Monday, March 03, 2008

A Vote For Sean Shepard Is A Vote For Andre Carson

Some of my Libertarian friends who support less government and less taxes are determined to send a tax and spend liberal, Andre Carson, by pushing a candidate for the 7th District special election they know cannot win and will only siphon off votes from Republican Jon Elrod, the only candidate with a proven record of winning tough races and with a realistic chance of winning. The Libertarians don't want to hear this, but if you analyze past election results in Marion County, you can blame the Libertarians for our last Democratic-controlled council with Monroe Gray at the helm.

It's all a matter of demographics. Election after election in the 7th District has demonstrated that close to 90% of the African-American voters cast a vote for the Democratic candidate. In order for a Republican to win, he must receive at least two-thirds of the non-African-American vote. Because the demographic of the Libertarian vote is overwhelmingly white, it stands to reason that any votes a Libertarian receives reduces the chance of a Republican candidate winning in the 7th District. If the past is any indication, the Libertarians have proven capable of one thing in Marion County elections--ensuring the election of a Democrat candidate over a Republican candidate.

In the 2003 municipal election, Democrats gained control of the council with a slim 15-14 margin. Republicans arguably lost at least two council races because of the presence of Libertarian candidates in the race. Republican Curt Coonrod lost to Democrat Sherron Franklin in an eastside district by only 13 votes. The Libertarian in that race siphoned off 196 votes. In the at-large council race, Lonnell Conley (D), the lowest vote-getter on the winning Democratic ticket, received 2,057 more votes than the highest Republican vote-getter, Sean Frick. Libertarian candidates in the race siphoned off between 2,690 and 4,959 votes in the at-large council races. Republicans barely avoided losing two other races. Scott Keller defeated Democrat Karen Horseman in a near-southeast side district by just 3 votes. The Libertarian candidate siphoned off 89 votes. Republican Isaac Randolph held off his Democratic opponent by only 82 votes in his Pike Township district. The Libertarian in that race received 121 votes.

Flash forward to the 2007 election. Although the Republicans picked up a net gain of 2 seats to win a 16-13 seat margin, the Libertarians arguably cost the Republicans two additional seats. In that same Pike Township district Randolph won by 89 votes, Democrat J.M. Evans beat out Republican Bruce Henry by 117 votes. The Libertarian's ran the same candidate, but this time she received 225 votes, doubling her 2003 votes, denying the Republican a victory. In the at-large races, Republican Michael Hegg received 2,057 fewer votes than the lowest and only winning Democratic candidate, Joanne Sanders. The Libertarians made their biggest push for the at-large council races ever in 2007. Two Libertarian candidates received over 12,000 votes and all of them received more than the difference of Hegg's loss to Sanders.

In reviewing the 2007 mayoral election results, Greg Ballard barely escaped a win and the Libertarians turned out to be his greatest threat to victory. Ballard defeated Peterson by only 5,312 votes. The Libertarian, Fred Peterson, received 3,787 votes. If the Libertarian candidate had received a little more than double that number of votes, Bart Peterson would still be our mayor today. Libertarians consistently draw 3%-4% of the vote in the races in which they field a candidate. Jon Elrod defeated his 2006 Democratic opponent, incumbent Rep. Ed Mahern, by just eight votes. If there had been a Libertarian candidate in the race, Elrod knows he would have lost his race to Mahern.

Those are the facts, and they clearly demonstrate that Libertarian Sean Shepard's only hope in this race is to siphon off enough votes which would have otherwise gone to Jon Elrod to ensure a win for Democrat Andre Carson. The Democrats are delighted that the local news media has been putting Shepard on the same stage with Carson and Elrod at every opportunity. They understand that the Carson name is ballot box poison among many non-African-American voters, particularly in light of his ties to, and the endorsement he received from, controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. One has to question whether a candidate like Shepard who hasn't even filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission because he hasn't raised any money should be afforded this kind of a platform to present his ideas in this election. Nevertheless, those are the facts. Understand if you plan to vote for Sean Shepard you are, in effect, casting a vote for Andre Carson. Are you sure that's what you want?


Anonymous said...

I've been telling my Libertarian friends this for years. Thanks for putting it in black and white.

Anonymous said...

Is either party working out really great for the citizens, Gary?

In my view, everyone should stop voting for the least offensive or the most likely to win. We need to start voting on our principles and for WHO is best.

And until people do, we will always have what we have. Had the republicans not allowed the self-righteous christian fundamentalists like Eric Miller on board, perhaps the republicans would not be in this boat.

Please don't promote a culture that seeks to scare people from voting for exceptional people because of some potential looming evil. Don't we want our citizens to truly go and vote for who they think is best to represent them? Why would we ever want to sell out that precious freedom?

That's what got us in this boat.

For the record, I respect what you do for the Republican party. You are definitely one of the good guys. But I don't like how they treated you after Ballard's election one bit.

You think the Libetarians would do that to one of our own? Hell no!
We're all about personal freedom, the constitution, and fiscal responsibility.

(thanks for allowing my differing view on your shows everyone how much class you have...unlike another we know)

Anonymous said...

You're gonna get a whippin!

Gary R. Welsh said...

Melyssa, As I recall it, you had announced your candidacy as the Libertarian candidate and your Libertarian friends drafted Sean Shepard simply to stop you from being the candidate. I won't hold anything against Jon Elrod because of what Mayor Ballard may or may not have done for me. I didn't support Ballard because I was looking for a job. I'm not supporting Jon Elrod because I'm looking for a job from him. And I'm not getting paid by anyone to blog what I write on this site, although I seem to be quite the fascination of the DCCC, the DNC and certain Democratic bloggers as of late.

Anonymous said...

If you look back at the Carsonian election history, the margin of victory has been small - single digits, and 3-5 percent in cases. That's easily within the realm of Libertarian grasp.

Gary, you are exactly right.

I do not know why Libertarians do not capture more votes, given the track record of our 'two party system'. If plan A fails, and plan B fails, why don't more people give plan C a shot instead of going back to plan A. You know the saying about 'the definition of insanity is...'

Anonymous said...

I have voted for Libertarians on many occasions in the past, but I never do it when I think the race is going to be real close and my vote could cause a better Republican candidate to lose to a Democratic candidate who I know will do many things I find offensive from a public policy standpoint. A lot of people like me voted for the Libertarian candidate for mayor in 1999 to show our frustration with Goldsmith, who we knew couldn't lose to Z. Mae Jimison. I like Sean Shepard a lot, but there is no way I'm going to risk being stuck with Andre Carson for many years to come simply because I personally like Shepard more than Elrod.

Anonymous said...

Then by all means, please vote for Shepard!

Anonymous said...

I will vote Elrod for the special. I hope we never see another seed in DC. Now May will be a different story if Mr. Shepard is still up to task

Anonymous said...

Sean Shepherd is a Ross Perot without the big bucks. Seems simple to me.

All Perot accomplished was to give us Bill and Hillary. Sean’s gift to Indy will be AndrĂ©.
Thanks for nothing Sean.

Eclecticvibe said...

There are also people, like myself, who would normally vote Democrat, but am considering voting Shepard in the Special Election. Instead of trying to intimidate Libertarian voters, Gary, I wish you'd argue for instant runoff voting, which would eliminate any chance of a "spoiler" effect, and allow people to vote their choice instead of their fear. McCain and Obama both have spoken in favor of instant runoff voting, so maybe we'll see some change if we all push for a more fair voting system that ensures majority support of a candidate. Maybe the Republicans can help the Greens gain ballot access and then we'll drain the same votes from the Dems that the Libs take from Republicans. Republicans have historically helped exclude the Green Party from political participation because they understand that new parties draw from both sides of aisle. Libertarians have a decidedly different political position than Republicans, just like Greens are substantially different from Democrats. I think we'd be better represented if he had more than D or R to choose from come election time.

Anonymous said...

Melyssa, Gary is right on the money here. I am tired of this POOR representation and especially if it is supposed to be with a SEXIST like Andre. Go Jon.

Jon E. Easter said...

Sean Shepard seemed more well-informed than Jon Elrod did at the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church forum. Elrod's typical answer was "that's a tough question." Shepard...even though his views differ from mine...seemed to be well-informed and much more prepared than Elrod. He had done his homework. Elrod came across as aloof and disconnected.

Elrod acted like a robot. When I shook his hand afterwards, I felt like he was looking right past me. I wasn't impressed.

Still, raising zero dollars makes me raise an eyebrow in Shepard's way. I believe that if you're a serious candidate, you have to raise some dollars to show you care.

Carson gets my vote. He is the most well-versed on the issues that matter to me.

Anonymous said...

Although we disagree on some partisan issues, Gary, this Democrat thinks you're 100% correct.

And I'm voting for Jon.

The Libertarian view most-closely represents mine, to be honest. But when a Special Election comes along once in a lifetime, it's difficult to judge how many will vote. By most measures, it'll be less than half the last primary.

If that's the case, Sean could well siphon off enough votes to make a difference.

I listened to him at the debate recently, and Sean surprised me. He needs to get a cauculator, but his views, overall, were reasoned and thoughtful.

Oh yeah, Gary--we lost last fall, but your math gave us one less council seat than the voters did. It's 16-13.

Not that I'm willing to take Lonell or Ron back.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks for the correction, anon 10:17. Duly noted.

Vox Populi said...

This is making the huge assumption that 1) these voters would otherwise vote anyway, and 2) that all Libertarian votes would go to the Republican candidate.

I am a Democrat and no fan of Andre Carson, which I've made clear. I intended to vote for Jon Elrod until I saw him speak at the Jesus MCC church. I'm sure there are plenty of Democrats like me who are unhappy with our candidate, but who are also unwilling to vote for the Republican candidate.

Anonymous said...

Jon Easter: I attended the Jesus MCC debate too.

Don't mistake a cool stage demeanor for accuracy. Jon Elrod was not as well-versed on some issues as Shephard, true...if you take it as you heard it.

But Sean's budgetary recitations lacked credibility and he needed a calculator big-time. I like the attitude, the overall view and the potential.

But anyone who thinks Carson outshone anyone at that debate, jmust wasn't paying attention. Jon Elrod was not as slick as Carson, true...but Andre was nothing more than a bunch of 12-sdecond sound bits strung together.

I've heard Jon before, and since, and he gets my vote. "That's a tough issue" was a nervous response, which Jon overused. Bubt listen to the meat of the arguments, and the accuracy, and Jon was the runaway winner.

Anonymous said...

Vox, if you've ever been to a Liberatarian party meeting you'd know that very few, if not given the Libertarian choice, would vote Democrat instead of Republican. Second, when a Libertarian candidate does well, it's almost always because he received a lot of votes from Republicans unhappy with the Republican candidate.

Remember the year Andy Horning ran as a Libertarian for Governor? Wanna guess which state-wide Libertarian candidate that year received the most votes? The answer is the Libertarian candidate for Sup. of Public Instruction, who received twice as many votes as Horning. Those were Republicans voting against the Republican nominee, the hated Sue Ellen Reed.

MissouriDemocrat said...

Well Gary I am probably on the new DCCC hit list as I received one of their telemarketing calls for Andre last evening. I asked the caller, will you take a moment to listen to me as a lifelong Democrat? She replied yes and I told her, honestly I wouldn't vote for Andre for Dog Catcher of Podunkville if every dog personally sniffed Andre and gave him their unbridled approval. She was nice and said thank you and we hung up. I bet they aren't getting those a lot though.

Anonymous said...

If Shepard would happen to get elected, what caucus would he sit
with - Republican or none? Other
than possibly constituent services
and the occasional close to the wire vote amongst the other 434, he'd be on his own island and very powerless most of the time.

Sean Shepard said...

The "needs a calculator" comment has come up before but nobody has pointed out any error in the numbers.

They are all taken from budget figures, GAO reports and other sources. PLEASE point out the figures that were wrong.

Sean Shepard said...

Let me know which figures you took issue with. Specifically I recall:

$3.1 Trillion proposed budget for 2008

$60 billion for Department of education (2% of Federal Budget, 6% of the $1.1 Trillion Personal Income Taxes bring in)

$9 trillion current national debt liability

$53 trillion in current and future obligations (per the GAO)
divide $53 trillion by 113 million households that's between $450,000 and $500,000 per Household ($469,026 is pretty close actually)

Approximately $7 trillion in total individual earnings for the U.S. population. BEA says 2006 personal consumption was $9.03 trillion but if I multiply $46,300 [average household income] by 113.5 million households I get $5.2 trillion ... So I'm within the range and using a fair number there.

Interest on the debt running around $400 billion per year. (in 2007 it was indeed $430 billion).

Earmark spending = 1% of total budget or approximately $30 to $35 billion.

10% tax rate cut on someone making $10,000 year (assume adjusted gross income) = $1,000 savings vs. 1% on "wealthy" making $300,000 = $3,000 THUS the rhetoric of "tax cuts for the rich" is born by using dollars vs. percentages.

Let me know where you believe my calculator is incorrect. I appreciate open and intellectually honest dialogue on any of the issues and actually try to do my own fact finding instead of relying on talking points.

(repost from TDW)

Gary R. Welsh said...

Incidentally, Sean, I for one don't take issue with your numbers. People need to be reminded of the fiscal mess we've created for ourselves as often as possible. I'm just not sure it's a hole we can ever climb out of.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog and read it daily, but ... I hope that I never have to look in the mirror and say that I bastardized democracy by voting for someone who was not the best candidate, simply to validate electoral math. I fully intended to vote for Elrod, but of all the interviews and forums I've seen, Shepard clearly shines as a better option. Besides, the Republicans are no friends to real "conservatism" or sensible foreign policy or civil rights. I was still wavering before I read your diatribe today, but it's convinced me that voting for Shepard is the most American thing I can do. So thanks.

Anonymous said...

Edmund Burke said, "Politics is the art of the possible." A Libertarian victory, just like the Libertarian ideology, is simply not possible. It's not. There is no second place in politics, and no moral victories. All the power to turn ideas into policy goes to the winner.

Hand Andre Carson a victory, my Libertarian friends, and see how much of your agenda is pursued.

I agree with you. The modern GOP is awful, sometimes odious. But sometimes it actually does promote liberty in the way you understand it. Rarely if ever do Democrats.

Goldwater, who I loved, wouldn't compromise and, in his defeat, gave us the Great Society and Vietnam. What will Andre Carson give us? Think about it.

M Theory said...

Gary...I NEVER announced my candidacy. Mark Rutherford announced on his Electing Libertarians blog that I was seeking the Libertarian nod to run, which I did not get. Mark knew about my interest because I talked with him and Andy Horning about it.

I was careful to not say anything publicly. I didn't even have a campaign manager lined up until a couple days before I submitted an official request to get the slate.
And I knew I couldn't run unless I had a treasurer and campaign manager. My lawyer and his accountant wife agreed to do it.

You can double check these facts on Rutherford's blog.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about votes for a third party candidate taking away Elrod's votes. Andre Carson was toast the day he brought Farrakhan into the picture. I voted for Julia Carson because I felt America needed a Democrat in that
Congressional seat. I would still like that seat to stay Democratic but I cannot bring myself to vote
for someone who belongs to a group that promotes hatred of whites and Jews. So, I am voting for Jon Elrod and I encourage everyone to do likewise. Andre Carson is not
who Indianapolis wants to send to
Congress to represent us.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who sends out mailers like the ones I have been getting from Carson is worried. Carson doesn't intelligently speak on the issues, all he does is babble the party line, just like his votes on the CCC.

Anonymous said...

Melyssa in one of her many personas said:
"You can double check these facts on Rutherford's blog."

Awesome. Could you provide a link? I just looked all through that blog and all I could find was a mention of a rumor that you might run. Must have missed it.