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Author Topic: Analysis of State Legislatures  (Read 38277 times)

TedApelt

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2003, 01:37:14 pm »

That's a fair point, but from reports most state parties are fairly open & undisciplined; that is, they don't force policy positions on their candidates.  After all, the Christian Right was able to take over the Republican party by working at the local level.

I think you are missing my point.

Even if they don't force people out of the party, why would they want candidates who want to legalize marijuana, prostitution, gambling, and many other things Republicans don't support?  Why would they vote for these candidates in the primaries?  Because they want to win?  They have already won!  They don't need us for that.

However, if our numbers are just enough to put them over the top, they might be willing to accept all kinds of things they normally would not accept, especially if they saw a very real threat of us joining with the Democrats and causing them to win.
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2003, 01:42:41 pm »

I'm not sure primary voters are quite that sophisticated, though party officers may be.  Generally primary voters vote for the candidate they like most, whether or not they think he has a chance of winning at the general election (sometimes shooting themselves in the foot thereby).  That's why party bosses are frequently in favor of "open primaries": they hope independents will vote for moderates who can win in the Republican primary, while those crazy conservatives in the rank & file of the party will elect some wacko. ;)  I think our idea has to be to persuade primary & general election voters both that, say, medical marijuana is a good idea & important issue, & that they should support candidates supporting medical marijuana.
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redbeard

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2003, 06:59:59 pm »

Is joining with Democrats in any state at any level really an option? They are shameless socialists at all levels. Making a stand as a new party, though highly risky, would be preferrable to joining a party that stands diametrically opposed to everything we stand for. Joining the Republicans in some states (WY, ID, MT) would work. Joining the Democrats anywhere seems rediculous.
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Zxcv

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2003, 10:36:46 pm »

Ted has a good point on this primary business.

In a state like Wyoming, in the primary, the regular conservative R candidate will be putting out mailings saying that the FSP guy supports drug legalization and ending penalties for prostitution (if it's not put in even more lurid terms). He will also say our guy is really a libertarian, not a republican.

These will be hard arguments to fight. I suppose our guy could say his position is not to let violent criminals out of jail to make way for marijuana smokers, but this is really sidestepping the legalization issue. There will be a lot of pressure to deviate from the libertarian party line on these items.

On the other hand, Wyoming just completely reworked their approach to the drug issue:
http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=1067
And this was over meth, not mild, harmless old marijuana!

Since they went through a lot of public meetings to reach this point, that seems to be an indication there is more rational thinking on the issue, that they are not so inflexible as we imagine. And they moved off the pure incarceration position all by themselves, without our help! In fact our position might be that we agree with treatment programs and such, we just don't think taxpayers should have to support the program! (Which will be the case after the tobacco money runs out.)

It's funny when you think about it - the state with the greatest gun freedom is socialist-dominated Vermont, while the state with the greatest personal freedoms (gambling, prostitution, etc.) is conservative, western-state Nevada. Maybe we are too ready to pigeon-hole people.

But getting back to Ted's contention, it would make sense to work through some scenarios to see how we would operate in a state like Wyoming, compared to a more even state like Maine. We need to have some plan...
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freedomroad

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2003, 12:28:07 am »

Ted has a good point on this primary business.

In a state like Wyoming, in the primary, the regular conservative R candidate will be putting out mailings saying that the FSP guy supports drug legalization and ending penalties for prostitution (if it's not put in even more lurid terms). He will also say our guy is really a libertarian, not a republican.

We will be libertarian Republicans.  There are millions of these people or libertarian-leaning conservative Republicans.  I brother is a libertarian-leaning conservative Republican.  This is not a fringe part of the Western and Southern Republican parties.  This is a real, actual part that has some power.  We will talk with this part of the Republican party.  We will support them in the primaries and they will support us.  We will encourage them to be a little more libertarian and they will encourage us to be a little for conservative.  

We will not talk about full legalization and no regulation of all drugs.  Many libertarians are only for this on principle and against it in practice.  We will want to legalize medical ma., cut taxes, raise the interstate speed limits by 5 mph, loosen gun controls, encourage Christian parents to Home school there children if they wish, and push for term limits.  Small, but useful measures like these are much easier to pass, will have the support of all of the FSP members (many FSP members will be against the complete elimination of a type of tax, zero gun control, full drug legalization, and such), and will still be talking libertarian Republican issues.

Eventually, many Western states will legalize Ma.  The state we pick might be the first state to do this but this will not be an issue, at first.

Some people might not want to move so slowly.  They will kick-start the LP in WY.  If the LP starts getting 6-8% of the vote instead of 2-3% the WY Republican Party will want to take some of the libertarian issues.  We will be in the Republican party to help the WY Republican when it wants to move more libertarians.  This dual party move will make WY (already tied for the most free state in the country) even more free.


Quote

But getting back to Ted's contention, it would make sense to work through some scenarios to see how we would operate in a state like Wyoming, compared to a more even state like Maine. We need to have some plan...

ME will be much harder to gain support in, any way you cut it.  I agree, though, we need a plan, no matter where we move.
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cathleeninsc

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2003, 09:27:29 am »

We will want to legalize medical ma., cut taxes, raise the interstate speed limits by 5 mph, loosen gun controls, encourage Christian parents to Home school there children if they wish, and push for term limits.  Small, but useful measures like these are much easier to pass,

Well, I wouldn't move just for that. Those are realistic expectations for most states. I know we can't have the whole shebang, but if that's all we can accomplish by means of the Republican Party, there must be another way.

Cathleen in SC
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Caliban

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2003, 11:01:43 am »

1.  I completely agree with Ted's point.  From my own experience, and even more
from the experience of others in different states, I'm convinced that the attitude
of the Republicans is based on how desperate they are for votes.  "Beggars can't
be choosers."

This is also true in other countries that have multi-party systems, e.g. in Israel
the parties in power always need to give huge concessions to the "ultra-Orthodox"
religious party.

To clarify, this will work whether we act as a separate party (presumably the
Libertarian Party) or want to work within the Republican Party.

2.  FWIW, I also strongly support the "Target GOP" strategy that L. Neil Smith
invented.
<http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/le970601-01.html>

IOW, if the Republicans won't play ball, knock 'em out.

"The strategy is simple: identify Republican office holders who won their last election by a margin of five percent or less. Ignore every other position on the ballot. Run Libertarians against these Republican five-percenters, the object being to deny them their five percent and put Democrats in office in their place.
"If the prospect of handing Democrats control, not only of the White House, but of both houses of Congress and many more state legislatures, alarms you, then you haven't been paying attention the last five years: Republicans "gave" us RICO and the War on Drugs; "gave" us the Brady Bill and a ban on semiautomatic weapons; "gave" us a national ID card."

This has the advantage, as Smith points out, of getting the Democrats to
support the LP:

"The best part is that once Democrats and the media catch on that Libertarians are out to destroy the Republican Party, Libertarian candidates will suddenly find themselves invited to all the debates and receiving all the air-time and column inches they could possibly desire. They may even suddenly find campaign contributions a little easier to come by."

3.  So we end up with either a statewide Republican Party that is dominated by, or
at least strongly influenced by, libertarians; or else the state Republican Party
is knocked out and the races are between Democrats and Libertarians.  

Even if the LP only gets 40% of the state legislature, for example, this is an incredible
success by current libertarian standards.  Imagine the publicity!

This sort of thing has happened with other parties, BTW.  For example, in the 1920's
the Farmer-Labor Party replaced the Democrats in Minnesota.  In 1944 the Democrats
and Farmer-Labor Party agreed to merge only because the Democrats accepted the
Farmer-Labor Party's platform, and even today it's called the Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Party.

4.  Finally, I think another and even better measure of "closeness" is the difference
between the two parties in actual votes (instead of percent) cast for the
lower house of the state legislature, or -- and maybe this is best of all -- the
difference in percent of legislature controlled, multiplied by the number of votes in
the last election.

My point is, 4% of the vote in California, New York, or Texas is much bigger and harder
to influence than 4% of the vote in Delaware, Wyoming, or North Dakota.

So I think we want to look at actual vote totals, rather than percent.

5.  How about also looking at the difference in campaign spending between the parties?
Again, actual dollars, not just percent!
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redbeard

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2003, 05:52:47 pm »

There are millions of these people or libertarian-leaning conservative Republicans.  This is not a fringe part of the Western and Southern Republican parties.  This is a real, actual part that has some power.
FINALLY!! I'm one of them. As are 90% of my friends and all of my family. Grass roots republicans are far more "libertarian" leaning than folk here seem to think. Wyoming is full of natives who already embrace most goals of the FSP. As long as we don't get hung up on labels they will be on board.

A Republican's view on the drug thing: Herein, it seems a litmus test for a true love of freedom to have to embrace the legalization of drugs. Hard core drug use is a horrible thing and most non-Libertarian freedom lovers (yes, there are millions of us) don't like the thought of legalizing the behaviour of one of the most dangerous segements of society and then turning them loose among our families. You may have to give in on, say, crack and heroin - difficult though that thought may be. We can probably give in on retard food like pot and mushrooms. If we show up in the chosen state and drugs are the first thing on the agenda we can kiss our plans goodbye.

(Spare me the diatribe on why Libertarians support drug legalization. I get it.)
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Johnny Liberty

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2003, 11:38:03 pm »

Are libertarian-leaning Republicans going to support:

Legalized gambling?
Legal brothels/massage parlors?
De-criminalizing marijuana?
Nudist resorts?
LGBT resorts and communities?

In my opinion this is a minimal libertarian program, in addition to reduced taxes/flat tax/single tax and de-regulation of the small arms market.
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Zxcv

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2003, 02:52:51 am »

Quote
Hard core drug use is a horrible thing and most non-Libertarian freedom lovers (yes, there are millions of us) don't like the thought of legalizing the behaviour of one of the most dangerous segements of society and then turning them loose among our families.

Well, Redbeard, if I can't hit you with my diatribe, what can I do?   ;)

Marijuana ought to be legalized, but I'd settle for a citation when done in public. Other drugs like peyote and so forth as well. Eventually people will get over their irrational fear of "some drugs" and it will be legalized.

Johnny, I'm interested in your priorities, your "minimal" program. Are you suggesting you are a gambling, whore-house visiting pot-smoking nudist who does something called "LGBT"? (And what the hell is that, anyway?)

Maybe knocking taxes down, throwing out building codes and getting kids out of govt. schools might be just a tiny more important...   ;)
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redbeard

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2003, 03:41:30 pm »

Our emphisis should be the reduction of government rather than the allowance of every kind of social deviance. I'm saying we should use a more neutral language. "Small government" people understand. "Hookers on the street corner" is a more difficult sell.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2003, 03:43:25 pm by redbeard »
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Johnny Liberty

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2003, 03:42:15 pm »

Zxcv wrote:
"Johnny, I'm interested in your priorities, your "minimal" program. Are you suggesting you are a gambling, whore-house visiting pot-smoking nudist who does something called "LGBT"? (And what the hell is that, anyway?>Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender<)"

I am suggesting a couple of things:
 
State police resources should not be spent on trying to suprress activities between consenting adults.

Why not put sin taxes on prostitution and gambling and use the money to reduce/eliminate income or general sales taxes? Nevada does this so I don't see why a free state should shy away from it.

Additionally,  a state that is committed to the right to keep and bear arms will attract arms manufacturers and dealers. We should encourage this both on principle (2nd amendment as well as the chosen state constitution), as well as a source of tax revenue from industries that admittedly have can have some negative social side effects.

As far as education, I'd be willing to consider education reform a part of the minimal Libertarian transitional program. I would call for vouchers, reverse indexing the amount to your family income. Vouchers could be used in combination with cash at private, religious or state owned schools. Home schoolers could get a tax credit or cash with some minimal regulations.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2003, 08:30:15 pm by Johnny Liberty »
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Zxcv

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2003, 04:21:26 pm »

I agree with your comment about consenting adults.

I don't mind the notion of replacing one tax with another, although the part about "sin" taxes seems to conflict with your comment on consenting adults. I would certainly be against adding a new tax, that is the tactic statists use.

We certainly should not have any tax on firearms manufacture or use. That is the last thing I'd want to tax. We should be trying to pry off the current federal tax on it, which was originally designed to provide for places and programs to improve hunting, but are now being used in some cases to oppose hunting. In don't understand your comments about negative side effects; do we tax free speech because people look at dirty pictures? The net effect of firearms ownership is overwhelmingly positive.

Vouchers are "just another government program", with all the negative effects thereof. I will do everything I can to oppose their use. If you want to understand the bad effects of vouchers, go to www.sepschool.org and start reading. I'm even nervous about tax credits, but I think they are worth a try if no strings are attached. And there is no earthly reason to regulate homeschoolers in a free state; there are already a few very unfree states that nevertheless do not regulate homeschoolers.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2003, 04:23:30 pm by Zxcv »
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Johnny Liberty

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Re:Analysis of state legislature control
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2003, 05:36:32 pm »

Zxcv wrote:
"In don't understand your comments about negative side effects; do we tax free speech because people look at dirty pictures? The net effect of firearms ownership is overwhelmingly positive."

I think the negative effects include urban gang violence, workplace shootings, etc. I also think this is a price we pay for having an armed people as  (hopefully) a bulwark against tyranny.

My point with taxes is that by replacing income or other broad taxes with taxes on highly profitable "sin" industries that many object to, we can ease the transition to a lower tax state govt., while cutting or shifting law enforcement costs & emphasis and still attract tourists from states where these "vices" remain illegal.

As far as taxing guns, I'm unaware of the controversy surrounding federal gun and/or hunting taxes. Sounds like a gun tax is a bad idea.

I'll look into the school voucher link.

In re: to home schoolers, sure, I'll go with whatever the least restrictive current state law is.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2003, 05:42:31 pm by Johnny Liberty »
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Solitar

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Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2003, 03:21:04 pm »

The reason I post these analyses of state legislatures is for FSP proponents of a particular state to really look closely at what they are facing; and for future FSP activists to start strategizing which districts to focus on and how they can tackle those specific districts.

For instance, as I promised in a post above regarding strategies on other states, here are some ideas for Delaware using the data above. Here is a link to detailed district maps in pdf format. Activists walking the streets and knocking on doors will find these to be valuable planning tools -- until they get detailed voter lists. Delaware advocates should download each map of likely target districts, as determined by the above tables, and start planning how they would work that district.
http://www.dscc.com/state_chamber/gov_affairs/District_maps.htm

 In Delaware one strategic step may be to first help Republicans gain control of the state in order to earn the support of at least the grassroots Republicans. The next step would be to elect Free State candidates where possible, but not where they would jeopardize an incumbent Republican (or Democrat if that person is more liberty-minded than the Republican alternative). Always keep an eye on the goal of liberty and not run Free State candidates just for the sake of doing so with a result of throwing the election to a more authoritarian statist.

Each House district has about 8,000 voters. Each Senate District has about 16,000 voters. A one percent margin in these districts is about 80 or 160 voters respectively. To help a Republican in Senate District #08 defeat 5-term Democrat David Sokola who won with 51%, FSP'ers would need to deliver at least 320 more votes to David (the 2% difference between 49% and 51%). (detailed actual vote info is available from Delaware links above or here ). Since FSP'ers moving into a district would increase the total votes, the absolute margin that would need to be made up would remain the same. If they can turn Democrats to voting Republican it would decrease this number. Do this for each target district.

Note that, though FSP'ers may want the seat for their own candidate, doing so would require over 5,000 votes in just that one district if it is split evenly -- a heckuva lot harder number to deliver than first getting the Democrat replaced by, hopefully, a more liberty-minded Republican.

By 2008 each Senate incumbent would have one more term. We need to use 2002 election margins as at least an estimate. Due to re-apportionment the following will be up again in 2004. To turn the Senate over to Republican control would thus require in 2008:
3,200 votes in District #20, 9-term Democrat George Bunting who won with 60%
2,880 votes in District #14,8-term Democrat James Vaughn who won with 59%
2,560 votes in District #09,2-term Democrat Karen Peterson who won with 58%
   320 votes in District #08,6-term Democrat David Sokola who won with 51%
Figure 5,000 votes to gain the "easiest" three and another 3,000 to gain another for insurance.
FSP'ers might want to deliver 10,000 votes among these four races just to make sure the Democrat incumbents get defeated -- but who knows what the situation will be in 2008 ( it could be worse).
This requirement of10,000 could be cut in half by turning Democrats to vote Republican.
This requirement could be far more than 10,000 if an LP candidate bleeds the Republican.

Then, in order to put Free Staters in the easiest seats, the job gets harder -- requiring tens of thousands more votes -- about 5,330 per Senate District for 11 districts = 59,000 to gain a majority in the Senate. Presumably those same voters would yield a majority in the House and then the Governorship too.

If 20,000 FSP'ers can turn another 20,000 Democrats
or
if 20,000 FSP'ers can recruit 40,000 non-voters to vote Free State
maybe you can do it.
But if Democrats and Republicans gang up on the outside agitators and run only one or the other of a D or R against the Free Stater, then increase the above numbers by 50% to gain only half the seats in each chamber.
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