Woods Interviews Harlos on the State of the Libertarian Party

On the latest episode of his eponymous podcast, historian, author, Ludwig von Mises Institute senior fellow and non-party libertarian Tom Woods is joined by Libertarian National Committee Region 1 representative (and Libertarian Party Radical Caucus member)  Caryn Ann Harlos. Topic: “Where Is the Libertarian Party Today, and Where Is It Going?”

114 thoughts on “Woods Interviews Harlos on the State of the Libertarian Party

  1. Pete Blome

    – When she became Communications Director of the Colorado LP, was it in a contested election?
    – When she became Coordinator of the Colorado LP Radical Caucus, was it in a contested election?
    – When she became LP National Region One Rep, was it in a contested election?
    – Had she held a leadership position in some other organization before becoming a senior player in the National LP in such a short time?

  2. Andy

    I listened to this interview yesterday. I like Caryn and I appreciate her enthusiasm and activism, however, I disagree with two things she said in the interview.

    Saying that it does not matter which level of government is cut first is a TERRIBLE strategy. This came up in regard to immigration, which has recently been debated in other threads here, but before I get into this, I am going to post a few example of where eliminating some part of government WITHOUT ADDRESS OTHER ISSUES could cause major problems, such as:

    a) Shutting down all government prisons, WITHOUT addressing what is to happen with all of the truly dangerous criminals who are behind bars for real crimes, like the murderers, the rapists, the child molesters, the armed robbers, the arsonists, the extortionists, the assault and batterers, etc….

    b) Cutting off military funding, WITHOUT HAVING A PLAN TO BRING ALL OF THE MILITARY MEMBERS WHO ARE STATIONED OUTSIDE THE THE USA, AS WELL AS THE EQUIPMENT THEY USE, HOME TO THE USA. Bringing home the troops and all of the equipment they use is a huge job logistically. It would cost lots of money and be lots of work to bring them, and the equipment home to the USA. Sure, it would save money in the long run, but in the short term, it would cost a lot of money to pull this off logistically. Saying that you want to leave the troops and the equipment they use wherever they are and cut off their tax payer funding is not a viable response.

    c) Ending Social Security, WITHOUT HAVING A PLAN TO PAY OFF ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CURRENTLY DEPENDENT ON SOCIAL SECURITY. I am all in favor of getting rid of Social Security, but you can’t do it without having a plan to pay off everyone who is currently dependent on Social Security. I could see kicking off some of the people who are currently collecting SSI who are young and able bodied, and capable of working, but there are lots of old people out there who are dependent on Social Security, and if you cut off the program in ISOLATION (as in just cutting off the program WITHOUT having a viable plan to make sure all of the older people out there get a fair payoff), then there would be major problems, and this would be very unpopular politically.

    d) Lots of people rely on the government for disaster management. I am talking about things like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and even snow storms, particularly if they are blizzards. Suppose your government shut down plan just happen to coincide with some kind of disaster taking place. Let’s say that you got enough libertarians elected to some level of government in order to shut down some kind of government disaster programs, but the timing worked out such that before a transition could be made to prepare for a disaster without the government being involved, a disaster happened to strike. Let’s say that it was a local government office, and before your transition plan were to go into effect, a major snow storm struck your area. The roads have 2 feet of snow on them, and are covered with a layer of ice. Traffic is stalled. There are plenty of government trucks parked with snow plows on them at your local government municipal lot, but you just laid off all of the the people who drive those trucks, and you are in the process of putting those trucks up for auction. You have money in your local government budget that you were planning to refund to the local taxpayers. There are not enough people in the private sector to get the snow off the roads and put rock salt on the roads in a timely manner. Do you use taxpayer funds to continue the government snow removal service since your plan to turn this function of to the market was not ready to go, or do you sit there and say, “Taxation is theft, and I’m against government programs, so we are just going to have to sit here and wait for the market to clear the roads, even if it means that a bunch of people don’t make it to their place of employment, or that lots of good are delivered late, or even that ambulances don’t get people to hospitals in time, and some people die.”?

    Getting back to immigration, as is being discussed in other threads here, the REAL Issue is not even immigration, but rather, one of property rights, and the real issue is transitioning from government control of borders over to private property owners controlling borders. If we lived in an anarcho-capitalist society, which is what the libertarian philosophy leads to if you take it to its logical conclusion, immigration/migration policies would be set by land owners, and/or groups of land owners who act in voluntary associations. So there’d be no such thing as “open borders” in the absence of the state, unless the land in question was unclaimed land, and considering that the USA currently has a population of around 325 million people, if all land currently held by government were in private hands, there may not be any unclaimed land left in the USA. Remember, in the absence of taxes, people who already Americans would be more likely to own more land. Speaking for myself, I had ancestors who were farmers. Perhaps if this country had been a tax free environment, this farmland may have been passed down to me, or at least some of it could have, and I would own a bunch of acres of land right now. There are probably several million Americans that have this same situation. If we lived in a tax free environment, how many Americans who currently live in apartment buildings, or town houses, or houses with small yards, would have bigger plots of land right now if we lived in a tax free environment? Probably a lot.

    Now another question emerges, and that is how do you go about liquidating and/or dividing up assets and property currently held by government, if you were shutting the government down, and how do you do it in a fair manner (as in not just handing government property/infrastructure to people who are the most politically connected)? Some assets could be sold at auctions, and perhaps other assets could be turned into public companies, and every American could be issued shares of stock out of this. Perhaps some government assets could be turned into charitable foundations, like a foundation to continue taking care of public parks or roads or whatever.

    Here is another question of which I’ve never gotten any libertarian to give a straight answer (they either dodge the question, or in some cases, just admit that they do not know, or that they have yet to figure this one out): The government currently holds a large stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, and biological)? What happens to this weapons stockpile in the event of a government shut down? Some libertarians may say that these weapons should all be destroyed, but saying this, and actually getting it done are not the same thing. Who is going to make sure that these weapons of mass destruction are all destroyed, and if they are not all destroyed, what happens to them?

    Now getting back to immigration, she says that the borders should be completely opened up even if the welfare state remains in existence, and that Libertarians should just continue rallying against the welfare state even if millions of immigrants flood into the country and get on welfare. So are we supposed to believe that Libertarians can just wow people with our knowledge of free market economics, and that enough of them will listen to us and say something like, “You know something, you libertarians are right. We should shut down the welfare state. I’m going to just give up my welfare programs and adopt free market principles. Thanks libertarians, you all really set me straight.” This is a nice fantasy to have, but back in reality, this has NOT been working. Libertarians have been rallying against the welfare state for many years, yet more people are on welfare, and there are more government welfare workers. Have you ever tried engaging any of these people in conversation on the issue of shutting down the welfare state? I have, and I can tell you that the vast majority of them will not even entertain the idea of shutting down their program. The bulk of these people care more about getting their check (or whatever service) from the government than they do about any principles. They don’t care about the free market. They don’t care about liberty. All they care about is getting money and/or services from the government, and most of them will not even consider private charities or other free market alternatives.

  3. Andy

    So there already exists a large block of people in this country who vote for bigger government no matter what. Now consider that there are MORE THAN 5.6 BILLION PEOPLE THE WORLD RIGHT NOW LIVING IN WHAT WE WOULD CALL POVERTY. The majority of these people are completely clueless about free market economics, and ideas like limited government are alien to them. Now keep in mind that there are MANY PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD WHO ARE NOT NECESSARILY POOR, BUT WHO ALSO HAVE NO CONCEPT OF WHY A FREE MARKET AND LIMITING GOVERNMENT ARE GOOD IDEAS. Now keep in mind that it would not be difficult for MILLIONS of these people to come here, and that once here, they could have children, and under the current birthright citizenship laws, the children of these immigrants are automatically regarded as American citizens, and that after being here for a few years, these MILLIONS of new immigrants can go through the naturalization process, and become citizens themselves, which means that they can register to vote, and therefore gain political power. Now keep in mind that the current government employees who run the naturalization process do such a lousy job of teaching these new “Americans” about the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution, that all of the data collected says that a super-majority of those sworn in as “American citizens” support the expansion of the welfare state, and eliminating the right to keep and bear arms. Part of the naturalization process includes swearing an oath to uphold and defend the the US Constitution, yet a high percentage of these people either do not understand what the US Constitution says, or they know what it says, and they just do not care. Whatever the case is, it should be clearly apparent to all that the people who run the naturalization process are fraudulently declaring people to be “American citizens,” which means that they can register to vote and impact our political process, who should NOT have been sworn in as American citizens as they obviously perjured themselves when they took the oath.

    So if an announcement were made that the USA now has officially declared “open borders,” and the welfare state remained in place, and there were no reforms made to the naturalization process, what do you think would happen?

    The USA currently accepts 1 million legal immigrants per year (this figure does not include all of the people who enter illegally, or are “undocumented”, so the real number is higher than 1 million people per year).

    So if the USA declared “open borders” how many people do you think would enter each year? I could see the number going much higher than it currently is, especially with the birthright citizenship law being in place (lots of people are already coming here just to have kids, so their kids have automatic citizenship). Don Wills pointed out on another thread that travel has become easier in the modern world, so when one considers the number of people who live in poor conditions around the world, it is not a stretch of the imagination to say that lots of them would want to come here, especially with the draw of the welfare state, birthright citizenship for any offspring they have on American soil, and a relatively easy process for gaining American citizenship for themselves.

    So how many would come here? Nobody knows for sure, but I do not think that it is unreasonable at all to say that it could easily be 10 million per year.

    Keep these figure in mind.

    China has over 1.3 billion people.

    India has over 1.3 billion people.

    Indonesia has over 260 million people.

    Brazil has over 207 million people.

    Pakistan has over 196 million people.

    Nigeria has over 186 million people.

    Bangladesh has over 161 million people.

    Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, has over 122 million people.

    The Philippines has over 103 million people.

    Ethiopia has over 101 million people.

    Egypt has over 92 million people.

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo has over 82 million people.

    Iran has over 79 million people.

    I could go on with more examples, but hopefully you get the point.

    It is not unrealistic at all to say that if completely “open borders” were declared under current market conditions, with no other changes to any laws taking place, that there would be a flood of MILLIONS OF PEOPLE into this country in a short period of time like never seen before in history.

  4. Andy

    I would not be surprised if the leading government officials of some of these nations would actually start up programs to ship some of their populations over to the USA just to get rid of them (as it to make them “America’s problem”), and/or to gain more political influence in this country. They may even use taxpayer funds to ship people over here.

    Keep in mind that THERE ARE CURRENTLY US GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS IN PLACE THAT USE TAXPAYER FUNDS TO BRING IMMIGRANTS TO THE USA, AND TO SIGN THEM UP FOR WELFARE ONCE THEY GET HERE.

    I do not think that it is a stretch to suggest that various political groups and wealthy individuals in this country who’d want to use this mass influx of immigrants to further their political agendas would actually pay to ship people over here. Like I could see somebody like say billionaire Micheal Bloomberg, using some of his own money to ship people over here so he can use them in his war against the right to keep and bear arms. Bloomberg and other anti-gun rights people could offer to tickets on ships or airplanes to bring people to the USA who are likely to vote against the right to keep and bear arms once they become American citizens. They don’t have to come right out and say that this is what they are doing, as they could mask it by saying that they are just engaging in “humanitarian aid,” but this could easily be their true agenda.

    doing, as they could mask it by saying that they are just engaging in “humanitarian aid,” but this could easily be their true agenda.

    After a few years of this, the USA would experience a population boom and demographics shift like never seen before in history. The population of the USA is presently around around 325 million. I could easily see it shooting up to over 500 million within 10 years of the “open borders” policy going into effect, especially with the welfare state and an easy citizenship process remaining in effect.

    The only thing that I could see slowing immigration down would be after living conditions in the USA deteriorated to the point where it became a much less desirable place in which to immigrate, and this is what would be likely to eventually happen after such a policy went into place. There would likely be much civil unrest that would occur, like economic collapse, race riots, etc… If welfare checks were ever cut off, there would likely be mass rioting over that as well (this has already happened on small scale in places where welfare checks were late).

    Opening the borders while keeping the welfare state in existence is a political position that is held by communists, and it is not hard to see why. It is funny to see self professed libertarians taking the same position as communists here.

  5. Andy

    I also disagree that Johnson/Weld had positive effects for the Libertarian Party and movement. I will comment more on that later.

  6. Tony From Long Island

    Holy shit Andy! Switch to decaf! Can you not be a bit more concise?

    I am not going to read all of your stuff, but I will actually admit that what I did read was not full of crazy conspiracy theories! I thought you would say “get rid of social security and let them all fend for themselves!!”

    The only thing I will reply to is when you said:

    truly dangerous criminals who are behind bars for real crimes, like the murderers, the rapists, the child molesters, the armed robbers, the arsonists, the extortionists, the assault and batterers, etc….

    yes, there are truly dangerous people behind bars, but if you look at actual recidivism statistics, the groups with the lowest rates of specific recidivism (same crime category) are Murder and sex offenders. The highest rates are drug offenses, robbery and burglary.

  7. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    First, on immigration, Andy certainly brings up legitimate issues, especially regarding state sponsored floods of immigrants. However, I also think that it’s unlikely the US suddenly will get libertarian and it will be a real issue. So fighting about it or getting too “pure” seems silly to me. I do think it likely large states will fall apart within a few years of each other, within 25-50 years. If not through the world’s people seeing the light and dissolving them and adopting some version of radical political decentralization (we can dream) – then through nuke war and 3 or 5 billion deaths of humans. Sigh….

    As for Ms. Harlos past leadership positions, she was quite the online leader of a certain faction of Christian eschatology called Preterism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterism It holds that the Biblical prophecies already are fulfilled.

    In other words instead of Jesus coming back after Armageddon and Christians taking back Israel and killing all Jews and Muslims who don’t covert – Armageddon ALREADY happened when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD and killed or enslaved the Jews. She was REALLY into it with several websites and a podcasts and a book. She evidently closed down all those embarrassing excesses of the day when she discovered a new ideology for which she could be a purist leader – Libertarianism. But you still can find relevant links/articles/references online. NOTE: She called herself DEE DEE WARREN (and not the other one who has a ministry with her husband), so search that name.

    Also, she had her own anti-abortion ministry. She’d go to various Christian events and find out if women had had abortions and then pretty much fry their brains til they repented and screamed out their guilt of murdering their children. (Slight exaggeration, but you get the point.) Since libertarians are so Sex Positive she may not be using that strategy any more. Just pretending she’s sex positive by flashing her boobs to sex positive libertarians while sneakily trying to organize pro-lifers to delete the abortion plank? Maybe she takes aside those Ron Paul type young women prohibitionists and fries their brains for any abortions they’ve had. Don’t know. Search both her names and abortion and you’ll find more details.

    Hey, I better listen and see if she admits much of the above! 🙂 Any one who has listened care to comment?

  8. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ==– When she became Communications Director of the Colorado LP, was it in a contested election?==

    I was an appointee for a vacancy when the prior Communications Director became Party Chair and recommended me for the position as he had trained me for a year to eventually take it. In the following election there was no opposing candidate, and I was elected without a single objection.

    ==– When she became Coordinator of the Colorado LP Radical Caucus, was it in a contested election?==

    I was the motivating factor behind the Radical Caucus’ formalization. State Coordinators are appointed and not elected, and I serve at the pleasure of the elected Board.

    ==– When she became LP National Region One Rep, was it in a contested election?==

    Yes. I won against the popular incumbent Norm Olsen (he served three prior terms) and one additional challenger M. Carling and thus won in a three-way approval voting election. I have a reputation for being one of the hardest working members of the LNC outside the Party officers.

  9. Andy

    I know that Caryn did not support Johnson/Weld for the nomination, which I consider to have been a good thing, but I disagree that Johnson/Weld had positive effects for the Libertarian Party and movement, and I don’t care how many votes they received. The market conditions of the election this last year were the most favorable in which the LP has ever fielded a presidential ticket, even more so than the past two presidential elections, which were also both more favorable conditions than past presidential elections were for the LP, so the party could have put just about anyone on its ticket, and the ticket would have still received more votes than normal for an LP presidential ticket. Yes, the 4.488 plus million votes that Johnson/Weld received SOUNDS impressive, but there was real potential this year for the LP ticket to receive more votes than this, so I’d say that they actually under-performed. I also do NOT consider votes to be the only barometric measurement for success. Getting a strong pro-liberty message out is the main reason for Libertarians to even run for political office, and from this standpoint, Johnson/Weld FAILED miserably. There was not just one or two minor problems with Johnson/Weld from a philosophical standpoint, there were a LOT of things wrong with them, and the list of things wrong with them went beyond the realm of political philosophy, as there were plenty of things wrong with them from a political strategy standpoint (assuming that your goal is to advance the cause of liberty), and from the way their campaign was run, to they way that the candidates conducted themselves while on the campaign trail. Gary Johnson was obviously ILL PREPARED to go out and engage with the public and with interviewers. Bill Weld went out and stumped for what was supposed to be his opposition, his old pal, Hillary Clinton.

    I, and may other big “L” Libertarians and small “l” libertarians, consider Johnson/Weld to have been a DISGRACE. They were the WORST candidates out of the main candidates for the nominations at the national convention.

    Sure, they got lots of votes, by LP standards, but what is the point of getting votes if you go as far off message as these guys went? If our goal is simply to get votes, then we should put out offers to run say Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz for President in 2020. Maybe somebody in the LP should call up Al Gore and see if he wants to run on our ticket. Al Gore has lots of experience, being that he’s a former two time Vice President, and former US Senator. I’m sure that the “shiny badge” caucus in the LP would just love Al Gore’s credentials. Or how about Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney is a former Governor, and he’s run for President before, and even though he did not win, he’s got experience in seeking the office.

    Heck, I’d have rather run a ticket that consisted of any of the other main options available at the 2016 convention in Orlando (and there were problems with all of those candidates, but even so, all of the other main options at the convention did a better job of articulating actual libertarian positions as compared to Johnson and Weld) even if they received less votes than Johnson/Weld, as I believe that they would have put forth a stronger libertarian message than what was put out by Johnson/Weld (and I’m not sure that I’d even call the message put out by Johnson/Weld a libertarian message).

    Frankly, the last three Libertarian Party presidential tickets have been turds (and I say this as somebody whose history in the LP goes back to 1996, and as somebody who enthusiastically supported our party’s presidential tickets in 1996, 2000, and 2004). Unfortunately, lots of the public identifies a political party by its presidential ticket. I think that the LP still consists of mostly good people, and that we still had lots of good candidates who ran for lower level offices in 2016. Reality is that these candidates do not get as much recognition as the presidential ticket gets, so to a lot of people, we are the party of Johnson/Weld right now, even though I don’t think that Johnson/Weld come close to accurately representing the views of most our party’s membership.

    I think that long term damage has been done to the party by our last three presidential tickets. I realize that we are never likely to have the perfect candidates, as such candidates do not likely exist. I am not demanding perfection, nor do I think that candidates must line up perfectly with me on every detail of every issue.

    Having said this, you’ve got to draw the line at some point, and I think that Johnson/Weld CROSSED WAY OVER THE LINE OF ACCEPTABILITY.

    So I’m NOT happy at all with what Johnson/Weld did. I am DISGUSTED by them.

  10. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I prefer to look at the positive and affiliates received an influx of fresh new Libertarians and we raised more money than in a long time. I am not interested in always being negative. We have too much of that in the Party.

  11. Jim

    Caryn Ann Harlos “I am not interested in always being negative. We have too much of that in the Party.”

    That’s the purge that needs to happen. Not a purge of persons, just a purge of the near constant insistence on a negative outlook by people who have eaten too many Member Berries.

  12. Robert Capozzi

    Absolutely love that Caryn describes the 7/8 Clause as being a “depth charge.” Perfect!!!

    Better than my term booby trap.

    Upon investigation, the LP blows itself up…a self inflicted wound.

  13. Shane

    Glad to see Carol being ignored. The sad, lonely secretary has always been on the fringe of the LP to disparage anyone trying to make a positive impact.

    Having been the focus of her attacks, I can say with 100% certainty that she’s a flat out disgustIng liar that simply makes these stories up to fit her twisted agenda.

    I don’t know Caryn but if anything above is false, I would encourage her to challenge Carol in court.

  14. George Dance

    Andy – “I know that Caryn did not support Johnson/Weld for the nomination, which I consider to have been a good thing, but I disagree that Johnson/Weld had positive effects for the Libertarian Party and movement, and I don’t care how many votes they received. ”

    So you’re not counting the number of votes as one of the “effects”.

    “The market conditions of the election this last year were the most favorable in which the LP has ever fielded a presidential ticket, even more so than the past two presidential elections, which were also both more favorable conditions than past presidential elections were for the LP”

    ‘Most favorable’ for what? I’ve asked you guys before – just how are you measuring success or failure?

    “so the party could have put just about anyone on its ticket, and the ticket would have still received more votes than normal for an LP presidential ticket. Yes, the 4.488 plus million votes that Johnson/Weld received SOUNDS impressive, but there was real potential this year for the LP ticket to receive more votes than this, so I’d say that they actually under-performed.

    So Johnson and Weld’s votes do count: but only in comparison to an imaginary standard?

    “I also do NOT consider votes to be the only barometric measurement for success. Getting a strong pro-liberty message out is the main reason for Libertarians to even run for political office”

    So what are you using to measure whether you got your message “out” or not?

    “, and from this standpoint, Johnson/Weld FAILED miserably.

    What’s the standard? How many people know about the LP and what it stands for, both before and after the election? Versus the same loss/gain from earlier elections? That would be a fair standard to use, if you had data. So where is your data.

    “I, and may other big “L” Libertarians and small “l” libertarians, consider Johnson/Weld to have been a DISGRACE.”

    So now you’re suddenly a big-L Libertarian? When did you become a party member? Or register Libertarian? You’ve told us before that you don’t even vote Libertarian, and haven’t done so in a decade. If anything, I’d call you an “anti-Libertarian”: one of those “libertarian libertarians” here who considers himself too libertarian for the LP.

    “They were the WORST candidates out of the main candidates for the nominations at the national convention.”

    Once again: what are you going by? Take any one of those other candidates, and show exactly by the standards you’re using (their ability to get the libertarian message “out there”) – where’s your evidence of that candidate doing that?

    “Al Gore has lots of experience, being that he’s a former two time Vice President, and former US Senator. I’m sure that the “shiny badge” caucus in the LP would just love Al Gore’s credentials. Or how about Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney is a former Governor, and he’s run for President before, and even though he did not win, he’s got experience in seeking the office.”

    Do you know that, In order to run, it’s necessary to have signed the membership pledge? (Not a rhetorical question; I wonder if you’ve signed it yourself). So why do you, and the other seeming “libertarian anti-Libertarians”, keep claiming that the LP delegates who voted for Johnson would have voted for one of them instead?

    Heck, I’d have rather run a ticket that consisted of any of the other main options available at the 2016 convention in Orlando (and there were problems with all of those candidates, but even so, all of the other main options at the convention did a better job of articulating actual libertarian positions as compared to Johnson and Weld) even if they received less votes than Johnson/Weld, as I believe that they would have put forth a stronger libertarian message than what was put out by Johnson/Weld (and I’m not sure that I’d even call the message put out by Johnson/Weld a libertarian message).

    Frankly, the last three Libertarian Party presidential tickets have been turds (and I say this as somebody whose history in the LP goes back to 1996, and as somebody who enthusiastically supported our party’s presidential tickets in 1996, 2000, and 2004). Unfortunately, lots of the public identifies a political party by its presidential ticket. I think that the LP still consists of mostly good people, and that we still had lots of good candidates who ran for lower level offices in 2016. Reality is that these candidates do not get as much recognition as the presidential ticket gets, so to a lot of people, we are the party of Johnson/Weld right now, even though I don’t think that Johnson/Weld come close to accurately representing the views of most our party’s membership.

    I think that long term damage has been done to the party by our last three presidential tickets. I realize that we are never likely to have the perfect candidates, as such candidates do not likely exist. I am not demanding perfection, nor do I think that candidates must line up perfectly with me on every detail of every issue.

    Having said this, you’ve got to draw the line at some point, and I think that Johnson/Weld CROSSED WAY OVER THE LINE OF ACCEPTABILITY.

    So I’m NOT happy at all with what Johnson/Weld did. I am DISGUSTED by them.

  15. Andy

    I have been a dues paying Libertarian Party since 1996, and i am registered to vote as a Libertarian.

    I have not voted for the last three LP presidential tickets, but I have continued to vote for LP candidates for other offices.

  16. Don Wills

    Libertarians – don’t you get it? YOU ARE IRRELEVANT. Go get elected as Republicans – like Ron Paul, Justin Amash, and others. It is only by gaining power that you can change policy. Rahm Emanual had it right in an interview a few days ago – “Winning is everything. You don’t win, you can’t make the public policy.”

    Continuing to support the LP is a waste of your life. If you actually want to make a difference, run away from the LP and let it die an uneventful death. Only then can you begin to make a difference by getting elected to a partisan elected office that actually makes policy.

  17. Caryn Ann Harlos

    No thank you. I’ll stay supporting the LP, thanks.

    My only regret in leaving the Republican Party is that I didn’t burn my voters registration card.

  18. dL

    As for Ms. Harlos past leadership positions, she was quite the online leader of a certain faction of Christian eschatology called Preterism.

    I care more about what people are today than they were yesterday…

  19. dL

    I listened to the podcast, something I rarely do.

    (1) Surprised Tom Woods didn’t know about the Dallas Accord until recently. No always a fan of Mr. Woods, but he was a fair, honest interlocutor in this interview.

    (2) I don’t quite quite concur with “no particular orderism.” In practice that means “sesame street conservatism.” The state is the organization of plunder. The welfare state begins at the top. That’s where socialism should be attacked as the humber one priority. Going after the poor man’s plunder, or the right to relief, (Bastiat’s term) as the first thing, whether it be intentional or the coincidence of the lowest hanging fruit, is a mistake. It precludes the possibility of a mass movement. The consequence will be libertarianism regarded as an agent of plutocracy, and rightly so. And this is not my own opinion. I’m taking this directly from Bastiat himself. From “The Law”

    But on the other hand, imagine that this fatal principle has been introduced: Under the pretense of organization, regulation, protection, or encouragement, the law takes property from one person and gives it to another; the law takes the wealth of all and gives it to a few — whether farmers, manufacturers, ship owners, artists, or comedians. Under these circumstances, then certainly every class will aspire to grasp the law, and logically so.

    The excluded classes will furiously demand their right to vote — and will overthrow society rather than not to obtain it. Even beggars and vagabonds will then prove to you that they also have an incontestable title to vote. They will say to you:

    “We cannot buy wine, tobacco, or salt without paying the tax. And a part of the tax that we pay is given by law — in privileges and subsidies — to men who are richer than we are. Others use the law to raise the prices of bread, meat, iron, or cloth. Thus, since everyone else uses the law for his own profit, we also would like to use the law for our own profit. We demand from the law the right to relief, which is the poor man’s plunder. To obtain this right, we also should be voters and legislators in order that we may organize Beggary on a grand scale for our own class, as you have organized Protection on a grand scale for your class. Now don’t tell us beggars that you will act for us, and then toss us, as Mr. Mimerel proposes, 600,000 francs to keep us quiet, like throwing us a bone to gnaw. We have other claims. And anyway, we wish to bargain for ourselves as other classes have bargained for themselves!”

    And what can you say to answer that argument!

    The answer is: nothing.

    (3) To the extent that “no particular orderism” might mean “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” I fine w/ that. I certainly fine with “don’t let the perfect be the totalitarian enemy of the good,” which is what so-called libertarian arguments for border control reduce to.

    (4) Absolutely agree re: libertarian self-conceit. The libertarian critique is true, but libertarians themselves are no smarter, wiser or moral than anyone else. It is not a religion.

    (5) Absolutely concur re: principled populism. The target of a libertarian mass movement are not the people on this forum. The message can easily be distilled down to something very simple. We believe in a world where you don’t the permission of a Donald Trump.

  20. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Thank you dl, and thank you particularly for noting this:

    ==(4) Absolutely agree re: libertarian self-conceit. The libertarian critique is true, but libertarians themselves are no smarter, wiser or moral than anyone else. It is not a religion.==

    I don’t think Libertarians recognize this in themselves often enough.

  21. George Dance

    Don Wills – “Libertarians – don’t you get it? YOU ARE IRRELEVANT. Go get elected as Republicans – like Ron Paul, Justin Amash, and others. It is only by gaining power that you can change policy. Rahm Emanual had it right in an interview a few days ago – “Winning is everything. You don’t win, you can’t make the public policy.”
    “Continuing to support the LP is a waste of your life. If you actually want to make a difference, run away from the LP and let it die an uneventful death. Only then can you begin to make a difference by getting elected to a partisan elected office that actually makes policy.”

    In the 50+ years that libertarian Republicans have been doing what your advise, exactly how many have been elected? And just what policy have they managed to make in all that time?

  22. Carol Moore

    Is that Shane Cory? Maybe you or your wife can share with Caryn the complete 20-30 year? LPNEWS database which totally disappeared when you were the national director and your wife was the Webmaster.

    That was during the time conservative Bob Barr wanted to be the LP Presidential candidate?? That’s the anti-abortion Bob Barr who drove his wife to an abortion when it was convenient for him, wasn’t it??

  23. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Shane, if you have any historical archive stuff please get in touch with me at caryn.ann.harlos@lp.org or call me at 561.523.2250

    The historical committee seeks volunteers to assist and preserve our history.

  24. Shane

    See Carol. You proved my point. First you claimed my sister was the “webmaster” and now it’s my wife. I don’t even know where you get this stuff as it’s so absurd, pointless and false.

    And now you’re making up totally new lies.

    When was the last time you did something to advance liberty rather than try and break others down by making shit up?

    Is it jealousy or just a mental twist in your anti-authoritarian streak that makes you lash out at party leaders for no reason at all?

    Likely a little of both.

    I recommend a little therapy. Focus on you. When you blatently lie like that you come across as the LP’s crazy cat lady that everyone gives a wide birth to due to the smell and bad vibes that emanate as you lumber through the convention hall.

    Or find new friends. You’d fit right in the the Antifa crowd that’s growing in DC. It’s filled with old hippy paedophiles and socialists that may be allergic to soap. Your type of people.

    And for the record, in the instance you whine about above, a wife had to make the choice between fighting cancer and carrying full term. She made her decision and he supported her. Pretty sick to twist that for petty political purposes that fit your pro-abortion agenda — another reason why no one likes, respects or gives a shit about you.

  25. Thomas L. Knapp

    George,

    You write:

    “So you’re not counting the number of votes as one of the ‘effects'”

    Whether or not that was a POSITIVE effect is an open question.

    When the party stands for X and runs candidates who rack up a bunch of votes campaigning on not-X instead of X, is that a “success?”

  26. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Shane I apologize – I didn’t realize there was an accusation in there 🙁 I thought it was referring to data that the LNC decided not to migrate. Now that I re-read it I see that is not.

    Let me re-word my invitation- I have seen you posting on web issues back when this new website issues were being discussed as you have a lot of knowledge. I would live to talk to you about any historical knowledge you have and if you know of any archives that people may have.

    LPNews is safe – hard copies of all issues are at HQ. I just obtained digital copies of 1972-1990 from a microfilm- but am going to rescan the originals, copies are so-do.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    GD, my thoughts exactly. Paulistas generally ignore that question, or mutter something about “education. “

  28. Carol Moore

    Shane: Sister? News to me. Quote me email and date. I keep all mine.

    * Antifa crowd Check out my ebook THE RETURN OF STREET FIGHTING MAN http://carolmoore/sfm (article and who site to be updated to wordpress soon.)

    I was one of the main organizers of the nonviolence crowd in the peace movement from 2000-2007 when I took a break to defend libertarians and write about bad govt laws and foreign interventionism online at wikipedia for 8 years. Having been office manager 3 year in LA, state chair twice and secretary once in DC, I did my thousand plus hours of volunteer work. Not to mention promoted pro-choice and peace issues for years, fighting statists on both issues. And inspired the 1996 LP convention to be the first to call for impeachment of Bill Clinton, leading to the most national publicity that year.

    As importantly I’m real good at dealing with Libertarians in Name only (LINOs). Or are you against Libertarian Journalism and exposes? Every organization needs its gadflies to stay honest, don’t they? Redoing my website and will do a little PDF book listing my gadfly adventures with photos (rewrite of what’s there and other stuff on my harddrive). For posterity.

    I don’t know if Shane will make it or not since the website issue was the only one I paid attention to. Though I saved a bunch of emails about others various accusations which I don’t clearly remember.

    As for Barr’s abortion issue, first time I heard this version. Am doing a dossier on anti-abortionists in – or formerly involved in – the party and will check if there is independent verification for that. If not, can I quote you? Oh, I don’t think this site is private or copyrighted, is it? Just did a quick page screen save.

    Meanwhile, kudos to Caryn Ann for pursuing all old info. I certain am happy to congrats people when doing the right thing.

    But doing things that threaten the most fundamental liberty of half the people on the planets right to control their own bodies WILL attract my focus and resistance – ad nauseam. Wouldn’t those f*cking GOP anti-abortionists just LOVE to say – SEE the Libertarian Party got rid of the abortion plank. Now they can bring in all their interventionist friends. (Hi, Aaron Starr, think I don’t know why you want to get rid of the abortion plank, you little sh*t.) They can bring in their anti-drug legalization and anti-LGBT people. And they can get rid of that “taxation is theft nonsense.” (Those who want to get rid of the abortion plank merely are jeopardizing “taxation is theft.” Must make that meme NOW!)

    How the GOP would love to get the the LP GNAT off their back… and the removing the abortion plank is the finger in the dyke in the dam holding back the trolls… I’m sure Shane knows that. And I have screenshots showing that a number of right wingers have told Dee Dee Warren/Caryn Ann Harlos that very thing. Time to decide which side you are on, Caryn… Keeping “taxation is theft” or bringing in a bunch people who want to get rid of it…

    I’ve made a really funny meme of the abortion plank being a damn holding back a horde of right wing trolls with hair of all different colors.

    Well, enough gadflying for now. Have 280 google alerts on abortion law to go through. These SICK F*CK woman hating republicans even want to tell women they can REVERT an abortion started with a morning after pill… These people are SICKOS.

    But just think if abortion is legal, all those sub-par male workers finally can gain a COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE against more talented women in so many fields. If companies worry women will suffer forced pregnancy, being busted for abortion, or dying from abortion, they aren’t going to hire or promote them as quickly are they do now. Loser guys finally can get a COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE via the state against women. Am I right or am I right? Does Shane think he’d get a better job if some woman was forced out of it by an unwanted pregnancy?

    Must make that “COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE against more talented women” meme too… Along with a few more versions of the one stressing that GOP abortion laws lead to MORE 2nd and 3rd term abortions… The usual unintended consequences theme, eh???

  29. Carol Moore

    CORRECTION to above: “But just think if abortion is ILLEGAL, all those sub-par male workers finally can gain a COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE against more talented women in so many fields.”

    But can’t say that too many times, can we??

  30. Don Wills

    GD wrote “In the 50+ years that libertarian Republicans have been doing what your advise, exactly how many have been elected? And just what policy have they managed to make in all that time?”

    Answer 1: Dozens more than the LP has elected, particularly in state legislatures.

    Answer 2: In the last 25 years, here are some of the policies/laws that have improved without the help of elected Libertarians: gun rights, marijuana legalization, gay rights, school choice and free markets. (Free markets examples: airline ticket price deregulation, Uber, right to work laws, market pricing for toll roads (a big issue for Reason magazine) and many more). All without the help of any elected LPers … because there are none.

    What’s sad is the absolutist nature of the LP activist mindset, which is particularly apparent here at the IPR comment place. Wake up folks. It isn’t an all or nothing proposition. There are many Republicans serving in state legislatures today who are noticeably more “libertarian” than Gary Johnson and his sidekick collectivist William Weld, and who are doing many good things like cutting taxes, reducing regulations, improving gun rights, implementing transparency in government laws, etc. There are even many Republicans who are moving states like Texas and Utah away from fiat money back towards the acceptance and use of gold and silver as money – ostensibly the single most important issue to the finest libertarian politician of my lifetime – Ron Paul.

    Again, I implore readers: follow the lead of Ron Paul, don’t waste your life on the LP. It is a failed experiment. Use your energy to actually acquire power and change policy.

  31. Jim

    Don Wills –

    I think you have only a superficial understanding of power.

    Among other things, votes are power, even when given to a losing candidate, and especially if that losing candidate runs on a few specific issues. Politicians pay attention to those things unless they are in overwhelmingly safe districts.

    It should be pointed out that you are calling for abandoning the LP at exactly the moment it is, by several measurable standards, at its peak and rising rapidly. Since you brought it up, that includes the LP share of the vote for state legislative races. Nationally, in races where we participated, LP candidates for state house races received a double digit share of the vote in 2014 and 2016, and LP candidates for state senate races did the same in 2012 and 2016. They were in the 10% – 12% range. Normal from 2002 – 2010, was 6% – 7%, and it was lower from 1996 – 2000. Records prior to 1996 are very incomplete so I haven’t done much research there, yet, but from the little I’ve done it doesn’t look good. I think it’s pretty safe to say the LP has never had so many willing voters before.

    …. Or perhaps you do have an understanding of power and that is what is driving your call to abandon the LP for the Republicans right at this moment.

  32. Don Wills

    Jim – No, I am not shilling for the Republican Party – in general, I have nothing but disgust for the establishment folks who inhabit the upper echelons of most states’ Republican Parties.

    Your crowing about how the LP is “at its peak and rising rapidly” is ridiculous. Johnson/Weld got 3% because Trump and Clinton were loathed by most voters. Johnson/Weld coattails got some extra votes in down ballot races in a few states, but that’s all.

    You wrote “Nationally, in races where we participated, LP candidates for state house races received a double digit share of the vote in 2014 and 2016…”

    Such commentary is disingenuous at best. How did LP candidates for state legislatures do in races where there were both Ds and Rs on the ballot? Typically less than 5%. And in the few instances where the LP candidate got more than 5%, it was in a generally safe district for the incumbent party.

    The reality is that the vast majority of LP votes for state legislative races were in two candidate contests where the LP was the placeholder for the missing D or R. On average 12-15 independents are elected to state legislatures around the country every two years (although many of these independents are actually Ds or Rs, but by some quirk end up running as independents). On average, ZERO Libertarians are elected to state legislatures around the country.

    You are simply fooling yourself if you believe that voting for any third party candidate in today’s winner-take-all system of elections will have an effect on policy-making in DC or in the states. Readers – I stand by my admonition – don’t waste your time on the LP.

    I will make one exception to that advice – the Libertarian Party of Maine should be lavishly funded by donors nationwide to see if RCV will allow for voters’ strategies to change so that third parties and independents can actually be contenders. If the Maine LP could field strong candidates and win a few significant races, then there is hope for the LP, albeit only in states that adopt RCV.

  33. Andy

    “Don Wills
    February 13, 2017 at 09:15
    Jim – No, I am not shilling for the Republican Party – in general, I have nothing but disgust for the establishment folks who inhabit the upper echelons of most states’ Republican Parties.

    Your crowing about how the LP is ‘at its peak and rising rapidly’ is ridiculous. Johnson/Weld got 3% because Trump and Clinton were loathed by most voters. Johnson/Weld coattails got some extra votes in down ballot races in a few states, but that’s all.”

    I do not endorse abandoning the LP, but I agree with much of Don’s analysis about the current state of the LP.

    A lot of the votes for Johnson/Weld were protest votes against the major party candidates. The 2016 election was the most favorable set of market conditions ever for the Libertarian Party, even better than the market conditions in 2008 and in 2012, both of which the LP also failed to live up to its potential, but 2016 was even a bigger botch of an opportunity.

    Right now I’d say that the LP is on a sugar high. Going by some other metrics of success, the LP is actually down. The number of elected Libertarians is way down from what it used to be. The LP hit its peak in terms of elected Libertarians back in the early 2000’s, with around 600-650 people elected to local offices. What’s the number of elected Libertarians right now? I’d have to look it up for the exact number, but I think that it is around 200, or less than 200. The LP has not elected anyone to a seat in a state legislature since 2000, and the last time the LP elected anyone to a seat in a state legislature who actually served out their term under the Libertarian Party label (the person elected switched to Republican during their term after the 2000 election), was back in either 1996 or 1998. The LP is also down in the number of candidates who ran for office. The LP ran a lot more candidates back in 2000 than it ran in 2016, like double the number, or maybe more than double. Out of the candidates who ran for office in 2016, the LP only elected 15 people, and those 15 Libertarians who actually got elected were all to low level local offices which are spread out across the country, so they are not in a position to accomplish much of anything. Dues paying party membership is up to around 20,000, but this is still down from the Libertarian Party’s peak in dues paying membership of around 33,000 back around 2000 or 2001.

    Another factor to consider, is that Johnson/Weld advocated for multiple violations of the Libertarian Party’s platform during the course of their campaign, and even in areas where they appeared to be more inline with the Libertarian Party’s platform, they severely watered down the platform, and they did not even point to the direction in which Libertarians want to go (like with the drug war, they advocated for taxing and regulating marijuana, but keeping the rest of the drug war going, and they would not even acknowledge that the end goal for Libertarians is to completely end the war on drugs). Johnson/Weld actually got the party negative publicity, and I’m not talking about negative publicity by being “too libertarian”, but rather, negative publicity from not being libertarian enough, or just coming off as having been ill prepared for interviews, or for shilling for one of their opponents, who is not even remotely libertarian, in Hillary Clinton. I have encountered several people who are outside of LP circles who have made negative comments about the Johnson/Weld ticket, and I could not do anything but agree with their criticisms, and say that I opposed their nomination, and that I did not vote for them, and that we had better candidates running for other offices, and that we will try to do better the next time for our presidential nomination.

  34. Andy

    I just went to LP.org. and I counted the number of current elected Libertarians that are listed. That number comes out to 145. So going back going to around 2002, the Libertarian Party had around 600-650 Libertarians elected to local office, yet today we only have 145 Libertarian elected to local offices (and of course they are all spread out across the country). We have not had anyone get elected to a seat in a state legislature since 2000, and the last time we had anyone elected to seat in a state legislature who actually served out their term as a Libertarian was back in either 1996 or 1998.

    Does anyone out there consider this to be a sign of progress? I don’t.

    The word Libertarian has gotten more popular than it was 17 years ago, but a lot of this has to do with people like Ron Paul, Andrew Napolitano, and John Stossel using the word. Sure, lots of people working within the Libertarian Party have helped make the word more popular as well, but in terms of political success, the Libertarian Party is still failing and/or under-performing by most measures.

  35. Carol Moore

    Andy wrote: “So going back going to around 2002, the Libertarian Party had around 600-650 Libertarians elected to local office, yet today we only have 145 Libertarian elected to local offices (and of course they are all spread out across the country). ”

    Interesting statistics. Partially I think the party has been a baby boom project and boomers are getting too old for anything but contributing. Also, the younger generation is much poorer because of student debt and parents living longer who don’t leave them any money. So they can’t focus on frivolities. But with a clear radical yet pragmatic program and attractive promotion it still could be the “go to place” for a lot of discontent when times get bad enough. Or maybe we’ll all just secede from the union and create a network of north american communities instead.

  36. Andy

    “Carol Moore
    February 13, 2017 at 12:11
    Andy wrote: ‘So going back going to around 2002, the Libertarian Party had around 600-650 Libertarians elected to local office, yet today we only have 145 Libertarian elected to local offices (and of course they are all spread out across the country). ‘

    Interesting statistics. Partially I think the party has been a baby boom project and boomers are getting too old for anything but contributing. Also, the younger generation is much poorer because of student debt and parents living longer who don’t leave them any money. So they can’t focus on frivolities. But with a clear radical yet pragmatic program and attractive promotion it still could be the “go to place” for a lot of discontent when times get bad enough. Or maybe we’ll all just secede from the union and create a network of north american communities instead.”

    Interesting theories, Carol, but I suspect that the bigger problems have been years of party mismanagement, dysfunction, and multiple botched opportunities (like the last three presidential elections), has more to do with the party’s lack of success than anything else.

  37. Carol Moore

    Andy: I don’t disagree. But people had to get it out of their system that former US representatives and Governors were the way to go.

    So we can only hope some hard core libs run GREAT campaigns in 2017 or 18 or even 19.

  38. ATBAFT

    Where does the ” 600-650 elected Libertarians” statistic come from? Even with all the “poll watcher” officials who won with no opposition, I don’t recall the total ever being reliably counted that high. And I wonder who is the longest serving Libertarian? It may be Kate O’Brien in Simi, Califronia who is probably in office for ten years now.

  39. Andy

    I looked it up several years back, and this is what I recall. I am pretty sure that it was in the ballpark of 600 at its peak (local offices, mostly low level), but regardless of the exact number, it was a lot higher than 145.

    I would have to do some research to verify the exact number of Libertarian Party members who got elected or appointed to positions in government during the same time frame, as in when the party was at its peak for this measurement of success.

    The bottom line is that the party has gone downhill by this measurement.

  40. Just Some Random Guy

    @ ATBAFT

    Where does the ” 600-650 elected Libertarians” statistic come from? Even with all the “poll watcher” officials who won with no opposition, I don’t recall the total ever being reliably counted that high. And I wonder who is the longest serving Libertarian? It may be Kate O’Brien in Simi, Califronia who is probably in office for ten years now.

    According to archive.org:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20020807200952/http://www.lp.org/organization/officials.php

    That’s a list of 530 names, below the “600-650” claimed but still higher than what we have now (it is possible it was 600-650 at some other time though). Though, on the current site (https://www.lp.org/elected-officials-2/) it specifies they are elected offices and gives some further restrictions on what is required to qualify for the list, but the above-linked list is simply stated to be “Libertarians in Public Office.” So I do wonder if perhaps the criteria to be listed was more loose in the past, which would naturally result in more names listed.

  41. Andy

    This information was easier to find than I thought. It was in 2003 when there were around 600 Libertarians elected positions in government. So I was correct.

    The LP ran over 1,400 candidates in 2000, and in 2002, the party ran over 1,600 candidates.

    The party only ran around 600 candidates in 2016, and only 15 of them got elected (local offices, mostly low level), bringing the current total of elected Libertarian to 145. 145.

    This is not progress.

  42. Jim

    Don Wills “Your crowing about how the LP is “at its peak and rising rapidly” is ridiculous. Johnson/Weld got 3% because Trump and Clinton were loathed by most voters. Johnson/Weld coattails got some extra votes in down ballot races in a few states, but that’s all.”

    The trend was in place before the 2016 election. It begins in 2004/06.

    Don Wills “Such commentary is disingenuous at best. How did LP candidates for state legislatures do in races where there were both Ds and Rs on the ballot? Typically less than 5%. And in the few instances where the LP candidate got more than 5%, it was in a generally safe district for the incumbent party.”

    Running in lopsided districts or against only one opponent is not a strategy just invented in 2016. Or even in 2004.

    Don Wills “You are simply fooling yourself if you believe that voting for any third party candidate in today’s winner-take-all system of elections will have an effect on policy-making in DC or in the states.”

    They don’t – when LP candidates get 0.3%. But it would be quite foolish to think Republicans aren’t worried about Trump having lost the election by 2.87 million votes while Johnson got 4.49 million. The same applies to any race where a third party candidate had a significant showing. It’s effect is least at the Presidential level, because that’s where the LP does the worst (even in 2016), and it gets stronger the further you move down the ballot. Job #1, after a candidate gets elected, is figuring out how to get re-elected. One strategy to accomplish that is to take the fire out of the opponents base (depress turnout for your opponent) by making their signature issue a non-issue because they have what they want. It also might pull some of your former opponent’s supporters into your column.

  43. Jim

    Don Wills “Your crowing about how the LP is “at its peak and rising rapidly” is ridiculous. Johnson/Weld got 3% because Trump and Clinton were loathed by most voters. Johnson/Weld coattails got some extra votes in down ballot races in a few states, but that’s all.”

    The trend was in place before the 2016 election.

    Don Wills “Such commentary is disingenuous at best. How did LP candidates for state legislatures do in races where there were both Ds and Rs on the ballot? Typically less than 5%. And in the few instances where the LP candidate got more than 5%, it was in a generally safe district for the incumbent party.”

    Running in lopsided districts or against only one opponent is not a strategy just invented in 2016.

    Don Wills “You are simply fooling yourself if you believe that voting for any third party candidate in today’s winner-take-all system of elections will have an effect on policy-making in DC or in the states.”

    They don’t – when LP candidates get 0.3%. But it would be quite foolish to think Republicans aren’t worried about Trump having lost the election by 2.87 million votes while Johnson got 4.49 million. The same applies to any race where a third party candidate had a significant showing. It’s effect is least at the Presidential level, because that’s where the LP does the worst (even in 2016), and it gets stronger the further you move down the ballot. Job #1, after a candidate gets elected, is figuring out how to get re-elected. One strategy to accomplish that is to take the fire out of the opponents base (depress turnout for your opponent) by making their issue a non-issue because they have what they want. It also might pull some of your former opponents supporters into your column.

    Andy “Going by some other metrics of success, the LP is actually down.”

    It’s mixed. Some metrics are at an all time high, some are down from 2000/02. You focus exclusively on the negative. No one likes a Negative Nancy.

    Andy “The number of elected Libertarians is way down from what it used to be. The LP hit its peak in terms of elected Libertarians back in the early 2000’s, with around 600-650 people elected to local offices. …I just went to LP.org. and I counted the number of current elected Libertarians that are listed. That number comes out to 145.

    Andy “The LP is also down in the number of candidates who ran for office. The LP ran a lot more candidates back in 2000 than it ran in 2016, like double the number, or maybe more than double.”

    And, you just answered your own question about why there are fewer elected Libertarians. There were two anomalous years, 2000 and 2002, when the LP ran a high number of candidates. Those were the only years when, for example, the LP had more than 200 candidates for US Congress (259 and 219) The surrounding years, 1998 and 2004, had 159 and 145. There were 120 in 2016.

    The counts of total candidates for 2000 and 2002 on LP.org vary – in one place it says 1,488 in 2000, in another 1,713. I see at least one place where it says 1,710 in 2002.

    And, I checked the election results reported on LP.org for 2000. 31 candidates were elected that year, bringing the total in office in early 2001 to “over 200”.

    We’ll call it 225 and use the lower number of 1,488 candidates in 2000. That’s 15.1%.

    LP.org says there were 589 following the 2002 election. 589/1,710 = 34.4%.

    There were 588 candidates listed for 2016. 145/588 = 24.7%. That is exactly in between 2000 and 2002. The LP is electing candidates at about the same rate as the average of 2000 and 2002, it just has fewer people elected because it had fewer candidates. Fewer candidates is a problem to address, but that and the number of donors to the LNC are hardly the sole defining characteristics of success.

  44. Jim

    Andy “Going by some other metrics of success, the LP is actually down.”

    It’s mixed. Some metrics are at an all time high, some are down from 2000/02. You focus exclusively on the negative. No one likes a Negative Nancy.

    Andy “The number of elected Libertarians is way down from what it used to be. The LP hit its peak in terms of elected Libertarians back in the early 2000’s, with around 600-650 people elected to local offices. …I just went to LP.org. and I counted the number of current elected Libertarians that are listed. That number comes out to 145.

    Andy “The LP is also down in the number of candidates who ran for office. The LP ran a lot more candidates back in 2000 than it ran in 2016, like double the number, or maybe more than double.”

    And, you just answered your own question about why there are fewer elected Libertarians. There were two anomalous years, 2000 and 2002, when the LP ran a high number of candidates. Those were the only years when, for example, the LP had more than 200 candidates for US Congress (259 and 219) The surrounding years, 1998 and 2004, had 159 and 145. There were 120 in 2016.

    The counts of total candidates for 2000 and 2002 on LP.org vary – in one place it says 1,488 in 2000, in another 1,713. I see at least one place where it says 1,710 in 2002.

    And, I checked the election results reported on LP.org for 2000. 31 candidates were elected that year, bringing the total in office in early 2001 to “over 200”.

    We’ll call it 225 and use the lower number of 1,488 candidates in 2000. That’s 15.1%.

    LP.org says there were 589 following the 2002 election. 589/1,710 = 34.4%.

    There were 588 candidates listed for 2016. 145/588 = 24.7%. That is exactly in between 2000 and 2002. The LP is electing candidates at about the same rate as the average of 2000 and 2002, it just has fewer people elected because it had fewer candidates. Fewer candidates is a problem to address, but that and the number of donors to the LNC are hardly the sole defining characteristics of success.

  45. Just Some Random Guy

    Was 2000/2002 back when portions of every donation to the LNC were distributed to the state LPs?

    Because I have to imagine that the state LPs getting more money in that way probably helped them out a lot in getting people elected.

  46. Jim

    Yes, that ended in mid 2006.

    Donors to the LNC began 2001 at about 33,200 and by the end of 2002 it was down to 22,900. By the start of 2006 it had fallen to 16,600.

    It was 11,700 at the start of 2016 and 20,400 when it ended.

  47. Andy

    How many of these new LP members over the last year or so are actually libertarians, and how many of the are squishy Republican Lites (like Gary Johnson and Bill Weld)?

  48. Andy

    The number of dues paying members today vs in 2001 is a pretty big difference. Also, keep in mind that the population of the country has increased quite a bit since then, so that means that the numbers today vs then are even weaker.

  49. Carol Moore

    All other issues aside there’s a big difference between hardcore libertarian candidates who INSPIRE and MOTIVATE people and those who are symbols of mainstream success but really don’t get people off their butts as much.

    Harry Browne was VERY inspirational. Badnarik and Barr, for different reasons, were not. Johnson was somewhat inspirational the first time around and it wasn’t too hard to cut him some slack for his failings. But except for single issue people, or people really committed to idea mainstream politicians running on LP is success, Johnson/Weld was uninspiring at best and annoying to enraging for their ideological short-comings at worst.

  50. Andy

    “Carol Moore
    February 13, 2017 at 21:48
    All other issues aside there’s a big difference between hardcore libertarian candidates who INSPIRE and MOTIVATE people and those who are symbols of mainstream success but really don’t get people off their butts as much.

    Harry Browne was VERY inspirational. Badnarik and Barr, for different reasons, were not. Johnson was somewhat inspirational the first time around and it wasn’t too hard to cut him some slack for his failings.”

    I disagree with you about Michael Badnarik. He was inspirational in my opinion. I have meg people who were inspired by his campaign who are still liberty activists today.

    I don’t think that Gary Johnson was all that inspirational. He did a better job of bullshitting people during his first campaign. It was during his second campaign that his true colors become more apparent.

  51. Starchild

    If all the liberty caucus types in the Republican Party quit and joined the Libertarian Party, I believe that would have a much more salutary effect on the cause of freedom in the United States than would all the Libertarians giving up and joining the GOP (at least so long as they didn’t bring a bunch of non-libertarian values with them and wreck the LP in the process).

    Realistically of course, the Libertarian Party is not going away. The name has become too valuable a property, not to mention the ballot access. Another often overlooked factor is that while the Libertarian Party began in the United States, the idea did not stop there. There are dozens of libertarian parties now, in countries around the world from Russia to Costa Rica, and I expect their number to continue growing until virtually every country has one. This is a global movement, and it is just beginning to coalesce. In other words, even if most of the current Libertarians in the USLP were inclined to take the bad advice of people like Don Wills – which we are not – it would not mean the end of the Libertarian Party, although it might mean the party would cease to be as libertarian as it is at present. Others would come in to take our places.

    Regardless of the immediate prospects of the Libertarian Party in this country in the wake of the 2016 election (and I can see both arguments on that), the long-term trend is toward more and more people abandoning the two-party cartel and identifying/registering as independent. I also believe the long-term trend of the world is toward freedom, despite some recent reversals. The arc of history – and it is an exponential curve – is clearly bending toward greater human knowledge, improved technology, and my contention is that greater freedom will naturally tend to accompany these trends. All this suggests great potential for the world’s pioneering libertarian political party and leading alternative to the crumbling two-party cartel in America, if we stay the course and resist the siren song of selling out our principles.

  52. Don Wills

    “even if most of the current Libertarians in the USLP were inclined to take the bad advice of people like Don Wills”

    “even if most of the current Libertarians in the USLP were inclined to take the bad advice of people like Ron Paul”

    There, fixed that for you.

  53. Andy

    “Don Wills
    February 14, 2017 at 10:02
    ‘even if most of the current Libertarians in the USLP were inclined to take the bad advice of people like Don Wills’

    ‘even if most of the current Libertarians in the USLP were inclined to take the bad advice of people like Ron Paul’

    There, fixed that for you.”

    I’m not opposed to libertarians working within the Republican Party, so long as they don’t sacrifice too much on principles, or for that matter, I’m not opposed to libertarians working within the Democratic Party, or some other party, or as independents, under the same guidelines.

    Having said this, there are benefits to having an actual party called the Libertarian Party, which can openly advocate for libertarian principles, without being pushed too hard to compromise on those principles.

    If libertarians just run as Republicans, then it will cause confusion among a lot of the public, as many of them will assume that libertarians have something to do with Republicans, or that the mainstream of the Republican Party, and the people who run the Republican Party, are somehow libertarian (they are not).

    The 2008 and 2012 primaries showed us how the Republican establishment, and many of the rank-and-file Republican voters, treat libertarians, as Ron Paul was rejected, and mistreated, by both. Rand Paul tried the game of trying to play both sides of the fence, as in soundings somewhat libertarian, while still trying to kiss up to the mainstream Republicans at the same time, and his campaign for the presidential nomination failed, and he did not have the same level of success in the Republican primaries as his father did (yes, he ran in a more crowded field, but even so, he just did not capture the same level of rabid support that his father had).

    Ron Paul did do a pretty good job of reaching out across the political spectrum for support even though he ran in the Republican primaries, but there were still lots of people out there who never gave his message a chance, either because they just don’t like Republicans, or because they don’t pay attention to politics until after the primaries are over.

    It is true that Libertarian Party members generally do not win elections, but there are still lots of things that the Libertarian Party can accomplish. Libertarians can push libertarian ideas and pressure the major parties to either adopt these ideas, or to at least not go too far in the opposite direction. Libertarian Party members engaging in the political process get the message out to a lot of people who would not hear it otherwise, and this leads to more people adopting these ideas. Sometimes Libertarian Party members actually do win elections as well.

    Is the Libertarian Party as effective as it could be? No. The party has been mired with mismanagement and internal dysfunction. There are lots of things that the party COULD BE doing, but is not doing, or not doing enough. The party has screwed up multiple opportunities. The Libertarian Party could easily be a lot bigger and more successful right now if not for all of these internal problems that have happened over the years.

    One way that I think that the Libertarian Party could be more successful is if Libertarians spent more time pushing action items that people can take in their regular lives that move society in a libertarian direction, but do not rely on people getting elected to office to implement. I’m talking about things like jury nullification of victimless crimes, the use of alternative currencies (gold, silver, Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies, etc…), promoting home schooling programs (especially ones put out by libertarians), promoting gun ownership (particularly to people who do not own guns, and who do not understand why the right to keep and bear arms is important), etc… Unfortunately, not enough people are doing this.

  54. NewFederalist

    “The Libertarian Party could easily be a lot bigger and more successful right now if not for all of these internal problems that have happened over the years.” – Andy

    While that is probably true the same can be said for every alternative party today. It’s not just the LP that has fractious inter-party squabbles. It’s ALL philosophical parties and even some (like the Reform Party) that are NOT particularly philosophical. I do agree with you that more state and local level single issue advocacy would most likely produce more positive results and favorable party recognition than is presently the case.

  55. Carol Moore

    Starchild: Do you think GOP “libertarians” really would be tolerant of some of the antics some of us libertarians engage in at conventions. Not to mention our “too” libertarian positions? Do you think they would ONLY get rid of the abortion plank?

  56. Starchild

    Don — show me where Ron Paul is encouraging people to quit the Libertarian Party. I haven’t seen that. Indeed he has never rescinded his own life membership.

    Carol — Depends which kind of Republicans! Many of our radicals are ex-GOP, including myself. But I’d like to see us put more emphasis on parts of our message like solidarity with those persecuted and imprisoned by government, and draw more support from the left.

  57. Don Wills

    There are two major currents of thought in the “why the LP” question.

    1. To educate citizens as to the moral superiority of libertarianism.
    2. To get elected to positions in the executive and legislative branches of government to gain power.

    Both of these courses of action converge on the same general objective to reduce government thereby increasing liberty.

    Ron Paul recognized that he these 2 plans of attack are not mutually exclusive.

    My suggestion is “to get yourself elected as a Republican to gain power and affect policy”. No, Ron Paul, has never suggested that others leave the LP. But he didn’t say stay either. His actions speak louder than his lack of words on the issue. I rest my case.

  58. George Phillies

    “Don — show me where Ron Paul is encouraging people to quit the Libertarian Party. I haven’t seen that. Indeed he has never rescinded his own life membership.”

    He encouraged people in at least one California election to vote for a Republican — that is indeed abandoning the party — when there was a Republican in teh race. I seem, to recall a VA Senate election with the same issue.

  59. Carol Moore

    Starchild: You are correct of course about Republicans. I actually was a Democrat til spring of 1979 when various readings gave me the delusion that the young anti-authitarian dems were going to take over a failing GOP and joined in NY state. Reading too much John McLaughrey maybe! Luckily that fall I finally investigated the LP, became libertarian within a month. But I probably remained on GOP rolls for who knows how many years after I left NY, since LP not on ballot and they doubtless are sloppy about cleaning out their voter reg files.

    Still I have recently read disturbing FBook posts about anti-abortion conservatives who would join the party without the abortion plank, not to mention those crazy AN/CAPs who seem pro-war and terrified of being seen as “gay”. Of course, a lot of the gay fear types already are in the party. (Mostly repressed bisexuals at heart I bet. 🙂

  60. Andy

    “George Phillies
    February 15, 2017 at 11:07
    ‘Don — show me where Ron Paul is encouraging people to quit the Libertarian Party. I haven’t seen that. Indeed he has never rescinded his own life membership.’

    He encouraged people in at least one California election to vote for a Republican — that is indeed abandoning the party — when there was a Republican in teh race. I seem, to recall a VA Senate election with the same issue.”

    You are referring to the Virginia Gubernatorial election of 2013, when Ron Paul ended up endorsing Republican Ken Cucinelli over Libertarian Rob Sarvis. This was discussed here in the past, and it has already been pointed out that this was done with the hope of getting an endorsement for Rand Paul’s presidential campaign in return from Cucinelli, which would have been a more powerful endorsement, if Cucinelli had been elected Governor of Virginia. It should also be noted that the Rob Sarvis campaign did NOT return the candidate survey that was sent to them by Campaign for Liberty (not returning a candidate survey is a good way to lose endorsements), and the head of Campaign for Liberty in Virginia urged Ron Paul to endorse Cucinelli. Cucinelli was not a libertarian, and he was bad on several issues, but he actually was good on a few issues as well from a libertarian perspective, such as that he had taken stands in favor of gun rights (he helped keep gun shows from being run out of certain areas of Virginia), stopping eminent domain from being abused, and he filed a lawsuit that was against implementing Obamacare in Virginia. Having said this, I did do NOT agree with Ron Paul’s endorsement of Cucinelli, but I can see why he did it.

    Ron Paul obviously still cares about the Libertarian Party, or else he would not have appeared via video at the 2016 LP national convention. I was there, and the Ron Paul video received a standing ovation, but unfortunately, a majority of convention delegates ignored Ron Paul’s advice that was given during his address, by nominating the least principled candidates for President and Vice President who were on stage at the convention.

    It should also be pointed out that Ron Paul quit the Republican Party after the 2012 Republican National Convention. He has never quit the Libertarian Party.

  61. Starchild

    Don – You’re right that spreading the libertarian message and getting elected to powerful public office are not mutually exclusive, and yes, it is of course easier to get elected to office if you run as a member of one of the cartel parties. Although I think the odds are statistically against it, a few committed, principled people have arguably managed to go that route without selling out, with Ron Paul being Exhibit A.

    During the struggle for American Independence, would it have been useful to have some colonists who supported the values of the freedom movement “work within the system” by staying loyal to the British monarchy, if they’d been able to get themselves elected to Parliament or into influential positions close to King George III? Undoubtedly, yes. But what was really required, and what the real revolutionaries provided, was a radical paradigm shift, a clean break from the past, a new movement that wasn’t tied to the old political establishment. Having enough people willing to stand up and make that break, even though it looked like a long shot, was what made the revolution ultimately successful in a way that getting a bunch of colonist sympathizers elected to Parliament never could have.

    The libertarian movement today is fighting an equally historic struggle for independence, but this time it’s worldwide – freedom and independence for each individual. In the United States, that movement has a political party, and it is not the Republican Party. The Republican Party, as its “Grand Old Party” moniker illustrates, is part of the old order.

    Abandoning the 2-party cartel isn’t mainly about educating people or producing short-term electoral gains. The main reason to join the Libertarian Party isn’t because doing so makes it easier to educate people about libertarianism, or because while it’s harder to win elections there’s a greater likelihood that the people you do elect to public office won’t sell out – although I happen to believe both of those things are true.

    When individuals with libertarian values succeed in getting some power within an establishment vehicle like the Republican Party, there will always be limits on the extent to which they can fully embrace the libertarian movement, because they have to work with the people who make up the party they’re in, and that party is not part of the movement. During his campaigns for Congress and the presidency, Ron Paul spent much of his time running and identifying as a “conservative”, even when he was saying libertarian things; it may have been the necessary political price to be paid for working within the GOP as successfully as he did, but it undercut the message. Unreservedly condemning an group while simultaneously continuing to work within it strains both one’s credibility with outside observers and one’s ability to remain viable within the group, and thus libertarians working within organizations that are mostly statist naturally tend to hold back some of the fire they might otherwise unleash. There is a certain ability to inspire and radicalize others that can only come with openly making a full, clean break and publicly declaring one’s allegiance to the new paradigm over the old.

    The importance of declaring openly and strongly for the party that most has truth on its side can often be lost in the heat and confusion of battle. When waging an uphill struggle, there will always be a score of tempting arguments for choosing the safer, more popular, or more conventionally acceptable path toward change. Some of these arguments will even be sincere, and not merely consciously or unconsciously self-serving efforts to reap conventional rewards of money, power, status, and career opportunities, or at least minimize the loss of these things that siding with the underdogs often entails. But history renders a clearer verdict. Who today remembers and is inspired by the “good Tories” who sought to advance the values of American freedom while still remaining loyal subjects of King George?

    Using democratic elections to remove those who believe in State power from office has numerous advantages over the alternate methods for removing them, and sharing the freedom message through education in order to wake people up is absolutely key, but for them (us) to be an effective force for radical change we must be more than just individual libertarians acting atomistically. That is why a libertarian movement is needed, and why one arose. Advancing that movement matters more in the long run than any successes that can be had within the current paradigm.

    But for a movement to realize its full potential, there needs to be a consciousness among its participants that they (we) are a movement, and indispensable to creating that consciousness is practicing solidarity within the movement. Rallying around your symbols and standing proudly with your comrades.

    And that brings us to what I believe is the most important reason to support the Libertarian Party: Right now the Libertarian Party is the clear political standard-bearer for the libertarian movement in the United States, and thus by choosing the LP you are practicing movement solidarity. In contrast, urging libertarians to abandon the Libertarian Party in favor of some other vehicle that is not clearly associated with the libertarian movement is undermining movement solidarity, and thus undermining the movement.

  62. Starchild

    Postscript to the above: My comment that “There is a certain ability to inspire and radicalize others that can only come with openly making a full, clean break and publicly declaring one’s allegiance to the new paradigm over the old”, was not intended to suggest that Ron Paul didn’t inspire and radicalize people, only that his status as a Republican constrained some of his ability to do so.

  63. Starchild

    Carol – Anarchists who seem “pro-war and terrified of being seen as ‘gay'”? I’m curious what you’ve seen that’s led you to make this observation.

  64. Robert Capozzi

    DW: Answer 2: In the last 25 years, here are some of the policies/laws that have improved without the help of elected Libertarians: gun rights, marijuana legalization, gay rights, school choice and free markets.

    me: free markets? Really?

    L Rs might be helpful in advancing gun rights and school choice. Is there strong evidence that they are part of the solution on weed and gay rights, or part of the problem like their party is?

  65. Carol Moore

    Starchild: This FB page has the worst offenders of ones I’ve joined. https://www.facebook.com/groups/927731790605078/ And it is called “Voluntaryist/anarchist/libertarians” So I can imagine what it’s like on some of those quasi-libertarian groups I haven’t joined.

    Evidently even when LP put out a meme with sexy guys there was a big “ACK people will think we’re gay” backlash. I had same response from some when I countered the BOOBS memes with sexy guy memes.

    Often these types will NOT say what they REALLY think and “put up” with things they don’t like UNTIL there is a critical mass of them.

    Other thing is if party drops abortion plank, especially through some influx of rightwingers, then the more hard core people will leave, and then things will also go down faster.

    I’m not too worried about New Orleans, however, since lots of wild and crazy guys and gals will want to go – even me. 2020 could be a problem if someone like Rand Paul tried to be the candidate. 2022 could be a problem if they have it in, say, Portland ME… ha ha

    In the meantime Pro-Choice Libertarians are talking about working more on media attention to some of our views that liberals don’t have like: unintended consequences of outlawing abortion; outlawing abortion conferring competitive disadvantage on women in job market; big expansion of welfare rolls; and full tax credits for those who contribute to womens health care efforts, including Planned Parenthood (and full tax credits for other health too, of course).

    Any other good perspectives we could assert from libertarian view point?

  66. paulie

    You are referring to the Virginia Gubernatorial election of 2013, when Ron Paul ended up endorsing Republican Ken Cucinelli over Libertarian Rob Sarvis.

    Nope, reference was to CA – Campbell, I believe. There have been lots of other elections that Ron Paul has endorsed Republicans running against LP over the years. He is good on many things but endorsements not so much.

  67. Andy

    Yeah, I am aware of that. I recall that Ron Paul actually contacted a Libertarian Party candidate in California and apologized/explained why he had to endorse the Republican. This Libertarian Party candidate said he understood.

    Having to do “political favors” is one of the arguments against libertarians working within the Republican Party (the same goes with the Democratic Party).

  68. paulie

    Having to do “political favors” is one of the arguments against libertarians working within the Republican Party (the same goes with the Democratic Party).

    Exactly.

  69. Thomas L. Knapp

    My memory of 600+ officeholders matches Andy’s.

    There are probably any number of reasons why the LP is less successful than it used to be in terms of electing people to local office. I suspect the perception that we’ve become Hoppean anti-immigration cranks probably has at least a little to do with that. Ethnic minority voters are a natural target demographic for us, but they tend to be sensitive to authoritarianism on issues that seem that come across as racially tinged.

  70. dL

    My memory of 600+ officeholders matches Andy’s.

    My first guess for the reason would be (1) money and (2) the opportunity costs of spending available time…my guess is that both have been in shorter supply in the 21st century than what was available in the 1990s.

  71. Robert Capozzi

    All plausible explanations. There could also be more ideological exhaustion now. Aside from the truest believing NAPSTERS, as the decades and data roll in, the umph of 70s-style NAPSTERism has run its course. The thought leaders in the LM seem significantly less interested in posing “in a L society” musings, a construct that fueled the movement for 3 decades.

    This has been replaced by a dour “Rs and Ds are all fucked up stance,” which has a lot of truth in it, but is not exactly inspiring.

  72. Andy

    “dL
    February 17, 2017 at 21:29
    ‘My memory of 600+ officeholders matches Andy’s.’
    My first guess for the reason would be (1) money and (2) the opportunity costs of spending available time…my guess is that both have been in shorter supply in the 21st century than what was available in the 1990s.”

    The 600 plus LP office holders happened in 2003.

    Back in the 19990’s and early 2000’s, it looked like the Libertarian Party was going somewhere. I figured that by 2017 the party would be much bigger, and more successful, than it is now.

    I do not think that lack of money is the real problem. The party has always lacked money. If the party had continued the growth trajectory that it was on from 1994-2001, and not taken multiple steps backward, the party would have a lot more money right now.

    I’d say that the main problems have been mismanagement and internal dysfunction.

  73. Andy

    Here is an article that was posted here on IPR that cites the 600 plus Libertarians who were in elected offices back in 2003. Note that in 2017, we only have 145 Libertarians elected to public offices, and it is all low level stuff, so it is not as though we have less people elected now, but a lot of them are in higher level offices. We had Libertarians elected to seats in state legislatures in the 1980’s in Alaska, and in the 1990’s and in 2000 in New Hampshire (although the LP member elected to the NH legislature in New Hampshire left the LP during the term in office and joined the Republican Party).

    So we had over 600 Libertarians in elected offices 14 years ago, and only 145 Libertarians in elected offices today. Does anyone think that this is a sign of progress? I don’t.

    http://independentpoliticalreport.com/2013/10/a-detailed-history-of-the-libertarian-party-from-the-lp-colorados-website/

    From the article: “The Libertarian Party clawed its way out of a $400,000 debt helped along by the recession and the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks and into financial solvency.
    Even though it was an off-year election, the LP racked up 46 victories — over half of them coming in higher level offices such as city and county council, increasing the upward march of Libertarian office-holders. In Michigan, Libertarians were re-elected to city council seats and in 5 states Republican and Democrat incumbents were booted from theirs. As 2003 drew to a close, over 600 Libertarians were serving in public office nationwide.”

  74. Andy

    “Thomas L. Knapp
    February 17, 2017 at 20:43
    My memory of 600+ officeholders matches Andy’s.

    There are probably any number of reasons why the LP is less successful than it used to be in terms of electing people to local office. I suspect the perception that we’ve become Hoppean anti-immigration cranks probably has at least a little to do with that. Ethnic minority voters are a natural target demographic for us, but they tend to be sensitive to authoritarianism on issues that seem that come across as racially tinged.”

    That has little or nothing to do with it. If anything, the opposite is true (the general image of libertarians is that they are for “open borders”, which most people, even many immigrants, perceive in a negative light (most people don’t understand what immigration would look like in an anarcho-capitalist society, and most people do not even know what anarcho-capitalism is, and it is a concept that a lot of people have a difficult time grasping)), but I do not think that this has much to do with it either.

    This statement is about as detached from reality as is Robert Capozzi’s thesis that large numbers of people do not support the Libertarian Party because some libertarians have been critical of Abraham Lincoln’s policies, and said that the South had the right to secede from the Union. Reality is that large numbers of people have never even heard any of this stuff, it is not perceived as being among current political issues, and when this topic came up in the past, I actually showed evidence of people “getting it” after it was explained to them, such as when I posted the clip of Ron Paul being interviewed by DL Hughley (a black talk show host and comedian/actor).

    So what are the REAL reasons that there are not more Libertarians elected to offices right now? Mismanagement of the party. Internal dysfunction. Lack of activism.

    Libertarians are generally too lazy to go out and do any outreach to the public. The Libertarian Party has put little effort into actually winning elections. There have been plenty of winnable races that have come up over the last 13 years, including races for seats in state legislatures, where the Libertarian Party has completely dropped the ball. I have been blowing the whistle for the last several years on the fact that around 70-80% of the money that the Libertarian Party spends on ballot access gets used to hire non-libertarian mercenaries to go out and represent the party to the public, and that these people do little to know outreach, and in some cases, they actually misrepresent the party to the public, and that the party put close to ZERO effort into recruiting actual libertarians to do this work, but nothing was done about it for years. I will say that there has FINALLY been a little bit of effort put into recruiting actual libertarians to do this work over the last year, but it is still too little effort. It should be that 70-80% of the ballot access money gets used to hire actual libertarian activists, or ideally, 100% of the money gets used to hire actual libertarian activists, or that 100% of the work gets done by a combination of Libertarian Party volunteers and paid libertarian activists, but if this is not possible, it should at least be that a majority of the work is being done by actual libertarians, as in instead of 70-80% of the money going to people who don’t give a rat’s ass about the party or the movement beyond getting a paycheck, and who’d be just as happy working for Democrats or Republicans, so long as they are getting paid, it should be that 70-80% of the money gets used to hire actual libertarian activists, with only 20-30% of the money going to non-libertarian mercenaries to fill in the gaps.

    Most of the lack of success of the LP is not due to issue stances, or issues of controversy within the party (abortion, immigration, “conspiracy theories”, minarchy vs anarchy, etc…). A lot of it boils down to bad strategy decisions, misallocation of resources, and too many Libertarians just not being willing to do the hard work that it takes to get a political party ahead.

  75. Andy

    ” and that these people do little to know outreach”

    Should read, “and that these people do little to no outreach…”

  76. Andy

    Another thing to keep in mind with the decrease in Libertarian Party members in elected offices is that there are multiple states where local offices are non-partisan, that is that party labels are not attached to the names of any of the candidates for these offices when their names appear on ballots. So in these states, you can’t use the excuse that the Libertarian Party label has prevented Libertarian Party members from getting elected to these offices, because we currently have less Libertarian Party members elected to these non-partisan offices than we did in 2003.

    It is funny to see the excuses that people come up with to cover up the real truth, which is party mismanagement and too many Libertarians being too lazy to do the hard work that it takes to get candidates elected to office.

  77. NewFederalist

    “So we had over 600 Libertarians in elected offices 14 years ago, and only 145 Libertarians in elected offices today.” – Andy

    I just want to be sure apples are not being compared to oranges. My recollection of the big 600 plus number of libertarians in office is that EVERYONE was included. This meant partisan as well as non-partisan elected offices as well as appointed officials. Is that the same with the 145 number today?

  78. Andy

    “nd in the 1990’s and in 2000 in New Hampshire (although the LP member elected to the NH legislature in New Hampshire left the LP during the term in office and joined the Republican Party).”

    Just to be clear here, I think that there were 4 Libertarians elected to the New Hampshire state legislature in the 1990’s. I recall that there were at least 4 of them in the New Hampshire legislature at the same time. The Libertarian Party member who was elected to the New Hampshire state legislature in 2000 left the Libertarian Party a few months into this term and joined the Republican Party.

    The Libertarian Party has not elected anyone to a seat in a state legislature since the 2000 election, and the Libertarian Party has not elected anyone to a seat in a state legislature that actually served out their term as a Libertarian Party member since the 1990’s (I think that the last time this happened was 1996).

  79. Andy

    “NewFederalist
    February 18, 2017 at 11:47
    ‘So we had over 600 Libertarians in elected offices 14 years ago, and only 145 Libertarians in elected offices today.’ – Andy

    I just want to be sure apples are not being compared to oranges. My recollection of the big 600 plus number of libertarians in office is that EVERYONE was included. This meant partisan as well as non-partisan elected offices as well as appointed officials. Is that the same with the 145 number today?”

    Yes, the 145 figure today is a combination of non-partisan and partisan offices, just as the 600 plus figure was from 14 years ago.

    If we only counted Libertarian Party members who were elected to partisan offices today, that number would look at lot weaker than 145.

    The two or three or four Libertarian Party members who are in state legislatures today did not get elected as Libertarians, they got elected as Republicans and then switched to the Libertarian Party once in office. This is nice so long as they do not violate libertarian principles (like that John Moore guy did in Nevada, but he lost badly in his re-election attempt, and deservedly so), but switching to Libertarian once in office and getting elected as a Libertarian are not the same thing. It will be interesting to see if any of these two or three or four Republicans who got elected and then switched to Libertarian can get re-elected as Libertarians, and it will be even more interesting to see if they actually stick pretty close to libertarian principles while in office.

  80. Andy

    “NewFederalist
    February 18, 2017 at 12:06
    Does the 145 include APPOINTED officials as well? The 600 plus number did.”

    I believe so. I don’t think that we’ve had a great number of Libertarians in appointed offices though. A few here and there, but most of these figures are from elected office holders, and more of them are non-partisan offices than partisan.

  81. Andy

    I think that the real issue with borders is not really open borders vs closed borders, but rather government control of borders vs private property control of borders. The existence of government means that there is not likely to be a border policy where every living within those borders agrees, so the ultimate solution is to eliminate government and privatize everything in the most fair manner as possible (all of this stuff is far easier said than done of course).

  82. Jim

    Generally speaking, more Libertarians are elected in non-Presidential years than in Presidential years. Lower voter turnout and more local offices.

    As listed on the archived versions of LP.org (assuming it was properly updated.)

    Feb 2017: 145
    April 2016: 144
    April 2015: 144
    March 2014: 144
    April 2013: 137
    April 2012: 151
    April 2011: 156
    April 2010: 154

    Useless website.

    April 2005: 570
    April 2004: 603
    April 2003: 589
    April 2002: 513
    April 2001: 411
    March 2000: 264
    April 1999: 259
    Feb 1998: 237
    Feb 1997: 179

  83. paulie

    “So we had over 600 Libertarians in elected offices 14 years ago, and only 145 Libertarians in elected offices today.” – Andy

    I just want to be sure apples are not being compared to oranges. My recollection of the big 600 plus number of libertarians in office is that EVERYONE was included. This meant partisan as well as non-partisan elected offices as well as appointed officials. Is that the same with the 145 number today?

    Yes. However, the number may simply be a matter of tracking. That is, most of these offices are non-partisan. There are over 500k local non-partisan elected and appointed offices nationwide. There are also over 500 k LP members by one definition or another (registered LP voters, pledge signers who have not revoked their pledge signature, national only members, state only members, etc). It’s likely that a lot more than 145 of those 500k + LP members (by combination of definitions) are in those 500k + elected and appointed positions, but since the national party has a lower budget and less staff than 15 years ago, and because lack of unified membership has resulted in fewer active local clubs and fewer people showing up to many local meetings than 15 years ago, fewer of those have bothered to notify the national office of their elected or appointed positions. Keep in mind that most of the 500k plus LP members variously defined are not LP activists, and most never go to LP meetings, so their party contact is minimal – perhaps they send a small donation now and then to their state or national party, perhaps they just check a box on the voter reg, perhaps they get email from some level of LP, etc. But they are far less plugged in to the party than those who show up to meetings and conventions regularly, keep up with all the email lists and facebook groups and so on.

  84. paulie

    Here is a good video by a black libertarian (as in an African American who is a libertarian) who brings up some of the same arguments that I have brought up on the issue of immigration.

    Thus proving that African-Americans are also capable of making bad arguments. Shocking!

  85. paulie

    Speaking of LP voter registration, it is way up from 15 years ago. So is LP cumulative vote total, even without the concentrated national campaign to maximize the number of LP members running up and down the ballot in as many places as possible that Ron Crickenberger ran back when he worked at national. Dues paying national membership and national party income is now back up to a post UMP/BCRA high. It’s taken the party quite some time to adjust to the collapse of UMP, the BCRA restrictions on coordination between the LP at different levels and/or LP candidates, the fallout of the national office circa 2002, adjusting to different database management, fallout from 9/11, and so on. We’ll see what happens to that trajectory in the next year or two to see if the 2016 bump is sustainable. So far the indicators are still going up, but we’re barely past the election.

  86. Andy

    Jim, the 145 Libertarians who are currently in local offices were not all elected this year. The LP only elected like 15 people this past November, and I do not think that the figure is much higher than that if it is higher.

  87. Andy

    I am pretty sure that the UMP (Unified Membership Plan) did not just “collapse” on its own. I am pretty sure that it was just a case of a majority of LNC members voting to get rid of it. This was probably a bad decision, because it has led to state parties having less money, which has led to more state affiliates to have to “beg” the LNC for funds.

  88. Jim

    Andy “the 145 Libertarians who are currently in local offices were not all elected this year.”

    Yes, but that applies to every year on the list. The list is of libertarians currently in office, not libertarians elected in that year.

    Andy “I am pretty sure that the UMP (Unified Membership Plan) did not just “collapse” on its own. I am pretty sure that it was just a case of a majority of LNC members voting to get rid of it.”

    The collapse began before the BCRA went into effect. The BCRA went into effect in Jan. 2003. The number of donors to the LNC had already shrank by 1/3rd by that point. My understanding of the timeline and reasoning – I may have it wrong – is that the UMP was voted out in 2005 (with the final payments in mid 2006). By late 2005 the number of donors had collapsed by nearly half and it was easier for national to end the program than to cut spending or increase donors.

  89. paulie

    All plausible explanations. There could also be more ideological exhaustion now. Aside from the truest believing NAPSTERS, as the decades and data roll in, the umph of 70s-style NAPSTERism has run its course. The thought leaders in the LM seem significantly less interested in posing “in a L society” musings, a construct that fueled the movement for 3 decades.

    The movement is growing by leaps and bounds and diversifying. I would say there are a lot more small-l radical libertarians, and better networking, than a decade ago. FB has been both a blessing (in terms of people finding each other) and a curse (time sink) in this regard.

  90. paulie

    The collapse began before the BCRA went into effect. The BCRA went into effect in Jan. 2003. The number of donors to the LNC had already shrank by 1/3rd by that point. My understanding of the timeline and reasoning – I may have it wrong – is that the UMP was voted out in 2005 (with the final payments in mid 2006). By late 2005 the number of donors had collapsed by nearly half and it was easier for national to end the program than to cut spending or increase donors.

    Sounds about right. There were a bunch of things going on at that time, that I and others have gone into detail on in past threads. However we seem to be getting somewhat back on track now in those regards.

  91. paulie

    I would say there are a lot more small-l radical libertarians, and better networking, than a decade ago.

    Also true for within the party. Caryn Ann has had a lot to do with that. We did better in terms of LNC, bylaws, platform, etc at the last national convention than in a long time due to the radical caucus having an organized presence. And arguably the presidential nomination would not have gone to a second ballot, nor the VP drama, without an organized effort.

  92. Andy

    The libertarian movement has grown by leaps and bounds since 2007, but the Libertarian Party has not.

  93. dL

    Back in the 19990’s and early 2000’s, it looked like the Libertarian Party was going somewhere. I figured that by 2017 the party would be much bigger, and more successful, than it is now.

    In succession, Dot COM bust, 9-11, financial intermediary collapse/bailouts. Each alone might be thought of as once-in-a-generation type thing. Three in a row, separated only by a couple of years.

    Hypothesis: that’s root of the money drying up, comparatively speaking.

    Opportunity costs: in the old days, if you wanted to muse about politics from a libertarian perspective, run for office. By 2004, you could simply start a blog. Lot cheaper…a lot more convenient.

  94. Andy

    dL, I think that bigger factors in the Libertarian Party’s lack of success have been mismanagement, internal dysfunction, and lack of activism. These things are the fault of LP members. We all know that we are impacted by external factors, but some of our problems are also internal, as in they are our own fault.

  95. Jim

    Andy “The libertarian movement has grown by leaps and bounds since 2007, but the Libertarian Party has not.”

    LP voter registration:
    2008: 242,587
    2016: 498,706

    LP share of the vote in races in which an LP candidate participated:

    President
    2008: 0.40%
    2016: 3.28%

    US Senate
    2008: 1.74%
    2016: 2.83%

    US Congress
    2008: 3.20%
    2016: 4.63%

    State Senate
    2008: 6.65%
    2016: 11.38%

    State House
    2008: 6.60%
    2016: 11.05%

    Number of donors to the LNC (December)
    2008: 16,349
    2016: 20,406

  96. Carol Moore

    Thanks for stats Jim. May help dissipate an unnecessary amount of back and forth. 🙂

    Think I’ll break down and listen now and see if ABORTION gets mentioned…

  97. Andy

    Jim, I do not call that growing by leaps and bounds. The LP had over 33,000 dues paying members 17 years ago. The LP had over 600 people elected to office 14 years ago. The LP elected people to seats in state legislatures in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The LP has not even had an actual libertarian on its presidential ticket since 2004.

    The rosy picture you are trying to paint is really not so rosy.

  98. Jim

    Moving the goalpost Andy? You specifically said “since 2007.”

    But, yes, the LNC did have more donors in 2000. But, as I pointed out in the open thread, if you combine Browne’s 2000 campaign and the 2000 LNC revenue and adjust it for inflation to 2016, it comes to $8.2 million. The 2016 Johnson campaign plus the 2016 LNC revenue comes to $14.3 million.

    In other words, more revenue was raised in 2016 than in 2000, it was just directed differently.

    That leaves you only with the number of candidates elected. As I pointed out earlier, the LP is electing candidates at the same rate as it did in previous years, it is just running fewer candidates.

    Fewer candidates is really the only leg you have to stand on.

  99. paulie

    In succession, Dot COM bust, 9-11, financial intermediary collapse/bailouts. Each alone might be thought of as once-in-a-generation type thing. Three in a row, separated only by a couple of years.

    A bunch of things internal to the party, also.

  100. paulie

    The libertarian movement has grown by leaps and bounds since 2007, but the Libertarian Party has not.

    Depends on your measures. Vote totals are up, registered LP voters are way up, pledge signers are up. Dues paying memberships and party income way up in the past year, pretty flat before that.

  101. paulie

    Fewer candidates is really the only leg you have to stand on.

    Yes, and that may well be just a reporting/communication issue, as I pointed out above.

  102. Andy

    “Jim
    February 18, 2017 at 20:37
    Moving the goalpost Andy? You specifically said ‘since 2007.'”

    My since 2007 comment was a reference to the Ron Paul r3VOLution of 2007-2012. Those campaigns had more to do with the growth of the libertarian movement than anything that the Libertarian Party has done since 2007.

    The truth of the matter is that the Libertarian Party has FAILED to capture that momentum, and the party lost the growth trajectory it was on in the mid 1990’s to early 2000’s.

    Then to make matters worse, the LP sold out its principles with its last three presidential tickets.

    The last three presidential elections have had excellent sets of circumstances surrounding them for the Libertarian Party and movement to get ahead, but instead of putting forth candidates with any kind of strong libertarian message, the party put forth candidates with very weak messages that were not really that libertarian, if libertarian at all.

    What difference does it make how many votes our party’s presidential ticket gets if they stray far from the party’s platform on multiple issues? And in reality, the vote totals really have not been that good. Even the 2016 vote total was an under-performance from what the potential was last year, but even worse than this was that Johnson/Weld made the Libertarian Party look like a bunch of goofy, unprincipled sell outs.

    I bet that if the Libertarian Party had nominated Bernie Sanders for President that Sanders would have gotten a lot more votes than Gary Johnson. Sanders could have easily doubled or tripled the votes that Gary Johnson got, and I think that it is quite possible that Sanders could have done even more than that. Would nominated Bernie Sanders for President have been a principled thing for the Libertarian Party to do? No, but the “shiny badge” causes doesn’t give a rat’s ass about principles. So how about Bernie Sanders for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2020? He’ll probably get lots of votes. He supports legalizing marijuana, state marriage licenses for gays, he’s less pro-war than a lot of the other politicians out there, and he’s not quite as terrible on gun rights as some of the other Democratics are. OK, so he’s pretty off on most economic issues from a libertarian perspective. We’ve got four years to work with him on that. Maybe we could send him some Cato Institute policy manuals, or maybe we could strike a deal with him to get him to repeat some Libertarian talking points on economics if we give him our nomination for President in 2020. Even if he is not that libertarian on economics, so what, it’s all about getting a lot of votes in November, and that’s all that matters, right?

  103. dL

    A bunch of things internal to the party, also.

    yeah, I’m just offering up what I would guess…or a suggestion that it may not all be the consequence of inner party mechanics. Now I will mention that in the aftermath of Trump’s election, I have renewed both my lapsed ACLU and LP memberships.

  104. Andy

    “paulie
    ‘February 18, 2017 at 21:56
    The libertarian movement has grown by leaps and bounds since 2007, but the Libertarian Party has not.’
    Depends on your measures. Vote totals are up,”

    Vote totals are up for a presidential ticket that ran AGAINST multiple Libertarian Party platform planks, and which watered down other platform planks, and which downplayed that they were even Libertarian Party candidates.

    Vote totals for this is not something about which to get really excited.

    “registered LP voters are way up,”

    A lot of this has to do with the word libertarian becoming more popular, and a lot of this has to do with people like Ron Paul, Andrew Napolitano, and John Stossel using the word. I still hear the name Ron Paul more than anyone else when talking about the Libertarian Party with random members of the public.

    ” pledge signers are up. Dues paying memberships and party income way up in the past year, pretty flat before that.”

    Yeah, it is up a little bit after being in the shitter for years. Dues paying membership is still significantly LESS than what it was 16-17 years ago, and the population of the country has grown since then.

    The party had 33,000 and something dues paying members 16-17 years ago. We should have a good 75,000-80,000 dues paying members today, and it is not unrealistic to say that a Libertarian Party that really had its act together would have even more dues paying members today than that.

    20,000 and something dues paying members today is not a great accomplishment. I’d also have to wonder how many of these people are Gary Johnson and Bill Weld clones.

  105. paulie

    Depends on your measures. Vote totals are up,”

    Vote totals are up for a presidential ticket

    No, multiple levels of offices.

    ” pledge signers are up. Dues paying memberships and party income way up in the past year, pretty flat before that.”

    Yeah, it is up a little bit after being in the shitter for years. Dues paying membership

    Those are two separate measures. Pledge signers have been going up steadily. Dues payers took a dip, but more recently almost doubled in the past year. They have kept going up after the election, so far.

    The party had 33,000 and something dues paying members 16-17 years ago. We should have a good 75,000-80,000 dues paying members today

    As explained earlier, there were some challenges that it took some time to route around. After a readjustment period, hopefully the trend will now stay more positive.

  106. paulie

    yeah, I’m just offering up what I would guess…or a suggestion that it may not all be the consequence of inner party mechanics.

    Some of both.

  107. itdoesntmatterttomuch

    I see Woods is all over the place sticking up for Richard Spencer and the un-libertarian “Hoppe libertarians.” That, and taking every opportunity to worship the Confederate flag – I’m happy he’s a “non party” pseudo libertarian. I’d rather not appeal to collectivists of any stripe, but appealing to these “alt-right” nutbag collectivists who think they are the true libertarians and Ron Paul shits gold bars, is not worth it.

  108. dL

    I see Woods is all over the place sticking up for Richard Spencer and the un-libertarian “Hoppe libertarians.”

    I see Woods as spending the majority of his time attacking “leftist PC” while pretending “rightest PC” doesn’t exist. My experience is that anyone who spends an inordinate of time either way being outraged at the other side’s PC is usually pretty easy to trigger into a spasm of orgasmic outrage. Just got find that trigger point. Usually it is as simple as either “#blueLivesMatter” or “#blackLivesMatter.” With Woods, it is something like “#hoppeIsAPhonyLibertarian.” That will get him fired up(i.e, if you tweet that at him, expect to get deluged by a flood of angry tweets from him and his followers).

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