When Mike Munger Speaks

“The Democrats in North Carolina are what the Republicans usually are, and the Republicans are the Taliban,” Munger said, with characteristic brashness. “They look to scripture to decide what their positions should be.”

In a wide-ranging interview with the Winston-Salem Journal, Mike Munger, Libertarian candidate for governor in North Carolina, does what almost no politician ever does: he calls it exactly like he sees it. And while I don't agree with much of what the good professor has to say, I sure do love the way he says it.

Take time to read the whole article, and make sure you visit Dr. Munger's website. Because what you'll find is not your typical wacko libertarian on a kool-aid binge, but rather a passionate intellectual with nuanced ideas about democracy, public policy and a whole lot more. And as to brashness, I say, "Amen!"

Ballot access is Munger’s main concern. This year, while the four Republicans and two major Democrats running for governor traveled the state for campaign functions and debates, Munger and other Libertarians have been carrying around clipboards to collect people’s signatures. They need to obtain about 70,000 signatures to get on the ballot in November. But because every signature must be verified by the State Board of Elections, the party estimates it actually needs to collect 100,000 signatures to make sure that there are enough valid ones.

After months of work and nearly $200,000 spent on the petition drive, the party is just a few thousand signatures short of its goal. “It means that we will arrive breathless at the starting line,” Munger said. “All the fundraising that I’ve done has just gone right down that rat hole.”

Libertarians have long complained that North Carolina is one of the toughest states in the nation for third parties. Most other states require far fewer signatures to get on the ballot.

The establishment parties defend North Carolina’s system. “From my perspective,” said Jerry Meek, the chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party, “whenever you have a plurality electoral system like we have, where the person with the most votes prevails, third parties simply have the tendency to distort the electoral process in ways that don’t adequately represent the wishes of the voters.”

Meek cited the Ralph Nader effect in the 2000 presidential election that many observers believe tilted the election to George W. Bush.

Don't get me wrong, I think Jerry Meek is a great leader of the North Carolina Democratic Party, and it's his job to protect the party's interests. But I respectfully disagree with his take on this. I'd like to see fairer ballot access for other parties in general, and I can't see how it distorts anything. Yes, Nader was a spoiler who ended up costing our country eight years of Bush insanity, but the truth is, too many in our country were stupid enough to go along with his misguided campaign in the first place.

And as I told Mike Munger when I gathered signatures for his petition drive, most of his positions are going to attract the free-market and property-rights factions of the Republican right. That will only help the Democratic nominee.

Previously: Mike's way with words.


fusion voting

click it - - - > fusion voting

Electoral fusion (what I'm calling fusion voting) is an arrangement where two or more political parties support a common candidate, pooling the votes for all those parties. By offering to endorse a major party's candidate, minor parties can influence the candidate's platform.

- - - - -
McCain - The Third Bush Term


I like that.

yeah I know, right?

I wonder how you would get that passed? Someone should ask Bob Hall or Adam Sotak at DemocracyNC if it's worth looking into.

I'm sure changing the rules is pretty difficult when all the players have so much skin in the game. (did that metaphor just get away from me?)

- - - - -
McCain - The Third Bush Term

several states already have it

NY and SC come to mind.

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy


I meant to add that the quote at the top by Munger is right on the money. The Democratic Party in North Carolina is often headed in the right direction, but sometimes it's like pulling teeth.

John B. Anderson

Ask John Anderson about third party candidacies and fusion voting. Blast from the past, I know. John Anderson is a good man.