Heading into March, the DuPage Libertarians are working hard behind the scenes for Claire Ball and her campaign for a seat on the board of trustees at College of DuPage.
Throughout this process of campaigning, we’ve learned a lot of things. There are two kinds of events you will be attending as a candidate; independent ones, and official party ones. Both of these events play out very differently, especially if you are a libertarian.
The independent events are meetings, planning sessions, and forums hosted by independent groups, such as the local chapters of the League of Women Voters, local Tea Party groups like the West Suburban Patriots, and of course anything hosted the third parties like the Green, Constitution, or Libertarian Party. There aren’t too many of these groups, but the ones that do exist are full of strong and loyal members and are generally operated by dedicated individuals with lots of passion.
The official party events are run by groups affiliated directly with the Republicans or Democrats. There is a group at the county level for each of the two, and one at the township level, of which there are nine of in DuPage County, for each of the two as well. That gives you twenty groups, each with a night during the month dedicated to pushing their agendas and candidates. Some towns or cities may even have their own political factions within those parties, youth organizations, or separate factions within larger ones. In other words, it gets pretty crowded.
You have to pick and choose your battles.
When attending the independent meetings, the support is really high, and people are willing to listen to all sides. They have all been warm, welcoming, and open-minded. Obviously, many people will still disagree with you, and interesting if not heated discussions take place, but the mutual respect is always there. These events are fun, high-spirited, and always entertaining.
The party events are a different story altogether. They can also be fun and high-spirited… if you are connected and liked by enough people. Otherwise, prepare to feel slightly ostracized throughout the event. Even if you are a newcomer and relatively unknown, you will still be accepted as long as you have the coveted (R) or (D) after your name – regardless if your particular race is non-partisan or not. The two major parties even have a sort of mutual respect for each other when attending each other’s events that can still leave a third party candidate feeling out of place. If you are a good candidate, prepare to be guilted and hashed about how you need to join a major party now if you want to be taken seriously. Being an openly third-party person means you will have to work extra hard to get that respect.
However, in Claire’s particular race, every group, both party affiliated and non-affiliated, have been very cool and respectful with her. That has been Claire’s goal as well – not just to earn respect for herself through her personality and credentials, but also to earn respect for libertarian candidates. Everyone, so far, has been very accepting of her.
In this campaign, we’ve seen some good-hearted campaigning, and we’ve seen some ugly confrontations and childish behavior. Luckily, the respectable forms of campaigning take the lead, and the limelight antics are few and far, and are only hurting those who participate in them.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: Who are the people you want to represent? As long as you are yourself, be honest about your positions, and do the best you can to put them forth to as many people as possible, then good people can get elected, regardless of their party credentials.
Please consider supporting Claire’s campaign at her website www.ClaireBallForIllinois.com and like and share her Facebook page www.Facebook.com/ClaireBallForIllinois and help us through these final weeks of campaigning. Thanks to everyone for your support!