Libertarian National Committee: Chair’s Proposed Agenda

global_452657254The LNC will have its quarterly meeting December 10-11, 2016 in Alexandria, VA along with a party (details here). Chair Nicholas Sarwark has released the proposed Agenda.

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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.

23 thoughts on “Libertarian National Committee: Chair’s Proposed Agenda

  1. Scott Lieberman

    Regarding the workshop “Prevent membership decline in 2017”:

    The best way to retain productive LP members who joined in 2016 would be to run the organization like a political party instead of a mutual admiration society for anarchists and pseudo-anarchists. There is nothing wrong with being an anarchist, but there is something wrong with being obsessed with making sure that every word coming out of of LPHQ staff and our candidates is anarchistic, or within one millimeter of anarchistic. What the LNC should be doing instead is jawboning our affiliates to get as many of their members as possible elected to Water Boards and City Councils. Or at least giving LPHQ staff the power to do said jawboning.

    For example, how about having one or two LP members in each county actually meet these new members one at a time for coffee to ask them why they joined, and what they want from the LP. Then, ask them to run for a local, winnable office or at least apply for a board or commission. Even if they don’t want to run or apply themselves, they will be flattered you asked, and they will then believe that the Libertarian Party is actually interested in real–world political activity instead of just keeping the Platform pure and holy.

  2. Tony from Long Island

    Good points, Scott. I can personally attest that I began to become disillusioned with the LP when I felt it would not shift an inch from purism. I had always considered myself a moderate libertarian.

    There were other factors of course, but I knew that, as much as there are several issues that I am very libertarian on, I wouldn’t fit in with the purists.

  3. Thomas L. Knapp

    “There is nothing wrong with being an anarchist, but there is something wrong with being obsessed with making sure that every word coming out of of LPHQ staff and our candidates is anarchistic, or within one millimeter of anarchistic.”

    Public communications from LPHQ staff should accord with the party’s platform. If the platform is within one millimeter of anarchistic, their communications should be too, because their job is to represent the party and the platform is the document which codifies the party’s goals. Don’t like it? There’s a convention every two years at which you can try to change it.

  4. From Der Sidelines

    “The best way to retain productive LP members who joined in 2016 would be to run the organization like a political party…”

    That would mean kicking the perpetual do-nothing gadflies like Lieberman to the curb.

  5. Caryn Ann Harlos

    “obsessed with making sure that every word coming out of of LPHQ staff and our candidates is Libertarian – pursuant to the Party’s Statement of Principles.”

    Fixed it for you.

    Nice straw though. It is getting a bit chilly here in CO. Probably safer to burn some straw rather than call Trump’s bluff and burn something else.

    That is a GREAT idea on new members though. Something to propose to CO. Some of us wily anarchists (and just a milimeter shy of anarchists have the really bad habit of caring about adherence to Libertarian principles AND doing real-world political activity.

    Sneaksy and tricksy we be.

  6. D. Frank Robinson

    In the Libertarian Party as all social organization which aspire to be effective there must be a division of labor and it must be voluntary and self-selected. Nothing in the LP Bylaws prevents a Libertarian from initiating social relations with another. If one sees an activity that needs to be done, do it, but do it by the NAP and don’t denigrate the Statement of Principles.

  7. Shane

    If you want new members, new donors or new activists, run targeted campaigns to convert your inactives to take the appropriate actions.

    No one cares about your press releases, literature, or the statement of principles. Very few people read any of it. They’ll read or view only what is placed in front of them and the LNC will never be so good as to get all of its members reading press releases — the RNC can’t even pull that off.

    If your car has engine problems, you go to a mechanic and work on the engine.

    Instead of going to a mechanic, members of the LNC will take the same car to a Jamaican hair braiding salon to get a quote for installing a flux capacitor.

    The above agenda proves that.

  8. Evan Williams

    Shane: Unfortunately, like LNC press releases, I doubt anyone read your comment above (end of sarcasm). Seriously, your suggestions are spot on for a political party. They aren’t appropriate for a church. I agree with you that the proposed church bulletin proves your point.

  9. AMcCarrick

    And again this thread is a perfect example of why the LP never gets anywhere…. just outright immediately rejecting or ignoring good ideas like those from Scott and Shane. If the LP EVER wants to get anywhere and appeal to more than 5% of the country, they’re going to have to learn how to play the game. I guess this needs to be said but, 5% doesn’t win elections; neither does 10%.

  10. Chuck Moulton

    I don’t understand why Scott harps on the LNC here. If you have a good idea, just go do it. You don’t need to convince the LNC to do it.

    All we need to do is find a data source with appointed local positions matched to precincts they represent. Then it would be trivial to match that to members or registered libertarians by address. So where is that database? Go find it. Pick up the phone and call a bunch of data brokers or voter data services. If it doesn’t exist yet, find some lists that can be used to create it. Get some quotes on the cost. Then raise some money for that purpose. I’ve worked with many state and county affiliates and I’ve never seen a single one that wouldn’t engage in candidate recruitment if they were given the technology to do so.

    But no… Scott (like many other) wants to force other people to implement his idea rather than doing it himself and with others actually interested in the idea.

  11. Scott Lieberman

    [National] Libertarian Party Bylaws ARTICLE 2: PURPOSES

    “The Party is organized to implement and give voice to the principles embodied in the Statement of Principles by: …moving public policy in a libertarian direction by building
    a political party that elects Libertarians to public office”

    I guess Mr. Moulton and several others think that as long as every word that comes out of LPHQ and our candidates follows the Statement of Principles to the letter, then it doesn’t matter if the LNC conveniently ignores the section of our Bylaws that I quote above.

    I don’t expect the members of the LNC to be combing thru lists of elected positions in each state, nor do I even expect LPHQ staff to do that. (By the way – I have done that last task myself, not just for my own state but for a couple of other states).

    But I do expect the LNC to insist that our affiliates make **electing*** Libertarians to public office at least as important as the other sections of the purposes statement. Currently there are circa 150 elected Libertarians in the USA. There are 500,000 elected positions nationwide. That fact is a sin that the LNC should be attempting to rectify at each of it’s meetings. If LP Radicals have the right to FORCE LPHQ staff to make sure all of our Party’s communications follow the SoP, then I have right to “force” the LNC to obey the Purposes Statement of the Bylaws.

    I served on a public Commission back in the early 2000’s; I helped Operation Breakthrough in California achieve a Libertarian majority on a local elected Board during that same time period; I donated to Aaron Starr’s very close loss in last month’s City Council election; and I helped motivate local Libertarian Brian Holtz to get himself elected to his local water board. But I guess that doesn’t qualify as walking the walk.

  12. Chuck Moulton

    I didn’t say you haven’t walked the walk before. What I said was that this project can be done by you and by several interested people rather than the LNC. Avoid the bureaucracy. It’s easier to get buy in by showing that something works than by talking about it. Find the resources needed, put together the plan, raise the money, then hand it to state parties, the LNC, etc. They’re not going to look a gift horse in the mouth; they’ll be ecstatic.

  13. Shane

    On data, you can call up Melissa Data in Cali and he could likely do that job at a reasonable rate. Ray Melissa is the owner and he’s worked with the LP before.

  14. Scott Lieberman

    Mr. Moulton:

    Last month your state party elected Jessica Abbott to the Virginia Beach City Council. This is almost definitely the first time the LP has elected someone to the City Council of the largest city by population in any state. She also became the youngest person to ever serve on the V.B. City Council.

    And yet, what is the very first and most recent item on the LPVA web site’s home page as of today?

    “Libertarian Party Nominates Gov. Gary Johnson / Gov. Bill Weld”

    Nominates? What about the Presidential election results? What about Councilwoman Abbott’s accomplishment?

    My point is that our affiliates do not care about electing Libertarians to public office because the delegates who elect our National Committee do not care about electing Libertarians to public office. And that is why the LP has been a failure for its entire existence. The LP of California elected 14 members to public office in 2000, for only about $1600 per win in 2000 dollars. You can even read about how we did it here

    In other words, a plan has been handed to the other 50 affiliates, but for whatever reason they have not seen fit to use it. I am not saying that Operation Breakthrough was perfect, but it did prove that the LP can win local elections if we recruit enough candidates to file for winnable races. This is on topic because it gets back to Shane’s comment above.

    “Instead of going to a mechanic, members of the LNC will take the same car to a Jamaican hair braiding salon to get a quote for installing a flux capacitor.

    The above agenda proves that.”

  15. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    I am getting that manual on the LPCO website and distributed to the Board members.

  16. Andy

    The Libertarian Party of New York elected a candidate to the city council in New York City, Dan Halloran. Since New York allows fusion candidates, he also ran as a Republican at the same time. It may be better to not remember him though, because he ended up being convicted on corruption charges.

  17. Scott Lieberman

    Mr. Halloran was a registered Republican when he was elected to the NYC City Council, so even if he counts, he has an asterisk next to his name. Yes, I know it was and probably still is difficult to register as Libertarian in NY, but it was not impossible.

    I think Dr. Blake was a registered Libertarian, or at least he was not registered as Republican when he was elected, so yeah – Councilwoman Abbott is probably not the first.

    Nevertheless, the fact that she is likely only the third or fourth Libertarian to serve on the City Council of a state’s largest city by population does not change the fact that the LP has been spectacularly unsuccessful in getting our members elected to public office.

  18. Scott Lieberman

    The key to getting the Libertarian Party’s number of elected officials tripled or quadrupled during 2017-18 is to focus on offices like these:

    I will note that that list might not be comprehensive nor might it be the best list for the LP of Colorado to use in terms of matching potential LP members to districts they can run in, but it shows that many states have hundreds of non-partisan special district seats that can be won by just filing, or filing and walking the district once or twice:

    example from Florida for last month:

    Lake Lucie Community Development District Seat 4

    LAST UPDATED: 2016-11-08

    > Jeffery Brodzinski 115 60% (winner)
    James H. Huber 77 40%” (incumbent who lost!)

    I am sure the winner worked hard, but I bet the LP has hundreds of members who could win elections like that if their state or county party focused on doing so.

  19. Chuck Moulton


    I now live in Pennsylvania, not Virginia.

    I’m aware that the LPVA website needs more frequent updates. It is also undergoing an overhaul. Both of those things require volunteers stepping up.

    I communicated with Jessica Abbott when helping put together the candidate list for Virginia. She ran a solid campaign and it’s wonderful that she won.

    I don’t see any reason why her campaign, which did not receive LPVA assistance as far as I know, demonstrates that state parties should do more. Nor do I see any reason why her campaign contradicts my point that you can easily implement your plan without going through the LNC rather than conplaining that they’re not doing it.

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