The following letter was written by Nicholas Sarwark, the chairman of the Libertarian Party, and published on LP.org on July 20th, 2016:
Many of us have Republican friends who are pretty frustrated right now. I bet you know someone who is. Maybe a close friend, a family member, a Facebook friend…
They are not bad people, and they aren’t blind either. They see that Trump is a bully, that he’s unqualified. They agree he should not become President. Our country deserves better, and they expected better from their party. They feel betrayed and maybe just a little bit…politically homeless right now. Remember that feeling?
Let’s try to welcome them – and their votes. We NEED to if we want our candidates to succeed!
We need to be diplomatic about it and resist the urge to gloat about the difficulties their party has been facing. We also need to understand where they are coming from and meet them where they are right now, politically.
Our Republican friends may not see every issue the way we do – and that is ok. We can persuade them on various issues over time. (Congeniality and diplomacy in our Libertarian debate circles is another topic for another time! Right now, we need for a lot of people who are searching for political options to feel comfortable enough with us to vote for Gary Johnson this fall!)
Here are a few strategies that I have personally found most effective when reaching out to displaced Republicans:
– Acknowledge their frustration. It is real. It is painful and it is personal to them. Respect it. Resist the urge to gloat or taunt. Most won’t take that well right now. If we want our party to grow long term, it won’t be through insulting or alienating people who mostly agree with us!
– Keep reminding your friends that there are options beyond Trump and Clinton, and that Governor Johnson will be on the ballot in all 50 states.
– Share points of interest about Governor Johnson. He was a two-term Republican governor of New Mexico. He’s a successful entrepreneur. He’s an athlete. He’s ethical, candid, honest, likable, trustworthy, and highly qualified. He cut taxes and balanced the budget in his state. Really, there is so much for Republicans to like about him!
– Encourage other mutual Libertarian-leaning friends to talk with your friend. Let them see that other people they know are voting Libertarian. Some people need to see this before they will do it themselves.
– Encourage them to be true to themselves when they vote. You don’t get a prize for picking the winner, and if we all voted for who we really thought the best candidate was, this country would be better for it. Also, a strong showing in this election will put libertarian values front and center in the next, even if we don’t win. We can register our support for liberty by voting our beliefs.
– Show them the beautiful diversity of the Libertarian Party. No matter who they are, where they come from, what they look like, what they enjoy, what they believe, there are Libertarians like them. There is not a more diverse organization in America. We respect each other and continually strive to peacefully coexist. Believe it or not, Republicans do care about this!
Be welcoming. Be kind. Be encouraging. Be respectful.
Let’s show America the beauty of liberty and the merit of our candidates. If we diligently and diplomatically share this message, Governor Johnson might just end up in the White House come January! But even if he doesn’t, our party will be bigger and stronger for your efforts.
Chair, Libertarian National Committee