The Jack News: ‘Adam Kokesh’s Presidential Campaign Promise Is That He’ll Abolish The Federal Government’

Excerpt from an article at The Jack News which is part of a series on possible 2020 LP Presidential candidates. The other would be candidates profiled so far are Tom Campbell, Mary Ruwart, Bill Weld, Justin Amash, Steve Kerbel, Jeffrey Miron and Larry Sharpe, with one more as yet unnamed person to be added tomorrow.

Controversial anarchist and civil-disobedience activist Adam Kokesh has already announced his intention to seek the 2020 Libertarian Party nomination.

He’s running on a platform of abolishing the federal government by decree as his first, only, and last presidential action. Whether or not the president would even have the power to do such a thing is pretty dubious, but Kokesh waves away such constitutional concerns as irrelevant.

Full article

87 thoughts on “The Jack News: ‘Adam Kokesh’s Presidential Campaign Promise Is That He’ll Abolish The Federal Government’

  1. Andy

    Is that unnamed person IPR’s own Warren Redlich? I saw something about this in a comment on Jack News.

  2. George Dance

    It should be noted that the “libertarian Libertarian” who ran a write-in POTUS campaign in 2016 on a platform of abolishing the U.S. government was credited (according to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News) with a grand total of 8 votes nationwide.

  3. Andy

    Once again George, nobody knows how many write in votes Darryl Perry got because a lot of states either do not count them. or they count them and release the totals only if the candidate, or their supporters, jump through some hoops to have them counted, and Perry jumped in the race as a write in after it was too late to jump through the hoops necessary to have his write in votes counted in most states.

    Perry’s write in campaign started late, and received little coverage, so I doubt he got many votes, but he likely got more than you mentioned, because most states never counted or tallied them.

  4. Andy

    I have a video interview which I conducted with Adam Kokesh back in September which I have been unable to post online. Hopefully I will be able to get this online at some point in the not too distant future.

  5. Chuck Moulton

    I have a few:

    1) You ran for U.S. Congress as a Republican in New Mexico. Why not as a Libertarian? Have you permanently converted from Republican to Libertarian, or do you plan to switch back and forth?

    2) Your #1 fan Andy points out you have embraced the positions of Hoppe and are as a result anti-immigrant. Is that an accurate summary of your immigration position? If not, what is your position on immigration?

  6. dL

    2) Your #1 fan Andy points out you have embraced the positions of Hoppe and are as a result anti-immigrant. Is that an accurate summary of your immigration position? If not, what is your position on immigration?

    The best I can ascertain, Kokesh more or less holds the Friedman position on immigration. That is, illegal immigration is a good thing, but legal immigration is a bad thing.

  7. Andy

    More irrational and idiotic comments from Chuck Moulton.

    I like Adam Kokesh, but I never said I was his #1 fan.

    I did talk to Adam about Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and a bunch of other stuff (he did a two day event, and I went to both days, plus I had diner with him and some other people both days). Adam said he agrees with Hoppe’s concept of private property covenant communities in an anarcho-capitalist society, and he also agrees with Hoppe about decentralization, but he does not agree with Hoppe about how immigration should be handled right now, as in Adam is still hanging on to the “open borders” in our present reality position, which is unfortunate, in my opinion, as I do not consider “open borders” into a democratic welfare state with forced association laws and public property to be a legitimate libertarian position.

    I had a brief back-and-forth mini-debate with Adam about immigration, as I brought up that the United Nations Population Replacement Agenda was being pushed by Marxists and globalists to flood the country with people who, statistically speaking, get on welfare and use public resources at a super-majority rate, and who, after obtaining citizenship, vote in super-majority numbers for expanding the welfare state and enacting more gun control laws. Adam gave what I believe was a weak response by saying something to the effect of, “Well, if more people who don’t believe in freedom are coming here, this just means they are leaving other countries and making those countries more free.” I started to respond by pointing out world population statistics, and that there are a lot more people who live in countries that have cultures that are more hostile to liberty and who have no tradition of limiting government power, and that many of these people are poor, and for them, coming here and getting on welfare would be a big life improvement. but we got interrupted and did not get to continue this discussion.

    So the left libertarians and cosmotarian “Beltway” crowd like Chuckie boy can be happy that Adam is still embracing the “open borders” position.

    I do not agree with Adam’s stance, as my position. Which is not “anti-immigrants”, in spite of the lies from leftists and cosmotarian “Beltway” butt kissers is that the only way that so called “open borders” can work (as in not be destructive and actually lead to more conflict and more government) is if you completely abolished the state and had a private property anarchist society, which does not mean “open borders” as there’d still be private property borders, and immigration/migration would be regulated by private property owners. Since we do not live in a private property anarchist society, and the state exists, I think that the state should have an immigration policy that is not destructive to the interests and liberty of the people who are “citizens” of said state, as in the state’s policy should not overwhelm or displace the native population, nor should it invite people who hold Marxist or theocratic views, or who are going to burden society by becoming welfare leeches, or who are known criminals, or who carry communicable diseases. This does not mean no immigrants, it just means weeding out, at least as much as possible, immigrants who bring a negative value.

    If we lived in an anarcho-capitalist society, I believe that the market would do a good job of “regulating” immigration as most property owners would not want their property values to go down by inviting destructive people onto it, and through freedom of association, people could associate, or not associate, with whoever they wanted, for whatever reason. So under such a scenario, those who want lots of multi-culturalism could have it, and those who do not, would not have it forced on them.

    It should be pointed out that Adam’s presidential platform is to completely abolished the federal government, and to do so in as orderly and fair (when I say fair, I am talking about how to divide up assets currently held by the federal government, and how to liquidate programs like Social Security and still pay out benefits to those dependent on it) a manner as possible. So Adam’s platform is actually bypassing a lot of political issues like immigration. Adam said that if his platform was enacted, the 50 state’s would still exist, as would all of the county and city/town governments. He hopes to inspire people to dismantle state and local governments as well, but since he is running for a federal office, this would be left to the people in the various state’s and localities. So basically, all issues under Adam’s platform would be decided at the state or local level.

    If Adam were elected President, and if his platform were enacted (both are unlikely, but the same can be said about any Libertarian Party candidate), immigration would go back to the states, as would every other issue. Under such a scenario, I would want to live in a state that did not invite hordes of Marxists, theocrats, welfare seekers, criminals, and people with communicable diseases, but, as I said above, if we lived in a private property anarchist-capitalist society, the market would accomplish this.

    So although I disagree with Adam for still holding the “open borders” into a democratic welfare state forced association position (which is what advocating for “open borders” under out present conditions is), I can still get behind his platform, as Adam is kicking all issues back to the state or local level since his focus is to abolish the federal government. Also, I am not a “throw the baby out with the bathwater guy,” so I cam still support candidates with whom I have some disagreement (and I could probably find something to disagree with everyone).

  8. Andy

    Oh, and as for Adam having run in the Republican primaries for US House in New Mexico in 2010, he said that he did that because he was inspired by Ron Paul, but he has had nothing to do with the Republican Party since then, and he thinks that the Republican Party is too corrupt of an organization for it to have any real change taking place in the direction of liberty.

    Also, Adam said that he does not expect to win the White House in 2020. He said that his goal is to build momentum for the idea of abolishing the federal government, and to spread the idea of decentralization. He would obviously like to point more people to anarcho-capitalism, but he does not think that everyone is going to embrace it, so for those who will not embrace anarcho-capitalism, he thinks he can sell a lot of them on the concept of decentralization. He said that He thinks it will probably take 3 or 4 presidential elections for this platform to have a chance to win, and he is willing to keep running after 2020, but he is also willing g to pass the baton on to somebody else if another candidate emerges in future elections who embraces this platform, and who he believes is a better messenger for it than himself.

  9. robert capozzi

    aj: Adam having run in the Republican primaries for US House in New Mexico in 2010,

    me: Does this qualify as a “shiny badge”? 😉

  10. paulie

    I could be wrong, but I think having actually held an office, not losing in a primary or even getting a duopoly party nomination in a non-competitive race in a district heavily dominated by the other half of the duopoly, qualifies as a shiny badge. Does anyone have any other questions to suggest for Kokesh?

  11. Andy

    Idiotic comment from Tom Knapp. Mass immigration into a democratic welfare state with forced association and public property is in no way a libertarian position. It is actually a position that is held by Marxists and New World Order globalists.

  12. Libertydave

    Andy, you are still claiming that closed borders is a libertarian position then answer my question.

    Your position on closed borders is a violation of my freedom of association. By closing the border you are telling me who I am allowed to associate with and who I can’t associate with. How can you telling me who I am allowed to associate with be a libertarian position?

  13. Andy

    A lot of stuff was covered in my video interview with Kokesh. Unfortunately, I did not get to ask all of the questions I was intending to ask on camera, but a lot of stuff did get covered. I can’t find the wire that goes from the camera to the computer, which is the main reason I have been able to post the interview online. I need to make it to a Best Buy and after I do that I will probably get it online.

  14. Andy

    Robert, Adam lost when he ran in the Republican primaries in 2010, so I would not call that a Shiny Badge.

  15. Tony From Long Island

    Question: Besides the completely ridiculous premise of your campaign and your utter lack of experience, do you think that being associated with a conspiracy theorist and holder of Trumpian and fascist immigration views such as Andy would be a detriment on your already futile question for the presidency?

  16. paulie

    I don’t think Adam knows Andy enough to be “associated with” and I doubt he knows Andy’s views in enough detail to judge that characterization of them. While I have no problem asking pointed questions, I also want them not to come off as so unreasonably hostile so as to leave the whole set unanswered.

    If we extrapolate more generally I already got the general idea that some people want me to ask him about immigration. Since he wants to dissolve the US, I think I may ask him about how that would play out in regards to movement between former US states… would a person from Louisiana visiting a relative in Connecticut have to apply for a travel visa? Will there be roundups of “illegal” native born Californians who cross into Nevada and Arizona without permission? Will New Jerseyans caught in NYC without a work permit be held in the Tombs, Rikers, or a new prison camp on Staten Island? Will citizens of Indiana and Wisconsin commuting to jobs in Chicago have to cross international border checkpoints and how much will that delay their commute?

  17. paulie

    So it seems AK was a former Shiny Badge Aspirant?

    Former and current. He ran for Congress, now running for “not President.”

  18. paulie

    Unfortunately, I did not get to ask all of the questions I was intending to ask on camera

    Ask them now and I will ask them in print.

  19. robert capozzi

    pk,

    Yes, he’s running for not president but he doesn’t expect to win, iirc. In this sense, he’s not really an “aspirant,” but a sideshow act of some sort. Vermin Supreme seems to be the model, but the difference is that VS is amusing.

  20. paulie

    I don’t think he expected to win a seat in Congress either. After all he was not exactly an establishment Republican, and even if he had made it out of the primary, it was a heavily Democratic district. Still is, as far as I know.

    I’m mildly curious about the k in pk though – k is not anywhere near f on the keyboard. Oddly spelled kannoli? 5th letter of Frankel?

  21. paulie

    Andy, you are still claiming that closed borders is a libertarian position then answer my question.

    Your position on closed borders is a violation of my freedom of association. By closing the border you are telling me who I am allowed to associate with and who I can’t associate with. How can you telling me who I am allowed to associate with be a libertarian position?

  22. paulie

    Here’s my list of questions so far. Let me know of any additions or suggested language. I’ll probably send them to the campaign tomorrow.

    JW1 revised) What do you think the last LP presidential campaign, or the last several, should have done differently/better? Do you think LP convention delegates tend to use the wrong criteria in evaluating candidates? Do you think they have learned their lesson on this, as a whole? Or, is it a matter of who shows up, and do you believe that you can out-organize other campaigns in turning out enough supporters to the convention to capture the nomination?

    JW2 revised) Do you plan to appeal to so-called pragmatic Libertarians, and if so, how?

    CM 1) You ran for U.S. Congress as a Republican in New Mexico. Why not as a Libertarian? Have you permanently converted from Republican to Libertarian, or do you plan to switch back and forth?

    CM 2 revised) In previous IPR comments Andy Jacobs (whom you talked to in Columbus, video interview to be published later) points out you have embraced some positions of Hans H. Hoppe.

    Corollary 1: To what extent do you agree or disagree with Hoppe’s immigration views?

    Corollary 2: What is your position on immigration?

    Corollary 3: Are there any positions of Hoppe or the so-called alt right which you find to be repulsive and worthy of condemnation and dissociation?

    Corollary 4: Do you believe that associating libertarianism with the alt right is a big problem for the party and/or movement?

    Corollary 5: Suppose the federal government actually is dissolved. Do you anticipate problems such as those which occur with international immigration and trade now happening between states? e.g: would a person from Louisiana visiting a relative in Connecticut have to apply for a travel visa? Will there be roundups of “illegal” native born Californians who cross into Nevada and Arizona without permission? Will New Jerseyans caught in NYC without a work permit be held in the Tombs, Rikers, or a new prison camp on Staten Island? Will citizens of Indiana and Wisconsin commuting to jobs in Chicago have to cross international border checkpoints and how much will that delay their commute?

    Will we see former US states slapping each other with trade tariffs and quotas? Will we see gun confiscation up north and theocracy down south?

    XX1) Does the President have the power to dissolve the federal government? If yes, what would be the legal/constitutional mechanism for doing so? If not, is this a problem for your campaign?

    Xx2) During the fallout from the controversy over your breakup with Marcy and one or more other then campaign staffers quitting at the same time, you wrote that you had some problems with a personally authoritarian leadership style that you learned in the military and that you were working on this problem. Do you believe you have made significant progress on that? Are you getting along well with your current staff and significant other if any? Do you anticipate more issues with staff shakeups going forward?

    XX3) Have you made any attempt at creating broadcast-length (30 second and 1 minute) youtube ads that your supporters could pay to put on the air if they chose to? If not, do you have any plans for doing so?

    Xx4) How closely do you plan on cooperating (or not) in sharing your campaign data and lists with the LNC and/or state and local LPs, during or after the campaign?

    Xx5) As additional candidates join the race, how closely do you intend to work with them in setting up joint forums/debates? Will you debate only certain candidates or any who will debate you? If the former, what criteria will you use to choose which ones you will or won’t share the stage with?

    How about general election debates – who will or won’t you debate from the other parties and independents? Do you have a strategy to get invited to the main debates with the Republican and Democratic nominees? If not, do you have a strategy to gain maximum publicity from those debates?

    Xx6) Do you plan on seeking or accepting the nomination of any party besides the LP? Will you support whoever wins the LP nomination, only yourself if you win, or do you have specific criteria on who you will or won’t support if it is not you – if so, what are they? If you are unhappy with the LP nominee, will you seek or accept any ballot lines that you can still get for yourself at that point?

    Xx7) Have you made much in the way of an attempt of getting on to not specifically libertarian shows on broadcast radio and/or TV? Is this something you plan on doing as part of your campaign stops going forward? How about submitting editorials to daily and weekly and college publications around the country?

    Xx8) Given that LP nominates P and VP candidates separately, but P candidates sometimes endorse VP candidates for the nomination, do you plan on working as a “team” with a candidate for the VP nomination? Just let the delegates choose whoever they wish with no meddling from you if you are the P candidate? Would there be some plausible VP candidates you would have a problem being on the same ticket with? If you do not get the P nomination, will you run for the VP nomination as sometimes happens with candidates who do not get the P nomination? These questions suppose that the bylaw will not change which allows these offices to be voted on separately. What do you think of amending the bylaws to make the ticket one which is voted on jointly? Are you in favor or opposed to this change and is it important to you?

    xx9) Tell us a few things that are not generally known about you, especially anything that may come us a surprise to people.

    xx10) Other than dissolving the federal government, will you campaign on any specific issues?

    TLI 1 revised) Do you believe lack of experience in lower office will be a problem in running for (not) president? Or do you see it as a more of a plus? Why or why not?

    TLI 2 revised) What do you think of so-called “conspiracy theories”? Do you believe in some yourself? Are you open-minded about them? Do you plan on making them campaign themes or will you try to avoid talking about them? Do you see association with conspiracy theories and theorists to be detrimental to the public image of the party and your campaign, or do you see them as a fertile recruiting ground for new supporters?

  23. Tony From Long Island

    Question: How much money do you realistically hope to raise and if you qualify, would you accept matching funds? Would any money you raise be used for television advertising?

  24. Krzysztof Lesiak

    Speaking of Warren Redlich, I would like to endorse Warren Redlich for the Libertarian Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

  25. Krzysztof Lesiak

    Questions for Kokesh:

    1) You met 2018 LP Illinois lt governor candidate David Earl WIlliams III before the 2016 election at an event in northern Illinois. Would you consider David Earl Williams III as a possible VP candidate?

    2) What are your thoughts on the Constitution Party?

  26. Andy

    Robert, there is nothing wrong with a person who is good on issues/philosophy seeking to get elected, as in seeking a “Shiny Badge”, and this includes those who do it under the Republican (or for that matter, the Democratic) label. If Adam would have been elected to the US House as a Republican back in 2010, it would have been a good thing, so long as his record in Congree was within the libertarian quadrant.

    My problem with the Shiny Badge Caucus in the LP is not so much the Shiny Badges, but the fact that these people throw principles (and everything else) under the bus in seeking out Shiny Badge holders.

    Holding a Shiny Badge and/or having some kind of fancy sounding resume can be a nice plus for a candidate, but this is not more important than philosophy, issue stances, political strategy, ability to communicate and sell a message, and character (Does a candidate have a record of keeping their word? Are they truly dedicated to the cause of liberty? Do they have a record of lying? Etc. .).

  27. robert capozzi

    aj: good on issues/philosophy

    me: It’s probably most important. What constitutes “good” is the question, ultimately. How NAPsters define “good” excludes most liberty lovers. They are like Opus Dei is to the Catholic community.

  28. Andy

    Yes, I suppose how you define “good” could vary from person to person, but is the general consensus among the greater libertarian community that Shiny Badges holders Bob Barr, Gary Johnson, and Bill Weld, were decent representatives of libertarianism? I would say no, especially post campaign, by which point their flaws were more obvious.

    This is not to say that there is a perfect candidate (there probably is not) who is going to please everyone in the greater libertarian community (not likely to happen), but when there are large numbers of people in the libertarian community expressing doubt that a Libertarian Party candidate should even be regarded as being a libertarian, this is a good sign that there is something seriously wrong with that candidate. If one can run through a list of issues where a candidate is clearly not libertarian, and if they show disloyalty to the libertarian movement, there is a good chance that said candidate was never really a libertarian and was just using libertarians.

  29. robert capozzi

    aj: decent representatives of libertarianism?

    me: A concept that doesn’t work for me. Roderick Long might be considered a decent rep for an ideology, but he’d likely be an awful candidate. These are different roles.

  30. Thomas L. Knapp

    Being a decent representative of libertarianism is not sufficient to make a good candidate.

    But being a decent representative of libertarianism is the bare bottom baseline necessity for being worth running as a candidate at all.

    If the candidate is not a decent representative of libertarianism, there’s no point in running that candidate for office under the label “libertarian.” It’s public masturbation at best and false advertising at worst, neither of which are good prep work for later candidates.

  31. Andy

    Like I said above, Adam Kokesh’s platform is to dissolve the federal government. If he were able to achieve this lofty goal (which he thinks would be unlikely to happen happen for 3 or 4 presidential election cycles, because he thinks it will take at least that long for the idea to become popular enough to win), all issues, including immigration, would go back to the states, which means that the people in some states may chose to put up immigration/migration barriers. Adam would have no control over what the state governments did after he abolished the federal government, but he is hoping to inspire people to run for office on the platform of abolishing state governments as well. He would ultimately like to see a voluntary anarcho-capitalist society, but his platform is only focusing on shutting down the federal government in as fair and orderly manner as possible.

    Adam says that his platform bypasses all political issues because he is just focusing on removing one layer of government from people’s lives. All issues go back to the state or local level under his platform.

    Also, just to be clear, I am not working on his campaign. I have only met Adam three times, all of which were at events, and although I did speak to him for awhile, I am not representing him, nor do we necessarily agree on everything. I am glad that he is in the race, and I may support him for the nomination in 2020, but that is a long time from now so it is hard to say for sure. I would have to see who else declares that they are running for the nomination before I could say for sure who I will support.

    I drove to a Best Buy yesterday to see about getting a wire for that camera so I can upload that interview, but unfortunately the store was closed. I will try to get it up soon.

  32. robert capozzi

    tk,

    Yes, well, it all depends on what the word means to you. If it means NAPster, then, sure, Bergland was probably the model L candidate.

    If L means lessarchist, then I would say the last 3 campaigns were helpful in putting forth a reasonably credible third way to voters, that third way being neither left nor right and liberty maximizing, all things considered.

  33. Andy

    “Thomas L. Knapp
    October 16, 2017 at 18:59
    Being a decent representative of libertarianism is not sufficient to make a good candidate.

    But being a decent representative of libertarianism is the bare bottom baseline necessity for being worth running as a candidate at all.

    If the candidate is not a decent representative of libertarianism, there’s no point in running that candidate for office under the label ‘libertarian.’ It’s public masturbation at best and false advertising at worst, neither of which are good prep work for later candidates.”

    I agree with Tom here.

  34. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC,

    A minute ago, wanting the candidate to decently represent libertarianism didn’t “work” for you.

    Then it started “working” for certain meanings of “represent libertarianism.”

    Seems to me like you just want to fight over what libertarianism means, preferably in a way that lets you call people names if you think it’s possible that they disagree with you. Sorry, not buying today.

  35. robert capozzi

    tk,

    Fight, no. I do, however, challenge the cult of NAPsterism. 😉

    But, yes, a candidate is not a rep for ideas, per se. S/he is on a job interview, offering a skill set and an approach to problem solving to voters. Occasionally, a candidate may allude to his or her core beliefs, although those are put out in a general, non-specific manner.

    Mostly, his or her philosophy shines through the candidate rather than making very specific philosophical pronouncements or grandiose policy prescriptions (AK’s abolishing the federal government by decree certainly qualifies!).

  36. Anthony Dlugos

    “S/he is on a job interview, offering a skill set and an approach to problem solving to voters. Occasionally, a candidate may allude to his or her core beliefs, although those are put out in a general, non-specific manner.

    Mostly, his or her philosophy shines through the candidate rather than making very specific philosophical pronouncements or grandiose policy prescriptions …”

    Bottle this thought and release it as a virus inside the room at the 2018 Convention.

  37. Thomas L. Knapp

    Ah, so RC and AD want the LP to continue living in a fantasy world in which “good” candidates do exactly the opposite of what real-world winning candidates do (99.9% of what Republican and Democratic candidates talk about are 1) policy proposals and 2) philosophical orientation).

    OK, that explains quite a bit.

  38. paulie

    Last call for questions today.

    Andy, you mentioned you had questions you did not get to on video – how about if we ask them in print?

  39. Anthony Dlugos

    “Ah, so RC and AD want the LP to continue living in a fantasy world in which “good” candidates do exactly the opposite of what real-world winning candidates do (99.9% of what Republican and Democratic candidates talk about are 1) policy proposals and 2) philosophical orientation).”

    There must be a reason why Republican and Democratic candidates intuitively understand there is a pecking order to the public offices in this country, such that newbies in those parties start with state and local offices and work their way up (or take a shot at a top-level office only in the rare exceptions where they come to the public sector with significant private sector experience, while on the other hand Libertarians, especially of the NAP dogma variety think, “now that I understand the NAP, I think I can be governor of, e.g., Georgia. Ignore my resume, or lack thereof.”

  40. Thomas L. Knapp

    So there must be a reason why Republican and Democratic candidates don’t do in your imagination what Republican and Democratic candidates actually do in real life. Mkay …

  41. Anthony Dlugos

    I think what they do is much closer to what RC and I think they do than what you are suggesting.

  42. robert capozzi

    tk,

    With a few exceptions, candidates first establish their credentials. They talk about their track record. They talk about their vision, which is often very amorphous like “Hope and Change” or “Make America Great Again.” They advocate tweaks to the current configuration.

    It’s true that as a campaign moves along, they don’t need to talk about their credentials nearly as much as they do in the early phases. They’ve been vetted, as they say.

    Making decrees about abolishing the government sounds like the beginning of the second volume of Unabomber’s manifesto. As a NAPster in recovery, I see the humor of such a position, just as I find Vermin Supreme to be delightful.

    If you want to be taken seriously, it strikes me that the first order of business is to be serious in one’s presentation.

  43. paulie

    There must be a reason why Republican and Democratic candidates intuitively understand there is a pecking order to the public offices in this country, such that newbies in those parties start with state and local offices and work their way up (or take a shot at a top-level office only in the rare exceptions where they come to the public sector with significant private sector experience, while on the other hand Libertarians, especially of the NAP dogma variety think, “now that I understand the NAP, I think I can be governor of, e.g., Georgia. Ignore my resume, or lack thereof.”

    It’s not so much that. It’s that some LP candidates want to make sure the LP is on the ballot for the largest possible number of voters, and maximizes its chances of media coverage and voters looking the LP up since we are on their ballot. In some cases it’s a matter of ballot retention. In others, it’s that the issues they care about are not really addressed at the local level where they may actually have a non-trivial shot at winning. For many of them they have no actual interest in holding office, especially on some local level dealing with crap they may not even care about; they just want to get libertarian ideas to the public and serve the party by helping to fill the ballot.

    Of course, lots of libertarians do run for local office, and a few win, while many do not. Most of the ones that run for higher offices realize that their chance of winning is slim to none, so their resume is not as important there. A few actually are delusional and start to “get high off their own supply” thinking they can win.

    I worked on a campaign for a guy who ran for Congress and seriously though he could win. Of course, he got the typical LP result. That same year I also worked on the campaign of a guy who ran for Governor; he was much more realistic and was mostly focused on denying a Republican he had a well-grounded personal beef with the victory, but the Republican won anyway. The gubernatorial campaign did give him lots of statewide and local media coverage all over the state and an opportunity to bring up issues and get in the debates. In fact, establishment party candidates complimented him and told him he changed their minds on some things just by debating him. I’m glad he ran, even though he didn’t come close to winning and didn’t even meet his secondary goal of beating the spread. The other guy, unfortunately, I think could have done a lot more good if his campaign goals/expectations had been more realistic.

  44. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC,

    I am defending neither Kokesh’s platform nor his credentials (defending those is HIS job and the job of his supporters).

    But the fact remains that when you look at Congress, a lot of its members don’t have lower-office political resumes and a lot of those members were elected, at least the first time, on the basis of going out and preaching specific platforms.

    My congressman during my formative political years in Missouri was Mel Hancock, whose background was a few years of military service and a career in sales (starting with farm equipment, then insurance, then his own bank security equipment leasing company). He started a taxpayer advocacy organization with very specific goals. He ran for US Senate and lost the GOP primary. He ran for lieutenant governor and lost the GOP primary. He ran for US House of Representatives and won the seat.

    While Congress is pretty lawyer-heavy, a lot more of its members than you might think did not start out on city council, then go to the state legislature, before getting elected to Congress. They made names for themselves in their areas by campaigning on specific policy proposals (term limits, abortion, etc.) and got elected.

    You’re trying to make this into a credentials vs. purity test matter, and the fact is that you’re all fucked up on both sides of that equation. In the real world, real candidates get elected to real offices by taking real stands on real issues and convincing people that they’ll get real things done. The idea that if a Libertarian will just put on the right suit and tie and get the right resume he or she will magically become a credible candidate is, in a word, bullshit. It bears zero relation to reality.

  45. Anthony Dlugos

    “My congressman during my formative political years in Missouri was Mel Hancock, whose background was a few years of military service and a career in sales (starting with farm equipment, then insurance, then his own bank security equipment leasing company). He started a taxpayer advocacy organization with very specific goals.”

    Frankly, that sounds like a decent resume, even if it is without a law degree, and I don’t even know how many of our candidates even have that much.

    I’d also suggest there is an inverse relationship between resume such as it is and NAP dogmatism, vis a vi LP candidates for office.

  46. robert capozzi

    pf,

    Yes, good point. Maintaining ballot access makes sense as a motive for some L candidacies. If that’s the goal, then probably the most effective approach would be to position the campaign for maximum vote-getting, not as a NAP symposium.

  47. Anthony Dlugos

    I do agree with paulie that many…most?…of the LP candidates running for offices they are not qualified for are level-headed blokes who are aware that can’t win and are doing it for ballot access.

    I also agree with RC in his implication that maximum vote-getting and NAP symposia are diametrically opposed goals.

    But again…the more NAP dogmatic do not argue that its okay to run an educational, “pure” campaign in a particular race, given that ballot access may be the top goal …they attack resumes in public office as a matter of principle, calling it a “shiny badge,” and implying no resume is better than any indication of a NAP sin.

  48. Thomas L. Knapp

    Anthony,

    I’ll gladly stipulate that most Libertarians who seek public office do not meet your “credentials/resume” criteria.

    For the most part, I agree that those criteria are desirable. They’re things I look for in a Libertarian candidate. Right after I look to see if that candidate is a libertarian*, because that comes first. Without that, the whole thing is pointless regardless of the guy’s resume, name recognition, etc.

    * For LP candidate purposes, “libertarian” means planning to run in a way that moves the LP toward its goals, as codified in its platform and Statement of Principles. Absent that intent/ability, the LP has no reason to support such a candidate or campaign.

  49. paulie

    I do agree with paulie that many…most?…of the LP candidates running for offices they are not qualified for are level-headed blokes who are aware that can’t win and are doing it for ballot access.

    I think their primary motivation is to talk about their ideas to the largest possible audience. If they tried to do so outside the context of a political campaign it would be less likely they could get as many people to listen/read/watch/engage. Ballot access is an issue but only in some races in some states. The bigger issue for most candidates is to gain a platform to discuss their perspectives on the issues they care about, change some minds, gather a few new activist recruits, donors and future candidates for the party, open some people up to the larger libertarian perspective which they may then explore whether or not they join the party, maybe even get some of the people they run against – including those eventually elected – to come over a little in their direction on some issues.

    Resume is not the top concern as far as that goes; their chances of actually being elected are subatomic and in most cases they would be more than a little lost in the world of actually governing or legislating if they somehow got elected. Most of them would be happy to step aside for a person with a better resume who has the same ideas they do if such a person were available, legally qualified and willing to run.

    they attack resumes in public office as a matter of principle

    There’s no such principle that I know of. If someone they deem sufficiently ideologically libertarian happens to have had a “shiny badge”, say Ron Paul, all the better. But a “shiny badge” is not in itself a good reason to nominate someone if their change to libertarian ideas looks too incomplete, insincere and/or appears to be temporary, say in the cases of Bob Barr or Bill Weld.

  50. Anthony Dlugos

    tk,

    “They’re things I look for in a Libertarian candidate. Right after I look to see if that candidate is a libertarian*, because that comes first. Without that, the whole thing is pointless regardless of the guy’s resume, name recognition, etc.”

    Fair enough. I’m the reverse. I look at the resume first. Because without that, the whole thing is pointless, regardless of the guy’s philosophical bona fides. Because, as paulie pointed out above, a philosophically sound libertarian would be “lost in the world of actually governing or legislating if they somehow got elected. ”

    If I’m running an NFL football team, I don’t care how well some kid understands a spread offense on an intellectual level, if he hasn’t played football before, he’s useless to me. I’ll take the kid who played college football in a totally different system and teach him the spread, if I have to make a choice.

  51. Anthony Dlugos

    “The bigger issue for most candidates is to gain a platform to discuss their perspectives on the issues they care about, change some minds, gather a few new activist recruits, donors and future candidates for the party, open some people up to the larger libertarian perspective which they may then explore whether or not they join the party, maybe even get some of the people they run against – including those eventually elected – to come over a little in their direction on some issues.

    Resume is not the top concern as far as that goes; their chances of actually being elected are subatomic…”

    I concur that that first paragraph is a good estimation of why many, many Libertarians run for office, and that resumes are not necessary for those purposes. However, those are bugs that need to be worked out of our system, not features to accept as givens on a permanent basis.

  52. Tony From Long Island

    TK – the problem with your criteria is that there is a huge difference between, say . . . Darryl Perry and Gov. Johnson. If you don’t want to use Gov. Johnson, just replace his name with anyone who doesn’t want to abolish the federal government.

    BTW, I have posted two new tunes, one of which you might like 🙂
    https://soundcloud.com/user-831858763

  53. Thomas L. Knapp

    “I look at the resume first. Because without that, the whole thing is pointless,”

    Well, you can say that all you like. But when you talk to a guy who actually got his resume-less self appointed to federal office, and his resume-less wife actually elected to local office, that guy is disinclined to give a whole lot of weight to it. The problem with your theory is that it’s not just falsifiable, it’s been falsified.

  54. Thomas L. Knapp

    Tony,

    Yes, there is a huge difference between Darryl W. Perry and Gary Johnson.

    Perry is a libertarian who offered to run a libertarian campaign, but without much of a resume.

    Johnson’s resume included growing state spending and state debt faster as governor of New Mexico than Barack Obama grew national spending and national debt as POTUS, asking the state legislature to let him execute 13-year-olds, trying to fire state officials who declined to award lucratic contracts to his construction company, getting held in contempt by the state supreme court for attempting to rule by decree, and having been the second LP presidential candidate in a row whose background included a public divorce scandal after getting caught fucking around on his wife. So yeah, I guess he had Darryl beat on resume. But not on being a libertarian or being willing to run a libertarian campaign.

  55. Anthony Dlugos

    I guess we’d have to talk the specifics of a particular candidate at this point. Because maybe you thought I thought the resume of Mel Hancock, for example, was insufficient for a US House seat, when I never would argue that. That’s a good resume, IMHO.

    On the other hand, Kokesh for…US President? come on.

  56. Andy

    When I found out about the Libertarian Party back in 1996 after stumbling upon the Libertarian National Convention on C-SPAN and hearing Harry Browne, I did not give a damn that Browne had not held an elected office, I liked his message and I thought that his delivery was good, and this was all that was important to me. If anything, I considered the fact that Browne had not held elected office before to be a good thing, because it meant that he was not a career politician, as even back then I knew that career politicians had created the mess within government.

    A lot of the population does not care that much, if at all, about Shiny Badges. Yeah, some people do, but these are also people who are the most likely to vote for Democrats or Republicans, and these are people who won’t vote for Libertarians no matter who the Libertarian Party runs.

    If a supposedly “unqualified” Libertarian were to get into office and became so overwhelmed that they did not know what to do, there are plenty of libertarian think tanks and educational organizations, as well as individuals that they could call for advice.

    I remember Rand Paul saying that when he was a kid he went to see his dad in Congresz, and that he was shocked and appalled by the behavior of some of the other Congressman, as some of them showed up to vote on bills while drunk, and that a lot of them had not even read the bills before they voted on them, and they were just voting how other people told them to vote without putting much (if any) thought into it. I bet all of these members of Congress to which Rand Paul was referring had Shiny Badge credentials that Anthony thinks are so important.

  57. Anthony Dlugos

    “When I found out about the Libertarian Party back in 1996 after stumbling upon the Libertarian National Convention on C-SPAN and hearing Harry Browne, I did not give a damn that Browne had not held an elected office…”

    That’s as far as I read.

    Don’t take this the wrong way, Andy, but no sane candidate would do anything to try and appeal to you. Not saying they would turn down your vote, but to say they wouldn’t go out of their way for the “Sandy Hook Was Staged” portion of the electorate is the understatement of the century.

  58. Tony From Long Island

    Andy, I don’t think you read his comment correctly. He said no candidate would go out of their way to appeal directly to YOU because they are not courting the conspiracy nut bag vote. . . . . . . If they are, then we really have problems. . . .

  59. Tony From Long Island

    Andy

    A lot of the population does not care that much, if at all, about Shiny Badges. Yeah, some people do, but these are also people who are the most likely to vote for Democrats or Republicans,

    So, you mean 95% of the population? . . . .

  60. Anthony Dlugos

    “So, you mean 95% of the population? . . . .”

    haha.

    This is another predilection of the more dogmatist/purist/radicals: anyone not voting is a closet anarchist ready to vote for a catastrophically unqualified nobody who’s going to pull the plug on the federal government one Day Uno and let everyone contract out for their own police/defense services. Citizens upset with the their current choices are begging for a Perry/Coley administration. lol

    This, despite the fact that polling is quite clear that non-voters don’t think that much differently than voters. At least not as differently as some would have you believe.

  61. Andy

    Tony, over half the population does not even vote, and out of those who do vote, some of them are holding their nose and voting for whom they perceive to be the lesser of two evils.

    The percent of the population who put Shiny Badge credential worshiping above everything else is not as high as Anthony and Tony are making it out to be.

  62. Andy

    I would not expect all non-voters to vote for Libertarians if they did vote, nor do I think that all non-voters are anarchists, however, numerous surveys, as well as my own anecdotal evidence, indicates that libertarians do better among independents and non-voters, and that some of the people who do not vote are anarchists (some are just lazy or disinterested in politics, or are two busy, or prefer to be led around by other people, or feel that they have nobody to vote for, or that the system is too corrupt, or do not vote for some other reason).

  63. Tony From Long Island

    Andy might have a point . . . what shiny badge does Donald Trump have? Look at the disaster he’s been . . .

    Multiple bankruptcies? Badge!
    Terrible business practices? Badge!
    Childlike behavior? Badge!
    Every characteristic of narcissism listed In the DSM-V? Badge!
    No Friggin clue about any policy? Badge!
    Absolute lack of empathy? Badge!
    Golden Toilet to take a dump in (and assuming everyone else has one)? Badge!!
    Lack of even a shred of Presidential Leadership? Badge!!

    I could go on of course . . . .

    See, as people hold office, they get to be evaluated for whether or not they are the opposite of Donald Trump.

    Please . . . .PELASE . . . don’t talk about Hillary now . . . don’t be predictable.

  64. Anthony Dlugos

    “…as well as my own anecdotal evidence…”

    Anecdotal evidence that would surely fit in a Stephen King horror novel.

  65. Tony From Long Island

    Andy

    however, numerous surveys, as well as my own anecdotal evidence, indicates that libertarians do better among independents and non-voters

    OK . . you are making SOME sense here . . . . continue . . .

    and that some of the people who do not vote are anarchists

    I am going to guess that your definition of “some” is quite different than most.

  66. Anthony Dlugos

    “I am going to guess that your definition of “some” is quite different than most.”

    haha. understatement of the thread.

    not sure why we have to pay attention to nonvoters anyway. I sold BMW’s for a while. I never bothered trying to sell them to bike-riding commuters living in the city.

  67. Tony From Long Island

    Well, I am ok with trying to convince non-voters that it is in their best interest to vote – regardless of who they vote for. I actually have done that recently. . . . . .A guy I see very day used to joke about the campaign and Trump and boast that he never voted . . . . . he’s DEFINITELY voting now . . . and not for Republicans.

    I have a feeling that Trump might have that effect on many people – and maybe “some” anarchists too!

  68. Andy

    If fancy credentials/Shiny Badges are so important, how come Ralph Nader did almost as well in the 2000 presidential election, as Johnson/Weld, two former governors, did in the 2016 election? The circumstances surrounding the 2000 election were a lot more difficult for minor party and independent candidates than the circumstances surrounding the 2016 election. Nader had to contend with another high profile minor party candidate in Pat Buchanan, while Johnson did not have to contend with any high profile minor party or independent candidates (Jill Stein does not count as having been high profile). Nader did not even qualify for all 50 state ballots, as I think he was on around 44-46 plus DC, while Johnson/Weld were on in all 50 state’s plus DC. Nader never held elected office, and he did not run a big business empire like Donald Trump or Ross Perot, yet he did about as well in terms of percent of the vote as Johnson/Weld did.

  69. Andy

    Trump had never held office before, but he was /is a billionaire and a celebrity. Money and name recognition can go a long way.

  70. Andy

    The amount of anecdotal evidence that I have is pretty high, given the unusually high number of people whom I shaved talked politics with both in person and online.

  71. robert capozzi

    aj: how come Ralph Nader did almost as well in the 2000 presidential election, as Johnson/Weld, two former governors, did in the 2016 election?

    me: Good question. I would say that decades spent as a high-profile consumer advocate is a Shiny Badge. Similarlly, a high-profile real estate developer and reality TV show is also Shiny Badge material. Both unconventional ones, to be sure.

    It’s important to recognize these are exceptions to the rule, not the rule.

    I would also suggest that if DJT continues to fail as badly as he has, or — if as is increasingly likely — the economy and markets experience a significant downturn in the next 3 years: The Shiny Badge “requirement” with increase. Putting an inexperienced knucklehead con-artist in the WH was a profoundly bad idea, the history books will say.

  72. robert capozzi

    aj: a lot of them had not even read the bills before they voted on them, and they were just voting how other people told them to vote without putting much (if any) thought into it.

    me: Ever actually read a bill? They are often deeply opaque and filled with legalistic jargon. Reading summaries probably make more sense, actually, and delegate legal and technical research to staff.

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