About the Libertarian Party of Tennessee

The Libertarian Party is the largest and fastest growing alternative political party in the United States. It has already attracted hundreds of thousands of liberty-minded citizens concerned with curbing out-of-control, bureaucratic and oppressive governments – federal, state and local.

The Libertarian Party believes that individual freedom coupled with personal responsibility form the basis of a benevolent community, country and world. We wholeheartedly support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as they were originally intended: as foundations of a free, just and humane society.

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.
– P.J. O’Rourke

The National Guard protects Ferguson’s police, not its people

On August 16, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called National Guard troops into Ferguson to “ensure the safety and welfare of the citizens.” This call came amid international debate over the militarized police response to protests that were sparked by the police killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Commentators have questioned why, on top of heavily armed riot teams, the governor needs the National Guard?

Rarely deployed to deal with civilian unrest, in most instances National Guard troops lay sandbags and hand out bottles of water. But as troops turned up in Ferguson on Monday clad in military fatigues and equipped with rifles, they aroused memories of America’s past.  Read The Full Story

Student suspended for saying ‘bless you’ after classmate sneezed

A young girl, who claims she was standing up for her religious beliefs in the classroom, was suspended after breaking a class rule of saying “bless you” after a classmate sneezed.

When Dyer County High School senior Kendra Turner said bless you to her classmate, she says her teacher told her that was for church.

“She said that we’re not going to have godly speaking in her class and that’s when I said we have a constitutional right,” said Turner.  Read The Full Story

Senate candidate walking across the state

The approach is all too familiar, and Joshua James hopes the result will be the same.

James, 33, is walking across the state campaigning for the seat of U.S. senator, which is held by Lamar Alexander.

In 1978, Alexander gained attention when he walked the state while running for governor of Tennessee wearing a red and black flannel shirt.

“He’s been in power my entire life, and I have not been represented,” James said. “I’m the next generation. … I’ve been campaigning since January, hitting up some of the smaller areas waiting to see who I would face after the primary.”

James, a conservative independent from Murfreesboro, is one of several independent candidates opposing Alexander, a Republican who is looking for a third term. Gordon Ball, of Knoxville, won the Democratic primary. The general election is Nov. 4. Read The Full Story

Senate candidate plans walk across Tennessee

You might have heard of this idea before: A candidate for statewide office in Tennessee plans to walk across the state.

Joshua James, a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate, says he will trek from Memphis to Laurel Bloomery in northeastern Tennessee over the course of 15 days, starting Saturday. The distance is by car is 536 miles, but James claims his journey will mean walking 1,000 miles (which works out to an unlikely pace of 66.67 miles a day).

“I am a common man, not a politician, and I plan to meet many of you that are like me as I walk in your shoes,” he said in a press release.

He’ll need to borrow at least one pair along the way or carry a spare. The state’s current senator, Lamar Alexander, says he wore out two when he pulled off the same stunt 40 years ago.  Read The Full Story

Libertarian Party: Police should stand down in Ferguson, MO; end failed drug war

Tear gas, unrest, controlling the press, and the killing of alleged innocents are outcomes one would expect politicians to rationalize as inevitable in a war zone.

But these atrocities are happening in American cities — now in Ferguson, Mo., in the heart of the United States.

The war is not against tyrants who have invaded America or terrorists who commit mass murder.  Read The Full Story

Missouri Police Fire Tear Gas At TV Crew And Take Their Equipment

Wednesday night, police in Ferguson, Missouri, attempted to disperse several hundred protesters with tear gas, stun grenades, and smoke bombs. It was the fourth night of demonstrations in response to the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, at the hands of a Ferguson police officer.

News organizations have had a notoriously difficult time covering the demonstrations in recent days as the FAA has enacted a no-fly zone over the area, preventing news helicopters from covering the scene, and police have often turned away and arrested journalists.

Wednesday night, local news channel KSDK caught footage and photos of a SWAT team firing tear gas at an Al Jazeera America TV crew that was covering the events behind the police barricade. The SWAT team then moved to dismantle and carry off their camera equipment.  Read The Full Story

One Route To Getting On The Ballot As A Third-Party Candidate: File A Lawsuit

The Libertarian Party has sued state election officials in hopes of getting its candidate for governor listed as a Libertarian on November’s ballot. It’s one of several lawsuits that third parties have filed in recent years against Tennessee’s ballot access laws.

To get on the ballot as an independent, candidates only need 25 voters to sign a petition. But if they want a political party next to their name — other than Republican or Democrat — they need about 40,000 signatures. The two major parties receive so many of the votes cast each year that they get to bypass that requirement.

“The history of Tennessee, in the last 40 to 50 years, has been one that has basically, unless you can win a lawsuit, you’re not going to have minor parties on the ballot,” says Jim Linger, a lawyer from Oklahoma who is representing the Libertarian Party in its new lawsuit.

The Green Party and Constitution Party also filed lawsuits to get their candidates on the ballot earlier this year. The district court sided with them, and an appeals court heard the case last week.

But Bruce Oppenheimer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt, says he’s researched states where its easier to get listed as a third-party candidate — and having a party label doesn’t seem to help.

“Those party candidates don’t do any better than people running as independents,” he says.

In general, he says, minor candidates would have a better shot at getting elected if they tried to run within the Democratic or Republican parties.

Still, the courts have tended to side with third parties in Tennessee. That has forced the state legislature to make the laws less restrictive: For instance, state law no longer requires primaries for minor parties, and it pushed back the deadline for gathering signatures by 30 days.

Linger, the Libertarian Party lawyer, says they might just keep suing until they agree with what’s on the books.  Read The Full Story

Libertarians sue to get on Nov. ballot

Another minor party has sued to get its candidates recognized on the ballot this November.

The Libertarian Party of Tennessee, gubernatorial nominee Daniel T. Lewis and two Middle Tennessee voters say in a suit filed in federal court late last month that the state discriminates against minor parties by forcing organizers to gather too many signatures too long before the election.

Libertarians hope to join the Green Party and the Constitution Party as third parties that have been recognized for this November’s vote. A federal judge in Nashville granted those parties access to the ballot earlier this year in a similar lawsuit.

Tennessee law requires Libertarians and other third parties to turn in about 40,000 signatures at least 90 days before the general election to have their candidates recognized on the general election ballot. Otherwise, those candidates appear as “independents.”

Only one minor party, former Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s American Party, has ever met Tennessee’s signature requirement.

Libertarians ask the U.S. District Court for Middle Tennessee to order Secretary of State Tre Hargett and state coordinator of election Mark Goins to grant Lewis and the party’s other candidates recognition in time for the Nov. 4 election, just as it has for the Greens and Constitutionalists.

A spokesman for Hargett and Goins declined to comment. The Greens and Constitutionalists’ suit currently is under appeal.   Read The Full Story

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