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.
2 thoughts on “Ron Paul Republicans Take Over the Libertarian Party”
My name is Drake and I am an organizer for the Mises caucus. Someone sent me the link to this, and I wanted to respond to a couple of major points that I saw in this article that disagree with my understanding of events:
1: the agenda was changed so that we could get to the most important items (like appointing an LNC chair and judicial committee) first. In pervious conventions, we have not had a judicial committee, because things ran long. This time around, we didn’t hit every agenda item.
2: Ron Paul’s visit was donated, money was not spent on it. And many Mises caucus members became lifetime members during the convention. We are putting out money where our mouth is.
3: Tony didn’t get to speak because he didn’t meet the token threshold. I think not making an exception for him was a bad move, but it is also a common one. In 2020, Adam Kokesh got more tokens than Tony got this time, but didn’t meet the 10% threshold and didn’t get on the presidential debate stage for the party. No one complaining about this complained then, and it seems like hypocrisy and cherry picking, if I am being honest.
4: the takeover language isn’t new. The radical caucus had similar language, ‘taking back the party’, etc. we put a rat join executive who called the democratic nominee and great and honest politican while saying libertarians are against drug legalization as our VP. The chair of the party (2017 at the time) literally said that if Hilter was the LP nominee for President, you should vote for hilter to support down ballot candidates. I support the principles of liberty first, someone who says things like that doesn’t. And they were in charge of the party, so I helped find likeminded people to join me and make it back into the party of principle.
If someone is anti liberty, I am happy to have their vote, take their donation, and maybe even have them volunteer for us. But I will not have them be in charge of or the face of our party. The Mises caucus is pushing forward the mission that the radical caucus wasn’t organized enough to carry out, which is to persevere the principles of the party.
If anyone has any questions, please reach out.
Thank you for your time,
Ohio LP MC Organizer
Sorry for the late reply. I have left the party after 11 years in it. I have a thick skin even if I cry a lot. I will say that I agree with you that the Mises Caucus is more organized. One of the reasons I like most of the Mises people. I liked the professionalism that I saw at the convention. I was told the info on Ron Paul so I could be wrong. So, far the LP’s two sides are spreading misinformation as effectively as the R’s and D’s. I have decided rather than fight with the two groups of control freaks in the party, I am going to do my own thing for a while. Break ups are hard on me, but I don’t want to be part of the “team” for a while.
I haven’t decided if I am out for good. My energy might be better spent outside the chaos of the party. We have a good message — it’s sort of like Christ’s message. The messengers suck. I think you may understand my feelings. I have learned a little more about LP history. I would prefer marketing that said “we’re rebranding, reenergizing, etc”. I think you are going to see over time that your new “brand” of liberty is too narrow to grow this party. We are now the home for “conservative” libertarians (and disgruntled Republicans). We need both the left and the right if we are going to beat the Left and the Right. I hope you will subscribe to my YouTube Channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOID4903_p9WmCdfaPr6nxw
You don’t know me at all. I hope to keep spreading liberty. And, I genuinely appreciate your comment. Good discussions are what we need in this party.