I volunteered quite a bit for a Libertarian Party candidate running for City-County Council of Indianapolis in 2011. His image was clean cut, he had served in the Navy and then in the Army, his voting record was one of defending individual rights from special interest edicts and voting against corporate welfare schemes and fiscally irresponsible legislation. His opponent was a sleazy Republican who had been caught committing fraud, not purchasing new equipment for the local fire department, stealing money from the public treasury to use for his own good, and bragging about legislation that had been passed before he had even been appointed to his office. In canvassing neighborhoods, fellow volunteers and I found out there was a universal disdain for this opponent. We covered over ninety percent of our precincts, quite an achievement for a Libertarian Party campaign. I even did three precincts near my neighborhood single-handedly, and walked fourteen hours over a four day period a few weeks before the election. Based on the amount of signs and the attitudes of the people, we thought we would be able to pull off a victory on Election Day.
Fast-forward to November 8th, the day of the election. After 12 hours of working the polls, I headed off to the results viewing party at the new LPIN headquarters. There was much anticipation of finding out how the day had played out. The results began to come in. The candidate many of us had spent time volunteering for lost soundly, only garnering 24% of the vote. Many of us, especially those who had spent hours canvassing on the ground, did not see how this could be. As results continued to come in, we found out it was a result of party-line voting. My district votes heavily Republican, and when someone in my district votes Republican, most of them vote straight ticket. Part of the reason for this may have been because this was also a mayoral election, thus polarizing the two parties even more intensely, leaving the Libertarian Party somewhat obscured in the minds of the voters. In the whole state of Indiana, three Libertarians were elected, and there were a few candidates who narrowly lost their bids.
The lesson I learned from this experience?
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