With a tip of the hat to Andy Craig, for forwarding to us this letter from Chris Luchini, chair of the Libertarian Party of New Mexico, to the LPNM membership about LPNM’s former relationship with the LNC.
Libertarian Party of New Mexico membership reportedly has also been sent a poll by the LNC Secretary, asking their positions on the situation. The LNC was able to circulate the poll, according to a statement on the LNC business list, by using the CRM file of LPNM members that LPNM had previously stored on the LNC’s servers.
The letter reads:
Dear fellow New Mexico Libertarian,
First I’d like to apologize for the delay in sending this communication out to you. It has been, as you may have noticed, a hectic few weeks.
On Aug 26th, the Central Committee of Libertarian Party of New Mexico disaffiliated from the National Libertarian Party and the Libertarian National Committee (LNC). You can read our letter informing them here ( https://lpnm.us/the-libertarian-party-of-new-mexico-lpnm-announces-its-independence-from-the-lnc/ ) which covers many of the reasons the State Central Committee chose to take this action. I encourage New Mexico Libertarians, or Libertarians around the country, to read it. It really provides the definitive statement about our reasons for declaring our independence from the LNC, and so I don’t want to belabor the same points at too much length.
This action raises understandable questions, however, so I’d like to address some of the most frequent ones. Most New Mexico Libertarians are rightly less interested in the workings of the party bureaucracy than we are electing Libertarians and advancing Liberty. It’s to better advance LPNM’s mission to do both of those things, and to preserve our continued existence as an organization dedicated to those principles and purposes, that we have decided to go our separate way from the LNC.
What does this mean to Libertarians in New Mexico?
There will be relatively little effect, to be perfectly honest. The immediate impact on LPNM members, candidates, and operations will be negligible.
The LNC provides little direct support in New Mexico. Historically, there have been some supplies for support of County Affiliates awarded to New Mexico county parties; occasional legal advice; and administrative support for website hosting, our database, and other administrative issues. None of this has historically amounted to more than a few hundred dollars per year on average over the past decades.
The national party has also offered some candidate training events at times, but nothing is stopping them from continuing to host whatever events they would like in New Mexico, for whoever would like to attend them. Just because LPNM has chosen to no longer be affiliated with the LNC does not mean they are banished from the state.
Nor is there anything preventing New Mexico residents from being individual members of the LNC’s national party, if you like. Whether you are or not will simply be of no consequence to LPNM, in the same way it’s of no consequence to us if you’re a member of the Sierra Club or the NRA or the Toastmasters or the Methodist Church. It has always been the case that some LPNM members choose to pay for LNC membership and others do not. Roughly 60% of LPNM members are not paying members of the national Libertarian party.
Delegates to the national Libertarian Party Convention will not be selected by the LPNM going forward. And, to be honest, we’re glad to be free of that and all the toxic drama it generates. It will be up to the LNC if they would like to create a new affiliate group that can then participate in the LNC’s conventions.
This action does not change anything with respect to ballot access for Libertarians in New Mexico. LPNM ‘owns’ the Ballot Line; it is the Libertarian Party of New Mexico that is a qualified major party in New Mexico. The LNC has no say in the matter and is not legally relevant under New Mexico law. Our disaffiliation also does not change anything about your voter registration.
The only election our disaffiliation from the national party will affect is the presidential race in 2024 and beyond. Since we will no longer be participating in the LNC’s nominating convention, we will also not be bound to the results of that convention. For now, it will simply be up to LPNM to decide who, if anybody, we would like to put on the ballot for president in New Mexico using LPNM’s Ballot Line. Potentially, down the road, we might enter into another agreement with other state parties to jointly nominate a presidential candidate, if such an agreement would be in LPNM’s best interest. The 2024 election is still a long way off, so we have plenty of time to make up our minds about that.
As for every other office on the ballot, from governor to congress to state legislature to county and local offices, it will still be up to LPNM to nominate our own candidates according to state law, just like it has always been.
Why did this happen?
Over the past few years, a group calling itself the Mieses Caucus Political Action Committee has organized with the intent to take over all of the Libertarian Parties in the various states and the Libertarian National Committee. In 2022, they largely succeeded in taking over states representing most of the delegates to the national convention in Nevada (and then refused to seat delegates from some other states they had failed to take over). They now completely control the LNC, electing their chosen members to every single seat.
While the majority of LPNM members have deep disagreements with the Mises Caucus messaging and how they represent Libertarians, the more immediate and practical problem is that they are now using the LNC to crush any state party they do not yet control. To do this, they have asserted effectively total power to decide all state party internal disputes, including deciding who a state party’s officers are. They have totally trampled the national LP bylaws which explicitly forbid violating state party autonomy. And they have abused their position as the national affiliate to attack state parties, representing to state governments that they get to decide who controls a state party rather than the state’s own members, rules, and elected leadership.
This is a pattern that has played out in several states already. And it became obvious some time ago that New Mexico was in their sights, and they intended to do the same here. Seeing how this has played out in other states, it was obvious that our only choice was to be proactive. We would not wait around for the LNC to create its own, fake New Mexico party and then try to wrest control of our ballot access and assets from us.
So, at the heart of the matter, the LNC’s claimed power to adjudicate state party bylaws and internal elections is completely without merit. They are not the Supreme Court of state party bylaws issues. There is a parliamentary process for points of orders to be made and decided within LPNM, just like every other organization has, and just like the LNC has.
Instead of respecting the outcome of how we have chosen to conduct our own business, the LNC now says it gets to second-guess and overrule a state party whenever it wants. In practice, they do this to forcibly eject state party leaders who are critical or unsupportive of their Mises Caucus faction and its message of far-right edgelord trolling. State party autonomy and the protections of the LNC’s bylaws no longer really exist for LNC affiliates. Nor is there any real possibility of voting out this LNC when the LNC has decided it now gets to pick its own voters, taking affiliate status (and thus the right to appoint national delegates) away from their opponents and giving it to their allies, no matter what the party’s rules say.
Why does the LNC think they can tell LPNM what to do?
In addition to violating their own bylaws, the LNC has consistently gotten its facts wrong about what has happened in New Mexico. LPNM has acted fully in compliance with New Mexico law and our own bylaws, and the members who attended our convention were well aware that possible disaffiliation from the LNC was on the table when they approved the necessary change to LPNM’s bylaws. I was there, I gave a speech about it where all of this was openly discussed. There was nothing secret or hidden about it.
In 2022, the LPNM initially had a constitutional convention in January. The results of this convention were rejected by the New Mexico Secretary of State due to failure to publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation 14 days prior to the convention. While our legal counsel disagrees that this notice requirement applies to state parties (and it’s frankly a bit ridiculous and dated), we accepted the ruling of the Secretary of State and held another Constitutional Convention on July 12. This event was noticed correctly, in compliance with both LPNM’s bylaws and the Secretary of State’s interpretation of state law.
An issue was raised a few days prior regarding eligibility to vote in that convention, in particular, the requirement to have been an LPNM member for at least thirty days prior. The issue was referred to a certified Parliamentarian, and their determination was used to determine voting status for that convention, with the agreement of the body. There were 23 voting members in attendance at the Convention. There were 2 voters against considering the bylaws changes adopted, with 20 in favor, and the Chair not voting. The final amended changes were passed without objection, effectively making the vote 23-0. As noted, one of the changes adopted was striking references to the national party which could have been construed as requiring our ongoing affiliation with the LNC.
There were 13 people excluded from voting status, 5 of whom have indicated that they would have voted to pass proposed changes in the July 12 Convention. If you assume the remaining 7 were all opposed, then the votes would have been 25 to 9, well more than the 2/3 needed to pass the changes. Thus, the LNC’s claim that this issue would have affected the outcome is demonstrably false. It would not have made any difference.
It should be noted that one of the bylaws changes adopted was to correct the issue that led to the exclusion of those 13 people in the first place (a requirement that dues be paid in full 30 days prior to the convention).
The LNC then, in direct violation of Article 5, Section 5 of the national LP bylaws, (“The autonomy of the affiliate and sub-affiliate parties shall not be abridged by the National Committee or any other committee of the Party, except as provided by these bylaws,”) decided to order LPNM to take various actions to satisfy the LNC. They claimed to justify this interference with a number of other false statements and claims about their own power over LPNM.
The State Central Committee of LPNM responded with a letter telling the LNC to obey their own bylaws and cease attempting to violate LPNM’s autonomy, including a refutation of the false statements made in the LNC Chair’s initial letter.
The LNC responded with further demands and falsehoods.
At that point, the LPNM Central Committee passed a motion disaffiliating LPNM from the LNC. We also adopted the statement informing them of our action and our reasons for it. That motion was adopted, delivered, and went into effect on August 26, 2022.
Currently, the LNC refuses to recognize this disaffiliation, in a childish display of ‘you can’t dump me, I’m dumping you’. They can’t seem to make up their mind about if we’re really still the affiliate or not, if they’re going to disaffiliate us themselves, or if they’d like to sue us over various frivolous claims. It doesn’t really matter to us what they say, because they have no power over LPNM.
We hope the LNC won’t waste the time and money of Libertarians–not to mention violate their own supposed principles–by trying to run to the government to force us to remain in their organization. But we stand ready to defend ourselves if they do, and we have the law on our side.
The Libertarian Party of New Mexico chooses to concentrate on advancing our candidates, influencing legislation, and growing our membership and voter registration. As noted above, there’s not really anything for which we need a national party, and no longer having one will have little practical effect on our operations.
Plenty of political parties have operated in a single state, some with great success. The third party with the most elected state legislators right now is not, for example, the Libertarian Party. It is the Vermont Progressive Party. Other examples, past and present, include the Alaskan Independence Party, the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, and the New York Conservative Party. LPNM is clearly well within our legal rights, protected by the First Amendment, to operate as simply a New Mexico party for now.
We will, of course, continue to be in contact with our fellow Libertarians in other states, many of whom are facing the same threats from the LNC. We welcome them to join us and to begin a conversation about an alternative, minimalist national affiliation that will respect both Libertarian principles and the autonomy of our state parties. I will keep you informed on any developments on this front. But for now, LPNM will do what we’ve always done: work to advance Liberty and elect Libertarians in New Mexico.