Editor’s Note: This is the third piece in an anthology highlighting the experiences of first time, third party candidate Joe Nichols. With Libertarian party registrations at record levels nationally, we expect to see more millennials like Joe challenge establishment incumbents in the near future. Part .01 of Rage Against the Machines can be found here and Part .02 is here.
Sometimes the trail to Election Day seemed to drag out forever, and other times it seemed like it was passing by in the blink of an eye. There were candidate forums, and local events to attend, and canvassing to do. The candidate forum in Alamogordo at the Sands Theater was enjoyable even though it was a drive to get there. We were each given time to talk about our platform and introduce ourselves. The disappointing part about that one was that the audience didn’t get to ask any questions. For my part I talked about my career so far, my family heritage in southeastern New Mexico and limiting government. I even read the audience the Libertarian Party Statement of Principles. Besides that I learned that even with the disagreements on policy the candidates in southeastern New Mexico care about their constituents. Their way of showing it may be misguided at times or just downright wrong, but I met people who cared and wanted to make things better.
The candidate forum at New Mexico State University – Carlsbad was a similar experience. In Carlsbad we fielded questions submitted previously though, so it was an opportunity to directly address the concerns of some audience members. At this forum most candidates were Republican, and having the whole panel asking the same questions turned the event into a bit of an echo chamber. I enjoyed being the voice of dissent. When asked about legalizing marijuana for the purpose of generating more tax revenue the answers ranged from “I’m not sure if it’s a good idea or not” to “No, we shouldn’t be encouraging drug use” until it was my turn to answer. I used the opportunity to speak about self ownership and the idea that the government shouldn’t be our babysitter. If we make poor health decisions, we should be left to deal with the consequences of those decisions outside of the law. I also touched on the fact that the war on drugs creates criminals by putting otherwise law abiding citizens at odds with law enforcement and unjustly puts both the drug user and the law enforcement officers lives at risk. After the forum I had a few people come up to me and tell me that they appreciated me being there to hear a different point-of-view, and even those who didn’t agree with what I had to say were appreciative of a new voice.
Besides the candidate forums I had rack cards, business cards, pin back buttons, and even miniature soaps that read “Let’s Clean Up Politics Together” on the wrapper (thanks Elizabeth Honce!) that I handed out. I went to Arts in the Park in Artesia and handed out the soaps and pins, and spent many nights canvassing handing out business cards and rack cards. I also had people in Mayhill and Carlsbad handing out campaign material. My one regret from this campaign and something I hope to improve on in the future is not getting out and canvassing more, and canvassing in areas besides Artesia. I had a presence on social media. I worked to get my name out there through the newspaper, but I think canvassing more would have made a big difference in the long run, and my advice to anyone else who plans to run in the future is to do events, have a website, have a social media presence, use all the earned media you can get on radio and newspaper, but most important of all is get out and canvas. Knock on doors and get to know the people you are asking to vote for you because it will make all the difference in the world.
Knock on doors and get to know the people you are asking to vote for you because it will make all the difference in the world.
Looking back I’d definitely do it all over again. The reasons are still there. All our elections, especially local elections, need a voice of liberty in them, and nobody offers that voice like a Libertarian. Conservatives can try, but in the end they miss the mark when it comes to social issues, and rarely get economic issues right. Extorting someone for the right to put a substance you may not agree with in their body is immoral. Taxation IS theft. Liberals miss the mark on economic issues and they try on social issues as long as it promotes their agenda, and it isn’t “their” President committing the atrocities. Dropping bombs on innocent women and children is still wrong even if it’s a Democrat in control.
We need strong Libertarians who are willing to take a stand against collectivism, who will stand up to overarching authoritarians who want to tell free men and women what they can and can’t put in their bodies, what they can and can’t do with their property and what they can and can’t do with their money. The political left and right share a common mode of operation, and that mode is to use the state to initiate force on their behalf to control other people. Libertarians on the contrary seek a free and voluntary society where men and women are left to make decisions on their own behalf granted they don’t initiate force on someone else. No other political party in the United States believes this. For these reasons we need more Libertarians to run for office, more people willing to stand up in a State so willing to let seats go uncontested, and tell our neighbors the way that government has been operating for years isn’t working, but we’ve got a better way if they’ll just give us a chance.
Libertarians on the contrary seek a free and voluntary society where men and women are left to make decisions on their own behalf granted they don’t initiate force on someone else. No other political party in the United States believes this.
When Libertarians all over New Mexico stand up and say, “Enough!” we will have elected Libertarians in the New Mexico House and Senate, and we will show our state and the rest of the nation that libertarianism does work, and it works a helluva lot better than oppressive form of government that we’ve got today. So I’m calling Libertarians from around the State of New Mexico to find an office to run for, City Council, Mayor, School Board, Water & Irrigation District, County Commission, State House or State Senate, US House or US Senate, even Governor. Find something to run for and use that platform to loudly and proudly proclaim the ideas of free and voluntary government, call out the inconsistencies in your opponent’s positions, and stand firmly on the principles of liberty. Be THAT Libertarian.