Comparing Web Site Templates of LNC Chair Candidates

Two of the candidates for Libertarian National Committee Chair are running on platforms that include providing campaign site templates for Libertarian candidates. A third Chair candidate uses such a template for his own State Senate candidate site.  This article compares the three templates.

John Jay Myers says “I also propose to create easily customizable website templates so that states, counties, and candidates can quickly and inexpensively gain a professional web presence.”  He is Vice Chair of the LP Dallas, whose web site lists 19 candidates in the current election cycle in that county.  Five of them have custom campaign sites, another five use a common LPDallas.org template, and the remaining nine are not listed as having any web site at all.

The New Path plan of George Phillies says “We should offer a good set of downloadable templates for web pages”, and that “Web Templates, disk, downloadables are high priority”. Phillies points to a template made available by New Path LNC candidate Jake Porter. Phillies is Treasurer, Membership Secretary, and Editor of the LP Massachussetts.  The LPMA candidates page lists two candidates. Neither uses the Porter template, and one of the two sites is very simple.

Mark Hinkle does not list web sites for candidates among his goals as Chair. However, his current and previous campaigns for state legislature have used the “campaign-site-in-a-box” template offered under the DefendsLiberty.com domain.

This table compares various features of these templates.

Domain of expected integrations LPDallas.org
LPMA.us
DefendsLiberty.com
Candidate integrations found 5/14 (* * * * *) 0/2 4 (* * * *)
3D/rounded visual design Y Y N
Free candidate domain Y N? Y
Free hosting Y? N? Y
Campaign blog N Y Y
Accepts credit cards N N Y
Displays libertarian feeds N N Y
Libertarian videos linked N embedded
Candidate video linked N N
Slate issue statement Y N Y
Slideshow/gallery N N Y
Nav bar Buttons Buttons Menus
Nolan quiz N N Y
Debt clock N N Y
Meetup/Facebook N/N N/N Y/Y
Email sign-up N N Y
Email the candidate Y Y? Y
Leave a comment N N? Y
Join/Register Libertarian N/N N/N Y/Y
Links to other LP candidates N N Y
Link to an LP platform N N Y
LP graphical branding N N Y
Horizontally resizable N N Y
Stats counting N? N Y

A few problems are noticeable on the five LPDallas.org campaign sites:

  • The “Donate” and “Join Us Now” buttons do nothing
  • “Stay informed” page is under construction
  • 3 inoperative header links (“Life Liberty Property”) at the top of every page

The Porter/New Path template is a Drupal template.  Since no live candidate sites appear to be using it (at least in Phillies’ state), it can’t be rated as providing support for most of the features in the table above. However, none of these features are impossible to implement after a candidate adopts the Porter template.

18 thoughts on “Comparing Web Site Templates of LNC Chair Candidates

  1. John Jay Myers

    You should see the one we are building.

    I made everyone a site in one day, (I am not a tech guy…well I know enough to make everyone a site off a template that we bought) and then let them know that they would have to send me their links to donation pages etc. that they create.

    It’s a very lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink sort of thing.

    But they are still trickling in.

    By no means was this the end all solution, but for our candidates it was something we could do rather quickly.

    Right now Texas is working on a much more expansive site, which is why our county is site is still less than stellar (to put it mildly).

    The County and Template sites will be auto created through the State site.
    It will be spectacular.

  2. Chuck Moulton

    Brian,

    As a computer programmer yourself, you should know that comparing beta versions as if they are the final product can be misleading.

    As long as each of these programmers invests time to incrementally improve their templates and they each welcome new feature ideas and constructive criticism, I have no doubt all three templates will meet and exceed the criteria you have listed within a few years (or even a few months).

  3. John Jay Myers

    If you go to the site, defendsliberty.com as a average American, you will probably say “What in the heck is this?”
    It’s a mess, it is not user friendly or easy on the eyes, it has a look like it was built by someone in 1994 and hasn’t been updated since.

    So I am guessing whoever made this post, made that site. And made their criteria a list of things that are on their site.
    Not that it’s a bad set of criteria, but it’s a little …. pesky.

    One candidate page connected to it:
    http://www.well.com/~jax/2008/

    As compared to say one the 9 I made in one day:
    http://aparsons.lpdallas.org/

    Could anyone… please answer the simple question, which one seems more professional?

  4. John Jay Myers

    Also, Richards does take Credit Cards, because Richard filled out the information in regards to how he wanted to collect money.
    http://forsythe.lpdallas.org/index.html
    All of our candidates have been getting reminders to do this.

    Also, the links page on all the sites goes to LP.org where the average person can find more information… again it is not ideal, but I am not the tech guy, I am just putting the ideas together.

    In about 2 weeks we will be unveiling the beta of the site I have been talking about, which will blow your mind.

  5. Brian Holtz

    I applaud both Myers and Phillies for making campaign site templates part of their platforms, but it seems like they’re selling version 2.0 when 1.0 isn’t yet out of beta (or maybe alpha). Still, that’s better than what the other Chair candidates are doing in this area.

    Kudos also to Myers and the Dallas LP for their large slate of candidates. Aside from San Diego, I don’t know in what county I’d find more candidates with quality web sites than LP Dallas County has.

    P.S. While we’re talking LP web tech, let’s give a shout out to LPedia.org. Does anybody know who at LPHQ gets credit for that?

  6. Brian Holtz

    John, DefendsLiberty.com is the old 2008 portal to my first-generation campaign-site-in-a-box effort. I think it’s pretty damn cool to have an embeddable map with faces of scores of LP candidates across the nation, each linked to his campaign site.(*) However, I didn’t build any of the sites linked there that aren’t on the defendsliberty.com domain, so you’re snarking up the wrong tree.

    Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions for the DefendsLiberty candidate sites you see linked above, I’m all ears.

    (*) In fact, due to the magic of Yahoo maps and some of my Javascript sugar on top of it, an affiliate like the Dallas LP can trivially embed a map like that in an iframe, zoomed and positioned to show just your area and candidates. All you have to provide are the (optional) candidate images and a text file with lines of this form:

    [ “Brian Holtz”, “U.S. Congress – CA 14”, “Los Altos Hills, CA”, “Holtz.DefendsLiberty.com”],

  7. John Jay Myers

    Firstly I am sorry I came out fighting. I have had a bad day.

    Had Jack Woehr asked me to link his site, I would have said no.
    I would have said let me input your data into one of my templates, send it back to you and then I will link your site.

    Which is kind of the idea to give every candidate in America a free template, that includes all the bells and whistles, but it’s actually created through the county site, which is directly tied to both state and national.
    So when a county creates a candidate, that site is tied to their state… and state shows them on their slate.
    Also, the candidates and their campaign members are getting the proper updates they need (when to fill out what forms etc) based on what type of candidate (state rep, gov etc.) they are.

    Also, national would put together template issue pages, that candidates can pick and choose from to add to their site at a click of a button.

    The sites I created were just from templates, with no functionality but imagine that you are not creating a template by adding the information through html, you are just typing it into a form, and the site is automatically created.

    Like contact management.

    If you like I can send you some pdfs that go into the more technical aspects of the site Texas is working on that other states could adopt, and National could eventually take over.

  8. David F. Nolan

    I’m gonna need help building a website for my U.S. Senate race here in Arizona. At the moment, all I have is a temporary single-page site that lets people know I’m running — I just filed my nominating petitions today — and it’s clearly a stopgap measure. When I get back from the St. Louis convention I will need to make the website a top priority.

  9. John Jay Myers

    David, while we wait for National to okay my site idea. I am pretty good at filling in templates.
    I could do it rather quickly for you.

    Just gather up a lot of pictures that you like, and have all your information ready.

    You could order one of these templates and we swap out your images and info:

    http://www.dreamweavergraphics.net/dreamweavertemplates/politics-election-campaign-templates.html

    My eventual plan is to have these style templates available (provided by national)
    The payback is that they may be required to link national etc in order to get the free hosted ones.

    Still working the kinks out of that idea.
    Just thinking about it now, it could be that people have a “sign up to the Libertarian Party” link on their site, and if someone goes to their site and signs up… the Libertarian Party donates $10 to that candidate, I have a bunch of ideas for marketing on that level.

    Anyway, you know I will help you.
    But I am not buying your template. ; )

  10. John Jay Myers

    Brian that’s my point though, I can make him a site that looks professional in the same amount of time.
    Hinkles LNC site is light years above this one, because it’s not a mess.

    I think you have a lot of great information, but as far presentation it’s not very well organized and it lacks style. I am not trying to be mean, I am trying to be honest.

    We need to start competing with the big dogs.
    It would be better to spend $65 on a template, because when someone sees it, they are going to say:
    1. I want to help this guy $.
    2. I want to work for this guy.
    3. Libertarians no longer live in their mothers basements?
    4. Sign me up!

  11. George Whitfield

    Mr. Nolan #9. I am glad you are going to run and hope to support you.

  12. George Phillies

    “The New Path plan of George Phillies says “We should offer a good set of downloadable templates for web pages”, and that “Web Templates, disk, downloadables are high priority”. Phillies points to a template made available by New Path LNC candidate Jake Porter. Phillies is Treasurer, Membership Secretary, and Editor of the LP Massachussetts. [GP: In particular, I am *not* the Political Facilitator.] The LPMA candidates page lists two candidates. Neither uses the Porter template [GP: Then why are we talking about them? Reasons should be obvious.] , and one of the two sites is very simple.”

    Complete non sequitur. I said I was giving a template. You will *never* convince Bob Underwood to use a template. Loya is centering on his Facebook page, which is a different ball game.

    There is one interesting point skipped here. In the real world, you will have candidates who need simple web pages, highly graphical web pages, Drupal based pages, WordPress based pages,… because at some point someone at the candidate end has to be able to set up and maintain the thing. Content-management-systems are fine, but having run a campaign that used one, they are not a solution yet. Even if the candidate staff can access the base html, on occasion you also need someone who can prod the CMS undercode.

    A useful thread might least the variations you will need. I’ve already listed a bunch:

    Bare code
    Drupal
    Joomla
    Wordpress
    Facebook page
    Myspace Page

    Representations in foreign languages, which locally would usefully include French, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Hmong, and Spanish.

    We offered a template. Please take a look.

  13. Steven wilson

    In regards to websites, I think the most important issue is accessibility. Here in Missouri, we don’t get any media coverage, so be your own media is going to rely on access.

    Does the page connect to youtube, facebook?

    Will it be searchable on google?

    Cookie cutter vs. Function!!!

  14. John Jay Myers

    The sites that are created will be editable through html or an admin.
    You can type in your youtube account in the admin, and it connects a link.
    If you type in your facebook account it creates the icon and connects.
    It’s really that simple.

  15. George Phillies

    By the way, if the National Party actually does your web site – not the current situation — as opposed to letting you download the template, there is a gift in kind. For each state, there needs to be a legal research effort done as to how you can legally do this. For Massachusetts, where I know the answer, for many variations on the theme, the answer is ‘this is illegal. period.’

  16. Steven wilson

    @Myers, appreciate the response. This topic is critical because I believe the state chair is more important than the national. I think state’s should have the ability to take in money first then national. Libertarians in DC won’t know what is going on in central missouri.

    The internet is still free and means access. The first impression is a one shot deal. IF we look like fools, the people will go somewhere else. A weak website or weak administration might be a cancer.

    I also believe the template idea might work as a recruitment tool. Great citizens who want to run, but can’t afford it, will see the templates as another reason to fight with us.

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