The Jack News: ‘Will small-l libertarian Congressman Justin Amash bolt in time to seek the Libertarian Party nomination in 2020?’

Excerpted from original article at The Jack News as part of an ongoing series about potential candidates for the LP 2020 Presidential Nomination:

The only self-identified libertarian in Congress, albeit with a lowercase ‘L’, Justin Amash has long enjoyed a devoted fan base among movement libertarians.

[…]

As the son of Syrian and Palestinian Christian refugees, Amash has also attracted notice as one of the few Republicans to remain steadfast in opposition to President Trump’s “travel ban” targeted at Muslim-majority nations including Syria.

While generally reluctant to play identity politics, his background as one of the few Arab-American members of Congress provides potent symbolism to his opposition.

Will the nation’s sole libertarian Congressman bolt in time to seek the Libertarian Party nomination in 2020? That heavily depends on whether or not he wants to continue in Congress representing the Grand Rapids-area district once held by Gerald Ford. Michigan law does not permit him to be a candidate both for President and re-election to the House in the same election.

Read the full article.

91 thoughts on “The Jack News: ‘Will small-l libertarian Congressman Justin Amash bolt in time to seek the Libertarian Party nomination in 2020?’

  1. Anthony Dlugos

    Not that I expect him to defect, but he’d have to change his abortion position significantly.

  2. Tony From Long Island

    It must roil Andy to the bone to see stuff from The Jack since upon first glance it seems like an arm of the Johnson wing of the party.

  3. Anthony Dlugos

    T from LI,

    He might be somewhat okay with Amash. The fact that he is a Ron Paul republican might give Andy the mistaken impression he is a closet 9/11-Sandy Hook Troofer. Although Amash’s pro-immigrant stance would hurt.

  4. Shawn Levasseur

    Having to give up the House seat pretty much makes this a “hell, no.”

    Leaving the GOP, while continuing in Congress, however is somewhat more likely.

  5. Tony From Long Island

    AD, good point, but just the fact that something associated with Gov. Johnson is being published here must ruffle his feathers.

  6. Anthony Dlugos

    True.

    Then again, the reality is Shawn is correct: barring something completely out of left field, say Clinton vs. Trump, Round 2, an Amash defection to the LP to run for Prez is about a 1000 to 1 shot, and even then, it would have to be an Amash who never intended to be a career politician, i.e., he is prepared to retire.

  7. Chuck Moulton

    It would be a good move if he ever loses his House seat, but not to walk away from being an elected member of Congress for a longshot presidential run.

  8. Anthony Dlugos

    Quoth the politician from The Hunt For Red October:

    “Listen, I’m a politician which means I’m a cheat and a liar, and when I’m not kissing babies I’m stealing their lollipops. But it also means I keep my options open.”

    In other words, I think its fairly certain there are multiple sitting politicians, Amash among them, who saw what a pair of aging, retired, less-than-compelling personalities like Johnson and Weld were able to accomplish, and at least took note.

    Now, I wouldn’t expect an announcement in the next couple days, but at some point, its not going to be a longshot anymore, and the entrepreneur…the one willing to jump at the risk first… often gets the worm, as the say.

    Amash still has to change his abortion position, or I’ll run him right out of the convention.

  9. Matt

    He could try for a Ron Paul path – Paul gained more of a national audience through his LP run, managed to regain his seat in Congress and hold it for quite a few terms, then made a couple of runs at the Republican presidential nomination. The LP run both helped and hindered that path in some ways but certainly did not make it impossible. Perhaps Amash could be more credible running for the Republican nomination without a detour through the LP, or perhaps such a detour could raise his national name recognition enough to make such a run in the future more plausible.

  10. Matt

    Ron Paul is also anti-abortion, so obviously that is not a barrier to the LP nomination. I believe Bob Barr is as well, and that time it wasn’t even a major issue as far as getting the nomination went iirc. I think even Badnarik was “pro-life” or at least a good deal more so than the LP platform.

  11. Anthony Dlugos

    Matt,

    At some point, the dinosaur party names will be of such ill repute that a Ron Paul path will make less sense than a third party path. And that leaves only two options: an outright independent run (which I don’t think Amash has the money or profile for) or the LP, sitting there with essentially automatic 50-state ballot access. .

  12. Anthony Dlugos

    “Ron Paul is also anti-abortion, so obviously that is not a barrier to the LP nomination.”

    Ron Paul did not have to deal with me. Amash will.

  13. George Phillies

    Abortionhas become a more sensitive issue as time went on.
    Running Republican retreads is also an issue.

    However, in Michigan he could run for Congress while a standin ran for president.

    I would expect that running a Republican one more time would go over poorly in some circles.

  14. George Dance

    Tony from LI: “It must roil Andy to the bone to see stuff from The Jack since upon first glance it seems like an arm of the Johnson wing of the party.”

    No, they’re covering all the factions. Amash is for the Paulestinians. And they’ve done one on Adam Kokesh, too, for the Perry people.

  15. Andy

    Has Bill Weld even said that he is interested in the nomination? How about Amash?

    Kosesh is the only person of who I am aware who has said they are interested in seeking the nomination.

    If the vote were held today, and the field was Weld, Amash, or Kokesh, I would vote for Kokesh.

    Weld is unacceptable. Amash might be OK (I would have to do more in depth research into his record, but as far as I know, he is much better than Weld), but I am getting sick of candidates who are closely identified with the Republican Party. Kokesh ran in a Republican primary for US House 7 years ago and lost, but I do not consider this to be enough to say that he is closely identified with the Republican Party.

  16. paulie

    Candidates such as Weld and Amash would not officially announce at this point – probably not until 2020 or at best 2019.

  17. langa

    The Jack News should change its name to The Jack Off News, as it seems to be Ron Nielson* publicly masturbating, probably to keep his dick limbered up, so that he’ll be ready to fuck the LP again in 2020.

    *see here: http://independentpoliticalreport.com/2017/08/the-jack-news-is-gov-bill-weld-taking-a-serious-look-at-the-2020-libertarian-presidential-race/#comment-1642439

    As for Amash, were he to seek the LP nomination (which I doubt he will), I don’t think his abortion position would be much of an issue. Sure, a few of the abortion fanatics would whine and pout, but unless he tried to make it a major focus of his campaign, I doubt most people in the party would give much of a shit about it.

  18. Darcy G Richardson

    “The Jack News (whatever that is) seems to be throwing up complete bullshit with this possible LP candidates series they’re doing.” — Matt Cholko

    Agreed. Then again — looking at the Jack News staff — it’s much easier for them to engage in such speculative drivel than to reflect on what was arguably the biggest missed opportunity for a third-party in modern American history.

    Regardless of who the LP nominates in 2020, the party will never have the kind of favorable, once-in-a-lifetime circumstances that existed last year.

  19. Anthony Dlugos

    “…it’s much easier for them to engage in such speculative drivel than to reflect on what was arguably the biggest missed opportunity for a third-party in modern American history.

    Regardless of who the LP nominates in 2020, the party will never have the kind of favorable, once-in-a-lifetime circumstances that existed last year.”

    a) Johnson/Weld tripled the previous best LP vote total, not to mention the unprecedented media coverage and endorsements they received. If you are suggesting someone else who was actually in Orlando could have done better than that, you are going to have to provide some data that would lend credence to that assertion, and you are starting from deep in the whole if you are arguing that a more puritanical libertarian would have performed better, given that these other options in Orlando couldn’t convince a room full of Libertarian delegates they were the better man/woman. Put down the peace pipe if your argument is that the general population would have been more amenable to radical libertarianism.

    b) The political market is not a whole hell of a lot different than any other market, and the dinosaur parties are ossified relics that are becoming less and less able to respond to voter demand. Furthermore, they are using the typical tactic of bad organizations to try and hold onto market share: suppress competition rather than put out a better product. I don’t expect any of this to change going forward.

    Will one of the parties nominate someone as unprecedented as Cheeto? Maybe not, but I expect more bad candidates in the future, continued bleeding of customers to an independent mindset, and then someone eventually putting together a product that appeals to a majority of disaffected voters. I just wouldn’t expect such a person to have a radical message. That is wishful thinking by the Utopian set, which can’t seem to understand you are not going to get 120,000,000 voters…or the 40-60 million it takes to win, to accept a radical change during the course of an campaign that lasts no more than a few months. It stands to reason that a moderate message is much more likely to get voters to bite.

  20. Darcy G Richardson

    “…If you are suggesting someone else who was actually in Orlando could have done better than that…”

    I’ve never made that claim. My comment is based on the dysfunctional and ill-prepared candidate the party actually nominated, a candidate who dropped like a rock in the polls once the American people got a good look at him.

  21. George Phillies

    “Regardless of who the LP nominates in 2020, the party will never have the kind of favorable, once-in-a-lifetime circumstances that existed last year.”

    It will mostly likely be Trump and God knows, and the Sanders-Clinton split will be even deeper than it is now. That’s an opportunity recycled.

  22. NewFederalist

    I don’t think Trump will seek re-election. I’m not even sure he will complete his term. I’m not expecting anything bad to happen to him but I think he is just mercurial enough to get up one day and say “Screw this! What do I need this for?” And he’d be right.

  23. Jill Pyeatt

    I don’t think Trump will seek re-election. I’m not even sure he will complete his term.

    I agree with NF. I just have this gut feeling Trump won’t last five years. I’m thinking it will be something like a heart attack.

  24. George Dance

    Chuck Moulton: “It would be a good move if he ever loses his House seat, but not to walk away from being an elected member of Congress for a longshot presidential run.”

    Exactly. The Ron Paul example doesn’t apply here, because Paul had given up his congressional seat to fight (and lose) a Senate race.

  25. Anthony Dlugos

    I tend to believe Trump will limp to the end of the term and “choose” not to run again.

    Gotta remember, at a certain point, the Democrats will prefer to have him as an anchor weighing down the GOP rather than out of office.

  26. Just Some Random Guy

    The article seems to be nothing more than baseless speculation. As far as I can tell, Amash has not given any indication he was interested in running for president at all, let alone that he’d change parties to do it.

  27. paulie

    I agree with NF. I just have this gut feeling Trump won’t last five years. I’m thinking it will be something like a heart attack.

    No way! His doctor says he is the healthiest person ever.

  28. paulie

    Whoever the Demopublicans put up….if Drumpf manages to not blow us all to bits and/or declare martial law… is likely to be dissatisfying to a large and growing group of voters.

  29. Anthony Dlugos

    Darcy,

    Fair enough. You’re a little tougher on him than I would be, but I can’t disagree with the idea that Johnson frequently came off as unprepared, and that that probably depressed his eventual vote total.

    i hope we get better prepared candidates in the future. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I cast my vote for Johnson (and Weld) in Orlando.

  30. paulie

    The article seems to be nothing more than baseless speculation. As far as I can tell, Amash has not given any indication he was interested in running for president at all, let alone that he’d change parties to do it.

    He has said some rather unfavorable things about the Republican Party for a sitting Republican congressman. If he did come over to the LP there would certainly be people asking him to run for president. Whether he would want to is a separate question, as is whether he would stand a real chance of winning another term in his current seat as a big L.

  31. Anthony Dlugos

    Amash has said some unfavorable things about the GOP and Trump. He’s keeping his options open, as I noted.

  32. NewFederalist

    “He has said some rather unfavorable things about the Republican Party for a sitting Republican congressman. If he did come over to the LP there would certainly be people asking him to run for president. Whether he would want to is a separate question, as is whether he would stand a real chance of winning another term in his current seat as a big L.” – paulie

    Perhaps he would fare better if he ran as an independent for re-election to Congress. I don’t know the demographics of his district but he might be able to pull it off in a 3 way race.

  33. George Dance

    Anthony Dlugos: ““…If you are suggesting someone else who was actually in Orlando could have done better than that…”

    D’Arcy Richardson: “I’ve never made that claim. My comment is based on the dysfunctional and ill-prepared candidate the party actually nominated, a candidate who dropped like a rock in the polls once the American people got a good look at him.”

    Let’s get this straight: You’re claiming that the Libertarian Party missed “the best opportunity for an American third party in modern American history” by nominating Gary Johnson, but you’re not saying they could have taken advantage of this alleged opportunity by nominating someone else.

    That doesn’t make sense. If it’s true that the LP blew an opportunity by nominating Johnson, then it’s not true that they would have blown the same opportunity no matter whom they nominated, and vice versa.

  34. Darcy G Richardson

    “That doesn’t make sense.”

    Sure it does. On paper, Johnson was clearly the most qualified candidate for the party’s presidential nomination, but he simply didn’t prepare himself for the kind of media scrutiny that was guaranteed to come once he started polling in the high single-digits and low double digits, particularly in an election featuring two of the most unpopular and disliked major-party candidates in modern history. If you’ll recall, CNN had Johnson polling 13% nationally in mid-July. He also received unprecedented mainstream media coverage coming out of Orlando — until, that is, they figured out that he simply wasn’t presidential material.

    The LP didn’t squander that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In fact, it tried to make the most of it by nominating the former New Mexico governor in the first place. The opportunity was clearly there, but gaffe-prone Gary, who obviously couldn’t take the time to read a daily newspaper, blew it. Plain and simple.

  35. paulie

    I am going to guess it is an Easter egg reference to Repairman Jack.

    Interesting but unlikely. Nielson runs The Jack News and is from Utah. I’ve seen him drink alcohol so he is probably a Jack Mormon. That’s still my guess.

  36. paulie

    Sure it does. On paper, Johnson was clearly the most qualified candidate for the party’s presidential nomination, but he simply didn’t prepare himself for the kind of media scrutiny that was guaranteed to come once he starting polling in the high single-digits and low double digits, particularly in an election featuring two of the most unpopular and disliked major-party candidates in modern history. If you’ll recall, CNN had Johnson polling 13% nationally in mid-July. He also received unprecedented mainstream media coverage coming out of Orlando — until, that is, they figured out that he simply wasn’t presidential material.

    The LP didn’t squander that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In fact, it tried to make the most of it by nominating the former New Mexico governor in the first place. The opportunity was clearly there, but gaffe-prone Gary, who obviously couldn’t take the time to read a daily newspaper, blew it. Plain and simple.

    That may be, although I tend to think that they would have found another line of attack against him if it wasn’t the gaffes. The bottom line is that his August and even September poll numbers represented a threat to much better financed opponents and they were going to find a way to get those votes back by hook or by crook. It was only a wasted opportunity in the sense that his own campaign could have taken advantage of the opportunity better, not in the sense that the party could have done much better in terms of percentage results by picking one of the actual people that actually sought the nomination. The other people seeking the nomination would have been far less likely to have had many of the media mentions and poll inclusions that Johnson got in the first place. It’s not that unusual for LP candidates to poll in the high single/low double range early on; what was unusual about Johnson 2016 was how late in the game the dropoff in the polls came.

  37. Loser team chokin' the chicken

    jack

    verb NORTH AMERICAN informal
    gerund or present participle: jacking
    take (something) illicitly; steal.
    “his MO in the studio remains the same—jack other people’s tracks and present them in a new context”
    rob (someone).
    “they jacked him for his car”

    Urban Dictionary: jacking
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=jacking
    Jacking refers to the act of robbing or stealing and can refer to jacking one person in particular or can refer to say lyrics from a tune.

  38. Anthony Dlugos

    “The bottom line is that his August and even September poll numbers represented a threat to much better financed opponents and they were going to find a way to get those votes back by hook or by crook. It was only a wasted opportunity in the sense that his own campaign could have taken advantage of the opportunity better, not in the sense that the party could have done much better in terms of percentage results by picking one of the actual people that actually sought the nomination.”

    Spot-on correct.

  39. Anthony Dlugos

    That being agreed upon, I think there does come a point where dissatisfaction with the status quo will become so high, and the Libertarian candidate palatable enough, that no hook or crook will be able to stop at least debate inclusion and a threat that lasts the entire campaign.

  40. NewFederalist

    “I think there does come a point where dissatisfaction with the status quo will become so high, and the Libertarian candidate palatable enough, that no hook or crook will be able to stop at least debate inclusion and a threat that lasts the entire campaign.” – Anthony Dlugos

    I would agree in part. It might not be the Libertarian nominee who gets included. It might well be some other alternative nominee.

  41. Anthony Dlugos

    “It might not be the Libertarian nominee who gets included. It might well be some other alternative nominee.”

    I think the only alternative…and quite possible…is an outright independent run by someone with ungodly amounts of money. There isn’t another political party that has the upside potential of a moderate libertarian philosophy (unless you argue the hijacking of perhaps the Reform Party by said ungodly wealth person. Of course, I would think someone with that kind of money would prefer to eschew any party label at all.)

  42. NewFederalist

    “I think the only alternative…and quite possible…is an outright independent run by someone with ungodly amounts of money.” – Anthony Dlugos

    I quite agree. I probably should have said independent candidate instead of alternative nominee.

  43. Anthony Dlugos

    NewF,

    Those voters are out there. Millions of them. They hate the current products on the market. They are waiting to be sold. Our “branded” competitors, the Greens and Constitution Party, can only appeal to fanatically religious niche markets.

    Right now, the only question is if the LP is going to be clumsy enough to encourage a Bloomberg or Cuban to think, “well, if you really don’t want these customers at all, I’ll grab ’em.”

  44. NewFederalist

    “Right now, the only question is if the LP is going to be clumsy enough to encourage a Bloomberg or Cuban to think, “well, if you really don’t want these customers at all, I’ll grab ’em.” – Anthony Dlugos

    Again… I agree. There is a small possibility of a new alternative party being formed (a la the Federalist Party) but with ballot access issues being as they are it would still take a load of capital to gain the desired ballot lines. An independent effort is far more probable.

  45. Andy

    I doubt that the establishment is going to allow any minor party or independent candidate in the presidential debates ever again, unless said candidate is a phony establishment shill.

    I’d love to see an articulate libertarian Libertarian get in the presidential debates against the Democrat and the Republican, but I’m skeptical that it is ever going to happen.

    It is fun to talk about the presidential race, but Libertarians should keep in mind that this is not a winnable office. I don’t care who the LP runs on its presidential ticket, they aren’t going to win, and it would take a major upheaval in this country for it to be even possible for the LP to field a presidential tick who had a reasonable chance to win.

    Rand Paul could switch to LP, and Justin Amash could as well, and the ticket could be Rand Paul for President, and Justin Amash for Vice President, and they would still lose.

    The Koch brothers could switch to the LP and each could put $1 billion into the race, and they’d still lose.

    Andrew Napolitano and John Stossel could run, and they’d lose.

    The establishment will pull out every dirty trick in the book to make sure that the Libertarian Party ticket does not win, and they will have the mainstream media on their side. They will rig the election if they have to via computer vote fraud. If the LP ticket were to somehow make it through this, if the election is close, Congress gets to chose the President, and given that there are no Libertarian Party members in Congress, the chances of Congress picking anyone but a Democrat or a Republican presidential ticket is close to zero.

    The Libertarian Party would have to start winning a lot of seats in state legislatures, and then start electing Libertarians to the US House, before the Libertarian Party would even have something resembling a legitimate chance of winning a presidential election.

    So given the reality of the situation, the real purpose of the Libertarian Party presidential campaign is not to win (since, barring the major changes I mentioned above, no LP ticket stands a realistic chance of doing), but rather, it is to spread the libertarian message, build the party and the movement, and to help the party retain ballot access in the states where getting a certain percent of the vote can keep a party on the ballot (and not all states tie ballot access to presidential votes).

    If one wants to talk about races where Libertarian Party candidates actually have something resembling a legitimate chance of winning, then you need to focus on city/town or county offices, in places where the population of the district or city/town or county is not too high (like a city council seat in New York City is realistic, since the New York City Council has lots of seats, but electing a candidate to Mayor of New York City, or any other city wide office in a place like New York City, is not realistic, because there are way too many people, and the cost of running a winning campaign would be far more than a Libertarian Party candidate could afford, plus the establishment would pull out all of the stops to prevent a Libertarian Party candidate from becoming Mayor of a major city), or a seat in a state legislature. I’d like to think that a Libertarian could win a US House seat, if it was the right candidate, in the right district, under the right set of circumstances, if said candidate could raise around $1.5-$2 million, but even this may not be realistic.

    So where is the talk about electing Libertarians to city/town offices, and county offices, or seats in state legislatures, in places where they could actually win? How about make it a priority over the next 3 or 4 years for Libertarians to win majorities in city/town councils, and/or on county commissions/boards, and/or to the office of county Sheriff (where, if they win, they can appoint Libertarians as deputies), and/or to seats in state legislatures?

    Taking over a city/town council in a low population city/town, or taking over a county commission/board in a low population county, or winning the office of Sheriff in a low population county (and then implementing the Deputize ‘Em plan, as in appointing libertarians as deputies), or winning seats in state legislatures, is not as “sexy” as the prospect of electing a Libertarian as President, or Governor, or to the US Senate, but these are actually realistic goals.

    I’m not saying that Libertarians should not run for President, or Governor, or US Senate, as I think that they should, but keep in mind that these are get the message out to build the party and movement, and, in some states, to help maintain ballot access, campaigns, and that they are not realistically winnable races.

    So how about put some more focus on the races that are actually winnable?

    Where do we have enough Libertarians to stand a legitimate chance of getting a majority on a city/town council or a county commission/board? Who do we have Libertarians running for Sheriff in a county where they could actually win., and do we have Libertarians who are willing to serve as Sheriff’s deputies in those counties (even on a part time basis)? Which Libertarians are running active campaigns for seats in state legislatures, and which ones are in the most realistically winnable races?

    A couple of other good offices for Libertarians to run for are District Attorney and Election Judge. How many Libertarians are running for these offices? I’m pretty sure that one has to be a licensed Attorney to run for District Attorney, but anyone can run for Election Judge. If Libertarians are ever going to win higher level offices, we will need Libertarian Election Judges to help crack down on vote fraud.

  46. Andy

    “Tony From Long Island
    August 10, 2017 at 12:47
    Andy . . . good song . . . . a song about catching the clap!”

    This would be an appropriate analogy in reference to the prospect of Bill Weld, or someone like Bill Weld, being an LP candidate again.

  47. Tony From Long Island

    ” . . . .we will need Libertarian Election Judges to help crack down on vote fraud. . . . . ”

    You really are a Trumpite, aren’t you? There is no widespread voter fraud. It’s actual fake news. Voter fraud is not real. It doesn’t happen. Stop reading Breitbart!

    Plus, how would JUDGES help with that?

  48. Anthony Dlugos

    “There is no widespread voter fraud. It’s actual fake news. ”

    Of course. But that doesn’t play well in Andy’s conspiratorial mind. Its just another day in Andy’s World, and the Bilderberg group reptilians are out to get him.

  49. Anthony Dlugos

    “It is fun to talk about the presidential race, but Libertarians should keep in mind that this is not a winnable office. I don’t care who the LP runs on its presidential ticket, they aren’t going to win, and it would take a major upheaval in this country for it to be even possible for the LP to field a presidential tick who had a reasonable chance to win.

    If one wants to talk about races where Libertarian Party candidates actually have something resembling a legitimate chance of winning, then you need to focus on city/town or county offices.”

    Incorrect.

    The LP track record in partisan campaigns AT ANY LEVEL, sucks. We generally win non-partisan races, and unopposed ones at that. And that is for very good reason: we’re a party in love with our product, not our customers. They tell us what they want out of government and we tell them they are wrong and here’s why. That’s fine if you’re running a think tank or some kind of outreach organization unrelated to electoral politics. Its a disastrous idea if you are trying to win elections.

    A Libertarian Party that mangled, crimped, crumpled, and distorted pure libertarian utopianism into a palatable product for customers would start winning up and down the line, and would be capable of winning the presidency immediately. The only thing we have to drop to make that happen is our arrogance.

  50. Andy

    Tony From Long Island
    August 10, 2017 at 14:07
    ‘ . . . .we will need Libertarian Election Judges to help crack down on vote fraud. . . . . ‘

    You really are a Trumpite, aren’t you? There is no widespread voter fraud. It’s actual fake news. Voter fraud is not real. It doesn’t happen.”

    There have been serious allegations of vote fraud since long before Trump became a candidate for office.

    ” Stop reading Breitbart!”

    I am aware of the existence of this website, and I have read a small handful of articles from there, but I have never followed this site.

    “Plus, how would JUDGES help with that?”

    Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t Election Judges in a position of authority that would allow them to investigate election fraud, or to at least not call an election result if they suspect that vote fraud took place?

  51. dL

    The only thing we have to drop to make that happen is our arrogance.

    eh, a little more than that. You would also have to suspend the laws of political science RE: winner take all plurality voting systems. And hitherto, wishful thinking has not been demonstrated to be a reliable method for securing those pesky greenbacks, a rumored precondition for doing much of anything in this world.

  52. Andy

    Anthony Dlugos said: “Incorrect.

    The LP track record in partisan campaigns AT ANY LEVEL, sucks. We generally win non-partisan races, and unopposed ones at that.”

    I am aware of the fact that most of the races where Libertarian Party candidates won, were non-partisan races. Even so, a victory is still a victory. Also, there have been Libertarian Party candidates who have been elected to partisan offices, so it is not like it never happens.

    “And that is for very good reason: we’re a party in love with our product, not our customers. They tell us what they want out of government and we tell them they are wrong and here’s why. That’s fine if you’re running a think tank or some kind of outreach organization unrelated to electoral politics. Its a disastrous idea if you are trying to win elections.”

    The bigger factors are as follows:

    1) Did the candidate spend enough money to stand a realistic chance at winning the office?

    2) Did the candidate, or his campaign team, knock on every door in the district?

    3) How many Libertarians and small “l” libertarians are in the candidate’s district, and what did the candidate do to increase this number?

    4) What did the candidate do to get people to actually come out to the polls to vote for him/her?

    5) What kind of advertising did the candidate do, and how much of it did they do?

    “A Libertarian Party that mangled, crimped, crumpled, and distorted pure libertarian utopianism into a palatable product for customers would start winning up and down the line, and would be capable of winning the presidency immediately.”

    I don’t think that how radical a candidate, or the party is, is a bigger factor than the things that I mentioned above. I do agree that jumping straight into the most radical anarcho-capitalism is not likely to happen, especially without complications (the only way I could see it happening is if libertarians formed their own community somewhere, like a year round Porcfest), but I don’t think that being “too radical” is the primary reasons for the lack of success of Libertarians getting elected to office. The bigger reasons are that most Libertarian candidates do not spend anywhere close to the average amount of money spent on winning campaigns for whatever the office is, and that most Libertarians do not run aggressive campaigns to win. A lot of Libertarians just get their name on the ballot, and do little else. Those who actually run campaigns, are generally under-funded for whatever office for which they are running, and they don’t put in the necessary work that it would take to actually win. Most Libertarians who run for office do not receive the necessary support it would take from fellow Libertarians for them to have a shot at winning either.

    If you want to win, your campaign has got to spend money, and you’ve got to be willing to put in the work that it takes to win. If you don’t do these things, don’t be surprised when you lose.

  53. Chuck Moulton

    Matt Cholko wrote:

    The Jack News (whatever that is) seems to be throwing up complete bullshit with this possible LP candidates series they’re doing.

    Seems to be clickbait from the Ron Neilson folks. I think they want to get out in front of this and run another LP presidential campaign to line their own pockets and torpedo LP vote totals. It makes sense to setup a fake news site attacking potential opponents for the nomination.

  54. Chuck Moulton

    Anthony Dlugos wrote:

    Fair enough. You’re a little tougher on him than I would be, but I can’t disagree with the idea that Johnson frequently came off as unprepared, and that that probably depressed his eventual vote total.

    i hope we get better prepared candidates in the future. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I cast my vote for Johnson (and Weld) in Orlando.

    Why are most Libertarians short term, un-strategic thinkers?

    By voting for Johnson, you sent the message to future candidates that their ack of preparation will not be an impediment to getting the nomination — as long as they have a shiny badge. By nominating Johnson, the LP sent the message to future candidates that their ack of preparation will not be an impediment to getting the nomination — as long as they have a shiny badge.

    It defies logic and common sense that supporting an unprepared candidate would encourage candidates to be more prepared rather than discourage candidates from being more prepared.

    Because I am not a shortsighted illogical person, I did not support Johnson to 1) encourage him to become better prepared and dump the conservative Republican handlers to earn my support, and 2) encourage future candidates to be better prepared and be actual libertarians to earn my support. Running a candidate with less that stellar credentials (but still libertarian and a dynamic, engaging speaker) is far better long term than running a shiny badge holder who looks stoned all the time, never reads a book or a newspaper, runs on conservative talking points, and squanders millions of dollars.

    You do you. If you want to keep waving magic pixie fairy dust around and hoping the results are the opposite of basic logic and incentives, that’s fine. Here in the real world, I will be trying to get us better candidates who are credible and actually libertarians and prepared so they don’t look like complete idiots. If you ever want to join us in the real world, let me know and I’d be happy to give you an orientation.

  55. Anthony Dlugos

    “By nominating Johnson, the LP sent the message to future candidates that their lack of preparation will not be an impediment to getting the nomination — as long as they have a shiny badge.

    It defies logic and common sense that supporting an unprepared candidate would encourage candidates to be more prepared rather than discourage candidates from being more prepared.”

    I must be missing something here, Chuck M. At the time of the nomination, Johnson gaffes were in the future. All I had is a successful businessman who won two terms as the chief executive of a state, and 4 catastrophically unqualified people for the office of the President, none of whom had even run for dogcatcher before, let alone actually won.

    What am I missing? Here in my real world, time travel does not exist.

  56. Andy

    Anthony Dlugos said: “I must be missing something here, Chuck M. At the time of the nomination, Johnson gaffes were in the future. All I had is a successful businessman who won two terms as the chief executive of a state, and 4 catastrophically unqualified people for the office of the President, none of whom had even run for dogcatcher before, let alone actually won.

    What am I missing? Here in my real world, time travel does not exist.”

    You must not have been paying too close attention during the months prior to the national convention in Orlando. Johnson came off poorly in several debates, including his appearance on John Stossel’s show, where he debated Austin Petersen and John McAfee, and don’t forget his meltdown in that debate in Florida when Darryl W. Perry brought up Johnson’s campaign debt from 2012. Heck, Johnson did not even come off that well in Orlando during the big debate on the main stage, as well as during the unofficial debate.

    This was clearly apparent to a lot of us, but the Johnson supporters were so enamored with his “shiny badge” as a former Governor, that they just stuck their fingers in their ears and closed their eyes and voted for him to be the nominee anyway.

  57. Andy

    Chuck Moulton said: “Running a candidate with less that stellar credentials (but still libertarian and a dynamic, engaging speaker) is far better long term than running a shiny badge holder who looks stoned all the time, never reads a book or a newspaper, runs on conservative talking points, and squanders millions of dollars.”

    I agree with Chuck’s point here, but I would not say that all of the talking points on which Johnson ran were conservative, such as him saying that he supported taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, and that Hillary Clinton is a “wonderful public servant,” for just two examples. I’d say that Johnson was running on mainstream politician style talking points.

  58. Chuck Moulton

    Anthony Dlugos wrote:

    I must be missing something here, Chuck M. At the time of the nomination, Johnson gaffes were in the future.

    Just because he made a lot of gaffes after the nomination does not mean he didn’t also make a lot of gaffes before the nomination.

    Johnson made a ton of pre-nomination gaffes in 2016. For example, see his burqa ban. He also made a lot of gaffes in 2012. His conservative talking points, conservative Republican handlers, and wasteful spending lining the pockets of conservatives were obvious to everyone paying attention.

    His lack of preparation was also obvious. In 2012 I asked Johnson what Libertarian books and/or policy studies he had read. His response was that he was too busy campaigning to read. In 2016 he admitted he didn’t use any of his 4 years off to read… he climbed mountains, biked, and skied. Johnson wasn’t prepared because he made no effort whatsoever to prepare. That was obvious to anyone paying attention. His post nomination gaffes were an inevitability… it was just a matter of time before someone completely unprepared displayed his ignorance.

    We got an ignorant, unprepared candidate who parroted conservative talking points and flushed milliona of dollars down the toilet because people like you let him get away with it. And — unsurprisingly — you continue to fail to accept any responsibility for encouraging this behavior. Keep doing what you’ve been doing and you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.

    As for me, I think it is disgusting that the LP thinks so little of itself that we hand our nomination to ignorant, ill-prepared stoners. I will continue to demand better frok candidates that seek our ballot access.

  59. paulie

    Ron Nielson wrote me to correct the record. I thought I remembered him drinking alcohol with us in Vegas but he says it was not alcohol and that he does not in fact drink alcohol.

  60. Andy

    Chuck Moulton said: “We got an ignorant, unprepared candidate who parroted conservative talking points and flushed milliona of dollars down the toilet because people like you let him get away with it.”

    I agree with your overall point here, but once again, Johnson wasn’t so much repeating conservative talking points, as he was parroting mainstream politician talking points. Johnson said that the taxpayers should fund Planned Parenthood, that Hillary Clinton is a “wonderful public servant,” that private bake shop owners should be forced to bake cakes for gays, and that he was open to Universal Basic Income, none of which are conservative talking points.

  61. Andy

    “paulie
    August 10, 2017 at 23:27
    Ron Nielson wrote me to correct the record. I thought I remembered him drinking alcohol with us in Vegas but he says it was not alcohol and that he does not in fact drink alcohol.”

    Where did he read this or hear about this in order for him to have taken the time to write to you about it?

  62. Andy

    I wonder how many Gary Johnson and Bill Weld supporters would have supported them if they had not been former governors.

    Anthony, if Gary Johnson and Bill Weld had been the same as they were, with the only difference being that neither of them had ever been elected as governors, or to any other political office, would you have still supported them to be the Libertarian Party’s presidential ticket?

    I’d be interested in seeing responses from other Johnson/Weld supporters here.

  63. Anthony Dlugos

    Chuck,

    The fact that Andy holds the same position as you on this should tell you how very wrong you are.

    In any case, no candidate is perfect. If you want to toss away Governor Johnson’s relevant experience winning and holding an executive level public office, and his success building his own private sector business because he didn’t “read libertarian books,” and your opinion on his lack of preparedness, and instead suggest an angry anarchist with no fixed address, a murder suspect in Belize, a rapping doctor who’d never run or held office before (r.i.p), or a 35-year old blogger with tin man at a toy store on his resume, were better prepared to argue to Americans that they are qualified for the office (as if the actual voters care what libertarian books our candidate has read), then all I can tell you is you are in a decided minority among the general public AND among Libertarians.

    I’m not even sure why anyone would ask what Libertarian books and/or policy studies a candidate for the executive office of President has read. How is that relevant? I don’t care if the answer is none. The job isn’t chief libertarian spokesperson. If the person is running for the most powerful executive office on the planet, my questions are going to be about previous leadership positions they held, and secondarily their experience in previous runs for office. If their answer to either of those questions is “none,” I am not going to give a sh*t what books they’ve read.

    I’ll not be joining you in your fantasyland where you look for philosophers with no actual experience to run for office.

  64. Anthony Dlugos

    “Anthony, if Gary Johnson and Bill Weld had been the same as they were, with the only difference being that neither of them had ever been elected as governors, or to any other political office, would you have still supported them to be the Libertarian Party’s presidential ticket?”

    Governors Johnson and Weld came across to me as sane, rational people. If neither of them had be elected as governor, I doubt they’d be wasting anyone’s time with a self-aggrandizing, deluded suggestion that they are qualified to be president.

  65. paulie

    I’m not even sure why anyone would ask what Libertarian books and/or policy studies a candidate for the executive office of President has read. How is that relevant? I don’t care if the answer is none. The job isn’t chief libertarian spokesperson.

    Actually, that is exactly what the job is when there is at best a 1000-1 chance of being elected. Being the chief spokesman for the brand and the chief organizer of the party is the #1 job of a presidential candidate of the LP or any alt party at this stage.

  66. paulie

    Where did he read this or hear about this in order for him to have taken the time to write to you about it?

    He read the comments here. He said he rarely does but in this case he did.

  67. Anthony Dlugos

    “Actually, that is exactly what the job is when there is at best a 1000-1 chance of being elected. Being the chief spokesman for the brand and the chief organizer of the party is the #1 job of a presidential candidate of the LP or any alt party at this stage.”

    Making the job chief libertarian spokesperson…which is not what the voters are looking for…is exactly what keeps us as a 1000-1 shot. I’m not saying that there isn’t a role for people who want to be chief libertarian spokesperson. I’m saying trying to shoehorn that task into electoral politics was, is, and will always be a very ineffective idea. Voters aren’t looking to be lectured to, the great mass of them probably spend no more than 1% of the time folks like you and I do in the world of politics. They pay attention to elections for a few weeks in the summer and early fall of election years, they do it between myriad other things in their lives, and the last thing they want to do is take on a college course on libertarian thinking.

    The best our candidates can do is get a minute of their time to suggest possible solutions to their most pressing concerns. And at about 10 seconds, if you haven’t done that, you’ve lost them for good. That is not the proper context for expounding ad nauseum on libertarian theory. As a side benefit of speaking to their concerns, it is possible they will learn about, or seek out, further libertarian readings, but that is as a side benefit only to actual governing.

    Insist on turning any candidacy for public office into a job as libertarian spokesperson will ensure two things with absolute certainty:

    1) the job will ALWAYS be chief libertarian spokesperson.

    2) the only people ever spokesperson’ed to will be other libertarians.

  68. paulie

    1) the job will ALWAYS be chief libertarian spokesperson.

    2) the only people ever spokesperson’ed to will be other libertarians.

    There are lots of people who are libertarians but don’t know it. There are some people who are playing close enough attention that they can become converted to libertarian ideas through a campaign, even though you are correct that they are a small minority. There are even lots of people who already know they are libertarians but are not involved with the LP. The job of a libertarian campaign is to open up some minds, let some people know what the ideas they already have are called, and get some people who already know what they are called off the couch. Those people will in turn persuade other people, become candidates themselves, become donors, become activists and campaign staff, and so on. Some of them will go on into non-electoral libertarian activism, single issue groups, and so on, and that is OK too. It’s a slow grind but it keeps the movement growing whether you realize it or not.

    The alternative is

    1) The candidate will always be a career politician

    2) The candidate will always offer the same failed ideas that the other career politicians are pushing

    3) The voters who want those kinds of ideas already have two options so why do they need a third?

  69. Michael

    Andy wrote:

    Anthony, if Gary Johnson and Bill Weld had been the same as they were, with the only difference being that neither of them had ever been elected as governors, or to any other political office, would you have still supported them to be the Libertarian Party’s presidential ticket?

    I’d be interested in seeing responses from other Johnson/Weld supporters here.

    I barely supported Weld for VP, and that was only because I think a presidential candidate deserves consideration for their choice of VP candidate.

    That said, yes, for any person wanting to be a candidate, their history of getting elected or not is very important to me. The higher the office, the more that importance. For Presidential candidates, if someone has never been elected to any office, they would have to be independently famous for me to want to support them — as famous as Penn Jillette or John Stossel or Dave Barry or Peter Thiel. (Even then, if any of these fellows want to run for office, I would support them much more for Congress than for President.)

    I’m not excited about anybody for LP candidate for President in 2020. The LP says they have 150 office holders. I’m interested in helping some of them move up from small local offices to bigger local offices and state legislature offices.

  70. Luke

    One correction to Anthony Dlugos, Marc Feldman did seek office in Ohio before he sought the presidential nomination. That doesn’t change Anthony’s overall point in that comment but should be noted for accuracy.

  71. Anthony Dlugos

    “The job of a libertarian campaign is to open up some minds, let some people know what the ideas they already have are called, and get some people who already know what they are called off the couch.”

    No, its not. That stuff might happen as a side benefit, as I noted, but the primary job of a libertarian campaign is the same as the job of a republican or democratic campaign: demonstrate fitness for office. A good libertarian candidate who makes fitness for office and practical, pragmatic solutions his/her primary concern will find far more of the people you are looking for than someone who goes out with the express purpose of finding the sort of people you are looking for. This is because there just aren’t enough such people out there. You’re suggesting looking for a needle in a haystack in the midst of a campaign that lasts no more than a few months.

    There are some careers within the libertarian universe where what you suggest WOULD be the primary task, but electoral politics is not it.

  72. Anthony Dlugos

    Appreciate the correction.

    Not for nothing, but Dr. Feldman was the only second choice I had in Orlando. Anyone else was completely unacceptable.

  73. paulie

    http://www.harrybrowne.org/articles/WasItWorthIt.htm remains the best commentary I have seen on what an LP presidential campaign can or should accomplish at this stage. The rest of http://www.harrybrowne.org/2000/toc.htm makes a good read if you have more time.

    I would also recommend the original http://www.libertarianleadership.org/blog/the-case-for-a-libertarian-party-david-nolan-1971 which IMO stands the test of time, even though some of the political particulars of 1971 have changed quite a bit in the meantime.

  74. Anthony Dlugos

    From your “best commentary” article:

    “And yet it is the national TV and radio shows that give an aura of respectability and plausibility to our ideas — that in an unspoken way tell the voter that our ideas are not beyond the fringe.”

    Hmmm? Multiple major newspaper endorsements, multiple town halls appearances, various other mainstream media appearances…we even had our eventual v.p. nominee get interviewed BEFORE being nominated, and absolutely unprecedented accomplishment, Looks like Johnson/Weld was a good choice then.

  75. Anthony Dlugos

    From that same article:

    “I’ve read an analysis of the campaign that maintains that, because we didn’t do any better in states that were very one-sided either for Gore or Bush, the “wasted vote” syndrome wasn’t the cause of our lower vote total. Anyone who lives in a state where his vote wouldn’t tip the election one way or the other would have freely voted Libertarian if that’s what he really wanted. The fact that so few people chose to vote for us supposedly demonstrates that virtually no one likes what we’re offering.

    That argument doesn’t hold up, however. The average voter doesn’t study political websites, read detailed analyses of the campaign, watch CNN and C-SPAN, or in any other way stay abreast of the fine points of a presidential campaign. All he knew was that the news broadcasts were saying this would be one of the closest presidential races in history.”

    Harry Browne contradicts himself here: the argument of the first paragraph DOES hold up, and it holds up EXACTLY because of the cursory way and limited time the average voter puts into elections, as noted in the second paragraph.

    This is, in fact, precisely my point: our general lack of success in partisan races, the reality that our presidential candidates haven’t done better in safe states than they have in battleground states demonstrates that the voters don’t like what we are offering. The fact that said voters do not spend as much time in politics as we would like is an issue we have to deal with, not use as an excuse.

  76. paulie

    Hmmm? Multiple major newspaper endorsements, multiple town halls appearances, various other mainstream media appearances…we even had our eventual v.p. nominee get interviewed BEFORE being nominated, and absolutely unprecedented accomplishment, Looks like Johnson/Weld was a good choice then.

    Notice the part when it says “our ideas.” It doesn’t help to get lots of media appearances if you are pushing the same kinds of ideas as the establishment Democrats and Republicans.

  77. paulie

    Harry Browne contradicts himself here: the argument of the first paragraph DOES hold up, and it holds up EXACTLY because of the cursory way and limited time the average voter puts into elections, as noted in the second paragraph.

    No, he doesn’t, and you failed to understand what argument he was addressing there. It was not the one you are making.

    The fact is that most voters don’t know whether they are in a safe state. I have had many voters in very safe states and even in DC, which is safer than any safe state, refuse to sign my ballot access petitions because they were afraid of the “spoiler effect.” Yes, even in the epicenter of US politics, a place where Trump got 4% and other Republicans haven’t been doing much better, there are lots and lots of voters – even what appear to be reasonably intelligent people – who seriously think that allowing the LP or Nader or whoever to be on the ballot will put DC in danger of going Republican. And lest you blame this on the horrible DC government schools, the same is true in Wyoming, Utah, Alabama and other deep red states as well.

  78. Andy

    Johnson/Weld were not really promoting libertarian ideas, so their media appearances were a waste, plus they made assess out of themselves on multiple occasions, especially Johnson, but Weld came off as an ads too, particularly when he practically endorsed Hillary Clinton.

    Most of those endorsements they got, they received for the wrong reasons (as in for non-libertarian reasons), or were just because they were not Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

  79. Andy

    Harry Browne may have not gotten as much coverage as Johnson/Weld, but he ran during far more difficult circumstances, and he was way more effective with the media coverage that he did get.

    Ron Paul did get a good amount of media coverage for his campaigns in 2008 and 2012, and he was way more effective than Johnson/Weld.

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