Wisconsin gubernatorial race: Libertarian candidate offers a break from two-party bickering

MADISON, Wis. (Heartland Newsfeed) — Despite many Democratic contenders for governor of Wisconsin next year, Republican Gov. Scott Walker considers them pretty much the same.

“…it doesn’t really who comes out of that primary; it’ll be more of the same,” Walker said before announcing his re-election bid Sunday.

Phil Anderson, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin, who is also campaigning for the executive post, agrees with Walker’s sentiment, but notes that voters will get “more of the same”, whether they vote Democrat or Republican.”

“People know what the two-party system is. They resign themselves to it, but they know that it’s corrupt. They know that no matter who’s the governor, a Democrat or Republican, spending goes up and up and up and up,” Anderson said. “More intrusion into our lives increases all the time. And they’re really, really tired of it.”

Anderson made an appearance on political talk show Capital City Sunday earlier in the day to discuss his bid for governor, describing smaller government, smaller spending and a major emphasis on local governmental control as libertarian principles.

“We want to give the state of Wisconsin back to the people of Wisconsin,” he said during the program.

Anderson previously ran for U.S. Senate in 2016 against Russ Feingold and Sen. Ron Johnson, receiving 3 percent of the vote in the election. While Anderson was polling at 8 percent in a Marquette Law poll of registered voters early last summer, voters “fell in line” with the major parties out of fear of the other candidate winning closer to election day.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s the political reality for third parties, especially for Libertarians, because we’re not a good investment for people who want to give money to candidates hoping to have access or influence when they’re in office,” he said.

Anderson was still encouraged by the polling results, citing that the Libertarian message was beginning to resonate with Wisconsinites, which led to his decision to run for governor to keep the momentum going.

Anderson’s goal is to “steer our discourse toward something more civil and more constructive rather than the two-party arguing.”

An appropriate example of the two-party infighting in current events surrounds Roy Moore, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, who is currently facing allegations of relationships and sexual contact with several young girls, one of which was 14 at the time. Several Republicans, including Arizona senator John McCain and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have stated that Moore step down from the campaign — even to the point of pushing former primary opponent Luther Strange as a write-in candidate — while others question the timing and credibility of the story.

Anderson noted that the latter half of Republicans have become victims of identity politics.

“In truth, there’s been a lot of things Republicans and Democrats have done underhandedly to each other,” he said.

In this situation, they need to set that aside “when it’s something so heinous, a crime so terrible,” he added. “The worst part of human nature is being fed, and that’s this idea that they should be sticking to their guns and be suspicious, as opposed to just accepting this story for what it is: a sad story of an adult man taking advantage of several underage girls.”

Looking forward to what he wants for Wisconsin, Anderson painted a picture of a Libertarian government with strong local control.

“We don’t need to send people to Madison to be experts on things and make decisions for us. That’s a recipe for cronyism and corruption,” he said.

Anderson mentions that community members should make their own decisions on how taxpayer dollars are spent, which is a fairer, more transparent and more effective system.

If elected, he would repeal the state’s personal income tax. To make up for lost revenue, it would trigger cutting back in other areas, including the Department of Corrections. As a result, Anderson aims to reform the criminal justice system, legalize marijuana, getting rid of mandatory minimum sentencing and pardoning people who are imprisoned for victimless crimes. This will allow honesty, innocent people out of jail and return them to their families and being a productive member of society.

He is also advocating for lower taxes and fewer regulations on businesses, adding that he was not impressed with the recent Foxconn deal to install a factory for Taiwanese-based LCD television manufacturer in Mount Pleasant, noting the “whole deal is a mess.”

Anderson criticized the roughly $3 billion taxpayer-funded incentive package going to a foreign-based country; however, considering the technology industry changes rapidly, he believes that the manufacturer can pay back the investment over the next several years.

“I also believe that the citizens and business in Wisconsin could supply that economic growth and more if just the tax, regulatory burden were lowered and they were allowed to do what they do best: create, work, sell, do business, all the things that Wisconsin is really good at,” Anderson said.

Greg Neumann, host of the program, noted that if Anderson has a chance of winning, he will need to participate in the debates. According to the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, which runs the debates, has ridiculous debate inclusion requirements such as having $250,000 on hand in campaign funds and must be polling at 10 percent.

Anderson believes he won’t have a problem “polling at 10 percent,” again pointing to the summer polls from last fall. He said that, “as long as we campaign well and learn from our previous experience,” 10 percent should be attainable.

Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed and GM/program director of the Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network. Leonard is also general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks and an active contributor to four newspapers for Pana News Group.

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