THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR Monday, October 26, 1998 Libertarian optionW hether or not they win an election, the presence of so many Libertarians on the Indiana ballot this year couldbe a wakeup call to the major political parties and a welcomemat-to disgruntled citizens who are increasingly reluctant tovote. Libertarians have 100 candidates running Nov. 3, by far themost since they achieved official ballot status in 1994. They in-clude contestants in the U.S. Senate race, eight of 10 U.S.House districts, all statewide offices and many legislative andlocal seats. "We believe about half the people in Indiana really are Liber-tarians," claims state party chairman Robert F.Shuford Jr."But they dont know enough about the party or havent heardour message enough to know it." The message is starting to get out and appears to be resonat-ing with voters. What else could explain the growth of a thirdparty in a state known for a relatively vibrant two-party sys-tem? The signs of their success: Libertarians have three full-timestaff people working on campaigns this year. They had an eas-ier time recruiting candidates than ever before. Perhaps mosttelling, many of their policy ideas - including education taxcredits, returning the state budget surplus to citizens and, on afederal level, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service -. are be-ing taken seriously by the major parties. But unlike Republicans and Democrats, the Libertarianshave been consistent in their message. They want smaller gov-ernment, fewer laws, lower taxes and greater choice in educa-tion. They want the federal government to stick to duties pre-scribed in the Constitution. They want many of the things thatRepublicans have promised, but failed to deliver. And they be-lieve its getting harder to tell Republicans and Democratsapart. The bipartisan vote in Congress for the pork-laden bud-get bill is just one example. A top Libertarian goalis to .draw disinterested voters to thepolls. They achieved ballot status by obtaining 2 percent of thevote in the secretary of states race in 94, and are aiming for 10percent this year, which would allow them to hold their ownprimaries in the next two elections. There is a downside to a strong third party By siphoning offvotes, as occurred when Ross Perot ran for president in 1992against Bill Clinton and George Bush, it can result in the elec-tion of a candidate with less than majority support. But having a fresh voice in the political debate may proveinvaluable. If the two major parties have any sense, theyll takemore Libertarian ideas and run with them.