Local Politics

Libertarians try to beat two-party system

Posted October 27, 2008 4:48 p.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2008 2:33 p.m. EDT

— Dozens of candidates are running in North Carolina elections next week under the Libertarian Party banner, but few voters know much about them.

"What we look like is we're very liberal on social issues (and) we're very conservative on economic issues," said Mike Munger, the Libertarian candidate for governor. "When people think Libertarians, they think there's a long list of things (we're) against. We're actually for things. We're for the American dream."

Munger, who served on the Federal Trade Commission under President Ronald Reagan, is chairman of Duke University's Political Science Department. He said Libertarians focus on the spending side of the tax equation to make sure it's done efficiently.

"Cut taxes? That's not something I would do – absolutely not," he said. "What I want to do is look at what things should government do and make sure they're funded, and that requires taxes."

Munger said he believes government should stay out of family decisions. He supports a moratorium on capital punishment, an end to state and local incentives to businesses – he calls it corporate welfare – improved access to health care and using more charter schools and vouchers for the 40 poorest counties to create a better public education system.

Christopher Cole, the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, is a contract postal worker who says he's more like taxpayers than are the lawmakers in Washington, D.C. He said he supports ending the war in Iraq, abolishing the personal income tax and using the free market to achieve health care reform.

Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr, a former congressman from Georgia, is scheduled to speak at Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill on Tuesday night.

About 3,000 people in North Carolina are enrolled Libertarians, but Munger said he believes many more people support the party's philosophy.

"I actually do believe, if all the people who said, 'What you say makes a lot of sense, but I don't want to waste my vote,' if they would just vote their hearts instead of their fears, I would have a chance to win," he said.

Munger has already announced his intention to run for governor in 2012.