Libertarian Party

Can Libertarian Party Presidential Candidates Overcome Media Indifference?

Watch the second half of the Stossel debate between Gary Johnson, Austin Petersen and John McAfee


What if they held a Libertarian Party presidential debate and nobody came? That's the question asked by Karl Dickey at "Yesterday, April 9, 2016, the Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF) held a presidential debate in West Palm Beach, Florida during their 2016 state convention, yet not one mainstream media person was present—local or national." This despite historic levels of voter antipathy toward the last remaining major-party candidates in the race, and a widely acknowledged opening for any third party to punch above its weight in 2016.

Leading LP candidates Gary Johnson, Austin Petersen and John McAfee held the second half of their nationally televised debate on Friday, which you can watch below (see the first half here):

The candidates have been replicating that Fox Business Network exchange (often with additional challengers) as they barnstorm through various state LP conventions in Florida, Texas and elsewhere, trying to rally support in advance of the national convention at the end of May. With the Democratic and Republican races still showing surprising competitiveness and producing crazy headlines in historically irrelevant states such as New York and California, it seems likely that the vast majority of media oxygen will be devote there, leaving the LP contest of interest mostly to familiarsounding weirdos.

Which is a shame. As former GOP state-assembly candidate Susan Shelley pointed out in the L.A. Daily News, "It's high time to let the Libertarian presidential candidate debate." America is not nearly as interventionist (across all policy areas) as the five remaining major-party hopefuls are. (Don't forget that Ted Cruz, who is at least semi-fluent in the language of libertarianism, has also dropped the philosophy like a flaming bag of poo when it comes to sentencing reform, mass surveillance, mass deportation, war, and other non-trivial matters.)

The one candidate breaking through the media fog so far (despite the, uh, extremely colorful aspects of John McAfee's biography), is last cycle's nominee, Gary Johnson. As GarJo put it succinctly in an interview with New Jersey's Daily Record, "I'm the guy with the resume." Johnson is hitting the media circuit reasonably hard, and is being treated as all but the presumptive nominee by the likes of The New York Times.

But is that premature? I can't speak for the calculations of LP state delegations, who will, after all, be making the final decision here. But it seems to me that the same familiarity giving Johnson front-runner status may also be heightening his own negatives among the Libertarian faithful. Ten years ago if you had asked the median capital-L or small-l libertarian to name a fantasy presidential candidate I reckon (from my memory of Hit & Run commenters, and various conversations) that the winner of that open-ended question would have been Gary Johnson—he was a successful two-term executive who was the first major politician in America to favor the legalization of pot. But by now we know this guy, are familiar with both his inconsistently energetic/eloquent public debating skills and with his emphasis on cost/benefit analysis rather than bedrock philosophy. Those who seek someone who knows the Right Libertarian Answer to most of the questions may gravitate toward Austin Petersen; those who appreciate a little charismatic kink to go with their philosophy will be intrigued by McAfee. Anarchists, meanwhile, are likely to choose someone different altogether.

In short, it will be an excellent debate to cover, one that illustrates the variety of a maturing if still endearingly non-mainstream political party, and the broader and growing libertarian movement around it. Here's hoping more media show interest in the biggest third party in America. 

After the jump, Reason TV's most recent interview with Gary Johnson, from last summer:

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  1. media indifference?

    i think even libertarians are indifferent.

    This election is all about who to vote “Against”. there’s no case for a symbolic vote for a 3rd party which will appeal to any wide range of people. everyone’s too caught up fascinated with the monsters on TEAM OTHER.

    1. If it helps, I’m not Libertarian (registered as independent) but I’ll almost certainly be voting for the eventual Libertarian candidate in November.

      1. Not sure why you think that helps.

    2. If Gary Johnson keeps polling in double digits against Trump-Clinton, the media, and everyone else, will start paying attention.

      1. He has NO platform, just some wacky buzzwords like flat tax.
        Decades of neglect, and we’re nowhere near ready for this golden opportunity.
        But Team Lib has always lived in fantasy land.

    3. Millions of people will be glad to vote “Against” Donald Trump AND “Against” Hillary Clinton.
      Gary Johnson was at 11 percent in the first poll to include him, and only 9 percent knew who he was.

  2. Any libertarian candidate following the rules of a presidential debate he’s entered has shredded his libertarian bona fides in my book.

    1. … shredded his libertarian bona fides in my book. Who gives a shit about your book?

      You’re one of the dumbfucks who thinks a free society can spring from the ground … like a weed … if you lock yourself in an ivory tower, obsessed with mental masturbation. Essentially WHY the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians. (Cato survey)
      Our belligerent blowhards have always been the greatest obstacle to individual liberty. So, faced with a golden opportunity to affect change, which happens only once or twice per century … the blowhards instead focus on “libertarian bona fides” and litmus tests … as even 91% of libertarians recoil in shame.

      Our founders fought a fucking revolution. They didn’t jack off in some ivory tower, comparing the size of their dicks.

  3. Oh for crying out loud. Who cares?

  4. No. Next question.

    With the primaries headed the way they are, I find it a little odd/interesting that the third parties are getting zero coverage nationally.

    1. It is much more fun to write fake news stories about Donald Trump.

    2. The coverage is starting. The New York Times has had 2 stories on Gary Johnson already.

    3. Umm, the primaries are newsworthy. A major component of all political tribes is the belief … a conviction …. that the entire world is breathlessly awaiting their message. Even if, in our case, we’ve explicitly ignored those voters. for decades … even ignored the thousands of libertarians in local elected office. You get what you pay for.

      The dumbfuck voters should shut up, sit down, and allow us to govern them. Because we’re SO much wiser. Harrumph

  5. Can Libertarian Party Presidential Candidates Overcome Media Indifference?
    For starters, they could hold a debate that doesn’t have the feel of a public access TV channel — sorry Stossel, love ya and all, but your 7 studio audience members didn’t give the movement the gravitas it needs to be taken seriously. And FFS, in my cable guide it merely showed up as “Stossel”, with no mention of a debate…

    1. Just be happy Stoss didn’t have the Obama impersonator or his giant novelty scissors there.


    2. What would make a big difference even in these debates is if every candidate called for people who support them to call up and get a generic ‘Vote Libertarian 2016’ or ‘Vote Freedom 2016’ yard sign from the LP website. Even if few people are watching, they are by definition committed to voting third party. And they will only get others to become aware of it if they take a personal action that bypasses relying on the media itself to take action.

      The LP candidates have a chance to prove that they can expand the pool of LP voters. By action – not babble. And this should be something they can all agree on too.

    3. What has the movement done to deserve respect.
      You need to learn what gravitas means.

  6. Echoing Steve G……I watched Friday night’s second half, and the production values were shockingly amateurish. It did indeed look like public access TV. Like maybe they were holding the debate in Wayne and Garth’s basement.

    1. “All I have to say about that is asphinctersayswhat.”

    2. “Like maybe they were holding the debate in Wayne and Garth’s basement.”

      You’re not worthy to make that comparison.

  7. “…shockingly amateurish.”
    As opposed to the routinely amateurish Rand Paul. Libertarianism’s best hope for President USA in 2012.

    1. Rand Paul didn’t run in 2012.

      1. He was no hope in 2016.

        1. But ,… but … but … libertarians KNOW that only the corrupt political class even considers TACTICS.
          So Rand went to Berkeley and elsewhere, selling the ideas of nonintervention and civil liberties to young millennials … then fucked it all away by calling for nationwide tent revivals! My dog is smarter.

          There is a lesson. Ron Paul’s so-called “liberty movement” can NEVER be expanded beyond its unwieldy coalition of conspiracy nuts, bigots and extreme social conservatives ,… who slept through high school classes on the difference between States Rights as promoted by southern racists, versus the federalism of our founders. Anti-gummint instead of pro-liberty. Libertarianism for ourselves instead of freedom for everyone.

  8. No.

    Brief biography of myself, as a libertarian. For whatever reason(s), I’m not a projector of myself outward. It’s not pure introversion per se, just that there’s not a whole lot I care to discuss with people unless there’s a depth involved. I don’t know if it’s a matter or anti-superficiality, but it’s not on purpose. It’s just that if it’s not worth an analysis and a depth of coverage, it’s not worth platitudes. Is it a very slight case of autism or some other “deficiency”, I don’t know. The point? Because I am “choosy” about what I interact with people over, or share, and yet am not particularly offish, I seem to become a “blank slate” upon which people project. I’ve had people hate me deeply over assumptions of who I am, or what they suppose I am, when they do not have a clue. I’ve been accused of holding opinions completely opposite to the ones I hold. Even my own parents assumed I was gay when I am straight hetero. THAT’S how much of a blank slate I can be.

    1. cont

      The final point? I think the whole libertarian concept is a “blank slate” upon which the majority of the body politic projects on. There’s simply very little common ground philosophically for people to even begin to understand, so they don’t even try, and libertarians become the root of all problems. In one day I can see libertarians of being accused as the culprit behind completely opposite ends of a problem.

      There is no solution to it as far as I can see. It’s a problem to deal with at the best of times, but things get even uglier when the culture decides it’s time for hysterics and witch hunts, etc. And when the average person is conditioned to irrational, times get bleak.

      1. There is a solution – but it does require the face-to-face and person-to-person contact that you aren’t comfortable with. Many libertarians aren’t comfortable with that. But I’d argue that those libertarians who collect signatures for ballot access are exactly the sort who are very comfortable with that. The LP is VERY good at that – and then it stops once it gets access.

        Just channel that energy into organizing neighborhoods and precincts. It can be more passive than signature-gathering – but more personal too. For those who aren’t comfortable with the face-to-face, just seeing someone else’s yard sign or neighborhood meeting helps one realize that ‘libertarian’ can also be ‘normal’. And if that person is a dog owner or front-yard gardener or (more obsolete) porch sitter, then that person is political gold.

        Politics isn’t about philosophy. It’s about people. Top-down wholesale politics is designed to minimize people – by manipulating the animal/instinctual part of our brains that we all have and are controlled by – so that we will ‘do something’ without thinking about it much. Break that mold

        1. . But I’d argue that those libertarians who collect signatures for ballot access are exactly the sort who are very comfortable with that. The LP is VERY good at that – and then it stops once it gets access.

          Brilliant on all fronts to this 40-year libertarian, and the first (only?) paid director of a state party.

          I’d already been elected twice and launched a winning tax revolt. All my work was with county chairs on candidate and platform development. We had quite a few in elected office, including a mayor in far northern Washington.

          My favorite example was a county chair who was gathering signatures with one of his candidates. They were in Central Washington which has thousands of migrant farm workers, and they struck out totally at an Hispanic picnic. The chair described it in a droll voice, “Apparently, two white guys walking around with clipboards is kinda stupid at an Hispanic picnic.” He considered it a lesson, and always agreed that too many libertarians are not even seeking the the millions of tiny lessons that need to be learned and shared.

          He was the first to tell me that libertarians are often seen as supremely arrogant. (Confirmed decades later by a Cato survey)

      2. libertarian concept is a “blank slate” upon which the majority of the body politic projects on. There’s simply very little common ground philosophicaly

        I can expect you being a … loner?
        Bat that may be what keeps you from connecting with the majority of both voters’s and libertarians … which, when expanded, is why the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians (Cato Survey)

        The majority of Americana are Nolan libertarians (also Cato), but that ruins the narrative.
        YOU may not know how to sell liberty to the vast majority of people, but thousands of elected libertarians are slowly learning, entirely on their own (so tiny baby steps), while totally ignored by the libertarian establishment .
        For decades I’ve been asking, “What’s the difference between a libertarians society and a free society/”
        Most libertarians think I;m crazy (stop laughing). Some “get it,” and are REALLY pissed. Others “get it” and laugh out loud.

        I respectfully suggest that you expand your reading on libertarianism, and learn to avoid the purists (who HATE voters and elections).

  9. Can Libertarian Party Presidential Candidates Overcome Media Indifference?

    These particular ones? No. A hypothetical celebrity candidate? Absolutely.

    1. Vince Vaughn/Drew Carey 2020

    2. Is McAfee still a billionaire? Maybe he could buy some air time.
      But I think Johnson is our best bet. He’s more qualified than Trump or Clinton, moderate enough for Dems and independents to consider, and more fiscally conservative than Trump for the Reps.

      1. Most important, he speaks the language of average voters, which too many libertarians believe is somehow treasonous. So we have the candidate we need, but nothing close to an actual platform.

  10. If the LP is targeting the media for attention first, it is making a fundamental mistake. The media is wholesale politics. So whoever uses that avenue must first capture big donors and be captured by them. So you can use the money to poll demographic slices, and hire consultants to figure the marketing snippets/soundbites that work, and hire producers to produce the 30 second ads that will be shown on TV. Then the media will give all sorts of free attention to those folks to position themselves as the channel to spend money on to reach voters who give a shit about the candidate. And compete with the D’s and R’s for most of the top-down talent and top-down institutional corruption that makes that work.

    The alternative (assuming no reality TV show or celebrity background) is grassroots politics. Some of which can be candidate-driven – Obama and Sanders are very talented at that. But a better option is the non-candidate driven stuff – such as the stuff that happened on the net for Ron Paul in 2008. Take it beyond the net to neighborhoods and focused on general election voters rather than primary voters – and you have a serious chance of getting free media coverage. The media will cover legitimate news – and few things in politics are more legitimate news than a self-organizing decentralized uncontrollable system.

    If libertarians can’t figure out how self-organizing decentralized uncontrollable systems work; then maybe libertarians don’t really understand free markets either.

    1. The alternative (assuming no reality TV show or celebrity background) is grassroots politics. Some of which can be candidate-driven

      As I said on the earlier thread, if and when we ever see a libertarian movement in the US, it will be because liberty becomes cool and entices people to want to learn more about it. It’ll need to be grass roots as both politics and thus the media are lagging indicators of society. Changing it from the top down is an impossibility IMHO.

      1. I dunno, the right venue, the right time/date slot, the right moderators with an advertising/marketing campaign that actually grabbed the attention of the large number of disenfranchised Ds and Rs, would go a long way in force-ably pushing it more mainstream. If only Reason and/or the LP had a rich benefactor or two, or a couple of brothers or something who could have the clout to pull that off….

        1. Getting into the prez election debates is seriously valuable and I hope the LP can get that done. But apart from that, I think the notion of trying to get big money involved is a huge mistake. Big money never gets involved in anything for free. And nothing is worse for classical liberal and free market ideas – than libertarians becoming an organ-grinders monkey for highly-connected billionaires.

    2. So whoever uses that avenue must first capture big donors and be captured by them.

      Precisely backwards. Gary has the communication skills. He could be our Reagan to Ron Paul’s Goldwater. If we had a winnable platform of policy proposals, the big donors would be lining up.

      Donors invest in winners, not ideas. They have no interest in merely a megaphone. Which is why most of them got rich.

  11. Funny that it should be so hard to convince people that they should want to be free.

    1. Freedom is scary. It’s a tough sell to people who want security.

    2. Who gives permission? Who issues orders? How will anyone know what to do?

      1. Would someone please tell me how to respond to this!!1!

    3. To be fair, libertarians/Libertarians are really shitty at selling the concept.

    4. I personally think LP needs to focus on school governance. Not the ideological charter school crap that allows people to remain passive and uninterested and let everyone allow everything to be run by ‘professionals’. But the reversion back to individual school boards rather than consolidated school districts.

      It wasn’t that long ago (pre-WW2) that there were 125,000 school boards in the US. That was about 1 million or so (assuming a board of 8 or so) part-time non-careerist ‘self-governance’ opportunities. Where ‘normal’ people like parents or property owners or individual teachers could be interested in and knowledgeable about what happens. And that’s then a whole bunch of people who chafe at restrictions on their freedom to ‘do something for their kids’ imposed from above.

      Today we have about 15,000 school districts. All of which have to be run by full-time careerist professionals rather than interested motivated amateurs. Where everyone else is passive. And that passivity then carries over to other less important areas of politics/governance.

      Anyone who thinks K-12 education results have improved as a result of that consolidation is delusional. I understand why the consolidation happened in the 1950’s – but the loss of the number of people who have a tangible interest in freedom is a nasty side-effect

      1. I personally think LP needs to focus on school governance.

        I think the LP would be far more influential if they picked a very-few specific issues that they had very solid policy ideas on (e.g. end the drug war, increase school choice, reduce regulatory burden on businesses, etc.)… and just fucking punted on the rest.

        i.e. pick things the US voters actually care about which everyone else has ignored, and push those issues emphatically. And stop trying to make every other thing fit inside some libertarian cookie-cutter template.

        1. I agree with the need for focus but disagree on the scope. Libertarians need to focus on a local issue – and get the experience in solving it. Not a grandiose natl/global issue where it is talk with no hope of having credibility to be chosen to try to solve it.

          Schools are one of the few things that everyone cares deeply about at some point in their life. Without the already established D/R partisanship. And there is no possibility that any solution will occur from the top-down – which includes a top-down solution imposing ‘charters’ or ‘vouchers’. That is central-planning posing as ‘free market’. It’s an ideal issue for small-l libertarians to quickly find that they have something in common with each other – and that is what will turn them into big-l Libertarian.

          There are tons of ways to increase school choice within a single building (eg your local elementary school). Where the building/facilities itself is infrastructure that affects nearby property values. Where the activities within can meet a wide range of choices/effectiveness/accountability required by parents/teachers/students. And where opt-out choices can still happen as well.

          Let 100,000 flowers bloom and show what works and what doesn’t. It is exactly a free market at work – nationally and locally – even if it is a market within a governmental form of governance.

          1. . Libertarians need to focus on a local issue – and get the experience in solving it.

            Thousands are in local public office, and have been doing that for decades. That you never heard of them is the problem.

            BECAUSE they are totally ignored by the libertarian establishment, 91% of libertarians reject the libertarian brand entirely. And because they have no identity, no common principles, and are mostly forced to invent the same solutions on their own that thousands of others also invented on their own

            I was elected to a local school board by a landslide, got my entire slate elected, and won a major tax revolt. In talking and dealing with hundreds of elected libertarians over several decades, they all agree that the total lack of a cohesive “something” made it almost impossible to prevail. I found dozens in my own county, only when I began purposefully looking for them. Very few of us were in the same office, and almost none faced the same challenges, so we were too few to help each other.

        2. pick a very-few specific issues that they had very solid policy ideas on (e.g. end the drug war, increase school choice, reduce regulatory burden on businesses, etc.)… and just fucking punted on the rest.

          Wrong issues BY FAR, as you suggest next

          i.e. pick things the US voters actually care about which everyone else has ignored,

          Us voters don’t give a rat’s ass for the issues you listed … which we’ve always stressed to ZERO avail …. BECAUSE we have absolutely NOTHING on issues that voters care about.

    5. Everyone wants to be free. They just don’t want other people to be free.

    6. Funny that it should be so hard to convince people that they should want to be free.

      THAT is why we lose, over and over and over. Being free is as useless as being anti-gummint, toward getting .
      Even worse, we have not one actual proposal to show HOW freedom would improve their lives — not freedom in the abstract, specific policies.

      Hell;;, even libertopia is massively arrogant. In a free society, it’ kinda wacky to believe everyone, or even a large plurality, MUST be libertarian. Or as Sharon Presley (co-founder of Laissez Faire Books) put it, “give a flying fig about libertarian theory or Austrian economics.

      As long as we focus on libertarianism for ourselves, instead of a free society for everyone … the libertarian brand will continue being rejects by 91% of libertarians (Cato survey) You get what you pay for. (gasp)

  12. I saw the debate last weekend…it wasn’t that cool.

    The whole idea of having LP candidates debate on Fox is silly. LP members can presumably be relied on to select a nominee for their party. As for non-LP people, if they watch at all, it will simply show them some people squabbling over the nomination of a minor party – why should that be interesting?

    If Stossel wants to get some publicity, then he should wait until the LP has its nominee, then recruit some Dem and Rep hacks yearning for media exposure to debate against the LP candidate on behalf of the major-party candidates.

    That way the actual differences among the candidates can be addressed in a substantive debate which covers all the political options – a better recipe for getting viewers and for exposing viewers to the contrast between the LP candidate and the major-party candidate.

    The beauty of my suggestion is that there is no shortage of Dem and Rep attention whores who would be willing to provide exposure to the LP candidate in exchange for exposure for themselves.

    1. he should wait until the LP has its nominee, then recruit some Dem and Rep hacks yearning for media exposure to debate against the LP candidate on behalf of the major-party candidates.

      I agree that there’s a far better prospect for increasing the influence of the “libertarian vote” by getting mainstream candidates to ADDRESS libertarian policy issues.

      Just having libertarians debate each other in some late-nite vacuum-chamber is useless.

      1. getting mainstream candidates to ADDRESS libertarian policy issues.

        Far better if libertarian candidates had any libertarian policies!

        If Gary Johnson had a comprehensive platform of actual policies, he’d be elected easily.
        And he’d have to target the entire top half of the Nolan Chart (the libertarian majority ignored by the libertarian establishment.

    2. Or wait for the first Trump-Clinton debate (if it excludes Johnson), and then ask the same questions to the LP candidate and the Green candidate and whatever “independent” candidate the sore lose Republicans trot out.

  13. Besides the crappy quality, the debate was on Fox Business on a Friday night. Who the hell watches that show?

  14. The lesson the Libertarian party hasn’t learned, is that now is the time to go-for-broke. Gary Johnson would be a great choice, if the electorate wanted an experienced, able politician at the helm. They don’t. They want someone who reflects their own dissatisfaction with the system.
    John McAfee is a personality. He doesn’t have the polished image of Petersen, or the public-sector experience that Johnson would bring to the table. But he is the guy who can absolutely put forward the viewpoint of the liberty movement on a national stage, not because he studied Ron Paul’s playbook to death, but because the man lives the values he speaks of.

    He scares the hell out of a lot of people, especially pundits who really delve into his past. But people will be talking about him. And examining what he is saying. They’d be listening, at least. And the message would reach a new set of people.

    Breaking out of this echo chamber would do wonders for the L party, especially in a year where an unprecedented number of people are truly ready to finally hear the message. McAfee might not be able to win an election, but he could recruit a lot of new converts, by simple force of nature.

    1. “McAfee for President – because the 2016 campaign isn’t surreal enough!”

      1. I don’t think he’ll use the slogan “McAfee for President – you’ll love my libertarian program”

      2. “McAfee for President – making Trump look normal!”

        1. “McAfee for President – BFYTW”

        2. “McAfee for President — Stop the Trump-Clinton Virus, and Slow Down the DC System”. Just like it does to your PC.

      3. Honestly, not a bad call.

        Look at the support for Trump, Sanders, and Clinton. CLEARLY the electorate WANTS a crazy person in charge!! If libertarians want to win, they have to supply a crazy libertarian. Because sanity is NOT what the people want this election season!!

        “McAfee for President – Crazy, but he’ll leave to run your own life”

        1. But where could the LP find a crazy candidate? Oh, wait…

    2. Thx for mentioning the ‘echo chamber’. That’s another thing that tweaks me, the questions by libertarians for libertarians. How about instead of questions straight from the purity test, we hear from the LP candidates on how they plan to actually succeed in DC as a political outsider. What will be their strategy to integrate their platform into the system and accomplish something.

      1. this. start running to win, so people will take them seriously this time.

      2. LP candidates on how they plan actually succeed in DC as a political outsider.

        Simple. ONE goal of a vast majority of voters is to end the partisan back-biting and get them working together.

        For that, Gary can promise to veto every bill without a 2/3 majority to override — including his own proposals. Don’t CALL it “:forcing” them to work together. But if they want to get elected. they’ll have to do something REAL. Together. Realistically, many will use Gary’s threat to justify actions unpopular in their own district, which is good.

        But he’d also need a comprehensive platform, targeting the entire top-half of the Nolan Chart (a majority). Not the slogans and buzzwords that excite Tribe Lib … actual policies. “Git the gubmint out” is not a policy. At this moment, he has not a single one of relevance to this campaign. This is no libertarian moment, but it is most certainly our time … after 40 years.

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  16. That my friend is why we must roll with the punches.

  17. Gary Johnson’s politics and political experience, Petersen’s polish and quick soundbite like answers, McAfee’s charisma and outsider aura, and Bloomberg’s money and connections. Elements that a libertarian candidate needs to win a Presidential Election outside (or even inside) the two party system, which none of these candidates have on their own. Johnson lacks charisma and isn’t a very good speaker or debater, Petersen and McAfee lack Johnson’s political experience. And all three men have no where near the resources or connections to bring through the Two Party lock on the Presidency. In truth all three of these gentlemen would be better off building a base of political support and running for office in their respective states. Same goes for John McAfee whose “Gonzo” persona could benefit from the “moderation” or “gloss” of holding a public office.

    Really I wish the LP would give up on its pursuit of the Presidency and focus on a few select states where one of the two major parties are weak or non-existent and pour their resources into building a slew of strong state parties that could replace one of the big two in that state (ex: Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah states where the Dems are almost non-existent.)

    1. But you get way more bang for your buck running for president. No other office gets any media coverage at all. And if you just try to supplant the D or R candidate in a particular state, you become them.

      1. After 40 years (the movement) what has that established? According to Cato, the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of LIBERTARIANS. I know why, do you?

        Thousands of Nolan libertarians are elected and slowly expanding liberty in local office ,,, totally unknown to the libertarian establishment. Hundred of libertarians are elected to STATE office, but as Republicans and Democrats. When I was LP state director in Washington, one libertarian rejoined the party after retiring from public office … where he had risen to chair the House Budget Committee, the third most powerful official in the state, and formed a libertarian caucus for both parties. Quite loyal to libertarianism, but quite harsh on libertarians (who he said are much different). Libertarianism is now largely a cult.

        40 years of working and waiting for today’s golden opportunity. And not one damn thing to show for it. Our only viable national candidate, Gary Johnson, developed entirely on his own, outside the movement.

      2. Not necessarily. Rob Sarvis (L-VA) and Sean Haugh (L-NC) got plenty of national coverage from the media when they were trying to paint them as spoilers. Besides we don’t necessarily care that much about National Coverage if we can get the local and statewide coverage National will eventually follow if its a big enough story.

        “And if you just try to supplant the D or R candidate in a particular state, you become them.”

        We become a little more like them moderating our image and embracing incrementalism. They become a little more like us, embracing lower taxes, lower spending, decriminalized cannabis, etc. Yes we’re gonna have to become a little more like the voters of Utah, Wyoming, etc. in order to win them over. The voters who’ve been spoon fed how great the New Deal is for decades need to be won over slowly.

        Consider for a moment that the Democrats have a strong political base of support in places like New York, California, and Illinois . And Republicans can point to a base in places like Texas, Georgia, and Arizona. Libertarians at best can point to states that have a s-called “libertarian streak.” But other than being the winning margin between of one of the two main party candidates there is no real base to speak of. If the LP wants any shot at one day being an actual player at the national level, they have to start building a real base of support. Which means focusing more on winning at the state and local level rather than national.

        1. if we can get the local and statewide coverage

          Yep. That’s why I stressed local and county offices. However those are nonpartisan and the libertarian brand is rejected by even 91% of libertarians.

          I’ve been out of retail politics for 15 years, but all the successful state level officials I found were like the one I knew in Washington. They developed their personal brand in non-partisan offices as (unspoken) libertarians, got elected to the state level as a Republican or Democrat. Most of them were young, so I don’t know how many rejoined the LP after their state office (like ours had).

          Because most movement libertarians have zero involvement in retail politics, they have no idea how great a burden is the libertarian brand. When I won a school board race and tax revolt. I was one of the best-known libertarians in Cleveland (for op-eds and publishing a small-business magazine). I knew I’d be attacked as a libertarian and prepared debate responses. I only got one attack, for favoring “school choice” but running for a public school board. My prepared answer got both applause and laughter!

          “Yes I do prefer school choice as a libertarian. But it won’t happen while my kid’s still in school. As a parent, I will do all I can for my kid starting this January. And as a candidate, all I can for your own kids. I need votes, volunteers and dollars. Consider helping with either …. or ll three?”

          The ending got the laughs!

  18. “Media indifference” is an optimistic spin. It is better described as passive contempt on the media’s part. Of libertarians were a threat to the progs than it would turn active and the hate would be scathing.

    1. It already is when you consider how the word Kock brothers has become synonomous among liberals as a “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”-esque world conspiracy.

      1. Sorry: “phrase Koch brothers”.

        Damned iphone + public education

      2. Just as the George Soros conspiracies on the right! We all know snopes is owned by Soros, right?

  19. Last time the indifference was here, Matt.

  20. I wonder what the media’s response to this article will be.

    (sorry, that was mean)

  21. Concerns for the LP nomination are justified. But it’s not just the LP. The libertarian establishment is just as wacky as progressives.

    The libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians. (per Cato) PROOF of a libertarian wave sweeping America is growing social tolerance ? AND the extreme social INtolerance (and statism) of the Paulista Cult. Reason reports to movement libertarians the achievements of Nolan libertarians — thousands of them in elected local office, TOTALLY ignored by the libertarian establishment. Now we need their votes but ?.

    Specific policy solutions? Not a single one. “Git gummint out” impresses the goobers, but is totally useless to voters. “We don’t need no steeeenking votes!!”

    Medicare vouchers increase competition in the WRONG MARKET. Progressives ain’t the only dumbasses to confuse insurance with healthcare.

    The holy mantra, a flat tax in income or consumption, is a MASSIVE tax cut for ONLY the rich — who subsidize half the middle-class share of taxes. Millionaires pay an average income tax rate of 27%, versus less than 9% for everyone under $100,000. Who tells our establishment?

    For social security privatization, Cato’s Michael Tanner dismisses the transition as a “costly one-time event” ? umm one time even that lasts over 30 years, declining slowly from $375 billion per year. And it’s Congress’s job to pay for it anyhow! (OMG)

    We are now the political class, with different slogans.

  22. The media goes where the eyeballs are.
    The problem is the voter indifference.

    1. Caused by us ignoring them for decades. Not even giving a shit about issues that matter to them … even though we SHOULD have the best solutions. Now if we had been promoting and defending individual liberty, and showing how it would best enrich the lives of most Americans .,…. (sigh)

  23. Oh, everyone’s out this afternoon

  24. 52 years ago – when Goldwater got sacked by the GOP establishment – I decided my ONE vote didn’t count as much as my Party registration. I’ve been either an Independent or Libertarian ever since.
    Hey, I can still vote for anyone! But, what if there were 50,000,000 registered Libertarians . . . do you think that would affect the collective political mind?

  25. 52 years ago – when Goldwater got sacked by the GOP establishment

    Umm, he won the nomination in what was then described as a major defeat for the party establshement (aka Rockefeller Republicans) No conspiracy there.

    … if there were 50,000,000 registered Libertarians . . . do you think that would affect the collective political mind?

    No conspiracy here, either. The political elite includes the libertarian establishment (Cato and Reason) which shamelessly sucks up to conservatives and Republicans, presumably to compete for donors.

    We’ll never get all those registered libertarians, with NO fucking policy proposals on ANY major issue for voters. Ever. Not one. “Git gummint out” ain’t a policy. And “I don’t need no steenking votes” is hardly a way to attract voters.

    “Anti-gummint” is an easy way to attract maybe 10% of the voters with little effort or intelligence. But Rand just showed the futility of trying to expand his father’s freaky coalition of conspiracy freaks, extreme social conservatives and outright bigots who swallow the version of States Rights promoted by the Klan instead of the Federalism promoted by our Founders.

    1. This doesn’t explain or justify Party registration.

      1. This doesn’t explain or justify Party registration

        You were dead wrong on Goldwater.
        Your 50 million libertarians would be useless with what I summarized as … “with NO fucking policy proposals on ANY major issue for voters.” Which is why there’s NO chance of those registrations … plus the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians. (Cato) In Cato’s survey — by a top pollster — they LITERALLY rejected the libertarian label.

        Today’s dominant themes have ALL failed
        1) Being “anti-gummint” instead of pro-liberty (probably WHY Cato’s proposals are long on anti-gumminf rhetoric by totally useless as operating policies.)

        2) “freaky coalition of conspiracy freaks, extreme social conservatives and outright bigots who swallow the version of States Rights promoted by the Klan instead of the Federalism promoted by our Founders.”

        There’s more. The laughable “libertarian moment” includes targeting independents … 30% of which are collectivists of various hues ,… while STILL ignoring the 59% of Americans who are Nolan libertarians … fiscally conservative and socially liberal. (Cato survey) Do the math.

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