Libertarian Party (United States)
|Founded||December 11, 1971|
|Headquarters||2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20037
|Student wing||College Libertarians|
|Membership (January 2013)||>330,811 |
• Classical liberalism
• Austrian economics
|Political position||Non-interventionism, Free trade|
|International affiliation||Interlibertarians |
|Seats in the Senate|
|Seats in the House|
|State Upper House Seats|
|State Lower House Seats|
|Other elected offices||156 (2013)|
|Politics of United States
|Part of a series on|
The Libertarian Party is an American national political party that reflects, represents and promotes the ideas and philosophies of libertarianism. The Libertarian Party was formed in Westminster, Colorado, in the home of David Nolan on December 11, 1971. The founding of the party was prompted in part due to concerns about the Vietnam War, conscription, and the end of the Gold Standard. Although there is not an explicitly-labeled "left" or "right" designation of the party, many members, such as 2012 presidential nominee Gary Johnson, state that they are more socially liberal than the Democrats, but more fiscally conservative than the Republicans. The party has generally promoted a classical liberal platform, in contrast to the modern liberal and progressive platform of the Democrats and the more conservative platform of the Republicans. Current policy positions include lowering taxes, allowing people to opt-out of Social Security, abolishing welfare, ending the prohibition on illegal drugs, and supporting gun ownership rights.
In the 30 states where voters can register by party, there is a combined total of 330,811 voters registered under the party. By this count the Libertarian Party is the third-largest party by membership in the United States and it is the third-largest political party in the United States in terms of the popular vote in the country's elections and number of candidates run per election. Due to this, it has been labelled by some as the United States' third-largest political party. It is also identified by many as the fastest growing political party in the United States.[dated info]
Hundreds of Libertarian candidates have been elected or appointed to public office, and thousands have run for office under the Libertarian banner. The Libertarian Party has many firsts to its credit, such as being the party under which the first electoral vote was cast for a woman in a United States presidential election, due to a faithless elector. The party has also seen electoral success in state legislative races. Three Libertarians were elected in Alaska between 1978 and 1984, with another four elected in New Hampshire in 1992.
- 1 History
- 2 Name and symbols
- 3 Structure and composition
- 4 Platform
- 5 Size and influence
- 6 Ballot access
- 7 Recent issue stances
- 7.1 Economic issues
- 7.2 Social issues
- 7.3 Foreign policy issues
- 8 Internal debates
- 9 State and territorial parties
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
The first Libertarian National Convention was held in June, 1972. In 1978, Dick Randolph of Alaska became the first elected Libertarian state legislator. Following the 1980 federal elections, the Libertarian Party assumed the title of being the third-largest party for the first time after the American Independent Party and the Conservative Party of New York, which were the other largest minor parties at the time, continued to decline. In 1994, over 40 Libertarians were elected or appointed which was a record for the party at that time. 1995 saw a soaring membership and voter registration for the party. In 1996, the Libertarian Party became the first third party to earn ballot status in all 50 states two presidential elections in a row. By the end of 2009, 146 Libertarians were holding elected offices.
Tonie Nathan, running as the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential candidate in the 1972 Presidential Election with John Hospers as the presidential candidate, was the first female candidate in the United States to win an electoral vote. The 2012 election Libertarian Party presidential candidate, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, was chosen on May 4, 2012 at the 2012 Libertarian National Convention in Summerlin, Nevada.
Name and symbols
In 1972, "Libertarian Party" was chosen as the party's name, selected over "New Liberty Party." The first official slogan of the Libertarian Party was "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" (abbreviated "TANSTAAFL"), a phrase popularized by Robert A Heinlein in his 1966 novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, sometimes dubbed "a manifesto for a libertarian revolution". The current slogan of the party is "The Party of Principle".
Also in 1972, the "Libersign"—an arrow angling upward through the abbreviation "TANSTAAFL" (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch)—was selected as the party's emblem. Sometime after, this was replaced with the Lady Liberty, which has, ever since, served as the party's symbol or mascot.
In the 1990s several state libertarian parties adopted the Liberty Penguin ("LP") as their official mascot. Another mascot is the Libertarian porcupine, an icon designed by Kevin Breen in March 2006 and is often associated with the Free State Project.
Structure and composition
The Libertarian Party is democratically governed by its members, with state affiliate parties each holding annual or biennial conventions at which delegates are elected to attend the party's biennial national convention. National convention delegates vote on changes to the party's national platform and bylaws, and elect officers and "At-Large" representatives to the party's National Committee.
The National Committee also has "Regional Representatives", some of whom are appointed by delegate caucuses at the national convention; others are appointed by the chairpersons of LP state affiliate chapters within a region.
Libertarian National Committee
The Libertarian National Committee (LNC) is a 27-member body, currently chaired by Geoff Neale. The LNC is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the Libertarian Party and its national office and staff. Wes Benedict is currently the Executive Director  of the Libertarian Party. Former executive director Carla Howell, whom he was picked to replace in 2013, was made the party's political director.
The Libertarian Party is organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state affiliate has a governing committee, usually consisting of statewide officers elected by state party members and regional representation of one kind or another. Similarly, county, town, city and ward committees, where organized, generally consist of members elected at the local level. State and local committees often coordinate campaign activities within their jurisdiction, oversee local conventions, and in some cases primaries or caucuses, and may have a role in nominating candidates for elected office under state law.
Since the Libertarian Party's inception, individuals have been able to join the party as voting members by signing their agreement with the organization's membership pledge, which states, based on the Non-Aggression Principle, that the signer does not advocate the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals. During the mid-1980s and into the early 1990s, this membership category was called an "instant" membership; currently these are referred to as "signature members". Persons joining the party are also asked to pay dues, which are on a sliding scale starting at $25 per year. Dues-paying members receive a subscription to the party's national newspaper, LP News. Since 2006, membership in the party's state affiliates has been separate from membership in the national party, with each state chapter maintaining its own membership rolls.
The preamble outlines the party's goal: "As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others." Its Statement of Principles begins: "We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual." The platform emphasizes individual liberty in personal and economic affairs, avoidance of "foreign entanglements" and military and economic intervention in other nations' affairs, and free trade and migration. It calls for Constitutional limitations on government as well as the elimination of most state functions. It includes a "Self-determination" section which quotes from the Declaration of Independence and reads: "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty." It also includes an "Omissions" section which reads: "Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval."
This includes favoring minimally regulated markets, a less powerful federal government, strong civil liberties (including support for same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights), the drug liberalization, separation of church and state, open immigration, non-interventionism and neutrality in diplomatic relations, free trade and free movement to all foreign countries, and a more representative republic. The party's position on abortion is that government should stay out of the matter and leave it to the individual, but recognizes that some libertarians' opinions on this issue are different. Ron Paul, one of the former leaders of the Libertarian Party, is strictly pro-life, but believes that that is an issue that should be left to the states and not enforced federally. Meanwhile Gary Johnson, the party's 2012 presidential candidate, is pro-choice.
Size and influence
Presidential candidate performance
The first Libertarian Presidential candidate, John Hospers, received one electoral vote in 1972 when Roger MacBride, a Republican faithless elector pledged to Nixon, cast his ballot for the Libertarian ticket. His vote for Theodora ("Tonie") Nathan as Vice President was the first electoral college vote ever to be cast for a woman in a U.S. Presidential election. MacBride became the Libertarian nominee himself in 1976.
During the 1980 presidential election, Ed Clark and David H. Koch received a record percentage of 921,128 votes (1.06%), getting as much as 11.66% in Alaska. In the 2012 presidential election, Gary Johnson and running mate Jim Gray received 1,275,821 votes (0.99%), the largest amount ever cast for a Libertarian ticket since the party's founding in 1971, although it was much lower than expected by polls.
|Year||Pres. Candidate / VP||Popular Votes||Percentage||Electoral Votes|
|1972||John Hospers / Theodora Nathan||3,674||0.0047%||1|
|1976||Roger MacBride / David Bergland||172,553||0.21%||0|
|1980||Ed Clark / David Koch||921,128||1.06%||0|
|1984||David Bergland / James Lewis||228,111||0.25%||0|
|1988||Ron Paul / Andre Marrou||431,750||0.47%||0|
|1992||Andre Marrou / Nancy Lord||290,087||0.28%||0|
|1996||Harry Browne / Jo Jorgensen||485,759||0.50%||0|
|2000||Harry Browne / Art Olivier||384,431||0.36%||0|
|2004||Michael Badnarik / Richard Campagna||397,265||0.32%||0|
|2008||Bob Barr / Wayne Allyn Root||523,713||0.40%||0|
|2012||Gary Johnson / Jim Gray||1,275,821||0.99%||0|
|United States presidential election, 2012
Election on November 6, 2012
|Democratic||Barack Obama (inc.)||65,899,583||51.03%||-1.84%|
U.S. House of Representatives results
|Year||Popular Votes||Percentage||Number of Seats|
U.S. Senate results
|Year||Popular Votes||Percentage||Number of Seats|
Earning ballot status
Historically, Libertarians have also achieved 50-state ballot access for their presidential candidate three times, in 1980, 1992, and 1996 (in 2000 L. Neil Smith was on the Arizona ballot instead of the nominee, Harry Browne).
In April, 2012, the Libertarian Party of Nebraska successfully lobbied for a reform in ballot access with the new law requiring parties to requalify every four years instead of two. Following the 2012 election, the party will have ballot status in 30 states.
In the Libertarian Party, some donors are not necessarily "members", because the Party since its founding in 1972 has defined a "member" as being someone who agrees with the Party's membership statement. The precise language of this statement is found in the Party Bylaws. There were 115,401 Americans who were on record as having signed the membership statement as of the most recent report. A survey by David Kirby and David Boaz found a minimum of 14 percent American voters to have libertarian-leaning views.
There is another measure the Party uses internally as well. Since its founding, the Party has apportioned delegate seats to its national convention based on the number of members in each state who have paid minimum dues (with additional delegates given to state affiliates for good performance in winning more votes than normal for the Party's presidential candidate). This is the most-used number by Party activists. As of December 31, 2006, the Libertarian Party reported that there were 15,505 donating members. 1,108 of the donors gave the federal minimum ($200) or more for required individually itemized contributions.
Historically, dues were $15 throughout the 1980s; in 1991, they were increased to $25. Between February 1, 2006 and the close of the 2006 Libertarian party convention on May 31, 2006, dues were set to $0. However, the change to $0 dues was controversial and was de facto reversed by the 2006 Libertarian National Convention in Portland, Oregon; at which the members re-established a basic $25 dues category (now called Sustaining membership), and further added a requirement that all National Committee officers must henceforth be at least Sustaining members (which was not required prior to the convention).
Libertarians have had limited success in electing candidates at the state and local level. In 1988, The Rev. Dr. James W. Clifton made Michigan state history by becoming the first Libertarian to win office in a partisan contest for city council in Addison. He received more votes than either his Democratic or Republican opponents. Following the 2002 elections, according to its site, 599 Libertarians held elected or appointed local offices and appointed state offices. Since the party's creation, ten Libertarians have been elected to state legislatures. The most recent Libertarian candidate elected to a state legislature was Steve Vaillancourt to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2000. Vaillancourt, a Democratic member of the House with libertarian leanings, had lost the Democratic primary for a seat in the New Hampshire Senate that year and accepted the Libertarian nomination so as to keep his House seat.
Nationwide, there are 135 Libertarians holding elected office: 36 of them partisan offices and 99 of them non-partisan offices. In addition, some party members, who were elected to public office on other party lines, explicitly retained their Libertarian Party membership; these include former Representative Ron Paul, who has repeatedly stated that he remains a Life Member of the Libertarian Party.
Best results in major races
Some Libertarian candidates for state office have performed relatively strongly in statewide races. In two Massachusetts Senate races (2000 and 2002), Libertarian candidates Carla Howell and Michael Cloud, who did not face serious Republican contenders (in 2002 the candidate failed to make the ballot), received a party record-setting 11.3% and 16.7%  respectively. In Indiana's 2006 U.S. Senate race, which lacked a Democratic candidate, Steve Osborn received 12.6% of the vote. In 2012, Joel Balam set a record for the largest percent of the vote in a U.S. House election, running in Kansas's 3rd congressional district against Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder without a Democratic opponent and receiving 31.5% of the vote, he received 92,675 votes according to official Kansas State voting records. In 1982, Dick Randolph earned 14.9% of the vote in his race for Alaska Governor (best ever Libertarian result for Governor). In 2002, Ed Thompson, the brother of former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, received 10.5% of the vote (second best ever Libertarian result for Governor) running for the same office, resulting in a seat on the state elections board for the Libertarian Party. In 2008, Libertarian Party of Georgia Public Service Commission candidate John Monds became the first Libertarian in history to garner 1,076,726 votes (33.4%). His opponent, Republican H. Doug Everett, won the race with 2,147,012 votes (66.6%). In 2012, Mike Fellows, the Libertarian Party candidate in Montana for the statewide position of Clerk of the Supreme Court received 42.90% of the vote as the sole opponent to Democratic candidate Ed Smith, winning 27 of the state's 56 counties. This was the best a Libertarian candidate has ever polled percentage wise for a statewide office.
Ballot access expert Richard Winger, the editor of Ballot Access News, periodically compiles and analyzes voter registration statistics as reported by state voter agencies, and he reports that as of October 2012, the Libertarians ranked fifth in voter registration nationally with 325,807.
In 2011, the Pew Research Center conducted a study and found that roughly 67% of Libertarians were male, and that about 85% were white. At least 71% attended college to some extent, while overall they were more likely to be employed than Democratic or Republican voters.
During the 2008 United States Presidential election, the Libertarian Party gained ballot access in 45 states; missing Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maine (write-in only), Oklahoma, and West Virginia.
The following is a table comparison of ballot status for the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 2012, and for Statewide office (signatures/needed) in 2014.
|Electoral Votes||2012 ||2014 |
|States||50 (and DC)||48 (and DC)||34 (and DC)|
|Percent of population (EVs)||100%||95.1% (95.7%)||n/a|
|Alabama||9||On ballot||in court|
|Alaska||3||On ballot||On ballot|
|Arizona||11||On ballot||On ballot|
|Arkansas||6||On ballot||On ballot|
|California||55||On ballot||On ballot|
|Colorado||9||On ballot||On ballot|
|Connecticut||7||On ballot||can't start|
|Delaware||3||On ballot||On ballot|
|Florida||29||On ballot||On ballot|
|Georgia||16||On ballot||On ballot|
|Idaho||4||On ballot||On ballot|
|Illinois||20||On ballot||can't start|
|Indiana||11||On ballot||On ballot|
|Kansas||6||On ballot||On ballot|
|Kentucky||8||On ballot||can't start|
|Louisiana||8||On ballot||On ballot|
|Maryland||10||On ballot||On ballot|
|Mississippi||6||On ballot||On ballot|
|Missouri||10||On ballot||On ballot|
|Montana||3||On ballot||On ballot|
|Nebraska||5||On ballot||On ballot|
|Nevada||6||On ballot||On ballot|
|New Hampshire||4||On ballot||0/3,000|
|New Jersey||14||On ballot||0/800|
|New Mexico||5||On ballot||On ballot|
|New York||29||On ballot||can't start|
|North Carolina||15||On ballot||On ballot|
|North Dakota||3||On ballot||On ballot|
|Ohio||18||On ballot||On ballot|
|Oklahoma||7||NOT on ballot||in court|
|Oregon||7||On ballot||On ballot|
|Pennsylvania||20||On ballot||On ballot|
|Rhode Island||4||On ballot||0/1,000|
|South Carolina||9||On ballot||On ballot|
|South Dakota||3||On ballot||On ballot|
|Texas||38||On ballot||On ballot|
|Utah||6||On ballot||On ballot|
|Vermont||3||On ballot||On ballot|
|Virginia||13||On ballot||can't start|
|Washington||12||On ballot||can't start|
|West Virginia||5||On ballot||On ballot|
|Wisconsin||10||On ballot||On ballot|
|Wyoming||3||On ballot||On ballot|
|District of Columbia||3||On ballot||On ballot|
Recent issue stances
|This section requires expansion. (January 2011)|
The Libertarian Party adopts pro-civil liberties and pro-cultural liberal approaches to cultural and social issues, and a laissez-faire approach to economic issues. Paul H. Rubin, professor of law and economics at Emory University, believes that while liberal Democrats generally seek to control economic activities and conservative Republicans generally seek to control consumption activities such as sexual behavior, abortion etc., the Libertarian Party is the largest political party in the United States that advocates little or no regulations in what he deems "social" and "economic" issues.
The Libertarian Party's platform opposes government intervention in the economy. According to the party platform "The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected." – Libertarian Party Platform, Section 2.0 (adopted: May 2008) 
The Libertarian Party believes government regulations in the form of minimum wage laws drive up the cost of employing additional workers. This is why Libertarians favor loosening minimum wage laws so that overall unemployment rate can be reduced and low-wage workers, unskilled workers, visa immigrants, and those with limited education or job experience can find employment.
The party's official platform states that education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability and efficiency with more diversity of school choice. Seeing the education of children as a parental responsibility, the party would give authority to parents to determine the education of their children at their expense without interference from government. Libertarians have expressed that parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children's education.
The Libertarian platform supports a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of natural resources, believing that private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining such natural resources. The party has also expressed that "governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for such damage done to the environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection." The party contends that the environment is best protected when individual rights pertaining to natural resources are clearly defined and enforced. The party also contends that free markets and property rights (implicitly, without government intervention) will stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect the environment and ecosystem because environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.
The Libertarian Party opposes all government intervention and regulation on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates and advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services. The party's recent platform calls for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services, such as the Federal Reserve System. The party does not feel that government should incur debt and supports the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced preferably by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes. Libertarians favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. The party also wants a halt to inflationary monetary policies and legal tender laws. While the party defends the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies, it opposes government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest.
The Libertarian Party favors a free-market health care system, without government oversight, approval, regulation, and licensing. The party states that it "recognizes the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the amount of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions." They support the repeal of all social insurance policies, such as Medicare and Medicaid. The Libertarian Party has been advocating for Americans' ability to purchase health insurance across state lines.
Immigration and Trade agreements
The Libertarian Party consistently lobbies for the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. This is because their platform states that "political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries". To promote economic freedom, they demand the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, the party encourages control over the entry into the country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.
The Libertarian Party supports the repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment while opposing government-fostered/forced retirement and heavy interference in the bargaining process. The party supports the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and believes that employers should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union.
Retirement and Social Security
The party believes that retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Libertarians would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system. The Libertarians feel that the proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals, believing members of society will become more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its activity in this realm.
The Libertarian Party supports the legalization of all victimless crimes, including drugs, pornography, prostitution, polygamy, gambling, removal of restrictions on homosexuality, opposes any kind of censorship and supports freedom of speech, and supports the right to keep and bear arms  while opposing capital punishment. The Libertarian Party's platform states: "Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships."
The official Libertarian party platform states, "Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration." Libertarians have very different opinions on the issue, just like in the general public. Some, like the group Libertarians for Life, consider abortion to be an act of aggression from the government or mother against a fetus. Others, like the group Pro-Choice Libertarians, consider denying a woman the right to choose abortion to be an act of aggression from the government against her.
Crime and capital punishment
Shortly before the 2000 elections, the party released a "Libertarian Party Program on Crime" in which they criticize the failures of a recently proposed Omnibus Crime Bill, especially detailing how it expands the list of capital crimes. Denouncing all executions, they also describe how the party would increase and safeguard the rights of the accused in legal settings as well as limit the use of excessive force by police. Instead, criminal laws would be reduced to violations of the rights of others through either force or fraud with maximum restitution given to victims of the criminals or negligent persons.
Freedom of speech and censorship
The Libertarian Party supports unrestricted freedom of speech and is opposed to any kind of censorship. The party describes the issue in its website: "We defend the rights of individuals to unrestricted freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right of individuals to dissent from government itself.... We oppose any abridgment of the freedom of speech through government censorship, regulation or control of communications media." The party claims it is the only political party in the United States "with an explicit stand against censorship of computer communications in its platform."
The Libertarian Party favors election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. The party platform calls for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. As a minor party, it opposes laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. Libertarians also advocate the use of direct democracy through the initiative, referendum, and recall processes.
The Libertarian Party advocates repealing all laws that control or prohibit homosexuality. According to the Libertarian Party's platform, "Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government's treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws."
Gay activist Richard Sincere has pointed to the longstanding support of gay rights by the party, which has supported marriage equality since its first platform was drafted in 1972 (40 years before the Democratic Party adopted marriage equality into their platform in 2012). Many LGBT political candidates have run for office on the Libertarian Party ticket, and there have been numerous LGBT caucuses in the party, with the most active in recent years being the Outright Libertarians.
In 2009, the Libertarian Party of Washington encouraged voters to approve Washington Referendum 71 that extended LGBT relationship rights. According to the party, withholding domestic partnership rights from same-sex couples is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. In September 2010, in the light of the failure to repeal the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy (which banned openly gay people from serving in the military) during the Obama administration, the Libertarian Party urged gay voters to stop supporting the Democratic Party. The policy was repealed at the end of 2010.
Pornography and prostitution
The Libertarian Party views attempts by government to control obscenity or pornography as "an abridgment of liberty of expression" and opposes any government intervention to regulate it. According to former Libertarian National Committee Chairman Mark Hinkle, "Federal anti-obscenity laws are unconstitutional in two ways. First, because the Constitution does not grant Congress any power to regulate or criminalize obscenity, and second, because the First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech." This also means that the party supports the legalization of prostitution. Many men and women with background in prostitution and activists for sex workers' rights, such as Norma Jean Almodovar  and Starchild, have run for office on the Libertarian Party ticket or are active members of the party. Norma Jean Almodovar, a former officer with the Los Angeles Police Department and former call girl who authored the book From Cop To Call Girl about her experiences, ran on the Libertarian Party ticket for California lieutenant governor in 1986 and was actively supported by the party. Mark Hinkle described her as being the most able "of any Libertarian" "to generate publicity". The Massachusetts Libertarian Party was one of the few organizations to support a 1980s campaign to repeal prostitution laws.
Second Amendment rights
The Libertarian Party affirms an individual's right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and opposes the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. They oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition.
Foreign policy issues
Libertarians generally prefer an attitude of mutual respect between all nations. The party describes how both encouraging free trade and preventing military intervention builds positive relationships and avoids negative relationships. Libertarian candidates have promised to cut foreign aid if elected and withdraw American troops from the Middle East and other areas throughout the world to spur the global economy by promoting peace.
Political Status of Puerto Rico
The Libertarian Party has not officially commented on their position of the status of Puerto Rico. However, they did publish an article in which Bruce Majors, the party's 2012 candidate for the District of Columbia's at-large congressional district delegate election, expressed support to "put a referendum on the ballot and let...residents decide whether they would like to be a state" and thereby give residents of Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico greater control over their level of taxation.
"Principle" vs. "Pragmatism" debate
The debate that has survived the longest is referred to by libertarians as the anarchist-minarchist debate. In 1974, anarchists and minarchists within the Party agreed to "cease fire" about the specific question of whether governments should exist at all, and focus on promoting voluntary solutions to the problems caused by government instead. This agreement has become known as the Dallas Accord, having taken place at the party's convention that year in Dallas, Texas. Another debate was created by Mike Hihn's claim that the term libertarianism has been used by anarchists longer than by minarchists. A related internal discussion concerns the philosophical divide over whether the Party should aim to be mainstream and pragmatic, or whether it should focus on being consistent and principled.
In the opinion of some Party officials, members who emphasize "principle," even at the expense of electoral success, have dominated the party since the early 1980s. Libertarian members often cite the departure of Ed Crane (of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank) as a key turning point. Crane, who in the 1970s had been the party's first Executive Director, and some of his allies resigned from the Party in 1983 when their preferred candidates for national committee seats lost in the elections at the national convention. Others, like Mary Ruwart say that despite this apparent victory of those favoring principle, the party has for decades been slowly moving away from its ideals.
The debate quieted for a time, then arose again in the mid-1990s, when a "Committee for a Libertarian Majority" (CLM) was formed and met in Atlanta, Georgia, and worked up several proposals to alter many aspects of the Libertarian Party's operations. Two of their proposals (substantially altering the platform and abolishing the membership pledge) attracted a lot of attention and opposition sprang up in the form of another committee called PLEDGE. In the long run, CLM's proposals attracted some support at the national convention but did not prevail.
Beginning in roughly 2004, the debate arose anew, with the formation of several "pragmatist" groups, such as the Libertarian Party Reform Caucus. These groups generally advocate(d) revising the party's platform, eliminating or altering the membership statement, and focusing on a politics-oriented approach aimed at presenting libertarianism to voters in what they deemed a "less threatening" manner.LPRadicals emerged in response and was active at the 2008 and 2010 Libertarian National Conventions.
Intervention in Afghanistan
On September 13, 2001, just two days after the September 11 attacks and in response to what they saw as ambiguous statements about U.S. intervention in Afghanistan by the Libertarian National Committee, party members formed Libertarians for Peace to encourage the party to continue promoting a consistent non-interventionist position.
In 1999 a working group of leading LP activists proposed to reformat and retire the platform to serve as a guide for legislative projects (its main purpose to that point) and create a series of custom platforms on current issues for different purposes, including the needs of the growing number of Libertarians in office. The proposal was incorporated in a new party-wide strategic plan and a joint platform-program committee proposed a reformatted project platform that isolated talking points on issues, principles and solutions, and an array of projects for adaptation. This platform, along with a short Summary for talking points, was approved in 2004. Confusion arose when prior to the 2006 convention, there was a push to repeal or substantially rewrite the Platform, at the center of which were groups such as the Libertarian Reform Caucus. Their agenda was partially successful in that the current platform was much shortened (going from 61 to 15 planks – 11 new planks and 4 retained from the old platform) over the previous one.
Members differ as to the reasons why the changes were relatively more drastic than any platform actions at previous conventions. Some delegates voted for changes so the Party could appeal to a wider audience, while others simply thought the entire document needed an overhaul. It was also pointed out that the text of the existing platform was not provided to the delegates, making many reluctant to vote to retain the planks when the existing language wasn't provided for review.[unreliable source?]
Not all party members approved of the changes, some believing them to be a setback to libertarianism and an abandonment of what they see as the most important purpose of the Libertarian Party.
At the 2008 national convention, the changes went even further; with the approval of an entirely revamped platform. Much of the new platform recycles language from pre-millennial platforms. While the planks were renamed, most address ideas found in earlier platforms and run no longer than three to four sentences.
State and territorial parties
- Free State Project
- Libertarian National Convention
- List of libertarian organizations
- List of libertarian political parties
- List of libertarians in the United States
- List of political parties in the United States
- List of state Libertarian Parties in the U.S.
- Murray Rothbard
- Objectivism (Ayn Rand)
- "October 2012 Registration Totals". Ballot Access News. December 1, 2012. p. 3.
- Current Issues | Libertarian Party
- Moseley, Daniel (June 25, 2011). "What is Libertarianism?". Basic Income Studies 6 (2): 2. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- Elected Officials | Libertarian Party
- Libertarian Party:Our History, LP.org
- Michael Patrick Murphy, The Government, p. 555, iUniverse, 2004, ISBN 978-0-595-30863-7.
- Julie Ershadi (April 30, 2013). "Gary Johnson: I’m More Conservative and More Liberal Than Both Parties". Roll Call.
- Taxes. Official Website. Accessed: 13 October 2013.
- Social Security. Official Website. Accessed: 13 October 2013.
- Replace Welfare: Cut Taxes. Official Website. Accessed: 13 October 2013.
- Crime and Violence. Official Website. Accessed: 13 October 2013.
- Gun Laws. Official Website. Accessed: 13 October 2013.
- The following sources identify the Libertarian Party as the third-largest political party in the United States:
- Anthony C. Maki (April 8, 2011). "Libertarian Party not afraid, wants permanent shutdown". The Daily Caller. "...the Libertarian Party, America’s third-largest political party..."
- Joe Wolverton, II (April 6, 2011). "Libertarian Party: Paul Ryan is "Worse than Bill Clinton"". The New American (John Birch Society). "Third in size of party, but first to defend the Constitution. The Libertarian Party is not impressed with Representative Paul Ryan’s proposed federal budget."
- Steffen W. Schmidt, Mack C. Shelley, Barbara A. Bardes, Lynne E. Ford (2011). American Government and Politics Today. Cengage Learning. p. 311. ISBN 978-0-495-91066-4.
- Matthew J. Lindstrom (2010). Encyclopedia of the U.S. Government and the Environment: History, Policy, and Politics. ABC-CLIO. p. 856. ISBN 978-1-59884-237-1.
- Bruce A. Glasrud (2010). African Americans and the Presidency: The Road to the White House. Taylor & Francis. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-415-80391-5.
- "Obama's reelection hopes dim after census count". Press TV. December 22, 2010. "The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States."
- Martin Wisckol (November 22, 2010). "Libertarian Party founder, former O.C. resident dies". The Orange County Register. "The Libertarian Party is now the third largest political party in the country."
- Neil Goodman (October 9, 2010). "Libertarian: What does it even mean?". The Carolinian. "The Libertarian Party has slowly gained in numbers in the United States to become the third largest party today"
- Peter Schnitzler (July 6, 2010). "Local attorney elected U.S. Libertarian Party's vice chairman". Indianapolis Business Journal. "An Indianapolis business attorney has been elected second-in-command of the U.S. Libertarian Party. His ambition is to move America’s third-largest political movement from the margins to the mainstream by focusing on competence at the local office level."
- Eric J. Weilbacher (June 10, 2010). "Libertarians head to state convention". New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Southern Newspapers). "As the third largest party in Texas and the United States, the Libertarian Party tries to set itself apart from the pack"
- Libertarian leader says Republicans didn't back Tea Party principles during Bush years, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, April 14, 2010. "Founded in 1971, the Libertarian Party is America's third-largest political party and demands free markets and civil liberties." Alternate URL
- "Lawmakers offer bipartisan welcome". The Washington Times. January 20, 2009. "The nation’s third-largest political party, the Libertarians, offered congratulations to Mr. Obama."
- Elizabeth Hovde (May 11, 2009). "Americans mixed on Obama's big government gamble". OregonLive.com (Advance Internet). "But the Libertarian Party is pushing news of a recent poll that shows political independents, at least, aren't sold on Obama's version of "change." A press release from the nation's third-largest political party today says that independents reject Obama's "promises of prosperity through big government."
- "Libertarian Party Narrows Down Presidential Candidates". KKTV.com. Associated Press. May 25, 2008. "The Libertarian Party is the third-largest in the country..."
- "Government meddling hurts economy". USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education) (May, 2008). "The Libertarian Party is the U.S.'s third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main (Democratic and Republican) parties."
- "Libertarian Party ranks up 18% in '07". The Washington Times. July 10, 2007. "Polls show that fewer Americans are calling themselves Republicans or Democrats and the number of Americans unaffiliated with either party has reached an all-time high — good news for Libertarians, say officials of the nation’s third-largest party."
- Gairdner, William D. (2007). The Trouble with Canada: A Citizen Speaks Out. BPS Books. pp. 101–102. ISBN 978-0-9784402-2-0. "The first, we would call "libertarianism" today. Libertarians wanted to get all government out of people's lives. This movement is still very much alive today. In fact, in the United States, it is the third largest political party."
- Raymond A. Smith and Donald P. Haider-Markel, Gay and Lesbian Americans and Political Participation: A Reference Handbook, p. 170, ABC-CLIO, 2002, ISBN 978-1-57607-256-1, "The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States."
- Branden, Nathaniel (1999). My Years with Ayn Rand. Jossey-Bass. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-7879-4513-8. "A significant number of the men and women instrumental in founding the Libertarian Party, which is the country's third largest political party today, took one or more courses at Nathaniel Branden Institute."
- Suprynowicz, Vin (1999). Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993–1998. Mountain Media. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-9670259-0-2. "The Libertarian Party has been America's third-largest party since 1972."
- Howard Troxler, Democrats, GOP aren't the only game in town, St. Petersburg Times, June 4, 1996. "The Reform Party, organized by 1992 candidate Ross Perot, and the Libertarian Party, the nation's third-largest party behind the Democrats and Republicans, both say they have enough signatures."
- Bergland, David (1993). Libertarianism In One Lesson. Orpheus Publications. p. 26. "Since that modest beginning, the Libertarian Party has become America's third largest political party."
- The following sources identify the Libertarian Party as the fastest growing political party in the US:
- Steffen W. Schmidt, Mack C. Shelley, Barbara A. Bardes, Lynne E. Ford (2011). American Government and Politics Today. Cengage Learning. p. 311. ISBN 978-0-495-91066-4.
- "Libertarian party offers alternative to not voting". Cape Cod Times. October 28, 2008. "The largest and fastest-growing of our nation's third parties is the Libertarian Party."
- "Outright Libertarians start Nashville chapter". Out & About Newspaper. August 5, 2008. "The Libertarian Party is America's third-largest and fastest growing political party."[better source needed]
- Beth Jane Toren (2004). "The electoral college, political parties, and elections: Sites to help you through the voting process". College & Research Libraries News (Association of College and Research Libraries) 65 (7). "The Libertarian Party was formed in December 1971 and is America’s third-largest and fastest-growing political party."[dead link]
- "Why I crossed the aisle to the Libertarian Party". The Fayetteville Observer. March 20, 1999. "... departing the Republican fold and joining America's third largest and fastest growing political party — the Libertarian Party."[dated info]
- "Libertarian Party:Our History". Archived from the original on 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Editor (November 14, 2012). "American parties (5): Libertarian Party". Namavaran Network Corporation. Retrieved 10-11-2013.
- Shuo, Wang (09-29-2012). "Backgrounder: Libertarian Party". China Central Television. Retrieved 10-11-2013.
- David Boaz (2008-08-29). "First Woman". Cato @ Liberty (Cato Institute).
- "Election Results". Alaska Division of Elections. November 7, 1978 Also (1980 & 1984). Retrieved 10-12-2013.
- "The Third Party Myth". Young Politicians of America. January 1, 2001. Retrieved 10-12-2013.
- Malcolm, Andrew, "Las Vegas gets its first national political convention", Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2010.
- Winter, Bill, "1971–2001: The Libertarian Party's 30th Anniversary Year: Remembering the first three decades of America's 'Party of Principle'" LP News
- What is Libertarianism?
- "footer-logo (Libertarian Party domain shows current use)". Libertarian Party. Retrieved 10-12-2013.
- "LP-Logo-t (archived page shows prior use of "Lady Liberty")". Libertarian Party. November 6, 1996. Retrieved 10-12-2013.
- Drake, Kerry (July 26, 1996). "Laramie Libertarians adopt 'Liberty Penguin'". Casper Star Tribune (Casper, WY).; "Libertarian picks penguin representation". Fort Myers News Press: Mainstreet (Fort Myers, FL). November 11, 1997.; "Pragmatic penguin just the ticket for Wyo. Libertarians". Denver Post (Denver, CO). Associated Press; The Eagle Valley Enterprise; Casper Star Tribune. September 6, 1996.; Schreiner, Mark (April 1999). Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, NC).; "Libertarians Adopt County Artist's Design". Grainger County News (Grainger County, TN). April 22, 1999.
- . Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- Libertarian Party National Committee
- National Committee staff
- Help the LPAR « Libertarian Party of Arkansas
- "Libertarian Party:Platform", Official Website of the Libertarian National Committee. Retrieved on June 6, 2012.
- "The World According to Ron Paul." Foreign Policy Magazine. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- "Faithless Electors", Center for Voting and Democracy. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
- 2012 Presidential General Election Results, Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections Retrieved on December 3, 2012
- "Arizona November 2000 General Election". Thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- Nebraska Libertarians Save Taxpayers Money with Successful Lobbying for Improved Ballot Access Laws | Libertarian Party
- "Libertarian Votes Result in LP Having Ballot Access in 30 States". LP.org. November 8, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- Official Bylaws of the Libertarian Party. Retrieved May 14, 2007
- Membership Report prepared 04/12/2004 for cutoff of 03/31/2004, circulated by the LNC. Retrieved May 14, 2007
- David Boaz, How Many Libertarian Voters Are There? Cato@Liberty, Cato Institute.
- David Kirby and David Boaz, The Libertarian Vote in the Age of Obama, Policy Analysis, p. 1, Cato Institute, January 21, 2010.
- FEC Disclosure Report Search Results
- "LNC Approves Zero Dues[dead link]", LP News, September 1, 2005. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
- website ""
- Ballot Access News. "Former Libertarian Legislative Nominee Plays Key Role in Ongoing New Hampshire Same-Sex Marriage Bill", May 20, 2009. Retrieved on July 18, 2009.
- "Elected-Officials; Libertarian Party". Lp.org. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- "2002 ELECTION STATISTICS". Clerk.house.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- "Official Results of the Tuesday, November 04, 2008 General Election". SOS.georgia.gov. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "Spoiler Alert! G.O.P. Fighting Libertarian’s Spot on the Ballot". Retrieved February 15, 2013.
- "Libertarian ballot access" from Libertarian Party Website
- Ballot Access News (Oct. 2012)
- "2014 Petitioning For Statewide Office". Ballot Access News. December 2012. p. 5.
- Paul H. Rubin (2002). Darwinian politics: The Evolutionary Origin of Freedom. Rutgers University Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-8135-3096-3.
- Poverty and Welfare
- Time to Tax Sacramento with Tough Love[dead link]
- Libertarian Party Platform Section 2.8, 2012
- Libertarian Party Platform
- Libertarian Party Platform Sections 2.1-2.6, 2012
- Libertarian Party Platform Section 2.10, 2012
- Eagles, Munroe; Johnston, Larry (2008). Politics: An Introduction to Modern Democratic Government. University of Toronto Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-55111-858-1.
- Karin Miller, Libertarian struggle to be taken seriously in presidential race, Deseret News, Associated Press, September 12–13, 1996.
- Emma Brown, Co-founder of national Libertarian Party, The Washington Post, November 24, 2010.
- ANGELA GALLOWAY, For Libertarians, winning is a work in progress, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 3, 2004.
- Duncan Watts (2006). Understanding American Government and Politics. Manchester University Press. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-7190-7327-4.
- Freedom of Speech, Libertarian Party
- Libertarian Party 2010 Platform
- "Platform". 1.4 Abortion. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "Pro-Choice Libertarians". Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- Libertarian Party Platform Section 3.6
- Platform of the Libertarian Party of California as amended in Convention March 3, 2012
- John Gallagher, It's my party, The Advocate, October 29, 1996.
- Christopher Mangum, Libertarians Endorse R-71, The Advocate, October 21, 2009.
- Julie Bolcer, Libertarians to Gays: We Want You, The Advocate, September 24, 2010.
- Sheryl Gay Stolberg (December 22, 2010). "With Obama's Signature, 'Don't Ask' Is Repealed". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Ridiculous pornography trial violates Constitution
- Ex-call girl seeks 'legal prostitution' job, The Telegraph-Herald, July 20, 1986.
- , Los Angeles Times, October 13, 1986. "There is Norma Jean Almodovar, the former Los Angeles prostitute running on the Libertarian Party ticket."
- Prostitutes before pimps, Salon.com. "After the meeting, Liu got into a friendly debate with Starchild – this is the Bay Area, folks! – a well-known sex worker and outreach director for the local Libertarian Party."
- Candidate fights solicitation charge, Bay Area Reporter. "A member of the Libertarian Party and an activist for sex worker rights, Starchild has lashed out at the Fremont Police Department..."
- Group begins campaign to repeal prostitution laws, Bangor Daily News, October 6, 1983.
- Libertarian Party Homepage Issues Section: Foreign Policy
- Mike Hihn, "The Dallas Accord, Minarchists, and why our members sign a pledge", Washington State Libertarian Party, August 2009.
- Paul Gottfried, The conservative movement: Social movements past and present , Twayne Publishers, 1993, p. 46.
- Less Antman, The Dallas Accord is Dead, Lew Rockwell.com, May 12, 2008.
- Rothbard, Murray (January-April, 1981). "It Usually Ends With Ed Crane". LewRockwell.com. Retrieved 10-11-2013.
- Dondero, Eric (Friday, March 21, 2008). "Mary Ruwart set to announce for Libertarian Presidential race today: Controversy swirling over her past support for worst LP Prez campaign ever". Libertarian Republican. Retrieved 10-11-2013.
- Samuels, L.K. (July 7, 2006). "Evicting Libertarian Party Principles: The Portland Purge". LewRockwell.com. Retrieved 10-11-2013.
- LP Radicals Key points on LPRadicals.org
- Alexander Zaitchik, Bob Barr the Ralph Nader of 2008?, Alternet.org, May 27, 2008.
- Tom Knapp reports: Reasons for Radicals (to return to the Libertarian Party), January 5, 2010; Kn@ppster on Libertarian National Convention, Independent Political Report, June 4th, 2010.
- "Victory in Portland! Libertarian Reform Caucus"
- National Platform of the Libertarian Party, Official Website of the Libertarian National Committee. Retrieved on July 25, 2006
- "Portland and the LP Platform: The Perfect Storm", a review by George Squyres, Platform Committee chairman. Retrieved on November 2, 2006.
- "The LP's Turkish Delight by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.".
- L.K. Samuels, Evicting Libertarian Party Principles: The Portland Purge, LewRockwell.com, July 7, 2006.
- Libertarian Party (May 2008). "National Platform of the Libertarian Party (2008)". Libertarian Party. Retrieved 10-11-2013.
- Libertarian Party (July 1996). "1996 National Platform of the Libertarian Party". Libertarian Party. Retrieved 10-11-2013.
- Epstein, David A. (2012). Left, Right, Out: The History of Third Parties in America. Arts and Letters Imperium Publications. ISBN 978-0-578-10654-0.
- David Boaz and David Kirby, The Libertarian Vote, Policy Analysis, Cato Institute, October 18, 2006.
- David Kirby and David Boaz, The Libertarian Vote in the Age of Obama, Policy Analysis, Cato Institute, January 21, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Libertarian Party (United States).|
- LP.org (Official Website)
- Facebook Page
- Twitter Page
- http://www.LibertarianReport.com (Libertarian news aggregator)
- Libertarian (party) at the Open Directory Project
- Elected Libertarian officials, a site that keeps an independent tally; also includes candidates who identify themselves as libertarian but outside of the U.S. LP.[dead link]
Previous presidential candidates campaign sites
- Gary Johnson 2012 web site
- Archive of 2004 LP presidential candidate web site
- Archive of 2000 LP presidential candidate web site
- Archive of 1996 LP presidential candidate web site
- Archive of 1996 LP vice presidential candidate web site