Tag: LNC

2018: Making The Libertarian Party Great Again

By Austin Anderholt | United States

The libertarian party is often looked at as a joke. It makes a mistake and people laugh. “Haha! This is why the libertarian party will never work!” While they are obviously held to much higher standards than the two main parties, I do admit they make their fair share of large mistakes. At times they can make the future of the party look quite grim, but these mistakes will actually propel the party to new heights, even landing it the title of “major political party” (if we’re lucky). Here’s why:

Let’s take the case of Arvin Vohra. Mr. Vohra, vice chair of the Libertarian Party, recently came under fire for comments that many deemed “pro-pedophilia.” Many two party spectators saw this event as just another reason why the libertarian party will never grow but this was something very different. A huge amount of libertarians took to social media and other mediums to contact their local LNC representative to vote to remove Vohra from office. The libertarians were furious! When, days ago, the LNC failed to meet the two thirds majority vote to fire Vohra, libertarians became ever more disgusted!

Another example is Ron Paul not being allowed to speak at the 2018 LNC convention. Almost every libertarian is angry at the backstabbing that their party’s leadership has given them. They are sick of trying to defend these irrational decisions. They are sick of being “the joke party.”

What does this mean? The party absolutely despises the leaders that continue to do this to them! When these leaders run for re-election, they are going to be ripped limb-by-limb. The terrible guidance of the party has resulted in a huge amount of 2018 candidates vowing to “drain the libertarian swamp” and they are not going down without a fight. 2018 will be remembered in the libertarian party. 2018 will be the year that the LP started to become a major party. Mark my words.

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Sarwark Vs. Smith, To Debate Or Not To Debate?

By Ryan Lau | United States

In a new development Sunday, tensions are rising between candidates for the Chairmanship of the Libertarian Party. This July, incumbent Nicholas Sarwark will attempt to defend his seat against Think Liberty founder Joshua Smith. The election will take place at the Libertarian National Convention in New Orleans.

Before the election, Smith hopes that he may be able to debate Sarwark on a number of policy differences. 71 Republic may sponsor this debate. So far, the only slated meeting of the two candidates will take place at a forum in Long Beach, California. Additionally, a debate at the Nebraska Libertarian Party State Convention was planned, but then canceled.

However, it is still possible that a debate between the two may not occur. Despite Smith’s firm advocacy for one to occur, Sarwark has yet to confirm his availability. In the following video obtained from an anonymous source, Smith asked Sarwark to increase the number of debates beyond one. Sarwark replied calmly, stating that “I’ll have to see about scheduling”.

Without a doubt, the ultimate victor of this race may have a huge impact on the future direction of the party. In the above video, Sarwark and 2020 Presidential Candidate Adam Kokesh agreed on the importance of the party’s future. After Kokesh stated he has “a lot of interest in the future of the party”, Sarwark agreed, remarking “that’s good, we all do”.

However, it is possible that voters may not be able to see a debate between the two candidates prior to their critical election if the two cannot reach an agreement on a time and place for such a debate to occur. What are your opinions on the subject? Please add your comments below.

Larry Sharpe Resigns Libertarian Party Leadership Post In Protest

Larry Sharpe, 2018 New York Governor candidate and early favorite for Libertarian Party (LP) Presidential Nominee in 2020, has resigned his Libertarian National Committee (LNC) in protest. The news leaked across the libertarian community after Mr. Sharpe made a Facebook announcement late Friday. Previously, LNC members voted on the future of current LP Vice Chair Arvin Vohra. A large number wanted to remove him after his controversial statement on age of consent laws.

From Mr. Sharpe’s statement:

The recent reaction from the LNC has clarified for me that Arvin does fit on the LNC. Clearly, the one who does not belong is me. I accept responsibility for this and I will remedy this incongruity by immediately resigning as Region 8 alternate.

In addition to Sharpe, many libertarian members and leaders saw the comments as tone-deaf and demanded his removal.

The Friday night vote decided whether or not Vohra would be suspended from his position. The vote required a 2/3 majority to pass a resolution to suspend. However, it totaled an 8-8 split and Vohra retained his position. Leaders barely confirmed a secondary vote of censure with a total of 9-7.

Mr. Sharpe advocated for Vohra’s dismissal in recent weeks. Thus, after the stalemate vote was announced, Sharpe relieved himself of his LNC leadership duties. Following this, some suggested his time-consuming governor race was reason enough for his resignation. However, other members pointed to the split vote and Sharpe’s decisive action as representative of a growing ideological divide within the party.

Sharpe, a pragmatic radical, is well-known and well-liked amongst both the leadership and membership of the party, and his decision signals a clear protest of business as usual. With Mr. Sharpe poised as the clear favorite for the Libertarian Presidential nomination in 2020, his resignation could prove a major rallying cry for disenfranchised and frustrated libertarians who feel that leadership is out of touch with the movement’s base. However, Sharpe’s announcement does not mean he is leaving the Libertarian Party.

The Friday night split vote echoes sentiments within membership that has seen both support and condemnation for Vohra and the party itself in recent weeks. The motion also comes days after contentious debate amongst membership regarding Ron Paul’s alleged exclusion from a speaking role at this summer’s Libertarian National Convention. As with many issues inside the LP, coming to a consensus among membership is a herculean task. With the 2018 Libertarian National Convention only six months away, major shifts in the party’s leadership and ideology could be coming.

For more information visit Larry Sharpe’s website: larrysharpe.com

(Image from thinkliberty.com)

Ron Paul Attacks Libertarian Leadership in Response to Controversy

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

Paul’s Exclusion

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.

(Image from NYMag.com)

Interview With Alex Merced, Candidate for LNC Vice-Chair

By Mason Mohon | USA

Alex Merced is a New York Libertarian, who ran for a New York Senatorial seat in 2016, and Comptroller in 2017. Now, Alex is running for Vice Chair of the Libertarian National Convention. Alex has an extensive amount of Libertarian theory and ideas explained on his YouTube channel, and he is constantly advocating Libertarianism across social media. You can find Mr. Merced’s website here. He has B.A. in popular culture studies with a minor in marketing from Bowling Green State University. Merced has been involved with the Libertarian Party on many levels and holds potential for the liberty movement, so I decided to interview him. Alex was gracious enough to provide us with insight on his thoughts on many matters.


71R: What drew you to the Libertarian Party?

Merced: I’ve been passionate about the Libertarian message since 2007 when like many my age was “woken up” by the Ron Paul 2008 campaign. I tell the exact details of this story in my youtube video “The Aspirational Libertarian”. Ron Paul got me into broader libertarian activism and education, Michael Sanchez who was the LP candidate for NYC Mayor in 2013 was aware of my work and drafted me to the Public Advocate candidate that year and I’ve stayed involved ever since.

71R: What do you think of the current political climate for Libertarians in New York?

Merced: The devil’s in the details. In order to win larger elections, you need to win down-ballot races and have down-ballot candidates. The problem is ballot access rules make those races the hardest to participate in until we earn statewide ballot access. So many people will often criticize people like myself for running statewide and citywide races but right now it’s about building up the momentum to earn ballot access in 2018 so we can compete down ballot going forward. So right now all eyes are on Larry Sharpe 2018, I am volunteering as the policy director of the campaign currently. (50k votes for governor is how a party gets ballot access in NY. we got 17k votes in 2014 and 48k votes in 2010) (The only time a New York candidate has broken 50k votes was Norma Segal in 1992 for US Senate which does NOT earn the party ballot access)

71R: Tell us a bit about your 2016 Senatorial bid.

Merced: There are two politicians who I always said if I can run against them I would jump at the opportunity: Anthony Weiner and Chuck Schumer. To me the represented the epitome of politics as usual so while Weiner ended up taking care of himself 2016 Schumer was up for re-election so I threw my name in for the nomination and successfully got the nomination of the LP. I traveled the state with the help of the entire NYLP who truly became my family during that journey. I ended getting the 3rd highest statewide vote total in NYLP history and met a lot of new people who have become involved with the LP since and still to this day get contacted regularly by people over the state voicing their support.

71R: Tell us a bit about your 2017 Comptroller bid.

Merced: [It consisted of m]eeting New Yorkers all across the state, [and] many of them were workers depending on their pensions. The issue came up a lot and I did some research I was shocked to see the conditions that NYC pensions were in and that neither of the candidates for the duopoly had any relevant experience (a career politicians vs a former pro-football player) so I decided to take my decade in the financial industry to give people an option with relevant experience and a focus on real solutions to the pension bomb that is the NYC pension system. The Democrats essentially ignored all the city issues and campaigned against Trump which was effective in blue NYC but many workers expressed appreciation for my efforts to teach them about the pension issue and are trying within their union to push for many of the reforms I discussed. I know we can’t always win an election, but if you can articulate answers to people change can happen even if it isn’t direct.

71R: What made you decide to run for LNC Vice-Chair?

Merced: With a lot of the controversies surrounding the current Vice-Chair many voiced concerns that while they want a Vice-Chair that is less divisive they still want someone with a bold libertarian vision and understanding of libertarianism who can still put forward a positive broadly accessible message. I originally was considering a run for At-Large but then I got a call from Johnny Adams of the Johnny Rocket Launchpad asking me to consider the run for Vice Chair. Afterwards, I got a similar call from many influential libertarians who will be making public endorsements over the next several months. It was clear that people believed that I could serve as a unifier of different interests (bold libertarian views with pragmatic and positive packaging). At the end of the day, my goal is to serve the movement in whatever way I can, as I do believe a libertarian change in our life is a matter of a drastically different quality of life for many. So I enter the race with every intention of being the most effective Vice-Chair I can be not just in its day to day responsibilities but as a public face for the party.

To learn about many of my other goals and ideas for the position please visit AlexMercedforLNC.com.

71R: How do you think you’ll be able to utilize the knowledge from your previous two races in this race?

Merced: I’ve been a two-time County Party Officer and three-time Candidate. I’ve learned about the needs of serving in these positions and want to take those lessons learned in helping national provide chapters and candidates the support to grow more and more. The LNC has made many positive investments during the years and I hope my experience can add value to the conversation. I also hope to be very active in communicating affiliates and independent caucus groups to help them feel even more represented and involved with national. Cohesion and Unity is a high priority for me.

71R: How has your minor in marketing assisted you in politics and furthering the LP?

Merced: I am academically trained in cultural studies and marketing, I professionally work in education and finance, and technology and media is a passion for me. Having a diverse amount of skills, knowledge, and perspective has helped me be able to get a lot of mileage out of my projects on a shoestring budget. This also shows me that most problems have pretty simple solutions if your willing to learn more and learn often.

71R: What do you think of Arvin Vohra? In what ways will you be better than him?

Merced: My personal experiences with Arvin have been positive. He’s been kind to me even gave me a very warm introduction when I spoke at the 2016 LNC. That being said he’s become very divisive as of late which to me isn’t the role of being an elected leader. An elected leader should aim to promote the principles of the organization in a way that unites and grows the organization I feel this has not been achieved as of late which is why I’ve been trying to double down my positive accessible outreach efforts. I try to be an example of what I’d like to see, I always find it more effective than telling others what they should be doing.

71R: What do you think of Nick Sarwark?

Merced: Again, my personal experiences with Nick have been fine, I think he ran the LNC 2016 quite well. I do think the back and forth with Tom Woods was unnecessary and counterproductive but overall I think Nick has been fine although I think anyone overtime in a leadership position becomes polarized whether they aim to be or not. (Anyone with enough time will have everything they say parsed and over analyzed resulting in factions for and against them, which is a good reason to have a regular rotation of leadership so these divisions don’t get too deep.) 

71R: Who is your preferred LNC chairman?

Merced: I will be making an endorsement at some point and I am leaning towards Joshua Smith. Mainly, I’ve got to know him pretty well over the last several months and feel we have complementary skills and being from different coasts gives good exposure. Essentially you generally would want the Chair and Vice Chair to kind of be opposites, one to be a more calm figure looking to keep everyone together and the other one willing to be more willing to find a hill and fight to defend it. (I feel Sarwark and Vohra had many of these same complimentary features but Vohra especially is starting to become too divisive within the party for that pairing to survive 2018. I think I can work well with Nick although I think we overlap more so than compliment each other).

71R: Do you have plans to work together with a candidate for LNC Chair to replace Nick and Arvin together?

Merced: I consider everyone running for both positions friends and family. I hope to be amicable and work with everyone to make sure all the delegates know what their options are and vote for what they think will move the party forward the best.

71R: What kind of Libertarian do you consider yourself?

Merced: I stopped embracing particular labels long ago. Let me put it this way…

I want to give people more control over their life, body, and property and lessen governments control over it.

How far can that go? I’d love to find out. I’m always willing to push the envelope further in that goal but I don’t feel it’s necessary to make an absolute guess of how far the liberty agenda can push. How about we push, assess, then push further, repeat till you can’t push any further. The most important thing is to get people on the same page of pushing and that’s where I focus my energy.

71R: What else would you like people to know?

Merced: I’m an open book. I’ve over the last 10 years probably fallen into every libertarian sub-group you can think of at some point or other. Over 2000 videos on youtube document my intellectual evolution over the years. My convictions are deep and part of me, but I, more importantly, want to foster the asking of questions, the hope for a better tomorrow that’ll help others develop their own convictions.