George Phillies: Message to Libertarian Party State Chairs

vote_libertarian_classic_round_sticker-rc6f67375728f4c389695febddeb2859d_v9waf_8byvr_324To state chairs, MA State Committee, and MA newsletter editor for newsletter.

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.

Cordially yours,

George Phillies,
State Chair
Libertarian Association of Massachusetts

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About Caryn Ann Harlos

Caryn Ann Harlos is a paralegal residing in Castle Rock, Colorado and presently serving as the Region 1 Representative on the Libertarian National Committee and is a candidate for LNC Secretary at the 2018 Libertarian Party Convention. Articles posted should NOT be considered the opinions of the LNC nor always those of Caryn Ann Harlos personally. Caryn Ann's goal is to provide information on items of interest and (sometimes) controversy about the Libertarian Party and minor parties in general not to necessarily endorse the contents.

98 thoughts on “George Phillies: Message to Libertarian Party State Chairs

  1. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    George makes excellent points.

    I would another. And this is NOT about who is “more” or “less” libertarian, though I have definite opinions on that point. Yes! The candidate needs to be attracting new activists and donors etc. But they also most not be purposefully alienating current activists and donors and be suffering from a messiah complex as to the being the saviour of the Party.

    Our candidate must be good for the Party. That can be a difficult task to keep such a diverse herd of cats together.

  2. Jed Ziggler

    To me, the primary goal of the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate (and all minor party/independent candidates) is to say FUCK YOU to the two major parties. But that’s just me.

    I’ve never been much of a party builder, I see it as a waste of time when we’re working under a system that promises to make sure the party will never grow to be a threat. So I’d rather the party select a candidate who can most effectively articulate why the Libertarian Party is better than those that “can win”, and actually act like a candidate, not someone who’s just trying to “grow the party”. Actually campaign for the job and tell people why libertarianism is better for America than corporatism, people will find their way to the party.

  3. Richard Winger

    If the Republicans do nominate Donald Trump, and if Jim Webb does not run as an independent, 2016 might conceivably be the first Libertarian presidential campaign in which neutral people really do imagine a Libertarian Party presidential victory.

  4. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    The system is more fragile then it appears. All systems are. If we do not grow the Party there will not be enough to take advantage of a breech if it comes. And if we don’t grow the Party, there isn’t enough influence to even send such a message as you prefer. If we don’t grow the Party, we will not be around to do it again. If we don’t grow the Party, we die.

    And we can’t sacrifice the people already here for narcissistic vainglory seekers. I will take a less-radical Party builder over a radical self-seeker (or a self-seeker of any stripe… just saying that someone could be as pure as they come, but if they are going to purposefully leave wreckage in their midst, I will not support them).

  5. Richard Winger

    I meant to add that if Trump is the Republican nominee and Webb doesn’t run, there would probably be very large independent expenditures made on behalf of Gary Johnson.

  6. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    IF Gary Johnson runs. One of our candidates was recently trumpeting that a little bird told him that Johnson is not going to run.

  7. Wang Tang-Fu

    Reason: One last question, are you planning on running for president in 2016?

    Johnson: Well, I hope to. I hope to be the Libertarian nominee. That’s my intention barring famine or flood.

  8. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    I am just stating what one of our candidates is confidently proclaiming. Along with somewhat gloating that GJ’s company is allegedly not doing well.

    I am not a GJ supporter, but I find it all in incredibly bad taste.

  9. Wang Tang-Fu

    Would that happen to be the same candidate who also recently said that the non-initiation of force principle is like a cancer that should be cut out and replaced with nothing?

  10. Jed Ziggler

    I’m no longer supporting Johnson for the nomination, but if he’s nominated I would likely vote for him. If Petersen is the nominee I will vote for someone else. Maybe Jim Webb or Jill Stein.

  11. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    Jed,

    Since we are not going to win, I vote for the Party, and will vote for the Party most likely certain. However, at convention, NOTA is always on the table. Luckily, there are two candidates I favour. Kerbel and Perry.

  12. Wang Tang-Fu

    “It would. The same who declared himself the new leader of the LP.”

    Ah, thank you. I thought so. I would not trust his “birdie” over what Gov. Johnson himself is saying. Perhaps it is just my Wang family intuition, but he does not seem to be the best source of information, and his unnamed birdies, doubly so. I know some here may not place as much stock as I do in Wang family intuition, but it comes from over 6,000 years of Wangs and has served us well over the millenia.

  13. Rod Stern

    “If we do not grow the Party there will not be enough to take advantage of a breech if it comes. And if we don’t grow the Party, there isn’t enough influence to even send such a message as you prefer. If we don’t grow the Party, we will not be around to do it again. If we don’t grow the Party, we die.”

    Good point.

  14. Wang Tang-Fu

    That’s my cousin’s name! Great guy, life of the party. Really lights up a room when he walks in. The women love him, but he is a responsible family man, and never takes the bait.

  15. Andy Craig

    “IF Gary Johnson runs. One of our candidates was recently trumpeting that a little bird told him that Johnson is not going to run.”

    Aside from the general lack of credibility others have noted, Petersen has an obvious personal motivation to be saying that.

  16. Wang Tang-Fu

    Mr. Petersen’s claims of being the new leader of the LP remind me of when Wayne Allen Root said he was reinventing libertarianism. He’s kind of like a junior league Donald Trump without the fortune and fame.

  17. Rod Stern

    “Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

    There. I got it out of my system.”

    You can never really get Wang Chung out of your system.

  18. Andy Craig

    “It is highly unlikely, to put it mildly, that we are going to elect a Libertarian president. ”

    Starting from this assumption and dismissing it as a consideration is pretty big mistake. Particularly given the increasingly-likely possibility that Trump will be the GOP nominee, as Richard notes.

    Winning any election is unlikely– but I’m not that interested in having or supporting a candidate who isn’t going to see whatever path to victory exists (whether that’s only a 1% chance, or 5%, or 0.0001%), and then chases after that as if they actually want to, and are prepared to, win election as the next President of the United States.

    Running to win vs. running to grow the party is a false dichotomy. An effective campaign does both by running as strong as it can, reaching as many voters as possible with a compelling message. It is not, necessarily, the job of the presidential nominee to be some sort of organizer-in-chief for the party. That’s why we have party officers and state affiliates and all the rest, whom the nominee should work with, but who also shouldn’t expect the nominee or his/her campaign to do their job for them.

    If we demand of our nominee up-front some sort of concession that they have no expectation of winning, then we aren’t going to get a nominee who does a good job of growing the party. There’s a difference between being realistic, vs. being outright defeatist.

    “Second, our party strategy should be the 50 state strategy of Howard Dean. ”

    While I don’t disagree with the point being made, that we need to be active in all 50 states (who can really disagree with that?), that wasn’t really what Dean’s 50SS was about. Dean’s point was that by moving the ball in all 50 states, Democrats could make enough inroads in purple states (and start turning some red states purple) to assemble a majority. That worked fairly well in the Electoral College for Obama; it was briefly a success at the Congressional level, in particular the Senate where states count, not population. But then the Dems started to get wiped out at the state and congressional level during the Obama years. Right now they’re down to unified control of only 7 state governments, a historic low, and their least number of Representatives in almost a century. Whether Dean’s 50SS actually worked, or just drew resources away from more winnable swing states, is still debated.

    But, whether it worked or not, the entire premise was about moving from minority-major-party to majority-major-party. The strategy as such isn’t really applicable to a party starting from zero states instead of twenty-something.

    In particular, I think this is bad advice for our presidential nominee. The nominee has to run a national campaign, for sure, and should not neglect any part of the country. It’s reasonable, and good, that all the state parties want their share of the nominee’s time and attention. But the reality is that Libertarian candidates do better in some states than others. The Mountain West and upper New England are where past LP nominees have done best, and are also where both Perot and Ron Paul did best. We also tend to do better in states that already have a relatively large and successful LP, and there have been some heartening signs of growth there across some states in the South in the past four years. But, a strong state party is something that has to be in place well before the nominee comes onto the stage. If LP-[state] is barely alive, that’s not something the national campaign is going to turn around in a matter of weeks or months. It takes at least a couple of years, and often more than that. An exciting nominee who brings people into the party might start that process, but to expect that to happen in time to really show up in November is unrealistic.Few people join the party as active supporters, who haven’t already voted Libertarian at least once before.

    If you want bang-for-your-buck short of victory, are we better off getting to 5% in a few states, or reaching 1% in all states? (Numbers just as example). I can see a case to be made either way; I don’t think it’s possible to focus on and thereby win a single state just to show up in the Electoral College, as is sometimes advocated. There’s not that much play between a single-state result and national results. However, I do think increasing the result in the states where we have the biggest potential for increase, is smart strategy, and more in line with how Dean’s 50SS would actually apply to a third-party in our position. The real point of which, was to go get the votes where there was the most room for growth. We don’t have, like Dean did, umpteen safe states to fall back on. But we do have states where campaigning is likely to be more effective than others, where there are are already more active Libertarians closer to a critical mass.

    George’s missive has some good advice, and some not-so-good advice, but a lot of it is specific campaign strategy of the sort I would not go into the convention demanding the nominee pledge blind allegiance to. The assertion that we should refuse to nominate any candidate who doesn’t agree with all of it, strikes me as over-the-top and unjustified.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    I wouldn’t trust Petersen’s little bird very much. I hope Johnson doesn’t run, but I expect he will.

    I find it odd that anyone would, at this point, be referring to an “increasing likelihood” of Trump being the GOP’s nominee. His chances started at “exceedingly slim” and are now hovering just a hair above “none.”

  20. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Libertarians have been waiting for a “perfect storm election” for decades. Where the public is disgusted with both major party candidates. Where both major parties have nominated divisive, hated candidates. Where the LP has a credible, moderate-appearing candidate who can then exploit the breech and win.

    It’s never happened, partially because such opportunities attract other independent candidates. Perot exploited that perfect storm of an election and stole the LP’s potential thunder.

    Libertarians might feel its “their turn,” but if Trump is nominated, and voters are disgusted with both major parties, Bloomberg (and if not him, someone else), WILL suddenly cut ahead of the LP to exploit the opportunity. The media normally only focuses on one “independent outsider,” and it won’t be the LP.

  21. georgephillies

    @7:28 AM Trump’s position is that he actually has to lose to someone. Who? Carson seems to be fading. Perhaps Cruz or Rubio? The Republicans have a stack of candidates stuck near no support, a stack near 3% support, Bush at 5%, and the aforementioned.

    @10:44 AM The Democrats would appear likely to be happy with either of their leading candidates.

  22. Andy Craig

    “”I find it odd that anyone would, at this point, be referring to an “increasing likelihood” of Trump being the GOP’s nominee. His chances started at “exceedingly slim” and are now hovering just a hair above “none.”””

    The only one who was starting to give him a run for his money was Carson (the one candidate who’s possibly less acceptable to the establishment), and he’s already peaked and is on his way back down. Right now (per RCP avg.), Trump has got a 24-point lead over runner-up Rubio in NH, in Iowa he’s still ahead of Carson by 5 points. In national polling, he’s holding steady at 25%+ while the acceptable establishment candidate-of-the-week (currently Rubio) struggles to even stay in double-digits.

    I would have been dismissive of Trump too, but not anymore. It’s looking increasingly like he’s going to win at least NH, and probably iA, and if he wins both there is really no stopping him. There’s still time left, it could change. But there isn’t *that* much time left. Things are unlikely to change that much over the holidays, and then all we have is four weeks of January and then Iowa’s caucusing, followed by NH a week later, SC and NV before the end of February, and then the “SEC Primary” on March 1 – the whole schedule is deliberately heavily front-loaded this year, to produce a presumptive nominee ASAP. That could well bite them in the ass, because it doesn’t give an anti-Trump time to rally and recover from Trump winning IA and/or NH.

    “”@7:28 AM Trump’s position is that he actually has to lose to someone. Who? Carson seems to be fading. Perhaps Cruz or Rubio? The Republicans have a stack of candidates stuck near no support, a stack near 3% support, Bush at 5%, and the aforementioned.””

    Exactly. Rubio and Bush remain the only candidates with a particularly plausible path to beating Trump, and their chances of doing that are rapidly fading. They certainly aren’t taking off like they’d need to be.

    “”Libertarians might feel its “their turn,” but if Trump is nominated, and voters are disgusted with both major parties, Bloomberg (and if not him, someone else), WILL suddenly cut ahead of the LP to exploit the opportunity. The media normally only focuses on one “independent outsider,” and it won’t be the LP.””

    Unless it’s a billionaire like Bloomberg, they simply won’t be able to get ballot access. It’s as simple as that (and I don’t think, despite constant attempts to draft him, that Bloomberg will run or would do particularly well if he did),

    That’s why I’m also not too worried about Jim Webb stealing our thunder. Even if he formally declares as an Ind. candidate, he might get some attention, but his chances of getting on the ballot in 270+EV states, as a no-party independent, is slim to none. I don’t like that, of course, but in this case bad ballot access laws protect us from competition as much as they do the Ds and Rs. That’s not pretty, since we oppose those laws, but it’s true.

    So, just because somebody would try to cut us off and position themselves as the main alternative candidate, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll do so successfully. In 2012, it was supposed to be Americans Elect that was going to do that. In 2008, it was Unity’08. At the end of the day our nominees didn’t have to worry about losing any votes to either of them.

  23. paulie

    Libertarians might feel its “their turn,” but if Trump is nominated, and voters are disgusted with both major parties, Bloomberg (and if not him, someone else), WILL suddenly cut ahead of the LP to exploit the opportunity. The media normally only focuses on one “independent outsider,” and it won’t be the LP.

    I agree. There’s been some speculation that Romney could run as an independent if the NSGOP establishment can’t manage to get one of the candidates they find acceptable to surge for the nomination. Even a moderate Libertarian is way out of step with the Republican establishment and would not become their chosen alternative to Trump. Right now, there is still plenty of time for a well-financed independent to get on every state ballot. And if that person happens to represent the interests of the big money NSGOP establishment, and waits too long for someone of their ilk to emerge from the pack in the primary, look for state legislators, bureaucrats and judges to change the deadlines to accomodate them. I don’t see much likelihood at all of them having to resort to supporting the LP. In fact, I suspect they would go for a unity ticket with Clinton before they would back the LP.

  24. paulie

    The only one who was starting to give him a run for his money was Carson (the one candidate who’s possibly less acceptable to the establishment), and he’s already peaked and is on his way back down. Right now (per RCP avg.), Trump has got a 24-point lead over runner-up Rubio in NH, in Iowa he’s still ahead of Carson by 5 points. In national polling, he’s holding steady at 25%+ while the acceptable establishment candidate-of-the-week (currently Rubio) struggles to even stay in double-digits.

    I would have been dismissive of Trump too, but not anymore. It’s looking increasingly like he’s going to win at least NH, and probably iA, and if he wins both there is really no stopping him. There’s still time left, it could change. But there isn’t *that* much time left. Things are unlikely to change that much over the holidays, and then all we have is four weeks of January and then Iowa’s caucusing, followed by NH a week later, SC and NV before the end of February, and then the “SEC Primary” on March 1 – the whole schedule is deliberately heavily front-loaded this year, to produce a presumptive nominee ASAP. That could well bite them in the ass, because it doesn’t give an anti-Trump time to rally and recover from Trump winning IA and/or NH.

    You’re forgetting a few things such as dirty tricks, assassins, blackmail, scandals, setup, planted evidence, and the like. There’s also delegate fuckery that takes place at various levels above the actual primaries and caucuses. Media reports create the impression that the popular vote in the caucuses and primaries picks the delegates but in a lot of states it’s just the first stage of a multi-step process, if even that. If Trump can’t be dislodged by conventional means, I wouldn’t put it past certain big money interests to go after him in unconventional ways. And if that fails too, lots of normally Republican money financing an independent. Finally, they are holding some scandals over Clinton’s head and may have enough goods on her to force her to accept a unity ticket and promise them a bunch of cabinet posts and other concessions to create a de facto unity coalition government. So, they have more than a few cards up their sleeve yet.

  25. paulie

    Unless it’s a billionaire like Bloomberg, they simply won’t be able to get ballot access.

    Luckily for them, there are at least several hundred billionaires who are constitutionally eligible to run, and actually they don’t have to run themselves – they could run a quiet race for VP or even just donate to a superpac that handles ballot access. And as I mentioned earlier, they can change ballot access laws, find bureaucrats and judges that will ignore them, etc. There have already been times when they missed deadlines for submitting candidates which were just ignored. They don’t have the rules applied to them in the same way we do.

    That’s why I’m also not too worried about Jim Webb stealing our thunder. Even if he formally declares as an Ind. candidate, he might get some attention, but his chances of getting on the ballot in 270+EV states, as a no-party independent, is slim to none.

    I wouldn’t say that. While I don’t think he has the money or name recognition to pull it off personally right now, if he got big money behind him he could. It would not have to go through his official committee, so forget campaign contribution limits.

  26. paulie

    So, just because somebody would try to cut us off and position themselves as the main alternative candidate, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll do so successfully. In 2012, it was supposed to be Americans Elect that was going to do that. In 2008, it was Unity’08. At the end of the day our nominees didn’t have to worry about losing any votes to either of them.

    In 2008 they had legal hurdles they did not manage to surmount in time. By 2012 those were gone, and the only thing they failed to get was a candidate willing to cross the duopoly establishment. Allegedly they came very close with several would-be candidates who all backed out at the last minute. This time, if the establishment is on their side, the laws are already on their side, the money is not a problem for them – I don’t think finding a candidate would be nearly as big of a problem for them as in 2012.

    And if it’s Bloomberg, I don’t think he would be as unwilling or unviable as you do, although he would poll it extensively and see whether to run himself or someone else.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    Slick Willy lost both IA and NH and still won the 92 nomination.

    We are living in Crazy Clown Times, pert-near where anything is possible.

  28. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Trump’s position is that he actually has to lose to someone. Who? Carson seems to be fading. Perhaps Cruz or Rubio?”

    My best guess at this point is that the GOP ticket will be either Kasich/Rubio or Bush/Kasich.

  29. georgephillies

    @16:08 We shall see. None of these folks have so far been very salable to the voters, but they have plenty of time yet.

    On a different note, I have heard the promise of large outside expenditure before; it was being made for Bob Barr in 2008. It did not happen.

  30. Thomas L. Knapp

    “None of these folks have so far been very salable to the voters, but they have plenty of time yet.”

    This time in 1975, polling for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination ran as follows:

    Ted Kennedy, 23%
    George Wallace, 19%
    Hubert Humphrey, 17%
    Birch Bayh and Jimmy Carter, low single digits

    I’m sure we all recall the Ted Kennedy presidency with nostalgia.

  31. georgephillies

    the Trump campaign reminds me of the Goldwater ’64 campaign, in that the ignorant pundits declined to take him seriously, and then a series of great pachydermous hopes were wheeled out against Goldwater, none successfully. We see here a recycle. Liberal Republicans were not supportive of Goldwater, and as a result we no longer have a liberal wing of the Republican party. Fiorina, who appears to have been the candidate of a few reporters and their editors, is a good example of this. There is actually not much time–pointed out earlier here–for things to change. With the holidays, about a month of that interval will not accomplish much.

  32. georgephillies

    As I said “but they have plenty of time yet.”

    The promise for the Barr campaign was for tens of millions of dollars, and I have never heard any sign of it since.

  33. Wang Tang-Fu

    Mr. Knapp,

    “My best guess at this point is that the GOP ticket will be either Kasich/Rubio or Bush/Kasich.”

    That’s an interesting guess. Why do you see them as the leading contenders who will emerge?

  34. Wang Tang-Fu

    Prof. Phillies,

    “On a different note, I have heard the promise of large outside expenditure before; it was being made for Bob Barr in 2008. It did not happen.”

    Is that related to something in the preceding discussion…if so, what? The only mention of large outside expenditures I saw above was unrelated to the LP. Additionally, there have been significant legal changes since 2008, if I remember what I have seen about the subject correctly.

  35. Richard Winger

    Relating to Tom’s post about polling in late 1975, it should be noted that Ted Kennedy did not declare his candidacy for the 1976 nomination and did not appear on the ballot in any 1976 Democratic presidential primaries.

    Also back in 1976 the presidential primary season was much later in the year. New Hampshire was the only primary in February; there were only 5 in March. Nowadays half of them have been held by the end of March.

  36. Thomas L. Knapp

    WTF,

    You ask:

    “Why do you see [Bush/Kasich or Kasich/Rubio] as the leading contenders who will emerge?”

    Because Trump and Carson are basically “sugar high” candidates for people with short, television-centric attention spans, and I don’t think that current polling practice accurately distinguishes REAL “likely voters” from that crowd.

    In the end, establishment support and money tell, especially if translated into good ground game. Trump and Carson are still doing their media circus ringmaster thing. Bush is burning shoeleather in Iowa and New Hampshire, and Kasich probably is too. Both of them are likely also preparing hard blitzes in South Carolina. Instead of TV dog and pony shows, they’re actually out there ASKING PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR THEM AND EXPLAINING WHY and letting their TV game be mostly the button-down news shows and 30-second commercials.

    If Bush is the nominee, he probably won’t want Rubio as VP, since they’re both from Florida. He’d rather have Kasich, who’s a fairly popular Ohio governor. If the GOP can carry Florida and Ohio, they’re in a pretty good position.

    On the other hand, if Kasich is the nominee, Bush probably won’t want the veep slot and Rubio is young, photogenic, and from Florida.

    I could be wrong. Strange things can happen. But I don’t think that anything as strange as Trump or Carson WILL happen.

  37. georgephillies

    Tang-Fu: Way up thread is the claim that if Trump is the Republican nominee and we nominate Johnson, Johnson will be the beneficiary of large outside expenditures. We have heard this line before. It didn’t happen then.

  38. Robert Capozzi

    gp: if Trump is the Republican nominee and we nominate Johnson, Johnson will be the beneficiary of large outside expenditures.

    me: McCain was the R nominee, far more of an establishment-acceptable candidate than Trump is. Whether in a Trump/Clinton/Johnson match up the establishment would throw money at GJ is questionable, but I’d say WAY more likely than Barr receiving such support in 08, when it was a match up of two sitting senators.

    Extrapolating from ONE data point usually is not a good bet, yes?

  39. Thane Eichenauer

    Knapp commented: “increasing likelihood” of Trump being the GOP’s nominee. His chances started at “exceedingly slim” and are now hovering just a hair above “none.”

    Of the various eight plus Republican candidates one of them is certain to be selected. Which of them will be selected is not certain.

    I follow the reasoning of Scott Adams of Dilbert when he writes that Donald Trump will be the next President. He has been writing a series of articles on the persuasion techniques employed by current and past figures of fame including Tony Robbins, Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie.

    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/128474925371/how-to-spot-a-wizard

    Alexa global rank of dilbert.com: 4,479

  40. Thomas L. Knapp

    No, I’m not a “can’t happen here” type. I don’t think Trump won’t be nominated because he COULDN’T be nominated. I think Trump won’t be nominated because I’m not seeing evidence that he’s generating any significant chance of getting nominated.

  41. georgephillies

    Against whom will the C, G, and L candidates be running next year? Bush and his superPAC have spent around $20 million, and apparently have had no effect on the polls, showing the value of advertising, at least as a tool for selling overage dead meat.

    The current Republican situation is:
    A bunch of candidates polling at zero or so.
    A bunch of candidates polling near 3%
    Two candidates in the 20s, and being fairly stable
    Two candidates in the low teens.
    A candidate near 5%.

    The first group and much of the second are gone from the debates, probably, depending on how the rules are tweaked. The next two groups are likely to include the winner, though assuredly not certainly, and Carson appears to be following Fiorina out the door. Bush is sort of by himself, with his superpac unable to move his ratings despite burning money like mad. If I had to choose one candidate to win the nomination, it would be Trump. The Republicans have the challenge that whether Trump wins or loses, a bunch of people are going to be totally furious with their Republican party. This outcome may help the Constitution Party.

  42. georgephillies

    Coming back to my original statement, I agree that s we advertise more and more we will get more and more support and volunteers, but I think touching the entire population once is better than touching half the population twice. Also, internet ads are not like broadcast ads. They stay in place giving you several chances to read them.

    Capozzi: “extrapolate” has a well defined meaning, which has nothing to do with your ignorant use of it.

  43. Robert Capozzi

    gp: “extrapolate” has a well defined meaning, which has nothing to do with your ignorant use of it.

    me: I — along with everyone else, near as I can tell — have moments of ignorant word usage, and worse, I’m sure!

    Would the word “project” help you address the substance of the matter? To refresh, the 08 setup was quite different from the 12 scenario are Trump/Clinton/Johnson. The Barr camp over-promised and over-hyped…got it.

    That doesn’t foreclose the possibility that GJ ’12 might get more funding or possibly SuperPAC support if Trump gets the R nomination, as I see it.

    If you see it differently, how do you see it?

  44. Robert Capozzi

    tk: I think Trump won’t be nominated because I’m not seeing evidence that he’s generating any significant chance of getting nominated.

    me: Not sure that’s the case. DT has had a different sort of marketing campaign. It’s probably the case that he’s had to build his POLITICAL brand from scratch, and based on the polls, that’s been wildly successful, unfortunately so from my and I believe the country’s perspective, as I think the guy is as bad a serious contender for prez since McCain, and possibly ever.

    It appears that he’s now back-filling his retail operations, though, making the idea of President Trump even more possible.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trumps-ground-game-iowa-soaring-aides-say-n445336

  45. Thane Eichenauer

    RP,
    Trump opposed the Iraq war. By my measure that puts him one substantial step above McCain.

  46. Robert Capozzi

    Trump is all over the map on many, many issues. I’m very practical when it comes to who actually sits in the Oval. The first test for me is: Is the candidate bat-shit crazy? Trump seems crazy to me, but I don’t have a read on whether he’s crazier than McCain as yet. Nixon was also quite daft, but my sense is he heavily repressed his insanity.

    Crazy people with the nuclear football seems like a bad idea to me.

    If it’s Trump v Clinton, I’d rather have Hill in the White House on these practical grounds. I would not consider voting for either, though. I hope to vote L, as long as the candidate is not an extremist.

  47. Thane Eichenauer

    Paulie,

    “Donald Trump, The Nazis, And The Violence Of The Mob” – good article.

    “Donald Trump And Adolf Hitler” and its claim “Trump is a bully who uses his power to silence others.” – I find it can’t read that and find truth in it. Any journalist such as Jorge Ramos with Univision has hours of media time to make his point. He wasn’t in the least silenced as I see it.

    There are a great many past candidates for President of the United States that lie, exaggerate and use overt and covert persuasion techniques to win an election. There is every reason to think that the current crop of candidates for President are no different from those that have come before.

    Persuading people to stop supporting government seems like a more promising path than identifying the least bad candidate among those that the average US voters and residents will consider come election day (even if I can’t kick the electoral sphere personally).

    Regardless of which path people take I think it is quite a good idea to learn more about the Moist Robot hypothesis as put forward by Scott Adams.

    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/128110686176/identifying-the-smart-voters

    P.S. Scott Adams wrote a book in 2006 called “God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment” (It’s currently the #2 book in KIndle sales in the psychology category (#2!) and another in 2013 called “The Religion War” (currently #9 in KIndle sales for psychology) with a major character with a surname of Cruz.

  48. paulie

    Silenced in the context where Trump could silence him. If he was president with the broad emergency powers of the executive branch behind him, trade wars leading to real wars, games of one upsmanship escalating on the world stage, economically ignorant policies perpetuating economic problems in a vicious cycle, and appealing over the heads of congress and the courts directly to the people, I can easily see him taking dictatorial powers to silence journalists and other dissenters. Or as he says about dissenting voices at his rallies “maybe they should be roughed up” by his Nuremberg rally style mobs.

  49. Thane Eichenauer

    Paulie,
    The event in question wasn’t a stage paid for by Jorge Ramos. Ramos had no right to be heard or to remain present in that particular venue. Your second sentence starts with “If” followed by a possible future that may or may not come to pass. Donald Trump is a master persuader. Master persuaders are not pushovers. Donald Trump has endorsed some awful positions though not as many as the media would have me believe. Does Trump want to play pasty to Black Lives Matter in future events? No. Does Trump want to discourage disruptive conduct at future events. Yes he does as any presenter would. As I see it there a multitude of venues available for anti-Trump elements to make their point. I hear Bernie Sanders has hired one or more Black Lives Matter folks. If so what more does that group want? They need only not appear and disrupt events where they have no call being at if they plan to disrupt the proceedings. Calling a Trump event a Nuremberg rally in my opinion mischaracterizes them. I was at one of them. I saw nothing of what J. Clifford describes as “Trump’s use of wild, angry gesticulations and shouting at the podium to whip up audiences of his supporters is straight out of Hitler’s playbook.” Plenty of people (I estimate at 100+ people) at the event I attended were there to speak out against Donald Trump. So long as they didn’t trespass inside the Trump event they could clearly avoid unwelcome treatment (a dozen plus Phoenix police helped maintain a border).
    Should Donald Trump become President would there be a possibility, even a likely-hood, that he would use government power to his whim? Yes. Have past US Presidents used government power to further their aims? Yes. The only solution is to persuade and inspire more people to stop investing in promoting social and economic engineering via government.

  50. georgephillies

    Returning to my original comments about the pointlessness of debate litigation, he most important point is that the Presidential Debate Commission has no ability to compel attendance. If the D and R candidates decide that having other people on stage is not in their interest, which is almost certainly the case, they have but to agree to debate each other, and pay for the commercial time on some uniformly available cable channel. Which one does not matter; the audience will come to them. One of the shopping networks “How much am I bid for the services of this Congressman” comes to mind. Other candidates could buy the same amount of time at the same rat,e but they do not get to debate the D or R candidates.

    With respect to Trump, consider from our End The Surveillance State Facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/StoptheSurveillancestate

    Reject Republican Surveillance Enhancements

    Eight decades ago, the German National Socialists launched their war on Judaism. They had a pretext: imminent communist uprising. Synagogues were destroyed. Jewish newspapers were shut down. Jews had special identification cards stamped “J”.

    It’s 2015. Under the pretext of an imminent ISIS attack, Republican Presidential candidates called for a war on on American Islamites. Marco Rubio wants to close Islamic mosques, cafes, and internet sites. Ben Carson wants to plant government spies in mosques, schools, press corps, and churches that espouse positions he dislikes. Donald Trump wants a government data base that tracks every American Moslem. Ted Cruz wants to ban immigration by Moslems. Donald Trump and Ben Carson called for the ultimate in surveillance enhancement: Torture via waterboarding.

    Libertarian Party State Chair George Phillies condemned Republican stands. “Trump, Carson, Rubio, and Cruz stand against everything that made our country great. They reject our Constitution. They campaign against our Bill of Rights. No loyal American can support their positions.

    Phillies urged Republicans to flee their party. “Are you a Republican? You have one patriotic choice! Abandon ship! Abandon ship now! Please consider: Come over to the Libertarian Party. We stand for small government, the whole Bill of Rights, and Massachusetts social tolerance.”

    –30–

    Some Republicans would be happier joining the Constitution party or our Massachusetts Conservative Party, a less-well-known third party.

  51. Matt Cholko

    I’m surprised by the general ignorance on this thread of the damn-near-stone-cold fact that as non-Trump Rs back out, their supporters will move to candidates other than Trump. It is also very likely that as those candidates drop out, many or all of them will endorse and rally behind a candidate more to the establishment’s liking.

    I’ll admit that I see a better chance of Trump getting the nomination now than I did a few months ago. But, it still seems incredibly unlikely.

    With that said, I couldn’t care less who the Rs and Ds nominate. Our job is the same no matter what. Our victories will come in terms of growing the party and the movement, turning supporters into activists, and the like. I’d love to see some big money come in to help us towards those goals. But, even if some money does show up, its not going to change things very much. I think an absolute best case scenario has us getting enough votes to get on the ballot in another few states. That’s awesome, and I really hope it happens. But, its not earth shattering. We’re a long, long way from playing a major role in a POTUS election.

  52. Robert Capozzi

    mc, I hear you. But, there’s reason to believe that if Reagan had not won the 80 R nomination over Bush, and if John Anderson had not run as an independent, Clark might have done quite a bit better than he did.

    If GJ gets the 16 L nomination, the R/D field might have some implications on how his campaign might be run. Trump v Clinton, for ex, would represent two of the most damaged candidate choices, possibly ever. Contrast this with, say, Bush v O’Malley.

    Observing these scenarios from the fringe, one might say these choices are virtually the same. However, looked at from the edge, we’d see that Trump is erratic, an overt megalomaniac, and supremely unqualified to be prez. Clinton is Lady MacBeth, and likely a felon who has escaped prosecution several times.

    Bush and O’Malley surely have skeletons, too, but they are probably mouse nuts compared with Trump and Clinton.

  53. Stewart Flood

    Let’s get back to the reason this email was posted on IPR. The opinion given by Dr Phillies regarding what the LP’s POTUS nominee should do is reasonable. You can debate the finer points, but overall I agree with what he said.

    Which is why we can’t afford a bat-shit crazy nominee. If one of the primary goals is to help build the infrastructure that we need to increase our number of successful candidates running for state, county and municipal seats, then someone unable to present the message in a rational manner isn’t an option.

    Right now NOTA is looking pretty good…of course NOTA isn’t an option if we want to do anything listed in the commentary. But I can’t vote for someone who will hurt the cause, as these candidates would. I would rather have NOTA.

  54. Thomas L. Knapp

    Cholko puts his fingers on the um, elephant in the GOP primary room. Sure, Trump continues to poll in first place among many candidates, but he’s been at or near his ceiling since the beginning. The people who are going to support Trump already support Trump. The people don’t support Trump aren’t GOING to support Trump. There might be a FEW exceptions to that. he might pick up a little from Carson or Cruz when either drops out. But not a lot.

    I remain convinced that Trump’s vaunted ground game in Iowa and New Hampshire is the usual Trump bluster. HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE, and so forth. I think we will see some surprises in both those states. If he carries either or both of them, it won’t be in a landslide.

    And then we come to South Carolina, the first BIG primary.

    In a race that’s anywhere near close, there will be one deciding factor: The endorsement of Lindsay Graham, which he will probably hand to someone the morning after the New Hampshire primary.

    Graham is not going to be president. He KNOWS he’s not going to be president. And he knows he’d be a liability in the veep slot. He wants to be Secretary of Defense in a Republican administration that takes office in 2017. And he has something to trade for it.

    Graham doesn’t poll well for the nomination even in his state of South Carolina. But he does win elections to the Senate there regularly and with large majorities, and his endorsement can probably move the polls by at least 5, maybe 10 points when he hands it over.

    Is he going to endorse Trump? Not a chance in hell. Not only is Trump unlikely to win the election if nominated (which means no chance of a cabinet post for Graham), but even if he did win, Graham has attacked him often and harshly enough that Trump would never appoint him to anything.

    Graham will likely endorse either Bush or Kasich, with Rubio as a wild card (he’s currently polling third behind Trump and Carson in South Carolina, but I expect that to change by the end of the year) depending on who’s doing best and who’s most willing to horse-trade for the endorsement.

    My guess is Bush. I think Bush will do better in both Iowa and New Hampshire than the polling currently predicts. I think Bush will be happy to promise Graham a cabinet appointment in return for the endorsement ahead of South Carolina and probably for a whirlwind hand-holding tour of the state. And I strongly suspect that Bush is quietly front-loading for the Nevada GOP caucus (three days after the South Carolina primary) and the “Super Tuesday” states (three weeks after the South Carolina primary), especially Georgia, Virginia, Massachusetts, Tennessee and the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses. The wild card on THAT day is Texas. If Cruz is still in the race, he might have an edge. If not, well, Jeb’s father and brother are both former Texas governors and I bet he’s got a king-hell organization either already in place there or ready to roll out when the smoke signal goes up after South Carolina.

    So there’s the rest of the story IMO.

    Good take on the LP race, Stewart.

  55. Robert Capozzi

    tk: If not, well, Jeb’s father and brother are both former Texas governors

    me: Only brother. 41 was not. Was an MC from TX, though. But it’s been his adoptive home state most of his life.

    It appears Cruz is the beneficiary of Carson’s stumbling of late.

    Overall, when the field thins, things might well shift. That would be helpful, since I definitely don’t see good things coming with a President Trump.

  56. Thomas L. Knapp

    Doh. You’re right. Bush the Elder was a congresscritter from Texas, not the governor. For some reason I always default back to thinking he was governor.

    Cruz seems to be sort of getting pulled forward in Trump’s draft at the moment, sort of like he’s really angling to be veep on a Trump ticket while still formally going at it for the top slot. I suspect there’s some “second choice” mojo going in both directions, but the danger for him is that when Trump’s wheels come off, his very well might too.

    I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about the implications of a Trump presidency because I just don’t see it happening. But here are the three outcomes I envision, in ascending order of likelihood, should he be elected:

    1) The LEAST likely outcome is Armageddon, e.g. he decrees himself president for life, takes us to an irreversible state of permanent war with Eastasia/Eurasia, ruthlessly roots out and exterminates dissent, takes America off the edge of the cliff into full-blown South American caudillo-state banana republicanism, etc.

    2) The slightly less unlikely, but still unlikely, outcome is that he’s the next FDR (or at least Reagan) — substantially (or at least cosmetically) remakes American democracy in his own image, but with a soft enough touch to retain the formal vestiges of the historical republic, leaves after two terms unless there’s a constitutional amendment to let him keep going, rides off into the sunset to be remembered fondly by a substantial portion of the electorate (and reviled by another substantial portion of the electorate) for lo on 100 years, all to the benefit of the GOP.

    3) The most likely outcome is that he’d limp through four years of political hell with both parties in Congress completely uncooperative with anything he wants, the constant butt of both comedic and media jokes, “where did you dig up this idiot?” queries from the world media and political scene, and that he’d leave the Democrats with large majorities in both houses and be remember as the last Republican president for decades, if not forever.

  57. Wang Tang-Fu

    TLK @ 14:01

    I see the same possibilities for a Trump presidency, but in reverse order of likelihood.

  58. Wang Tang-Fu

    As compared to a few months ago, a lot more Republicans who don’t see Trump as their first choice are now saying that he could be acceptable to them as the Republican nominee and that they believe he can beat the Democrats. General election polling shows that as the Republican nominee he would be competitive against Mrs. Clinton. I don’t know off hand whether there are any recent polls of him as an independent or if there are any who they posit the Republican nominee would be.

  59. Thomas L. Knapp

    WTF,

    I wish that I could report I rank the possibilities in the same order as you. After all, I’m a sort of Hegelian “collapse under the weight of its own contradictions” type who predicts the collapse of the US as we know it some time in the next 30-35 years, so your prediction would tend to validate my own.

    To place the odds in prospective comparison:

    – I think it is more likely that Turkey will drag the US into a severe proxy war with Russia, a la Vietnam or Korea, than that Trump will be nominated for the presidency of the United States;

    – I think it is more likely that Turkey will drag the US into a direct shooting war with Russia than that Trump will be elected if nominated; and

    – I think it is more likely that the second instance would end with a nuclear detonation in Russia, in the US, or both, than that the worst outcome of a Trump presidency described above would transpire if he was elected.

    And I rate those three possibilities vis a vis Turkey and Russia as unlikely in ascending magnitude.

  60. Robert Capozzi

    tk, yes, 3 is likeliest. But 3 could get triggered into a 1. Either way, someone that obviously imbalanced should be nowhere near the levers of power.

  61. paulie

    Either way, someone that obviously imbalanced should be nowhere near the levers of power.

    Exactly.

    However, should =/= would.

  62. Robert Capozzi

    pf, I’ve noticed you’ve been on a streak of agreeing with me!! I appreciate your commitment to truth seeking, whatever its source.

  63. paulie

    There are all kinds of people I agree with at times. With just about anyone, I find things we agree on and things we disagree on. There may be someone out there with whom I either agree or disagree about everything, but out of people I have known well enough to get a good sampling of their views, in person or online, I have yet to meet such a person. I might find it a bit eerie if I ever do.

  64. Gene Berkman

    Donald Trump has consistently led the polls for the Republican nomination except for a brief period in which he was #2 behind Dr Carson. It is becoming clear that Dr Carson is a better surgeon than he is a candidate, and his campaign is starting to slide.

    Mr Trump’s lead is no guarantee he will get the nomination. He has to translate that lead into victories in primaries and caucuses, and election of delegates. It is not clear he has the organization to accomplish this.

    It looks like Senator Rubio is the establishment candidate with a fresh face, and he is more likely than Jeb Bush to get the backing needed to challenge Trump. And Trump spends more time attacking Rubio than he does other candidates.

    Senator Rubio is particularly dangerous on foreign policy. He supports getting Ukraine into NATO; if Ukraine had been in NATO when Russia invaded, we might have faced a call to defend Ukraine with military force.

    Senator Rubio’s slogan is “A New American Century” – he uses it in his speeches, in his debate statements, and as a background slogan when he holds events. “A New American Century” is the neoconservative alternative to the New World Order promoted by the elder President Bush. The Project for a New American Century was the original neocon foreign policy initiative, which pushed for the war in Iraq.

    If Trump is nominated, conservatives who oppose imminent domain or who just don’t trust Mr Trump can be appealed to. If Senator Rubio is facing Secretary Clinton, antiwar conservatives and antiwar liberals will be looking for an alternative. They are not going to vote for some kook they have never heard of – a description which fits most of the LP hopefuls. As in 2012, former Governor Gary Johnson has enough credentials and respectability that antiwar voters will look to him as a choice to protest the two interventionist candidates.

  65. Jill Pyeatt

    This is a very scary time for a peacenik like me. I wish Gary would come out strongly against the rabble-rousing and ignorant GOP candidates’ warmongering, and he needs to do it NOW. I fear we’ll be involved in a hardcore World War before the election, though.

    BTW, I appreciate Darryl Perry and Steve Kerbel for their commentaries on what has happened the past couple of weeks. I just wish the media would give them some coverage.

  66. paulie

    I wish Gary would come out strongly against the rabble-rousing and ignorant GOP candidates’ warmongering, and he needs to do it NOW.

    He did. Unfortunately he mixed it with some confused nonsense about Sharia law, but he also said among other things:


    * …engaging in hysteria and reverting to Un-American notions of “tracking” innocent people because of the way they look or pray, throwing out 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, and closing our borders are not helpful, and will not make us “safe” — as predictable as they may be in today’s sound-bite politics.

    * I oppose boots on the ground

    * When it comes to drones, I think it makes a bad situation even worse. We end up killing innocents and fueling hatred as opposed to containing it. It just hasn’t worked.

    * I opposed the Iraq War. I supported going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11, but opposed — and continue to oppose — our failed attempt at Afghan nation building. And I opposed our involvement in overthrowing the government in Libya.

    The list goes on and on. Our ill-advised attempts to shape the outcomes of civil wars and replace bad guys with slightly less bad guys have not only failed, but have created vacuums that are today being filled by the politics of Sharia.

    The cost of those interventions has been tremendous, with too many of our young men and women of the military killed and wounded…and trillions of dollars spent ineffectively.

    Libertarians believe freedom and opportunity require limited government. Government costs too much because it does too much — and a government that does too much erodes liberty.

    I’d like him to be less equivocal, but the above is a lot better than what we are getting from the duopoly candidates.

  67. Jill Pyeatt

    Thanks for correcting me, Paulie. I guess I didn’t wade through his latest releases enough.

  68. paulie

    I only copied the good parts here. There are other parts I don’t agree with. I think a fair picture should prevail, not whitewash nor the opposite.

  69. sff

    I agree with Knapp’s assessment of Graham and what he really wants. But Graham is not really as much of an influence in SCGOP politics as he used to be. The two largest county parties censored him last year, and with Bobby Harrell in an orange jump suit, Graham doesn’t have the “muscle” to back him up. He won last year, but he won’t be likely to survive a serious challenge in five more — so an administrative position is his best move.

    South Carolina is a key race in the GOP. But at 3% in his home state, Graham’s endorsement won’t be worth much. Haley, who is also looking at the vp slot, is a much more valuable endorsement. She will probably go for Bush.

  70. Matt Cholko

    Russia will not “invade” Ukraine if they become a NATO member. Trump will not be elected president. And, we will not be in a hardcore world war anytime soon. I’m taking bets, if anyone disagrees.

    But, I’m gonna stuff my face with Turkey tomorrow, and get hammered for three straight days, just in case.

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