Primary Election Night with Our Libertarian Family

August 8, 2018 | David Johnson

Let's be honest: For Libertarians, primary election nights can be a particularly hard night. As a third party, our candidates are the soldiers on the front lines, rushing headlong knowing that they face an unstoppable wall of the top two primary and yet laying down their name and face, their time and money, and their passion into giving voters a choice and another impression of our message. It's especially hard in Seattle, where the two-party system - playing to the beat of national politics - has broken down the democratic process into divisiveness, despair, and partisan routine.

And yet even after that hard fight, on election night, most of King County's record number of local candidates showed up to come together as a family and celebrate. Nobody showed up without a smile, and it was contagious. When the first wave of results came out during the evening, what everyone saw beyond the numbers was the growth all around them.

Candidates who originally thought they would just file and forget were excited about how much they had learned - and how much more they were inspired to invest than they expected. Candidates got voters calling them up that night to ask them questions and thanking them for running. One of the guests even showed up as a result of that call, and I ended up talking with him until closing. To him, it was a breath of fresh air to be able to have political discussions and disagree without the pressure of the partisan division and hostility.

We had candidates and volunteers and guests from King to Snohomish show up and celebrate with us. There were new meetings with old party members, talking about how even 4-5% in a three-way race was a long way up from where they were decades ago. And there were new faces who - if they're anything like many other new faces before, including myself - may be part of the next wave of leadership that moves the party forward.

I was energized by seeing even candidates in three-way races who originally hoped to challenge single-candidate seats express pride and excitement in how their shortened campaigns had gone, from the positive responses they had gotten to how they looked forward to carrying it forward. Story after story was passed around about how we were reaching our communities, inspiring voters, opening doors and conversations, even bringing neighbors to tears of joy. It's easy to forget that this is the long game and that breaking the duopoly is a matter of time and hard work, not crossing fingers before checking poll results.

Our candidates get it and embrace it, and that inspires me to press on with them, working toward our common goal of a world set free in our lifetime.

Moving forward, we have a full slate of three state legislative candidates in the 36th legislative district (Seattle: Magnolia, Ballard, Queen Anne, Belltown) running one-on-one against Democrats for the general election. With Matt Dubin having recorded nearly $60,000 in contributions, the response to his campaign has been historic and now our county will be focused around carrying that momentum to move the needle for November, breaking as much ice as we can in Seattle. As I talked to Robin Koerner, who worked to craft Matt's messaging, the question was not whether his message is on an upward curve, but where on that curve we are. The answer, it appears, is that we're just getting started.

Let's take a breather, analyze results, and then gear up to reach voters.

We'll post more about results with context as they settle. Meanwhile, thank you to everyone who joined us on election night for a great time, take a well-deserved rest, and looking forward to seeing everyone at this month's Liberty Talks with Libertarian and elected Kirkland City Councilman Toby Nixon and/or the Summer BBQ later this month!

Yours in liberty,

David Johnson

Chair, Libertarian Party of King County