Lysistrata is a play by Aristophanes in which the women of Athens, who have no political rights, withhold sex in order to pressure the men to end the Peloponnesian War. We withhold our votes, which are probably a lot less prized than sex is.
It seems already over half of the eligible voting population has adopted the practice of withholding votes. It is clearly not the votes that are withheld that matter nearly as much as the ones that are cast. If they can only get cast for D's and R's, then the system of stifling alternative ideas will remain in place.
It would appear that a better use of this technique would be to actually withhold sex from elected officials, particularly from professional sex workers, government interns, and page staff.
I don't know of anyone in the Tea Party or the Paul campaigns who think the system is just peachy. If they had any reply at all, it would be to ask, how continually running and losing badly at the state and federal level leads to changing the system.
I know a lot of people in the Tea Party and even some in the Paul campaign who think the system is fine, but just needs some fine tuning so the right people get put in place. In most cases, they think the only place for discourse is within the political party, and once a choice is made there, only that voice and the one from the other side should be what the electorate has to choose from. I don't believe that should be the case, and that an election should be about choosing from a range of ideas.
It seems to me the best way to bring alternative voices to the electoral process is to have candidates in the game. When people see that they can have choices without western civilization coming to an end, as is claimed by the shrill rhetoric in many election seasons, then pressure to change things will mount.
If the system is changed, it will be because people who [/i]won[/i] elections changed it, as Scwarzennegger has recently changed it in California.
This is true to the extent that laws are enacted trough the action of elected representatives in the legislative and executive branches of government. I do seem to recall someone going to great lengths to claim there are ways to change the political discourse and action though other means. That every candidate who qualified to be on the ballot for statewide office was removed this year made a big impression on a lot of people that I have talked to. That helps to build support for change in the general electorate. The actions also bolster our appeal in federal court. Within the Democratic Party it has coalesced support for election reform. If in fact the only way to change things is to have elected officials do it, then I think it would become even more imperative to run candidates for office.
I also think that situation is not as dire as is being presented. We have made progress in the past five years. There is a bill for change that has been introduced and will be introduced again. There is a movement support for change of the electoral system working through at least one of the major parties, and by working behind the scenes with people, we may be able to help it gain momentum. We cannot do that by a confrontational approach and treating all supporters of other political parties as enemies.
Or by they support the lessers of two evils?
I'm not sure what this means.
You think the general electorate is upset that the LP can't get on the ballot?
I think the general electorate is increasingly dissatisfied with the choices, or lack thereof, that they are finding. Based on my discussions with people, many find the ideas of the LP appealing and would like to have that be a viable choice. Unfortunately the system makes that not the case and ballot access is part of that problem.
None of that suggests that the LP gets the credit.
This seems to be missing the point. Brandon listed 198 ways to keep injustice in the public eye. I think his point (and mine and David Nolan's) is that we are so fixated on running for office that we are short-changing the other 197.
Remember that David Nolan ran for US Senate this year, and his recent article stressed the importance of Libertarian candidates working to be included in televised debates. Clearly running for office is a piece of the puzzle, and one that a political party is particularly well suited to do. It does not mean the other items need to be discounted, but some will be more appropriate to undertake than others, e.g. Lysistratic nonaction.
Just as the LP can work on ballot access issues, they do not have to do it alone, and I think the issue of credit is secondary, although others may disagree. Other organizations like VotePa, or the PA Ballot Access Coalition, or the League of Women Voters, or Democracy Rising, etc. may also work on reforming the ballot access laws. What those other organizations cannot do is run a slate of candidates for elected office like the LP can.
This doesn't mean the LP cannot work on some of the other 197 approaches, and certainly those other organizations could
endorse candidates, but why not play to organizational strengths? Trying to put the LP on equal footing with VotePa as a non-partisan lobbying organization doesn't make any more sense than trying to make VotePa a partisan political party. Some organization are going to highlight different approaches, and I think that is a good way to go about it. I think Brandon's point was primarily that more needs to be done, and with that I agree. I don't know that it means we should put running candidates way back on the list of priorities. It may mean bringing forward some other priorities, though.