The Libertarian Party is a party of strong principle that is strongly lacking in everything it needs to win an election. It has no unity, no organization, and no drive to win.
Throughout the course of this election, I watched the LP closely. I read articles, talked with people, and attended meetings. My goal was not so much to participate but to observe. I wanted to see what kind of effort people were putting into the party and its movement. What I saw shocked me.
I was shocked because there was no effort. None. I saw a few candidates who did put in some effort, but most campaigns were lacking in everything that is important. They did not go to town halls, they did not air ads (I saw one that was professional; the few others were shameful), they did not have signs. Their only campaigning took place online. Needless to say, they all lost.
Not only was there no effort, there are libertarians who refuse to vote. There are libertarians who refuse to take the job of running a campaign seriously. They are 100% principle and 0% strategy, and – despite how great it looks to be principled – that is NOT how to win. The party and its members refuse to look at the long game. This has been their death in every election.
Some people went out to try to solve this problem. John McAfee, a former libertarian presidential candidate, tried to shake things up. He pointed out the lack of representation in the Party, claiming that 75% is men and 99.8% is white. “Shame on you,” he said, “and shame on me for never having mentioned it before.” After losing the nomination, McAfee founded the Vote Different Initiative, an organization whose purpose is to promote Libertarian candidates and give them support.
At its core, the Vote Different Initiative is a brilliant idea. It has so much potential. Unfortunately, ever since McAfee became occupied with other business ventures, he has delegated its management to others. These people have run it into the ground. It accomplished nothing. Their website still to this day does not have any content in the html <title> tag. Yes, I even pointed that out to them.
I attended a meeting with my local Libertarian Party a few weeks ago. What I saw was consistent with the rest of the election. It was a social event more than anything else. The longest conversation was about weed. The rest was trying to make “We haven’t accomplished anything” sound like “We’re on the fast track to success!”
I have pointed out the problems. What are the solutions?
The solution is simple: Organize and stop being so stubborn.
During the next elections, I will try to work with the Vote Different Initiative and with candidates themselves to promote the Party and its candidates. I do not want to see another election like 2016, and I will see to it that people at least try to make a change.