John McAfee

Ads About Killing Politics, Tools to Make it Work Better: The McAfee Campaign's Nuts and Bolts

The Libertarian Party presidential campaign of John McAfee uses vivid, unusual videos and new web tools with the goal of bringing something fresh to Party messaging and organization.

|

On some level antivirus software pioneer John McAfee seems to think he can energize his campaign for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party purely on the abundant sparking octane of his own outsized legend and wild pronouncements.

But that isn't all to his campaign. His vice presidential pick Judd Weiss, and his campaign manager Tiffany Madison (along with a dedicated army of volunteers, Madison stresses), have launched an interestingly strange and attention getting set of campaign ad videos (Weiss) and started building an internet resource for the Libertarian Party that, if it comes to fruition and sticks around, should make the Party a better fit for the modern communication age.

Weiss's fourth and latest video (all of them using the McAfee/Weiss slogan "Let Life Live") is over five minutes long, a length he's quite aware most normal political consultants would call crazy. It's called "Exit Politics."

It uses storytelling, pop culture, tense and maddening music and quick-cut bricolage to create a general aura of disquiet, of detecting something alarming beneath consensus reality and consensus politics, arty-paranoid collages of politicians and pop storytelling, a kind of 4 a.m. in the Nerve-Wracking Room at an EDM club vibe, with an emotional imagistic style that might resonate with a generation who learned their politics from earnest conspiracy theory videos like Zeitgeist:

Washington Examiner noted this anti-political yet pro-Libertarian message in it:

"Every four years Americans come together to bully their neighbors," reads text onscreen in the ad. "Politics is dying. Kill politics so it can be reborn. Be a Libertarian."

The Hill called it "unusual" (though the URL for the article indicates they considered calling it plain "bizarre") and explained:

the video shows a Defense Department representative speaking, mixed with violent footage. It runs through clips of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, interspersing images of former President George W. Bush with Trump.

At one point, the video shows a scene from the TV show "The Simpsons," where a citizen threatens to vote for a third-party candidate and aliens Kang and Kodos laughingly reply, "Go ahead, throw your vote away."

"Unusual" or even bizarre is perhaps just half the reaction Weiss and McAfee want out of the videos. At a McAfee fundraiser last Monday night after the Blaze televised debate in Las Vegas, Weiss premiered the above video for McAfee supporters. He explained the thinking behind them at length.

"We are going after youth," he said. He knows they may turn some people off, and they are even "hoping to create a certain outrage and then pour gasoline on the fire. We want to make something beautiful the media can't resist. We want people on the streets with picket signs [in protest]. That's the goal. I haven't gotten there yet, but give me time, I'm just starting."

In length, in messaging, in lack of lots of verbal information, and especially in libertarian movement terms an appeal via image to emotion and glamour or even a sense of dread—he knows this is "something very different and that's how we will catch attention. I want to create something I would be a fan of and I can't tone it down."

Too much modern libertarian messaging is purely from an engineer's mentality, Weiss thinks. You can't toss complicated economics tomes at most people and expect to hook them. He doesn't think every bit of libertarian messaging needs to do everything, thinking of these videos as a hook in that will lead the interested to the more complicated stuff, applying an assembly line model of sorts of long-term libertarian messaging. "Engineers" in the libertarian movement, "please allow us to sell the engineering you worked so hard on." Mostly, he wants his videos to give people an opportunity to feel something about liberty, something he thinks is lacking in too much traditional movement messaging.

Beyond messaging, the McAfee team also wants to supply useful tech tools to the Party and movement, his campaign manager Tiffany Madison explained in a phone interview. A team of volunteer developers in just a couple of weeks launched the VoteDifferent site, still in early rollout consisting of a national candidate search engine and a survey to "Help our team understand how we can best empower and support our fellow Libertarians now." (The L.P.'s own website candidate list is a bit clunkier and less easy to navigate, as more or less a one-page dump.)

Madison says she anticipates the site becoming a full service site of resource modules helping candidates learn whatever they need to learn, from writing and distributing press releases to how to accept bitcoin donations on their campaign websites, and eventually become a central connecting resource for movement-wide efforts, not just political campaigns.

"We are bringing a startup spirit and lean approach to help people automate and get things done fast," Madison says, helping provide "leveraging tools for ballot access, getting people elected, messaging, if we can get that all" in a highly usable and modern way at one place, she thinks, "that will do wonders" and help provide new ways for people to get involved with the L.P. who might otherwise never do so. Madison hopes and intends that the resource will grow and survive the context of the 2016 nominating race, whether McAfee wins or not.

NEXT: Today's College Students Worship Authority and That's Destroying American Universities

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.

  1. I like the video.
    Ya know instead of running for President maybe McAfee should work for/with the LP party producing political advertisement.

    1. I do own, and watch a lot of propaganda films. “Know thy enemy” and all that. This is an AnCap propaganda film.
      This is the type of thing that the LP has needed for a long time.
      McAfee has a talent for it.

    2. Ya know instead of running their own nominees for anything, LP activists should be producing political advertisement.

  2. I thought the ad was phenomenal – for libertarians. Really, I loved it. Non-libertarians? I don’t see how it does much for them. I

  3. I guess I could be wrong. But I just don’t see how this will appeal to them much.

    1. Simple demonize your opponents, and promise a bright future after they are either converted, or put in a position of minority.
      It’s worked with great effect for politicians throughout Human history.

      1. It works. And it’s exactly why we can’t have nice things.

      2. …[D]emonize your opponents, and promise a bright future after they are either converted, or put in a position of minority.

        Indeed. ISIS and likewise Islamo-Mohammedans concur with this approach.

        1. Just because you have principles does not mean that You can not use successful tactics.

    2. Are you libertarian? If so, the ad wasn’t made for you and what you think of it doesn’t matter. You’re probably the sort of rational person who thinks it’s silly to think people will buy Cheetos just because they might on some subconcious level desire to identify themselves with some radically non-conformist cartoon cheetah. Well guess what? Frito-Lay sells shitloads of Cheetos for precisely that reason – because people are not reasonable and they can easily be manipulated by appeals to emotion. Ever see a Cheetos ad laying out a rational case for why buying Cheetos is a reasonable, intelligent decision? No, no you have not – and few things actually get advertised that way. Everything gets sold as “buy this and you’ll be happier, more popular, taller, thinner, better looking and sexy babes will be throwing themselves at you as their manly men boyfriends all weep bitter tears because they can’t possibly compete with somebody as awesomely awesome as you.” And that’s what works on most people. If it doesn’t work on you, you ain’t most people and who cares what you think?

      1. How do you know what reason Cheetos sell for? How do we know the advertising is having any effect in their case?

  4. Meh, it didn’t feature nearly enough Mexicans, Pot, or Ass Sex.

  5. On some level antivirus software pioneer John McAfee seems to think he can energize his campaign for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party purely on the abundant sparking octane of his own outsized legend and wild pronouncements.
    *************
    In length, in messaging, in lack of lots of verbal information, and especially in libertarian movement terms an appeal via image to emotion and glamour or even a sense of dread?he knows this is “something very different and that’s how we will catch attention. I want to create something I would be a fan of and I can’t tone it down.”
    *************
    “Politics is dying. Kill politics so it can be reborn. Be a Libertarian.”
    *************
    Too much modern libertarian messaging is purely from an engineer’s mentality, Weiss thinks. You can’t toss complicated economics tomes at most people and expect to hook them. He doesn’t think every bit of libertarian messaging needs to do everything, thinking of these videos as a hook in that will lead the interested to the more complicated stuff, applying an assembly line model of sorts of long-term libertarian messaging. “Engineers” in the libertarian movement, “please allow us to sell the engineering you worked so hard on.” Mostly, he wants his videos to give people an opportunity to feel something about liberty, something he thinks is lacking in too much traditional movement messaging.
    **************

    1. ^^^This guy. This guy gets it. Voting makes no sense, we know this to be true. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, you’re throwing your vote away because your one vote makes absolutely no difference. So why do we keep trying to sell voting LP on rational, logical, reasoned grounds when if people were rational and logical and reasonable they wouldn’t be voting at all? Can you not look at Donald Trump and realize the guy makes absolutely no sense whatsoever on multiple levels and yet he’s winning, not despite the fact that he makes no sense but because he makes no sense? Stop making sense! The American people have seen the shit we’ve reasoned ourselves into and they’re ready to just say “screw it, if this is what we get when we follow the rules it’s time to just go nuts and throw the rulebook out the window – it can’t possibly get any worse.” America wants some crazy fucker that’s so over-the-top he just has to have a method to his madness? Let’s give ’em one. You want crazy? We got a guy who killed his neighbor and ate him just because the guy annoyed him. Top that, Trump, you punk-ass maniac wannabe.

      1. “Stop making sense!”

        Same as it ever was.

      2. “You want crazy? We got a guy who killed his neighbor and ate him just because the guy annoyed him. Top that, Trump, you punk-ass maniac wannabe.”

        Honestly, when has the last time a human being has voted with sane rationality?? Let’s get crazy.

  6. Awesome vid.

    May be a little Gen X centric, but . . . awesomeness.

    “Let Life Live” isn’t dogmatic either. It’s catchy, encapsulates our message, and it doesn’t sound like something a militia member from Montana* would say.

    That’s the message we want to get across. I just don’t think McAfee is the right messenger.

    McAfee comes across like neurotic Howard Hughes. There’s nothing wrong with being crazy in college. But then you graduate, and you get job interviews. You get a haircut. You put on a jacket, maybe even a tie. You try to convince the people who are interviewing you that you’re not crazy.

    The LP has what may be most important interview ever–and their competition is a nutjob and a crook. We can score big time goodwill with the American public if we send the right guy to the interview.

    We could send a serious ex-governor (or two), or we could send a funky neurotic. 10% of Americans may either take us more seriously than ever before or be embarrassed as hell that they ever dated us–depending on whom we send to the interview.

    Let’s send the grownups.

    *Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    1. I understand your argument, and you have a point. But we also have documentation from 4 years ago that the “serious ex-governor” will get only 1% of the vote.

      1. The serious ex-governor was going up against Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. He wasn’t the only adult in the room.

        This time, the serious ex-governor is going up against a petulant child prone to throwing temper tantrums and a crook.

        When was the last time the LP looked like the most respectable option?

        The correct answer is “never”.

        Let’s make the most of this opportunity. It isn’t about putting Johnson in the White House anyway. It’s about the libertarian option not being seen as a ridiculous joke in the minds of voters going forward.

        Or reinforcing that crazy stereotype in the minds of voters. If the Republican Party really is reorienting itself in the wake of Trump, we might entice them towards our coherent platform. That was always the way forward for libertarians anyway–we influence the mainstream culture. If and when libertarians take control of the government, they’ll likely be called Republicans when they do it. Here’s our chance to show the mainstream culture that we’re not a bunch of kooks. Our philosophy is serious and is embraced by serious people–ex-governors even! It’s the establishment in the Democratic and Republican parties who are a bunch of kooks.

        1. I’m with you on this. In some ways, a true libertarian politician would be fine no matter what his personality or criminal record or past history, because libertarians aren’t into crony corruption. I also think that at least Johnson and Petersen would be far far better than anything we’ve had so far, and infinitely better than Trump or Hillary. McAfee, don’t know, he comes across as such a flake that I think he has ADHD and wouldn’t actually do anything serious to cut back government; Johnson at least has a two term record of vetoes and getting the job done. So I will probably hope for Johnson, but vote for any of them, and expect the LP candidate to lose.

          1. The problem with McAfee is that what little the mainstream culture knows about him is all wrapped up in kooky stories about him in Belize.

            When people in the northeast hear William Weld talk about libertarianism, whatever else they think about him, they also think that he’s a serious person to hear. More serious than Trump. And people who don’t already hate capitalism probably think he’s more of a serious person than Sanders, Liz Warren, or that crook, Hillary.

            Same thing with Johnson. He’s a two time governor–not a celebrity CEO with a Howard Hughes complex.

            1. This is the reason why I think McAfee should remain in the shadows, and just work PR films/social media for LP candidates.

              1. This. Donald Trump has cornered the market for crazy. But GayJay needs someone to help fire up the imaginations of voters, because that’s not exactly his forte.

    2. We could send a serious ex-governor

      Gary Johnson an inarticulate, goofy, whiny, Nazi-sympathizing, tie-dyed peace sign T-shirt wearing ex-Republican governor who smokes buttchugs pot

      1. Within the context of an alternative to Trump or the crook, he’ll seem like the most responsible option.

        I saw Weld on CNN this morning. It’ll be like having two libertarian candidates. What they say won’t be as important as how they seem.

        All they have to do is seem competent and responsible vis-a-vis Trump or the crook.

        McAfee can’t do that.

        He’s a joke coming in through the door, and he’ll reinforce the perception that we’re a bunch of unserious kooks.

        1. This is why I think McAfee should stay in the shadows and work PR films/social media for LP candidates.

          1. God Damn Shit Squirrles 111

    3. “The LP has what may be most important interview ever–and their competition is a nutjob and a crook. We can score big time goodwill with the American public if we send the right guy to the interview.”

      Right, right. It hasn’t worked throughout the entire history of the LP, but THIS time in THIS important interview, we can benefit by sending a sane guy to rationally argue libertarianism to the interview. It’ll work THIS time!!

      Except that won’t work at all if we can’t get the guy INTO the interview.

      And the interview is being managed by the exact same people who think reality TV is the key to getting them ratings.

      So who’s more likely to get into the interview. The sane guy who gets no ratings increases by allowing him in, or the crazy guy who can play off the OTHER crazy guy to get ratings??

      If serious, responsible people win elections than how did a maniac and a criminal even win their primaries in the first place?? Voters say they care about that sort of thing, but look at the field, look at their actions. The current Trump VS Clinton lineup wouldn’t even be POSSIBLE if we lived in a world where your strategy made sense. Such irresponsible choices would have been shut down immediately.

  7. I like the video a lot, although it could be two minutes shorter and get across the same message. I have zero faith that we will see any real gains for libertarians through the politics. I think the only chance is through influencing the culture. TV, films, books, music, websites, the net, and any other platforms that can produce changes in how people think, and yes, feel about human liberty.

  8. Oh, and Doherty, way to be a responsible journalist and neglect to link to McAfee Campaign Manager, Tiffany Madison; if you are going to cite a telephone interview, you should link to her site as an attribution. That said, she seems like a clever one, and no pesky D/L’s for McA’s useless antivirus softs.

    I thought you prided yourself on Beta-Male obsequiousness to the fairer sex, particularly one so well versed in digital, political, economic, and tech business strategies and solutions. Way to go, ya lazy, chauvinistic, He-Man womyn hater for perpetuating yet another Libertarian Stereotype! I suggest you throw yourself at the feet of the nearest SJW Priestess, accept your punishment, and beg for a penance! Feh!

    1. DenverJ ? Tiffany Madison is gonna be my new handle

    2. Hellooooo Tiffany:)

  9. That video is hard on the eyes in places, but I like it.

  10. It gave me a headache with all the flashing, but other than that it was a great ad.

    McAfee 2016!

    1. I love it, but I would agree, take out most of that flashing, that’s going to turn off most people, they’ll just stop watching it.

  11. Horrible video. It will appeal to no one except crazy people. But it’s fascinating to see all the fake Libertarians here. Their goal is to undermine the Libertarian party by making it seem ‘crazy’ and turn people away. That’s what McAfee is doing, and that’s what Ron and Rand Paul keep getting trapped into by their staff. The party just needs to stick to the basics – Constitution, freedom, rights etc etc. Have a little faith that the people will get it.

    1. Faith that the people will get it? Have you been paying attention to national politics at all?

    2. Ah, little troll sees libertarians finally ready to embrace the power of media, little troll shits pants.

    3. “Horrible video. It will appeal to no one except crazy people.”

      That’s good. The primaries were dominated by Trump, Clinton, and Sanders. The voters are objectively proven to be crazy people.

  12. Faith that the people will get it? Have you paid been paying to national politics at all?

  13. Sorry, folks. I did not like the video. In fact, I had to stop watching it at about 2:00. I see no reason to think most people would like this sort of thing. Hate me if you wish.

  14. Except for the lack of woodchippers I thought the ad was perfect.

  15. McAfee if you happen to read this. Run an Alinski/Rove style CamPain. Stay in the shadows, and rise to attack like an asphalt viper. You have the crazy “Black List” thing down. Run with it.

  16. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8012 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…————————- http://www.cash-spot.com

  17. Make 7500 bucks every month? Start doing online computer-based work through our website. I have been working from home for 4 years now and I love it. I don’t have a boss standing over my shoulder and I make my own hours. The tips below are very informative and anyone currently working from home or planning to in the future could use this website?

    ??????? http://www.nypost55.com

  18. Facebook gives you a great opportunity to earn 98652$ at your home.If you are some intelligent you makemany more Dollars.I am also earning many more, my relatives wondered to see how i settle my Life in few days thank GOD to you for this…You can also make cash i never tell alie you should check this I am sure you shocked to see this amazing offer…I’m Loving it!!!!
    ???????? http://www.factoryofincome.com

  19. Start working from home! Great job for students, stay-at-home moms or anyone who needs an extra income… You only need a computer and a reliable internet connection… Make $90 hourly and up to $14000 a month by following link at the bottom and signing up… You can have your first check by the end of this week…
    I work through this link..
    This is what i do..——————— http://ace23.tk/

  20. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.

    This is what I do?????? http://www.realcash44.com

  21. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.

    This is what I do?????? http://www.realcash44.com

  22. up to I looked at the check of $4791 , I did not believe …that…my neighbour could actualie earning money in there spare time on their laptop. . there friend brother has been doing this for less than 7 months and resently cleard the morgage on their mini mansion and purchased a great Bugatti Veyron . you could look here ……..

    Click This Link inYour Browser….

    ?????? http://www.Reportmax20.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.