Press "Enter" to skip to content

LNC Membership and Income over the Decades

Not quite all the way to the present but does go back a considerable way. Left is membership.  Right is income.

And now that I have your attention, we are receiving comments with nasty attacks and claims that there are secret cabals that, for example, actually run the Libertarian Party. My tolerance for this is running low.  Your mileage may vary.

11 Comments

  1. Jim Jim November 23, 2022

    No, the GOP would not be substantially different. Most loosely defined libertarians already don’t vote for Libertarian candidates. For reference, do a search for a policy analysis paper titled “The Libertarian Vote in the Age of Obama, by David Kirby and David Boaz”. It came out in early 2010. The tables on page 8 and 9 show how most loosely defined ideological libertarians have voted for US House, Senate, and President for the half dozen preceding elections. The vast majority vote for the major party candidates, and most of them for the Republican.

    Most small l libertarians never left the Republican party. Which means 1. that Republicans are taking that vote for granted; and 2. that the Libertarian Party still has a lot of potential runway in front of it.

    The Republican party is comprised of 5 ideological groups. And they don’t all get along. But, three of those groups can ally with Social Conservatives without compromising any of their own ideological goals. (Example: the NeoConservatives and the PaleoConservatives can’t partner with each other because they have different foreign policy objectives, but either could partner with Social Conservatives as long as they promise to ban abortion.)

    The one group in the Republican party who can’t partner with any of the other four without one or the other compromising on something is the libertarians.

  2. ATBAFT ATBAFT November 22, 2022

    Ryan, you are largely correct about the GOP today and it’s antipathy to libertarian ideas. However, the question was what would the GOP and libertarianism look like today if Nolan had advocated something different 50 years ago? Would the GOP be substantially different? Another history lesson– libertarians pulled out of YAF in 1969 after purges and conservative outrage after a draft card burning on the convention floor. Yet soon YAF adopted an anti- draft position. Would mainstream libertarianism gotten further in 50 years by being in the conservative tent than by being outside?

  3. Ryan Ryan November 21, 2022

    “Well, Morey and Jim, to play Devils’ Advocate, maybe having libertarians imbedded in the other parties for the last fifty years would have been more valuable than doing what we did. I don’t think libertarians would have been muzzled to the extent we self-isolated from many of the political discussions over the years. Even a lowly committeeman’s views are heard by bonafide candidates whereas an LP candidate is frequently ignored by the media and his opponents (except to be attacked). How much more effective was libertarian Cong. Dana Rohrabacher, during his multi terms in Congress, at advocating for marijuana legalization vs. say, someone at an LP convention smoking a joint and preaching to the choir? I’m sure we can all name Libertarians we’ve known who had the personality, the skills, the career achievements, and the drive to have advanced through the ranks of the other parties if Libertarian Caucus had been Nolan’s path forward.”

    1. The strain of people running the Democratic Party now hate the Libertarian ideal and philosophy because it so intrinsically goes against the method they choose to solve what they see as problems in society: government-led solutions. Go to some online forums, if Jared Polis ever runs for President as is rumored he’s going to get a rude awakening as far as what most of the party’s primary voters think of him.
    2. The Republican Party in theory is what you ask for, but look at what it’s produced the past 7 years: as far as trying to embed a libertarian philosophy into the party it’s failed. Ron Paul ran for President and history is going to be pretty clear on this point, he had much less positive influence changing his political party to come closer to his point of view than fellow “gadflyish electee” Bernie Sanders has done to the Democrats. Paul’s 2008 candidacy was made by the media into “I’m anti-war” with libertarianism taking a back seat, and while the Republicans have become more isolationist the reason is Trump instead of any kind of libertarian rationale.

    The reason I’m not a Republican anymore is I gave up on them. They are all about for example low taxes because they see it’s a vote winner, but they’re pro-government and pro-government spending at this point in order to have like the Democrats government led-solutions to the problems as they see them in society. Republican libertarianism at this point if it ever came would be like what Liz Truss just did in the UK: come out for tax cuts and increases in spending. There’s a word for that and it’s populism. We’re discussing inflation wracking our economy the past year and it’s convenient for Republicans they can blame Biden but all Biden did was increase in size what Trump had already started doing in 2020. It’s also a congressional caucus that notice they talked about inflation but never said what they would do differently, because the Trump and McCarthy-era Republican Party has become one devoid of ideas.

  4. NewFederalist NewFederalist November 19, 2022

    Around- don’t forget Emerling/Cloud, Howell and Lanham.

  5. ATBAFT ATBAFT November 19, 2022

    Rohrabacher may not have been pure NAP (then neither are the campaign promises of most LP candidates) but he was consistently on the list of “most libertarian” congressmen. Surely, he was preferable to some swamp-supporting Republican? And he had many libertarian instincts which he could not put into practice in the world of “sausage making” because of a lack of similar thinking colleagues. A Paul, a Massie, an Amash, a Jones were not enough support to horse-trade legislation and liberty promoting legislative amendments. Perhaps, if Nolan had taken a Libertarian Caucus path, there would have been dozens of solid libertarian congressmen by now? Certainly, back in the day, there were numerous accomplished Libertarians who may have made it to their state legislatures or even to Congress by climbing the ladder in the major parties: Nolan himself, Clark, Redpath, Hedbor, Nathan, Hunscher, Haroff, O’Brien, Gingell, Ernsberger, Rich, Ruwart, Neale, Crane.

  6. Anastasia Beaverhausen Anastasia Beaverhausen November 17, 2022

    “libertarian Cong. Dana Rohrabacher” ??

    Gak.

    A stopped clock is right twice a day, and while he might have been on the good side on the marijuana issue, he was way off base on so many others.

  7. ATBAFT ATBAFT November 17, 2022

    Well, Morey and Jim, to play Devils’ Advocate, maybe having libertarians imbedded in the other parties for the last fifty years would have been more valuable than doing what we did. I don’t think libertarians would have been muzzled to the extent we self-isolated from many of the political discussions over the years. Even a lowly committeeman’s views are heard by bonafide candidates whereas an LP candidate is frequently ignored by the media and his opponents (except to be attacked). How much more effective was libertarian Cong. Dana Rohrabacher, during his multi terms in Congress, at advocating for marijuana legalization vs. say, someone at an LP convention smoking a joint and preaching to the choir? I’m sure we can all name Libertarians we’ve known who had the personality, the skills, the career achievements, and the drive to have advanced through the ranks of the other parties if Libertarian Caucus had been Nolan’s path forward.

  8. Jim Jim November 17, 2022

    Libertarians, in the form of Classical Liberals, were active in the major parties prior to the formation of the LP. The LP was formed because that wasn’t working.

    Our gains are non-linear from one election cycle to the next, and minimal even when they advance but, measuring on the scale of decades, we are clearly a larger group, as a percentage of the population, than we were 50 years ago.

  9. Morey Morey November 16, 2022

    No thanks, ATBAFT. I’ll take getting ignored as a third party candidate over getting ignored as an also-ran in the primaries and spending the high impact months completely muzzled.

    And I disagree with the whole “50 years of failure” trope. We’ve been at the forefront of several ideas that were once untouchable and are now mainstream. We can’t claim full credit, but I think we deserve some.

  10. NewFederalist NewFederalist November 16, 2022

    Wow! You have really said it all, Around.

  11. ATBAFT ATBAFT November 16, 2022

    The LP is now fifty years in with Dave Nolan’s experiment. Many think the LP is merely re-arranging the deck chairs on a seriously becalmed ship with no prospects of rescue. Various strategies have been tried over those 50 years; none have been successful in relation to Nolan’s original hopes. As I recall, Nolan’s principal dream was to have libertarian ideas advocated in public forums and adopted by the American public. That is, I presume, what we all hoped, and still hope, for. Nolan believed that the best way to achieve these advocacy goals was through a third political party taking advantage of the soap box afforded to political candidates. After 50 years, it appears he was mistaken. Why? The American political system is not built for third parties; it costs millions and millions of dollars to support even one candidate for state or federal office; the media largely ignores ideas in favor of personalities who are polling well in the horse race; politicians do their best to keep competition out by passing tough ballot access laws; and American culture has been moving away from ideas of free markets and individual rights and responsibilities. Over the years, some have begun to believe that Nolan should have advanced his dream by advocating for Libertarian Caucuses within the two major parties. Perhaps the tens of thousands of activists who inhabited the LP would have been more effective in the primary systems of the two major parties? Perhaps the primary system was and is a far better forum for placing libertarian ideas in front of people who actually make endorsement decisions, will run for office themselves some day, or already have access to media outlets that copiously cover “internal disputes” within the two major parties? We’ve all heard the famous definition of insanity. Is it truly time, after 50 years, to think about another approach??

Comments are closed.