Anarchy at the Libertarian Party Convention [UPDATED]

Las Vegas - After a relatively uneventful president and vice-presidential nominating process, all hell broke loose at the Libertarian National Convention when the Libertarian Party attempted to pick a new national committee chair. The race between current chair Mark Hinkle and vice chair Mark Rutherford fell into disarray when a group of delegates associated with Lee Wrights made a push for the option of None Of The Above.

The selection of “None of the Above,” or NOTA, would exclude Hinkle and Rutherford from future rounds of ballots, while opening the race to candidates who can be nominated from the floor. Wrights said he would accept the nomination. 

The fight began when Nicholas Sarwark of Colorado pushed for someone to speak on behalf of NOTA. Parliamentary rangling ensued, watch after the jump.

Sarwark, who seconded Wrights in the presidential nomination process, won his fight to speak on behalf of NOTA and delivered the following speech. 

Hinkle was eliminated after the first round of voting. But because Rutherford did not receive 50 percent plus-one, it went to a second round of voting. In that second round, NOTA beat Rutherford 273-269. Immediately after the vote was announced a round of boos erupted, and one delegate alleged vote tampering.

LP Secretary Bill Redpath held a revote, and Rutherford came out on top by a handful of votes. This caused more anger on the floor. 

"BOOO!" 

"Voter fraud!"

After the crowd settled a motion came to the floor to throw out the recount and conduct a third round of voting. It passed with a two-thirds vote. 

At press time a third round of voting was ongoing. 

Party insiders think this is an attempt to get Wrights in as national chairman. 

When asked about it Wrights denied knowing anything.

“I don’t know what the hell is goin’ on.  I was busy running for president. I don’t have time for these shennaigans,” he said inside the conventional hall.

Wrights said he would accept if nominated for national committee chair. 

The man who started this all, Sarwark, said this had nothing to do with Wrights. 

"I just wasn't comfortable with the two candidates. This has nothing to do with Lee," he said. 

Would Rutherford be an acceptable national chair if NOTA loses?

"I am not gonna cry or get drunk and jump off the roof of the Red Rock if Rutherford wins," he said.

Gary Johnson's campaign chairman, Ron Nielson, described the scene as "wild".

Some background on Hinkle and Rutherford. 

Hinkle has been the party chair since 2010. He is a bridge between the philopshical wing of the party and the political wing of the party. Rutherford is from the political wing of the party. During his nomination speech he declared, "We are a major party!"  A third candidate from Oregon failed to qualify for the election. 

According to one delegate, NOTA has not won in the 20 years that he has been a member of the Libertarian Party. 

Update 5:32pm PST - Mark Rutherford has beat None of the Above, 278-275  278-277. 

Update 5:48pm PST - A motion to extend the meeting beyond 6pm failed. 

Update 5:49pm PST - Redpath calls for adjournment at 6pm. Delegates are challenging his authority to do so. Redpath says there is no winner of the electino and the convention will reconvene tomorrow at 9:00am PST.

Update 5:52pm PST - Motion to overturn the rule of the chair that challenges are dilatory fails. 

Update 5:56pm PST - The meeting is adjourned until tomorrow at 9:00am. There will be a fourth rounding of voting for the LNC chair tomorrow morning. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Franklin Harris||

    At least the Libertarian Party has finally achieved anarchy somewhere.

  • deified||

    Slow clap.

  • yonemoto||

    just to be pedantic, I fail to see how this is anarchy. "Chaos", "Tumult", "Indecisiveness", but not anarchy.

  • Brandon||

    Anarchists are the last group that it is acceptable to slander. Even the libertarians do it.

  • ||

    Actually, fatties are the last bastion fun poking.

    It depends in the type of "anarchist": if you are referring to your average destructive socialist OWS'er type, yes, they deserve every bit of scorn heaped upon them. Same with those Chafters that were running through London on paths of mayhem and destruction.

    Anarcho-Capitalists have a very defined political ethos not depended on the enslavement of others nor the wanton destruction of property borne of envy. They just reject centralized government while accepting that some sort of loose arrangement of laws will naturally evolve and order is dependent on emanating from the individual first.

  • Brandon||

    Again, you are conceding the socialist terrorists' theft of the "anarchist" moniker. I refuse to concede that. "Anarchist" means someone who advocates first principles and does not believe in the initiation of force under any circumstances, not someone who believes that blowing shit up and rioting is a justifiable means to their stated end of forcible wealth redistribution based on their own feelings at a given moment.

  • ||

    Again, you are conceding the socialist terrorists' theft of the "anarchist" moniker.

    I'm not conceding the inappropriate use of the term "anarchist" as valid since I am well aware of the difference b'twixt the two. You can thank the press primarily for reinforcing the notion perpetrated by your average Che shirt wearing, Patchouli smelling, cloves reeking, rent seeking, faux "anarchist". Which is why I employed scare quotes in the first sentence and was not slanderous in any way. In the future, "so-called", "fraudulent", and "counterfeit" will proceed the term to avoid any further confusion.

    Hugs and Kisses,

    GM

  • ||

    b'twixt is definitely a maximally groovy word.

  • tarran||

    I would argue that it is we who are 'thieving' the word. Anarchy means without leaders. But libertarianism isn't about an absence of leaders, but an absence of coersion. A leader whose followers obey freely of their own volition is no problem in a libertarian social order.

    I would argue that the more accurate term would be ancracy - an absence of government. But people look at you blankly when you trot out that word, and anarchy is commonly understood to be an absence of government so it's easier just to call our selves anarchists rather than ancrats.

  • np||

    I'd disagree a bit since it really means without rulers. A leader can be someone who you voluntarily choose to follow but the "-archy" etymology is the same as "monarchy" and "hierarchy" for example, meaning a system of ruling that you must abide by. Anarchy implies self choosen leaders (which can lead to private law and security as in the Icelandic Free State) not a single ruler or singular ruling system imposed on everyone

  • yonemoto||

    furthermore, pointing out that anarchocaps are stupid is not slander, as truth is an absolute defense to those charges.

  • sticks||

    Fuck off minislaver.

  • yonemoto||

    I prefer microslaver.

  • sticks||

    Heh. Fuck off microslaver:)

  • KPres||

    Christ! I already have enough trouble buying the right USB cord for my phone.

  • ||

  • Magiccatphoto||

    I love this party!

  • sloopyinca||

    Fuck me running. We left before the chairman voting because it looked to be civilized and we hadn't read anything about the candidates. Banjos and I just looked at each other and said we both would have voted NOTA just for the hell of it. My vote actually would have mattered? Damn.

  • yonemoto||

    yes, but would it really have mattered?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    NOTA has not won in the 20 years that he has been a member of the Libertarian Party

    You mean "NOTA has not won in the 20 years that it has been a member of the Libertarian Party". NOTA is not anymore interested in your binary choice of genders than it is in your binary choice of committee chairs!

  • ||

    I don't have time for these shennaigans

    Good job, now we lost the Irish vote.

  • Banjos||

    First we lose the cunt vote and now the micks! Oh, why, oh why did we not listen to Ken Shultz!

  • ||

    rofl

  • ||

    He didn't want to get pistol-whipped.

  • ||

  • Mensan||

    Good job, now we lost the Irish vote.

    Nah, I'm still here.

  • WarrenT||

    Wow! This article was almost about something interesting!

    So, so close.

  • Garrett Quinn||

    Thanks for th feedback!

  • Ted S.||

    On the bright side, at least you're not constantly shilling some crappy book.

  • RBS||

    Goddamn Ted, I bet you're a joy to be around at social gatherings.

  • Ted S.||

    Aren't all libertarians like that?

  • JeremyR||

    Unfortunately, one of the best cases against libertarianism seems to be the Libertarian party itself

  • Scotch Man||

    I'd like to see a debate of SMOD vs. NOTA

  • Muir Boda||

    To paraphrase Will Rogers: I am of no organized political party, for I am a Libertarian.

  • Mr. FIFY||

  • ||

    *barf*

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'm afraid to lurk at DU, those fuckers are even worse than HuffPoers.

  • ||

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Ow.

  • Brandon||

    So the rate of state government spending increases can't keep up with the rate of inflation caused by the federal government, and this is being spun as "Obama is shrinking government?"

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That goes beyond spin, actually.

  • Brandon||

    Nah. Not yet. Come monday, when "Obama has cut spending while saving the economy" becomes the new liberal reality, it will have gone beyond spin. It always starts as just spin, though.

  • jacob the barbarian||

    That was evil

  • juris imprudent||

    Nothing surprising in those comments. If more people would just pay attention to the shit liberals say, their support would diminish until they were looking up wistfully at libertarians.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Don't forget the social-cons, juris. Gotta pay attention to the shit they say, too.

  • juris imprudent||

    Do we have to?

    Oddly, I find most conservatives to be quicker to admit that some thing "isn't really their business to interfer" than the average liberal. Not that that really stops the impulse to do so - just they at least admit they shouldn't do that (or want to).

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Most so-cons I've met, have no qualms about interfering with as much of our lives as possible... but libs really do try just as hard to micromanage.

  • Ben the Duck||

    Excerpted examples from HuffPo comments:

    "The only nations in history with 'small' governments were and still are, dictatorships and autocratic monarchies."

    "Libertarianism doesn't work. Regulations are a generally a very good thing. If a traffic light is causing accidents, you fix it- you dont [sic] get rid of all traffic lights."

    "Everytime [sic] libertarianism is applied to an econony [sic], the result is total devastation. See 2008 and the unregulated derivatives market courtesy of Randian Alan Greenspan. When money can be made, people will stoop to all manner of evil practices to obtain more. Thus, it is absolutely necessary for capitalism to be regulated. This being true, libertarianism is a horribly flawed concept. It should've been thrown on the ash heap many decades ago, but the cult just seems to have too strong a hold over some people."

    How I fucking weep for this country.

  • yonemoto||

    when power can be accrued, people will stoop to all manner of evil practices to obtain more. Thus, it is absolutely necessary for government to be regulated. This being true, socialist attempts to use governement to curb capitalism is a horribly flawed concept. It should've been thrown on the ash heap many decades ago, but as throughout most of history, worshipping those in power seems to have too strong a hold over most people.

  • hk||

    Disgusting lie.

    What a bunch of broke Socialist whiners.

  • Tman||

    See, this is why we can't have nice things.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    But mooooooooom!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    What would the neighbors say? Oh, the shame.

  • FSBA||

    This isn't a Lee Wrights thing. The current LNC is stocked full of Practical/Political/Reform Caucus/etc types and it has done a terrible job. The floor fee was the big issue leading into convention, but the clusterf**k regarding the purchase of a national headquarters is arguably even bigger.

    The LNC is sitting on $250,000 worth of donations towards purchasing a building but have done nothing. They promised to refund the money if no building was purchased but to date no offer has been made.

    Whether it be Lee Wrights, or even a past chair like Jim Lark

  • Sandi||

    I took a shit in Las Vegas once.

  • Mr. FIFY||

  • Mike Laursen||

    Sounds about like the two LP conventions I've been to.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    C-SPAN ceased coverage right after the VP was selected and speeches given. They came back to LP Convention coverage later in the afternoon, but only with reruns of material from the past couple of days. I'm not sure that their cameras were rolling during everything described here. I hope so, though.

  • FSBA||

    No, they packed up there cameras sometime during a break after the VP selection.

  • Terr||

    Shit. Is. Getting. Real.

  • Bernieyeball||

    This makes the Iowa Republican Caucus look disciplined!

  • PantsFan||

    Risk-taking returns to the playground
    http://www.nationalpost.com/Ri.....story.html

    "research that is discovering the benefits of a little bit of risk in child development..."

  • WWNGD?||

    The anarchists are fighting for control of a political party?

  • CE||

    I always thought if None of the Above won, it meant that the voters preferred to leave the position vacant. I always liked that the LP had an official option for anarchy.

    This just sounds like typical political party maneuvering though. Why a revote instead of a recount?

  • sloopyinca||

    I swear if we go back tomorrow morning, which is a good possibility now, I may cast my vote for Monty Brewster. I wonder if anybody in the room will get the joke.

    I wonder how many of you will get it without google. (I have faith there will be quite a few.)

  • ||

    "Don't vote for me!"

    Is there a "Wimp Clause"?

  • sloopyinca||

    Our two party system is the wimp clause. And America took it.

  • sloopyinca||

    There was never a doubt in my mind that you'd get it right away, Doc.

  • sticks||

    My first guess without google is Brewster's Millions. That crap flim where Richard Pryor has to spend a million dollars to get a millions or something.... Was John Candy in that? and something about baseball in that movie...

  • sticks||

    Shrug. Still don't get it though(voting for Monty) I guess I should watch that movie again sometime

  • sloopyinca||

    He had to spend $30M in a month and have nothing to show for it to get $300M. If you recall, he ran a political campaign against a couple of scumbags running for mayor of NYC. It looked like he might win, so the night before, he told everybody not to vote for him but to vote "None Of The Above" to force a new election. And that's what happened.

    And yes, John Candy was in that movie. He was Monty's best friend and catcher for the Hackensack Bulls.

  • sticks||

    For the life of me I don't remember the election part in BM.
    If I were at the convention I would write in Harry Johnson.

  • sloopyinca||

    No, no, no.

    Mike Hunt/Ken Shultz 2012. For the women!

  • sticks||

    Sure.

    You've seen Harry's War?

    Funny thing is I just now noticed the hairy dick joke. What is wrong with me?

  • Ted S.||

    See, I remember the 1945 version, which if memory serves doesn't have the mayoral campaign.

    (Actually, there are seven or eight versions of the movie. Almost as many as the "Madame X" story.)

  • ||

    All correct. Monty Brewster has to spend $30 million in thirty days, with not one asset to show for it and a limit on how much he could donate to charity; successfully completing this task made him eligible to inherit $300 million. If he fails, he gets bupkis.

    There was a million dollar wimp clause if he felt he couldn't do it.

    John Candy was in it, as well as Hume Cronyn, Jerry Orbach, Pat Hingle, and Commander Will Decker. Even had David White from Bewitched.

    All sans Google. I thought it was pretty good, if a bit sappy.

    "Now this...This is the room I could die in..."

  • sticks||

    I think I'll be re-watching it soon. Not sure why I have a negative memory/reaction to that movie. Perhaps I confuse it with The Toy?

  • ||

    Perhaps I confuse it with The Toy?

    Ah, that movie pretty much blew, considering the cast it had.

    IIRC, the kid in that movie, Scott Schwartz, ended up becoming a porn director. He was Fitz, the kid that froze his tongue to the pole in A Christmas Story. It also had Jackie Gleason and Ned Beatty.

  • ||

    More on Scott Schwartz.

    Yep, he was in the porno industry until 2000, and he played Flick, not Fitz. Drat!

    Fitz is the ShamWOW guy.

  • sloopyinca||

  • Rich||

    A suspected U.S. drone strike killed nine people Saturday .... The casualties are believed to be members of the Pakistan Taliban

    We got "suspected" and "believed", but not "alleged" or "confirmed". Gotta love that fog of war.

  • zamoracarl711||

    what Mike implied I'm amazed that you can profit $6543 in one month on the internet. have you read this webpage makecash16.cøm

  • Terrance||

    There will be a http://www.edhardypoort.com/ fourth rounding of voting for the LNC chair tomorrow morning.

  • RemainCalm||

    Somebody does not understand what the word "anarchy" means, or somebody indulged in hyperbole. Either way, it's poor journalism.

  • TJ||

    I have a deep seeded disdain for the Libertarian Party because of events like this. And I'm a libertarian. To me, a libertarian "party" seems a bit counter-intuitive.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement