Why You Need To Pay Attention To Gary Johnson’s Lawsuit To Fix Presidenial Elections In America

Gary Johnson has released an ad for his “Our America Initiative,” which is asking for crowd-sourced donations to his lawsuit to sue the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a private organization created by both the Democratic and Republican Parties which controls access to the Presidential debates.

The Issue

The Democratic and Republican parties have secured a monopoly on access to Presidential Debates by working with institutionalized media to create a system that blocks candidates from other parties from entering the debates.  Eric W. Dolan summed up the details during the 2012 debates:

The debate rules specify that to be included, candidates must receive at least 15 percent in a major poll. Most major polls do not even list [third party candidates] as an option. Televised presidential debates date back to 1960, and have been a regular event since the 1976 election. Originally administered by the League of Women Voters, they’ve been jointly organized by the Democratic and Republican parties through the Commission on Presidential Debates—a group the two parties jointly formed—since 1987.

In other words, the CPD has created a shell game.  In order to have access to the Presidential Debates, you need at least 15% approval rating in a major national poll.  But most major national polls do not list third party candidates as an option, making it de facto impossible for most third party candidates to enter the debates.

What The Lawsuit Would Achieve

Gary Johnson’s lawsuit would ask the court to order the CPD to allow any candidate access to the Presidential Debates who is listed in enough states to garner at least 50% of the electoral college votes.  This requirement would give third party candidates access to the debates, while ensuring that only serious candidates were allowed in.

Why It Matters

Access to the debates is not simply a token gift to third parties to make them feel better.  As recent lawsuits over campaign finance laws indicate (i.e. Citizens United McCutcheon), access to mass media is a very big deal.  When third parties are denied access to the debates, large swathes of voters are not given an opportunity to compare the ideas of the candidates in real time.  

The forum of the Presidential Debate itself also grants an air of legitimacy to the candidates.  Candidates who are denied access to the debates are both literally and figuratively shoved into the unwilling role of “outsiders,” which makes many voters afraid to commit to them for fear of wasting their vote.  The CPD and institutionalized media have thus created a system that effectively prevents third party candidates from achieving legitimacy in America’s 2-party system.

If Gary Johnson’s lawsuit is successful, third party candidates would have real access to the Presidential Debates, and would have an opportunity to bring their message to the largest national media platform during election season.  Third party candidates would finally have an opportunity to bring their message to large swathes of voters on a platform which has historically been denied to them.  In the process, they would be given an opportunity to change voter’s minds at the time when it matters most.

(Source: hooligain, via minarchist)


Basically, by lying.

Scott Shackford explains how California hasn’t “recovered”:

I have been pushing back on claims that California’s economy is fine and awesome and should be used as a model for other states’ recoveries. California is doing better these days than five years…


“Blacks,” said Mayor Barry Mahool, “should be quarantined in isolated slums in order to reduce the incidents of civil disturbance, to prevent the spread of communicable disease into the nearby White neighborhoods, and to protect property values among the White majority.”


"[Robert] Reich writes that “A $15/hour minimum is unlikely to result in higher prices because most businesses directly affected by it are in intense competition for consumers, and will take the raise out of profits rather than raise their prices.”

Reich is correct that businesses are in intense competition for consumers. What he misses, however, is the fact that, precisely because of this intense competition, businesses have none of the excess profits that Reich presumes will be tapped into to pay the higher mandated wages.

This error exposes Reich’s inability to grasp even the most elementary economic concepts. Intense competition eliminates excess profits; with no excess profits firms cannot, contra Reich, simply pay workers higher wages. Firms instead must respond to a higher minimum wage by some combination of hiring fewer low-skilled workers, working their remaining low-skilled workers harder and reducing these workers’ non-wage pay, and charging higher prices for their outputs. The fact that Reich misses this reality - the fact that he does not understand that intense competition ensures that firms cannot possibly react to a higher minimum wage by tapping into their profits - tells any thinking person all that he or she needs to know about Reich’s analytical skills."

Don Boudreaux, “How NOT to Do Economiics” (via laliberty)

Tags: derek jeter

"If women were paid 77 cents on the dollar [relative to men for the same work], a profit-oriented firm could dramatically cut labor costs by replacing male employees with females. Progressives assume that businesses nickel-and-dime suppliers, customers, consultants, anyone with whom they come into contact—yet ignore a great opportunity to reduce wages costs by 23%.

They don’t ignore the opportunity because it doesn’t exist."

The ‘77 Cents on the Dollar’ Myth About Women’s Pay (via laliberty)

Read the whole thing, I highly recommend it. Very good use of both empirical research and economic theory to dispel the wage gap myth.

"Well, that’s my privilege [to retract previous apocalyptic predictions about climate change]. You see, I’m an independent scientist. I’m not funded by some government department or commercial body or anything like that. If I make a mistake, then I can go public with it. And you have to, because it is only by making mistakes that you can move ahead. …

Take this climate matter everybody is thinking about. They all talk, they pass laws, they do things, as if they knew what was happening. I don’t think anybody really knows what’s happening. They just guess. And a whole group of them meet together and encourage each other’s guesses."

Renowned climate scientist James Lovelock, one of Time magazines 13 leaders and visionaries in their 2007 “Heroes of the Environment.”

The 94 year-old scientist, famous for his Gaia hypothesis that Earth is a self-regulating, single organism, asserts that environmentalism has “become a religion” and does not pay enough attention to facts; he also said that he had been too certain about the rate of global warming in his past book. 

Said Lovelock:

The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.”

(via laliberty)

(Source: thinksquad)


The nanny state meets crony capitalism in Florida, and it’s a match made in hell:

The law would force craft brewers to sell their bottled and canned beer directly to a distributor. If they want to sell it in their own tap rooms, they would then have to buy it back at what is typically a 30-40 percent mark-up without the bottles or cans ever leaving the brewery.

I’m soon going to be writing at greater length about this story and the bigger issue of how the government (state and federal) has historically screwed with the beer market in America, favoring big, low-quality brewers like Miller and Anheuser-Busch. For now, suffice it to say that even though the current situation is much better than it was 40-50 years ago, stories like this demonstrate that we are far from out of the woods.

This is a text book example of regulatory capture in action. 

"The members of Congress are underpaid; and I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world, and a lot of members can’t even afford to live decently when they’re at their job, in Washington."

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), explaining why he thinks an annual salary of $174,000 plus plenty of other perks and conveniences is just too small. 

Granted, DC is an expensive city, but our representatives aren’t exactly hurting for cash. Their median net worth is more than $1 million, and if we look at the Senate alone, that median tops $2 million. 

But even leaving all that aside, if you can’t get by on $174,000 a year plus ample benefits (including free travel), there is something horribly wrong with your money management skills. Actually, this explains a lot

(via hipsterlibertarian)


Partisanship is as stupid as it is predictable.

(Source: laliberty)

"A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper. He must free himself from the habit, just as soon as something does not please him, of calling for the police."

— Ludwig von Mises (via iates)

"One thing that gets a lot of attention in happiness research is that once you’ve got enough money to eat and you’re okay, it doesn’t seem like there’s a large effect of additional income on your happiness… But, what’s more interesting to me is another finding, that unemployment, per se, causes a lot of unhappiness. Unemployment makes people really miserable. And, even if you go and give them the same income they would have had if they were employed, they’re still a lot less happy than they would have been if they had a job and that income. This is a way in which the American system is really much more humanistic, and more concerned about the whole person than the European system. In Europe, you have people who are unemployed for a very long time, with very little prospect of getting a job, but you send them a check and that’s supposed to make it up to them. In the U.S., unemployment is lower, it’s easier to find a job, and so, people here get their money, and at the same time they have the pride of having a job. They don’t feel like a loser because they’re unemployed. So, in this sense the American system of less labor market regulation, which leads to lower unemployment and makes it easier to find a job, is really more concerned with human happiness and a richer understanding of what’s going on in the human psyche, than the European system, which just assumes that if you give someone a check they have nothing to complain about."

Bryan Caplan (via eltigrechico)