Thursday, November 06, 2008

And then there's the hangover

No, I didn't get drunk (well, maybe a little drunk, but not lampshade-wearing drunk or even close) ... but by the time election day was nominally over, I was ready for an extended period of sleep. So I got some.

My congressional campaign didn't exactly burn the district down, but I'm not crying, either. My 2.3% is the highest "third party" vote (single or combined) since Missouri's Secretary of State started putting election results on the Internet in 1996, and I made out even better on raw vote totals -- 8,576 of'em, 22% more than the closest previous total (6,695 votes in 2000 for the Libertarian, Green and Reform Party candidates combined).

On the presidential side, it doesn't look like the Boston Tea Party's ticket will bust past the Libertarian Party's first-time results from 1972 as I had hoped. Not crying over that, either -- there's a lot of overlap between our niche and the LP's niche, and they have a 36-year head start on us in the competition for that niche. We didn't do poorly enough for me to be disappointed, and I'm enormously flattered to have received more than 1,000 votes for the vice-presidency of the United States from the people of my birth state, Tennessee. I'm also looking forward seeing a bigger, better BTP bring the message of freedom to more people, in more states, in the future.

As for the LP's presidential ticket, well, Bob Barr appears to have edged out Harry Browne's 1996 campaign for the second best raw vote total in party history, but to have somewhat underperformed Harry for percentage. As David Nolan put it, "[t]he Libertarian ticket would most likely have gotten a very similar vote total with Root, Ruwart or Kubby as the nominee." And, as Nolan was too polite to say, the urge to take a long shower after voting wouldn't have been so intense if we had nominated Kubby or Ruwart.

Personally, I wasn't able to bring myself to vote for Barr/Root. I did try to talk myself into it, but the whole idea just seemed immoral. The alternatives on the ballot in Missouri were McCain (not), Obama (not), Nader (not) and Baldwin (NOTNOTNOT). I finally settled on (drum roll, please) ... the Green Party's write-in ticket of Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente.

McKinney's record in Congress included voting with Ron Paul 80% of the time (more than any Republican) on key civil liberties issues as identified by Freedom Democrats in a vote study some years ago. Libertarian? No ... but more so than the other available options. Also, casting a write-in vote struck me as the most ostentatious way to reject the duopoly. I joined 957 other Missourians who also wrote in McKinney/Clemente.

So now the fun begins.

As everyone keeps pointing out, president-elect Barack Obama is a "transformational figure," by which I assume they do not mean that he can turn himself into a truck or an airplane or whatever and fly off to fight evil robots invading from space (although it wouldn't surprise me to learn that some people do, in fact, believe that as well).

The thing with "transformational figures" is that they produce transformations. And the thing with transformations is that they tend to be unpredictable, both in detail and with respect to their effects on "the big picture."

I expect we're in for a wild ride, folks. At the moment, I haven't slightest idea where that ride will end, but I seatbelts and crash helmets are definitely in order.

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