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NRA Endorsements for Libertarians

This Libertarian candidate is upset that NRA doesn’t endorse Libertarians:

Throughout this campaign I have let my constituents know that I was a NRA member and supporter and have expressed this on my Web site and my campaign material. This only shows that the NRA is either run by or scared of the Republican Party.I spent 27 years as a Republican only to find out that they had abandoned me. Now it is the National Rifle Association that has also done the same. Who is it today that will represent America?

Well, I wouldn’t say the NRA is too scared of the Republican Party, considering this year they have endorsed quite a number of Democrats, including this latest one in Texas.  But Libertarian Candidate Teddy Fleck needs to grasp some important political realities here.

One, Libertarians don’t win.  If every gun voter voted Libertarian, they still wouldn’t win, and both major parties would quickly abandon gun rights because they have nothing to gain by supporting it.  Gun owners are one interest among many, and we don’t have political power outside of acting in coalition with other interests.  If every gun owner voted as a gun owner, on gun rights alone, we might have something.  But that’s not going to happen.

Two, most gun owners are not Libertarian.  Many have libertarian leanings, but I can count on my fingers the number of philosophically Libertarian gun owners I’ve run into doing my grassroots work.  I’ve run into more liberal Democrats.  I’ve run into one person who is voting for Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate, and exactly no one who said they are voting for Bob Barr.  Not a scientific study, but if there’s energy and enthusiasm out there for Libertarian and other third party candidates, I’m not seeing it.

Three, most gun owners are not single issue voters, despite my best attempts to make them.  I’ve found more Obama supporters than all the third party candidates combined.  Many Obama supporters are aware of his record on guns, but are voting other issues this election, like jobs and the economy, union loyalties, or various other issues.  Further dividing the gun vote to third party candidates who don’t stand a chance isn’t going to accomplish anything other than weakening our political power.

Did I mention Libertarians don’t win?  When you’re an issue organization, maximizing your political influence is the number one goal.  Ideological concerns take a back seat to that.  You focus on the gun issue, and develop a strategy to maximize your influence, since third parties have little or no influence, there’s nothing to be gained there.  That might piss some people off, but that’s reality.

13 Responses to “NRA Endorsements for Libertarians”

  1. LLR says:

    The best way for a Libertarian to get a NRA endorsement is to WIN. Then he/she would be an incumbent (assuming they have a pro-gun voting record) and get an endorsement at re-election time.

    I agree with you about them not being scared for republicans. Jesus Christ John Murtha gets glowing grades from the NRA and so does John Dingell. If Nancy Pelosi wasn’t so darn anti-gun then she too would get an endorsement from the NRA.

  2. Sebastian says:

    I think even if a Libertarian were polling well, NRA would grade them. The problem is they don’t, so they get ignored.

  3. Weer'd Beard says:

    Not to mention the Libertarian isolationist forign policy pisses off the military pro-gun croud.

    Hell at a party this weeken with my VERY liberal family me and the other token Republican were chatting with my cousin who ran a very formidable campaign to offseat the incumbant Democrat in the State Congress, but didn’t quite get enugh to go forward. Turns out HE (a Democrat) was more pro-gun than the Republican. He’s retired military, and KNOWs that a gun is a gun, and personally sees “Gun crime’ as a social problem, not a hardware problem.

    Also in this month’s National Rifleman I was looking at all the endorced candidates in Mass. 90% are Democrats (of course 5% of the people running are Republicans….many with pro-gun records, but few are activly endorced)

    So I’d say you hit it right on the nose, Sebastian.

  4. Points taken, but as for Bob Barr, I hope most would see see him as the bandwagon ride-hitcher that he is.

  5. nick says:

    “maximizing your political influence is the number one goal. Ideological concerns take a back seat to that.”

    That sums it up nicely. So what happens when your group becomes very influential in creating policies in conflict with your ideologies? Oops.

  6. I’m voting for Bob Barr, so now you know one gun owner voting for him.

  7. Sebastian says:

    Not to mention the Libertarian isolationist forign policy pisses off the military pro-gun crowd.

    There is a lot of overlap in the gun issue with National Greatness conservatism. It’s a message that resonates with a lot of gun owners. As an interesting experiment, I put out at the last gun show “Veterans for McCain” “Sportsmen for McCain” and “McCain/Palin”. The Veterans bumper stickers went faster than the sportsmen stickers. That says that quite a number of gun owners prefer to self-identify as veterans, or at least in terms of their support of McCain, identify with him as veterans. Not too surprising.

    But I’ve talked to people who lament abortion and gay marriage as issues. People who pretty clearly are a lot more conservative than I am. A few have talked about wanting to see these Wall Street thieves taken out back and shot; not a statement supportive of economic libertarianism, I would say.

    It’s actually been a real eye opener about exactly what kind of people are the ones we’re trying to reach, and the kinds of people that support John McCain. It’s at the same time encouraging, discouraging, and sometimes frightening, to see what the gun vote is really made up of. The real answer is ordinary Americans, with a lot of different opinions. You get a new appreciations for why politicians speak in platitudes — it’s just easy to say something that’s going to alienate a certain demographic. If you took everyone at all the shows, clubs, and various other places I’ve spoken with, and put them in a room and tell them to come up with a platform they could all live with, it would probably look a lot like McCain’s platform. It’s not perfect, but this is politics.

  8. Xrlq says:

    Here in NC, the NRA is endorsing Bev Perdue for governor and Roy Cooper for AG, Democrats both.

  9. Joe Huffman says:

    When voting for President in Idaho it’s safe to vote Libertarian this year. Idaho typically goes 70% Republican. By voting Libertarian one can send a message to both the Democrats and Republicans that there are votes to be picked up by adjusting their policies in the Libertarian direction.

    As much as I like the Libertarian philosophy they lost me after 9/11. They are wrong about how to deal with the Islamic extremists. So I’ll be voting for Palin (and McCain) this year. And to give my vote a little more importance I’ll be voting in Washington State this year.

  10. I hadn’t heard that the NRA is endorsing Perdue over McCrory for NC governor. That would be a surprise. I can’t find any article about this, either.

    This is also another gun owner who will be casting a vote for Bob Barr (and Pat McCrory, whether he has the NRA’s endorsement or not).

    Personally, I think the “Libertarian isolationist foreign policy”– in other words, don’t attack someone unless they attacked you first– should appeal to gun owners. Isn’t that one of the main reasons people own guns?

  11. Sebastian says:

    Try running a modern industrial economy without oil flowing out of the middle east freely. We don’t live in a world where we can just concern ourselves with our borders and ignore what goes on in the rest of the world. Our economies are dependent on trade, and we no longer have the Royal Navy to keep the world safe for commerce.

  12. Do you really think the Middle East doesn’t want to sell their oil to us?

    I didn’t say anything about not trading with other countries, I think we should be doing more of that.

  13. Sebastian says:

    Who’s going to protect the trade routes and trade system from people who want to crap all over it? Who’s to say if Iran took control over most of the middle eastern oil they wouldn’t prefer to sell it to China and India? Who’s to say they won’t be charging monopoly prices since they would have a significant portion of the world’s oil production cornered? What do you do about a resurgent Russia that wants to use energy to blackmail Europe into giving Russia back it’s empire?

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