Matt Kibbe, a longtime grassroots activist in the small government field as chieftain of FreedomWorks from 2004-15 and more recently a Rand Paul supporter via the SuperPAC Concerned American Voters, will be launching a new SuperPAC to promote the Libertarian Party candidacy of Gary Johnson and William Weld, to be called "AlternativePAC."
"I have been talking to donors for several weeks as the reality of a Trump vs. Clinton ticket really sunk in. There is real interest in the Libertarian ticket, and Gary Johnson has an historic opportunity," Kibbe said in an exclusive email this morning.
"So I am launching a new SuperPAC to help raise awareness, drive messages, and change the conversation on social media. I think I can raise significant funds for this," he wrote. In a later phone interview, he was not able to name specific donors who might give big money to the PAC.
"The potential is bigger, I think, than just a 'libertarian moment,'" Kibbe wrote in the email. "Done well, we can trigger a political realignment that's been brewing for a long time. We will offer an attractive alternate to the two flavors of authoritarianism, cronyism, and all-war-all-the-time foreign policies of the other two candidates. For the first time, millions of voters will Google the word 'libertarian' in their quest to find a better political choice."
While Kibbe did not this morning lay out his specific tactics, he wrote that "the power of the two-party duopoly is waning, and insurgent candidates with different ideas now have a seat at the table. Our PAC will use data, technology, narrative and cutting edge social media to target disaffected constitutional conservatives, independents, and Bernie progressives looking for something different, something hopeful, with a message of personal liberty, economic opportunity, and justice for all."
On abortion, though Johnson is verbally pro-choice, his record is more nuanced and might not be a total deal killer to social conservatives. Johnson signed a partial birth abortion ban as governor of New Mexico and said in a May 2011 Republican Party presidential debate in South Carolina that "I've always favored parental notification, I've always favored counseling and I've always favored the notion that public funds should not be used for abortion."
Even rock-ribbed social conservative Republicans, Kibbe anticipates, can look at the Libertarians and understand the difference between "personal opinions and the role of the federal government."
Kibbe said in our phone interview that he's not just reaching to the right. There is also a growing opportunity with "Bernie Sanders supporters upset with their likely nominee Hillary Clinton, who is essentially a neocon crony capitalist."
Similarly, Kibbe said in our interview, he hopes Republicans can respect the "only ticket that has Republican governors who have actually governed, balanced budgers, reined in regulatory abuses in very blue states" for years, which he says have traditionally been seen as "key to political success. Even the Bill Kristols of the world should ultimately have to say, of these three choices" Johnson/Weld is the best.
Given Johnson's framing of himself most recently as a "skeptic" about intervention, not a non-interventionist, and willingness to condemn the Iran nuclear deal, Kibbe feels that the Ted Cruz end of disenchanted Republicans might be able to get over even their usual discomfort with Libertarian foreign policy for a candidate who Kibbe thinks is unique in respect for the Constitution.
Does Kibbe think things like "dancing stripping L.P. national chair candidate" James Weeks II will just make too much big money run from the brand? "I don't think it matters that much," Kibbe says. "I will be at the Democratic and Republican conventions as well, and I guarantee you there will be weird, exotic people there as well."
Concerned American Voters will continue as a Rand Paul-oriented PAC focused on his Senate race.