Libertarian Party
Chairman Nicholas Sarwark
Founded December 11, 1971 (1971-12-11) (48 years ago)
Headquarters 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20037
Student wing College Libertarians
Membership  (2012) >282,000
Ideology Libertarianism
Classical liberalism
Civil libertarianism
Cultural liberalism
Internal factions:
Template:• Anarcho-capitalism[1]
Template:• Paleolibertarianism[2]
Political position

Economic policy: Laissez-faire[3]

Social policy: Cultural liberalism[4]
International affiliation Interlibertarians [5]
Colors Gold
Seats in the Senate Template:Infobox political party/seats
Seats in the House Template:Infobox political party/seats
Governorships Template:Infobox political party/seats
State Upper Houses Template:Infobox political party/seats
State Lower Houses Template:Infobox political party/seats
Other elected offices 154 [5]

The Libertarian Party is the third largest[6] political party in the United States in terms of the popular vote in the country's elections and number of candidates run per election. It is also identified by many as the fastest growing political party in the United States.[7] The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects the ideas of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated markets, a less powerful state, strong civil liberties (including support for same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights), the legalization of cannabis, separation of church and state, open immigration, non-interventionism and neutrality in diplomatic relations (i.e., avoiding foreign military or economic entanglements with other nations), freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries, and a more responsive and direct democracy.[8] The Libertarian Party has also supported the repeal of NAFTA, CAFTA, and similar trade agreements, as well as the United States' exit from the United Nations, WTO, and NATO.[9] The party has no official stance on abortion as its members are divided on the issue.

Although there is not an explicitly-labeled "left" or "right" designation of the party, it is considered by many to be more left-wing than the Republican Party but more right-wing than the Democratic Party when comparing the parties' positions to each other. On the two-axis Nolan Chart, the party appears in the uppermost quadrant.

In the 30 states where voters can register by party, there are over 282,000 voters registered as Libertarians.[10] Hundreds of Libertarian candidates have been elected or appointed to public office, and thousands have run for office under the Libertarian banner.[11] The Libertarian Party has many firsts in its credit, such as being the first party to get an electoral vote for a woman in a United States presidential election.[12]


Main article: Libertarian Party (United States) History and Timeline

The Libertarian Party was formed in Westminster, Colorado, in the home of David Nolan on December 11, 1971.[11] The founding of the party was prompted in part due to concerns about the Vietnam War, conscription, and the end of the Gold Standard.[13] 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 after the American Independent Party, which had previously been the third largest political party, continued to fracture. 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.[11][12]


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."[8]

Structure and compositionEdit

The Libertarian Party is democratically governed by its members, with state affiliate parties each holding annual conventions at which delegates are elected to attend the party's national conventions, held every two years. National convention delegates vote on changes to the party's national platform and bylaws, and elect representatives to the Libertarian National Committee (LNC).[14] This 27-member body, currently chaired by Geoff Neale, is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the Libertarian Party and its office and staff. Some LNC members are also elected by the governing bodies of LP state affiliate chapters.

State chaptersEdit

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,[15] with each state chapter maintaining its own membership rolls.

Libertarian National CommitteeEdit

Template:Expand section Carla Howell is the Executive Director of the party's National Committee.[16]

Name and symbolsEdit

In 1972, "Libertarian Party" was chosen as the party's name, narrowly beating out "New Liberty Party."[17] 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".[18]

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.[17] Some time after, this was replaced with the Lady Liberty, which has, ever since, served as the party's symbol or mascot.

For many years, there has been a small movement to adopt "LP" the Liberty Penguin as the official mascot, much like the Republican elephant or the Democratic donkey. The Libertarian parties of Tennessee, North Carolina, Utah, Hawaii, Delaware and Iowa have all adopted "LP" as their mascot.[19] Another popular mascot is the Libertarian porcupine, an icon designed by Kevin Breen in March 2006 and is often associated with the Free State Project.[20]


Size and influenceEdit

Presidential candidate performanceEdit

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.[21] MacBride became the Libertarian nominee himself in 1976.

In the 2012 presidential election, Gary Johnson and running mate Jim Gray received 1,251,999 votes [22], the largest amount ever cast for a Libertarian ticket since the party's founding in 1971.

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 1,251,999 0.99% 0

Template:Election box begin Template:Election box winning candidate with party link Template:Election box candidate with party link Template:Election box candidate with party link Template:Election box candidate with party link Template:Election box candidate with party link Template:Election box candidate with party link Template:Election box majority Template:Election box turnout Template:Election box hold with party linkTemplate:Election box end

U.S. House of Representatives resultsEdit

Year Popular Votes Percentage Number of Seats
1972 2,028 0.003% 0
1974 3,099 0.01% 0
1976 71,791 0.10% 0
1978 64,310 0.12% 0
1980 568,131 0.73% 0
1982 462,277 0.72% 0
1984 275,865 0.33% 0
1986 121,076 0.20% 0
1988 445,708 0.55% 0
1990 444,750 0.71% 0
1992 848,614 0.87% 0
1994 415,944 0.59% 0
1996 651,448 0.72% 0
1998 880,024 1.32% 0
2000 1,610,292 1.63% 0
2002 1,030,171 1.38% 0
2004 1,040,465 0.92% 0
2006 657,435 0.81% 0
2008 1,083,096 0.88% 0
2010 1,002,511 1.16% 0
2012 1,328,899 (est.) [23] 1.19% 0

U.S. Senate resultsEdit

Year Popular Votes Percentage Number of Seats
1972 N/A 0% 0
1974 N/A 0% 0
1976 Template:Nts 0.13% 0
1978 Template:Nts 0.09% 0
1980 Template:Nts 0.67% 0
1982 Template:Nts 0.57% 0
1984 Template:Nts 0.35% 0
1986 Template:Nts 0.21% 0
1988 Template:Nts 0.40% 0
1990 Template:Nts 0.39% 0
1992 Template:Nts 1.47% 0
1994 Template:Nts 1.15% 0
1996 Template:Nts 0.77% 0
1998 Template:Nts 0.79% 0
2000 Template:Nts 1.32% 0
2002 Template:Nts 1.75% 0
2004 Template:Nts 0.88% 0
2006 Template:Nts 1.00% 0
2008 Template:Nts 1.22% 0
2010 Template:Nts 1.17% 0
2012 Template:Nts 1.09% 0

Earning ballot statusEdit

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).[24]

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.[25] Following the 2012 election, the party will have ballot status in 30 states. [26]

Party supportersEdit

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.[27] There were 115,401 Americans who were on record as having signed the membership statement as of the most recent report.[28] A survey by David Kirby and David Boaz found a minimum of 14 percent American voters to have libertarian-leaning views.[29][30]

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.Template:Citation needed 1,108 of the donors gave the federal minimum ($200) or more for required individually itemized contributions.[31]

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.[32] 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).

Election victoriesEdit

Libertarians have had mixed 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,[33] 599 Libertarians held elected or appointed local offices and appointed state offices. As of January 2010, 143 Libertarians nationwide hold elected office: 31 of them partisan offices, and 112 of them non-partisan offices.[34] Since the party's creation, twelve 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.[35]

Nationwide, there are 157 Libertarians holding elected office: 38 of them partisan offices, and 119 of them non-partisan offices.[36]Template:Where Currently, one seat in a state legislature, the Rhode Island House of Representatives, is held by a libertarian – Daniel P. Gordon. Gordon was originally elected to the House as a member of the Republican Party, but switched his affiliation after internal party disputes. In addition, some party members, who were elected to public office on other party lines, explicitly retained their Libertarian Party membership; these include Representative Ron Paul, who has repeatedly stated that he remains a Life Member of the Libertarian Party.

Best results in major racesEdit

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 11.9% and 18.4% [37] respectively. In Indiana's 2006 U.S. Senate race, which lacked a Democratic candidate, Steve Osborn received 12.6% of the vote. In 2002, Ed Thompson, the brother of former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, received 11% of the vote (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%).[38] 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 42.95% 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.

Registration by partyEdit

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 2010, the Libertarians ranked fifth in voter registration nationally with 278,446 (Ballot Access News, December 2010, p. 4).[39]

Financial Campaign dataEdit

The Johnson-Gray campaign raised $2,317,996 with 86% from private donations and 14% from federal funds. No money was raised from any PACs [40] In contrast, Barack Obama's campaign raised over $632,000,000 (spending almost $541,000,000) [41] and Mitt Romney's campaign raised over $389,000,000 (spending over $336,000,000). [42] The spending ratio for the Libertarian Party's campaign was about Template:Frac of 1% of the total by the other two candidates.

  Total Raised ($) Total Spent ($) Cash on Hand ($) Debts ($)
2012 $2,317,996 $2,282,292 $35,704 $227,202

Ballot accessEdit

During the 2008 United States Presidential election, the Libertarian Party gained ballot access in 45 states plus the District of Columbia;[43] it did not gain ballot access in Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, or West Virginia. In the 2012 Presidential election, the Libertarian Party currently has gained ballot access in 48 states plus the District of Columbia, with litigation pending in the remaining two states, Michigan and Oklahoma.[44]

Ballot status Edit

The following is a table comparison of ballot status for the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 2012.

  Electoral Votes 2012 [45]
States 50 (and DC) 48
Electoral Votes 538 515
Percent of population (EVs) 100% 95.1% (95.7%)


Alabama 9 On ballot
Alaska 3 On ballot
Arizona 11 On ballot
Arkansas 6 On ballot
California 55 On ballot
Colorado 9 On ballot
Connecticut 7 On ballot
Delaware 3 On ballot
Florida 29 On ballot
Georgia 16 On ballot
Hawaii 4 On ballot
Idaho 4 On ballot
Illinois 20 On ballot
Indiana 11 On ballot
Iowa 6 On ballot
Kansas 6 On ballot
Kentucky 8 On ballot
Louisiana 8 On ballot
Maine 4 On ballot
Maryland 10 On ballot
Massachusetts 11 On ballot
Michigan 16 (write-in)
Minnesota 10 On ballot
Mississippi 6 On ballot
Missouri 10 On ballot
Montana 3 On ballot
Nebraska 5 On ballot
Nevada 6 On ballot
New Hampshire 4 On ballot
New Jersey 14 On ballot
New Mexico 5 On ballot
New York 29 On ballot
North Carolina 15 On ballot
North Dakota 3 On ballot
Ohio 18 On ballot
Oklahoma 7 NOT on ballot
Oregon 7 On ballot
Pennsylvania 20 On ballot
Rhode Island 4 On ballot
South Carolina 9 On ballot
South Dakota 3 On ballot
Tennessee 11 On ballot
Texas 38 On ballot
Utah 6 On ballot
Vermont 3 On ballot
Virginia 13 On ballot
Washington 12 On ballot
West Virginia 5 On ballot
Wisconsin 10 On ballot
Wyoming 3 On ballot
District of Columbia 3 On ballot

Recent issue stancesEdit

Template:Expand section 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.[46]

Economic issuesEdit

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) [47]

The Libertarian Party believes government regulations in the form of minimum wage laws drive up the cost of employing additional workers.[48] This is why Libertarians favor repealing 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.[49]

Social issuesEdit

The Libertarian Party supports the legalization of drugs,[50][51][52][53] pornography,[50] prostitution,[50][51][52][53] gambling,[54] removal of restrictions on homosexuality,[52] opposes any kind of censorship and supports freedom of speech,[55] and supports the right to keep and bear arms.[51] 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."[56]


The Libertarian Party has no official stance on abortion because Libertarians are divided on the issue. Some, like the group Libertarians for Life, consider abortion to be an act of aggression against a fetus, while others, like the group Pro-Choice Libertarians,[57] consider denying a woman the right to choose abortion to be an act of aggression against her. Template:See also

Freedom of speech and censorshipEdit

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."[55]

LGBT issuesEdit

The Libertarian Party advocates repealing all laws that control or prohibit homosexuality.[58] 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."[56]

Gay activist Richard Sincere has pointed to the longstanding support of gay issues by the party, which has supported marriage equality since its first platform was drafted in 1972. Many LGBT political candidates have run for office on the Libertarian Party ticket,[59] 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.[60] 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.[61] The policy was repealed at the end of 2010.[62]


The Libertarian Party views attempts by government to control obscenity or pornography as "an abridgment of liberty of expression"[55] 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."[63]


The Libertarian Party supports the legalization of prostitution.[50][51][52][53] Many men and women[64][65][66][67] with background in prostitution and activists for sex workers' rights, such as Norma Jean Almodovar [64][65] and Starchild,[66][67] 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".[64] The Massachusetts Libertarian Party was one of the few organizations to support a 1980s campaign to repeal prostitution laws.[68]

Internal debatesEdit

Main article: Factions in the Libertarian Party (United States)

"Principle" vs. "Pragmatism" debateEdit

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. 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 someTemplate:Who?, members who emphasize "principle," even at the expense of electoral success, have dominated the party since the early 1980s. TheyTemplate:Who? often cite the departure of Ed Crane (of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank) as a key turning point.Template:Citation needed 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. OthersTemplate:Who? feel that despite this apparent victory of those favoring principle, the party has for decades been slowly moving away from its ideals, a trend to which they attribute its relative stagnation since the heady days of the 1970s.Template:Or

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 Reform Caucus, the Libertarian Party Reform Caucus (now defunct), and the Real World Libertarian Caucus (now defunct). 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.Template:Citation needed LPRadicals emerged in response and was active at the 2008 and 2010 Libertarian National Conventions.[69][70][71]

Intervention in AfghanistanEdit

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.

Platform revisionEdit

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.[72] 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.[73]

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.[74]Template:Verify credibility

Not all party members approved of the changes, some believing them to be a setback to libertarianism[75] and an abandonment of what they see as the most important purpose of the Libertarian Party.[76]

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 platforms going back to 1972. While the planks were renamed, most address ideas found in earlier platforms and run no longer than three to four sentences. Members of the program committee point to its being a version of a proposal approved in 2001.Template:Citation needed

2012 Presidential candidateEdit

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.[77]

State and territorial partiesEdit

See alsoEdit



  3. Current Issues | Libertarian Party
  4. Moseley, Daniel (June 25, 2011). "What is Libertarianism?". Basic Income Studies 6 (2): 2. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  5. Elected Officials | Libertarian Party
  6. The following sources identify the Libertarian Party as the third largest political party in the United States:
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • 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."
    • 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."
  7. 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.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Libertarian Party:Platform", Official Website of the Libertarian National Committee. Retrieved on June 6, 2012.
  9. "The World According to Ron Paul." Foreign Policy Magazine. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  10. "January 2012 Registration Totals". Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Libertarian Party:Our History,
  12. 12.0 12.1 David Boaz (2008-08-29). "First Woman". Cato @ Liberty (Cato Institute).
  13. Michael Patrick Murphy, The Government, p. 555, iUniverse, 2004, ISBN 978-0-595-30863-7.
  14. Libertarian Party National Committee
  15. Help the LPAR « Libertarian Party of Arkansas
  16. National Committee staff
  17. 17.0 17.1 Winter, Bill, "1971–2001: The Libertarian Party's 30th Anniversary Year: Remembering the first three decades of America's 'Party of Principle'" LP News
  18. What is Libertarianism?
  19. "LP" The Liberty PenguinTM. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  20. [1]. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  21. "Faithless Electors", Center for Voting and Democracy. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
  22. 2012 Presidential General Election Results, Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
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