By Harry Browne
I want to express my deep gratitude to Libertarians all over America . . .
* For your hard work and dedication in taking our message as far and wide as possible.
* For the many kindnesses you have shown Pamela and me over the past two years.
* For the confidence you placed in me to carry the Libertarian message to the public.
As I write this, we don't have final vote totals. But, even so, there's no question we have a great deal to be pleased about.
Our total vote will far surpass the 1992 total -- close to doubling it.
Based on the media coverage received, we far outpaced the other candidates. We apparently received about 1/18 of Ross Perot's vote total, while getting less than 1/100 of his media coverage. We got roughly the same vote as Ralph Nader, while receiving less than a fifth of his media attention. Evaluating our performance this way, it was even better when measured against the coverage given Clinton and Dole. And we far outpolled all the other small parties.
For a $3 million campaign and a party with 20,000 members, we achieved a great deal.
But it's obvious that we will never break into the big leagues with a $3 million campaign.
The task ahead of us is clear: we have to create a party so big, so strong, so well-financed that in the year 2000 no one can ignore us. We have to make an enormous splash before and throughout the next election year, so that the media will have to give us the same attention and respect they give to the two old parties. We have to be so well known to the public that the Republicans and Democrats can't hold a debate without us. And if they decide not to hold the debates at all, then we must have an army of people so large that we can carry our message door-to-door to every voter, and we must have the money to tell our story through advertising.
Is this a realistic goal? Yes. It is a formidable goal, but far from impossible. We are already well along the road to that goal . . .
* We have doubled the party's membership in just the past two years. And our new compatriots aren't going to go away.
* We have already made inroads, small but significant, into the business and investment community -- to where the money is.
* The Internet has become our bailiwick. And it will be more and more influential in politics in the coming years. Libertarians know how to use it, and we'll always be in a position to make the most of any new technology that develops.
* We have established wonderful relationships in talk radio. Over 300 radio and TV talk-show hosts endorsed the idea of my being in the Presidential debates; 69 of them endorsed me for President. We have established excellent relationships with popular talk-show hosts such as Michael Reagan, Art Bell, Mary Matalin, Oliver North, Blanquita Cullum, Barry Farber, Randy Jackson, Alan Combes, and dozens of other syndicated and big- city personalities who are now glad to hear from us whenever we have something we want to say.
* We have developed good relationships with many people in the print media -- editors at political magazines, columnists, and local daily newspaper editors. Over 75 publications or columnists endorsed my being in the debates, of which 21 endorsed me for President. We will continue cultivating these relationships.
Thanks to this campaign, everyone in politics and the media knows who we are and what we stand for.
These may seem like small satisfactions. But, in fact, they are an important foundation for the work ahead. We need to stay in the public eye by continuing to have Libertarians on talk radio and television as often as possible. We need to continue churning out press releases -- showing the Libertarian alternatives to the self-evidently meaningless proposals of the Republicans and Democrats.
And, more than anything else, we have to build the party membership -- starting right now.
With the numbers of members will come the money.
With the money will come the media attention.
With the media attention will come the public awareness of what we offer.
Three quarters of the American people think government is way too large. We are the only party offering those people what they want -- significantly smaller government. There is nothing wrong with our message or the way we're presenting it. We simply need to have it heard by more people more often between now and the next election.
We are the only party offering proposals that will make a substantial difference in the average person's life. We're going to repeal the income tax so that every dollar you make is yours -- to spend, to save, to give away as you see fit, not as the politicians think best. We're going to get Social Security out of the clutches of the politicians so that your parents and grandparents know their retirement is safe and the rest of us are free forever from the 15% Social Security tax. We're going to make the cities safe by implementing the only proposal that would dramatically reduce crime -- end the insane War on Drugs before it destroys America. And we're going to restore harmony among all the ethnic, social, lifestyle, and generational groups in America by taking away from the politicians the power to inflict one group's values upon another.
This is what Americans want. This is what we offer. And we are the only ones offering anything of the kind.
What is missing is the ability to let all Americans know what we offer. Although we can experiment with short-cuts, the only sure way to acquire that ability is through the steady building of party membership, which will lead to the money necessary to attract attention, which will lead to the media coverage that will make us part of the national discussion.
So let's get started now building the party to the magnitude necessary for every American to know what we can give them. Let's begin now -- while the others relax and take a year or two off.
I intend to speak out for the party wherever possible - - appearing on talk radio, television, public forums, and in print -- letting people know there is hope for America. I will counsel Americans not to despair -- not to feel they're alone in their wishes for a government a fraction of today's size. I will invite them to join us in this great movement to make America a free country again.
Again, I want to thank you for the honor you have given me -- allowing me to be your candidate. And for all the help and encouragement you have provided. It has been a wonderful two years.
But we're just beginning . . .