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A Winning Political Strategy for the Libertarian Party
When I was seeking the 2020 Libertarian Party presidential nomination, I proposed a different type of presidential campaign for the L.P., one that relied on pure libertarian principles. My campaign motto was “A Campaign of Principle for the Party of Principle.”
I openly called for the genuine libertarian position on immigration, which is completely open borders. No pleading with U.S. officials to “let in” more immigrants. No comprehensive immigration reform plan. Dismantle the Border Patrol, ICE, and all restrictions on the free movements of people, goods, and services crossing borders, back and forth. End a major part of the federal government’s massive and vicious killing machine.
Abolish Social Security immediately. No plan for saving, preserving, fixing, reforming, privatizing, or phasing out this socialist program. Freedom and voluntary charity work. They do not need to be feared. Everyone would be fine. We just need to recapture the faith in liberty, ourselves, others, free will, conscience, and voluntary charity that characterized our American ancestors, who lived without this socialist program for more than a century.
Abolish Medicare and Medicaid, two massive socialist programs that destroyed the finest healthcare system in history. Abolish the Centers for Disease Control, end the Covid mandates and lockdowns, and separate heathcare and the state entirely. No “health-savings accounts,” “Obamacare,” or other healthcare reform measures. Instead, the immediate eradication of healthcare socialism from our midst.
Dismantle the national-security state, the part of the federal government that wields omnipotent, totalitarian-like powers, specifically the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. Restore our founding governmental system of a limited-government republic, with a relatively small military force designed to mobilize the nation in the unlikely event that a foreign nation were ever to invade the United States. Abandon all foreign military bases, including Guantanamo Bay, and bring all U.S. troops home from everywhere and discharge them into the private sector.
Lift all sanctions and embargoes, including against Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and all the rest. They are just part of the federal government’s massive and vicious killing machine. Restore normal and harmonious relations with every foreign regime, including Russia and China.
Those were just a few of my campaign positions. Every other position I took was also based on pure libertarian principles. That’s the type of presidential campaign I wanted to run as the L.P. presidential candidate.
Radical? You bet it was, but only because what I was proposing was based on pure libertarian principles, without compromise and without concealment of genuine libertarian positions.
Needless to say, the enormous reform-oriented or “pragmatist” part of the Libertarian Party freaked out over the possibility of that type of presidential campaign.
The argument I made was the following: This time, let’s do something different. Let’s do something bold. Let’s roll the dice and see what happens. By taking a big risk, we would stand a chance of breaking out of the standard 1-3 percent vote return for L.P. presidential (and other national) candidates. Running the standard L.P. presidential campaign, I argued, would inevitably result, once again, in the standard 1-3 percent return. What’s that old saying about doing the same thing over and over and over and over again and expecting different results?
Alas, however, I did not get to run my kind of presidential campaign. I ended up getting beat by Jo Jorgensen. No “stop the steal” in my defeat! Jo won the nomination fair and square. She ended up getting a vote return that fell within the standard 1-3 percent.
I am more convinced than ever that my idea of running a bold presidential campaign (and congressional campaigns) based on pure libertarian principles holds the key to breaking out of that standard 1-3 percent and getting into the 7-10 percent or higher range.
The following is my reasoning.
First of all though, let me emphasize something of the utmost importance. I believe we should be running campaigns of pure principle regardless of electoral results. We are not Republicans and we are not Democrats. We are Libertarians, and the way I figure it is that we should be fighting as Libertarians. If we go down, so be it. At least we go down fighting as who we are, while remaining true to ourselves. In the process, at least we restore the Libertarian brand, so that people know what we stand for rather than conclude that we are nothing more than a right-wing political party that stands for a conservative-libertarian mush.
But here is why I also believe that a campaign of pure principle is likely to break us out of the standard 1-3 percent and take us into the 7-10 percent range and perhaps even higher.
As I indicated in my previous Substack article, “Republican-Lite Is a Losing Political Strategy,” the Republican-Lites are on the right track in targeting disgruntled people. The flaw in their strategy, however, is that they are targeting the wrong group of disgruntled people.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, Republican-Lites are usually former Republicans who became disgruntled with the GOP for whatever reason and decided to come over to the Libertarian Party. Therefore, it stands to reason that they would want to target disgruntled Republicans who have remained in the Republican Party in the hopes of garnering their votes.
Thus, oftentimes there is a big similarity of reform-oriented positions between the Republican candidate and the Republican-Lite Libertarian Party candidate. A classic example of this phenomenon occurred in the recent mid-term elections when the Arizona L.P. candidate for U.S. Senate, Marc Victor, dropped out of the race and endorsed his Republican opponent, Blake Masters, because, Victor concluded, their positions were essentially the same. (See my Substack article “Marc Victor’s Surrender to the Republicans.”)
As I indicated in “Republican-Lite Is a Losing Political Strategy,” the inspiration for the Republican-Lite political strategy is the Ron Paul Revolution, when Ron Paul, in his 2008 and 2012 campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, was able to attract the support of hundreds of thousands of Republicans who were inspired by his commitment to truth and libertarian principles.
However, the big flaw in this strategy is its assumption that a Republican-Lite L.P. candidate can persuade disgruntled Republicans to cross over and vote for L.P. candidates. I’m convinced that that’s never going to happen. Most disgruntled Republicans will remain loyal to the Republican Party. They will support and vote for a Donald Trump over a Rand Paul, but they won’t cross over and support a Republican-Lite L.P. candidate, such as Gary Johnson.
But I’m also convinced that the Republican-Lite strategy is on the right track in targeting disgruntled people. They are just targeting the wrong group of disgruntled people.
Who should L.P. candidates be targeting instead? They should be targeting people who don’t vote.
Yes, I fully realize that that is counter-intuitive and seemingly illogical. If people don’t vote, then what’s the point of targeting them for votes?
The answer lies in why they don’t vote. I submit that many, if not most, of them don’t vote because they are convinced that the entire system is stinky and corrupt. And they are right! It is stinky and corrupt. And they are thinking: What’s the point of voting when we are going to end up with the same stinky and corrupt system regardless of who wins? They’d rather not participate and sanction this stinky and corrupt system by voting for one of its candidates.
According to Wikipedia, in the 2016 presidential election, there were 230,931,921 eligible voters. 40.8 percent of them did not vote. Thus, the number of people who did not vote in that election totaled more than 94 million people. That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of potential voters.
In the 2020 presidential election, the number of eligible voters was 239,247,182. The percentage of people who did not vote decreased to 33.1 percent. That still is more than 79 million people. That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of potential voters.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau website, “The most common reason for not voting among registered nonvoters was they were not interested in the election (17.6%). Other reasons included not liking the candidates or campaign issues, being too busy and forgetting to vote.”
I submit that that group of people — that is, non-voters — should be our targeted audience. It we are able to excite them and inspire them, we stand to garner their participation, support, and votes. Moreover, their support has the capability of catapulting us even higher.
However, there is a caveat: There is no way that this group of disgruntled people is going to take the time to go out and vote for any candidate, including an L.P. candidate, who they perceive is sanctioning in any way the stinky and corrupt system. Thus, the standard Republican-Lite L.P. campaign would be perceived as being part of the stinky and corrupt system, rather than standing in opposition to the stinky and corrupt system. Such being the case, those disgruntled non-voters will simply continue not voting.
Thus, when Republican-Lite L.P. candidates take any reform-oriented position in the hope of being considered “respectable” and “credible” by disgruntled Republicans, they automatically shut out any possibility of inspiring the non-voters to go register and vote for the L.P. candidate. The minute that those non-voters see an L.P. candidate supporting the reform or improvement of such things as immigration controls, Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, drug laws, foreign interventionism, etc, they will turn away because they rightly see such reforms as supportive of the stinky and corrupt welfare-warfare state system that they are boycotting.
By the same token, whenever those non-voters see L.P. candidates endorsing or praising Republicans who favor such things as the drug war or the war on immigrants or simply patting them on the back with an “Attaboy,” those non-voters will continue to turn away and stay away.
The only hope for garnering the votes of that group of disgruntled people — that is, non-voters — and exciting them into joining up with us Libertarians lies in convincing them that we are as opposed to the stinky and corrupt welfare-warfare state system as they are. And there is no better way to do that than by standing four-square in favor of pure libertarian principles — e.g, open borders and the immediate repeal of income taxation and the IRS, Social Security, Medicare, and all other socialist programs, the demilitarization of American society, the legalization of all drugs (not just marijuana), and all other pure libertarian positions.
That means, then, rather than taking positions that curry favor with disgruntled Republicans in the hope of getting their votes, an L.P. campaign based on pure libertarian principles would entail waging a no-holds barred, take-no-prisoner campaign against both Republicans and Democrats and making both of them account for what they have done — and are doing — to destroy our nation from within. It means fighting with our libertarian principles and positions rather than with Republican (or Democratic) statist reform-oriented positions. By remaining true to ourselves as Libertarians, we have a much better chance of ultimately prevailing and leading America to liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world.
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