Interview With Virginia Libertarian Matt Waters

Matt Waters And His Family.

Matt Waters And His Family.

Matt Waters plans to seek the Libertarian Party of Virginia’s nomination for U.S. Senate in 2018 to run against Tim Kaine and an as yet unknown Republican.  He is currently collecting signatures to get on the ballot.

Mr. Waters lives in Alexandria, Virginia and has been a member of the Libertarian Party since 2008. He was raised in Hampton, Virginia and graduated from George Mason University. He is married and has five children.

We recently conducted an interview with Mr. Waters and we have included that interview below.


1. Have you run for office before? Why did you decide to run for U.S. Senate and not a lower office?

Waters: No. Never run before. I have been involved in many campaigns, mostly conservative Tea Party Republican, as a fundraiser. I looked at the 8th district here, the Fairfax Co. Alexandria area, and it’s heavily democrat. I would not have had the opportunity to get the message out. I wanted to go big.

2. How long have you been a member of the LP and the LPVA?

Waters: National LP going back to April 2008 (according to my membership card). LPVA, I’m a recent member.

3. Nick Freitas is considered the libertarian-leaning candidate in the Republican primary. He has received the endorsement of Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and a few others. If he wins the primary and runs in the general election, why should a libertarian/Libertarian vote for you over Nick Freitas?

Waters: If Freitas wins, let’s revisit this question. He is an underdog and that is partly why I’m running, to give voters a choice in November. This November here in Virginia is shaping up to be a mirror of what 2020 will look like: a Trump Republican, a milk-toast Democrat, and a Libertarian.

4. Has Trump done anything to advance the libertarian agenda?

Waters: Yes, he has made Republicans look awful, and that may incline disillusioned Republicans to look at Libertarians—but we must be Libertarian—not faux. But we should not bet on Republicans joining us, as if they haven’t gotten the memo yet, I don’t think they ever will. It’s kinda like smoking—if you don’t know it will kill you—well, keep smoking. That’s what Republicans are doing—still smoking.

5. Would you support a constitutional amendment pertaining to term limits or a balanced budget? Why or why not?

Waters: Yes on both. George Will had a great column on this the other day, where he pointed out the two professors at Harvard who have a sound plan towards getting our books to balance. I’d support anything Will is saying—as he may be the most respected Libertarian in the country. On Term Limits, yes, got to take the professionalism out of this. But the only risk here is you have a deep state of professional bureaucrats who never leave Washington. I’d think we need to term limit public service in certain departments at certain levels. We sort of do that with political appointees, but take a deeper dive here. Needs to be looked at.

6. Do you agree with Gary Johnson, the 2012 and 2016 Libertarian Party nominee for President, that our immigration system needs to be streamlined to make it easier for people to come here legally?

Waters: I lean that way. I also lean towards cutting up the welfare state that may be having a disproportional impact on illegal immigration. I would also want to encourage our Latin American friends to focus on rule of law, private property rights, regulation reform, all of the things that make it hard for individuals to succeed. The Acton Institute did a study on how long it takes for an ordinary Hatian to open a business – a person not connected to government—about 260 days. Yet, someone connected to government, who knows someone, took them like a week. These governments are bankrupt, corrupt, and hurt individuals. They need to get their own houses in order.

7. If elected, who would you caucus with? How would you be able to work with other elected officials in Washington, D.C. if you are the sole Libertarian candidate?

Waters: The others would caucus with me! I’d remain independent and attempt to be as non-political as possible—meaning, if R’s do something that makes sense, I’d vote for it; same with D’s. At some point the Libertarian Party will send a representative to Congress, and just like others in smaller parties who went to Congress before us, with the hope that one day the independents in this country will decide to do something different. They did it with Trump.

8. You have already spoken with members of the LPVA State Central Committee (SCC) about your candidacy and they seemed receptive. How do you feel about receiving the nomination to run as the LPVA candidate for U.S. Sentate in 2018?

Waters: I am excited about it, as we need to offer an alternative to the status quo.

9. Do you have petitions up online that volunteers can download to help get you on the ballot? How many signatures do you need?

Waters: I do have a petition on my Facebook page, and on signatures, we need to capture 400 signatures in each of Virginia’s Congressional districts. So 4,400 valid signatures in the 11 districts, and 10,000 overall.

10. What will be the issue(s) that your campaign will focus on?

Waters: If you ask Americans what the number one concern is in this country, they will tell you that their government is. They love the country, they are afraid of the government. If Libertarians cannot capitalize on this, then we may as well pack up and go home. The IRS was weaponized against the Tea Party; the Department of Education is making us dumb and dumber. The FDA is a failure that is responsible for millions dead. The Defense Department is anything but. I think of the snow days here in DC – they tell federal workers – “all non-essential employees” no need to come in to work. If you are non-essential on a snow day, you are non-essential every day. Cut Commerce, Education, HUD, Energy—all a total waste. I ask friends to “Name one thing the federal government gets right?” Blank stares. And all that for $4.5 trillion a year. C’mon, it’s time to wake up and cut spending. My budget would cut spending $1 trillion a year, and would eliminate all federal personal income taxes for all Americans through the Liberty Amendment—eliminating the 16th Amendment and replacing the income tax with NOTHING.

12. How can volunteers contact you if they want to get involved with your campaign?

Waters: Go to MattWaters.com, it points to my facebook page, and the webpage is going live soon.

13. A lot of times we hear that voting for a Libertarian candidate is a “wasted vote” or that it will help the Democrat or Republican win (depending on who you talk to). What would you tell voters who are concerned about your candidacy affecting the election in a way that they perceive as negative?

Waters: I think Democrats and Republican voters are wasting their votes; after all, what has Tim Kaine done in the US Senate? Name one thing. These voters are on their way to becoming non-voters because they know nothing changes.

14. It has been reported that you are pro-life. Can you elaborate on this a little bit? Would you seek to have a “Personhood Amendment” added to the Constitution?

Waters: Yes, 100% pro-life, more so than any of the Republicans running. I have worked for and with multiple pro-life organizations over the last 25 years. I became pro-life in the mid-80’s reading Jesse Jackson and Al Gore’s statements—both were pro-life at one time—and both sold out their principles seeking higher office. I won’t do that. I’m encouraged that the Democrats—the party of Death according to Ramash Ponnuru’s book, are actually entertaining supporting pro-life candidates. So on personhood, on a Life Amendment, etc, yes, I would support nearly anything that protects life. That is at its very heart what it means to be an American—after all, its life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Life is first on the list. The life position also falls under the Libertarian banner of “do no harm”.

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Gov. Gary Johnson Names Vicente Fox As World Leader He Admires

garyjohnsonportraitParticipating in a “Libertarian Town Hall” last night on MSNBC’s “Hardball” hosted by Chris Matthews, Gov. Gary Johnson and Gov. Bill Weld fielded questions about their platform, their candidacies, and the libertarian philosophy itself.  The one hour episode was filled with a mix of laughs, cheers, and at times, strong agreement from the crowd of students who attend The University of New Hampshire where the town hall was being held as part of Matthews’ “college tour.”

During the town hall, Matthews asked Gov. Johnson to name a living world leader that he admired.  Johnson paused to think about it before jokingly stating: “I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment,” referring to an earlier appearance on MSNBC where he was thrown a question out of left field concerning the Syrian city of Aleppo, and blanked.

Almost immediately after making the joke, Johnson said “The former President of Mexico.”  Gov. Weld chimed in with “Fox?” and Johnson agreed that was the correct name of the man he admired.

The Clinton spin machine, which includes most main stream media outlets seized upon this moment to claim Gov. Johnson couldn’t name any world leaders.  Most of the headlines on the internet lead with the misleading headline and some of the articles did not ever state that Johnson did name Vicente Fox as the leader he admired.

I’d like to thank the Clinton campaign (who it is reported is spending six figures to discredit Johnson) for giving Gov. Johnson the free publicity his campaign needs to win the election in November.

How the Constitution could let the House stop both Clinton and Trump: 12th Amendment 2016?


The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. – U.S. Constitution, Amendment XII

 

There has been an increasing amount of discussion about a possible strong third-party or independent showing in 2016, whether from an independent Republican ticket put up in opposition to Trump, or from a Libertarian or independent campaign capitalizing on popular disgust with the frontrunners for the major-party nominations: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both of whom are unlikely to muster approval ratings higher than the low-mid 40s. 

This seems like a good opportunity to review one of the lesser-known provisions of that already too-obscure institution: the Electoral College. Under the 12th Amendment, in order to be elected President a candidate must secure an absolute majority (currently 270 votes) in the Electoral College. Thanks to a strange technicality in the way the amendment is written, as little as one Electoral Vote cast for a third-party candidate, could legally result in the House of Representatives electing that candidate President of the United States.

The way it works, is if no candidate receives a 270 vote majority. Then, the newly elected House will have to choose a President, in the brief window in January between when they take office (Jan 3) and Inauguration Day (Jan 20). In this election, they are limited to choosing from among the top three candidates in the Electoral College. Adding an additional wrinkle to the process: each state gets one vote, the only time the House of Representatives votes that way. The delegations from the 43 states having more than one Representative, must vote among themselves, to decide how to cast each state’s one vote. This effectively guarantees that the Republicans would control the outcome of any election thrown to the House, even if they are no longer the majority, because of their dominance in more, smaller states. 

The Vice President is elected separately by the Senate (voting as usual), however they are limited to the top two, not three, candidates in the Electoral College.

 

So, with that basic scheme in mind (see here for CGP Grey’s excellent video explanation): consider the following scenario plays out on Election Night 2016:


HouseEC



The Democratic nominee is Hillary Clinton. The Republican nominee is Donald Trump. The third candidate can be any number of possibilities: Jim Webb, Mike Bloomberg, Mark Cuban, Angus King, or an independent Republican ticket put up in opposition to Trump, such as Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan or Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. However, since it’s my personal preference, in this scenario we’ll posit that it is Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, as the Libertarian nominee. The same basic premise can be played out with any of them.

Clinton has 43% of the popular vote. Trump has 39% of the popular vote. Johnson, after being included in the debates on the calculation from both major-party candidates that he would hurt the other more, gets 16% of the popular vote. The remaining 2% scatters to other minor party candidates. (This is roughly similar to the popular vote breakdown from Clinton vs. Bush vs. Perot in 1992.)

However, the Electoral College tells a different story than 1992. Unlike Ross Perot, Johnson has won a narrow first-place plurality with approx. 34% in three smaller states: New Hampshire, Nevada, and New Mexico, totaling 15 Electoral Votes. The remaining states are near evenly divided: the Democrat ticket has 260 Electoral Votes and, despite being four points behind in the popular vote, the Republican ticket has 263 Electoral Votes.

Instantly, all eyes turn to the House of Representatives, and in particular its Republican members.

The House Republicans are now in a real dilemma. Most have refused to support or endorse Donald Trump’s disastrous campaign, which has continued in much the same manner as his primary campaign, and a small number had even openly endorsed Johnson in the final weeks.  Most of those who nominally endorsed Trump, only did so halfheartedly and insincerely. 

The Clinton campaign demands that the House confirm her, not along party lines, but because she received, by far, the most popular votes. The same percentage, they note, as Bill Clinton had received to be elected in 1992, though still well short of 50%.

The Trump campaign counters that the voters had returned a GOP-majority House (at least by state), and so the specified process in the Constitution implies that the Republican members of the House should elect their own party’s nominee. Additionally, they count that Trump was the first-place candidate in the Electoral College. 

House Republicans are in a catch-22. The vast majority consider Trump ideologically and more importantly, temperamentally, unfit to be President. Many of them have said so publicly. Furthermore, almost two-thirds of voters rejected him, and he lost the popular vote by a wide margin. The idea of a Trump presidency, particularly under these circumstances, with every Republican in Congress to blame, is seen as a nightmare scenario among GOP establishment circles.

On the other hand, few Republican Congressmen can go home to their districts and face a primary, having voted to install Hillary Clinton as President. The massacre in the 2018 mid-term primary elections would be historic, and they know it. They are caught between losing their seats in primaries, or losing their majority in the general election, to voter backlash in favor of the spurned Democrats. 

In this scenario, Johnson presents a strongly appealing and compelling dark-horse option. A former Republican Governor with experience in office, and a smaller-government free-market platform, he is much more acceptable to many in Washington than dangerous lunatic Donald Trump. But he also has an appeal and acceptability to the left and center that Trump utterly lacks. The same is likely true of Jim Webb, and possibly Michael Bloomberg. 

Facing deadlock and no good options in picking either Clinton or Trump,  the House Republicans make an offer: the House will elect the third-party candidate President, and the Senate (still in GOP hands), will elect the Republican nominee for Vice-President. (This is made easier, since the third-place candidate for Vice President is not eligible to be elected by the Senate).  This could be Ted Cruz, for example, or another relatively acceptable GOP Governor or Senator placed on the ticket in a failed bid to keep the GOP unified behind Trump. (Alternately, if the Democrats have retaken the Senate, they could independently elect their party’s nominee for Vice President.)

So on December 30, 2016, a press conference is called in the Capitol Rotunda. Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, announce that both of their incoming caucuses had just voted in a special closed-door session, to elect a Libertarian President and a Republican Vice-President. A unity ticket among candidates who, between them, received a majority of both the popular vote and the electoral college. After being sworn in on January 3, the new Congress does exactly that. 

And that’s how, if the stars align just right, this obscure provision of the Constitution could allow members of Congress to, in effect, veto both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and elevate a third-place runner-up to the Oval Office instead. 

Far fetched? Absolutely. Impossible? I don’t think so. Unprecedented? Not quite. In 1824, a very similar scenario played out among John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Henry Clay. Jackson, seen as unfit despite being the clear popular vote winner, was passed over in favor of popular runner-up Adams, thanks in part to a deal with 4th place candidate and Speaker of the House Henry Clay to appoint him as Secretary of State. 

This is not an entirely new idea, either. Throwing an election to the House has long been the goal of third-party Presidential campaigns, most famously those in 1948 and 1968 that swept the Deep South. It is a consideration that should figure heavily into any campaign strategy for a strong third-party presidential campaign.

Libertarian Lucas Overby Wins Congressional Debate

A special election is being held in Florida’s 13th Congressional District to elect a representative to fill the late Republican Bill Young’s Congressional seat.  The election will be held on March 11th, 2014.

Bay News 9 Post Debate Poll

Libertarian Lucas Overby won the Bay News 9 Post Debate Poll with 45%.

On Monday, February 3rd, 2014, Libertarian Congressional Candidate Lucas Overby won the 13th Congressional District (of Pinellas County, Florida) Debate with 45% in a post debate poll conducted by Bay News 9 (the network that hosted the debate).

One of the interesting things about this debate is that Lucas made history, becoming the first Libertarian candidate to participate in a nationally televised debate.  The debate was hosted by Bay News 9 and picked up by C-Span (it aired on C-Span 3).  Viewers all around the world were able to watch Lucas take on his Democratic and Republican opponents – and WIN!

For the first part of the debate, the Democratic and Republican candidates tried to ignore Lucas, referring to “my opponent” in their answers as if there were only two candidates in the race.  Bay News 9 debate hosts quickly brought Lucas into the conversation and it was clear at that point that he had a firm grasp of what his constituents in Pinellas County wanted to see in the candidate they will be electing in March.  His answers were clear and concise.  He was the only debate participant that followed the rules set forth by the debate moderators.

Libertarian Lucas Overby

Libertarian Congressional Candidate Lucas Overby, who is running for Congress in Florida’s 13th District.

Lucas’ opponents were not the only ones trying to ignore him.  Journalists across the board, who wrote about the debate tried desperately to hide the Libertarian’s views from the public.  Some articles barely gave his name a mention, while others mentioned his name a couple of times at best.  None of them provided ANY of his answers to the various questions asked at the debate.  You can view some of these articles here and here.  Even C-Span refused to put his name up on the screen when they would come back from the commercial breaks.  Lucas was undeterred and maintained a professional attitude for the entire debate.

The most interesting part of the debate came when each candidate was allowed to ask another candidate a question.  Alex Sink (D) quizzed Lucas on the Libertarian Party platform and this gave him a chance to explain the platform to viewers who may not be familiar with it.  David Jolly (R) directed his question to Sink, further bringing his claims that she is a carpetbagger, into the public eye.  However, the best question of all came from Lucas, when he asked Sink to explain the difference between “entitlements” and “welfare.”  After a long pause, and much stumbling over her own words, Sink gave an answer that clearly showed she had no idea what she was talking about.

Both the Republican and Democratic Candidates in the race were promoting the same, stale, ideas that have landed this country in it’s current economic mess.  The clear choice for Pinellas County is Lucas Overby.  He is a life long resident of the county (his opponents are not), and he has been travelling his district for a year, talking with voters and engaging them.

You can view the entire hour-long debate here.

You can also visit Lucas Overby’s Facebook page here or his web site here.

Gary Johnson Endorses Lucas Overby

2012 Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson Endorses Lucas Overby.

Lucas needs your support to win on March 11th. You may donate to the campaign here.  You can sign up to volunteer via the web site.

Welcome To The Old Dominion Libertarian

Hello there and welcome to my new blog.  My name is Joe Enroughty and I am a Libertarian Activist in the state of Virginia.  I am a member of the Libertarian Party Of Virginia and the National Libertarian Party.

From time to time I will be discussing Libertarian politics inside and outside of Virginia.  I will be focusing my attention on quality Libertarian candidates who are running for various offices inside and outside the state of Virginia.

In a broader sense, I will also be discussing any pressing issues that may arise that pertain to the Libertarian Party itself, such as newly elected officers, new chapters that arise around the state, and really just anything I find might be important.

While I applaud Ron Paul’s effort to try and conquer the Republican Party from within (which doesn’t really seem to be working), I feel that our best hope for freedom and Liberty lies within the Libertarian Party.  We are making great strides and have come so far in the last few years.  It can only get better.

I hope you’ll stick with me on my political journey and perhaps even provide your own thoughts and opinions throughout the process.

Here’s to Liberty in Virginia…and beyond!