Thursday, November 17, 2011

State of the Race in LibertyLand

The graphic says it all.

Believe it or not, there is a race underway for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party at next years convention in fabulous Las Vegas and the two leading contenders at the moment are republicans. Not only that, but both of these guys are actively seeking the republican nod to lead the dastardly R's to victory in November next year.

Wild ain't it?

The libertarian blog-o-sphere is all a-twitter about rumors that republican Gary Johnson might bolt the grand old party and show up in Vegas in May. Republican Ron Paul might bump into him the foyer and declared LP candidates Lee Wrights, RJ Harris, Rodger Gary and  Carl Person will glare at both of them and harrumph several times before they join the rest of the convention in lining up to get their pictures taken with their new competitors.

I would too. I'd really like a grip-n-grin with the redoubtable Dr. Paul. He is a freakin' legend. Gary Johnson, not so much, but he does have a track record of political success unmatched by any Libertarian I can think of. 'Tis a quandary to be sure.

In the three years I've been associated with the LP here in Georgia, I have noticed an incredible desire to win. Why in hell would you get involved if you did not want to win? This desire for unobtainable victory has been sufficient motivation for the candidates I've worked with to draw a deep breath and jump in the ring and see what happens. It even happened to me way back in 2010 when I was the Georgia LP candidate for the Office of Insurance Commissioner, a race that ended predictably with a victory by the republican nominee.

During my time here in Georgia I've heard and participated in the conversations that I'm sure every state level operation of the LP goes through. They all wind up at the same place, How can we win? And a lot of times us amateur LP politicians default to the concept of converting a suitable republican or democrat to our line of thinking and enticing him or her to run as a libertarian this time around. I've yet to see that approach work. I'm of the opinion that it never will.

Why would a successful republican or democrat defect to Liberty? There's no money in this Liberty thing, not much organization and just as much back biting and criticism as exists in their home parties. The only thing we have going for us as a national political party is ballot access in 46 out of 50 states.  That could be enough for a failed presidential candidate from another party to realize that he might be able to extract a pound of flesh from the RNC for blackballing/blocking/ignoring his attempt to compete in the primary process by scarfing up 3% to 5% of the vote and delivering victory to DNC. Or the other way around.

The question is, what would the LP gain by such a move? Would it bolster our numbers? Would it help to get the basic LP message of Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom resonating with the skulls of more Americans? Would such a move enrich the coffers of our state parties or of national by increased donations? Would there be any juice left over after the election that might be parceled out for further direct political action by other Libertarian candidates large and small?

If something like that happens, what does that do to the self defined LP farm team out there hills and hollows? Wouldn't it just reinforce the concept that the two party duopoly has things so locked down that there is no reason for a semi viable Libertarian Party to even exist except in service to disgruntled republicans and democrats? It would be hard not to look at it that way.

It's difficult to reach any conclusions about the possibilities of the 2012 contest and what it holds for the Party of Principle. Mind you, I absolutely love to hear republicans squealing about wasted votes and the lesser of two evils and Libertarians being responsible for the election costing a lot more money than it should have.

That's victory in it's own right.

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