An Open Letter from a (small-l) libertarian to the Libertarian Party: This Is Your Last Chance
I want to love the Libertarian Party. I really do. It’s the only political party out there that is anywhere close to my beliefs. I cannot stand the Democrats’ Keynesian social welfare malarkey, which ruins our economy, keeps folks from getting jobs, basically makes people dependent on the government, and is run on absolutely no logic whatsoever. Conversely, I cannot stand the Republicans’ social conservatism BS, which oppresses gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, Muslims, pagans, atheists (and agnostics), Hispanics, immigrants, marijuana users and, to an extent, women. I can’t stand either party’s foreign policy, or their joint support of such idiotic civil liberty destroying things such as our current national security state or the war on drugs. Only the Libertarian Party has a platform that I fully (or near as fully as anyone can) support.
But regrettably, the Libertarian Party hasn’t had a lot of success. This is understandable; we are unfortunately stuck on a rather ridiculous plurality vote system that became obsolete in the middle of the 20th century, an archaic throwback to a far more simpler time when the entire electorate was comprised of a bunch of old white landowners (all men, natch.) In our current system, it is nearly impossible for a third party to get success anywhere, though there are examples where they do (notably at the governor level, including, this last time around, Rhode Island.)
Not all of it can be blamed on the system, though. Part of it is that the Party, and the campaigns, are horribly mismanaged. Look back to this year’s Libertarian National Convention in Las Vegas, where the race for party chairman was nearly won by NOTA—None of the Above. Look at the video ads for Gary, which look like they were designed by an intern with Windows Movie Maker. And while Gary himself has done beyond fantastically in the debates he’s been in and getting attention on Stossel and other shows, the party and campaign management have been disgraces. (I can’t get into details, because that would require me to A) spill some secrets and B) try to clear up my admittedly fuzzy memory, but the news I’ve been getting hasn’t been very good.)
This deeply saddens me, and makes it all the harder to try and debate the virtues of the Libertarian Party to even other bloggers here. Kevin thinks the party is a joke. I think Chris Barron and Jason feel the same way, and to a lesser extent, perhaps Doug. While most of us are voting for Gary Johnson because we feel he represents our views the best, the party doesn’t seem to be doing much to help him.
Which is where I lay down this ultimatum. Looking back at the 2008 results, Bob Barr received 521,000 votes. In this year, a year where both candidates are pure tripe, spewing empty invective back at each other, a race dominated not by the issues but by silly memes, a year where millions are unemployed and nobody feels they’re being represented—this year, the LP should easily double that number. Gary Johnson should easily get a million votes this year.
If you can’t do that, LP, then I’m done.
If you can’t get just a million votes in this perfect storm of an election, then I’m finished with you. I don’t want to have to defend you against others if you’re incapable of defending yourself, if you’re not going to do any better or bother to make a real effort. People like Gary Johnson, people with resumes made of solid gold, are coming to you to make a difference, and so far it doesn’t seem like you’re doing that much with it.
I mean, what about that Senate candidate in Missouri, Dines? He doesn’t even have a website up and running! He’s just running around smoking pot with his shirt off! That’s not campaigning, that’s horsing around! If you want people to take you seriously, LP, then you need to take yourself seriously. Enough with these strange conspiracy theories of “cabals” trying to take you over. Enough with trying to elect nobody to lead you. Start doing the groundwork necessary for campaigns. Start getting precincts set up. Get people elected to local offices first, to make an impact directly with Americans (who mostly interact with the local DMV, not the White House.) And for the love of the baby Jesus, stop stop stop talking about anarcho-capitalism. No one cares. Just talk about libertarianism in the broadest of terms: Free market economics, social tolerance, no wars, and less government (and taxes!) overall.
But still, in this crappiest of elections, you should easily find a couple of million Americans who are just fed up with it all and get them to vote for Gary. Easy. The one million mark is just the bare minimum. I think you could get 2-3% of the vote if you work hard (which is about, going off the 2008 turnout of 131 million Americans, between 2.62 and 3.93 million votes. I’m not going to stick you to the 5% mark; that seems a bit high. But if you can, do it.) Because if you get that many, and then get Gary to run again in 2016, and work off that foundation you’ve established, you’re set to make much larger gains down the road. Presidency in 2016? Probably not. 2020? Maybe.
However, if you can’t get even one million, then that’s it. I’m done. I’m going to look elsewhere to advance liberty, because you’re not it. I’m not going to waste my time and my hopes on you.
Get your stuff together, LP.