Jeremy Siple: My Thoughts On the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, and My Endorsement for President (with my response)

IPR, June 1st, 2016: 

2016 was my first Libertarian National Convention, and it was a wonderful experience! A lot of fun was had, so many media were on hand, and I got to meet so many wonderful and interesting people! I also got to meet so many people I knew from Facebook and IPR, and none of you disappointed. The fun atmosphere really made this special, and I walked out a more dedicated and more passionate Libertarian than when I walked in. My sincere thanks to Nicholas Sarwark and the convention organizers for a job well done!

That brings me to the elephant in the room, the presidential ticket. I was a committed devotee of Darryl W. Perry for president and Will Coley for vice president, and it was a decision I did not expect to come to. I started this election season as an agnostic Libertarian, and it was Darryl’s passionate and righteous defense of all liberty, all the time that made me the radical voluntaryist I am today.

With that said, I knew going in that Gary Johnson was likely to be the nominee, and was resigned to this. In 2012 I was proud to vote for Gov. Johnson, and despite some serious misgivings, was fully prepared to vote for him again in 2016.

That has now been complicated by three specific events, namely:

1. There were deep divisions over Governors Johnson and Weld, divisions that I fear could do irreparable harm to the party, just as happened to the Reform Party. Mr. Perry alluded to this point in his concession speech.

2. Gov. Johnson had an opportunity to heal these divisions by taking to the stage and, while not backing down from his support for Bill Weld, stating plainly that he trusted the delegates and would honor their wishes. Instead, Gov. Johnson proceeded to beg for delegates to nominate Weld over someone they would be more comfortable with, and in my opinion made an ass of himself.

3. Most damningly, it has now been confirmed that the reports of Gov. Johnson throwing Austin Petersen’s peace offering in the trash were very much true, and that he lied when he said he knew nothing about it. I was very public about my distaste for Austin Petersen and his campaign tactics, but a gift in the name of reconciliation and party unity is a sacred thing. Both candidates have claimed to have buried the hatchet, but I am unsatisfied.

It is for these reasons that I announce that I cannot, and will not, endorse, vote for, or in any way support the Johnson/Weld presidential ticket. This is a decision that does not come easily to me, but on which I am firm and unwavering. Governor Johnson’s actions are unbecoming of a Libertarian Party presidential candidate, and it would go against every moral fiber of my being to be a part of this fraud.

In November of 2016, unless either man specifically asks me not to, I will be writing in the ticket of Darryl W. Perry for president, and Will Coley for vice president. I encourage all my fellow Libertarians to do the same.

The only way we can begin to heal, is to stand united against Johnson and Weld.

Jeremy Siple
Proud Libertarian
IPR Contributor

My response:

Krzysztof Lesiak June 1, 2016 at 19:57
I think that you made the right decision, Jeremy.

I think it might be better at this point if the LP presidential ticket were to radically under perform (whatever percentage that means), because it would show the futility of nominating washed-up establishment Republicans who have associated with neocons and espoused neocon rhetoric (this pertains to Weld at least). It would show that nominating seasoned politicians for the highest office in the land will not automatically result in the shattering of previous vote totals, raise millions or break some sort of magical 5% barrier (with Stein pulling from disenfranchised Bernie fans, and with Trump moderating his message and coalescing more and more previously #NeverTrump Republicans day b y day), I guarantee that #WeldMyJohnson won’t attain that 5%. Even if Johnson managed to squeeze his way into the CoPD debates, his lack of substance, constant repetition, lack of in-depth knowledge on the issues and quite simply boring delivery won’t boost his his numbers. If anything, he’ll tank. Granted, Weld could perform better, but who really watches the VP debates?

Now, if Johnson did meet or over-perform expectations, I suppose that would help the LP with future ballot access and the down-ticket races. But with such libertarian-lite (at best, and that’s only in Johnson’s case), will it have been worth it? I’m not an LP member, so I can’t speak to that point.

I myself won’t vote for Weld/Johnson, and since the only other name that might make the Illinois ballot is Jill Stein, I likely won’t vote in the presidential election at all, since I don’t particularly want to cast a write-in vote, as I doubt this state does a good job of tabulating them (a write-in that I can’t see when I pull up the vote totals for my precinct is, to me personally, a wasted vote). I might vote for down-ticket LPers, or I might stay a non-voter like Feldman till I’m 50 (if cancer sticks don’t kill me before then).

I think the emphasis should be placed on running good, hardcore libertarians for state and local offices this year. Maybe with his new-found celebrity, anarchist candidate James “The Stripper” Weeks II can pull an upset win in his race for Livingston County Sheriff.

And speaking of Weeks, I’ll make my final point: I watched the LP convention with my mom, and when Weeks started doing his striptease, we were both like WTF and my mom went off on a tangent about libertines and how libertarians are for “freedom from anything” (not surprised since she’s an immigrant from socially conservative, overwhelmingly Catholic Poland). At first I thought Weeks (with whom I used to be friends with on Facebook, I vaguely remember talking a little bit about anarchy, Alex Jones, and how smoking etiquette dictates smokers should bum cigarettes to fellow smokers) was embarrassing to the party and absolutely distasteful, but after a few days of casually pondering the subject, I came to the conclusion that it took a lot of balls to do what he did, in front of 1,000 people and C-SPAN cameras. If he did it on a dare, he should have been compensated for it. Either way, he brought some attention to the LP from a lot of media sources (international AND non-political), and since he didn’t do anything heinous, I suppose there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

2 responses to “Jeremy Siple: My Thoughts On the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, and My Endorsement for President (with my response)

  1. Al Hopfmann

    Good common sense from both of you. But actually, Gary Johnson is a little bit better than you think, and William Weld is much worse than you think. So I am very disappointed with Gary, and very annoyed with the intrusion of Establishment phony Weld. I will not be voting for them or the other three best known presidential candidates either. It looks like the Prohibition Party candidate might be the only one worth considering. Who could have predicted that!

    Like

  2. I’m still voting Johnson/Weld, however if Austin starts playing nice with the activist crowd & leadership of the LP, and starts laying the groundwork for 2020, then many GJ supporters, including me, might flock to his candidacy then; unless GJ actually gets elected president -this will be the last time that GJ runs for that office, and therefore Austin’s chances will be much better when the next presidential election comes around.

    I’m ok with Weld being on the ticket, however if Weld runs for the LP nomination for president in 2020, I will not support him then.

    Like

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