I recently received the Texas Libertarian Party newsletter. It included a letter from Texas LP Chairman Pat Dixon to the membership on the issue of candidate loyalty. I won’t reprint the whole thing here, but it brings up some important issues about the Libertarian Party and how it has changed from what was once a movement dedicated to restoring liberty and has become a club for nerdish insiders whose main focus seems just to be on lemming-like party loyalty and performing a bizarre pantomime parody of a political party.
In this letter Dixon writes (comments in italics are mine):
“As we continue our growth,”
Inside sources inform me that both fundraising and membership in the Libertarian Party are down more than 50% in the last 5 years.
“our candidates become more susceptible to pleas from our opponents. The opposition wants us to drop off the ballot with promises that they will get elected and give us the policies we want.”
Several Texas Libertarian Party candidates have quit during this election and endorsed their Republican opponents on discovering that they were hoodwinked by the party into running against strongly libertarian Republicans.
“Pandering politicians have made a habit of insincere promises.”
Like the implied promise that the Libertarian Party would be a viable political party which they have failed to live up to for 40 years? Like the promises they made this year to support their candidates with money that was instead wasted by their state and national boards on pet projects which got no one elected?
“November will soon be upon us. I do not promise overnight success, but I do expect significant growth that will alarm our opponents, grow our influence, attract more support and investment, and influence policy. That will only happen if we remain on the ballot. Without candidates on the ballot, we don’t have a product to offer to the voters.”
And here’s the flawed policy of the Libertarian Party in a nutshell. They think that ballot access gives you power, when the truth is that power comes from showing that you can influence the outcome of elections in a positive way, not from being an irritant. If your only role in an election is to undermine your potential allies, you just alienate them. If you want to influence them you need to show that you can help them win. Why would legislators give Libertarians the time of day when all they do is dogmatically oppose them? To get influence you need to have something to offer and the Libertarians offer only the threat of a paper candidate skewing election results.
“Don’t fall for the promises of pandering politicians. Let’s keep the Libertarian product on the shelf.”
By all indications that product has exceeded its shelf life by several decades. At some point they have to realize that doing the same thing over and over and getting the same dismal results is a sign of insanity.
As Dixon’s delusional letter suggests, the Libertarian Party is deeply and fundamentally dysfunctional. They have become afflicted with many the worst habits of the major political parties without producing winning campaigns or gaining influence for all their work.
The party has become dogmatic and insular. They spend their time in a virtual fantasy world where getting 4% of the vote instead of 2% of the vote is heralded as a great victory and barely retaining ballot access has become their ultimate goal rather than a trivial starting point. They are bizarrely self-congratulatory and ultterly out of touch with reality, with no idea how to run a campaign and candidates who can’t even figure out how to dress or behave in pubic, much less express themselves articulately. They’re the high school chess club with delusions of grandeur.
Central to their failure is a terribly conceived election strategy which has been failing dramatically for more than 30 years. For some reason they have decided that it is better to run lots of losing candidates than a few winning candidates and that everyone deserves a chance to run for office even if their efforts are utterly wasted and meaningless and they aren’t even vaguely qualified.