By Ryan Lau | United States
On Thursday, leaders within the Libertarian Party decided Ron Paul will not speak at the 2018 convention. Though the party’s Mises Caucus, a faction dedicated to the beliefs and works of economist Ludwig von Mises, raised enough money for him to speak, leaders nonetheless decided that his appearance does not represent party values, and thus, they gave neither he nor Judge Andrew Napolitano a place to speak. Following the story, Paul spoke harshly of the Libertarian Party’s leadership, as well as the state of the party itself.
A Party Divided
First of all, it is important to note the origins of the conflict between Paul and the Libertarian Party. In 2016, he strongly condemned the nomination of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld for the President and Vice President. Many within the leadership believe this choice to be fair and representative of all voters at the convention. However, there are others who believe that the Johnson campaign skewed the election behind the scenes. In fact, Judd Weiss, Vice Presidential Candidate in 2016 for John McAfee, spoke about the nomination. After Tom Woods published an interview with Weiss on the truth about the convention, key members of Libertarian leadership reacted negatively. Despite this, Weiss affirmed that there was corruption in the nomination process.
In the Tom Woods interview, I was talking about the corrupt and vicious behavior I saw behind the scenes at the Gary Johnson campaign. – Judd Weiss
Not long after, a coordinator declared that “[Paul] has no idea what the LP represents”. This statement ultimately summarizes the party’s rationale in excluding the former Representative from the convention. Paul released a video Thursday detailing his reaction to the news, in which he appeared baffled. In it, he expressed he does not “know exactly what’s going on” with the scenario.
“It used to be that they would ask me, you know, to come, quite frequently,” Paul recollected of previous party leaders. He strongly criticized the notion that a Mises Caucus is now necessary, within a party that formerly boasted an ideology closely resembling that of Mises. “I thought the Libertarian Party would be for Mises,” he mused.
Paul further criticized party leadership for not drawing more votes, believing that standing true to principles leads to success. On the contrary, he accuses party leadership of abandoning these principles. “When you look at the leadership, so often you see that they mellowed away,” admitted Paul. Clearly, this references Johnson and party chair Nicholas Sarwark’s attempts to frame the party as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. However, this method proved unsuccessful, as Johnson won a mere 3.3% of the national vote.
A Future Uncertain?
Following the announcement, Paul appeared to worry about his future within the party. He questioned whether barring him from speaking equated to being shunned from the Libertarian Party as a whole. Not long after, he referenced his lifetime membership fee, which he paid in 1987. The former representative appeared to worry about the status of his payment, if the party continued to reject him.
If they did that, I wonder if it would be okay, if I could ask for my gold coin back? Because I paid my lifetime membership, in 1987, with a gold coin, to make a point. -Ron Paul
Despite his worries, it is entirely possible that, given his track record, Paul may abandon the Libertarian Party entirely. In the past, he has left the Republican party several times, due to breaks in principles and leadership. Now, Paul believes that these same plagues have hit other parties, too.
Reinstating that “leadership is so bad, in all the political parties,” he admitted the possibility of forming an entirely new political party. “That would be interesting. It could be fun,” Paul said of a party built around the principles of the Mises Caucus.