Becoming the Chair of the National Libertarian Party is no small feat. It includes giving up large amounts of time, money, and other resources as a volunteer in an unpaid position, but maybe the most critical aspect is the great responsibility that it entails. As the chair of the Libertarian Party, one is expected to toe the line in representing a group of people steeped in intellectual political philosophy. The Party, while consisting of many intelligent and free thinkers is also, unfortunately, a party that is struggling. In a time where the public has so much disdain for Republicans and Democrats, the fact that an already established third party promoting liberty is having a hard time gaining traction is unacceptable. The Party needs to refocus on the principles it was founded upon and take a proper, efficient, and effective approach to outreach, marketing, and leadership.
It is my observation that many of these facets of operation have been missing the mark since the 2016 elections. Principles have been lost, left in the background while virtue signaling, identity politics, and battles for infamy have taken center stage. The principles we support continue to disappear as each day goes by. Marketing efforts are not only not bringing in new members, they are resulting in good libertarians nationwide cutting up and burning their LP membership cards. The amount of money donated to the Party continues to nose dive as we head for a bleak Q4. Given that these donations are the primary funding mechanism we have for fighting the two financial juggernauts of the duopoly, a lack of support within the libertarian movement will hold us back from the progress we would otherwise make.
We have caucuses popping up like the Libertarian Socialist Caucus that violently oppose things like rent, free trade, and private property. Infiltrators are attempting to distort the LP’s Statement of Principles to justify the use of violence under the non-aggression principle as it pertains to their agendas. We have leadership publicly attacking well respected libertarian philosophers, economists, and past/present members, misrepresenting and attacking their character with baseless emotional claims. The Libertarian Party has become a circus, one that doesn’t intend on slowing down without opposition.
I am that opposition! Today, I am announcing my candidacy for LNC Chair.
I intend to fight back and see this party returned to the principles it was founded on. I intend to see that it listens to its members, and encourages growth that does not include those who refuse to support our principle foundations. If elected, I will pursue outreach that will not include friendly requests to be welcoming to socialists, communists, or white nationalists. I will not be tolerant of calls to welcome violent collectivists to a party based on non-aggression. The Libertarian National Committee needs a chair that is prepared to lead it responsibly, and by example. It needs a chair that can provide a vision that gives its members confidence, a chair that provides direction and enables growth that is compatible with the principles of the Party. The pieces are already in place; we have all we need already at our fingertips. I am eager and prepared to never stop working to show everyone that this is what leading a party should look like.
My platform is simple, I propose 4 primary areas of focus to improve on:
- Enable local leaders: County and state chairs should have all the resources necessary to grow the party effectively. Infrastructure should be arranged in a way that allows us to put these leaders through educational systems to gain the tools they need to properly lead and grow their local affiliates and state parties in a principled fashion. Those in leadership should be passing on educational information about how to create successful digital and social marketing campaigns, and hold successful events. We must offer more support to state and local candidates. We have more Libertarian candidates running nationwide than ever before, and there have been several that could have been more successful with a little more promotion from the LNC.
- Clean up the party: We need to reaffirm our principles as a party and let all who refuse to accept them know that in this time of growth, they have no place at the table. This is short and sweet, and while it shouldn’t be something we have to debate, we have come to a point where it needs to be yelled from the rooftops. Violent collectivists wishing to twist our platforms to fit their agendas are not welcome
- Focus on retention and amplification of donations and memberships: When I became a member of the Libertarian Party, it took me five months to get my card, and it took me weeks to finally find the person I needed to speak with to become involved with my local affiliate. This will be a thing of the past. Every new member will receive an onboarding kit full of materials for education on outreach, including brochures they can give to others who are interested in learning more about our ideas. We need to be inspiring and enabling new members of the party with the contacts, and tools they need to move forward in their fight for liberty. We can’t expect new members to be enthusiastic about spreading the ideals of liberty if we don’t act as though we’re happy to have them.
- Effective and efficient marketing: We need marketing campaigns and outreach that 1. Members of the party don’t quit the party over and 2. Help build the party. What National does right should be getting passed on to state and county entities as well. We will grow and improve together through our sharing of methods and strategies. If there is a county affiliate struggling with outreach, there should be information and channels of support quickly available for these individuals to help them solve the problems they face.
I want to install a method of leadership that sets a firm direction, cemented in principles, and works as hard as it can to enable those who are on the front lines promoting the ideas of the Libertarian Party. I will value support, transparency, outreach, focus on our foundations, and a desire to enable Libertarians to succeed.
I humbly ask for your support to ensure that the Libertarian Party will once again be known as “The Party of Principle.”
Region 5 Representative for the Washington Libertarian Party
You can read more from Joshua Smith on Think Liberty here.