Wes Benedict: ‘Texas Libertarians’ rise versus California’s decline’

Posted by Wes Benedict at his blog and emailed to contact.ipr@gmail.com. Reposted to IPR by Paulie.




This is not just another one of my Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas articles gloating about how well the Libertarian Party of Texas did under my service as Executive Director from 2004 to 2008.

When you feel like you’ve got the situation under control, things are going well, your team is breaking new fundraising records, you’re getting tons of positive feedback, morale of the group is high, and people are working together (or at least working separately and leaving each other alone most of the time), like in Texas, it’s quite easy to be a Libertarian Party activist.

On the other hand, when things are going poorly after years and years of seemingly unstoppable decline and it feels like even the simplest of things seem to go wrong and you’re just banging your head against the floor, and working harder just causes more headaches, like in California, it’s tough to be a Libertarian Party activist. Those who keep trying are the real Libertarian heroes.

This is a list of some of the simple, humble approaches I’ve tried to take here in Texas.

1) I encourage people to run for any office they’re willing to run for, and to run whether they have a realistic chance of winning, or are just likely to get a percent or two at the polls to help build the Party.
2) I’ve run for office five times, so I know what other candidates go through and can coach them.
3) At first, most prospects decline to be candidates because they don’t want to disappoint the Party. I tell prospective candidates that they are doing the party a favor by running even if they don’t spend a dime and only have a few hours all year to put into it. Most exceed expectations.
4) I don’t nitpick the candidates’ platforms. I support the right of candidates to have radical, moderate, left-leaning, or right-leaning libertarian platforms.
5) I try to give Texas Libertarians realistic hope they can achieve, and our results show it has worked.

I’ll leave it to Californians to decide if any of this could be helpful to them or not.

I’m also writing this article to bring to your attention that I think a few former California leaders who let the California LP decline under their watch are now having too much influence on National LP strategy and we’re seeing California-like declines at National.

For the record, I have offered to fix things myself by serving as the National Executive Director. Similarly, if California or any other states want my help at the state-level, they should give me a call. Pennsylvania? Wyoming? Hawaii? Hawaii?

The Libertarian Party of Texas had $25,000 in debt when I was first hired in 2004. Don’t let an empty bank account prevent you from calling. My first job is to start filling your bank account. I can work out a realistic no-risk plan with you.

I actually like fixer-uppers. Makes it real easy to improve.

Check out my resume: Executive Director * Sold Business * MBA * Engineer

My resume reveals that I’m not a native Texan and that I’ve lived all over the US and overseas. I can work from a distance or re-locate, work full-time or part-time. I’m getting kind of tired of Texas, anyway. Aren’t you? 😉

(No permission necessary to re-post this article. Data for the graph is imprecise. CA data was the best I could find from their website. If you see something that needs correcting, please let me know.)

64 thoughts on “Wes Benedict: ‘Texas Libertarians’ rise versus California’s decline’

  1. Gene Trosper

    I’m also writing this article to bring to your attention that I think a few former California leaders who let the California LP decline under their watch are now having too much influence on National LP strategy and we’re seeing California-like declines at National.

    Thank you, Wes.

    At least somebody notices.

  2. Trent Hill

    If I were running a fairly decent-sized LP (New York, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, California)–I’d be taking Wes up on his offer.

  3. Robert Milnes

    This has nothing to do with Wes. I’m calling for a national boycott of new cars. We boycott until there is a VTOL personal vehicle HYDROGEN FUELED. Think miniature Harrier jump jet. This is the best kind of vehicle & would be best for future use. Let’s get rid of the UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED DETROIT DINOSAURS and their dinosaur terrorist financing SAUDI ARABIA fuel. I guarantee that if a boycott is called at this time of economic distress WE WILL BE LISTENED TO. I’m sick of human roadkill and terrorist fuel and 4 rubber-legged dinosaur death traps. AREN’T YOU?

  4. paulie cannoli Post author

    If I were running a fairly decent-sized LP (New York, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, California)–I’d be taking Wes up on his offer.

    I would love to get Wes to help out with the Alabama strategic plan, or applying a similar plan to any state.

  5. Trent Hill

    Coincidentally–has Stephen Gordon joined the Republican Party? He was part of the group that chartered the Alabama RLC recently.

  6. paulie cannoli Post author

    Coincidentally–has Stephen Gordon joined the Republican Party? He was part of the group that chartered the Alabama RLC recently.

    We tend to work across party lines. For example, the Green Party contact in Alabama has an office in the same building as the Libertarian Party headquarters. We’re working with Democrats on issues like proportional representation and medical marijuana, and with Republicans on other issues.

    I don’t know if Steve has formally joined any other party. If he did, he wouldn’t be our first state chair to have done so.

  7. George Phillies

    Wes,

    We have not always agreed on everything, but this time you and your state party have clearly earned your gloating privileges. At some point, a report on where you spent your money would also be educational. Let me guess: You did not copy the very former leadership of my state party when they sent 30 or 40 k$ on a state convention. (Our latest state convention was within a few hundred dollars of breakeven, at a charge of $30.)

    With your permission, I would lie to reprint in several places your full letter and separately your five point plan for candidate recruitment.

    George

  8. paulie cannoli Post author

    Phillies posted this recently:

    An interesting survey showing our current circumstances is found at

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/03/pdf/political_ideology.pdf

    Unlike many surveys, ‘Libertarian’ and ‘Progressive’ were included as alternatives to ‘Liberal’ and ‘Conservative’. Progressive and Conservative are roughly evenly tied among Americans. Interestingly, conservatives rank libertarians as being little better than liberals, while young liberals have the most positive image of libertarians.

    Doubly interesting given that few people ever change their party after age 30. Of course, few does not mean none.

    But young people of a left-center-libertarian bent (coincidentally, the largest plurality cluster in that age group nationwide) would seem to be the best hope for party growth, if targeted intelligently.

  9. paulie cannoli Post author

    Sort of. The LP does well in Western States.

    Western states are not all conservative. The west coast is also known as the “left coast.”

  10. Susan Hogarth

    It seems like the LP does better in the more conservative states, rather than the liberal ones.

    Rather a big leap, given the small amount of (very noisy) data we have at hand.

    I’ll make a leap of logic, though, and suggest that the LP ‘does better’ in places where there is a (1) a committed band of hardworking individuals with (2) a thorough understanding of the libertarian philosophy and alternative-party political strategy.

    Without the first, there’s nothing.

    Without the second, there may be something – for a while – but it won’t be the Libertarian Party.

    I’m jus’ sayin’.

  11. Wes Benedict

    George,
    You have my permission to reprint.

    Page 4 of this letter details how funds were spent in 2006. I don’t have an online report detailing things for 2008, but I’ll just say that I got paid more in 2007 & 2008 than before and for awhile we had 3 staff instead of just 2. We almost broke even on convention registrations in 2006 & 2008, but made plenty of profit with fundraising included. In early 2007, I sent this letter asking setting a goal of $48,000 in 2 months thinking it was likely I was going to be able to “quit the libertarian habit” but so many people responded and we hit over $48,000 (in just two months) that I was happy to keep up the fight with them:

    http://lptexas.org/retired/docs/EDLetter2007-01.pdf

  12. Wes Benedict

    Our highest vote percentages in Texas in 3-way partisan races have steadily been in the Austin area, which most people in Texas refer to as a very liberal town. Non-partisan wins have been various places–always where somebody decided to work hard and win, except for one instance several years ago when I think the guy had abandoned his seat and left town but was re-elected anyway (again, not sure about that last fact). I think California Libertarians often get higher percentages than Texas Libertarians in 3-way partisan races.

  13. Michael Seebeck

    Does it really matter who did what where?

    Sure, Texas has done well while Wes was ED. All credit where it’s due.

    Sure, CA has had its problems, and we’re picking up the pieces from the wreckage left from the people Wes alludes to. It’s been a hard road doing that.

    But speaking as a guy with a half-foot in TX, a half-foot in CO, and a full foot in CA, unlike AlGore and the global warming hockey sticks, the debate is not over. In fact, it’s barely started. It’s not about cash, or numbers, but what you do with them.

    So I’ll put on my CA hat and pom-poms for a moment and point out something crucial–things are happening out here. We’ve got activists re-energized and getting busy big time, and the activity is increasing. We’re doing things out here not seen in a long time, and it’s not stopping.

    And it’s damn exciting, too! Finally, Team Seebeck is feeling the jazz and energy that we left in CO 5 years ago, and when we get going, good and crazy things happen!

    Stay tuned!

  14. Brian Holtz

    So recruiting more paper candidates is the recommended way to increase LPCA revenue? 🙂

    A good chunk of this data can be explained by the LPCA decreasing its ED salary spending by tens of thousands per year even as the LPTX was increasing its ED salary spending by tens of thousands per year. While it’s indeed interesting to compare revenue (which Wes here calls “income”), it would be even more interesting to answer George’s question about what the money was spent on. In the first few years of this decade, the LPCA spent heavily on fundraising efforts that ended up not being able to turn a profit. The massive scale of those operations was not necessarily a good thing, while the LPTX’s alleged absence of revenue in 2000-2001 does not necessarily indicate a non-existent party.

    Instead of raw revenue independent of any expense context, some more-relevant metrics would be 1) RegLibs, 2) dues payers, 3) revenue minus overhead (e.g. salary) and fundraising expenses — i.e. spending on actual politics, 4) vote totals of all L candidates, and 5) vote totals of winning L candidates. The LPCA has indeed been declining somewhat on the first two, but I’d guess we’re doing respectably on the third, and have been doing quite well on the last two.

  15. paulie

    So recruiting more paper candidates is the recommended way to increase LPCA revenue?

    I think it would be one of several good steps.

    Instead of raw revenue independent of any expense context, some more-relevant metrics would be 1) RegLibs,

    Not all states have such, so it’s not a universal measure.


    2) dues payers,

    To national? State? Both? Either?


    3) revenue minus overhead (e.g. salary) and fundraising expenses — i.e. spending on actual politics,

    That’s a relevant measure. But it seemingly assumes that the only function of staff is to fundraise when it describes salary as purely overhead.


    4) vote totals of all L candidates,

    I’ll guess this will be higher with more candidates running.


    and 5) vote totals of winning L candidates.

    Another good one.

  16. Scott Lieberman

    “I’m also writing this article to bring to your attention that I think a few former California leaders who let the California LP decline under their watch are now having too much influence on National LP strategy and we’re seeing California-like declines at National.

    Wes Benedict”

    Hmmm.

    Mr. Benedict is certainly permitted to selectively pull up some numbers to make the LP of Texas look better than the LP of California.

    But, I am free to do the same thing.

    The national LP web site lists “Elected and Appointed Officials” in each state. However, careful checking shows that the list only shows Elected Officials at this time.

    Elected Libertarians per 1,000,000 total population

    California 0.65
    Texas 0.37

    So California is doing 1.8 times better than Texas in getting Libertarians elected to office.

    So, does this mean that the LP of California is accomplishing the National LP’s Mission Statement, and the LP of Texas is not?

  17. Brian Holtz

    Paulie, I meant state dues-payers.

    For salary as overhead, you could try to pro-rate it by how much staff time is spent doing politics that wouldn’t otherwise have gotten done. I can’t recall our last ED (Angela Keaton) reporting any such activities at the ExCom meetings I attended. She only talked about renewals and fundraising and database maintenance etc., all of which I’d classify as overhead.

    Vote totals of winning candidates is certainly the metric that the current LPCA administration would emphasize, as they are firm advocates of a bottom-up farm-team strategy. Looking at the 6 elected municipal officials listed at http://www.lp.org/states/Texas, one of them is in a town of 4000, and the rest are in towns of under 2000. LPCA has an elected county supervisor (Tom Tryon) who alone has as many constituents as all 6 of these Texans combined. John Inks, who was just elected at-large to the city council of Mountain View (pop. 70000), has several times more constituents than these 6 Texans. If you start looking at school boards and special districts, the disparity grows even more. Even my modest water board seat has twice as many constituents as are in that Texas town of 4000.

  18. paulie

    Elected Libertarians per 1,000,000 total population

    California 0.65
    Texas 0.37

    Assuming this is correct, it’s a snapshot in time, not a trend line analysis like the graph above. This doesn’t mean that I know what those trend lines are – I do not.

    So California is doing 1.8 times better than Texas in getting Libertarians elected to office.

    So, does this mean that the LP of California is accomplishing the National LP’s Mission Statement, and the LP of Texas is not?

    As I understand it, there is no LP mission statement at this time.

    There is something in the …bylaws? statement of principles? platform?? which lists about seven different things as the missions of the party, with electing people being one of them.

    There’s also an LNC mission statement which was passed in the early 1990s which said electing candidates is “the” mission of the party. However, that has not been passed by subsequent LNCs, and even if it applies to the LNC in perpetuity, it does not necessarily apply to state parties.

    The first thing was passed by a national party convention, the second by some past LNC, so it would seem to me that the first one takes precedence.

    If the LP’s SOLE mission was to elect candidates, wouldn’t it follow that we should adopt the views of the major parties? Yet, if we do, I see no reason for the LP to exist.

  19. paulie

    For salary as overhead, you could try to pro-rate it by how much staff time is spent doing politics that wouldn’t otherwise have gotten done. I can’t recall our last ED (Angela Keaton) reporting any such activities at the ExCom meetings I attended. She only talked about renewals and fundraising and database maintenance etc., all of which I’d classify as overhead.

    I’ve read enough of Wes’s posts to know he was doing a lot of politics that wouldn’t otherwise get done as Texas ED.

  20. Wes Benedict

    Brian Holtz:
    I like your approach of running for both a local and congressional seat. Separately, the info below from my resume (which is linked in the post) addresses some of your questions:

    Broke records and made Texas the best performing state Libertarian Party (LP) chapter by most measures, against a trend of declining performance of the LP nationwide.

    Recruited a record 173 LP candidates for office in Texas for the November 2008 elections, which was 29% of the nationwide LP total.

    While Texas has 8% of U.S. population, LPT candidates in 2008 received 28% of the U.S. House and 44% of the State Representative votes received by Libertarians nationwide.

    Libertarians known elected to nonpartisan offices in Texas increased from 2 to 8.

    Increased LPT donor base from under 300 in 2005 to over 900 in 2008 using direct mail, constituent database management, Constant Contact email broadcast service, online processing with Click&Pledge and PayPal, phone appeals, one-on-one conversations, and fundraising events.

    Wrote highly successful fundraising letters and emails.

    Raised $244,000 for the 2007-2008 election cycle for TX, which was more than CA, FL and NY combined (which comprise 24% of U.S. population).

    Wrote press releases, appeared on numerous radio and television shows, appeared in newspapers; publicly debated and spoke to community groups.

    Designed the marketing materials and graphics for yard signs, door hangers, brochures and bumper stickers using CorelDraw.

    Designed instruction forms, trained candidates, and assisted them with filing campaign finance reports with the appropriate government agencies, and helped them contest fines.

    The organization was all-volunteer before I was hired. I hired a small staff, gave several months’ notice before leaving, and helped train my replacement. I did this low-paying job for several years because I supported the cause.

  21. Thomas L. Knapp

    “So, does this mean that the LP of California is accomplishing the National LP’s Mission Statement”

    1. The national LP doesn’t have a mission statement.

    2. If the national LP were, at some hypothetical future point in time, to adopt a mission statement, wouldn’t it be the job of the national LP, not the California LP, to accomplish it?

  22. Scott Lieberman

    “Elected Libertarians per 1,000,000 total population

    California 0.65
    Texas 0.37

    Scott Lieberman”

    “paulie // Mar 14, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Assuming this is correct,
    Paulie”

    LP.org, and wikipedia. Do the math yourself.

    ******************************
    “If the LP’s SOLE mission was to elect candidates, wouldn’t it follow that we should adopt the views of the major parties? Yet, if we do, I see no reason for the LP to exist.
    Paulie”

    “ARTICLE 3: PURPOSES
    The Party is organized to implement and give voice to the principles embodied in the Statement of Principles by: functioning as a libertarian political entity separate and distinct from all other political parties or movements; moving public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office; chartering affiliate parties throughout the United States and promoting their growth and activities; nominating candidates for President and Vice- President of the United States, and supporting Party and affiliate party candidates for political office; and, entering into public information activities.”

    Paulie, you are usually very good about not quoting things out of context. Please note that the Mission Statement directs the LP to elect Libertarians to office specifically to “move public policy in a libertarian direction”. The major parties occasonally give lip service to a small portion of that statement, but only the Libertarian Party has that in its Mission Statement. So, the Mission Statement, when quoted in its entirety, does NOT force, or even encourage, elected Libertarians to “adopt the views of the major parties.” Besides – the LP does not exist to “adopt views”. We are trying to change public policy by electing our guys and gals to office so they can make public policy more libertarian. As long as they are **overall** within the libertarian quadrant, I don’t care what LP members think or say in terms of their libertarian purity – I only care about how they vote after they get elected to office.

  23. Wes Benedict

    Scott Lieberman:

    What does the trend look like regarding the number of elected Libertarians in California? If it’s going up, that’s a great sign. Even if it’s holding steady that’s pretty good, all things considered.

  24. paulie

    RC: LP.org, and wikipedia. Do the math yourself.

    There are many LP members elected and appointed, frequently non-partisan, and the national party does not always know about it.
    I’m assuming they report what they know accurately, I’m just not sure that they know everything.

    P ?If the LP?s SOLE mission was to elect candidates, wouldn?t it follow that we should adopt the views of the major parties? Yet, if we do, I see no reason for the LP to exist.
    Paulie?

    RC ?ARTICLE 3: PURPOSES
    The Party is organized to implement and give voice to the principles embodied in the Statement of Principles by: functioning as a libertarian political entity separate and distinct from all other political parties or movements; moving public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office; chartering affiliate parties throughout the United States and promoting their growth and activities; nominating candidates for President and Vice- President of the United States, and supporting Party and affiliate party candidates for political office; and, entering into public information activities.?

    This is what, the LP bylaws?

    RC Paulie, you are usually very good about not quoting things out of context.

    I try not to. In this case, I was going by a combination of memory and what little snippets were posted in the comments here.

    TLK 1. The national LP doesn?t have a mission statement.

    RC Please note that the Mission Statement directs the LP to elect Libertarians to office specifically to ?move public policy in a libertarian direction?.

    I’m confused. Do we have a mission statement or not? Please provide a direct link to the source document.

    However, supposing the above is the LP’s mission statement, it seems that the total number of candidates elected is only part of it, not the whole thing.

    In order to compare the performance of two state parties, per above, you would also want to see what success they have had in moving policy in a libertarian direction.

    By extension of the clause, “chartering affiliate parties throughout the United States and promoting their growth and activities”, this would apply to how well a state party has done in helping to grow its county, campus, town, and other local parties.

    How well have the two state parties done in supporting Party and affiliate party candidates for political office?

    How well have the two state parties done in entering into public information activities?

    Do the (bylaws?) of the two state parties spell out other aims, besides the national aims covered above?

    Scott’s post at

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/03/wes-benedict-texas-libertarians-rise-versus-californias-decline/comment-page-1/#comment-46270

    creates the impression, perhaps inadvertent, that electing candidates is the sole mission of the LP. Thanks for providing the missing context!

  25. paulie

    Oops. Incorrectly identified Dr. Lieberman’s quotes in comment above to Robert Capozzi. I don’t know where I got that from.

  26. volvoice

    ….In the first few years of this decade, the LPCA spent heavily on fundraising efforts that ended up not being able to turn a profit. …

    On the national level they do things like the recent “2008 Libertarian Party Annual report” which is not what I would even consider anything resembling an annual report. No numbers and no plan for growth just a feel good promo and a pitch for money. I wonder how much $$ was spent on that when our party’s liabl;ilities are in the hole to the tune of 40-50 grand. Is this what my money goes towards? I am sure that there are a lot of people out there besides me that are concerned about the fiscal viability of our party going forward.

  27. Brian Holtz

    Wes, I don’t dispute that you’ve had excellent results in terms of candidate recruitment and fundraising. (I also love your door hanger and bumper sticker efforts!)

    You didn’t answer my only question to you above, so I’ll restate it. Your LPCA/LPTX comparison is about raw revenue levels, but four of your five pieces of advice to LPCA are about candidate recruitment. One of the four is a vague one about “coaching” candidates, and I note that we have a 100-page candidate manual (by Allan Rice), an active candidates’ Yahoo group, and database support for ballot-access signature-gathering. The other three recruitment tips are about lowering standards for candidates, and ours already are pretty low. My question was how these four recruitment tips can increase our revenues. I like the sound of your vague fifth tip of being realistic and showing results, but to the extent that it’s actionable we already tend to follow it.

    Regarding LPUS and LPCA, my understanding is that LPUS membership has been increasing for a year or two, while LPCA membership has declined somewhat. Up until 2005, during the steepest declines in your LPCA revenue graph, our membership and revenues were closely tied to national’s through UMP. LPUS revenue in fact declined even more drastically than LPCA revenue, from $3.6M in 2000 to $1.4M in 2005, and (along with LPUS membership) has increased since then — i.e. around the time we donated our state Chair to be the LPUS Treasurer.

    Oh, and another factor that helps explain your graph is that our state conventions (and their revenues) have in recent years usually been off-budget due to outsourcing them. That alone explains a lot of our revenue drop from 2005 to 2006.

    A state LP leadership should be measured by its most important inputs to, and outputs from, the political process. Our most important inputs include net (not gross) money and time actually deployed for influencing the political process. Our most important outputs include votes received, constituents represented via offices occupied, membership, and audience reached. The causal connections between our inputs and our outputs aren’t always evident (or even existent), but lately the LPCA has had pretty good outputs in view of the inputs it has been able to mobilize.

    Here are all the LPTXers that lp.org lists as elected to legislative bodies (in LPTX, just city councils), along with the population of their jurisdictions:

    Dixon 4000
    Clayton 2000
    Johnson 1700
    Bush 1400
    Anderson 1200
    Kleinschmidt 500

    The corresponding list for LPCA starts with Tryon at 400,000 and Inks at 70,000 — numbers that are nearly two orders of magnitude larger. (A few years ago we had a mayor of a city of 140,000, but she quit the LP in 2003 saying its “unrealistic” platform had burdened her in every election. We need to see if our new mainstream platform can win her back.)

    For directors of special districts — whose responsiblity can have very little relationship to district population — it’s best to divide district budget by number of directors. LPTX has just Perez with $2M of responsibility. The top of the corresponding LPCA list looks like this:

    Westwell $15M
    Briscoe $15M
    Hickey $5M
    Healey $2M
    Bolliger $2M
    Gardner $1M
    Holtz $0.7M

    So by electoral success as measured in constituents and budget authority, LPCA leaves LPTX in the dust.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    Brian and Wes, it sounds like good things are happening in both CA and TX. But let’s not wildly extrapolate from small samples, shall we?

    Let the experiments continue!

  29. Robert Capozzi

    pc, thanks for the correction.

    no, the LP doesn’t appear to have a “mission statement” per se. It DOES have statements that sound like mission statements to me, but what do I know?

    I would suggest tha petty legalisms are not the path to the promised land. Technical gotchas may well have been grist for Rand and Rothbard’s mills, but isn’t it obvious that they were purposeful outliers, baying at overstated chimeras?

    Get in the flow. Go with it, then change its direction.

  30. libertariangirl

    Chuck Moulton // Mar 13, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Great job, Wes!

    Though I don’t see why you needed to criticize California to make your point.

    Im going with Chuck on this one

  31. Wes Benedict

    Brian Holtz in #20 says:
    While it’s indeed interesting to compare revenue (which Wes here calls “income”),

    Wes says:
    The words “revenue” and “income” are sometimes used interchangeably. I actually spent a minute or two deciding which one to select. I decided to go with “income” because that is what the LP California uses. See page 7 of the LP California minutes:
    http://ca.lp.org/artman/uploads/ExCom_minutes_2007_03_03.pdf

  32. Wes Benedict

    From the original post:
    “I’m also writing this article to bring to your attention that I think a few former California leaders who let the California LP decline under their watch are now having too much influence on National LP strategy and we’re seeing California-like declines at National.”

  33. Andy

    Great job in Texas, Wes!

    Another analysis that I’d like to see is a comparision between Wes Benidict as Executive Director of the Texas LP and that idiot-loser-irrational-nutjob-asshole Sean Haugh’s performance as Executive Director of the North Carolina LP. That would be good for a laugh (at Haha boy’s expense).

    Of course in fucked up Libertarian Party land the idiot-loser-irrational-nutjob-asshole Sean Haugh got promoted to Political Director (where he played a major role in causing the LP to FAIL to gain ballot status in 5 places where the party could have made it if more competent people had been in charge) inspite of his dismal record of failure in North Carolina, while LP National has not hired Wes Benidict who has actually got a track record of success in Texas.

    I worked on a ballot access petition drives in North Carolina when Sean Haugh was the Exectuive Director and I worked on a ballot access drive in Texas when Wes Benidict was the Executive Director. I can say that without question that Wes Benidict is more competent, a harder worker, more honest, and simply a better guy as compared to Sean Haugh. When I was in Texas Wes actually did things to facilitate the petition drive. Wes assissted with lining up locations and looking for events for people to collect petition signatures. Wes printed up a flyer (which he wrote) that explained the Libertarian Party to hand out to people who were interested. Wes actually grabbed clip boards and pens and went out and gathered signatures himself. Wes never lied and he did what he said he was going to do. Wes was always friendly and polite. Now contrast this with Sean Haugh who lied to me from the first time that I spoke with him, who did NOTHING to facilitate the exectution of the petition drive (even after I asked for assisstance with locations for signature gathering), who gathered little to no signatures himself, and who flew off the handle on the phone (which was my only contact with him) in an irrational fit of rage where he spewed out false accusations (which seems to be his forte) and then ripped me off and in fact attempted to rip me off out of even more money. Sean Haugh is truly warped individual that the Libertarian Party ought to keep in the closet (either that, or just kick him out of the party). I can tell you for a fact that Sean Haugh retarded ballot access in his own state on at least 2 election cycles (as in his irrationality and incompetence caused the drives to go on longer than necessary), and that he caused either directly or indirectly the Libertarian Party to fail to make the ballot in 5 places in the past election, plus I know that he directly caused some regional candidates to fail to make the ballot in at least one state. Haugh is a lazy incompetent fuck up, a rip off artist, and a schemer who has admitted that he likes to abuse the positions that he obtains to reward his cronies and punish people he decides that he doesn’t like (and considering that the guy has mental problems, he can like or not like somebody based on any arbitrary whim that comes out of his demented mind). Comparing Wes Benidict to Sean Haugh is comparing a decent, hard working, competent guy (Benidict) to a an incompent crazed asshole (Haugh).

  34. himself

    Andy,

    Did Sean Haugh kill your dog or something?

    It’s beginning to look like you have quite the unhealthy obsession. All you are doing is causing people to question your own mental state.

    I mean, really, he’s gone. Old news. Just Get over it.

  35. paulie

    LP National has not hired Wes Benidict (sic) who has actually got a track record of success in Texas.

    A) They don’t have money to hire him with. The current state of the budget indicates that they will probably be without an Executive Director for a while.

    B) If they did have money to hire someone, the very people who Wes is referring to when he says “I think a few former California leaders who let the California LP decline under their watch are now having too much influence on National LP strategy” call most, or at least many, of the shots when it comes to the hiring.

  36. Brian Holtz

    Wes, I can copy and paste too: “Regarding LPUS and LPCA, my understanding is that LPUS membership has been increasing for a year or two, while LPCA membership has declined somewhat. Up until 2005, during the steepest declines in your LPCA revenue graph, our membership and revenues were closely tied to national’s through UMP. LPUS revenue in fact declined even more drastically than LPCA revenue, from $3.6M in 2000 to $1.4M in 2005, and (along with LPUS membership) has increased since then — i.e. around the time we donated our state Chair to be the LPUS Treasurer.”

    I prefer “revenue” over “income” because nobody ever thinks “revenue” might mean net income instead of gross income.

  37. paulie

    No really, dont sugarcoat it, tell us what you REALLY think Andy =)

    Love him or hate him, Andy can always be relied on to tell you what he really thinks of someone. In five part harmony with twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one. Over and over again.

  38. paulie

    Regarding LPUS and LPCA, my understanding is that LPUS membership has been increasing for a year or two,

    It’s been declining since November.

  39. Brian Holtz

    That must be the LPCA’s fault. Couldn’t have anything to do with the election calendar. 😉

  40. libertariangirl

    None of us are where we need to be . To gloat over ones successes vs ones failure is so sad its like competing to be the pretty one in a bunch of ugly girls.

    In Nevada we’ve had successes and failures and the latter was never due to a lack of trying. Its hard enuf in the self esteem dept to be a Libertarian activist , constantly losing elections and the target of mainstream ridicule . we certainly dont need eachother to point out where we fall short , we all friggin know , and were all trying our best.

  41. paulie

    That must be the LPCA’s fault. Couldn’t have anything to do with the election calendar.

    Didn’t say or imply that. Just pointing out a fact.

    Actually, this is typically what happens after a presidential election, with only one exception that I know of.

  42. Marc Montoni

    Paulie said:

    It’s been declining since November… Actually, this is typically what happens after a presidential election, with only one exception that I know of.

    Paulie, history suggests otherwise.

    Judging by month-to-month LP membership reports since 1987 and even earlier, election membership “bumps” begin a few months before the date of election, then end when the trend is no longer “up” for more than a couple of months.

    Understandable — success builds on itself, and so does failure. Once momentum is lost, it takes something new to get it spooled up again, perhaps like a new membership drive, or a successful fundraising tour by the national director, etc — or the beginning of the next presidential campaign.

    Granted, figures are not available for every month in the early years. But anyway, according to membership statistics published by the LP:

    LP membership went from 6954 in November 1980 and rose fairly constantly until peaking at 8124 in August 1981 (LPN). Almost 9 months of post-election growth. Clark shared his list fully with the LP.

    LP membership went from ~7000 in October 1984, and rose fairly constantly until peaking at 7923 in May 1985. ~ 6 months of post-election growth. Bergland shared his list fully with the LP.

    LP membership went from 6253 in December 31, 1988, and rose fairly constantly until peaking at just over 12,000 by February 1992. Over three years of post-election growth. And this despite the fact that Ron Paul did NOT share his contributor list with the LP.

    LP membership went from 11416 as of December 31, 1992, and rose fairly constantly until peaking at about 12,400 by April 1993. 4 months of post-election growth. Marrou shared his list fully with the LP.

    LP membership went from 21580 as of October 31, 1996, and rose fairly constantly until peaking at a hair under 34,000 in May 2000. Over three years of post-election growth. Browne shared his list fully with the LP.

    LP membership went from 32771 as of October 31, 2000, and rose to 33194 in November, and stayed within a few dozen of that number until March of 2001 — an interesting feat considering that a significant nastytarian campaign against anyone in the LP who actually **did** anything was in full swing… Browne shared his list fully with the LP.

    The 2004 membership reports were fudged, and the database was largely hosed by a very clumsy changeover, so no analysis is possible nationwide; however, I audited the membership list in Virginia (which has historically tracked national trends rather closely) and found that membership declined steadily between September 2004 and … well… basically the end of 2007; with the exception of occassional bumps upward for a month or two at a time. Badnarik did NOT share his list with the LP.

    In 2008… well, the Barr campaign probably can be credited with some of the growth between May and November, but membership began declining right away, in December 2008 — a far more immediate downturn than was once the case with past LP presidential campaigns. Barr did NOT share his list with the LP.

    So the after-election downturn is NOT typical, at least not for a few months after the campaign ends. It **could** be argued that the 2004 & 2008 campaigns have set a new model where the presidential campaign does not contribute significantly to LP growth and does not share its database.

    Libertarians were given assurances that there would be wholesale change in our fortunes as a result of the new candidate and platform.

    Yes. I am definitely seeing change. You betcha.

  43. Michael Seebeck

    Believe it or not, I agree with Holtz for once:

    Revenue – Expenses = Income/Loss.

    Not that it matters any.

  44. paulie

    Thanks Marc.

    This contradicts what I had remembered.

    Maybe the difference is that I was thinking of years rather than months, and not going as far back?

  45. Wes Benedict

    Marc wrote: Badnarik did NOT share his list with the LP.
    I agree with much of Marc’s post above and thank him for the history. However, I think there’s a misconception regarding the Badnarik for President data. That data was made available to the states for a tiny fee, like $20, if I remember correctly. The Texas LP definitely got it and I notified national that they apparently hadn’t incorporated the Badnarik data in their system. I believe I brought this up at an LNC meeting as well. So I think the Badnarik for President data was made available but the National LP did not take advantage of the opportunity to get it.

  46. paulie

    I would suggest tha petty legalisms are not the path to the promised land. Technical gotchas may well have been grist for Rand and Rothbard’s mills, but isn’t it obvious that they were purposeful outliers, baying at overstated chimeras?

    I wasn’t going for a technical gotcha.


    Get in the flow. Go with it, then change its direction.

    I have a better chance breaking off some of the more vulnerable edges of it. Otherwise I just get swept up.

  47. Wes Benedict

    Is it still available for $20?
    I don’t know. I would think so. However, I suggest you contact your regional LNC reps and have them bring it up at an LNC meeting and perhaps get all of it for National so that every state would receive it in the monthly dumps. I double-checked my notes and Texas paid $25 on 12/11/04 for the data. I brought this issue up a few times but since others didn’t seem to care too much and we had our portion of the data in Texas, I quit worrying about it. If you bring this up with your rep and they claim I’m wrong, I’ll provide backup info.

  48. Brian Holtz

    Marc, can you please quote these alleged “assurances that there would be wholesale change in our fortunes as a result of” our new platform?

    I wrote in Jan 2008: “I have ALWAYS said that Platform reform is no silver bullet, and that its focus should be disarming the internal factions within the LP, rather than writing some magical brochure that will finally make the scales fall from voters’ eyes.”

    I made that clear in my debate that month with your fellow Radical Caucus leader Susan Hogarth: “Platform repair is necessary for building a bigger party and tipping elections, but it’s hardly sufficient.”

  49. George Phillies

    @53

    The statement that Badnarik did not share his list for President is in error. Perhaps you were thinking of his Congressional campaign? The reason I know this is that when Geoff Neale sent out the statement on availability, he included instructions on how individual states could get their state chunks of the list, and I did for Massachusetts. Having seen the MA list, I am sure it was real.

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