Esteemed fellow State Chairs:
The purpose of this missive is to open discussion on our Presidential candidate and campaign. I am not here to argue which candidate is more libertarian or less libertarian, or which candidate is more pure of heart, or more electable, or the like. My objective is to discuss what we should insist that our Presidential candidate deliver, given how hard we have worked to put him or her on the ballot.
The core issue is simple: What do we reasonably expect to get out of the presidential campaign? It is highly unlikely, to put it mildly, that we are going to elect a Libertarian president. Nonetheless, is very important that we run a presidential candidate, because of all of the other things that the presidential campaign does for our parties.
A good presidential campaign serves primarily to build a stronger Libertarian Party. Said the other way around, a presidential campaign that leaves our party no stronger when it’s over than when it started must be recognized to be a failure.
What, then, can a presidential campaign do for us? How should it go about doing that?
Above all, a presidential campaign serves turn out of the woodwork new volunteers, new activists, and new donors who will stay around and work for our party after the presidential campaign is over. That requires that the presidential campaign target generating those volunteers, activists, and donors. In order to do that, the presidential campaign needs to have a strong, well run, volunteer organization that rapidly shares its information with state and local parties. In addition to sharing, the presidential campaign needs to send to those people the message that the presidential campaign is over, but the march towards a libertarian society continues. A presidential campaign that sits on its donor and volunteer lists and does not share them is a waste of our party’s money.
Second, our party strategy should be the 50 state strategy of Howard Dean. We need strong Libertarian parties everywhere, not only a few places. Furthermore, most of our party resources are not fungible; they cannot be moved from place to place. If we only develop the party in a few states, most of our resources will go to waste. We must insist that the presidential campaign has a significant effort in every single state of the United States.
Third, there is the question of media advertising. You will sometimes hear it said that in order for television ad to work it must be blasted over the airwaves seven or 10 or more times before the target notices. That’s how you sell soap; a candidate is not a box of dishwasher detergent. That approach is completely unaffordable, not to mention obsolete with Internet outreach taking much of its place. Our reasonable objective is to say that the presidential campaign needs to shake the very lowest branches on the tree, attracting the attention of people who are very close to being ready to join us. Those are the people who will respond to a single television or Internet ad, move their hands over their keyboards, and contact us.
When I say that we should insist that the presidential campaign do certain things, we need to be very firm about this position well before the national convention and make clear that presidential candidates who are not committed to this direction do not become our nominee. Our position should be independent of the LNC position on this topic. The Presidential candidate is working for *our* delegates.
As I said, this is an introduction to a discussion on this topic. However, I believe that we are being given a golden opportunity, given the un-American, unpatriotic stands of presidential candidates Trump, Carson, Rubio, and Cruz: Their attacks on Islam and Islamic worship in the United States leave them proposing deeds that are very similar to those committed by the German National Socialists against the Jews 80 years ago.
Libertarian Association of Massachusetts