I spent my weekend at the Libertarian National Convention in Reno where I witnessed all kinds of things I never thought I’d see happen in the Libertarian Party. One of them was the fact that there was no screaming “bullshit”, “Republican” or waving dildos this year. But, the other thing I witnessed was cheating, gaslighting, and a major-party strategy that I have never seen in the LP before.
At the convention, I ran for an At Large position and spoke about how much I appreciated the civility in the room. I anticipated fights breaking out and all hell breaking loose at this convention, but that is not what I saw. So kudos to the Mises Causes for bringing professionalism and strategy to the floor of the LP. I was sincerely impressed with how we handled our “Reno Reset” or what I prefer to call our “Ron Paul Republican Takeover.”
The question is, was this the right thing for the Libertarian Party? Reason wrote an article on the “Mises Caucus Takes Control of the Libertarian Party” which was clearly watered down and did not accurately reflect the way the Mises caucus went about “taking over” our party. So, I am here to write my own observations of what I saw happen at the Libertarian National Convention.
Mises leadership voted to change our agenda just so they could go see Ron Paul (a Republican) speak.
We spent the first several hours trying to agree on the agenda for the convention. This was not mentioned in the Reason article. We had an agenda for the Convention, but it interfered with the Mises’s plan to go listen to Ron Paul speak. Apparently, they raised a whole lot of money to hear him speak. This money could have been used by the Libertarian party but instead, it went to Ron Paul, a Republican.
Ron Paul has been an active Republican for many years and hasn’t run as a Libertarian candidate in over 30 years. While many in the Libertarian party see him as a respected Libertarian, he is not a Libertarian. He is a Republican. He has run as a Republican presidential candidate twice. Although he calls himself a Libertarian, he has not been an active member of the Libertarian Party in decades. Being a Libertarian means helping the Libertarian party get ballot access and helping Libertarian candidates win elections. We are not the Ron Paul party, nor are we Republicans.
Ron Paul “Libertarians” are actively undoing all the work Gary Johnson did.
While I agree with some of the criticism Gary Johnson received when he ran for president in the Libertarian Party, he helped us to get 3.3 percent of the national vote — 4,489,233 voters cast their vote for Gary Johnson. Ron Paul has never come close to these numbers on a national level. And, he has caused division in both the Republican and Libertarian parties.
Ron Paul Republicans have successfully undone much of what Gary Johnson accomplished in 2016. I watched as Ron Paul’s signs were waved all over the room. This weekend, Ron Paul took money away from the Libertarian party and divided our party.
What I witnessed at the Convention was unreal. Libertarians were following marching orders from their leadership team. Reason magazine says they were “whipping their team” – I say what I witnessed was much more alarming and concerning.
I cannot say with certainty how Angela McCardle recruited so many delegates, but from speaking to delegates in some of the states that were taken over, I believe this was a strategic takeover. I know that some of the states had delegates bussed in to take over states’ delegation. I also believe this takeover plan has been years in the making.
Should we cheerlead Mises for accomplishing their mission or should we be concerned about their message?
When you speak to Mises members and if you read the Reason article, it sounds like the McCardle/Smith team were just better recruiters than the other caucuses. That’s what all the Mises members have said to me. And, to be honest, my heart breaks because I have good friends in the Mises Caucus. I know many of them believe this and are dedicated Libertarians.
But, I have spoken out to the Mises members. Your recruitment, your organization, and your professionalism were outstanding, but your message may have long-standing unintended consequences. Your “takeover” marketing message was appalling to many Libertarians including me. And, excluding Libertarians from the Chair debate felt very much like an R or D move. When you go against Libertarian principles and alienate and shove out the voices of Libertarians who have been in this party much longer than your new recruits, your takeover becomes concerning.
If you truly loved the party the way most of us do, you would care about your members. What we witnessed was the same strategy that the R and D use, the same silencing of unpopular opinion that we see every day.
We are the party of principles. We are the party of inclusion, not exclusion. We are the voice of the people who have been pushed out, ignored, and purposely left out of election after election. When you start using the same Nancy Pelosi/Donald Trump-style leadership within the Libertarian party, I am concerned.
This election was completely rigged much like the Ds and Rs do.
I was astonished to see Libertarians following a strategy that the Republicans and Democrats do – vote as your told. What the hell is this? Is this Liberty? Or is this more of the same old politics we are all disgusted with? I am not one to support Liberty purism. We need new members. We need growth. But, not at the expense of Liberty.
We need leadership that stops the bleeding out in the Libertarian Party. That brings in new members while being true to the message of the Libertarian Party. I finally understand the importance of being a “real Libertarian”.
When I watched new members vote down a speech from NOTA, without understanding the tradition or significance of their vote, it bothered me. Can you imagine going to a Georgia game, where the crowd said, sorry we don’t have time for UGA? That’s how it felt. The disregard for the long-standing tradition may seem completely insignificant, but for those who have been in this party for a long time, it was painful. NOTA is the voice we fight for.
Real Libertarians have an L next to their name. Not a Ron Paul R.
To my long-standing Libertarian friends. I plead with you do not give up on the message of Liberty. I hope to be a strong leader within the party. To my Mises friends, I encourage you to talk to me. I am a principled Libertarian and don’t make my decisions based on cliques or caucuses. But, I want to be the voice of the Libertarians who want your respect and understanding. We didn’t disagree with your recruiting, we disagreed with your R and D style “takeover.” Leadership should value their party members — ALL OF THEM.
I love the Libertarian Party. You’ll be hearing more from me.
*I have edited this post after speaking to Justin Amash about my concerns. I am sure that he is completely uninvolved in the caucus wars going on in our party. I have messaged Larry Sharpe as well, but haven’t heard back from him. If you are a Justin Amash supporter, please give him time. Even though he’s not new to Libertarianism, he’s new to our party. I think you will find his way of communicating refreshing if you give him a chance.