I did not receive the original announcement as far as I know, but did receive the following from Mr. Hinkle in response to an email inquiry. In addition to Mark Hinkle, I am aware of two other likely candidates for LNC Chair in 2010: Ernest Hancock and Wayne Root.
Dear Allies, July 4, 2009
Last December, I wrote the following:
“Now that the presidential elections are over, we have a choice to make.
1. We can look back at the recent election, focus on what went wrong, form a circular firing squad, and commence shooting.
2. We can focus on what went right, build on those successes and unite the Party to work together to achieve our mutual goals.”
I was hoping we’d choose option 2. Sadly, we’re still stuck on option 1.
I’ve been with the LP for some 35 years now as a Life member (Ed Crane signed my membership card). And I was leaning that way 37 years ago if you count my vote for John Hospers for President in 1972. During that time, I’ve seen plenty of post election blues, infighting, and finger pointing.
Recently, I’ve heard radicals proclaim to reformers: we weakened the Party Platform, selected a “name” candidate for our presidential candidate, and behold: the same old election results. So, the reformers strategy didn’t work and so we should return to our tried and true “pure” Party platform.
On the other hand, total active donors from 04/08 to 11/08 are up substantially (17.56% versus 2004 figures of 3.57%) during the presidential election cycle. And the number of new donors is up 90.74% (5,314 this cycle versus 2,786 four years ago). Not too shabby!
Some years ago, while discussing strategies (minarchy versus anarchy, radical versus reformer, top down versus grass roots, etc.) with a fellow activist, I came to the realization that we can have it both ways, Or more preciously we can have it numerous ways. In fact, it must be this way if we are to succeed.
Let me explain.
The LP is a service organization. We have to serve our customers or they go away. And since our membership numbers are down from the heady days of Project Archimedes (a massive membership mailing project), we’ve not been doing a very good job of it. But, I don’t want to fix the blame, just fix the problem. Internal battles between “Reformers” and “Radicals” are NOT going to grow our membership.
Some folks want to run more candidates for local winnable races. Hopefully no one is against that idea. I certainly am not.
And other folks, myself included, want to the LP run a presidential candidate, even though that candidate has no chance of getting elected. Ditto for U.S. Senate races, Congress, and in most states’ legislative positions that are just not winnable currently.
So, where’s the conflict and why the disagreement?
Here’s how I see it: folks who support candidates running for local office see money spent on non-winnable races as a waste of money.
But, since it’s not their money, why should they object to other people funding non-winnable races?
Folks who support partisan races see value in getting the name Libertarian before the voters & the media and will fund them voluntarily.
Folks who support local winnable races will fund them voluntarily.
Folks who support non-winnable races will fund them voluntarily.
Folks who support top down management will fund them voluntarily.
Folks who support grassroots organizations will volunteer and fund them voluntarily.
Folks who want to run on a reform platform with interim strategies will do so. Don’t like Reformers? Run somebody against them in the same election.
Likewise, Radicals can and will run on an anarchist platform. Don’t like Radicals? Run somebody against them in the same election.
The LP, as an organization, must support all of these strategies because that’s what our membership wants. Even if we could, and we can’t, why would we want to stop anyone from pursuing a strategy they think will work and especially if they’re putting their time, money, and talent where their mouth is???
Ditto for those who want educational campaigns or any other type of campaigns: for example anti-tax or anti-bond measures.
To exclude any constructive group is to weaken the organization and prolong our fight for freedom.
If those who support winnable campaigns are more persuasive or more successful, they’ll likely raise more money. So, they’ll get more of what they want.
Ditto for those who want the LP to run more candidates for partisan offices. Which for the most part, are un-winnable currently, but which provide other benefits to the Party and to the cause of freedom.
So, rather than view these two strategies as mutually exclusive, let’s change that paradigm and see it as meeting the needs of both groups.
And, of course, there are folks who reside in both camps.
I’ve run for non-partisan office twice and the state Assembly 5 times. Plus I’ve given funds to winnable races (John Inks for City Council most recently) and to non-winnable races, such as every presidential candidate since John Hospers. And I’ve given money to ballot access, even though California already has ballot access. And I’ve written so many anti tax and anti bond measures statements that I’ve lost count.
So, if we make the Mission Statement a little broader it its scope, and follow through with successful programs that support all camps, we can have our cake and eat it too.
So, let’s stop viewing these strategies in terms of what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” or what’s “more effective” or “less effective” and view them instead as multiple strategies that have supporters who are willing to support them. And, we, as a service organization, need to support our customers. If we don’t, they won’t come back.
In the long term, if one of those strategies is the “right one”, we’ll have helped the cause of freedom.
And with that frame of mind, I formally announcement my intention to seek the position of Chair of the LNC.
My LP resume is long, but here are some highlights: I’ve been a LP County Vice-Chair, Chair, Newsletter Chair, LPC Vice-Chair, and served 6 years as LPC Chair. During the last 4 years (1997-2001) as LPC Chair, we had a record number of members (over 6,000 in California alone), a record number of candidates (both in raw numbers and those elected), a record number of donors, a record amount of monthly donors, more major donors than ever before, the largest LPC budget ever, and more paid professionals working for us than ever before. On the national front, I’ve been elected to the LNC 4 times and have served over 7 years.
Here are some of the goals that the LNC should undertake during the 2010 to 2012 term:
1. Ballot Access in all 50 states (to the extent our members are willing to fund it).
2. Membership growth in at least 2 key areas: 1. young adults (we need fresh blood, and 2. business folks (we need rich blood).
3. Create single issue coalitions with any other group willing to work with us. Power in numbers!
4. An online Congressional lobbying effort, something akin to DownsideDC.org
5. Affiliate and candidate support akin to the LP’s Success ’99 Party and candidate support training seminars.
6. Internal education. We need to remind our members of why we exist and what we stand for. Ideological drift will doom the LP to an early death. This must not happen!
Yours in liberty……………..Mark Hinkle,
LNC Region 2 (CA) Rep.,
Candidate for LP Chair