I like Nick Sarwark.
One of the reasons I like Nick so much is that I remember what the Libertarian Party was like before he ran for Chair. I remember struggling to explain to myself, let alone to anyone else, how Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root could have any affiliation with any organization that claimed to be “libertarian”, let alone as the Presidential candidates for our party. I remember watching Gary Johnson, an actual former Governor with as much legitimate “libertarian cred” as any LP candidate for President since Ron Paul, struggle to get 1% of the vote. I remember watching the total number of votes received by Libertarians in the 2014 midterm election for the U.S. House of Representatives actually decrease from the 2010 midterms. I remember wondering often if I was wasting my time and efforts in the LP.
Then Nick came along as a candidate for LNC Chair at the 2014 National Convention. I remember being particularly impressed by how much I could relate to him and his vision for the LP. He was young, full of fire, and ready (as he put it) “to give voters the real choice for cutting government and advancing liberty they crave.” And by any objective measure, he has been successful in doing so. In 2016, the Libertarian Party achieved all-time high vote totals and percentages in its races for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S Senate, as well as the Presidential election. The LP also grew in registration by over 50% in 2016 over the previous Presidential election year of 2012. While these results were the product of a whole lot of dedicated people working their asses off, Nick Sarwark deserves a lot of the credit for his part in leading the LP to new levels of success in his two terms as Chairman.
But like any organization that grows as quickly as we have over the past few years, the Libertarian Party is facing a whole new set of challenges as we look to take the next step as a viable political party. Despite our recent advances at the ballot box, most people outside of the party still have little to no idea what we stand for. (Indeed, often times these days it seems we are unsure of what we stand for ourselves.) Small but vocal groups from both the extreme right and the extreme left have infiltrated the party and are attempting to redefine libertarianism as something it is not. The messaging from senior party leadership has become so poor that it threatens to completely undo the Dallas Accord, with even Nick himself managing to alienate a large swath of the libertarian base.
In just over a year since the best electoral showing in Libertarian Party history, our fragile coalition hangs by a thread. At a time where we should be celebrating unprecedented growth, we are seeing membership jump ship literally left and right on a near-daily basis. Leadership, sadly including Nick, appear to have only doubled down on the decisive and counterproductive rhetoric, as if “stay the course” is a legitimate strategy at this time. Few seem concerned with fixing the damage done, opting instead to merely “pick a side” and join in the shit-show.
My fellow Libertarians, it is time for a change.
Everyone reading this knows Joshua Smith is one of the founders of Think Liberty, and it’s safe to assume that many of you are not surprised that someone who writes for TL endorses his candidacy for LNC Chairman. But his affiliation with TL alone is not the reason for this endorsement. Rather, it is what TL is and what it represents that makes the case for Joshua to lead our party. Specifically, we are a collection of libertarians from the left, the right, and all points in between across the libertarian spectrum who are working together to advance the cause of liberty. Some are minarchists, some are anarchists, yet all of us get along and work towards the same end. Many of us (myself included) were proactively recruited to this project by Joshua himself, based on nothing more than his observations of our work within the liberty movement and what strengths each of us could bring to a united effort to advance our common cause. As someone who came late to this team, I can tell you first hand the collection of talent within the Think Liberty Family is nothing short of inspirational.
Being a part of this team has certainly inspired me, not only to contribute here but to contribute more time and money to my state and local party as well. It has inspired me to remember why I joined this party in the first place. It has inspired me to once again strive to be that “no pain, no gain, get those petitions signed in the rain Libertarian” as Dr. Marc Feldman so eloquently put it. It has inspired me to strongly consider returning to the electoral side of the Party and once again run for office. Perhaps most importantly, it has inspired me to do whatever I can to support this party, its candidates, and our shared goal of reducing the impact government has on all of our lives.
And it’s all thanks to Josh for taking the initiative to get me off the bench and into the game. Just imagine what we could accomplish if we had someone working to do the same on behalf of the Libertarian Party. I urge you not to just take my word for it. Visit his Facebook page, Joshua Smith For LNC Chair 2018. Listen to what he has to say. Ask him questions. Participate in his upcoming AMA. Hear him out and decide for yourself.
Nick Sarwark is a fine man and has done a tremendous service to the Libertarian Party in his time as Chairman. I have no doubt he will do a great job as Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona and cannot wait to do whatever I can to help him succeed in that race. But in the race for LNC Chair, it is clear that if we as a party want to take the next step, we need a leader whose devotion to the passion, principles, and unity the Libertarian Party so desperately needs is absolute.
That leader is Joshua Smith. On behalf of a good man that I’m proud to call both a colleague and a friend, I humbly ask for your support.
You can read more from Matthew McGowan on Think Liberty here.