Derek E. Hollemans
Victory and defeat are two principles that are instilled in our children from the day they come out of the womb. Even though many people downplay the importance of winning and losing, claiming that having fun is the only thing that matters, it always seems that victory is much sweeter than defeat. The idea of competition is as old as time itself, and it forces all parties involved to give one hundred percent. Whether it is sports, politics, or manufacturing, competition enables both sides to strive for the best results. More importantly, losing will occasionally result in a victory when the smoke clears. Even when a situation looks hopeless, it is quite possible that a defeat is one step closer to the ultimate victory.
This idea can be easily applied to the little-known world of third-party politics. During the next general election, voters should take a look at the other names that are on the ballot besides the Democrats and the Republicans. The Libertarian Party always has its set of candidates in every race, yet people constantly pass them by as an acceptable choice. There are many convenient excuses for this blatant error, but isn't it the American thing to do by at least giving them an open mind and the opportunity to state their case?
Why do the Libertarians always run candidates that don't have a chance? The purpose for this is exposure. Defeat after defeat for the Libertarian Party only brings them a step closer to the monumental victory that they will eventually achieve. Already, there are over three hundred Libertarians in public office throughout the nation. This may seem like a rather trivial number, but one has to start somewhere.
The Libertarian Party is also the fastest growing political party in the United States. Because they persevered in their attempts for public office, the Libertarian Party has achieved a large growth in membership. A loss in one area of competition can bring a larger victory off of the playing field, as the Libertarians have demonstrated. In setting smaller, more reasonable goals to build upon, the Libertarian Party will eventually reign in a new era off the current mainstream; they will reign in a new era of politics that is unlike the politics of today, which are plagued by big government power plays and coercion.
For an example of this, the nation needs to look no further than our very own William Jefferson Clinton. He is a prime example of how someone may appear as a winner on the outside, but is actually a loser in the end. Although he did defeat Bob Dole and Libertarian challenger Harry Browne in the 1996 election, Mr. Clinton's campaign has been plagued with conspiracy and accusations. Some people think this violates the old adage: "cheaters never win", but soon the whole world will see that President Clinton will have to face the consequences for his devilish actions. Clinton will get the short end of the stick even if the electoral college did place him in the Oval Office for another four years. The truth can hide itself for many years, but it cannot hide forever.
Overwhelming odds also bring out the best in a competitor of high caliber. Winless situations can become a larger, more significant victory in the end. That is exactly the case with Harry Browne's 1996 campaign for President. Although he did not "win" the election, he did press forward many key victories for the Libertarian Party. Namely, Harry Browne was on the ballot in all fifty states prior to Reform Party candidate H. Ross Perot. This marked Browne as the second consecutive Libertarian candidate to do so. Browne also declined the option to steal hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in the form of Federal Matching Funds. His campaign also induced a huge growth in the Libertarian Party. These are just a few of the many victories the Libertarian Party has won in the midst of defeat.
Even when a situation looks hopeless, it is quite possible that a defeat is one step closer to the ultimate victory. History has proven that you must lose in order to win. For the Libertarian Party, losses at the polls are a learning experience, but they also gain much needed exposure that the media has chosen to deny them. Everything has its ups and downs. For the Libertarians, these downs will lead in no other direction than a giant up!