We are pleased to present this report on the Libertarian presidential campaign of Ed Clark.
As the two individuals primarily responsible for the day-to-day management and direction of the 1980 campaign, we hold no illusions that this report represents anyone else's point of view other than our own. We believe the Clark campaign to have been an overall success and a significant step forward for the Libertarian Party and the libertarian movement.
The report discusses ten of the most important aspects of the campaign, outlining in general terms what happened and why. But more than that, we have tried to approach this effort in terms of what can be learned from the 1980 campaign which will be useful for future campaigns. On occasion, we have gone to some length discussing and analyzing many of the vital "nuts and bolts" elements which should be major factors in any Libertarian campaign, not just presidential. In some sections we have included a "Fault Analysis," listing specific points where, if we had it to do all over again, we would make changes. In other sections, such analysis is incorporated into the body of the discussion. On the other hand, we've taken up comparatively little space detailing events of this campaign which are unlikely to have future application to other campaigns.
We want to use this opportunity to express our appreciation for the fine work of the individuals on the National Staff of the campaign whose names are listed on the following page as well as for the efforts of each State Chair, State Coordinator, ballot drive worker, and individual Libertarian volunteer activist who made truly heroic contributions to this campaign. This nationwide team of thousands of dedicated, effective people should serve the Libertarian movement well in the years ahead.
Finally, and with full consciousness of the inadequacy of words to express
the feelings of Libertarians everywhere, we thank Alicia Clark, David Koch,
and Ed Clark for their irreplaceable efforts in leading the battle for
justice and freedom.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Edward H. Crane III Communications Director
Chris Hocker National Coordinator
Kristina Herbert Headquarters Manager
Bob Costello Al Forrester Chuck Pike
Steve Rogowsky Duncan Scott Kathy Thomas
Eric O'Keefe Director of State Organization
Tom G. Palmer
Assistant Communications Director
Jay Hilgartner Assistant Research Director Gillian Jewell Computer Operations
Jeff Friedman Students for Clark
National Field Coordinators
Riki Strandfeldt Marion Williams
Leslie Graves Key JoAnn Willis
Boyce Kendrick Cornelia Ravenal Steve Stayton Robert Thompson
Anita Anderson Patt Grantham Chris Grieb Ruby Harris
Milton Lukins Bruce Majors Anna Ramos Garry Ray
Harriet Simmel Kathy Taylor Bill Tipler Lee Williams
Assistant to Ed Clark Bruce Cooley
Ray Cunningham, Chairman Jule R. Herbert, Treasurer Dallas Cooley
Carol Cunningham John Hilberq David Nolan Howard Rich
David Bergland, Chairman Bill Evers John Hospers Robert Poole
Growth and development of state Libertarian organizations was one of the areas of greatest accomplishment of the Clark campaign. This was at least as much a result of the overall beneficial impact of Libertarian activity this year as it was the conscious efforts of the national campaign. Nevertheless, certain procedures and innovations were instituted by the campaign which tended to maximize the benefits.
One of the ways to measure the improvement is to use the admittedly
subjective "key person" test. That is, if one key person were to disappear
from a given state, would the Libertarian organization be severely affected,
or would there be enough other people already active who would take up
the slack? Before the campaign started, there were perhaps 10 to 15 states
where the loss of one key person wouldn't have meant serious problems.
By the end of the campaign, the number of states had risen to the 35.to
The Clark for President Master Plan detailed a number of proposals to build state organizations. Most of the details of these proposals - the "How To" manuals are a glaring example -- either were not implemented or were implemented in greatly simplified form. The "How To" manuals, for example, were replaced by periodic memos to State Clark Chairs and other activists on specific points, supplemented to some degree by "How To"-type bulletins distributed by the LNC.
Early in the campaign, the national staff prepared a "workbook," complete
with dividers, memos, instructions, etc., and sent a copy to State Clark
Chairs. One of the sections of discussed various volunteer coordinator
functions - media coordinator, special projects coordinator, finance chair,
etc. and included a suggested state organization chart by function. While
this chart was rarely followed exactly, there was a significant amount
of division of labor among key activists in each state as a result of this
The selection of each State Clark Chair was the first order of business for most states. Wherever possible, the Clark campaign -- working in conjunction with the existing party leadership - tried to appoint a Clark Chair who was not already a state Libertarian Party Chair. This reflected a desire to work with an individual whose primary area of responsibility would be the Clark campaign, without competing pressures, and it also reflected a desire to encourage relatively new people to assume leadership roles wherever appropriate. Not every choice was a winner, of course, but most selections worked out well and there were few instances of conflict between State Clark and State Party Chairs.
The three activities which tended to produce real, working organizations were ballot drives, candidate appearances, and literature distribution. Those states which did not have the opportunity to organize for all three of these activities suffered relative to those which did.
The campaign initially wanted to set up a structure which relied heavily
upon regional coordinators, responsible for blocs of 6 to 10 states. While
regional coordinators nominally were appointed for most states, none except
two or three were utilized to any degree. The extra layer of management
simply wasn't needed for this campaign; for the most part, the national
staff worked closely and directly with the key activists in each state.
State Coordinator Program
In mid-August, the campaign made the decision to identify, recruit, and hire field coordinators in "key" states, defined as those where the Clark vote percentage was expected to be the highest. The definition of key states was later expanded to include some high-population states where the level of volunteer activity was already high. The key states were: Alaska (Anchorage), Arizona, California (Southern), Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming.
In many instances prospective coordinators were identified from outstanding work performances during ballot drives; others were already working as volunteers in their states and were willing to go full-time given minimum payment. All prospective coordinators were brought together, along with several interested volunteers, at a two-day intensive training session at the Northern California Clark for President headquarters in Berkeley. Leading the sessions were Chris Hocker, Eric O'Keefe, and Howie Rich of the national campaign, Carolyn Felton, the Northern California Clark Chair, and Martin Buerger, the Northern California Clark Coordinator. The discussion covered such things as management skills, publicity, and .fundraising, but set as the major goal the distribution of thousands of pieces of Clark literature in each key state.
Each state coordinator was a real asset to the Clark campaign and in many states to other campaigns as well. Many of the coordinators show promise of becoming extremely valuable additions to the Libertarian efforts of the future.
In addition to the coordinators recruited and paid by the national campaign,
several other states had full-time coordinators and/or full-time headquarters.
A complete listing of states with coordinators and headquarters appears
as an addendum to this section.
Three million units of the "Clark for President -- Your Alternative
in 1980" self-mailing brochure were printed and distributed to Libertarian
activists in the states as part of an intense effort to encourage volunteers
to distribute these brochures door-to-door in neighborhoods. This particular
method of distribution -- as opposed to handing them out on street corners
or from tables -- was strongly encouraged. The assumption was that a small,
relatively unknown political campaign needed an extra effort to make personal
contact with voters where they lived, to demonstrate that Clark supporters
were "good folks who lived reasonably normal lives and who were sufficiently
enthused about their candidate to give up their free time to distribute
The suggested approach for "doorbelling" was merely to walk up to the door of a house, ring the doorbell, and say to whoever answered, "Hi, I'm a volunteer for Ed Clark, the Libertarian presidential candidate. I hone you'll read this brochure about Mr. Clark and consider voting for him. Thank you very much," and then go on to the next house. No discussions, no proselytizing, unless the person at the house wanted to get involved in that. The point of this passive approach was first to reinforce with the brochure whatever the voters may already have heard about Clark, and second to impress upon them that real live non-threatening people supported him. We wanted to avoid the Jehovah's Witnesses-style neighborhood conversion attempts, as counterproductive to a political campaign.
Distributing the literature of other Libertarian candidates along with
Clark's was definitely encouraged. To further encourage cooperation between
local and national candidates, nearly two million copies of the Clark brochure
were printed with a customized page featuring the local or state candidate
in each area. The candidate(s) involved paid a nominal charge (about $270)
representing the actual cost of typesetting, layout and changing the plates
as the printing
press was running.
This literature distribution program represented the first large-scale
attempt to encourage such grassroots activity in a Libertarian campaign.
It added an important dimension to the overall effort, and should be encouraged
and expanded upon in future campaigns. The Clark campaign can't guarantee
that every single piece of literate shipped to individual activists was
actually distributed, but field reports indicate that most were used for
their intended purpose.
Most activities of college students on behalf of Clark didn't start until the beginning of the school year in September. Considerably before that, however, preliminary organizing efforts began which paid off months later. Early in 1980 a letter announcing the formation of "Students for Clark " together with a response form, was sent to all known students on the national Libertarian Party mailing list as well as other available libertarian student names. The initial response was encouraging, and part-time efforts were continued through the spring and summer to keep in contact with those who did respond as well as to solicit the help of other students who showed an interest in campus activity.
Ultimately, organized Clark for President campus activities took place
at over 100 colleges, with purposeful effort, such as individual literature
distribution, on nearly 200 others. About 650,000 pieces of Students for
Clark literature were distributed, consisting of 300,000 special tabloids,
300,000 small student-oriented flyers, and 50,000 reprint6: of Nicholas
von Hoffman's endorsement of Clark in The New Republic.
For the most part, serious errors in state organization were of omission
rather than commission. Ideally, there would have been more literature
distributed, more campus organization, a full-time coordinator in every
state, and a headquarters in every state. That there weren't was a reflection
of limited resources which required the campaign to draw arbitrary lines
as to which state would get a field coordinator and which would not. In
addition, it would have been desirable to have implemented some of the
more elaborate proposals set forth in the Clark Master Plan which were
later scaled down or scrapped.
Recommendations and Conclusions
The campaign was extremely fortunate to have found as many high quality coordinators as it did who were willing to go to unfamiliar places, work with unfamiliar people, take very little money, and a11 on very short notice. There were at least three instances of coordinators who dropped full-time jobs to work as Clark coordinators for two months. Virtually all of the coordinators surfaced as a result of previous campaign activity, and all should be encouraged to remain as active as possible with the Libertarian Party.
The next campaign will require even more people of talent and dedication, and for longer periods of time. Therefore, every effort should be made to identify talented coordinator-types as early as possible and induce them to become available for campaign assignments.
To summarize the effects of grassroots activity through state organizations
in the Clark campaign, it can be seen as one of the two major visible aspects
of the campaign -- the other being media advertising. The two worked to
reinforce each other in an important way. Neither would have been as effective
without the other, complementary aspect. For the first time in many states
and locales, Libertarian activists got a real sense of purpose, focus,
and optimism which should carry through in 1982 and 1984.
CLARK FOR PRESIDENT
Judy Clarke (Fairbanks)
*Chuck Pike (Anchorage)
|Arizona: *Ross Levatter|
Martin Buerger (Northern)
*Marion Williams (L.A.)
Jane Protas (San Diego)
Courtenay Hough (Easton)
George Meyer (Philadelphia)
*Janice Lehmann (York)
|CFP Headquarters (no paid staff)
|* Paid by national campaign|
In September of 1979, the Clark campaign projected certain ballot status
in 40 states and a good chance of ballot status in 45, and further pledged
"to investigate thoroughly all avenues by which 50-state ballot status
The result, of course, was ballot status in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, plus Guam.
The Clark Steering Committee approved an all-out effort for total nationwide ballot status in January, after the campaign had gotten a strong indication that ballot status could be achieved in Maryland, which had been previously considered to be in the "impossible" category. The decision was reached on the following bases:
l. The conviction that, given enough time and money, no state was truly
2. The belief that nationwide ballot status would be an essential element in future credibility both within the party and with the news media and other outside observers;
3. The belief that ballot status was essential to the building of party
organizations in states with little or no prior organization, and that
to forego this opportunity would be detrimental to the party as a whole.
Strategy and Methods
The initial strategy, which was followed closely throughout the year-long ballot access process, was to get the earliest possible start on as many states as possible, to finish early wherever possible, to "overkill" on the required number of signatures or registrations, and -- in the case of difficult states - to concentrate resources on those with early deadlines first, before committing them to other states with later deadlines.
This last point isn't as self-evident as it may appear. It was often tempting to divide up the available time and money among the difficult states, making the degree of difficulty a more important consideration than the deadlines. The successful strategy, however, was to make sure that enough money and petitioners were available and in place in .State A before committing any resources to States B, C, etc.
At the risk of beating this point to death, an illustration here may prove useful for future ballot status efforts. Assume three states: A requires 35,000 total signatures with a deadline in six weeks; B requires 60,000 signatures in ten weeks; C requires 40,000 signatures in 12 weeks. The average production of an average full-time paid petitioner is 400 signatures per week. So A requires at least 15 full-time petitioners right now (15 x 400 x 6 weeks), and more if 15 can't be found immediately. B will require another 15 petitioners (15 x 400 x 10 weeks) right now, but don't start recruiting them until you have at least 15 for A. C is the easiest, requiring only 9 petitioners right now. The trick is, you probably won't have 39 petitioners all at one time, and even if you do, some will quit or disappear or experience some horrendous personal trauma, so you should never stop recruiting petitioners, and you should never stop calculating and recalculating how many you need in each state, keeping in mind that you will be able to move some of your petitioners from A into B and C after the A drive finishes.
The two cardinal rules which emerge out of this are,
1)always do first things first, and
2) never assume you have enough of anything -- people, money, or signatures.
The Clark campaign relied far more heavily on paid traveling petitioners
than was originally planned. Only a handful of states had a significant
percentage of volunteer-collected,
"free" signatures (Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin), and of these, four (Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) had many of their signatures collected by volunteers from outside the state. An even smaller number of states accomplished their ballot drives virtually all-volunteer; congratulations to Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. 2,3 The fact is that, in all but these last states, the requirement was too high to have been attained by the available pool of Libertarian volunteers, since the overwhelming majority tended to have full-time jobs, and few had any particular liking or talent for the arduous task of collecting signatures. Consequently, most potential volunteers chose instead to contribute money and, in many instances, their time in needed support functions. The ratio of volunteer to paid signatures nationally would have increased had the campaign made an all-out effort to organize volunteer petitioners in each state, but we chose to take the "line of least resistance" and make the primary volunteer focus money rather than signatures.
This in itself was beneficial, because it tended to expand the fundraising base, raise the level of the average contribution, and increase the number, the confidence, and the capability of individual fundraisers, who gained valuable experience, particularly in difficult states with weak party organizations.
There are two methods of recruiting paid petitioners, and the two are not mutually exclusive. One is to assemble "flying squads" of full-time people and send them from state to state as needed. The other is to hire and train petitioners from within the particular state of the ballot drive. The advantages of the first method are that the traveling petitioners tend to be more committed both to the overall effort and to the work itself; they understand that their full-time job is petitioning; and they tend to be reasonably reliable. The disadvantages are that considerable costs are involved in their transportation and lodging, and that one or two "bad apples" on a petitioning squad are capable of causing a great deal of. trouble both for other petitioners and for local Libertarians who are involved in the drive.
The advantage of the second method is that it is less costly both financially and emotionally; overhead costs, while considerable, are less than for .flying squads, and the personal problems of individual petitioners are not a serious factor. The disadvantages are that, since they are working "at home," these petitioners have an extremely high turnover rate, with every incentive to quit petitioning and look for a more congenial job they require special training and encouragement which few coordinators are able to provide; and the incidence of forgery and fraud tends to be greater because most of them are "true" mercenaries. In addition, the second method simply won't work in areas of the country with low unemployment -- few people even show up to be hired, and those who do tend to find other jobs.
The Clark campaign used flying squads primarily, although "home grown" petitioners were used extensively in the Maryland, Missouri, and Massachusetts drives, and several of these subsequently joined the flying squads.
With either method, a full-time coordinator is absolutely essential
not only for the state, but for each city in which large numbers of signatures
are being collected. The coordinator may also be a petitioner, but his
or her first duty is to mobilize and motivate the petitioners, find good
places for them to collect signatures every day, see that they get paid,
and cull out the "bad apples." 4
The flying squad technique may be the most costly, but it also the most workable and effective. It should be used again in 1982 and 1984.
A final note on the concept of "overkill": A correctly run ballot drive
will produce more signatures than the minimum necessary number, primarily
because the minimum necessary number is an always will be unknown, given
that no batch of signatures will be 100% valid. So in reality, there's
no such thing as "overkill," except after the signatures are validated
and counted. It's far better to look back on a drive and think you got
far more than you needed, than to wish you'd gotten more -- and there really
is no middle ground between the two. The Clark campaign "overkilled" in
48 states. The three squeekers were Maryland, Illinois, and Louisiana.
The campaign was involved in legal action affecting presidential ballot status in only two states: Louisiana and West Virginia.
The Louisiana action was not initiated by the national campaign, but by the state Libertarians. It involved the state's refusal to honor a provision of the election code which permitted the campaign to file $500 in lieu of 5,000 valid signatures.' The Libertarian argument won in the court of original jurisdiction and the decision was upheld in two higher courts. This turned out to be a real blessing for the Clark campaign, because Louisiana was one of a tiny handful of states where the ballot drive was not run properly and where there was real danger of not having sufficient signatures.
The West Virginia action had to do with six or seven particularly onerous restrictions on ballot access, the majority of which were actually upheld by the court. However, the court did overturn the requirement that signatures must be collected in each magisterial district, and only by residents within each magisterial district. This was sufficient to allow the Clark drive to succeed.
A note on legal matters generally: It's critically important that a responsible person in each state be familiar with the ballot access laws and be able to deal with election officials on a businesslike basis, and it's equally important that a representative of the national campaign be responsible for contacting each of the state people to ensure that no technicality of the law has been overlooked. This function was performed primarily by Howie Rich during the 1980 campaign.
Overall, the cost of ballot access was considerably higher than expected
before the campaign, totaling $398,602 from the combined coffers of the
Clark campaign and the Libertarian National Committee. (Most of the LNC
spending was of money raised by the Clark Committee and designated for
the purpose of Libertarian Party ballot access.) A schedule of expenses
is attached, and an analysis of the costs versus the benefits is included
Mistakes that were made in the course of the ballot access effort which should be avoided in the future include:
l. A late start in recruiting "flying squads." Early efforts to mobilize volunteers or to hire and train paid petitioners from within individual states were, by and large, unsuccessful. Had flying squads been assembled at the start of the campaign, considerable time and money could have been saved.
2. Maryland. In terms of efficiency, this drive was a disaster, with well over half the signatures ruled invalid by the state. "Home grown" paid petitioners worked reasonably well for the first third of the effort, and we allowed this method to continue even though we could have substituted a flying squad. The resulting incidence of forgery and fraud was a costly mistake (never hire anyone from Baltimore).
3. Going "Independent" in Ohio and other states, instead of "Libertarian." Some states have lower requirements for Independent candidates than for political parties, and we chose the easier route in Ohio (5,000 instead of 30,000) because it had an early filing deadline. In retrospect, we should have gone the party route, allowing other Libertarian candidates to run. The same is probably true in Tennessee and possibly other states. By 1984, there should be no excuse whatsoever for choosing "Independent" over "Libertarian." 5,6
4. Volunteer or part-time coordinators in difficult states. Ballot drive
coordinators should be paid, full-time staff people who are ultimately
responsible to the national campaign. The campaign's experiences with local
volunteers who attempted to run a tough ballot drive during their free
time was uniformly bad. No matter how well-intentioned they were, the job
was too big for them, and many tended to "pad" reports of their progress
to avoid embarrassment. There was one instance of outright lying which,
if it hadn't been detected, could have seriously jeopardized the entire
ballot access effort nationally. As a rule of thumb, then: If a ballot
drive is big enough to require paid petitioners, it's big enough to require
a full-time coordinator.
Was It Worth It?
Absolutely: Achieving ballot status in every state was well worth the effort and expense. It built organizations in states where only "paper parties" existed before, and that in turn developed new activists and new contributors who would not have emerged had there been no ballot access drive. It boosted the confidence and morale of Libertarians all over the country, particularly since most of them never really believed that it could be done.
Along with internal credibility, 50-state ballot status built external credibility with news media and political observers in a way that 46 or 47-state ballot access never would have done.
The counter-argument is that the cost of getting on the ballot in the most difficult states would have been better applied to some other campaign expense. This is a defensible position if you've already failed in one state and have no prospect of all 50; you might as well analyze whether getting on the ballot in, say, West Virginia is all that important. But the difference between 49 states and all 50 is far greater than the difference between 48 and 49, for all the reasons stated above.
Ballot access drives in 1984 should be far less time-consuming and expensive
than they were in 1980, both in terms of absolute dollars and as a percentage
of the total effort. Going into 1984, Libertarians should already be ballot
qualified in 20 to 30 states, and the "learning curve" for the others should
be considerably shortened. Total nationwide ballot status, then, should
be regarded as a "given," a political position which there is no excuse
l. Thanks to Richard Winger, first for inquiring into ballot status on Guam, and then, upon finding it was impossible, for single-handedly lobbying the legislature by mail into changing the law. The Guam presidential election was advisory only.
2. With very few exceptions, most states produced Libertarian volunteers who were extremely valuable performing necessary support services such as staffing the office, providing lodging, tabulating signatures, satisfying legal procedures, etc. The intent of this section is not to disparage their contributions in any way whatsoever.
3. Arkansas was a unique case in 1980. It had no ballot drive due to an unbelievably favorable official interpretation of an ambiguous ballot access law which allowed Libertarians to meet in convention and nominate a slate of electors pledged to Clark and Koch. This was a fluke and is unlikely ever to happen again. In addition to Arkansas, there were no ballot drives in Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, and South Carolina since the party was already ballot-qualified in those states, but legal procedures had to be followed closely in all of these.
4. In the middle of the miserable Texas ballot drive which appeared to be behind schedule for lack of petitioners, a national field coordinator was dispatched who promptly got rid of two particularly troublesome petitioners even though their signature production was acceptable. This helped to solve a serious morale problem and had the effect of increasing the signature production of those who remained.
5. In Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Oregon, the more difficult and expensive
party route was chosen. Clark received 1% in Wisconsin and maintained party
status there; a statewide Libertarian candidate received 5% in Oregon and
maintained party status there; in Nebraska, several other Libertarians
ran for office for the first time and considerably improved what had been
a pathetic state organization. The extra cost of qualifying the party in
these states was about $30,000, and well worth it.
6. The argument that you shouldn't bother trying to get party ballot
status until your party is strong enough to keep it is a crock. That argument
virtually guarantees that your party will remain too small ever to get
ballot status. It's much better to get party status, lose it, and get it
again than never to get it in the first place. The argument that party
ballot status should be avoided because it subjects the party to state
regulation is likewise a crock. It does, but so what? So does driving a
car, sending mail, or buying meat. At this point there are still
11 states (Arkansas, D.C., Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi,
New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont)which have never fielded
a Libertarian candidate for partisan office below President, and there
were 15 states which didn't do so in 1980 (the additional four were Maryland,
Minnesota, Missouri, and Rhode Island). It should be a definite minimum
goal to have a Libertarian candidate in every state in 1982, and it's a
goal that should have been pushed more strongly in 1980.
BALLOT ACCESS EXPENDITURES
The table below shows the expenditures for ballot access both of the Clark campaign and the Libertarian National Committee. These figures are national expenditures only; states where significant money for ballot access was raised and spent internally are marked with a *.
California* (85K reg.) $18,925 $18,925
Connecticut* (21K) 4,050 4,050
Delaware (150 reg.) 412 412
Florida* (67K) 19,785 500 20,285
Georgia (108K) 37,480 10,757 48,237
Illinois* (35K) 742 742
Indiana (16K) 5,439 - 5,439
Kentucky (8K) 903 - 903
Maine (6K) 2,995 - 2,995
Maryland (140K) 15,512 50,002 65,514
Massachusetts* (72K) 27,357 - 27,357
Michigan* (27K + prim.) 19,780 13,106 32,886
Minnesota* (3K) 497 - 497
Missouri (36K) 16,581 4,063 20,644
Montana* (15K) 2,611 - 2,611
Nebraska (8K) 457 - 457
New Hampshire (2K) 690 - 690
New York* (50K) 6,121 - 6,121
Oklahoma (63K) 25,276 1,100 26,376
Oregon* (56K) 1,190 3,000 4,190
Pennsylvania* (81K) 17,066 - 17,066
Texas* (60K) 15,622 11,163 26,785
Vermont (2K) 1,000 - 1,000
Virginia (20K) 2,303 - 2,303
West Virginia (15K) 31,994 1,117 33,111
Others, unallocated 22,422 - 22,422
totals: $277,794 $120,808 $398,602
Figures in parentheses represent the number of signatures obtained for ballot qualification in each state. Other states are those in which less than $300 was spent from the Clark campaign or the LNC; unallocated expenses are for situations in which the purpose of the expenditure affected more than one state. The approximate average cost per signature nationwide, including all expenses and all money raised from any source, was 50 cents. (Dollar figures in tables were supplied by Dallas Cooley.)
The topic of Scheduling includes not only the creation of the candidates'
schedule, but also the coordination, including advance work, between the
national campaign and the activists in the states and cities where the
candidates are to appear.
Facts and Figures
The full time schedule for Ed Clark began July l, and for the purposes of this discussion, only the 106 day period between July 1 and November 4 will be examined.
During this period, Ed Clark made at least one personal appearance in 36 states plus the District of Columbia. The 14 states he missed were: Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia. (He had made campaign appearances in Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and New Jersey between his nomination and July l.)
Of the 14 states, David Koch made campaign appearances in Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont after July l. So a member of the Libertarian national ticket failed to visit only eight states during the course of the entire campaign.
Koch visited a total of 27 states between the nomination and the election, primarily in the final two months, and became a far more active campaigner than anyone, including himself, ever anticipated at the time of the nomination. His schedule was primarily for states and cities that were not visited by Clark, as well as those where a second visit from Clark was justified but impossible.
Alicia Clark also filled this role, campaigning in cities and states under the same circumstances as Koch and concentrating primarily in the West and Southwest, with additional visits to Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, and New York. She also on occasion accompanied her husband and maintained a separate, parallel campaign schedule of events in the state.
Clark made three or more separate visits in Alaska,
Arizona, California, Colorado, D.C., Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Texas; and two separate appearances in Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
Most of Clark's travel was by commercial airline, and he missed only one campaign event during the entire period due to a flight cancellation: the "Welcome Home" demonstration in Los Angeles on the evening of November 3.
Clark was accompanied by Bruce Cooley as a personal aide in July and
August, and by Cooley and David Boaz, as a political aide, in September
and October. The advance work was done by Riki Strandfeldt starting in
The general theory of the Clark schedule, as set forth in a May memo distributed to the State Clark Chairs, was to have Clark go wherever the most widespread media coverage was likely to occur. This meant concentrating on large cities and preferring one minute of TV news coverage in Philadelphia to a front page article in King of Prussia.
Campaign events were divided into Priorities One, Two, and Three, Priority One events were national media appearances, engagements which afforded likely opportunities for national media coverage, and exceptionally promising fundraising events. Priority Two events were appearances in the major city media, or which afforded opportunity for coverage by statewide or major city media, or fundraisers which attracted several hundred people, most of whom were not Libertarian activists. Priority Three events were those either in small media markets or those which were attended primarily by Libertarian activists.
The campaign made it clear at the outset that a low priority event would be cancelled in favor of a higher priority event in another state; therefore, it was suggested that all Clark state activists should do their utmost to "upgrade" their scheduled events from Three to Two and from Two to One in order to prevent cancellations. In particular, it was suggested that activists set a goal of bringing two non-Libertarians for every Libertarian at any Libertarian event such as cocktail parties, banquets, etc.
This general approach worked well, and most Clark campaign appearances were in the Priority Two category, thanks to a great deal of hard work put forth by virtually every activist in every state Clark visited.
The Clark campaign did carry through on its intention to substitute higher priority events for lower, and this often resulted in massive dislocations of the tentative schedule. While these changes were understandably unsetting to activists in the affected states, there was a minimum of open complaint, at least directly communicated to the national office.
The original tentative schedule for the campaign was developed as a basic framework, and was somewhat arbitrary. As an example of the kind of thing that happened frequently: A national TV show would call and say it wanted Clark if he were going to be in New York on a given day. If the tentative schedule showed he was not, then it was changed to accommodate this Priority One event. If Clark was supposed to be in, say, Denver that day, then not only would Denver be cancelled, but so would the events for the next day_ or two in states near Colorado - because commercial airline travel made it virtually impossible to put him "back on track" quickly. By the same token events would have to be arranged quickly in states near New York for those same days, with the hope and promise that Clark could make up for the days s he missed in Denver and nearby states at a later time. The whole scenario can be described as a "domino effect " it was almost impossible to chance one day of the schedule without the change affecting other days and states in one way or the other.
Geographical considerations were important in all of this, too; the campaign tried to avoid situations which required Clark to spend a major portion of a campaign day in the air, unless he was in route to a particularly high priority event. Therefore, west-to-east travel was a problem due to time zone changes, and the solution was to schedule such travel either on weekends or in small increments over several days. Obviously, if Clark was to be in one state, it made sense to try to schedule him in nearby states, working him back and forth across the country.
A note on the philosophy of choosing large cities over
small cities: It's usually more satisfying to the candidate's supporters
to have him be Page One news in Duckburg rather than a Page 9 story in
Metropolis. The campaign's philosophy was the reverse, and thus somewhat
of a disappointment at times to some activists. However, it's generally
true that even a Page 9 story in Metropolis will reach more people than
front page in Duckburg. And it's equally true that in most states, traveling
from small city to small city will take up valuable campaign time which
could be more profitably spent at several campaign events within the city
limits of Metropolis.
Local Coordination and Advance
Generally speaking, the level of cooperation between the national campaign and the activists responsible for a Clark campaign appearance was excellent. Typically, the national office would notify the Clark State Chair of Clark's intent to be in that state, and the Chair would delegate appropriate responsibility to volunteer activists to be in charge of various aspects of the day's events. As the date drew near, the national office would notify the state coordinator of the times of Clark's arrival and departure, and monitor the schedule as proposed by the state coordinator. The monitoring process became more and more frequent as the date drew nearer until, usually four or five days before the date, there was a firm, written, moment-by-moment schedule known to both state and national, including the time, address, and person responsible for each event. Having such a detailed schedule was an absolute necessity for a variety of reasons, perhaps the most important of which was that national news media frequently called looking for events to cover.
To the extent it was possible, the advance work which was done was a
real plus to the campaign. The Clark advance person typically arrived one
to three days ahead of the candidate and concentrated her efforts on any
event(s) which required drawing a sizeable crowd of non-Libertarians, as
well as acting as a catalyst for local Libertarians who may have needed
a psychological boost in order to bring Clark's day off successfully.
The campaign discovered during the first part of September that rallies for Clark on college campuses usually worked quite well. Given proper advance work and heavy promotion, campus rallies attracted from 150 to 750 people and were usually the focus of any local or national TV coverage. Crowds were usually receptive and enthusiastic, and Clark s schedule included an average of one campus appearance per day, with two or even three such appearances per day on occasion.
The campaign also discovered that it was possible to attract sizeable crowds from the general public at a meet the candidate" type event. Success in these events required sufficient advance notice (two weeks minimum), heavy promotion through advertising, and the willingness of individual Libertarians to not only bring themselves but also two or three of their friends, neighbors, or associates. Particularly successful events occurred in Denver, Houston , and Portland, Oregon - all with turnouts in the 400 to 700 range -- and many cities drew in the 200 range.
There were consistent problems with scheduling_ throughout the campaign which resulted in a degree of ill will between the national campaign and local activists. In the future national campaigns should take the following steps to minimize these problems:
l. Assign one individual on the national staff to be responsible for a particular day and state, and don't allow other national people to become involved except in emergencies. To the extent this rule was not followed during the Clark campaign, the "too many cooks" syndrome snagged communications between the states and national.
2. Don't promise or guarantee anything until you're absolutely sure you can deliver, and even then leave yourself an escape hatch. Murphy's Law applies in spades to scheduling. The natural tendency was to assure the local coordinator, "Don't worry, we'll get him there;" but you're a liar if things don't work out, for any reason at all.
3. Never assume anything. Always go over the schedule down to the minutest detail, and if the details aren't available, prepare for disaster.
4. Find a way to give as much advance notice as possible while still
getting your local people to agree that all this hard work they're putting
into the day could get blown away at the last minute. Here again, the natural
tendency was to hold off notifying people that Clark might be coming until
you were reasonably sure he was coming. A better way would have been to
notify them early of a 20% chance of a Clark appearance, and enlist their
support and understanding for an all-out effort despite long odds.
Just as the scheduling philosophy of the Libertarian presidential campaign changed form 1976 to 1980, so is the philosophy likely to by modified between 1980 and 1984. Increased opportunities for media coverage and the likelihood of higher vote totals and greater overall impact will probably suggest that the 1984 candidate be scheduled more selectively than in 1980, with more emphasis on those states where other Libertarian candidates might get elected, or where the presidential candidate could get a double-digit percentage of the vote. More attention should be given to organizing public events; this in turn will require much more advance work.
The 1980 scheduling, both in principle and in practice, appears to have
been in most cases appropriate for the 1980 campaign. Regardless of what
is appropriate for future national campaigns, whoever is responsible for
scheduling should be not only suited for a tremendous amount of detail
work, but also should have highly developed interpersonal communication
The two sides of the Clark campaign financial picture -raising money and spending it -- will be discussed in two separate sections. On the fundraising side, the Clark for President Committee took in a total of $3,480,000.00, including money raised by Clark for President organizations in individual states, of which $2,086,000.00 was contributed by David Koch, and $1,394,000.00 came from other Clark supporters.
These amounts don't give a complete picture of funds raised, for in addition to money raised directly by the Clark Committee, an additional $175,000.00 was raised by members of the campaign committee which was contributed or loaned to the Libertarian National Committee. Added together, the total of funds raised by the campaign comes to $3,652,000.00 of which 57% came from David Koch.
Not counting the Koch contribution, the remaining total thoroughly dwarfs any other amount raised by any other Libertarian campaign. The national contributor base tripled, from about 7,500 to over 22,000.
Nevertheless, the fundraising aspect of the Clark campaign was undoubtedly
its weakest link, at least until the last two months of the campaign. Three
individuals, hired to be key people in fundraising, left the campaign on
a less-than-friendly basis before Election Day. Certain fundraising projects
were either ill-conceived or ill-executed, or both. Many solid opportunities
to raise significant funds were missed, partially or entirely. The blame
for these errors and lapses probably belongs equally to those directly
involved in the fundraising and those responsible for hiring and supervising
them. It serves no useful purpose to detail the problems of the individuals
involved; it should be far more constructive to outline what worked and
what didn't work, and to make recommendations and suggestions for the future
on the basis of our experience.
The original concept for the Clark national fundraising structure was to develop a network of finance chairs in each state who would, in turn, be part of the National Finance Committee under a chairman, a Finance Director, and regional chairs. It was the task of the Finance Director to set up this structure and to assure smooth coordination between finance chairs in the states and other key Clark for President activists. The ultimate goal was to recruit and motivate individuals whose primary responsibility in the campaign was to raise money and to develop opportunities for raising money.
This structure did develop, at least on paper. There was an acting Finance Chair nationally, a Finance Director, regional chairs, and chairs for most states. Each region was assigned a goal or quota of dollars to be raised. Each state and regional chair agreed, at least in theory, to be responsible for raising these amounts. Two major meetings of the Finance Committee took place in early summer.
While the concept of the structure appeared to be sound, few of its
goals were achieved. Many of the state and regional chairs were new to
Libertarian political activity and knew hardly any activists in their states.
Often, state Clark chairs were not notified of the purpose or even of the
existence of the parallel Finance structure. Relatively few of the chairs
made attempts to raise money on their own initiative, and they were given
insufficient direction from the national campaign, although some did participate
in the implementation of "Alternative '80." In short, the existence of
the Finance Committee structure did little by itself to affect the amount
of money which ultimately was raised.
The campaign's direct mail efforts did work, at least those which were directed primarily or exclusively to the known pool of Libertarian contributors (the direct mail aspect of fundraising was never the responsibility of the Fundraising Department or the Finance Committee). A total of eight such direct mail packages were conceived and sent between September, 1979 and October, 1980, costing an estimated $50,000 and raising about $285,000. For most of these packages, lists of names included Libertarian Review and/or Reason subscribers, with other lists sometimes included on a 'rtest" basis.
Another direct mail package, sent to registered California Libertarians, had mixed results, raising almost $9,000 on a cost of $11,000 and having the additional benefit of identifying serious Libertarians from this mammoth list and educating the remainder to some degree as to what the party and the campaign were really all about.
One package was a complete bomb, financially: that sent to a variety
of lists of registered Independent voters. This package was sent out prior
to the start of the Clark TV ads, and one could make the case that Clark's
total lack of name recognition at that time was the major contributing
factor in the failure of that package.
By definition, any contribution which came in unsolicited, or at no
attributable cost, was a success, and the campaign received many more of
these than expected. They came in from coupons from brochures and in newsletters,
and sometimes totally out of the blue. The total money obtained from no
identifiable source came to $74,400, while the total from coupons in books,
brochures, and newsletters added another $127,800.
House Parties/TV Parties
For the most part, all attempts by individual Libertarians to invite
their friends, neighbors, and associates to their homes and thereby raise
significant contributions were unsuccessful. A national "TV Party" program,
in which Libertarians were encouraged to invite others over to watch Clark
TV ads, learn more about the campaign, and contribute money, was abandoned.
Relatively few Libertarians sponsored such parties, and those who did were
uncomfortable asking for money. Perhaps this program could have worked
with very tight direction from the national campaign.
Formal Fundraising Events
Fundraising events with Clark or Koch present, such as banquets, cocktail parties, or dinner parties, were a qualified success on the whole, with some being quite profitable and others resulting in total disaster.
Factors affecting the success of such events include:
l. The cooperation of local Libertarians. On some occasions, local activists refused even to try to raise money because "all these people are already tapped out."
2. The person making the "pitch." An inexperienced or ineffective pitch person -- the one making the actual request for funds -- usually meant that an urgent need for contributions wasn't conveyed properly.
3. The physical nature of the event itself. People milling around at a large outdoor cocktail party were more difficult to pitch than people sitting at a banquet.
4. The mechanical procedures followed at the event. Pledge cards accessible, people to collect the cards, the timing of the pitch - poor execution of any of these would affect the success of the fundraising.
The campaign's experience at trying to raise funds at these events -- which are really the backbone of personal fundraising -- lead to some of the following guidelines for the future :
l. Any group of Libertarians and their friends is a good prospect for fundraising. The "tapped out already" argument is simply false; sure, some of the people might be tapped out, but the majority in any group of 40-or-so or more are not.
2. Whoever makes the pitch must know exactly what he or she is doing. He should have a mental "script," give a specific reason to contribute, suggest a specific amount, ask directly for the money with no qualifiers, and coordinate the pitch with the people who are handing out and collecting the pledge cards. It's worth "importing" an experienced pitch person to a large fundraising event just for this purpose.
3. People in attendance should know ahead of time that the event will include fundraising. It's perfectly acceptable for the invitation to include the words "fundraising" on it.
4. Each event, banquet or party should have a formal program during which people should be expected to stop talking among themselves and pay attention. The fundraising pitch must be part of this program.
5. Contribution or pledge cards should be physically handed to each attendee in the case of a cocktail party, and should be distributed at the tables for everyone in the case of a banquet. After the pitch, two or three people should walk around and collect the cards and checks. They should go from person to person, group to group, or table to table in expectation of collecting, rather than wait for people to fill their cards out and write their checks. It is perfectly OK for the collector to ask something like, Are there any contributions ready at this table?" or "Is anyone here ready to give me a pledge card?"
6. Reading off names and pledges is optional, and works best for a small,
enthusiastic group. However, it's extremely important that the first public
pledge or contribution be "set up" beforehand, since it will determine
the level of all subsequent pledges. If the first pledge is for ten dollars,
all the other pledges will be small; if it's for $100, most of the others
will be in that range instead. (If the first pledge is for $1,000, though,
the others will probably be small. People figure that "some rich guy who
could afford it got us off the hook.")
A separate section of this report i; given to this event. It undoubtedly
could have raised more money had its sole objective been to raise money.
As it was, the execution of the fundraising portion of the program was
quite successful, with most locations reaching or surpassing the goals
which had been set for them. Each location had a designated fundraiser
who was coached ahead of time, given a goal of $20 per attendee to raise,
and given a prepared script and format. The total amount of money raised
in pledges and contributions was $145,000.
TV Ad Pledges
The Clark TV ads had a toll-free "800" number prominently displayed; the number reached a professional phone bank of operators trained to ask for pledges and handle other requests (the company was Avis -- a subsidiary of the rent-a-car company, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It would have been literally impossible to duplicate such a phone bank using Libertarian volunteers, for reasons of cost). Over 80 per cent of the phone calls taken were requests for further information; the remainder pledged dollar amounts, and a few made immediate contributions via their MasterCard. The total amount pledged from TV ads came to over $350,000, but collecting the pledges was very difficult, and only about $43,000 ever came in.
The reasons for this drop-off are unclear. Initially, pledgers received a Western Union mailgram within 24 hours which thanked them for their pledge and asked them to return the contribution in an enclosed envelope. The poor response to this -- which, according to professionals in this field is the best possible device to use -- made it necessary to abandon the practice because of the cost. Subsequently, the campaign used a thanks/reminder letter mailed first class, which did no better than the mailgram but which cost considerably less.
Certainly, a significant percentage of the phone pledges came from cranks
and pranksters; one could usually guess that a pledge for $650,000 wasn't
entirely serious, for example. But one can only guess about the large number
of people who made presumably serious pledges but failed to fulfill them.
Many undoubtedly pledged in the excitement of the moment and had second
thoughts the next day, or when their husbands/wives/parents/children/legal
guardians saw the mailgram and questioned why they were giving money to
some candidate they never heard of.
Telephone Solicitation - Professional
As an experiment, a portion of the contributor list was given to a professional fundraising outfit for the purpose of determining if significant money could be raised in this way. The Finance Director at the time reported that the ratio of cost to pledges was quite favorable, and the entire contributor list was given to the firm (there is no chance that these names will be used by this firm for any other purpose). Each week, the Finance Director obtained the results of the calling, but failed to tell others that the ratio was falling precipitously, and that the ratio between pledges and actual collections wasn't very good, either. When the problems were finally identified, the program was abandoned, having cost at least as much as what had been raised by it. The most serious flaw with the program was that the telephone solicitors were often brusque, impersonal, or misinformed, and did not inspire Libertarians to contribute.
Telephone Solicitation - Volunteer
When executed correctly; attempts to raise money by Libertarians, from Libertarians, were quite successful, particularly as a direct follow-up to an effective direct mail package. Under the direction of Leslie Key, Bob Bosland, and others, a permanent "bank" of fundraisers called Clark contributors each night for the final six weeks of the campaign, and the results were quite good.
An earlier such attempt, in March and April, had failed due to insufficient organization, motivation, and control. All phoning had been done by individual Libertarian volunteers in various states -- nothing wrong with this particular structure, but the phoners themselves had not been given adequate preparation, direction, or follow-up, and some cases were not even asked directly to do the phoning. (It's not entirely fair to compare a spring fundraiser with a late fall fundraiser; people are usually far more motivated to contribute money during the last few weeks of a campaign than six months before Election Day.)
The success of any volunteer telephone fundraising operation is directly
related to the attitude of the individuals involved. If all participants
are enthused, motivated, and goal-oriented, the results will be good. There
really is no upper limit on the number of phoners, respondents, or dollars
available right now to Libertarian organizations; virtually anyone can
be a successful fundraiser if given the proper equipment and direction.
Telephone Solicitation - Conference Calls
Fundraising from small groups of individuals connected by a telephone conference call was moderately successful. The concept sprang from several conference calls made in early spring between the national campaign and key activists in states which were considered "impossible" for ballot access. We discovered that between $1000 and $2000 would be pledged from among eight or ten people if the motivation to give was sufficiently strong. A few months later, a formal program was instituted whereby an individual from the national campaign worked full-time to arrange such calls. Typically, eight to twelve known contributors, usually from one state, would be recruited by phone to participate in a conference call set for a particular date and time. At the proper time, the conference operator would put all the participants on the line: the recruits, a "moderator" from the state who would introduce the participants to each other, the pitch person from national, and either Ed Clark or David Koch. The inclusion of the candidate served as the inducement for prospective contributors to participate in the call; the candidate would talk for a few minutes, answer questions, add a personal note of enthusiasm, and then ring off, leaving the pitch person to make the pitch and ask each participant individually, in the full hearing of the others, to make a substantial pledge. The "peer pressure" effect often worked wonders; comparatively few refused to make any contribution at all, and most pledges were in the $100 to $200 range. The most successful conference call raised about $2,600; the worst raised $200 or so, or barely enough to cover the cost of the call; most were in the $1000 to $1,600 range.
The conference call concept is basically sound, if used selectively.
As with other personal fundraising efforts, the pitch person had to know
exactly what he or she was doing and be "strong" enough to ask each participant
directly for a substantial contribution with no qualifiers or softening
of the pitch. In addition, the pitch person had to be able to control the
call, keeping all the participants on course, watching the length, and
courteously heading off the occasional un-constructive participant.
The provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act gave the national campaign very few options in working out financial arrangements with Clark organizations in the states. We could either, as the principal campaign committee, authorize formal Affiliate Committees, each of which would have had its own Chair and Treasurer and the responsibility for complying with the FECA requirements; or we could open individual bank accounts in states and cities which were effectively branch accounts of the principal committee account. In the latter case, the only reporting requirement was internal, between whoever was responsible for the account and the national campaign, and all FEC-related paperwork was the responsibility of the national campaign. We chose the latter approach. It was a record-keeping nightmare, since many of the state organizations were neither accurate nor timely in reporting receipts and expenditures to us; but it made it much easier for the state organizations since they were in no way legally responsible to the FEC. In this situation, the state organization had complete freedom to raise money for deposit into the branch account, and to spend it, so long as all of the transactions were reported to national.
The only other requirement imposed on state organizations by national was a fund-sharing arrangement from money raised at formal campaign events. If Ed Clark were present at the event, the state was to forward two-thirds of the net take to national; if he were not present, the split was fifty-fifty of the net.
The level of cooperation between the national campaign and the state organizations ranged from excellent to abysmal, with all gradations in between. This had to do both with attitudes and ability, and it worked both ways, for the national campaign was at times guilty of ignoring or forgetting a reimbursement that was due a state organization, just as state organizations would neglect to forward national's portion of the receipts from their events.
The best and most cooperative relationships occurred with state organizations which were aggressively pursuing their own Clark-related fundraising and which had appointed experienced individuals to handle the accounting and make the necessary reports to national on time. These organizations tended to have sufficient funds on their own, and thus didn't begrudge national its share; the individual in charge would make an accurate accounting, keep the state share, and forward the national share. Less aggressive or experienced organizations tended not to have much money to begin with, would make little or no accounting of funds raised, send all the proceeds to national, and then be on the phone within 24 hours asking where their reimbursements were.
For the future, the same basic structure should be kept (assuming no
favorable change in FEC rules), but with more care and effort made to explain
the system, suggest efficient ways to follow it, and demand more accurate
and timely compliance.
Despite many of the flaws of the campaign's fundraising operation, it's perhaps worth repeating that the campaign raised money from individual contributors on a scale which had never been approached before, and tripled the pool of active contributors. It's also worth noting that the $1000 contribution limitation imposed by the FECA was a real deterrent to fundraising. Many individuals expressed their willingness to give "to the limit," and would have felt the same way regardless of what the limit was.
For the future, a few more points may be useful:
l. There is no substitute in fundraising for direct personal requests for specific amounts of money. Any scheme concocted to avoid this key ingredient will fail.
2. Direct mail is enhanced enormously by telephone follow-up.
3. It takes a long time, if ever, to reach the hypothetical "saturation point" of your known contributor base -- that is, the point at which they won't contribute any more. Frequently, individuals are heard to say that they've already given all they can give, and that's undoubtedly so for those individuals, but the common mistake is to extrapolate a conclusion for fifty or a hundred or several thousand individuals based on what you know to be true of one or two. Fundraising is a numbers game; a certain percentage of those you ask will contribute, so the key is to ask as many people as possible, repeatedly.
4. Solicitation of Libertarians by non-Libertarians isn't very effective.
5. Pledges -- as opposed to outright contributions -tend to create problems. They should be confined to banquets, parties, and telephone solicitation, and followed immediately by collection letters. They should not be included as an option in direct mail solicitations, except in the case of specific monthly pledges over a fixed period of time.
6. All potential large contributors should be made aware not only of the federal contribution limitation, but of the fact that the national committee of a political party may make expenditures on behalf of its presidential candidate, and that individuals may contribute up to $20,000 per year to said national committee.
The main purpose of this section is to provide a breakdown of campaign spending by general categories, and a schedule of this is included. There is no "Fault Analysis" or extensive self-criticism in this section, not because there were no faults or there wasn't anything to criticize, but because the spending decisions were completely within the context of this particular campaign and are unlikely to be useful as guidelines for the future. By 1984, spending priorities should be very different; ballot access should be much cheaper, media advertising should be much more expensive, and the whole scale of the campaign should be much greater.
Virtually every spending decision of the 1980 campaign could be subjected to criticism in hindsight. "Did you have to pay so-an-so that much?" "Why didn't you buy used furniture instead of those new bookshelves?" and on and on. The point is that any substantive criticisms should be directed at the underlying premises of the spending decisions - e.g., the decision to pursue 0 state ballot status -- rather than at the expenditures themselves.
It should be noted that the picture of campaign spending would be incomplete
without considering approximately $80,000 spent by the Libertarian National
Committee on behalf of the Clark campaign, not counting ballot drives.
Intangibles and Undefineables
Analyzing campaign expenditures on a piece of paper goes only so far. One can see that a TV ad cost $25,000, or that it cost $30,000 to get on the ballot in a state, or that it cost $5,000 to raise another $20,000. But what else, if anything, did all that spending buy aside from the items on the list? Some of these "Intangibles and Undefineables" can be quantified to some extent, while others can only be expressed in terms of future opportunities.
Here are some of the "other things" the Clark campaign spent money on which don't show up on a list:
l. Ballot status for other Libertarian candidates besides Clark and Koch. Nearly half of the 500-plus Libertarian candidates in 1980 qualified for the ballot as a result of Clark ballot drive efforts. The campaign spent about $25,000 in California to finish the registration drive there after all other sources of funds had apparently dried up with a month remaining in the drive. This helped to allow over 100 California Libertarian candidates to run for office, and it helped to virtually guarantee permanent ballot status for the party in California. worth about $100,000 in ballot drive expenses in 1982 alone. Other states where Libertarian candidates could run as a direct result of Clark campaign spending include Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia -- representing at least another $150,000 worth of ballot status.
In some cases, notably Oregon, the Clark campaign could choose either to qualify Clark alone via a relatively easy ballot access method, or the entire party via a relatively more difficult route. By choosing the party route in Oregon, the combined Clark-Oregon LP effort spent at least $20,000 more than necessary to qualify Clark alone...but the result was automatic ballot status for the party in 1982, thanks to the fine showing of one of its statewide candidates.
All of this is not to say that wonderful things wouldn't have happened had it not been for the Clark campaign although this is clearly the case in several states. Rather, it is meant to reinforce the point that Clark campaign spending had beneficial effects on state and national party growth which are difficult to measure in dollars but are quite real nonetheless.
2. An expanded contributor and membership base, both nationally and in the states. The national contributor base tripled as a result of Clark campaign outreach and fundraisinq efforts, and an estimated 30,000 names of serious inquiries were added as well. Inquiries aside, the 15,000 recent contributors probably represent an additional $100,000 income to the Libertarian National Committee in 1981 alone, based on past fundraising experience. (This calculation is based on six mailings at a 5% response each at an average of $25 per response: 6(15,000 x .05 x $25) - $112,500.)
Also, renting the list of contributors and inquiries
could produce another $30,000 for the LNC in 1981 (12 rentals x 50,000 names x $50/1,000 names = $30,000).
3. Research and information. The White Papers, position papers, and issue briefings put out by the Clark campaign -all of which remain available to the party at large - represent an enormous improvement in the amount of specific issue analysis available to Libertarians. The present and future value of these documents and the work required to produce them is not subject to calculation.
4. A New Beginning. The Clark book is arguably the best single presentation
of Libertarian thinking on major issues produced for the general public,
and it should continue to have beneficial effects for at least the next
three years if reprinted and revised slightly. Here again, the "market
value" of the research and writing which went into this book is not subject
The Campaign Debt
The Clark for President Committee finished the campaign owing approximately $150,000. The Libertarian National Committee had campaign-related debts of $68,000, all to individuals who made loans for the purpose of completing critical party ballot drives.
For purposes of comparison, the 1976 MacBride campaign left debts of about $50,000, over 10% of the campaign budget, with a contributor base of about 4,000 names. The California MacBride for President Committee, a separate entity, had its own debt of nearly $30,000, with a contributor base of about 1,000 names. The 1978 Clark for Governor campaign left a debt of about $100,000, with maybe 1,500 contributors. None of these debts presently remain. The 1980 campaign of John Anderson had debts of over $5 million, or 40% of his budget, but with $4 million offset by federal subsidies.
The campaign debt should be considered a liability in more than just accounting terms. Ideally, a campaign should accomplish everything it wants and needs to accomplish and wind up with zero debt. Less than ideally, the campaign should accomplish everything it wants and needs to, and wind up with as little debt as possible and no more than is manageable. But the controlling premise here is that the campaign should accomplish what it wants and needs to accomplish. If available money can be used more constructively for purposes other than paying bills before the campaign ends, that's how the money should be used. In other words, if the positive effects of spending the money outweigh the negative effects of having a debt, then there should be a debt.
Admittedly, such judgments are those of the persons responsible, and thus are subjective. Several weeks before Election Day, the likely amount and probable effects of the Clark campaign debt were known to and discussed by those responsible for it, who chose to spend available money for purposes other than paying bills. These purposes included paying salaries and ongoing office expenses (postage, equipment rental, telephones), buying national network television and radio advertising, a quarter page ad in the Wall Street Journal, and spot advertising in selected target areas of the country.
We will forego any elaborate defenses of the debt itself, but we want to stress that the most important factor to consider in analyzing the debt if the nature of the debt, because the nature of the debt affects its manageability. If the entire debt is owed to a loan shark who will put you in cement in ten days if it isn't paid, that's one thing; but if the debt can be reduced gradually over a period of time by mutual agreement of the parties involved, that's something else entirely. The overwhelming majority of. the Clark campaign falls much closer to the second scenario than to the first.
A discussion of the management of the campaign debt is contained in
a separate paper. As a concluding statement for this section of the campaign
report, we want to reiterate that the fact of the debt is a result of a
conscious decision, that we consider the present debt level to be quite
manageable, and that it is the intention of the persons responsible for
it to participate actively in its early retirement.
Perhaps the most ambitious project undertaken in the campaign was "Alternative '80: The national Clark for President Telethon." The reasons for holding this event were as follows:
1. We wanted to create a major media event following the major party nominating conventions which would remind people that the Libertarian campaign was still around and was a significant factor in the election.
2. We hoped to raise a significant sum of money for the campaign.
3. We wanted an event which would prove that the campaign was not being
run "with mirrors" -- that there were thousands of people at the grassroots
level who were supporting the Libertarian presidential effort.
4. We wanted to provide a substitute for a Libertarian National Convention,
since 1980 was the first year in the party's history that no national convention
had been planned.
5. We wanted to provide an opportunity for the state and local Libertarian organizations to get together and attract new people; as well as providing the opportunity to organize effectively for the event itself.
6. We hoped to produce a program of half and hour to an hour which could be aired on a national network and would further act to separate Libertarians from the traditional third party mold. At minimum, we hoped to get considerable film footage for use in future television commercials.
We consider "Alternative '80:" to have been a qualified success. Qualified because of technical problems, problems in the implementation of the initial planning, and less than we had hoped for in terms of media coverage and money; a success because it did in fact bring together an estimated 7,500 people to one event, generated new enthusiasm and new contributors, and set us further apart from traditional small party efforts. The producers of the event were Ed Crane and Andrea Rich, neither of whom had tackled a project of this nature and magnitude before.
Problems and Accomplishments
We will set forth briefly some of the problems encountered in bringing
off "Alternative '80:", along with the ways in which they were completely
or partially solved. To begin with, the intended Master of Ceremonies for
the event was to have been Orson Bean, who because of a conflict was forced
to cancel only two weeks before the date of the event. Fortunately, syndicated
columnist Nicholas von Hoffman and TV star ("Eight is Enough") Joan Prather
teamed up as co-hosts at the last minute and did a splendid job. The television
production itself was done by Mobile Video of Washington, D.C., who managed
to do a fine job under what were sometimes very trying circumstances.
The campaign made every effort to get major media coverage of the event. All three Los Angeles network television affiliate stations attended and reported the event, but the national networks declined to use the footage.
The major problem affecting both the overall turnout and the amount of funds raised was an unexpected shortfall in the number of individual locations in various states. The individual initially responsible for lining up_ locations, mostly meeting rooms in hotels with cable television hookup facilities, had assured the campaign that the number of locations would be well over 100. The accurate number of confirmed locations was actually 22. The efforts of a number of national staff members, in particular Kent Guida, raised this total back up to 52 in the two weeks immediately before the date of the event. Had there truly been 100 locations , the amount of money raised could have increased by fifty to one hundred per cent.
The main event itself, at the ballroom of the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, was quite successful. Nearly 1,000 people paid to attend, and the stage set and decorations were attractive and professional. For the most part, the entertainment was good, and the interviews with various Libertarian luminaries provided an interesting counterpoint.
Financially, the event experienced a net loss on the balance sheet, mitigated considerably by the fact that the Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate had decided beforehand to underwrite the cost of the event. Thus, there was no "loss" in the sense of having committed funds to Alternative '80: which were available for use elsewhere, and the event would not have taken place had not the cost been underwritten.
A "bare bones" balance sheet is as follows:
Production....$122,000 L.A. event...$40,000 Local events....33,800 Local events..90,000
hour tape......6,000 hour tape...15,000 $16I,8 $145,000
The net loss, then, was about$16,800. The half-hour tape was an edited-down version of the event which was shown nationally on cable TV "Superstation" and in several local cable markets around the country, and which grossed $15,000 in new contributions from the display of the "800" number during the show. It should be noted as well, that approximately half of all income from local events was retained by the state Libertarian or Clark organization in each state, by prior arrangement with the national campaign.
The program itself contained features which, in hindsight, were probably errors. There could have been less "showbiz" - type entertainment and correspondingly more in the way of interviews and hard information for the benefit of the many viewers who were new to the Libertarian political movement. For fundraising purposes, reports from each individual location should have been broadcast earlier in the program, with a running total of funds raised nationally announced periodically.
We would expect that most of the enormous learning curve inherent in
a project such as "Alternative '80:" has been absorbed by this first attempt,
and that any future such events would run more smoothly, cost less, and
raise more money from more people at more locations. We would recommend
a similar telethon, with appropriate modifications in future election years,
particularly in non-presidential years, to raise considerable money for
Libertarian candidates for federal, state, and local office.
THE ISSUES AND THEIR PRESENTATION
For several years, many Libertarians have described their basic political position in terms of what has become known as the "tripod:" free market economics, full civil liberties, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. We believed that the mere repetition of the "tripod" in the 1980 presidential campaign would be a serious mistake for a number of reasons.
First, we had to counter the "all third party candidates are at best borderline lunatics" perception. The way to counter it was to present the candidate as a serious potential president; and this meant being selective about the issues discussed and concentrating on those which were not only national in scope but also which were salient in the minds of the voters and which were capable of being affected by presidential action. It also meant showing what presidential action could be taken, when, and how.
Second, we wanted to avoid the "you guys sound good but you're terribly impractical" problem. The way to counteract that was to spend considerable effort in an attempt to out-fact and out-figure any other national candidate and to present solid proposals relating Libertarian principles to actual problems in what was sometimes excruciating detail.
Third, we constantly confronted the need to distinguish Ed Clark from the other serious candidates in terms of issues, while not omitting or downplaying any salient issue. This became a particular problem vis-a-vis Reagan, who was regularly portrayed in the news media as a hard-core advocate of the pure free market. There were two ways to counter this: by talking about Reagan's real economic record, and by emphasizing Libertarian differences with him on civil liberties and foreign policy.
Fourth, we consistently tried to apply Ed Clark's theory of presenting Libertarian positions in a political context: that the presentation must be in terms which are radical, but are not so radical that the audience no longer understands or identifies with them and thus stops listening. In other words, each audience has an imaginary line of tolerance and understanding which an effective Libertarian presentation should reach but not exceed, and successive presentations will push that line further and further back.
Fifth, we tried to produce written material which was capable of being
read and understood by the mythical "average" American voter -- that
is, by someone who does not pay much attention to politics, who is not
terribly concerned with the philosophical underpinnings of candidates and
parties, and who generally reads nothing more intellectually challenging
than Time magazine. The result of this attempt was the mass production
and distribution of the
"Clark for President - Your Alternative in 1980" flyer. This has been criticized, with some validity, for not being "meaty" enough, but we believed it served its purpose, which was to be a very basic introduction to the Libertarian presidential campaign that virtually anyone could read and understand. Those who requested further information had access to the original pre-nomination Clark brochure as well as to the Clark book, his position papers, and the White Papers.
It's worth noting here that, for the first time, a Libertarian brochure
-- in this case, the basic Clark brochure was produced and distributed
in large quantities written in the Spanish language.
Overall Issue Strategy
In keeping with the five points presented above, the Clark campaign tried to select a handful of salient national issues, prepare detailed analyses of them, and present them in such a way which would distinguish Ed Clark from Reagan, Anderson, and Carter. This meant consciously downplaying a number of issues which have hallowed places in the Libertarian arsenal, such as victimless crime questions (although a full position paper on Controlled Substances was released). It's likely that Ed Clark responded to and dealt with every single possible issue in the Libertarian Party platform during the course of the campaign, but as a matter of emphasis, he led with discussions of salient national issues at every opportunity. (For a further discussion on Clark's choice of issues, see below on Research.)
In particular, the campaign tried to emphasize Libertarian positions on foreign policy, since this was the area in which Clark differed most sharply from the other three candidates. This was the strategy behind the special TV ad which ran the week that national draft registration began, and behind the New York Times ad attacking Carter's State of the Union message.
The campaign tried to be more than "educational." A traditional educational campaign is run as though the candidate has no real desire or qualification for the office he seeks; he just wants to say what he has to say, make his point, hope people hear him, and maybe influence the policies of another major party some day. Certainly, Clark took very few positions which could in any way be described as "mainstream" or which already had the support of a majority of Americans. But the campaign tried hard to build a perception of the Libertarian Party as a building political organization which will become a permanent, important part of the American political scene, with candidates who, if anything, are more knowledgeable, thoughtful, and qualified to hold office than their Republican or Democratic counterparts.
Libertarians have criticized the Clark campaign for presenting its positions
in such great detail such as in the White Papers: "Since we know we're
not going to win, it's a mistake to lock ourselves into any particular
program of rolling back state power." Our response, given in the interest
of future campaigns, is that such a criticism is like saying that the Seattle
Mariners can't possibly win the pennant this year, so they shouldn't bother
learning how to hit, field, throw, and run bases. In other words, if we
re ever to be in a position to win a national election, we must first be
prepared to explain what we're going to do if we win -- how we propose
to deal with the fundamental mechanics of the system as it exists -- and
we'd better have a better explanation than anyone else has. To proceed
as though we can wait until we win before addressing these problems is
to ensure that we'll never be in a position to win. Developing such documents
as the White Papers was the route of higher risk but also higher reward,
of choosing complexity and potential criticism rather than simplicity and
safety. We think this approach paid off handsomely in 1980 in putting massive
distance between Libertarians and other small parties and in moving the
Libertarian Party farther toward the category of serious, viable, credible,
beneficial mass political movements.
The Clark campaign was greatly benefited by the presence of a full-time Research Director (David Boaz) and Assistant Research Director (Jay Hilgartner). Aside from producing white Papers, position papers, and briefings, the research staff was always available to find and analyze the appropriate
facts and statistics for daily news releases, candidate statements, brochures, and general useful background information.
The final array of White Papers and position papers evolved from a plan set forth early in the campaign to produce four lengthy, detailed policy proposals on salient national issues, and as many shorter pieces on other issues as possible. The distinction among issues was drawn between those which were of immediate concern on most or all adult Americans, and those which had a more limited scope.
It was the task of the Research Department to identify and recruit knowledgeable individuals to write each document; to monitor the progress of the writing; to edit the documents as necessary and appropriate; and to see to it that they were typed and printed.
A wider range of position paper topics was initially proposed than was ultimately produced. For some topics, individuals who were qualified to write a paper declined to do so for one reason or another; and no suitable substitute could be found. In other cases, individuals agreed to write papers but never carried through on their promises. For these reasons, the final list of Clark position papers should not be construed as the campaign's notion of the ten most vital issues facing America today. On the other hand, they did reflect an impressive range of important issues which were treated very thoroughly, and they should serve as the basis for Libertarian position statements in the future.
The Clark campaign released the following position papers (primary authors indicated in parentheses):
* Inflation (Murray N. Rothbard)
* Agriculture (Gary Roewe/campaign staff) * Women's Rights (Joan Kennedy
* Housing (campaign staff)
* First Amendment Freedoms (Ross Levatter) * Federal Election Laws (Eric Scott Royce) * Government vs. the Automobile (Clayton Cramer) * A Nuclear Diad: The Sensible Alternative to the MX (campaign staff)
* Controlled Substances (Jeff Riggenbach) * Energy (Joe Cobb/Dom Armentano)
Each White Paper was developed and researched by a study committee, but one individual was primarily responsible for writing each. The White Papers are as follows:
* Taxing and Spending (David Boaz) * Foreign Poiicy (Earl C. Ravenal)
* Social Security (Peter J. Ferrara) * Education (William D. Burt)
For future campaigns, it should be recognized that decisions on how to present Libertarian positions on issues are not and can not be made in a vacuum. A campaign is an extremely fluid experience; personalities, issues, and perceptions are constantly changing, and responses to these changes must be immediate.
During the campaign period of July 1 to November 3, Ed Clark made over one thousand different, separate verbal presentations of his positions. The vast majority of these were unrehearsed, given with no prepared text, and were responsive rather than expository -- answering questions rather than giving a speech. In these one thousand occasions Clark rarely said the same thing twice.
A true fault analysis of the campaign's presentation of the issues would fill a shelf. Select at random one of Clark's campaign presentations, and ask the following questions:
"Did he forget to mention an important point?" "Did he talk too long about one thing, and not long enough about something else?" "Did he fail to get to the core of the listeners' true concern?" "Was he too argumentative?" "Did he fail to challenge the basic premise of the question?"
"Was he too soft-core?" "Did he say something that wasn't 100% libertarian?" And on and on.
Chances are, the answers to most of these questions in any given situation
were "Yes" - in someone's opinion. The point of this exercise is to show
that t e present on of issues by the candidate or in the written material
of the campaign were constantly subjected to criticism and evaluation by
members of the campaign staff, who usually disagreed among themselves not
only over the matters being criticized but also over the degree to which
the criticisms were important. With the exception of matters of fundamental
principle, the selection of issues in a presidential campaign and the manner
of their presentation neither can be nor should be completely predetermined
and then adhered to without modification. Any such attempt would ignore
the realities of a serious national campaign. Any such attempt during the
Clark campaign would have resulted in far fewer errors in presentation,
but at the price of sacrificing both credibility and effectiveness.
We believe that the Clark campaign went a long way toward establishing the Libertarian position as distinct, coherent and internally consistent, as opposed to the common pre-campaign perception that Libertarians are "extreme conservatives'" or that our positions are plucked haphazardly from various points along a political spectrum to form a hodgepodge of strange beliefs. The campaign's emphasis on foreign policy almost completely shredded the right wing cloak, while the detailed explanations of how our major policy positions fit together made significant inroads on the "hodgepodge" theory.
We believe that the campaign's policy of being selective on major issues, but not exclusive, was essentially the correct one for building a national constituency of voters who perceive the Libertarian Party as more than a fringe group, more than a collection of interesting ideologues, more than a purer version of a major party, and more than just a vehicle of protest -- but rather as an emerging, true political alternative.
The campaign's approach to achieving serious and extensive coverage
by the news media was multifaceted, but there was one overriding concern:
to produce the best and most polished campaign material, to set forth the
most coherent and persuasive specific policy proposals, to have the candidate
be the best-briefed and prepared...in short, to present the image of a
serious and professional movement, willing to grapple with difficult, salient
issues, in what was perceived to be a constructive manner.
We felt it was imperative to break out of the traditional third party mold. On the organizational level, attaining ballot status in all 50 states and D.C. set us apart from the many fringe and splinter parties. On the conceptual level, producing the most in-depth and comprehensive policy analyses and proposals also set us apart from such groups. Indeed, the goal was not to be "just as good" as the Republican or Democratic campaigns, with their developed infrastructure of think tanks and research institutions, but to be better. The clarity and seriousness of our proposals, combined with a candor previously unknown in presidential campaigns, we hoped would set the Clark campaign well apart from those of Reagan, Carter, or Anderson.
To a significant extent, this approach succeeded. Reporters and particularly political columnists from Los Angeles to Phoenix to Chicago to Baltimore commented, in private and in their writings, about the unique depth, clarity, and honesty of the Clark proposals. The lengthy White Papers especially were singled out for praise. As Washington Post foreign policy analyst and editorial board member Stephen Rosenfeld wrote in his column: "This is a model of the discipline that ought to be demanded of all the candidates."
The campaign consciously and constantly attempted to reach those news
media which were the most influential and the most national in scope, despite
our assumption that these media would be the most difficult to "crack."
This assumption was not groundless; they were the most difficult to induce
to cover the campaign, but enormous progress was made with the individuals
who comprise these institutions, much of which will be evidenced in future
years. We emphasized our relationships with these media because they, to
a disproportionate extent, determine what constitutes important news to
the vast majority of Americans, to a far greater degree than any localized
media. The reactions and responses of the individuals working in these
media were as varied and diverse as those of individuals anywhere, ranging
from open hostility to equally open friendliness and even support.
Reaching the Media
The spearhead of our effort was the "media kit" prepared by the Communications Department, designed to clearly distinguish the Clark campaign from that of a traditional third party. Packaged in a two-color folder, the centerpiece of the kit was a 24-page "Media Fact Sheet which provided biographical information about Ed Clark and David Koch, a history of the Libertarian Party, an overview of the campaign's focus and strategy, and a discussion of such matters as ballot status and campaign financing (subjects generally unfamiliar to the media). Also included were Clark s major campaign statements (later replaced by position papers), reprints of favorable articles and columns about the campaign, a copy of A New Beginning, and a selection of campaign literature.
The kit was generally well received and prompted favorable reaction.
(Martin Anderson, Reagan's chief domestic advisor, said it was the best
he'd seen in this campaign or any other). Of course, merely providing these
materials was of little consequence without a constant coordinated effort
to place them in the right hands at the right time.
Distribution and promotion of the white Papers, Position papers, statements, and news releases were handled in four modes:
First, the release of the document was coordinated with the Scheduling Department for maximum effect. Advance copies were distributed to selected journalists along with notice of the event, if any, at which the document was to be released. On the day of release, copies of the document along with a covering news release were delivered to 145 journalists and media outlets in Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Second, copies of the document and the covering news release were mailed to a list of prominent political correspondents and other journalists who had shown some special interest in the Clark campaign. The list, compiled from news conferences, clippings, and individual requests, grew during the course of the campaign to over 800.
Third, copies were sent to the news desks of approximately 600 daily newspapers and hundreds of special interest publications as appropriate; for example. the position paper on Energy was sent to several dozen energy magazines, news- letters, and energy correspondents.
Fourth, copies were sent to newly-acquired names of journalists or provided upon special request.
Daily news releases were distributed via a network of 65 local media
coordinators who called in to an "800" telephone number located at campaign
headquarters. Upon reaching the number, coordinators heard a pre-recorded
news release which they then copied onto news release stationery and distributed
to their local news media. The program of daily news releases was in place
for the last six months of the campaign. Responsibility for the writing
of the releases was divided among several members of the campaign staff.
The Print Media
The key to reaching the daily print media is the wire services -- Associated Press and United Press International -and the campaign took steps early to establish a daily working relationship with these services. Interestingly, the response of the two services was quite different. UPI generated articles from our releases almost daily, and was fair-minded and showed an intent to understand the Libertarian viewpoint. Fewer AP articles were generated, and these tended to take almost an adversary attitude.
Of the many stories which did go out over the wires, comparatively few
were eventually printed in more than several dozen newspapers at one time,
with a few dailies using wire service material about Clark on almost a
daily basis. Why did so many of the stories so diligently planted and cultivated
in Washington, and which did hit the wires, fail to get widespread attention?
Our conclusion, after discussions with editors, reporters, and "media watchers,"
is that most local newspapers take their cue about "what's news" from the
three commercial television networks, which had carried no more than about
60 seconds of hard news about Clark after his nomination.
Local newspaper coverage of Clark visits to their areas generally ranged from good to excellent, depending upon the relationship of the local media coordinator with the media. Clark's meetings with editorial boards of local dailies was highly beneficial, with ramifications which will extend far beyond the 1980 campaign.
Many national, regional, and special interest publications ran feature articles on the Clark campaign and the Libertarian Party, usually as a result of long efforts to interest the editors in such a story, instigated several months before the story was ever published. Editorial meetings were set up with such magazines as Business Week, Newsweek Fortune, Dun's Review, and U.S. News and World Report in addition to meetings with correspondents from other publications, and formal news gatherings such as the weekly breakfast meeting sponsored by Godfrey Sperling of the Christian Science Monitor.
The national news magazines presented the greatest obstacle to the Clark
campaign in reaching the print media. Clark received no mention in Time,
and one story each in Newsweek and U S News, with the latter story being
far more even handed and in-depth than the tongue-in-cheek approach taken
by the Newsweek reporter. (Significantly, Clark had been afforded an opportunity
to meet with top writers of U.S. News before its story was published.)
We believe that Time and Newsweek tended to be unique among all media in
their resistance to Libertarian ideas generally; the Communications Department
stayed in constant communication with their editors in Washington and New
York, to little avail.
Prominent columnists and "name" journalists were in general much more
favorable to the campaign. Nicholas von Hoffman and Chicago Tribune columnist
Jack Mabley devoted several stories each to Clark; Tom Wicker of the New
York Times wrote a syndicated story which stimulated a great deal of other
coverage, including a segment on NBC Nightly News; columns by Colman McCarthy,
Julian Bond, Joseph Sobran, Nick Thimmesch, and many others appeared on
the editorial pages of hundreds of newspapers. Interviews with such columnists
were an important part of the Clark media effort.
Finally, efforts were made to invite reporters to accompany Clark on
his daily campaign travels and events. His media entourage was nowhere
near the scale even of John Anderson, but reporters from the New York Times,
Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, the Gannett newspaper chain,
CBS, NBC, and others did travel with Clark at points throughout the campaign.
The Broadcast Media
As with the print media, broadcast media coverage differed significantly between national and local outlets. During his visits to states and cities, Clark received excellent broadcast coverage, sometimes virtually blanketing the media, while nationally, the was all-but-ignored by the three national commercial networks, although not by national radio networks or other television networks. Reasonable radio news coverage came from NBC, ABC, AP Radio, and the Mutual Broadcast Network whenever a major Clark statement was released.
Television coverage by NBC, ABC, and CBS national news was very scarce, despite constant efforts of the campaign staff. The political editors at each network were called almost daily, and all three networks had met with Clark at one time or other during the course of the campaign. Clark s traveling itinerary and notice of all major speeches and releases of major statements were given to each network, to the person at the highest editorial level that we could reach. Clark received only a few mentions during network news broadcasts, however, and most of these related to ballot status and amounted to perhaps a total of 60 seconds.
While "hard" news coverage was virtually non-existent, both NBC and CBS filmed and showed special feature stories on the campaign, with the NBC stories being far more balanced and objective than the CBS coverage. Special features such as these, while welcome, were not equivalent to "hard" news coverage. With the primacy and dominance of network television news in defining what is or is not important to most Americans, the networks, through their exclusion of the Clark campaign, effectively defined us as non-existent. Therefore, to counter this and show that the campaign was "real" required paying for television time.
Considerable efforts were made to have the three TV network Sunday interview shows - "Meet the Press," "Face the Nation," and "Issues and Answers" -- interview Clark; the campaign was successful with "Issues and Answers." The other two programs began to take an interest in the campaign in the last two months, but told us that the Iraq-Iran war necessitated their focusing on foreign policy questions rather than the presidential campaign.
Why did the Clark campaign not receive more "hard" news coverage from the three TV networks? One of the network correspondents who traveled with Clark and who believed that the campaign deserved more coverage put it this way:
"The editors are aware that the public is largely dissatisfied with the choice of Carter and Reagan. The appearance of John Anderson was like manna from heaven; they could then satisfy their perceived obligation to cover the alternatives by lavishing their attention on John Anderson. Human nature being what it is, people even hardworking editors -- tend to supply their wants with a minimum of effort. Hence, the coverage stopped with Anderson. It takes little effort to understand the policies of a man who is proposing nothing challenging, new, or out of the ordinary."
This was a refrain the campaign heard from reporters many times throughout
the campaign many of them appeared to be as frustrated as we were that
Clark received no more coverage than he did.
The campaign made considerable effort to provide the best, most appropriate
forum for Clark when he was to deliver his White Papers or major position
papers, for we believed that these releases would afford the greatest opportunity
for network coverage. The "Taxing and Spending" White Paper was released
at a Clark speech before the American Economic Council in Los Angeles;
the "Education" statement was given at the Town Hall Forum, also in Los
Angeles; the "Foreign Policy" White Paper was released in a speech at Georgetown
University; and the "Social Security" paper was delivered at the Detroit
Economic Club. While network news crews did show up for all but the Education
statement, film on Taxing and Spending was never shown because the network
never heard of the economists who had endorsed it, and film stories on
Social Security and Foreign Policy were killed by New York network editors
despite enthusiastic response from the individual correspondents. However,
a film crew from the Public Broadcast System news show "Bill Moyers Journal"
shot the entire foreign policy speech at Georgetown, and Moyers subsequently
ran an eight-minute segment from it on his show.
On the whole, we believe that the basic media strategy for the campaign was soundly conceived and competently implemented, even though the coverage received by the national television networks and the national magazines was sparse. The fact is inescapable that such media determine what is really news far more than, say, a network affiliate in Kansas City or a local newspaper in Dubuque; or even a nationally syndicated columnist. As indicated, responses to the campaign from less-than-national sources was, in general, as good as we could have asked for, and sometimes better, and our efforts in this regard paid off handsomely. But to have ended our efforts at that point would have been to ignore the reality of the dominance of the national media. By far the largest part of the campaign's shortcomings in dealing with them was the lack of immediate, visible result, while benefits for the future remain to be seen.
At least one major change should be made for future campaigns: a greater
emphasis should be placed on scheduling the candidate to appear before
large audiences, especially in the early autumn. Television, as a visual
medium, requires large audiences, particularly enthusiastic ones, to provide
the best background for a political story. Television news stories and
features, both local and national, were at their best when they featured
Clark before a large, attentive crowd, especially when he spoke at a college
campus. Consequently, every effort should be made to schedule such appearances.
During this campaign, large audiences were hard to find early on, until
the paid commercials started to raise Clark's name identification. We would
hope that the broad increase of general public awareness of the Libertarian
Party generated by this campaign will allow the next campaign to get more
widespread coverage of the kind networks prefer at an earlier point in
While the media efforts of the Clark campaign fell well short of our hopes vis-a-vis national coverage, the campaign generated far more coverage of a serious nature, both locally and nationally, than any previous Libertarian effort, and created a far more accurate perception of the Libertarian Party than existed going into the campaign. The hundreds of journalists who were reached and influenced, both ideologically and in terms of political perception, by the campaign will have an impact on national political thinking for a long time to come.
Notably, the journalists who were the most open and respectful of the Libertarian campaign effort were the younger, "up and coming" generation of reporters -- a group closer to the pulse of American life than the older, more established reporters and editors. These are the people who, in four or eight years, will be TV network editors in New York, or city editors of major metropolitan daily newspapers, or political editors of national magazines. The campaign's efforts - and considerable success -- in reaching this generation of journalists represents a sound investment in the future of the libertarian movement.
One such younger journalist, John Kolbe of the Phoenix Gazette had this to say in his column about Ed Clark's major policy proposals:
"These, and many, many more proposals are set forth
in a series of "White Papers" of such exhaustive detail and thoughtful research that the major party platforms pale in comparison...The Libertarian critique of what ails America's economy, its educational system, its industrial structure -- too much government and all its creativity killing baggage -- is easily the most comprehensive and thoroughgoing analysis of our domestic ills extant among the political parties this year."
We're convinced that this response was not isolated, and that the extent to which the campaign was able to elicit such responses was an important achievement.
The aid advertising of on behalf of Ed Clark for Presidentpwas both the most extensive and the most expensive aspect of the campaign. From the beginning, we intended to give five minute television ads on national networks during prime time the highest priority of the campaign advertising budget. We hoped to supplement the television ads with national network radio ads during the two weeks before the election, and we had hoped to air as many local TV and radio spots as the campaign could afford.
History and Facts
The campaign initially made contact with a large number of political
advertising firms which had reputations for creativity and excellence in
that field, but all of them rejected us because of their associations with
either the Republican or the Democratic parties. We finally contracted
with a small Alabama firm which had an impressive record with state and
local campaigns for the first TV ad. Subsequent ads were produced by Westport
Productions in Los Angeles and by Mobile Video in Washington, D.C.
During the course of the campaign we aired 47 network TV spots, somewhat short of our hoped-for goal of 60, but a significant number nonetheless. All but six of these aired during prime time (mostly at 10:55 PM Eastern), and almost all were in the Sunday-through-Thursday segment of the week (Friday and Saturday nights are supposed to be the "worst" times for ads among prime time options). We received several comments from the news media to the effect that we had managed to purchase the best time slots, on average, of any of the residential campaigns, and this is reflected in the factpthat the Clark ads consistently out-ranked the Carter, Reagan, and Anderson five-minute spots in the Nielsen ratings. The campaign made a point of cultivating good working relationships with the political salesperson of each of the networks.
The first spot featured Ed Clark speaking out on six different issues and ended with a call for a "new beginning -- the campaign slogan and the title of Clark's book. The narration stressed that Clark was alone among the four candidates in combining advocacy of less taxes and a peaceful foreign policy.
The second ad was an anti-draft message which was produced extremely inexpensively (and it showed). Nevertheless, we believed that the message of strong opposition to the draft combined with an explanation of the non-interventionist foreign policy of the Libertarian Party was sufficiently important at that particular time to overshadow the technical defects of the tape itself. This ad aired three times during the week that national draft registration began.
The third ad -- which was probably the most popular among Libertarians -- was taped in Los Angeles and included a segment from Clark's speech before the American Economic Council discussing his taxing and spending program ("I'm not interested in cutting the fat from the government; I'm interested in cutting the lean.") This ad established the Statue of Liberty visual theme, and the song which appeared in most subsequent advertising:
"This is the land where it all began/It is the time to begin again...It is the time for a new beginning, America:"
The third ad also departed from the previous two in combining its message about Clark with a description and explanation of the Libertarian Party.
The fourth ad was the "man-in-the-street" spot, containing endorsements of Clark from various individuals of varying backgrounds. The issues covered, as reasons for voting for Clark, included inflation, the threat of war, the draft, taxes, and the two-party monopoly. This ad also contained a segment of Clark's appearance at "Alternative '80:", along with the slogan, the visual theme, and the song.
All TV spots featured an "800" toll-free number for
calls which not only generated approximately $43,000 in contributions, but also an estimated 30,000 names of serious inquiries to add to the Libertarian Party mailing list, all of whom received campaign information.
As a final anecdotal note on the Clark TV ads, Robert Strauss, campaign
chairman of the Carter re-election campaign told Ed Crane during the course
of the conversation that the Clark ads "were the best of any of the candidates."
Aside from the national television ads, the campaign was, as we hoped, able to run network radio ads on all three networks during the two weeks prior to Election Day. There were three versions of a basic 30-second snot (the most popular of which included the sentence "Liberty...if it was worth dying for then, isn't it worth voting for now?"). An average of 12 30-second spots aired over each of 2,400 radio stations during the last two weeks of the campaign.
There were several special advertising attempts in addition to the network television and radio spots. The first of these, on February 10, was a .full-page newspaper ad in the New York Times Sunday edition, which responded critically to President Carter's State of the Union address and discussed the threat of war. The effect of this ad was to establish that Clark was the only serious pro-peace candidate in the race.
The campaign purchased special advertising in Detroit at the time of the Republican National Convention in the form of two huge billboards overlooking the freeway route from the airport to downtown; and in New York at the time of the Democratic National Convention in the form of 100 bus signs on routes going by the convention hall. This advertising was as much for the benefit of any news media who happened to be watching as it was for the public at large. Also during the Democratic National Convention, we aired several 90-second TV ads over the Cable TV "Superstation " , since the national networks refused to sell us any time in that week.
Late campaign special advertising included the airing of a half-hour
version of "Alternative '80:" over "Superstation" as well as a handful
of local cable TV outlets, a quarter page ad in the Eastern and Midwestern
editions of the Wall Street Journal, and several radio ads in selected
target states, primarily those where radio time was inexpensive and where
we though Clark would get a high percentage of the vote. Libertarian activists
in many states raised sufficient funds to run many of the campaign's radio
spots and newspaper ads.
There is little question that the Clark ads would have been more effective had they been "legitimized" by coverage of the campaign by the national networks and magazines. In that sense, we may have "assumed too much;" in other words we believed that news coverage we would get, and didn't would supplement the messages in the ads. Starting from a basic assumption of no national news coverage, then, the ads could have given more emphasis on the background of the Libertarian Party, a more detailed explanation of the basic philosophy, and a discussion of why America needs a new political party.
Members of the campaign staff have speculated about the probable effect
of releasing the ads in a different order, specifically, that the third
ad "should" have been the first ad, with all subsequent ads following from
the groundwork laid therein. It's certainly true that any ad over 10 seconds
in length is a justifiable target for criticism and evaluation, because
each second provides a new opportunity to evoke comments of the "I wish
we had done this instead of that, and besides, his hair's a mess" variety.
The cost of producing each ad, however, prevented the kind of after-the-fact
fine-tuning which many people, staff included, would like to have seen.
The overall effect of the Clark TV ads in particular was astonishing. The appearance of Clark on TV made him "real" to millions of Americans, and had an impact which was much more significant, at least initially, than what was actually said on the ads. (For example, the success rate of Clark petitioners all over the country took a huge jump immediately after the first ad ran in early July.)
Unquestionably, the ads -- TV, radio, and print -- had the greatest
effect on the electorate of any aspect of the Clark campaign, and thus
were the prime contributing factor in the overall progress and broadening
of the Libertarian base which was accomplished by the campaign. More than
that, though, the ads were produced at a level of attractiveness and professionalism;
as well as unusually outspoken content, which separated the Libertarian
Party from all other third party efforts and took a significant step toward
establishing basic Libertarian principles as part of American political
GOALS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In September of 1979, the then-Committee to Nominate Clark for President released a 43-page "Campaign Master Plan" which discussed in detail what the campaiqn of Ed Clark proposed to do should Clark be the Libertarian nominee. It is instructive to re-read the Master Plan to see which specific proposals and strategies were and were not followed, and to what extent. The Master Plan began with the setting of campaign goals, as follows:
"The principal goal of the Clark for President campaign is: To Create a Three Party America."
This principal goal was and is un-quantifiable; nonetheless, we feel it was achieved to some degree, but by no means completely. The question is one of perception, both on the part of the public and of those attempting to evaluate the campaign. If voters were asked now, after the election, if they had ever heard of the Libertarian Party, we think a majority would say yes. If they were asked to name three of the largest political parties, we think most would include the Libertarians. On the other hand, if voters were asked whether they considered the Libertarians to be a major party or a minor party, we think most would say minor.
If such a survey were taken, not among voters as a whole, but among political writers, we think they all would have heard of the Libertarian Party, and they all would identify it as the third political party in size and significance, but they all would classify it as a minor party. Beyond that, there would be a wide divergence of opinion in assessing the future impact of the Libertarians, ranging from, "a one-time flash-in-the-pan that's not going anywhere," to "a future major political party in eight to twelve years."
We think it's fair to say that the Clark campaign established the Libertarian Party as the largest, best-known, best organized, and most credible of any American third party now in existence; and it's equally accurate to describe the general perception as, "If any minor party is going to make it as a major party, it will be the Libertarians."
The Clark Master Plan identified other corollary goals which we will
now list and discuss in their order:
* "Attain a balance-of-power position in the 1980 Presidential Election; that is, garner more votes than are likely to decide the election."
The level of success in reaching this goal is again one of degree. Clark
came nowhere near attaining the balance of power in the national popular
vote, of course. His vote total was considerably higher than the margin
of difference between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960 (112,000) and between Nixon
and Humphrey in 1968 (510,000), so it could be described as
"a" balance of power position, but not "the" balance of power position. The analysis is complicated still further both by the Electoral College system and by the presence of John Anderson in the race, who also was clearly "a" balance of power" but not "the" balance of power. Both Anderson and Clark may have affected the electoral votes in several states. According to preliminary figures, Clark took more votes than the margin of difference between Reagan and Carter in Arkansas, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
The point of attaining balance-of-power is not so that someone can look at the results, point a finger, and say, "Aha: See, if it weren't for the Libertarians., someone else would have won the election:" Rather, the point is to become regarded as a serious factor in the race in a way that is measurable. Ideally, Libertarian balance-of-power positions should be of a kind that will throw both Republican and Democratic politicians into anxiety and confusion; there were several state and local races this year in which both the major party candidates were convinced that the Libertarian candidate would cost them the election.
* "Develop a strong party organization in each state capable of independently achieving ballot status for Libertarian candidates and of mounting effective, successful campaigns in future elections."
This was not achieved in every state, but it was in many, and the overall increase in the size, ability, and confidence of, most state Libertarian organizations was dramatic. Determining whether or not a state organization is "capable of independently achieving ballot status...and mounting effective, successful campaigns" is a matter of judgment of all the persons involved, of course, but the Clark campaign clearly helped to bring many state organizations far closer to this level of development.
* "Triple the nationwide membership of and contributors to the Libertarian Party."
The second half of the goal was achieved; the list of contributors tripled in size from 7,500 to 22,000. There was no immediate corresponding increase in national memberships (which requires an ongoing solicitation process by the Libertarian National Committee), but many state Libertarian parties have reported membership increases in the 100% range since the campaign began.
* "Establish widespread public awareness of the Libertarian approach as a humane, benevolent, and practical alternative to the politics of statism."
This is another un-quantifiable goal -- how much is "widespread"? It's also a goal in two parts: first establishing "widespread public awareness of the Libertarian alternative," then establishing awareness of the nature of that alternative.
We think that the Clark campaign achieved the first part of the goal
and made significant inroads on the second part. We think that most people
who take an interest in politics are now at least aware that that there
is a system of thought called "Libertarian," that it has some sort of coherence,
and that it doesn't present a clear and present danger to their families
and jobs. In addition, many of these people could give a generally accurate
description of the basic Libertarian positions on major issues. And at
least 900,000 of them were well enough acquainted and satisfied with "Libertarian"
to have voted for Ed Clark for President.
In evaluating the Clark campaign in terms other than of the goals set forth fourteen months before the election, the following points can be made:
l. Ed Clark received over 900,000 votes, or slightly more than one per cent of the total (final figures are not available as of 12/1/80). This is both the highest total vote and the highest percentage received by a presidential candidate who had no previous national name recognition at least since the turn of the century. It is higher than Eugene McCarthy's 1976 result, and it is over five times the vote total of 1976 Libertarian presidential candidate Roqer NacBride.
2. Ed Clark appeared on the ballot in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, becoming the first third party candidate since 1916 to have appeared on every possible ballot in the United States (see section on Ballot Status).
3. The Clark for President Committee raised $1.4 million in contributions of $2,000 or less. This far exceeds any previous Libertarian campaign (see section on Fundraising).
4. Clark's votes were fairly evenly distributed at the 1% level across the country with the exceptions being Alaska (12%) and most states of the far west (2 - 3%). To the extent a political base has been established, it appears to be truly national rather than regional; this relative uniformity of result is unusual in the history of third parties.
5. Of major city newspapers, Clark won the outright endorsement of the Peoria, Illinois Journal Star and roundabout endorsements from the Santa Ana, C. Register and the Fort Wayne, Indiana daily. Of other newspapers that we know, the University of Oklahoma paper, the University of Texas paper, the daily newspaper of Winona, Minnesota, and the Community Herald of New York City also endorsed Clark, as did syndicated columnist Nicholas von Hoffman in The New Republic.
6. Clark made personal appearances before the editorial boards or meetings of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Miami News, the Miami Herald, t e Philadelphia Bulletin, the Houston Chronicle, the Boston Herald-American, the Boston Globe, U.S. News an World Report, Newsweek, and ABC-TV News, as well as many other, smaller, media outlets. He was the subject of feature articles or interviews in U.S. News, Newsweek, Penthouse, Fortune, People, TWA Ambassador, High Times, Next, Hustler, the Village Voice, the Washington Post Sunday magazine, Family Weekly, and Philadelphia magazine, as well as dozens other special interest publications. Clark's national TV appearances included "Today," "Good Morning America," two CBS "Morning" shows, "Issues and Answers," ABC "Nightline," and Bill Moyers Journal, and he had three hours of nationwide radio on the "Larry King Show." This, in addition to the routine flow of news coverage from news media at the state and local level, represents by far the greatest amount of coverage and exposure ever obtained by any explicitly Libertarian organization.
7. The Clark campaign issued four White Papers -- on
Taxing and Spending, Education, Foreign Policy, and Social Security -- which were unique to the 1980 presidential campaign not only in their proposals, but also in the depth and detail to which they analyzed each problem and offered specific solutions. This in particular is an advance for the Libertarian political movement in its ability to relate principles and theory to practical problems (see section on The Issues and Their Presentation).
8. The Clark campaign developed, printed, and supervised the distribution of an estimated five million pieces of Libertarian literature in neiqhborhoods, public places, and college campuses. This level of individual grassroots volunteer activity is several orders of magnitude greater than any previous level reached by a Libertarian campaign.
Essentially, the Clark for President campaign tried to achieve two overall goals:
First, to create widespread awareness, recognition, and understanding of Clark, the Libertarian Party, and Libertarian ideas within a political context, and to have them accepted as a non-threatening, legitimate, valid, useful, and beneficial part of the national political debate.
Second, to generate substantial agreement with the candidate, party, and ideas which would then be translatable into votes.
We believe that the Clark campaign accomplished the
first goal and partially achieved the second goal. We believe that literally millions of Americans were favorably impressed by the candidate, the party, and the ideas, but that most were not yet willing to express their approval by casting a Libertarian vote for what is perceived to be the highest elective office in the world.
In evaluating the campaign, we have asked ourselves,
"Would the real accomplishments have been significantly greater had the nationwide vote total been twice as much?" In all honesty, our answer is "No." We would have liked to have had more votes and higher percentages; we would have liked to have broken the magic One Million mark. We would have liked to have seen John Anderson drop out of the race in September, much more network coverage of the Clark campaign, and much more accuracy in portraying Ronald Reaqan's true economic record and views.
But we're satisfied that any disappointments of the Clark campaign are
only relative to the expectations of ourselves or others, that the quantifiable
results of the election were an extremely accurate reflection of solid
support for the Libertarian political movement, and that the accomplishments
of the Clark for President campaign represented real progress on the way
to building a national political movement, a third major political party,
and a freer society.
"Ed Clark and the Libertarians have had a great success in terms of their own objectives. Clark has emerged as a man of charm and conviction. With the extensive advertising his contributors have purchased, the Libertarian message has reached a far wider audience than ever before. It has an internal logic that challenges conventional thinking and stimulates debate.
- David S. Broder Washington Post