By John Keller | Wisconsin
Phil Anderson is a libertarian politician from Fitchburg, WI. He has run for senate and is currently running to be the next governor of Wisconsin. While he is often busy campaigning, he spends the majority of his time running the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin. He sat down with 71Republic to discuss the future of the Libertarian Party.
Keller: 2016 was a huge year for liberty in Wisconsin. Gary Johnson got 106,674 votes (3.58%), nearly a 3% increase from 2012. Why do you think this is?
Anderson: The increase in votes for LP candidates was due to partially to recognizable, ‘legitimate’ names at the top of the ballot. But more important to our growth were the Wisconsin candidates: we were generally fearless in telling the truth, tireless in campaigning, and fought to the end. I know that while the Johnson/Weld campaign opened some doors and minds, that both men failed to walk through those doors, only visiting the state once, and failing to leverage numerous media opportunities. Our candidates and our state party members took advantage of the shortcomings of the national ticket, both in opportunity and messaging. Their campaign drew some independents, but lost many libertarians. Our campaigns advanced in visibility to local and state voters, and media, while not watering down the message.
Keller: What steps has the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin taken to advance the message of liberty in the state?
Anderson: Our membership has increased, and under the current Executive Committee, we have emphasized campaigns and outreach. We have professionalized our approach, in content, communications, and internal operations. Candidates across the state are working together as a team, to leverage institutional knowledge, experience, and content production. We regularly engage the media, and are running a strong contingent of candidates for fall elections. Until we have sufficient libertarians elected to office, the public will see us only in the contexts of campaigns and rebuttals. We will continue to be aggressively principled in both areas, making more and more aware of the tyranny under which they live, and offering a solution.
Keller: Many people have said they don’t vote libertarian because they don’t want to “waste” their vote. Why should people vote Libertarian?
Anderson: A person’s vote is an expression of their opinion, and their goals. The problem with the idea of ‘wasting’ a vote is legitimate, however, as long as our system of voting is ‘First past the Post’. We advocate for reform of voting rules in Wisconsin, to allow for Rank Choice and/or Preferential Voting systems, which would allow people to vote their desires without fear of wasting their vote. These types of voting systems are in use all over society, from social media to polling to non-government controlled organizations. And why? Because they better represent the wishes of those voting. Why don’t we have these systems in Wisconsin politics? Because those people making the decisions benefit from the current system. HOWEVER, I am personally working with a non-profit voting rights group and a couple sitting Wisconsin legislators to get a bill to the floor of the Wisconsin State Assembly to allow for rank-choice, preferential, or whatever a county or local government chooses. Then, we’ll fight to change the current system statewide.
Then, no one will be wasting their vote.
Keller: What races are currently being undertaken throughout Wisconsin?
Anderson: I am running for Governor. Patrick Baird is running for Lieutenant Governor, and Rich Reynolds is running for Secretary of State. We’re running as a team- TeamGuv.org. We also have candidates for State Senate, State Assembly, and County and local races. We fielded an excellent candidate for a special election- Brian Corriea for State Senate District 10. Brian Defferding is running uncontested for Winnebago County Board, and for Neenah City Council. Tyler Danke, Vice Chair of LPWI, is running for Fremont Village Trustee. And, I get emails about once a week from people interested in running.
Keller: With so many candidates running, how can people get involved?
Anderson: Contact me at [email protected], or [email protected]. I am the Chair of LPWI, as well as Chair of the Candidates and Campaigns Committee- that’s how much emphasis we’re giving to elections and candidates.
Keller: For so long the two party duopoly has run politics. What is Libertarianism all about?
Anderson: Libertarianism is about reconnecting to our basic, shared understanding of humans and our rights, and seeking to live accordingly. We have the rights enumerated in the Constitution, and more. (I take exception to the takings clause in the 5th Amendment, among others). We do have the right to live as we choose, as long as we don’t harm or infringe on others. We do have the right to consent, or not consent, to being governed. Because of these, any rational person should be a libertarian, unless they don’t believe these rights exist, or they have a vested interest in tyrannizing other people, or have been blinded to the extent to which they are tyrannized. Insofar as a person acknowledges those rights, they are immoral if they seek to limit or destroy those for any other person, for whatever reason.
Keller: The Libertarian Wisconsin State Convention is coming up in 2018. What is in-store for the convention and are there any notable guests attending?
Anderson: Great things! April 13th-15th right on the Capitol Square in Madison, across the Go to LPWI.org for more info and tickets!
I’m really looking forward to our convention. On Friday night, Liberty America and TeamGuv.org are sponsoring a cocktail hour/dinner, featuring Larry Sharpe and Kevin Fortune. This event is open to the public, not technically part of the convention- our doors are open to anyone who wants to discuss liberty and campaigns.
The convention itself begins Saturday morning with our business meeting, then during and after lunch we’ll hear from Kevin Fortune and Larry Sharpe. The afternoon will be time for candidates and campaigns to work together, with the help of some of our most dynamic assets, including journalist Miles Kristan interviewing candidates and speakers. Our main event with be a banquet, with Jeffrey Tucker as our keynote speaker.
Sunday morning, April 15th, begins the 6 week period during which all candidates of all parties need to gather enough signatures to be on the ballot, so the candidates and campaigns will meet and get to work!
Keller: If interested, how can the people of Wisconsin get involved with the Libertarian Party?
Anderson: We’ve upgraded our website and CRM to Nationbuilder, so if a person goes to LPWI.org and indicates interest in helping, or membership, we’ll respond quickly.
Keller: Why is the time for liberty now?
Anderson: People are being oppressed, stolen from, lied to, indoctrinated, incarcerated, and killed. The time has been now for a long time.
Keller: What does the future of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin, and of America, look like?
Anderson: We need to try to find peace, within the local, state, and national LPs, with the difference between end goals based on principle, and short term goals and campaigns that are principled, but seen as compromise. We have a good balance here in Wisconsin, I believe.
But there are still many people on the outside who are libertarians but aren’t quite ready for the full message, because it’s condemning of people and institutions they love or respect, or have been conditioned to love and respect, even their own lives. If we are libertarians and want others to benefit, we have to meet them where they are, to a certain extent. Jesus Christ dined with harlots and thugs, and loved them, but never condoned sin. Our libertarian message can be principled as well as understanding that most of the people we want to help have been brainwashed into believing in government, public schools, military service, police authority, what have you. If we want to help them, we need to message and relate appropriately.
There are also still many, although not as many, libertarians on the outside who see any message modification as compromise, and disregard the LPs for it. They are right to be wary, and suspicious, because sometimes people ARE compromising principle, or don’t really believe. I have always tried to lead from short term goal (abolish the WI state income tax) to enduring principle (taxation is theft) whenever possible. It’s not always possible though, in every context.
To the extent that this peace and cooperation is possible, the LP and LPWI have bright futures. To the extent that it’s not, there will be a continual struggle for control, people leaving, forming new caucuses and parties. People of course are free to do so, but that conflict is wasted energy and time. Remember, people are being oppressed, stolen from, lied to, indoctrinated, incarcerated, and killed every day.
Keller: Do you have any final remarks to the people of Wisconsin and the readers?
Anderson: It’s never to late to be involved, in joining, running for office, or helping in some way. Our work toward a free society in our lifetime is continuous. Please consider attending our convention April 13th-15th in Madison, joining, contributing, or following along at LPWI.org.
I want to thank Phil Anderson for his time! If you are interested in Libertarianism, be sure to get involved at www.lp.org as well as with your state affiliate. If you want to be a part of the discussion, be sure to follow 71Republic on twitter, as well as Phil Anderson and the Libertarian Party.
(Image from facebook.com)