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Software engineer, 2004 Libertarian Presidential candidate
Michael Badnarik

Michael J. Badnarik (born 1 August 1954) is an American software engineer, political figure and former radio talk show host. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race, behind independent candidate Ralph Nader and the two major party candidates, George Bush and John Kerry. Two years later he ran as a Libertarian Party candidate in the 2006 congressional elections for Texas's 10th congressional district seat near Austin. In a three candidate field, Badnarik came in third, receiving 7,603 votes for 4.3% of the vote.

Images - Michael Badnarik
200x263 JPEG, color


1 Aug 1954, Michael J. Badnarik, in Hammond, Indiana


11 Aug 2022, in San Antonio, Texas

Web Pages

FRONTLINE: Presidential Market: Candidates: Michael Badnarik | PBS
Presented by the PBS Frontline program, allowed one to trade "shares" in the 2004 election; includes photo and campaign summary
Libertarians are calling their newly nominated candidate, Michael Badnarik, an "underdog" who represents what Americans really want, namely, a reduction in the size and scope of government so that it cannot interfere with personal liberties. Badnarik grew up and attended college in Indiana, where he studied chemistry ... On the issues, Badnarik toes the Libertarian party line, vehemently opposing gun control, opposing "excess regulation" of the economy, supporting reduced taxes, supporting the use of medical marijuana, and adamantly supporting freedom of speech and personal liberties across the board.
Michael Badnarik - 2004 Libertarian Presidential Candidate, by Bill Winter
Includes picture, biographical summary and quote
Michael Badnarik didn't plan to run for president. As the Texas resident and Constitutional scholar tells it, after he spoke at a local Libertarian Party meeting in early 2003, he got a call from a friend who was so impressed by the speech that he urged Badnarik to seek the highest office in the land. The friend said Badnarik had a "unique ability to explain the Libertarian philosophy in a way that makes sense to people." ... Born in Hammond, Indiana in 1954, Badnarik attended Indiana University in Bloomington. Professionally, he has worked as a senior trainer and consultant Evolutionary Technologies International (1997-2001) ...
Related Topics: Libertarian Party, Texas, Voting
Our Campaigns - Candidate Detail Page - Michael Badnarik
Includes picture, biographical details, links to news, races (from 2000 to 2006) and endorsements given
Became interested in the U.S. Constitution in 1983 and began a life-long journey in self-study of this founding document of the country he is so proud to call his home ... Became a Computer Programmer in 1977 for Commonwealth Edison at their nuclear power plant in Zion, Illinois ... Was promoted to Senior Software Engineer for their Braidwood Nuclear Simulator project, which he managed from '82-'85 (... basically a $6-million "computer game" for which he was totally responsible). Moved to Montebello, CA, and held a "secret security" clearance at Northrop to work on the Stealth Bomber simulator, '85-'87.
The Voter's Self Defense System - Vote Smart: Michael Badnarik's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)
Responses to the 2006 National Political Awareness Test (multiple choice with some write-in commentary); also includes links to biographical information, public statements and campaign finances
- Drug Issues
Freedom is based on the concept that each of us owns his/her own body. Each person has the right and responsibility to decide what goes into our bodies ...
- ... International Trade
Government control of international commerce is not free trade, it is regulated trade or mercantilism ...
- Social Security Issues
No one on social security feels secure. By reducing the size of government to its constitutional limits, we could afford to care for the elderly and infirm, and also allow younger citizens a chance to plan for their own retirement.


Aaron Russo's extremism in defense of liberty, by Anthony Gregory, Rational Review, 18 May 2004
Compares the pluses and minuses of the major 2004 Libertarian Party presidential candidates (Michael Badnarik, Gary Nolan and Aaron Russo) and explains why he endorses Russo
Michael Badnarik ... disagrees with me on issues of punishment theory, and seems to believe that it is more accurate to call welfare theft than to call taxation theft. I have other tiny disagreements ... but I have to say that he's probably, strictly speaking, the most libertarian of the three. His campaign has brought a much-needed focus on philosophy to the contest, and his wisdom and passion have inspired libertarians everywhere he has traveled ... Badnarik's biggest issue is probably gun rights, and his main strategy seems to be to teach the philosophical and constitutional case for liberty.
Related Topics: Libertarian Party, Liberty, Voting, War
Conventional unwisdom: The Life of the Party, part 19, by Thomas L. Knapp, Rational Review, 1 Jun 2004
Commentary on "machinations" at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention, particularly about the three main presidential candidates (Michael Badnarik, Gary Nolan and Aaron Russo), followed by a resignation letter from the LP
Let's start with Michael Badnarik, the LP's 2004 presidential nominee. I supported Michael until I mistakenly reached the conclusion that he had no chance to be the nominee, and I congratulate him on proving me — and just about everyone else — wrong. He's a fine man, a great Libertarian and worthy in every respect of the support of Libertarians ... The convention delegates had no more nominated Badnarik than a number of them began questioning his credentials and even suggesting a reconsideration of some kind. The problem: Michael Badnarik does not pay income taxes. He doesn't carry a driver's license.
Related Topics: Libertarian Party, David Nolan
It Usually Begins With... Michael Badnarik?, by Jerome Tuccille, 3 Jun 2004
Comments on the selection of Badnarik as the LP presidential nominee over the "rich and crazy" Aaron Russo
Now, let me make it clear that I have nothing against the putative LP presidential nominee Michael Badnarik. How could I have anything against him since I know nothing whatsoever about him except for a brief litany of his achievements reported in the media? And that's precisely my point. Nobody knows anything about him ... Supposedly, Badnarik bested [Russo] and Gary Nolan (the third viable contender for the spot who inexplicably threw his own support to Badnarik) in a debate before the vote took place, and many libertarians are more interested in scoring ideological debating points ...
The Libertarian Party Stays the Course, by Brian Doherty, Reason, 3 Jun 2004
Detailed reporting and analysis of the 2004 Libertarian National Convention and the selection of Badnarik as the LP nominee
[Michael] Badnarik's selling point is being sincerely and radically libertarian ... "When I finally made the decision to run for office," he tells me, "several friends came up and cautioned me I'd have to modify my message and soften it so as not to scare voters. I said, if they want to vote for a modified message they'll have to vote for Democrats and Republicans. That's how we got in this philosophical dilemma in the first place ... Sometimes when I talk I tell people this is the way I see it, and if you don't like that, you are not required to vote for me, but I must be true to my heart. I can't try to be phony."
Libertarians unite to elect Badnarik, by Ron Strom, WorldNetDaily, 14 Jul 2004
Presents quotes from a WorldNetDaily interview with Badnarik after his nomination, together with commentary on the 2004 presidential election
Saying the Libertarian Party is highly unified around his candidacy, presidential nominee Michael Badnarik hopes disenchantment with the Republican Party and high-profile TV commercials will help him garner unprecedented support in November's election. Badnarik, who describes himself as "almost everyone's second choice" for the Libertarian nomination ... He says both Russo and Nolan are working to get him elected. "The Libertarian Party is stronger and more unified this year than it has ever been," Badnarik said, "partially because the party did not collapse into factions over the presidential nomination."
Local Residents Help Select Libertarian Presidential Nominee,, 1 Jun 2004
Reports on the 2004 Libertarian National Convention with comments from the presidential nominee and some of the seven delegates from the Chattanooga, Tenn. area
"The reason we can't find a relationship between the Constitution and our current government is that there is none," declared Badnarik ... Badnarik urged the national audience to reject the "wasted vote" argument ... "If you were in prison and faced a 50% chance of death by lethal injection, a 45% chance of the electric chair, and had a 5% chance of escape, would you vote for lethal injection because it was the most likely outcome, or would you try for escape?" said Badnarik. "Voting Libertarian is our only chance for political survival. Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil."
The metaphysics of Atlanta: The Life of the Party, Part 20, by Steve Trinward, Rational Review, 14 Jun 2004
Another take on what transpired at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention and the selection of Badnarik as the nominee, from a Badnarik supporter prior to the start of the convention
Saddled with a name nobody could (or would?) pronounce properly, and lacking the material resources of either of his opponents, he nevertheless had begun a journey, nearly two years ago, of automobile rides (Did I mention he doesn't possess a driver's license, because he resists the national ID aspects of that document?) and the occasional airline flight when logistics made ground travel impossible. He visited about 30 states along the way, attending 26 state LP conventions and other events, staying in cheap hotels or LP member homes, and doing pretty much everything he could to save a buck along the way.
Michael Badnarik Thinks You're a Libertarian: Texas' Other Presidential Candidate Talks to the Dig, by Joe Keohane, Weekly Dig, 30 Jun 2004
Quotes from and commentary on Badnarik based on an interview with a reporter of a Boston weekly newspaper
Badnarik embodies the radical planks of the Libertarian platform—isolationism, a repeal of all gun laws, elimination of the IRS and the kinds of government regulation of business that keeps a free economy from being totally free and so forth—but in doing so manages to come across as a genial, even-keeled intellectual—a sharp contrast to the popular perception of Libertarians as gun-totin', cabin-livin' anarchists ... "I think I have a very significant chance of winning," he says. His calculus is based on his opposition of gun laws, the draft and income taxes.
An open reply to John Hospers, by Brad Spangler, Rational Review, 25 Oct 2004
Response to a Hospers email endorsing George W. Bush over John Kerry or Michael Badnarik; includes the text of the email, dated 22 Oct 2004, after the reply to let "the reader make up their own mind"
The crossroads picture painted for us, viewed in the context of later statements, is Bush and an imperfect Liberty or Kerry and Totalitarianism. Hospers pushes Badnarik aside before this point, but his doing so is contingent on the validity of Bush vs. Kerry being a clear choice in terms of libertarian ideals. If he can't support that adequately, Badnarik remains the obvious choice. ... There is no libertarian case for Bush. Give 'em hell, Mr. Badnarik, give 'em hell.
Related Topic: John Hospers
Preliminary polling data indicates Badnarik has the support to remove Bush from office, 18 Jul 2004
Press release from the Badnarik for President campaign
With the first round of major polling completed since Michael Badnarik won the Libertarian nomination to run for President, multiple results show him in a better starting position than previous Libertarian presidential campaigns. Recent Zogby, Mason-Dixon and Humphrey Institute data indicate that Badnarik is consistently polling around one percent, as compared with Bush, Kerry, and Nader. According to John Zogby, one percent may not sound like a lot, but with 16 to 20 states considered "battlegrounds" that are too close too call, this slim margin could determine the outcome of the contest.
Related Topic: Libertarian Party
Why this libertarian is voting to re-elect George W. Bush, by J. Neil Schulman, 21 Oct 2004
Explains Schulman's rationale for casting a vote for Bush in the 2004 presidential election
In the 2004 presidential election I will not be voting for the Libertarian Party candidate, Michael Badnarik ... I regard both Michael Badnarik and George W. Bush as decent men. I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Badnarik on Cybercity Radio, August 28, 2004 ...there are two reasons I will be casting my ballot ... not for Michael Badnarik. The first reason is simple reality: Michael Badnarik's prospect for being elected president is effectively zero. The second reason is that George W. Bush is qualified to exercise the executive authority of the presidency and Michael Badnarik isn't.


Kerry's Entangling Alliances, 28 Oct 2004
Cautions antiwar voters (particularly Iraq War opponents) on voting against Bush and for John Kerry, considering the possibilities of the latter waging a more "successful" (and "more efficient") war
Americans who oppose the war in Iraq find it easy to hold President Bush in contempt – as they should, considering his deceptive and disastrous wars that have killed thousands. What's harder is finding much to like in John Kerry. Most antiwar American voters will probably pull the lever for Kerry – or, more accurately, against Bush – but we must all come to terms with the fact that Kerry is a hawk, and a very dangerous one ... What concerns me is the very real possibility that he is sincere, and that he will succeed all too much in turning Bush's catastrophic war in Iraq into an international cataclysm.


An Interview with Michael Badnarik, by Michael Badnarik, R. W. Bradford, Liberty, Aug 2004
Badnarik answers questions ranging from basic biographical information to his classes on the Constitution, and in a follow-up, his responses to Fox News, his taxes, zip codes, Gary Nolan and Aaron Russo
Liberty: Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where'd you come from? What sort of education did you get?
Badnarik: I grew up in Hammond, Ind., just outside Chicago. I went to Indiana University, where I ... majored in chemistry. I got a job at a nuclear plant in Zion, Ill. ...
Liberty: ... [Y]ou're trying to take care of that IRS problem.
Badnarik: Well, the IRS wants money. They don't necessarily want me in jail, they just want compliance. I intend to start paying them the money ... [O]nce I'm finished with the election after November, I will pick up my battle with the IRS again.
Michael Badnarik Interview, by Michael Badnarik, Scott Horton, The Scott Horton Show
"Scott interviews Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian candidate for President, about the war in Iraq and the war on the Bill of Rights"

Cartoons and Comic Strips

This Fall, Every Vote Counts, But These Diabolical Third-Party Candidates Could Deny John Kerry Crucial Votes in Swing States, by Ted Rall, 7 Aug 2004
What if Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik costs Kerry the presidency? ... Conservatives disgusted by GITMO might pull away votes that rightly belong to Kerry ... Third-Party Spoilers: The Ultimate Danger to American Democracy!

Books Authored

Good To Be King: The Foundation of Our Constitutional Freedom, 2004
Partial contents: Ignorance is Bliss—But It's Still Ignorance - Rights vs. Privileges - Individual Rights - Sovereignty - Forms of Government - Our Founding Documents and Early History - Preamble to the Bill of Rights? - Corruption in the United States


Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate, Washington Journal, 31 May 2004
C-SPAN Program ID 182059 - 6, 40:47 mins; includes video and closed-captioning transcript
Mr. Badnarik talked via video link from Atlanta about the Libertarian Party platform and agenda. He said that the current federal government is too large, and is overstepping its constitutional bounds. He also responded to viewer telephone calls, faxes, and electronic mail. Mr. Badnarik had been chosen as the Libertarian Party's 2004 presidential candidate at the party's convention the previous day. Video clips from the convention were shown during this program.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Michael Badnarik" as of 6 Jun 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.