,000 votes in the race for Governor that are required to obtain ballot status. However, in IPR comments both Richard Winger and LPNY chair Mark Axinn have pointed out that this won’t be known until December, and that the Working Families Party has qualified in the past under similar circumstances, where it looked initially like they had missed the cutoff.

The platform of the PFP at the above link:

Legalization of Marijuana
Decriminalization of Prostitution
Legalization of Gambling
Lowering of the Voting Age
Legalization of Gay Marriage
Elimination of Excessive Taxation
Elimination of Excessive Regulation

The Personal Freedom Party was founded by Dr. Tom Stevens on June 6, 2010. Its initial focus will be to recruit candidates to run for pubic office in New York State as well as to seek out pro-liberty individuals willing to serve in leadership positions.

The Personal Freedom Party’s main objective is to run a full slate of statewide candidates in 2014 and to obtain 50,000 votes for its gubernatorial nominee so the party can obtain “minor party” status under the election law of New York State.

I’ve seen no word yet on whether Kristin Davis will be involved with this effort. Davis has at one point said or implied she would run under a Personal Freedom Party ballot line. At various other times, she also indicated that she might run as Reform Party, Free Libertarian Party or as an independent candidate before ultimately settling on Anti-Prohibition Party, which recruited a slate of candidates but did not get anywhere near 50,000 votes for Governor. Stevens endorsed Davis for Governor, and the platforms sound very similar. Davis’ campaign guru, Roger Stone, is best known for his work with Republicans, and at least at one point also worked with Carl Paladino’s (Republican/Conservative Party/Taxpayers Party) campaign as well.

Stevens, for his part, in addition to having held various offices in the local, state and national Libertarian Party, was at one point the Vice Chair of the Boston Tea Party, and also founded and ran as the Presidential candidate of the Objectivist Party, which still exists. I’ve seen no word as to whether the Personal Freedom Party will have any affiliation with or replace the Objectivist Party.

See also:

Should there be multiple ‘freedom’ parties?

Brian Holtz responds to Jim Davidson: ‘multiple freedom parties is dumb’

Jim Davidson: Why two libertarian parties are better than one

IPR archive on Kristin Davis (multiple pages)

IPR archives on Personal Freedom Party

IPR archives on Objectivist Party

IPR archives on Dr. Tom Stevens (multiple pages).

51 thoughts on “Dr. Tom Stevens announces plans to form Personal Freedom Party in New York

  1. Peter M.

    Lowering the voting age, interesting. I think this is one of the only political organisations that advocates that, though the Socialist Party calls for the right to vote (and run for any office) at age 15 or higher.

  2. paulie Post author

    So what about people over 18 who don’t work or who work under the table? What about people who have a lot of money and don’t need to work? What about beggars…would begging be considered work?

    If the criterion for voting is having a job, would people with only part time work get part of a vote? What about those with two full time jobs?

    If the criteria for voting is having money taken by the state, should each person’s voting power be proportional to their tax burden? If so, would that include only income taxes, or sales and property and other taxes?

    What about non-citizens who work, would they vote? If they do vote, what if any rights or benefits would citizenship bestow on anyone?

    I know, I know, that’s a lot of questions….inquiring minds want to know :-)

  3. Darryl W. Perry

    As it stands the voting age is 18 – most States allow people at 15 or 16 to work; I think those people should also be able to vote… Maybe the voting age should be lowered across the board, I simply made a suggestion

  4. paulie Post author

    There are people younger than that who work. Child actors, for instance, babysitters, newspaper deliverers.

    I’ve been working since age 11. We had a petitioner with us one time who had her seven year old slinging clipboards (under her supervision).

    I think your suggestion is interesting…just trying to think through the implications.

  5. Dr. Tom Stevens

    So much to address and I will do so when I have more time but for now, let me just say I think this article on my new initiative in New York State was very well-written.

    I will also answer Darryl’s first question in Comment #1. I am still running the Objectivist Party but even if the Objectivist Party of New York were to run a very aggressive and well-funded gubernatorial campaign in New York State in 2014, I have very little hope that effort could get the 50,000 votes necessary to obtain “minor party” status and hence, permanent ballot access for 4 years. I see that effort as more of an informational campaign.

    However, I am very optimistic that a new Personal Freedom Party could garner 50,000+ votes if we run an effective campaign. The Libertarian Party in New York State has failed to achieve that goal for the past 40 years and given the infighting and lack of professionalism in that organization, I doubt they will get a different result anytime soon.

  6. Thomas M. Sipos

    We need more “freedom parties” because we don’t all agree on what “freedom” means.

    Bush loved the word “freedom.” Some libertarians believe that Rand, or Rothbard, or the U.S. Constitution, or whatever else, is the litmus standard for “freedom.” Others disagree.

    I believe that a true “freedom” party must make antiwar/anti-empire their core issue. If not, I don’t believe they represent the “liberty movement” as envisioned by me.

    Many “freedom parties” is a good thing.

    If the LP loses support as a result, it’s only because the market of “freedom lovers” don’t think the LP represents their vision of freedom.

    If that upsets the faction currently in charge of the LP, too bad.

  7. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 8 & 9

    The Personal Freedom Party has not taken a stand on what the voting age in New York State should be – only that it should be lowered.

    Dr. Tom Stevens would support lowering the voting age in New York State to 14 and I certainly support lowering the drinking age to 18. In fact, I support a number of issues associated with Youth Rights.

    However, the Personal Freedom Party has carefully selected a number of specific issues to focus its attention on at this time.

  8. Eric Sundwall

    The LPNY hasn’t failed yet as Stevens is so anxious to convey. It very well could succeed after the re-canvas as the WFP did in 1998.

    Stevens jumped on the BTP affiliate bandwagon and got booted from that setup. He’s been tossed from Ron Paul groups and the whole Objectivist for prez deal was about finding low lying ballot access fruit.

    This will have no legs beyond the half dozen devotees in Queens he lords over . . . can’t believe I wasted two minutes on this.

  9. Single Winner Districts = Neanderthal Attractor

    The USA Parliament, Inc. looks forward to working with the Personal Freedoms in New York, and in all other eleven super-states.
    –James Ogle [Free Parliamentary]

    The US Parliament New York Super-state Circuit #2
    New York
    http://www.usparliament.org/ss2.htm

    Louis Binetti [Green], Vincent D’Agostino [Republican], Dave Holland [Democratic], Lawrence Durfey [Independent], Juan T. Morel [Non-Party], Brian Carroll [Pot], Dank Treess [Pot], Gogh [Gogh], King Shabazz [Info. Not Avail.]

  10. Robert Capozzi

    hmm, seems like an opportunity and a win/win. 6 people in Queens get to do their thing, the LPNY get to do theirs.

  11. paulie Post author

    Age 14 and up should be okay.

    I could have voted at age eight, in the 1980 election, with about the same level of analytical depth as most actual voters exercise. That is, I was for Carter because most of the kids on my bus were for Reagan. Plus my dad and my teacher were for Carter.

    At age 12, in 1984, I met the criteria Darryl floats above: I was working; in fact, I was making way more money than I am now (sad but true), and working a lot. I knew way more about politics than most adults, too, and I probably would have passed for an adult in my appearance had I wanted to vote. Plus, I had lots of access to fake IDs. However, I was way too busy and cynical to want to actually vote.

    At 16, I actually did vote. Between the 1984 and 1988 elections we became US citizens. My mother had an absentee ballot and didn’t care too much about voting. I voted for Dukakis, so maybe I shouldn’t have been allowed to vote after all. Then again, if my mom had bothered to fill out her own ballot, she probably would have voted for him too, since everyone in my family except for my grandfather did.

    I don’t know what if anything that says about voting age in general, other than that we are all different.

  12. Born Again Non-Voter

    Robert: “seems like an opportunity and a win/win. 6 people in Queens get to do their thing, the LPNY get to do theirs.”

    Okay, but which group is larger?

  13. paulie Post author

    So much to address and I will do so when I have more time

    Looking forward to it.

    but for now, let me just say I think this article on my new initiative in New York State was very well-written.

    Thanks!

    I will also answer Darryl’s first question in Comment #1. I am still running the Objectivist Party but even if the Objectivist Party of New York were to run a very aggressive and well-funded gubernatorial campaign in New York State in 2014, I have very little hope that effort could get the 50,000 votes necessary to obtain “minor party” status and hence, permanent ballot access for 4 years. I see that effort as more of an informational campaign.

    Thanks for answering one of the two main questions I had.

    The other one was about Davis. Is she involved in this? How about Roger Stone? Also, while I’m at it, why did she end up running as “Anti-Prohibition” rather than “Personal Freedom” as was at first suggested, and, conversely, why do you want to call your effort Personal Freedom rather than Anti-Prohibition, as that label at least has the advantage of having been on the ballot once, received a five-figure vote total and some media coverage?

    However, I am very optimistic that a new Personal Freedom Party could garner 50,000+ votes if we run an effective campaign. The Libertarian Party in New York State has failed to achieve that goal for the past 40 years and given the infighting and lack of professionalism in that organization, I doubt they will get a different result anytime soon.

    As mentioned in the article and subsequent comments, it remains to be seen whether LPNY achieved the goal this time. That brings up another question I forgot to ask earlier: If LPNY does get over the 50k hurdle on the recanvass, will you still proceed with trying to qualify the PFP, jump back into LPNY, or what?

  14. paulie Post author

    I believe that a true “freedom” party must make antiwar/anti-empire their core issue. If not, I don’t believe they represent the “liberty movement” as envisioned by me.

    Does the PFP take a stance on foreign policy of any sort? What about domestic policy with foreign policy tie-ins, such as Cordoba House? That appears to have been the main ideological difference between Redlich and Davis, as far as I could tell.

  15. paulie Post author

    Dr. Tom Stevens would support lowering the voting age in New York State to 14 and I certainly support lowering the drinking age to 18. In fact, I support a number of issues associated with Youth Rights.

    Do you have an opinion on the Wasted Voting Syndrome Theory? :-)

  16. Be Rational

    I would support lowering the drinking age to 14, but few people are mature enough to vote before age 40, so 18 is low enough for voting.

  17. paulie Post author

    Hmmm, so maybe I’ll finally be mature enough to vote by 2012, when I’ll be 40? There’s always hope, but somehow I doubt it.

  18. paulie Post author

    Robert: “seems like an opportunity and a win/win. 6 people in Queens get to do their thing, the LPNY get to do theirs.”

    Okay, but which group is larger?

    Actually LOL.

  19. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 19

    Roger Stone and Kristin Davis are not involved with my effort. The platform of the Personal Freedom Party was inspired by the Anti-Prohibition Party’s platform. I always prefer a positive name (Personal Freedom Party) than a negative one (Anti-Prohibition Party).

    Kristin Davis’ campaign manager told me they dropped the idea of using the Personal Freedom Party name because they discovered I had been using it. They later dropped the Reform Party name after they received an e-mail from that party’s leadership. Since Kristin Davis used the Anti-Prohibition Party name and she is not involved at this point with my effort, I chose not to use the name she came up with.

  20. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Commenting on the 50,000 hurdle, I believe all speculation about the NYLP finding 4,000+ is not worth the time it takes it write about it. Mark Axinn says getting the extra votes is “very possible”. I say it is “almost impossible”.

    The dysfunctional people in the NYLP are already speaking about how they can use their bylaws to control nominations and to prevent new libertarians from having influence in a ballot qualified Libertarian Party in New York State. If the party became “ballot qualified” and the party was open to all libertarians, I might participate in it but I don’t see that as probable.

    As for Eric Sundwall’s comments, I will simply state that the characterization and accuracy of the items he posts in an attempt to personally attack me and to discredit my efforts through dismissive commentary is regrettable.

  21. paulie Post author

    Commenting on the 50,000 hurdle, I believe all speculation about the NYLP finding 4,000+ is not worth the time it takes it write about it. Mark Axinn says getting the extra votes is “very possible”. I say it is “almost impossible”.

    I think Richard Winger of Ballot Access News is pretty authoritative on this, and he says it is definitely possible and that there is in fact a very similar situation that occurred with the WFP in 1998.

  22. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 20

    Right now, the Personal Freedom Party is going to stick with the main issues it has identified in its platform. For example, it has taken a stand on the legalization of marijuana but does not comment on other drugs either way.

    Being a New York State Party, it will probably not take a stand on foreign policy.

    As for the Mosque, I can only speak for myself. I believe in the right of private property owners to decide what to build on their own property.

  23. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 28

    Fair enough. It is always possible my political analysis in this respect is not correct. We shall see in a few weeks and if I am incorrect, I will be the first to admit it.

  24. Pingback: Personal Freedom Party: ‘Tell Your Children! Fight The Menace! Kill The Devil! Save The Country!’ | Independent Political Report

  25. Richard Winger

    In November 1998, as of six days after the election, the Working Families Party was told it had 48,000 votes for Governor. But when the official canvass came out in mid-December 1998, the Working Families Party had 51,325. There are always hundreds of thousands of provisional ballots, and it takes time to decide which ones are valid and which aren’t. There are also still some uncounted absentee ballots, especially from overseas voters.

  26. JT

    Tom: “Being a New York State Party, it will probably not take a stand on foreign policy.”

    What’s the logical connection here? Why would being a NY party imply not taking a stand on foreign policy?

  27. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 33

    You raise a good point. I guess even a New York State party could take a stand on Foreign Policy even though it is not really a state issue. It may be true that our future Congressional Candidates may need to address some foreign policy issues in the future but at this point, we felt the focus should be on Personal Freedom issues and we expanded that into the economic and regulatory areas with our stands against excessive taxation and excessive regulation.

    The final point is that when we eventually address foreign policy, I fear we will have major disagreements as to what stands to take. One way to go would be to only run candidates that are in full agreement with our Personal Freedom issues but to then allow those candidates to take stands on other issues based on their own personal viewpoint.

  28. Mark Axinn

    The LPNY candidate for Governor in 2010 more than tripled the vote count of the 2006 candidate, who in turn had more than tripled that of the 2002 candidate. I consider a nine-fold increase in votes in two election cycles as a huge success.

    Redlich’s total also is nearly twice that of our prior highest result for Governor in New York (24,611 in 1990). I consider achieving the best-ever result in the history of the Party quite a success.

    Additionally, this year saw five independent candidates (Green, Libertarian, Rent is Too Damn High, Anti-Prohibition and Freedom Parties) run in additon to the two establishment creeps. Of the four other independent candidates, only the Green Party candidate (Howie Hawkins) came ahead of us.

    The 2010 election was a tremendous success for the LPNY and I am proud and appreciative of all six state-wide candidates for their efforts and professionalism.

  29. Thomas L. Knapp

    Quoth Eric Sundwall:

    “Stevens jumped on the BTP affiliate bandwagon and got booted from that setup.”

    That’s not correct. He left of his own volition.

    The BTP has no process for “booting” individual members.

    He’d likely have been removed from the vice-chairmanship of the national committee had he not resigned (he got caught trying to steal the party’s first presidential nominating convention through an interesting combination of bylaws violation and the creation of fake state affiliate organizations), but he left before that could happen.

  30. Tom Blanton

    Well, since a large majority of Americans think it is a grand idea to have the government borrow trillions of dollars to be repaid by the unborn in order to fund their circus of doom, and since each baby is in debt to the tune of $43,000 upon poking it’s darling little head out of mommy’s vagina, it only makes sense to allow the little tot to vote as soon as the kid is physically able to push a button with a picture of a candidate next to it.

    The kids would certainly do no worse than idiots over the age of 18 at picking a pre-selected sociopath to govern. Ooops, did I say idiots? I meant to say intelligent and informed voters.

  31. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 14

    It is said by Eric Sundwall that the Personal Freedom Party has no legs because of a half dozen devotees in Queens. I am not certain which six out of our 70+ Queens LP members he is referring to.

  32. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 35

    Mark Axinn compares apples to oranges to bananas when he compares the vote totals of three separate gubernatorial elections in New York State (each with their own unique circumstances) and actually believes an increasing vote total can be considered the result of either hard organizational work or something that the dysfunctional LP did right.

    Wrong!

    This year many third party gubernatorial candidates in New York garnered MORE votes than the other statewide candidates running on their ticket, which is the opposite of the normal results. Why? Because of three factors that are not likely to be repeated?

    1. There was no wasted vote syndrome. Cuomo was expected to be the runaway winner so people felt free to vote for whom they wanted.

    2. There was a gubernatorial debate so all third party candidates got more exposure.

    3. The new ballots made it easier to find third party candidates.

    The NYLP got 20,000 more votes than normal. The Rent Is Too Damn High Party got 20,000 more than the last election and the Green Party got around 15,000 more. This had nothing to do with the “great work” of the NYLP leadership that pushed Kristin Davis into forming her own party and suspended the memberships of the State Representatives of the two largest LP chapters in the state, thus sowing the seeds of discord.

  33. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 36

    I don’t want to relitigate the entire Boston Tea Party debacle. It was Knapp who ignored the BTP bylaws, missed deadlines and ran the party into the ground. Then the Chair and I worked out a plan to re-start the party. At that point, the bylaw provisions could not technically be followed.

    Knapp resigned and left the party after he ran it into the ground but he continued to control the website and use his power there to enforce his subjective will. Then Knapp couldn’t leave his baby alone and started attacking the Chair and myself.

    Finally, the Chair started holding votes and changing the deadline for voting from Eastern to Atlantic time and other time zones to manipulate vote outcomes. That is when I resigned as Vice-Chair and as a member of the party.

    We can go into more detail if you wish. I only want to say I was not “caught” doing anything wrong but when I left, the four affiliates I organized left the party and resigned as well.

  34. Thomas M. Sipos

    Stevens: “The final point is that when we eventually address foreign policy, I fear we will have major disagreements as to what stands to take.”

    I’m from New York City. Bizarre as it may seem, Israel is apparently an issue even in local elections.

    I recall candidates for local and state office (e.g., Koch, Giulliani) trumpeting about how pro-Israel they were.

    New York has a large Jewish population, much of which is pro-Israel. There is a perception that supporting more, no-strings-attached, aid to Israel is a local issue.

    Former Mayor Ed Koch bragged about how he made Tel Aviv (or was it Jerusalim?) a sister city of NY. I think he may also have made Cairo a sister city after the Camp David accords. Not sure about that.

    Much of NYC politics is ethnic, far more so than in L.A. Marching in the Israel Day, Columbus Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Gay Pride, and various Carribian island parades is a must if you’re running for local office.

  35. Darryl W. Perry

    Tom S.
    Did you not attempt to not let party members, except those from a state affiliate, vote for the Presidential candidate?

    Also, weren’t the chairs of the “four affiliates (you) organized” all residents of NY and/or NJ?

  36. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 42

    I headed the NY affiliate and lived in NY. Alex Fitzsimmons headed the NJ affiliate and lived in NJ. Mike Reid headed the PA affiliate and lived in Pennsylvania going to school at Chestnut Hill College. Rocco Fama, who headed the AZ affiliate claims to have residences in NY, NH, AZ and a few other states. I can verify none of these claims. His family home was in Staten Island, he worked out west, he moved to New Hampshire and nowhe is back in NY.

    The affiliate heads were attacked, challenged and denied the right to vote on false allegations by an unstable and unprofessional Chair who acted arbitrarily and ignored any semblence of order and had no respect for the Governing Board. The stories you have been told are untrue.

    Finally, I did not attempt to do anything. A decision was made by all involved to establish a make-shift procedure to nominate a President and Vice-Presidential candidate after Knapp dropped the ball, ignored bylaw deadlines, resigned and then came back. We did the best we could given the circumstances.

  37. Thomas L. Knapp

    The archives of the BTP’s web site and its national committee’s proceedings are still extant.

    That doesn’t make it harder for Dr. Stevens to lie — something which apparently comes quite easily to him — but it does make it harder for him to get away with lying to anyone who cares one way or another about the facts.

  38. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 44

    I pride myself on my integrity and my honesty. That is why those associated with me trust me.

    I do not lie nor do I shade or spin the truth.

  39. pete healey

    Well, all I want to say is that the vote totals of every minor party that has run gubernatorial candidates before increased by wide margins (Rent went from 14,000 to 40,000, Libertarians from 12 to 46 or more, and the Greens from 42 to 60). Add the Kristin Davis and Charles Barron votes (each of whom polled more than 20,000) and this was a big year for third parties in New York! And “the crisis” seems to be the major reason for that (and the open debate among all seven candidates!).
    What interests me about the Personal Freedom Party is whether this party supports multi-party proportional politics and whether it would engage in electoral coalitions with other minor parties, and under what conditions.

  40. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 46

    Changing the election law in New York State is difficult task so for the time being, the law is the law and no new system is likely to emerge.

    If the Personal Freedom Party obtained “minor party” status, I would support endorsing a candidate running on another party’s line ONLY IF that candidate was in complete agreement with the personal freedom issues noted in our platform.

  41. Nicholas Popov

    Dear Mr. Admin:

    I am the author of the idea of self-balancing coalition government of five independent parties. Perhaps two my articles will interest you.
    “When capitalism and communism will become anachronism: Third Way to the future.”
    “Democracy: a true revolution is here. The rest is futile palace coups. The new meaning of a 5-pointed star!”
    http://nicholaspopov.wordpress.com/

    The Idea of a Self-Balancing Power puts an end to discord and consolidates society, and opens a new, evolutionary way of development without social shocks, and political and economic cataclysms.

    The advancing of a new governance paradigm opens a real way to constructive self-fulfillment for small, “roadside” political parties.

    I’ll be glad to know your opinion.

    Nicholas Popov, Russia

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