Steve Scheetz is the former chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania and presently serves as the treasurer of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus. His following “Open Message to All Libertarians” is being published on ATPR for the first time:
Open Message to All Libertarians
There has been much discussion regarding what Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have been saying in public, as the Libertarian Party Nominees for President and Vice President of the United States. This election cycle has seen more interest in the Libertarian Party than any other election cycle in the history of our party’s existence!
Is this Gary Johnson or Bill Weld making this happen? Well, the answer to this is somewhat complicated. The two Governors are walking a tightrope. They are saying things in such a way so as to keep the national spotlight on their campaign, and it cannot be easy for them. However, it is also extremely helpful to their campaign that they are running against two of the most polarizing figures in the history of US electoral Politics, and that is saying something!
The problem, as many Libertarians have been noting, is that Gary Johnson and William Weld have been saying things, publicly, that are not congruent with Libertarian Principles. There are those within many of the various Caucuses who would like to see a motion to distance the party from the campaign. I believe this would be a huge mistake for several reasons, but to start with, the Johnson Campaign has been listening, and has walked back those egregious statements shortly after the blow back had been called to the campaign’s attention. One of the other reasons is what happens to the campaign AND the Libertarian Party should we apply the “nuclear option?”
Many of us have agreed that the people, after November, will remember two things about the Libertarian Candidate: “Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal.” There may be something in some people’s minds about smoking pot, but if they remember anything at all, that is all that will be remembered, and while I get that this sentiment is bothersome to all of us, it is the reality. If we apply the nuclear option, people will remember Libertarians as those people who shot down their own candidate after they nominated him at their convention! How do we trust anything they stand for if they are so wishy washy that they cannot even be loyal to their own candidate? The campaign will be destroyed, which some Libertarians may not be unhappy to see, but so would the chances of the Libertarian Party doing anything meaningful in the future, at least for another 6-8 years. We have been working on a very long game Ladies and Gentlemen, we work to win hearts and free minds; minds which have been conditioned, in some cases, for decades! Minds which have been conditioned by fear tactics put forth by political opportunists, and the ONLY way we can continue to do what we need to do is to take our message to the people! Let me say this again, WE need to take our message to the people, WE DO NOT need to let Gary Johnson do the heavy lifting, and then criticize him when the message is not what we want it to be.
Here is the call to action: If there is a problem with the Johnson Campaign’s message, don’t tell Facebook, tell the Johnson Campaign! They have demonstrated that they will listen if problems are presented to them. The second part? Libertarianism is about individual empowerment; it is about the grass roots. Demonstrate this to the world by taking the Libertarian message EVERYWHERE! Come to the convention in 2018 and help make the Party what we want it to be! Finally, WE work to end Ignorance, and Fear; let’s make the world a better place for us having been here!