Mary Ruwart: The Million Vote March succeeds, Washington take heed!

In late February Lee Wrights, Libertarian Party presidential hopeful, put up the Million Vote March website. The idea was simple: if voters didn’t like either of the “establishment” candidates, they were encouraged to cast a protest vote for the Libertarian Party nominee and push his vote count to a record-breaking 1,000,000 votes.

As it turned out, Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, won the Libertarian Party presidential nomination in May. By that time, the two contenders had developed a respectful camaraderie. Both men told me that they became better candidates for having to “compete” with each other.

Consequently, when Mr. Johnson won the nomination, Lee Wrights began showcasing the former governor on the Million Vote March site.  Wrights’ piece “Why I’m Voting for Gary Johnson” spread across the Internet through his strong presence on Facebook and his blog, one of the oldest in the movement. Johnson, for his part, came out strongly against the foreign wars, a position that Wrights had championed.

Rather than attack each other, these two presidential candidates kept their eye on the goal:  enhance the credibility of the Libertarian Party, get voters to pull the Libertarian lever, and break through the “wasted vote” barrier to reach new highs. Instead of tearing each other down, they built each other up. The result was 1,139,562 votes, more than double the 2008 vote count for the divisive Barr/Root ticket.  Teamwork pays!

Congratulations are in order-for the presidential ticket of Johnson/Gray, for the hundreds of Libertarian Party candidates, for their uncountable supporters, for their generous donors, for their tireless volunteers-and for the 1 million plus who marched to the polls and voted Libertarian.  Working together, we all sent a message to Washington.

Will Washington take heed-or will we have to send a stronger message next time?

Originally published here.

ruwart31Mary J. Ruwart, Ph.D., is the author of Healing Our World, a liberty primer for liberals, Christians, New Agers, and pragmatists. She also wrote Short Answers to the Tough Questions: Sound Bites for the Libertarian Candidate after her Internet column (www.self-gov.org) of the same name.

26 thoughts on “Mary Ruwart: The Million Vote March succeeds, Washington take heed!

  1. Andy

    I don’t think that this website had a damn thing to do with the Gary Johnson / Jim Gray ticket receiving over 1 million votes. I’d be willing to bet that hardly anyone who voted for Gary Johnson even knew that this website existed.

  2. Eric Blitz

    That might be true Andy, but as a partisan supporter of Gary Johnson during the nomination process, I greatly appreciate the efforts of Lee Wrights and his supporters who came together after the nomination to support the libertarian ticket. That public support told their supporters that it is better to vote for Gary Johnson than not at all, or against him (less likely). It is the kind of leadership quality that we need of all libertarian candidates. If Lee had won the nomination, I would have supported him and done all I can to convince those who had supported Gary to support the ticket. It isn’t about blind party loyalty, but a recognition that until libertarians start voting for libertarians, nothing changes. When we have to fight to keep them from voting Democrat or Republican, such internal squabbles over issue presentation, campaigning strategy, etc. are sideshow distractions. Lee Wrights didn’t engage in that (at least that I saw) and I appreciate his class and leadership.

  3. For The Record

    The Million Vote March signed up 558 voters. (That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good idea, or wasn’t well-executed.)

    When this article omits a fact like that, it doesn’t help the credibility of IPR or Dr. Ruwart.

  4. paulie

    I agree with Eric Blitz, speaking in my case as someone who was not really on one side or the other in the nomination process – I was an undecided delegate until pretty much the last minute, and ended up voting for Johnson in part because I expected Wrights to run for VP, where I voted for him. I also gave my tokens to Jim Burns for both President and VP because I was hoping he would be able to get into the debates at the convention. I think Andy did as well.

    In 2008, Ruwart supporters mainly did not support Bob Barr post-nomination. Some did, but many did not. Even if they voted for him, that was the extent of their involvement in the campaign.

    In 2012, most of the party united behind Gary Johnson after the nomination, regardless of who they supported for the nomination. Yes, there were exceptions, but this time they were the exception rather than the rule. Most supported Johnson; many did so actively, even if they voted Wrights for the nomination.

    In Andy’s case, he was with us voting for Kubby and Ruwart at the 2008 convention, and wrote in Ron Paul in the general election. This year, he did not support either Wrights or Johnson, and was the only delegate to write in Ron Paul for the nomination. He wrote in NOTA for the general election. So, he has somewhat of a unique perspective.

    The Million Vote March signed up 558 voters.

    I see that as being besides the point. I think the greater party unity this year as opposed to 2008 had a larger effect. I don’t know how many people read Lee’s articles, but I see them posted in many, many facebook groups. I saw his video for Johnson at LP.org. So, would Johnson still have a million votes or more if Wrights and Wrights supporters were as unsupportive of Johnson as Ruwart and Ruwart supporters were of Barr? I don’t know how we would measure that, but I’m pretty sure it would not be by the number of people who signed up at the Million Vote March website.

  5. Andy

    “and was the only delegate to write in Ron Paul for the nomination.”

    But I was not the only delegate to cast a write in vote.

  6. Andy

    Gary Johnson got over 1 million votes because:

    1) He was the highest profile candidate in the race other than Obama and Romney.

    2) He was on the ballot in more states than anyone other than Obama and Romney.

    3) His campaign raised more money than any other candidate besides Obama and Romney.

    4) He managed to not “piss off” large segments of the libertarian base like Bob Barr did, or to the extent that Bob Barr did.

    These are the primary reasons for the (relatively speaking) good vote total.

    I will say that Gary Johnson and Jim Gray had a pretty good campaign.

    The videos the campaign put out were very good. They were among the best I’ve ever seen for any Libertarian Party candidate. I don’t know how many people saw them, but however many people did see them I’m sure they had a positive effect.

    I thought that Gary Johnson’s public speaking style was good.

    The campaign did a pretty good job reaching out to the Ron Paul supporters.

    I thought that the campaign did a good job of reaching out to people across the political spectrum, rather than just reaching out to those on the right, or etc…

    All of the reasons I listed above are reasons that the campaign got over 1 million votes, and none of them had anything to do with this Million Vote March as this article implies. That’s not to say that the concept was bad, it was a nice idea, I’m just pointing out that it had little to no impact in the real world.

  7. Andy

    “paulie // Nov 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    True. One delegate voted for Wayne Root. I don’t know who they were. I think from Florida, but I’d have to check.”

    I thought that there were more write in votes than that.

    .

  8. Richard Winger

    At the 2012 LP national convention, the vote was Johnson 419, Wrights 152, Jim Burns 12, Carl Person 3, NOTA 3, Sam Sloan 2, Max Abramson 2, Ron Paul 1, Wayne Root 1. The votes for NOTA and the men who received one or two votes, all combined, came from these states: 1 in Alabama, 1 in Del, 1 in Fla, 1 in Indiana, 3 in NH, 2 in Pa.

  9. paulie

    OK, I’ll check.

    Page 24 of the convention report:

    Jim Burns 12 2.017 %
    Gary Johnson 419 70.420 %
    Carl Person 3 0.504 %
    Lee Wrights 152 25.546 %
    NOTA 3 0.504 %
    Ron Paul (write-in) 1 0.168 %
    Wayne Root (write-in) 1 0.168 %
    Max Abramson (write-in) 2 0.336 %
    Sam Sloan (write-in) 2 0.336 %

    Abramson and Sloan, I believe, were both delegates who voted for themselves. Sloan was a candidate for the nomination but did not get enough tokens to get nominated. Abramson had received a commitment of one or two votes from NH using their unique system of committing delegates well in advance of the convention. As far as I know he did not seek delegate votes from any other state’s delegation or even online. If he did any in person campaigning at the convention, I missed that as well.

  10. George Whitfield

    I appreciate Lee Wrights positive attitude and support of Gary Johnson after the nomination. It was really helpful. When us Libertarian cats move together we can do some surprising things.

  11. Krzysztof Lesiak

    I wonder how much Michigan would have helped increase the already pretty good vote total even further. Barr got 23k votes in 2008 and Gary would’ve probably at least doubled that had he been on the ballot. Anyone know when we can expect write in results from Michigan?

  12. paulie

    I wonder how much Michigan would have helped increase the already pretty good vote total even further.

    Oklahoma too. And I think being able to claim 50 states plus DC til the end would have been an important talking point that would have also helped in other states. No telling by how much – it may have been the deciding factor that caused some potential major superpac donors to back off.

    Anyone know when we can expect write in results from Michigan?

    Probably several weeks. I expect it won’t be nearly as good as if Johnson had made the ballot because most write-in votes are thrown out on technicalities.

  13. Kleptocracy And You

    The official vote will be out in a few weeks for all states. Hope it’s honest- lol.

    Throwing cold water on a positive effort causes harm, it never is helpful. The LP has broke through a thirty year ceiling, now would be a good time to begin a march to 2M + for a LP POTUS candidate.

    Also NOW we need to air out our policy differences, don’t wait until ’14 or ’16. We need to be rowing together in the same general direction in late ’14 and most all of ’16. So let the water flow….

    ***The so-called “fair tax” didn’t catch on in the RP primaries or in the general election. Former Gov. Johnson needs to reaccess this position and find ANOTHER policy approach, BEFORE even considering seeking a second LP nomination. He also needs to consider not offending thousands of Constitutional scholars talking about marriage. I don’t think the “gov’t” should have anything to do with marriage whatever sexual beliefs anyone may hold. Separation of state and marriage ! Just like the separation of state and so many more things is IMO the libertarian way ! Whoever the ’16 LP POTUS candidate is, they need to reach out much more to INDEPENDENTS to help build the LP. I don’t know the records but I’m almost certain the LP members give roughly the same amount each cycle to the POTUS candidate. The candidate must reach out to others to increase these figures to become more competitive !!! INDEPENDENTS are those “others”.

    Mr.Wrights should be applauded for his attitude before, during and after the LP convention. We must hang together or most certainly we will HANG separately !

    Libertarians Are The Party People – http://www.lpstuff.com/shop/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=470

    WHY NOT USE A BUMPER STICKER TO HELP THE LP & YOURSELF ? – http://www.lpstuff.com/shop/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=4

  14. paulie

    ***The so-called “fair tax” didn’t catch on in the RP primaries or in the general election. Former Gov. Johnson needs to reaccess this position and find ANOTHER policy approach, BEFORE even considering seeking a second LP nomination.

    Takes as short of a break as possible – none would have been ideal – and start running again. This year would be great. Next year for sure. Ditch the fraudulent “fair” tax, but don’t make it a delay of game. Run hard, run soon, run relentlessly.

    He also needs to consider not offending thousands of Constitutional scholars talking about marriage.

    Nah. He’s 100% correct on that one and on the winning side of history. No retreat, no surrender. Separation of marriage and state yes, but in the meantime, marriage equality for all consenting adults.

  15. Charles Lupton

    I don’t believe the “million vote march” had much effect if any, but the other support Mr. Wrights gave online was helpful. Also, he got my vote for LNC Vice Chair because of his words and actions post PotUS nomination. I supported Gov. Johnson for the nomination, but voted for Wrights for LNC Vice Chair. I have not been disappointed with my votes.

  16. Robert Capozzi

    LOL! Thousands of constitutional scholars are likely to be offended by ANY position, as there are myriad takes on the Constitution’s meaning on many fronts.

  17. Steven Berson

    I agree that the Fair Tax is a clumsily shaped proposal with as many negatives as it has positives – but I have to say as an Ultra-Radical Centrist that strongly supported the Libertarian Party tickets this past election cycle that if the candidate nominated in 2016 goes back to the utter bs line of “eliminate the income tax immediately and replace it with nothing” that I will have to support another candidate. While I can greatly understand this as an ultimate goal – and agree that this ultimate goal should be talked about by any LP candidate – it’s truly a pandering idiocy to not acknowledge that going to a markedly reduced government revenues immediately and without any kind of incremental transition would mean default on debt or hyper-inflating the currency – either of which would lead to a huge loss of prosperities AND liberties for the vast majority of Americans. I will grant that we are likely heading to one of those scenarios anyway – but to propose to jump into either without any attempt at even a small mitigation (to create more of a “soft landing” rather than a “hard crash”) shows that either you are one of the few with a redoubt (for which you possibly mistakenly think you have enough ammo to defend against a hungry nomadic horde), or are simply ignorant of the history of prior financial collapses. The Libertarian Party candidates imho should be able to outline at least a semi-feasible path leading towards markedly lower taxation that doesn’t also include wilfully creating an immediate destruction of the majority of Americans prosperities via triggering a currency collapse.

  18. Steven Berson

    Why do so many self proclaimed “Constitutional scholars” seem to have such a hard time understanding the incredibly clear and unambiguous language of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment? What makes something “Constitutional” is that it appears in the Constitution! – not whether you like it or not.

  19. NewFederalist

    I guess you really can’t blame him. He is not used to losing and now that he knows how the deck is stacked against minor parties why tilt at windmills? Oh well, thanks for breaking a million votes and best of luck to you.

  20. paulie

    It’s not a one shot deal. If he campaigned actively the next four years he could get much better results AND build the party in the process. Instead we are either going to start from scratch again or have a suboptimal campaign when he finally does decide to run again after all (late in the game so there won’t be time to build much of anything once again).

    Now, would there be a path to actually being president? Not very likely, but who knows? Maybe if he actually didn’t give up and kept going nonstop teh next four years he could get those would-be superpac donors off the sidelines, or maybe outside events with the economy and foreign policy would bring things to a tipping point, or maybe a combination of both.

    Maybe it would take 3 or 4 presidential cycles.

    Instead….back to square one.

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