Jim Babka: ‘The Legend of Project Archimedes’

January 4, 2019

The Legend of Project Archimedes

The Libertarian letter that changed Jim Babka’s life – Project Archimedes Retweet

Jim Babka

In 1996, I was a new Libertarian, a refugee from the GOP. My friend Chet had introduced me to the Libertarians more than a year before. I wasn’t impressed until I saw Harry Browne on C-SPAN. As I’ve explained elsewhere

Harry Browne changed my life.   

1996 was also the year I got the internet. And the Browne campaign had a website. I’d log on three times per day to check for updated TV appearances. I wanted to see Harry as often as possible. As a result, I learned his soundbite-driven patter.

“Government doesn’t work. Its war on poverty has increased poverty. Its war on drugs has escalated drug use and crime in every American city.”

I craved his Great Libertarian Offer…

“Would you give up your favorite federal program if it meant you never had to pay income taxes again?”

Harry Browne

Many people reading this letter don’t remember Harry Browne. He was, quite simply, the best Libertarian communicator the party ever ran for President. And if you watched enough of him on TV, as much as I did, you’d think he had to be winning support.

No, I didn’t expect Harry to win. But when my first Election Day as a Libertarian arrived, I was stunned and then saddened that Harry didn’t even get 1%.

What I needed most at that point was a reason to hope.

Other libertarians shared my depression. But the hope we needed soon arrived in an unexpected form — a fundraising letter. For months, I’ve been attempting to locate this letter because it inspires our next big idea. And the man who wrote it is the perfect person to manage this project.

Before I get to the big idea, let me tell you about this incredible letter.

Most political letters are fear-based. They could be written in crayon. They depict the worst possible intentions of the worst possible partisan opponent. If the recipients are scared enough, they send a check.

Perry Willis, the national director of the LP at that time, used a different approach. He didn’t try to provoke fear, anger, or hatred. He tried to inspire hope by talking of plans and progress.

  • Plans, as in, here’s how we’ll deploy your money.
  • Progress, as in, here’s what happened with your previous donations.

Perry Willis

Perry would tell you what worked and, even more unusual, what didn’t. The lessons learned would modify the strategy so that your next dollars would be even better purposed.

Perry Willis had been a Libertarian long enough to know that…

  • Harry Browne wasn’t going to win a large number of votes, no matter how good a candidate he was.
  • The media establishes the range of acceptable choices (usually just the Democrat and Republican) and then the voters select the one they fear the least.
  • These realities always leave the LP candidate out in the cold, and LP activists in a state of post-election depression.

Perry knew he would have to address this despair, and he did so with his first post-election Plans & Progress report. 22 years have passed since I got that letter, and I’ve never forgotten it.

Perry’s vision was presented as a math exercise. The Libertarian ticket did as well as it should have, given how many LP donors there were. If Libertarians wanted to do better, they’d need…

MORE LIBERTARIANS.

Perry added up the candidates’ support…

  • Bob Dole spent more than $8 per vote.
  • Ross Perot and Bill Clinton spent a bit less.
  • Harry Browne spent still less than that.

Translated, Harry Browne would’ve needed about 400,000 donors to be competitive with Dole and Clinton. Therefore…

Enrolling 400k new LP donors was the most important thing to be done. Perry proposed a program to do exactly that, called…

Project Archimedes

The ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes claimed that with a long enough lever and a good place to stand, he could move the world. So Project Archimedes was designed to be a lever that would do exactly that — move the world.

The political system might be rigged, but membership enrollment was the simple thing Libertarians could consistently do to control their own destiny. So once I heard this argument…

My hope returned!

The letter introducing Project Archimedes was the first link in a long chain, without which you wouldn’t be reading these words right now. It led me into a libertarian career, full of interesting experiences.

Indeed, Downsize DC was specifically intended to be a small-l libertarian “Project Archimedes” using different recruitment tactics.

It would be easy to assume Perry failed with Project Archimedes. After all, you haven’t heard of vast Libertarian success, right?

Not so fast. In the Archimedes era, the LP grew to record levels – more than 34,000 members. If you include “subscribers” – donors who didn’t officially join – then the number climbs to 38,000. That was late 1999. The next year the party set the current (real dollar) income record, which still stands. My personal opinion is, it’s sad that those member/donor numbers have not been reached again.

The recent Johnson-Weld ticket set a vote total record, far in excess of Harry Browne’s result. Yet the most recent numbers I saw, last spring, place LP membership at just over half what was achieved during Project Archimedes.

You might wonder, “What happened?” Well, that’s a long story full of nasty politics. Perry and I have been silent about the subject for two decades. But the experience inspired our belief that committees are collectives doomed to choose politics over focus. We went entrepreneurial instead. Steve Dasbach (the LP Chair of the Archimedes era), Harry Browne, and Perry – the three pillars of that Archimedes era – helped me launch Downsize DC as a way to keep the Archimedes dream alive.

We wanted to create a recruitment and activation machine. I repeatedly explained, at the time, that we wanted to “build an army of DC Downsizers so large that Congress couldn’t afford to ignore us.”

Downsize DC started off great. But it worked better ten years ago than it does now. So we started looking back at history because sometimes it has lessons to teach us. Indeed, it inspired this big idea…

The Libertarian Census

Project Archimedes was based on a simple strategic idea — discovery before persuasion. Find the people who already agree with you and ask them to join. This will then give you greater resources to spend persuading people who disagree.

Project Archimedes wasn’t going to be easy. Far fewer people knew what the word libertarian meant back in 1997. This limited how far the program could go. But several big things have happened in the meantime…

  • The internet allowed libertarians to make an end-run around the regime media blackout.
  • Two Ron Paul for President campaigns significantly raised awareness.

As a result, 30 million Americans now self-identify as libertarian, and another 30 million hold mostly libertarian positions on the issues. Twelve different studies support these numbers. This creates a big opportunity. So the idea behind the Libertarian Census is very simple…

Locate the 30 million people who self-identify as libertarian. This may be as easy as asking people, “Are you a libertarian?” Then continue by trying to find the 30 million people who hold mostly libertarian views.

The Libertarian Census will be our focus in 2019.

Here’s one of my favorite parts. Perry Willis, the creator of Project Archimedes, will be managing the launch of the Libertarian Census. His original vision, which inspired me so long ago, is about to experience a rebirth.

The Libertarian Census is a brilliant idea. I wish one of us would’ve thought of it eight or ten years ago. I think it could’ve changed history. And…

My experience tells me it’s not too late! If anything, building the Libertarian Census could still affect history to come. Indeed, I’m no longer satisfied with a “direct snail-mail era” plan that includes…

  • Waiting for 400,000 people to cause change. Half of that, as part of the Downsize DC Army, would make us a force to be reckoned with on Capitol Hill.
  • Acquiring merely 400,000 libertarian allies. I think we could recruit and activate millions. Yes, millions!

Indeed, I think recruitment could be much easier for the Libertarian Census than it was for Project Archimedes, because…

  • We know tens of millions of people now agree with us.
  • We don’t have to ask them to switch identities — 30 million already self-identify as libertarian.
  • We now have many more ways to reach these people, beyond the direct mail that Project Archimedes used.

Plus, we have big future plans for the Libertarian Census. But our vision won’t happen overnight, and it will cost money. We need your help.

Goal: We need to raise $252,000, much of it in monthly pledges, to capitalize this effort.

  • If you start a monthly pledge of $10 or more, or increase an existing monthly pledge by $10 or more, or make one-time contributions of $100 or more, we’ll add you to a Founders Committee roster on the coming Libertarian Census website.
  • The Founders Committee roster will be listed in order of contribution size. Donate here!

I believe this project has the potential to change the world. I hope you agree.

Jim Babka, President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.


Jim Babka is the Founder and President of DownsizeDC.org, the co-creator of the Zero Aggression Project, and a colleague at the Foundation for Harmony & Prosperity.  Babka previously served as Press Secretary, Harry Browne 2000; Chair, Libertarian Party of Ohio; and paid-consultant to two LP campaigns; managed the organizing plaintiff (RealCampaignReform.org) in a campaign finance lawsuit (Paul v FEC) that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jimbabka

Find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jbabka

36 thoughts on “Jim Babka: ‘The Legend of Project Archimedes’

  1. Jim

    Project Archimedes (late 1997 – mid 2000) was, without question, a net financial loss while it was in operation, with no hope of it becoming a net positive unless the new recruits continued paying dues for several years. That’s why it was shut down well before its intended expiration. And most of those new recruits did not continue paying dues. Membership plummeted as soon as the 2000 Browne campaign was over.

    There is an issue of LP News from late 1998 or early 1999 which has the numbers for Project Archimedes a year in and which shows how much they were losing. It was brushed off at the time because the early efforts were experimental and as better data came in, they believed they could refine their efforts and turn it around. But if you read the Executive Committee emails throughout 1999 they become increasingly panicked as their refinements do not produce any better results.

    The gaudy membership and fundraising numbers during the Project Archimedes years was also at least partially due to the 1995 – 2005, 45 state Unified Membership Plan, which counted donors who previously had only donated to their state parties as national party members, and ran their money through the national party before sending part of it back to the states.

    Archimedes did bring in new membership and fundraising, and because a lot of the money was being sent back to the states, the state parties flourished, but it was bankrupting the national party, which bore the cost of the fundraising efforts.

    There would have to be a very good reason to think Archimedes 2.0 would be a major improvement over the original version in order to give that another try.

    The Unified Membership Plan is worth another try, though. Marc Montoni has a good blog post on that on his site.

  2. paulie

    Every time UMP gets brought up someone on the LNC has some technical objection about how it supposedly violates BCRA (not an expert, but I’m thinking there must be a way around any possible problems), is a bad deal for national, or a bad deal for the states, or whatever. I think it was a good idea and we should find a way to do it again.

  3. paulie

    I like the Libertarian Census idea if they actually manage to pull it off. I wonder if it could get buy-in from multiple different libertarian movement organizations because they could obviously all benefit from having such a list to hit up.

  4. paulie

    I have 19 additional comments from during the site migration saved but it won’t let me post them as a single comment like I did in some of the other threads because of a comment length restriction which I haven’t found how to switch off. If anyone wants to post them one by one let me know and I will email you the file.

  5. paulie

    New comments or old? If new, dunno. If old, as I said in the last comment: I have 19 additional comments from during the site migration saved but it won’t let me post them as a single comment like I did in some of the other threads because of a comment length restriction which I haven’t found how to switch off. If anyone wants to post them one by one let me know and I will email you the file. Those include your comments. I can email you the file with your comments and the responses.

  6. Shane

    UMP was a disaster and should never come back. It did unofficially bankrupt the party. Had affiliates actually cashed their checks national didn’t have the funds to cover.

    But that didn’t happen because many affiliates were so inactive that they never even bothered to check the mail.

    Babka’s letter is great but has nothing to do with the LP. If they acquire new donors, to my knowledge there’s no coordination of data with the LP.

    Note that R’s share data between orgs and the party committees through third-party agreements.

    Detractors of Project Archimedes (a prospecting program) honestly have no idea how to build an organization. It was a successful prospecting program BEFORE sophisticated data selection was available. Today, carried out online, it could do just as well.

    Cost of fundraising for new/small organizations typically exceeds 50, 60, 80% of funds raised especially with postal costs. The LP is still a fledgling operation that’s handicapped by the FEC.

    Prospecting (acquiring new donors and non-donor supporters) is almost always done at a loss.

    If you’re not willing to spend on growth, you’re not going to grow — and that’s why the LP has NEVER surpassed the membership levels of the late 90’s.

    No amount of tinkering with outreach material, campus outreach, PR or politics will grow the party like a healthy prospecting program.

    After we recovered from the Zero Dues debacle I was able to set aside a little cash and do some prospecting and that’s how we were able to get membership numbers back in the 16k range — but it was small time compared to what we needed to do which was test multiple packages to various data segments.

    The LP will stick around with its core of die hard supporters, but they’ll be no magic growth or golden moment that result in the party becoming competitive with a donor base.

    That only happens with a professional membership/fundraising operation.

    Since my time as ED, I’ve helped/started several groups with donor and supporter bases that far exceed the LP’s — directly acquiring 6 million advocates within the last four years alone. How? Prospecting.

    Until LP leadership realizes prospecting is the key to growth, it will be the same failed strategy producing the same failing results.

  7. Shane

    Paul sent me the missing comments. Everyone made great points.

    Marc suggested an online database and I totally agree. The data WILL get out there and people will steal it just like the RNC’s but it’s more important to give resources to those who will use it.

    Data input needs to go through a single source (or imported on approval).

    On Archimedes, breakeven is awesome, Jim! Had we maintained comms with those new donors, the churn rate would even out. That’s how it’s done.

    On UMP, there were states like VA that made great use of it. I wouldn’t be opposed to individual contracts with states. Prospect costs should come out of revenue generated by new members before splitting between states and national.

  8. Shane

    Marc you asked about those groups I mentioned. I’ve worked with many groups new and old. Two in particular are Project Veritas (I got them off the ground on the back of James’ work) and Liberty Guard which we built from the original ‘08 presidential list. It’s going strong and at its peak had over a hundred thousand members. Prospecting for those two groups are constant.

    For others I do a lot of one-off advocacy jobs to support or oppose proposed rules. That’s easy and affinity is mid to low. Many clients are industry-based and do no follow up, but I’ve acquired millions of “commenters” and “signers” for them and they’ve lost their issue only one time – 98% win rate.

    Last year I did the digital campaigns for two large groups supporting 16 different battleground races — most Senate. Won 11.

    Prospecting is half the battle, maintaining the file requires mission progress combined with great communication. Many of the groups that never get off the ground, don’t make it because they don’t make progress with their mission. Why pay for something with no benefit to your life?

    The LP could make progress if we stop fiddling with policy manuals and blockchain committees and get real.

    As I tell all of my clients: focus on your mission and the money will follow. Focus on money and your mission will fail.

  9. paulie

    Marc, File sent, I had already sent it to Shane earlier so copied you as well now. Let me know if you do not receive it or can’t open it and I can try sending it to you separately. Sorry for formatting loss.

  10. paulie

    I don’t think anyone is confusing them. The discussion may be a bit disjointed because of the site migration. 19 comments didn’t make the jump, but I have them in an email (although formatting was lost). If you want I can email them to you.

  11. Jim Babka

    It’s not fair to blame UMP or Archimedes for 2002 numbers. Archimedes had been essentially killed by a reserve policy in 1999. Next, the LNC of 2001 had two primary projects. The Willis witch hunt and a “five-year plan” (with 18 “focus” points).

    It’s also not fair to blame UMP for bankrupting the party. The LNC is consistently accused of not doing enough for the affiliates. The accusations were, if anything, more widespread back then. Yet no other program ever did as much for the locals!

    The year before I joined, the LP of Ohio’s income was (from bad memory) $14k and cash-on-hand was less than $9k. That was 1995, and they had about 300 STATE members (LNC had more!). We lacked ballot status. That meant, for example, that we only ran one Libertarian-labeled candidate in 1998 (statewide) — a U.S. House seat. But in 1997, we joined UMP. I became state chair in ’98 and ’99. In that era, we cashed those UMP checks and did active fundraising to our new, bigger list as well. By the time I left, to join the Browne campaign, we were in the final stages of a 65k signature ballot drive. Despite that additional expense, our cash-on-hand was around $43k and we had 1,100+ members. In Y2K, Ohio ran a record (which still stands today) 70 Libertarian-labeled candidates. Everyone in the state had at least two Libertarians on their ballot. Personally, I was able to vote for five of them that day.

  12. paulie

    I don’t know what the cutoff length is. I’ll copy you on the email I sent Marc and Shane and if you want to do that I would appreciate it. I’m behind on a ton of things right now.

  13. paulie

    Including a bunch of articles I am behind on here, was already behind before site migration and the pile got bigger. Need to do some state party press releases, deal with moving into a house in the next county over over the next week, work on a ballot access lobbying project, contact potential fundraisers for my state party (anyone interested? commission only, experienced preferred, must have own list). I’m sure there is more I am forgetting. Keep getting bombarded with stupid crap on FB. I need better time management skills.

  14. Chuck Moulton

    I’ll post my own for now. If I remember it when I’m next at my computer, then I’ll try posting the others.

    Chuck Moulton
    January 7, 2019 at 17:39
    I completely agree with Shane on the importance of prospecting. I’ve been trying to get the LNC and staff to get serious about prospecting since I was a regional alternate on the LNC back in 2004.

    UMP has its advantages and disadvantages.

    The CRM project and data sharing is critical.

    We should be pushing monthly pledges much more aggressively.

  15. paulie

    Anyway emailed it to you and I hope one of you all will repost those comments. Formatting was lost so apologies again about that. Text only.

  16. Marc Montoni Post author

    Shane Cory wrote:

    UMP was a disaster and should never come back. It did unofficially bankrupt the party.

    Actually, that is absolutely not true. Budget troubles in the 2001-2006 time frame were due to the post-2002 staff not understanding UMP or its purpose, and the post-2002 leadership’s incompetence at budgeting and controlling costs.

    Had affiliates actually cashed their checks national didn’t have the funds to cover. But that didn’t happen because many affiliates were so inactive that they never even bothered to check the mail.

    Some affiliates were. Most other affiliates cashed them just fine, for years, and did all of the right things with the money. Virginia, for example, was able to set aside enough UMP revenue that we handled nearly all of our own ballot drives without National having to step in and either send in the flying team or send the state party a large check.

    Babka’s letter is great but has nothing to do with the LP. If they acquire new donors, to my knowledge there’s no coordination of data with the LP.

    There was no claim made anywhere in the article that there would be any coordination. Babka and his colleagues were given a nasty sendoff and I wouldn’t blame them if they never came back.

    I published his column here because it relates to the LP’s history.

    Note that R’s share data between orgs and the party committees through third-party agreements.

    The various chapters of the RP and DP share one hell of a lot more data with each other than the LP national, state, and local chapters do. I’ve mentioned before that I temped at a Republican HQ many years ago. The one thing that floored me was just how much national and local data was accessible by the state office.

    In the Libertarian Party of Virginia, for as long as I was in the leadership (1984-1993, 1994-2001, 2003-2016), the state party shared pretty much EVERYTHING with national. If I found a new name, LPHQ had it usually the same day. If I found a new address or phone for someone, same thing. I also made some effort to share data with local affiliates, but after a while when it became clear that none of them were actually mailing, calling or emailing anyone, since it was time-consuming for me to prepare it for them, I reduced my effort and only sent them data when they asked for it — which was rare.

    As far as sharing data, the LP is leagues behind the majors, and it’s falling further behind.

    What needs to happen is that the entire national database should be available online, with secured logins for trained state & local users. The state users should be able to work with all data for anyone in their state, the local user should be able to work with all data for their county.

    Basic functions like:

    – extracting a mailing list of dues-paid members for a mailing,

    – extracting all known Libertarians within a precinct for a walk list,

    – uploading the latest database of registered voters from their state,

    – adding or editing a member or prospect,

    … etc should be right there in-house within the system.

    Resistance by some LNC members and various staff members is why we still don’t have such access.

    There are many people outside of the office who are often more conversant in the LP’s data requirements than LNC members or staff, and some of them are still willing to help out.

    And again, the D’s and R’s already have this set up.

    ———-

    Now, about Shane’s comments about Project Archimedes:

    Detractors of Project Archimedes (a prospecting program) honestly have no idea how to build an organization.

    Absolutely correct.

    After we recovered from the Zero Dues debacle…

    And a debacle it was.. I am flabbergasted at just how poorly national committee members studied that proposal. It wasn’t really even “zero dues”, because we already had that in the form of signature memberships — of which I signed up dozens (maybe hundreds) over thirty years. Nothing actually changed except member perception of what they were “due” as members. You still had to “subscribe” (pay $25) to get LP News.

    Since my time as ED, I’ve helped/started several groups with donor and supporter bases that far exceed the LP’s ­ directly acquiring 6 million advocates within the last four years alone. How? Prospecting.

    I’d be interested in seeing what those organizations are / were.

  17. Marc Montoni Post author

    I addressed many of the reasons to go back to a modified form of UMP — and debunked most of the poorly-constructed arguments against it — in a previous article on my blog, which was republished on this site also.

    Two things are needed for a return to UMP: Dues need to either go to ~ $75, or Paulie’s change to $10/monthly dues instead.

  18. Marc Montoni Post author

    I’m presuming Downsize DC will want help to cover the costs and the LP will want to hit that list up to prospect. Am I being too optimistic about potential win-win for different movement organizations?

    There was no suggestion made that the DownsizeDC project, “Libertarian Census”, will have anything to do with the LP. Keep in mind DownsizeDC is nonpartisan. As I mentioned:

    There was no claim made anywhere in the article that there would be any coordination.

    .

    If DownsizeDC were to even allow the LP to do a list trade with them for the project, I’d be surprised — although with nearly half-million records of L/libertarians on its database by now, the LP’s list would be a great source.

    Hell, there are five figures of people who used to donate to the LP but who haven’t in a decade or more — maybe DownsizeDC’s project would light a new fire under their butts.

  19. Marc Montoni Post author

    A little over a year after Project Archimedes was killed, in direct response to 9/11, the ACLU launched a truly aggressive “Archimedes” type direct mail recruitment campaign. It cost them millions, but then over the space of three or four years ACLU recruited a quarter-million new donors.

    Project Archimedes’ many detractors — as soon as the project was dead — faded into absence, and have since done NOTHING to help the Party grow larger under their own plan of perfection.

    Just proof that most are willing to criticize what might well be an imperfect project, but then can’t seem to bring up anything that might work better.

    Frankly, I’d donate to a crowdfund to ensure certain individuals never mentioned the LP ever again. I’d pay Phillies to stay 1,000 miles away from any LP meeting or website, for instance.

  20. paulie

    JBH comments on LNC list:

    lnc-votes@hq.lp.org via googlegroups.com

    9:13 AM (4 hours ago)

    to Joe, lnc-business, Caryn
    I’ve read it, I wish them well and hope it works, but unless they have
    someone bankrolling it… Well it’s very capital-intensive. Easily a
    $300 million venture (assuming $1 each to contact 60 million prospects 5
    times). Most places are lucky to get a 1% prospect activation rate;
    they’re hoping for 17-33%. If they succeed, 10 million activate
    Libertarian donors would be quite the war chest, if they can swim
    through the red ink to get there.

    JBH

    ————
    Joe Bishop-Henchman
    LNC Member (At-Large)
    joe.bishop-henchman@lp.org
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/189510455174837

  21. Chuck Moulton

    Chuck Moulton wrote:

    I’ll post my own for now. If I remember it when I’m next at my computer, then I’ll try posting the others.

    I did not remember when I was in front of my computer. Hopefully I’ll remember tonight.

  22. paulie

    Warren fixed the comment length bug. Here are the comments from the site migration. Sorry for formatting loss. Some of them have been posted separately in the meantime.

    Comments from site migration. Sorry for formatting loss.

    Shane
    January 7, 2019 at 03:46
    UMP was a disaster and should never come back. It did unofficially bankrupt the party. Had affiliates actually cashed their checks national didn’t have the funds to cover.

    But that didn’t happen because many affiliates were so inactive that they never even bothered to check the mail.

    Babka’s letter is great but has nothing to do with the LP. If they acquire new donors, to my knowledge there’s no coordination of data with the LP.

    Note that R’s share data between orgs and the party committees through third-party agreements.

    Detractors of Project Archimedes (a prospecting program) honestly have no idea how to build an organization. It was a successful prospecting program BEFORE sophisticated data selection was available. Today, carried out online, it could do just as well.

    Cost of fundraising for new/small organizations typically exceeds 50, 60, 80% of funds raised especially with postal costs. The LP is still a fledgling operation that’s handicapped by the FEC.

    Prospecting (acquiring new donors and non-donor supporters) is almost always done at a loss.

    If you’re not willing to spend on growth, you’re not going to grow — and that’s why the LP has NEVER surpassed the membership levels of the late 90’s.

    No amount of tinkering with outreach material, campus outreach, PR or politics will grow the party like a healthy prospecting program.

    After we recovered from the Zero Dues debacle I was able to set aside a little cash and do some prospecting and that’s how we were able to get membership numbers back in the 16k range — but it was small time compared to what we needed to do which was test multiple packages to various data segments.

    The LP will stick around with its core of die hard supporters, but they’ll be no magic growth or golden moment that result in the party becoming competitive with a donor base.

    That only happens with a professional membership/fundraising operation.

    Since my time as ED, I’ve helped/started several groups with donor and supporter bases that far exceed the LP’s — directly acquiring 6 million advocates within the last four years alone. How? Prospecting.

    Until LP leadership realizes prospecting is the key to growth, it will be the same failed strategy producing the same failing results.

    Jim
    January 7, 2019 at 06:10
    Shane “UMP was a disaster and should never come back. It did unofficially bankrupt the party.”

    The price was set too low, no question. If, prior to UMP, it cost $25 to be a member to national and another $25 to be a state member, it didn’t make sense to set the unified price at $25. That just reduced the total amount of money coming into the party. Because of the prior imbalance it ended up being a good deal for the states and bad for national, but the total amount coming into the party at the combined levels likely dropped, except when it was being masked by Project Archimedes.

    Shane “Project Archimedes … was a successful prospecting program BEFORE sophisticated data selection was available. Today, carried out online, it could do just as well. … Prospecting (acquiring new donors and non-donor supporters) is almost always done at a loss.”

    Well, that was the hope – that the newly acquired members would continue paying dues for several years and make up for the initial prospecting loss. Did they? The Project Archimedes bump had evaporated by the end of 2002, down 10,000 members. Maybe that was enough to pay for the prospecting, but there couldn’t have been much benefit beyond that. Now, maybe that can be fixed with better follow up and maybe that can be fixed by improving on the success rate of initial contact. But, as it happened, Project Archimedes cannot be considered a success. The best that could be said of it is that it took a while to break even.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 10:02
    It needs to be combined with monthly pledges rather than yearly membership. 10/month = 120/year which is more than enough for states and national to split with single check out and come out ahead, is less psychologically painful than a one time $120 contribution, provides reliable income and is opt-out for 3-5 years as opposed to opt-in every year. It also gets around psychological objections to “membership” and state laws about pay to play in political parties (I’m not sure how valid that is legally but some people have claimed it as a barrier to state paid memberships in some states).

    I think primarily emphasizing the monthly pledge rather than the yearly membership would address the financial flaws in Archimedes and UMP as well. Been meaning to write that up as an article. In the last LNC in person meeting regional reports Wisconsin reports they have done this and that the results so far have been good.

    2002 was unsurprisingly a killer for the bootstrap model, coming on the heels of 9/11 and BCRA and a slowdown in the markets, and in the midst of infighting that led to national party leadership and staff being replaced at the 2002 convention, website scrapped and replaced, etc.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 10:04
    Babka’s letter is great but has nothing to do with the LP. If they acquire new donors, to my knowledge there’s no coordination of data with the LP.

    I’m presuming Downsize DC will want help to cover the costs and the LP will want to hit that list up to prospect. Am I being too optimistic about potential win-win for different movement organizations?

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 10:05
    Note that R’s share data between orgs and the party committees through third-party agreements.

    Yes, so why can’t we?

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 10:07
    If you’re not willing to spend on growth, you’re not going to grow — and that’s why the LP has NEVER surpassed the membership levels of the late 90’s.

    No amount of tinkering with outreach material, campus outreach, PR or politics will grow the party like a healthy prospecting program.

    Agreed, although I think we should do those things too. But rule number one is if you don’t ask you don’t get.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 10:08
    Until LP leadership realizes prospecting is the key to growth, it will be the same failed strategy producing the same failing results.

    Yep!

    Marc Montoni
    January 7, 2019 at 13:00
    Shane Cory wrote:

    UMP was a disaster and should never come back. It did unofficially bankrupt the party.

    Actually, that is absolutely not true. Budget troubles in the 2001-2006 time frame were due to the post-2002 staff not understanding UMP or its purpose, and the post-2002 leadership’s incompetence at budgeting and controlling costs.

    Had affiliates actually cashed their checks national didn’t have the funds to cover. But that didn’t happen because many affiliates were so inactive that they never even bothered to check the mail.

    Some affiliates were. Most other affiliates cashed them just fine, for years, and did all of the right things with the money. Virginia, for example, was able to set aside enough UMP revenue that we handled nearly all of our own ballot drives without National having to step in and either send in the flying team or send the state party a large check.

    Babka’s letter is great but has nothing to do with the LP. If they acquire new donors, to my knowledge there’s no coordination of data with the LP.

    There was no claim made anywhere in the article that there would be any coordination. Babka and his colleagues were given a nasty sendoff and I wouldn’t blame them if they never came back.

    I published his column here because it relates to the LP’s history.

    Note that R’s share data between orgs and the party committees through third-party agreements.

    The various chapters of the RP and DP share one hell of a lot more data with each other than the LP national, state, and local chapters do. I’ve mentioned before that I temped at a Republican HQ many years ago. The one thing that floored me was just how much national and local data was accessible by the state office.

    In Virginia, for as long as I was involved, the state party shared pretty much EVERYTHING with national. If I found a new name, LPHQ had it usually the same day. If I found a new address or phone for someone, same thing. I also made some effort to share data with local affiliates, but after a while when it became clear that none of them were actually mailing, calling or emailing anyone, since it was time-consuming for me to prepare it for them, I reduced my effort and only sent them data when they asked for it — which was rare.

    As far as sharing data, the LP is leagues behind the majors, and it’s falling further behind.

    What needs to happen is that the entire national database should be available online, with secured logins for trained state & local users. The state users should be able to work with all data for anyone in their state, the local user should be able to work with all data for their county.

    Basic functions like:

    – extracting a mailing list of dues-paid members for a mailing,

    – extracting all known Libertarians within a precinct for a walk list,

    – uploading the latest database of registered voters from their state,

    – adding or editing a member or prospect,

    … etc should be right there in-house within the system.

    Resistance by some LNC members and various staff members is why we still don’t have such access.

    There are many people outside of the office who are often more conversant in the LP’s data requirements than LNC members or staff, and some of them are still willing to help out.

    And again, the D’s and R’s already have this set up.

    ———-

    Now, about Shane’s comments about Project Archimedes:

    Detractors of Project Archimedes (a prospecting program) honestly have no idea how to build an organization.

    Absolutely correct.

    After we recovered from the Zero Dues debacle…

    And a debacle it was.. I am flabbergasted at just how poorly national committee members studied that proposal. It wasn’t really even “zero dues”, because we already had that in the form of signature memberships — of which I signed up dozens (maybe hundreds) over thirty years. Nothing actually changed except member perception of what they were “due” as members. You still had to “subscribe” (pay $25) to get LP News.

    Since my time as ED, I’ve helped/started several groups with donor and supporter bases that far exceed the LP’s ­ directly acquiring 6 million advocates within the last four years alone. How? Prospecting.

    I’d be interested in seeing what those organizations are / were.

    Marc Montoni
    January 7, 2019 at 13:14
    I addressed many of the reasons to go back to a modified form of UMP — and debunked most of the poorly-constructed arguments against it — in a previous article on my blog, which was republished on this site also.

    Two things are needed for a return to UMP: Dues need to either go to ~ $75, or Paulie’s change to $10/monthly dues instead.

    Marc Montoni
    January 7, 2019 at 13:27
    I’m presuming Downsize DC will want help to cover the costs and the LP will want to hit that list up to prospect. Am I being too optimistic about potential win-win for different movement organizations?

    There was no suggestion made that the DownsizeDC project, “Libertarian Census”, will have anything to do with the LP. Keep in mind DownsizeDC is nonpartisan. As I mentioned:

    There was no claim made anywhere in the article that there would be any coordination.

    .

    If DownsizeDC were to even allow the LP to do a list trade with them for the project, I’d be surprised — although with nearly half-million records of L/libertarians on its database by now, the LP’s list would be a great source.

    Hell, there are five figures of people who used to donate to the LP but who haven’t in a decade or more — maybe DownsizeDC’s project would light a new fire under their butts.

    Marc Montoni
    January 7, 2019 at 14:38
    A little over a year after Project Archimedes was killed, in direct response to 9/11, the ACLU launched a truly aggressive “Archimedes” type direct mail recruitment campaign. It cost them millions, but then over the space of three or four years ACLU recruited a quarter-million new donors.

    Project Archimedes’ many detractors — as soon as the project was dead — faded into absence, and have since done NOTHING to help the Party grow larger under their own plan of perfection.

    Just proof that most are willing to criticize what might well be an imperfect project, but then can’t seem to bring up anything that might work better.

    Frankly, I’d donate to a crowdfund to ensure certain individuals never mentioned the LP ever again. I’d pay Phillies to stay 1,000 miles away from any LP meeting or website, for instance.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 15:44
    As far as sharing data, the LP is leagues behind the majors, and it’s falling further behind.

    The new CRM is supposed to address that. Hopefully it will.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 15:46
    After we recovered from the Zero Dues debacle…

    And a debacle it was..

    Agreed with both Shane and Marc here.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 15:54
    There was no suggestion made that the DownsizeDC project, “Libertarian Census”, will have anything to do with the LP. Keep in mind DownsizeDC is nonpartisan.

    I wouldn’t expect or ask for any coordination either. I mean renting the list. Through a third party mailing house if everyone involved needs that to maintain confidence. Downsize DC makes money renting the list, LP (and other movement organizations) get warm-er prospects. Why would everyone not win?

    list trade

    That probably would not be a good deal for Downsize DC. They will discover most of those through their census anyway (if it’s good enough to uncover an 8-figure number of people from the general public it should have no difficulty discovering a 6-figure number of people who are on state registration rolls, LP dues payers and pledge signers, etc). But why wouldn’t they want actual cash, other than spite? I’d be more worried the LP would be too near sighted to even offer to pony up. But maybe I don’t know the other side of the negotiation well enough.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 16:02
    Frankly, I’d donate to a crowdfund to ensure certain individuals never mentioned the LP ever again. I’d pay Phillies to stay 1,000 miles away from any LP meeting or website, for instance.

    I’m pretty sure GP is comfortably retired with a 7-8 figure nest egg and no dependents. If I’m on your list though, shoot me some numbers ? But even though both of you are much more well off than me financially at present, I’d pony up a few bucks to watch you two pie each other in Austin, or hell, get in the Octagon. The party has a lot of members who are pissed off at each other over all kinds of petty and not so petty crap. We should harvest all that hostility for fundraising purposes.

    Micahel Gilson De Lemos ‘MG’
    January 7, 2019 at 16:22
    Yeah, I was in the middle of trying to make this all work. It did in that we saw the results 16 years later with Gary Johnson, with help from the internet boom. And at the time, UMP, Archimedes, the ‘Zero Dues’ emphasis, raising $/members with activist ads/campaigns, and a proposed family membership, running State House low-budget full slates, political director, Success ’99, accordion and core dedicated budgeting,, task force/fund to attack ballot access laws themselves by state direct democracy, internet candidate training, the platform, candidate prospecting, a goal for 30 people per million population in office (9000 LP officials by 2019!) etc. all worked fine. The missing link? They were meant to work and synergize in co-ordination. That’s tough to do in any volunteer organization.

    What went wrong? Various people were committed to create false choices among them to thwart the LP, so one element would get going only to shut down another it needed (one guy who came in after I left said he had one mission: undo all the smart things we were doing in a deathbed confession). BCRA. Various questionable and expensive computer upgrades. Newbies who thought they knew how to ‘fix’ the LP. A major cash flow issue when with the anthrax scare many USLP checks in the mail were impounded for several months. Bad actors antagonizing the telemarketing staff so they left. A crazed attempt to then get the LNC staff to telemarket. Big security issues on the state level as well. Some untimely deaths of some of our best activists and LP peacemakers. An excellent strategic process (SPT) to institutionalize all the good things a new LNC didn’t understand because they were never in the open meetings (and many vanished never to be seen again) that worked so it was voted it down.

    What Mr. Montoni was saying about state and other unhappy his experiences was real.

    The good news is we know what works, and built up people with skills like Mr. Babka and Mr. Willis who’ve branched off. The bad news is we stopped. Whether the LP needs to do so again is another matter. I think an e-school on candidate location, philosophic education, and campaign training would be nice but run by LP people with experience, not as what was done in the end ‘GOP experts.’ Training people to go ‘door to door’ and make nice armed with quizzes was always a dream for Nolan and me. The bumper sticker program is good. Maybe we should target these Marxists in Congress?

    That said, if Mr. Babka wants to take up the torch, he sure has my blessing and he can quote me. Beyond that LIO, ISIL, FEE, etc. and the leverage effect of social media have put a lot of things in the culture. People come up to me at bus stops and ask if I’ve heard of Libertarianism. By my measure unhinged attacks on Libertarianism are growing and the more we’re attacked, the more people GOOGLE us. I was at an event for local college students and the far-left speaker sarcastically asked if there were any libertarians in the audience. About a third raised their hands. I was sitting in the middle of the audience and had no idea. I thought the speaker was about to collapse from apoplexy. Then I remembered to raise MY hand. They’re voting for us and talking about Libertarian tools more than ever no matter what we do. Life is good.

    Chuck Moulton
    January 7, 2019 at 17:39
    I completely agreewith Shane on the importance of prospecting. I’ve been trying to get the LNC and staff to get serious about prospecting since I was a regional alternate on the LNC back in 2004.

    UMP has its advantages and disadvantages.

    The CRM project and data sharing is critical.

    We should be pushing monthly pledges much more aggressively.

    Marc Montoni
    January 7, 2019 at 18:45
    To even begin to compete on a candidate-for-candidate, dollar-for-dollar, volunteer-for-volunteer basis, we need an enrolled donor base of about 250,000 individuals.

    That’s what the DNC typically has. Add in their shell organizations and donors on the left easily number a million. These are the “shock troops” the Democrats call upon every election.

    The Republicans have a slightly smaller donor universe last I heard, and were leagues behind the Democrats as far as major donors (billionaires are very lopsidedly Democrats) — but add up those two donor universes and that is what is arrayed against Libertarians.

    Which is why we’re still mostly relegated to single-digit results when an L is in a race against both an R and a D.

    The LP is going to have to invest millions in prospecting. Until we do, all the ignorant diddling with the platform and shiny object candidates like Gary Johnson and Bob Fucking Barr are not going to get us remotely closer to becoming a major party able to consistentloy winning elections.

    Most of the geniuses in the LP are focused on purging the anarchists rather than finding a new donor.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 19:37
    What needs to happen is that the entire national database should be available online, with secured logins for trained state & local users. The state users should be able to work with all data for anyone in their state, the local user should be able to work with all data for their county.

    Basic functions like:

    – extracting a mailing list of dues-paid members for a mailing,

    – extracting all known Libertarians within a precinct for a walk list,

    – uploading the latest database of registered voters from their state,

    – adding or editing a member or prospect,

    … etc should be right there in-house within the system.

    I think this is all in the new CRM, they just need to raise the rest of the money to implement it.

    https://my.lp.org/state-crm-project/

  23. Chuck Moulton

    Comments from site migration. Sorry for formatting loss.

    Jim
    January 7, 2019 at 06:10
    Shane “UMP was a disaster and should never come back. It did unofficially bankrupt the party.”

    The price was set too low, no question. If, prior to UMP, it cost $25 to be a member to national and another $25 to be a state member, it didn’t make sense to set the unified price at $25. That just reduced the total amount of money coming into the party. Because of the prior imbalance it ended up being a good deal for the states and bad for national, but the total amount coming into the party at the combined levels likely dropped, except when it was being masked by Project Archimedes.

    Shane “Project Archimedes … was a successful prospecting program BEFORE sophisticated data selection was available. Today, carried out online, it could do just as well. … Prospecting (acquiring new donors and non-donor supporters) is almost always done at a loss.”

    Well, that was the hope – that the newly acquired members would continue paying dues for several years and make up for the initial prospecting loss. Did they? The Project Archimedes bump had evaporated by the end of 2002, down 10,000 members. Maybe that was enough to pay for the prospecting, but there couldn’t have been much benefit beyond that. Now, maybe that can be fixed with better follow up and maybe that can be fixed by improving on the success rate of initial contact. But, as it happened, Project Archimedes cannot be considered a success. The best that could be said of it is that it took a while to break even.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 10:02
    It needs to be combined with monthly pledges rather than yearly membership. 10/month = 120/year which is more than enough for states and national to split with single check out and come out ahead, is less psychologically painful than a one time $120 contribution, provides reliable income and is opt-out for 3-5 years as opposed to opt-in every year. It also gets around psychological objections to “membership” and state laws about pay to play in political parties (I’m not sure how valid that is legally but some people have claimed it as a barrier to state paid memberships in some states).

    I think primarily emphasizing the monthly pledge rather than the yearly membership would address the financial flaws in Archimedes and UMP as well. Been meaning to write that up as an article. In the last LNC in person meeting regional reports Wisconsin reports they have done this and that the results so far have been good.

    2002 was unsurprisingly a killer for the bootstrap model, coming on the heels of 9/11 and BCRA and a slowdown in the markets, and in the midst of infighting that led to national party leadership and staff being replaced at the 2002 convention, website scrapped and replaced, etc.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 10:04
    Babka’s letter is great but has nothing to do with the LP. If they acquire new donors, to my knowledge there’s no coordination of data with the LP.

    I’m presuming Downsize DC will want help to cover the costs and the LP will want to hit that list up to prospect. Am I being too optimistic about potential win-win for different movement organizations?

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 10:05
    Note that R’s share data between orgs and the party committees through third-party agreements.

    Yes, so why can’t we?

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 10:07
    If you’re not willing to spend on growth, you’re not going to grow — and that’s why the LP has NEVER surpassed the membership levels of the late 90’s.

    No amount of tinkering with outreach material, campus outreach, PR or politics will grow the party like a healthy prospecting program.

    Agreed, although I think we should do those things too. But rule number one is if you don’t ask you don’t get.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 10:08
    Until LP leadership realizes prospecting is the key to growth, it will be the same failed strategy producing the same failing results.

    Yep!

  24. Chuck Moulton

    Comments from site migration. Sorry for formatting loss.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 15:44
    As far as sharing data, the LP is leagues behind the majors, and it’s falling further behind.

    The new CRM is supposed to address that. Hopefully it will.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 15:46
    After we recovered from the Zero Dues debacle…

    And a debacle it was..

    Agreed with both Shane and Marc here.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 15:54
    There was no suggestion made that the DownsizeDC project, “Libertarian Census”, will have anything to do with the LP. Keep in mind DownsizeDC is nonpartisan.

    I wouldn’t expect or ask for any coordination either. I mean renting the list. Through a third party mailing house if everyone involved needs that to maintain confidence. Downsize DC makes money renting the list, LP (and other movement organizations) get warm-er prospects. Why would everyone not win?

    list trade

    That probably would not be a good deal for Downsize DC. They will discover most of those through their census anyway (if it’s good enough to uncover an 8-figure number of people from the general public it should have no difficulty discovering a 6-figure number of people who are on state registration rolls, LP dues payers and pledge signers, etc). But why wouldn’t they want actual cash, other than spite? I’d be more worried the LP would be too near sighted to even offer to pony up. But maybe I don’t know the other side of the negotiation well enough.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 16:02
    Frankly, I’d donate to a crowdfund to ensure certain individuals never mentioned the LP ever again. I’d pay Phillies to stay 1,000 miles away from any LP meeting or website, for instance.

    I’m pretty sure GP is comfortably retired with a 7-8 figure nest egg and no dependents. If I’m on your list though, shoot me some numbers ? But even though both of you are much more well off than me financially at present, I’d pony up a few bucks to watch you two pie each other in Austin, or hell, get in the Octagon. The party has a lot of members who are pissed off at each other over all kinds of petty and not so petty crap. We should harvest all that hostility for fundraising purposes.

    Micahel Gilson De Lemos ‘MG’
    January 7, 2019 at 16:22
    Yeah, I was in the middle of trying to make this all work. It did in that we saw the results 16 years later with Gary Johnson, with help from the internet boom. And at the time, UMP, Archimedes, the ‘Zero Dues’ emphasis, raising $/members with activist ads/campaigns, and a proposed family membership, running State House low-budget full slates, political director, Success ’99, accordion and core dedicated budgeting,, task force/fund to attack ballot access laws themselves by state direct democracy, internet candidate training, the platform, candidate prospecting, a goal for 30 people per million population in office (9000 LP officials by 2019!) etc. all worked fine. The missing link? They were meant to work and synergize in co-ordination. That’s tough to do in any volunteer organization.

    What went wrong? Various people were committed to create false choices among them to thwart the LP, so one element would get going only to shut down another it needed (one guy who came in after I left said he had one mission: undo all the smart things we were doing in a deathbed confession). BCRA. Various questionable and expensive computer upgrades. Newbies who thought they knew how to ‘fix’ the LP. A major cash flow issue when with the anthrax scare many USLP checks in the mail were impounded for several months. Bad actors antagonizing the telemarketing staff so they left. A crazed attempt to then get the LNC staff to telemarket. Big security issues on the state level as well. Some untimely deaths of some of our best activists and LP peacemakers. An excellent strategic process (SPT) to institutionalize all the good things a new LNC didn’t understand because they were never in the open meetings (and many vanished never to be seen again) that worked so it was voted it down.

    What Mr. Montoni was saying about state and other unhappy his experiences was real.

    The good news is we know what works, and built up people with skills like Mr. Babka and Mr. Willis who’ve branched off. The bad news is we stopped. Whether the LP needs to do so again is another matter. I think an e-school on candidate location, philosophic education, and campaign training would be nice but run by LP people with experience, not as what was done in the end ‘GOP experts.’ Training people to go ‘door to door’ and make nice armed with quizzes was always a dream for Nolan and me. The bumper sticker program is good. Maybe we should target these Marxists in Congress?

    That said, if Mr. Babka wants to take up the torch, he sure has my blessing and he can quote me. Beyond that LIO, ISIL, FEE, etc. and the leverage effect of social media have put a lot of things in the culture. People come up to me at bus stops and ask if I’ve heard of Libertarianism. By my measure unhinged attacks on Libertarianism are growing and the more we’re attacked, the more people GOOGLE us. I was at an event for local college students and the far-left speaker sarcastically asked if there were any libertarians in the audience. About a third raised their hands. I was sitting in the middle of the audience and had no idea. I thought the speaker was about to collapse from apoplexy. Then I remembered to raise MY hand. They’re voting for us and talking about Libertarian tools more than ever no matter what we do. Life is good.

  25. Chuck Moulton

    Comments from site migration. Sorry for formatting loss.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 15:44
    As far as sharing data, the LP is leagues behind the majors, and it’s falling further behind.

    The new CRM is supposed to address that. Hopefully it will.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 15:46
    After we recovered from the Zero Dues debacle…

    And a debacle it was..

    Agreed with both Shane and Marc here.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 15:54
    There was no suggestion made that the DownsizeDC project, “Libertarian Census”, will have anything to do with the LP. Keep in mind DownsizeDC is nonpartisan.

    I wouldn’t expect or ask for any coordination either. I mean renting the list. Through a third party mailing house if everyone involved needs that to maintain confidence. Downsize DC makes money renting the list, LP (and other movement organizations) get warm-er prospects. Why would everyone not win?

    list trade

    That probably would not be a good deal for Downsize DC. They will discover most of those through their census anyway (if it’s good enough to uncover an 8-figure number of people from the general public it should have no difficulty discovering a 6-figure number of people who are on state registration rolls, LP dues payers and pledge signers, etc). But why wouldn’t they want actual cash, other than spite? I’d be more worried the LP would be too near sighted to even offer to pony up. But maybe I don’t know the other side of the negotiation well enough.

    paulie
    January 7, 2019 at 16:02
    Frankly, I’d donate to a crowdfund to ensure certain individuals never mentioned the LP ever again. I’d pay Phillies to stay 1,000 miles away from any LP meeting or website, for instance.

    I’m pretty sure GP is comfortably retired with a 7-8 figure nest egg and no dependents. If I’m on your list though, shoot me some numbers ? But even though both of you are much more well off than me financially at present, I’d pony up a few bucks to watch you two pie each other in Austin, or hell, get in the Octagon. The party has a lot of members who are pissed off at each other over all kinds of petty and not so petty crap. We should harvest all that hostility for fundraising purposes.

    Micahel Gilson De Lemos ‘MG’
    January 7, 2019 at 16:22
    Yeah, I was in the middle of trying to make this all work. It did in that we saw the results 16 years later with Gary Johnson, with help from the internet boom. And at the time, UMP, Archimedes, the ‘Zero Dues’ emphasis, raising $/members with activist ads/campaigns, and a proposed family membership, running State House low-budget full slates, political director, Success ’99, accordion and core dedicated budgeting,, task force/fund to attack ballot access laws themselves by state direct democracy, internet candidate training, the platform, candidate prospecting, a goal for 30 people per million population in office (9000 LP officials by 2019!) etc. all worked fine. The missing link? They were meant to work and synergize in co-ordination. That’s tough to do in any volunteer organization.

    What went wrong? Various people were committed to create false choices among them to thwart the LP, so one element would get going only to shut down another it needed (one guy who came in after I left said he had one mission: undo all the smart things we were doing in a deathbed confession). BCRA. Various questionable and expensive computer upgrades. Newbies who thought they knew how to ‘fix’ the LP. A major cash flow issue when with the anthrax scare many USLP checks in the mail were impounded for several months. Bad actors antagonizing the telemarketing staff so they left. A crazed attempt to then get the LNC staff to telemarket. Big security issues on the state level as well. Some untimely deaths of some of our best activists and LP peacemakers. An excellent strategic process (SPT) to institutionalize all the good things a new LNC didn’t understand because they were never in the open meetings (and many vanished never to be seen again) that worked so it was voted it down.

    What Mr. Montoni was saying about state and other unhappy his experiences was real.

    The good news is we know what works, and built up people with skills like Mr. Babka and Mr. Willis who’ve branched off. The bad news is we stopped. Whether the LP needs to do so again is another matter. I think an e-school on candidate location, philosophic education, and campaign training would be nice but run by LP people with experience, not as what was done in the end ‘GOP experts.’ Training people to go ‘door to door’ and make nice armed with quizzes was always a dream for Nolan and me. The bumper sticker program is good. Maybe we should target these Marxists in Congress?

    That said, if Mr. Babka wants to take up the torch, he sure has my blessing and he can quote me. Beyond that LIO, ISIL, FEE, etc. and the leverage effect of social media have put a lot of things in the culture. People come up to me at bus stops and ask if I’ve heard of Libertarianism. By my measure unhinged attacks on Libertarianism are growing and the more we’re attacked, the more people GOOGLE us. I was at an event for local college students and the far-left speaker sarcastically asked if there were any libertarians in the audience. About a third raised their hands. I was sitting in the middle of the audience and had no idea. I thought the speaker was about to collapse from apoplexy. Then I remembered to raise MY hand. They’re voting for us and talking about Libertarian tools more than ever no matter what we do. Life is good.

  26. paulie

    I posted them last night. I am noticing in the browsers where I am not logged in that the comments are showing up hours after they are posted (although I can see them right away in the browser where I am logged in). How about others here?

  27. paulie

    Forgot to thank Jim Babka earlier for stopping by here to address questions/responses. Hope you will return and sorry for the confusion as this article was posed just before a site server migration so some of the comments got jambled. If you comment again with your name and email same as last comment you left it should post from now on without approval required unless 5 or more links per comment or antispam software hiccups. Hope we’ll see you back here in comments and or more of your articles whether thru Marc or any of the other article posters, current or future.

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