New Path for the LP: ‘Step Two: Tasks for Every Party Group’

New Path for the LP is a slate of candidates for the Libertarian National ommittee. Emailed to by George Phillies, New Path slate candidate for LNC Chair:

We’ll start with activities every Libertarian group including the LNC should be doing. We’ll identify some of these as Mission Critical Activities, some as Important Activities, and a few as Worthwhile Activities. There are absolutely critical activities like fund raising, membership recruitment, and back office operations. Without those, Party operations come to a stop. Then there are Important Activities like candidate support, volunteer mobilization, voter base development, and public outreach.

Some people thought we could skip Important Activities for a while when times got tough. After all, nothing in particular happens if you don’t run ads for a month. Those “some people” were wrong, dead wrong. Those people have almost killed our party. Candidate support, volunteer mobilization, all those activities that look like you could skip them for a bit…those are the reasons that we exist. If you aren’t doing them, if you aren’t supporting candidates, mobilizing volunteers, advertising the libertarian message…your group isn’t doing anything. It’s just a parasite on the libertarian body politic.

So what are the activities for every party group?

Number One) Do Real Politics.

Justify your existence through your deeds. Justifying your existence is a Mission Critical activity. You justify your existence by doing real politics. There are lots of ways to do real politics. You don’t have to do all of them. But you have to be doing something.

Here actions talk, but words count for very little. Because if you are not doing real politics, in the long run the invisible fist of the political market will mark you for removal.

Number Two) Candidate Recruitment and Support.

Candidate Recruitment and Support is an Important Activity.

We are here to elect Libertarians to office. There are half a million elective offices in the United States, and we’d like to see a Libertarian elected to every one of them. Well, every one we didn’t abolish first.

You can’t elect someone unless they are on the ballot. That means you need to persuade them to run, because most candidates need persuading, you need to help them handle ballot access, and you need to give them the support required for an effective campaign.

The National Committee can’t do all that by itself. And it shouldn’t. That’s why we have state and local groups, because bottom-up organizing is just as important as top-down organizing.

What the National Committee can do is set the tone for all libertarians: Running for office is good. Supporting your party’s candidates is just as good.

Number Three) Volunteer Mobilization

Volunteer Mobilization is an Important Activity.

There are lots of obstacles to volunteer mobilization. The National Committee can work to overcome them. The National Committee can and should maintain an internal education campaign: Take charge of your political life. You don’t need permission to become an activist.

The National Committee can’t ask every Libertarian individually to volunteer. It can do its share of that asking. It can support the activists who respond to its call.

Persuading casual members to become more active in the party is equally a mission for the LNC and every activist. We need to persuade people to organize, run for office, carry petitions, handle a campaign treasury, and stuff envelopes.

Number Four) Develop our Voter Base

Developing our vote base is an Important Activity.

What is the voter base? They’re the people who will vote for our candidates no matter what. To win, we must gain a large voter base. We can’t buy a voter base. We can earn one if we do the right things.

Most people change parties once or twice in their entire lives. Once you move someone into our voter base, they are probably ours for life.

Number Five) Public Outreach

Public outreach is an Important Activity.

What is public outreach? It’s advertising. It’s press releases. It’s earned media. It’s all the things that put our party’s name in front the public. It’s all the things that convince the public to support our ideas.

Number Six) Grass Roots Organizing.

Grass Roots Organizing is an Important Activity.

By definition, the National Committee cannot do grass roots organizing. If the LNC organized it, by definition it was done from the top down. However, the LNC can provide support and ideas, so that if the grass roots choose to organize, they have something to organize around and some tools to help that organization advance. The LNC could also supply libertarian community organizers, people who would be sent to a community to help create effective libertarian grass roots organizations. Don’t think this works? Look up Saul Alinsky and read his final book.

Number Seven) Fund Raising

Fund raising is a Mission Critical activity. Without money, the organization collapses. Fund raising is only a means, not an end. You can raise all the money you want, but fund raising by itself does not get you an inch closer to the Libertarian future.

As important as fund raising is fund spending. If you waste the money you raise, you won’t accomplish anything. And you’ll find it a lot more difficult to raise more money next time. All those old letters promising to spend money on this or that, except all the money went to support the back office? All those old letters wrecked the credibility of the LNC.

Spending? The difference between hiring because it sounds prestigious and hiring because the employees add value should be instantly apparent. The difference between renting space because it sounds prestigious, and because it adds value, should be equally obvious. The LNC must ask what real political results it gains each time it spends its hard-won donations.

The Libertarian movement is not a public relief project. The Libertarian movement cannot afford a parasite that sucks the movement’s life blood and leaves the movement weaker rather than stronger when it finishes feeding. Libertarians should insist that Libertarian money is well spent, and close their checkbooks when it is not. We will make sure that the LNC spends its money well and wisely, and that you can see that we are doing so.

Number Eight) Member Acquisition and Retention

Member Acquisition is a Mission Critical Activity.

We are a member-based organization. Without members and the support they provide, we would have nothing. When someone makes their first donation to the party, however small, they have made an investment that they may be unwilling to give up, leading to another act of support, and another, and another.

Member retention is a key diagnostic. If membership is growing, you may be doing right things. If your members are leaving in droves, there is a strong signal that you are failing to deliver what the membership wants.

However, membership acquisition and retention will not elect a single Libertarian.

Number Nine) The Back Office

The Back Office is a Mission Critical Activity. Every Libertarian organization has certain nuts and bolts operations it absolutely must run correctly.

* Legal obligations. Many groups are subject to legal reporting requirements because they handle political money. Those regulations are complex, and lead to severe legal repercussions if not followed carefully.

*Member Obligations. Many Libertarian groups have a Constitution or By-Laws. The details may vary, but in the end a libertarian group belongs to its members. Nothing kills a dues-based membership club faster than nominally regular events that do not happen. You can recruit all you want. If you don’t deliver newsletters, meetings, etc., as promised your renewals will dry up. For a prime example, consider that our LNC’s monthly newsletter has gradually faded from monthly to less than monthly to perhaps quarterly, and as it faded our membership lapses soared.

Back Office is absolutely vital. If you don’t handle it well, your organization will collapse. However, a good Back Office won’t elect a single libertarian to anything.

You’ve just heard nine activities that every libertarian group should perform. Four were Mission Critical. Five were only Important, except the only way to justify your existence — Activity Number One — is to perform some of those merely Important activities.

One thought on “New Path for the LP: ‘Step Two: Tasks for Every Party Group’

  1. Where are you?

    Well you talk a big game…
    I have not seen the members of your slate that live in my area for a long time!
    If you are looking for a successful campaign, you should be attending local events and coming to county meetings. I attend most of my local area Libertarian events, but I have not seen any of your candidates come out to speak to us; even after extending invites out to many of our events.

    You have great ideas! If the people that are going to be the ones “executing” these ideas are MIA… how can I trust that the best interest of the LNC is secure?

    I would love to hear more about how you plan to get the grassroots moving again for the LP.

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