by Michael Cloud
He warned me.

“When this commercial break is over, I’m going to throw you the toughest question for Libertarian candidates,” said WORC Talk Radio Host Tom LaRoche. “So buckle your seat belt.”

I smiled. I love tough questions. Especially on the radio.

“I don’t want to waste my vote,” he said. “If I vote Libertarian, the worst of the other two candidates might get elected. I want to vote Libertarian, the Libertarian is the best candidate, but I just can’t take the chance… Mr. Cloud, how do you answer this argument against voting Libertarian?”

“Do you want your vote to matter?” I asked. “Do you want your vote to count?”

“Of course I do,” he said.

“Voting for the lesser of two evils, voting Republican or Democrat out of fear that the other is so much worse…THAT vote is wasted,” I said. “Because the candidate who gets your ‘lesser of two evils’ vote thinks that you are voting FOR him. He thinks you like what he’s doing, that you want what he’s giving you. Is that the message you want to send?”

“No, of course not,” he said.

“You know how K-Mart got the message that you didn’t like anti-gun activist Rosie O’Donnell in their ads?” I asked. “When they saw Wal-Mart’s profits going up. When they saw K-Mart’s profits going down.”

I was warming to the subject. “Do you know when the Republican politicians and the Democrat politicians got the message that the American people didn’t want deficits? When Ross Perot got 19% of the vote for President in 1992…campaigning almost exclusively against THE DEFICIT!”

“Politics is a marketplace. A business knows you’re happy with their service and products when you spend money with them. Lots of money. Suppose you don’t like the service or the products, but you keep shopping there. Would they clean up their act? Would they get the message that you’re unhappy with them? What if you go to their complaint department again and again, but you keep shopping with them? Would they get that message?” I asked.

“But when you spend money with their competitors, they get the message. When their competitors’ market share increases, they get the message. When their market share decreases, they get the message,” I said. “And then they either change their behavior or lose your business.”

“When you vote Libertarian, when Democrat and Republican politicians see Libertarian candidates getting 10% or 15% or 20% of the vote…on a platform of shrinking government size, spending, and power, on a platform of making government small…that’s a message they respond to,” I said.

“You waste your money when you spend it with businesses you don’t like. You waste your vote when you spend it on politicians you don’t like. The only way to get rid of bad businesses and bad politicians is to do business with their competitor,” I said. “The only way to make your vote count is to vote Libertarian. Does that make sense, Mr. LaRoche?”

“Yes it does. I agree,” he said.

Does my answer change people’s minds? Not everyone’s. But it does persuade some.

Want one example?

A lifetime Republican from Arizona was in the studio during this interview. When the radio show ended, the Republican said that I had changed his mind. Then, at my request, he filled out a Libertarian Party membership form, paid his $25 dues, and joined us. (LP NEWS, August 2001)


In 2002, Michael Cloud was the Libertarian U.S. candidate against John Kerry. Mr. Cloud won 384,304 votes – 19% of the total - the highest Libertarian U.S. Senate vote total and percentage in Libertarian Party History.

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