Jeremy Siple: My Thoughts On the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, and My Endorsement for President

2016 was my first Libertarian National Convention, and it was a wonderful experience! A lot of fun was had, so many media were on hand, and I got to meet so many wonderful and interesting people! I also got to meet so many people I knew from Facebook and IPR, and none of you disappointed. The fun atmosphere really made this special, and I walked out a more dedicated and more passionate Libertarian than when I walked in. My sincere thanks to Nicholas Sarwark and the convention organizers for a job well done!

That brings me to the elephant in the room, the presidential ticket. I was a committed devotee of Darryl W. Perry for president and Will Coley for vice president, and it was a decision I did not expect to come to. I started this election season as an agnostic Libertarian, and it was Darryl’s passionate and righteous defense of all liberty, all the time that made me the radical voluntaryist I am today.

With that said, I knew going in that Gary Johnson was likely to be the nominee, and was resigned to this. In 2012 I was proud to vote for Gov. Johnson, and despite some serious misgivings, was fully prepared to vote for him again in 2016.

That has now been complicated by three specific events, namely:

1. There were deep divisions over Governors Johnson and Weld, divisions that I fear could do irreparable harm to the party, just as happened to the Reform Party. Mr. Perry alluded to this point in his concession speech.

2. Gov. Johnson had an opportunity to heal these divisions by taking to the stage and, while not backing down from his support for Bill Weld, stating plainly that he trusted the delegates and would honor their wishes. Instead, Gov. Johnson proceeded to beg for delegates to nominate Weld over someone they would be more comfortable with, and in my opinion made an ass of himself.

3. Most damningly, it has now been confirmed that the reports of Gov. Johnson throwing Austin Petersen’s peace offering in the trash were very much true, and that he lied when he said he knew nothing about it. I was very public about my distaste for Austin Petersen and his campaign tactics, but a gift in the name of reconciliation and party unity is a sacred thing. Both candidates have claimed to have buried the hatchet, but I am unsatisfied.

It is for these reasons that I announce that I cannot, and will not, endorse, vote for, or in any way support the Johnson/Weld presidential ticket. This is a decision that does not come easily to me, but on which I am firm and unwavering. Governor Johnson’s actions are unbecoming of a Libertarian Party presidential candidate, and it would go against every moral fiber of my being to be a part of this fraud.

In November of 2016, unless either man specifically asks me not to, I will be writing in the ticket of Darryl W. Perry for president, and Will Coley for vice president. I encourage all my fellow Libertarians to do the same.

The only way we can begin to heal, is to stand united against Johnson and Weld.

Jeremy Siple
Proud Libertarian
IPR Contributor

18 thoughts on “Jeremy Siple: My Thoughts On the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, and My Endorsement for President

  1. Jeremy Siple

    It should be noted that here in Pennsylvania, petitions are now being circulated without a presidential ticket listed. I doubt even this drive will succeed, but it’s now quite clear he won’t be on the ballot in all 50 states.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    I suspect the insistence on Weld was related to a perception that he can bring in the big money, but it was still pretty pitiful.

    All the “compromise, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, be willing to give up some of the things you want to move forward” bullshit we heard from the Johnson camp in the run-up to the nomination went out the window when it came to the possibility of Johnson not getting what he wanted, exactly what he wanted, and everything he wanted.

  3. Andy

    The LP of Pennsylvania does a presidential ticket on it. They are Carla Howell for President and Ken Krawchuk for Vice President, both stand in candidates. Pennsylvania allows stand in candidates and the petition even includes a Committee to Fill Vacancies. The petition also includes several other candidates.

    I think that the LP of PA probably will obtain ballot access this year, although this petition drive is certainly behind where it should be right now as they wasted a good 6 weeks in the beginning of the process.

    Will the LP get 50 state plus DC ballot access this year? The party is in a good position to do this, but there is a lot that can go wrong between now and the remaining deadlines.

  4. Jeremy Siple

    “The LP of Pennsylvania does a presidential ticket on it. They are Carla Howell for President and Ken Krawchuk for Vice President, both stand in candidates. ”

    Correct, but alternative petitions have now been sent out to volunteers who request them that do not have that presidential ticket listed.

  5. Krzysztof Lesiak

    I think that you made the right decision, Jeremy.

    I think it might be better at this point if the LP presidential ticket were to radically under perform (whatever percentage that means), because it would show the futility of nominating washed-up establishment Republicans who have associated with neocons and espoused neocon rhetoric (this pertains to Weld at least). It would show that nominating seasoned politicians for the highest office in the land will not automatically result in the shattering of previous vote totals, raise millions or break some sort of magical 5% barrier (with Stein pulling from disenfranchised Bernie fans, and with Trump moderating his message and coalescing more and more previously #NeverTrump Republicans day b y day), I guarantee that #WeldMyJohnson won’t attain that 5%. Even if Johnson managed to squeeze his way into the CoPD debates, his lack of substance, constant repetition, lack of in-depth knowledge on the issues and quite simply boring delivery won’t boost his his numbers. If anything, he’ll tank. Granted, Weld could perform better, but who really watches the VP debates?

    Now, if Johnson did meet or over-perform expectations, I suppose that would help the LP with future ballot access and the down-ticket races. But with such libertarian-lite (at best, and that’s only in Johnson’s case), will it have been worth it? I’m not an LP member, so I can’t speak to that point.

    I myself won’t vote for Weld/Johnson, and since the only other name that might make the Illinois ballot is Jill Stein, I likely won’t vote in the presidential election at all, since I don’t particularly want to cast a write-in vote, as I doubt this state does a good job of tabulating them (a write-in that I can’t see when I pull up the vote totals for my precinct is, to me personally, a wasted vote). I might vote for down-ticket LPers, or I might stay a non-voter like Feldman till I’m 50 (if cancer sticks don’t kill me before then).

    I think the emphasis should be placed on running good, hardcore libertarians for state and local offices this year. Maybe with his new-found celebrity, anarchist candidate James “The Stripper” Weeks II can pull an upset win in his race for Livingston County Sheriff.

    And speaking of Weeks, I’ll make my final point: I watched the LP convention with my mom, and when Weeks started doing his striptease, we were both like WTF and my mom went off on a tangent about libertines and how libertarians are for “freedom from anything” (not surprised since she’s an immigrant from socially conservative, overwhelmingly Catholic Poland). At first I thought Weeks (with whom I used to be friends with on Facebook, I vaguely remember talking a little bit about anarchy, Alex Jones, and how smoking etiquette dictates smokers should bum cigarettes to fellow smokers) was embarrassing to the party and absolutely distasteful, but after a few days of casually pondering the subject, I came to the conclusion that it took a lot of balls to do what he did, in front of 1,000 people and C-SPAN cameras. If he did it on a dare, he should have been compensated for it. Either way, he brought some attention to the LP from a lot of media sources (international AND non-political), and since he didn’t do anything heinous, I suppose there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

  6. Jeremy Siple

    From chairman House on Facebook (in reply to Ed Reagan):

    “I’m getting Richard Schwarz to produce a petition without the top two as you might have seen posted for yourself to get State candidates on the ballot Ed; folks are still getting signatures -”

    There is also talk of putting a different VP candidate on the ballot, although the general consensus is we’re loathe to piss off national after they helped bankroll the drive.

  7. Ben

    Sorry Tom. The thing is Johnson is right. There way no reason to nominate anyone other then Johnson and weld. The both are libertarian, moderate libertarians. This is a huge opportunity and we can’t pass it up.

  8. José C

    “in front of 1,000 people and C-SPAN cameras” I think you mean to say, “in front of 1,000 people and millions of C-SPAN viewers in America and around the world”.

    Also in 1980 Libertarian Presidential candidate Ed Clark brought some attention to the LP but he did not have to strip to get attention.

  9. Richard Schwarz

    Andy said,

    “I will stick with the copies that have Carla Howell and Ken Krawchuk.”

    As will any petitioner expecting to get paid. There will be zero payment for any petitions turned in without our stand-in presidential candidates.

    The petition that Shawn House is talking about is just to be given to one person who pledged that he would be happy to collect signatures for our statewide list of candidates but not President or VP. We’ll see if this one person does anything with them or not, but trust me this will not make or break the petition drive.

    Johnson and Weld will be on the ballot in PA

    And as for “talk” of putting a different VP candidate on in PA, that’s all it was, one persn talking, on facebook. Does not mean there is a chance in hell of it happening.

  10. Steve Scheetz

    Andy, I don’t know if you talk with other petitioners, but Shawn managed to have one or two in his district, I would REALLY appreciate it if I could get someone in mine…

    Please feel free to contact me off list.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  11. Steve Scheetz

    On a side note….

    I will not point fingers, I will not lay blame, and while I dislike what is at the top of the ticket, I am not going to pout about it.

    I even made peace with Austin Wade Petersen! Those of you who know that story, should know exactly what that took, and it doesn’t matter. We ALL have so much to do, and so little time to do it in!

    Forget about what could have been what should have been, we have to deal with what we have, and trust me. Weld will not be opening his mouth other than to request more money!

    Big picture here.. We have a great many opportunities moving forward, including a project I am working on right now….

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  12. Darcy G Richardson

    That’s a profound and heartfelt statement by Jeremy. I’m glad to see that he will be voting for a libertarian in November. Perhaps everybody should carry a pen to the polls on Nov. 8th.

    That would be the ultimate act of electoral defiance, forcing election officials across the country to spend weeks tabulating unprecedented numbers of write-in votes while leaving the duopoly — and at least one glaringly ungracious minor party nominee trying to imitate them — wondering what the hell happened.

  13. Shawn Levasseur

    I get the criticisms of Gary on substantive issues. I may not agree with most of them, but at least I understand them.

    But what I DON’T get is this stupid gun story.

    Austin had this replica gun ready to use as a concession speech prop to make a theatrical grand gesture of sorts. I understand the poetry of the symbolism. But when he made the choice to make his concession speech also a speech against Weld for V.P., he should have either given up on the gesture, or saved it for a different moment.

    A peace offering, followed by an attack is a disingenuous gesture. If Gary, or someone on his staff, did toss it in the trash, they treated it with all the value Austin gave it.

    To call this the “most damning” argument against Gary makes absolutely no sense to me.

  14. Jeremy Siple

    We agree to disagree then, Shawn. To you it was nothing, to me it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

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