Libertarian Party National Convention: Day One

LP_EagleflameI will admit that I was not with everything as much as I would have liked to have been.Unfortunately, my flight coming in to Orlando was delayed.

That being said, there was still plenty to do at the reception. For the most part, it seems that everyone is in high spirits going in to the start of business tomorrow morning. Old friends were reuniting, online friends met for the first time, and new acquaintances were being formed all over the patio area at the Rosen Centre.

Tomorrow the real business portion starts, and it will likely get heated from time to time as debates rage about platforms, candidates, nominations, etc.  But for the time being, libertarians are joined together. Suits and flip flops, anarchists and pragmatists. For a brief moment, utopia may have existed.

I will report all business live as it happens on Twitter, and blog all results as they are declared. Follow at@CraigBowden2020.

One Week Until History Is Written

LP_EagleflameA historic opportunity has been given to the Libertarian Party this election year.  2016 has produced  two of the most disliked candidates from the Democrat and Republican Parties. On the one hand is Donald Trump, a candidate who changes his mind on where stands more often than most people bathe. On the other hand is Hillary Clinton, a known liar, riddled with scandals beyond compare. Mr. Trump should be in an asylum for his split personalities, and Mrs. Clinton in a federal penitentiary for breaking the law. Yet, many people say we must choose between these two horrible options. But do we?

The answer to that question is no. We don’t have to accept the choice of being shot or stabbed. We can choose to vote for the Libertarian Party nominee in November.

The Libertarian National Convention, taking place from May 26-30 at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, will choose a nominee that the American people can get behind. A candidate that espouses liberty, economic freedom, and social acceptance of all the varieties of people that exist in the world. In the pre-convention process, three candidates have emerged as the front runners in the Libertarian Party, and all three offer far more than what the two-party system is giving us.

wp-1460868578585.jpgFormer Governor Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson brings in a very pragmatic approach to every man, woman, and child in America. He brings experience to the table as a two term Governor of New Mexico, CEO of Sativa, and building up a one man handyman business to being one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico. As the 2012 nominee for the Libertarian Party, he was able to break old records and garner over 1.2 million votes in the General Election.

Unlike other Republicans who tried using the Party’s ballot access, then leave after losing the election, running back to the Republican Party, Governor Johnson has stuck around.  He has been instrumental in the ballot access fights and the fight for inclusion in the Presidential Debates for third parties.

His brand of libertarianism may certainly be easier to swallow for the American people who have yet to embrace what libertarian philosophy has to offer. Combined with his experience governing, he is certainly a choice that would be palatable to the majority of the United States.

wp-1460945117493.jpgCyber Security Titan John McAfee

Already a household name by a great number of Americans, John McAfee joined the fray in the Libertarian Party to bring new approaches to expanding liberty. While new to the Libertarian Party, Mr. McAfee has made a life living in freedom and refusing government corruption.

He brings with him an intimate knowledge of cyber-security threats that very well could be facing our nation. The battlefield is becoming more technology oriented, and is waged with keyboards instead of rifles. Having the unique perspective John has is an asset to an administration in this century.

He and his team are also putting together one of the greatest movements the Libertarian Party has ever had. The project called #VoteDifferent is all about offering America a better choice at every level of office. He is helping with tools, resources, and exposure not before seen by many candidates seeking office on a third party ticket. This kind of project is exactly what the party, and America, needs leading into 2018 and 2020.

austin-petersen-600x400Young and Passionate Austin Petersen

Austin Petersen is the best of the grassroots, ground game candidates in the 2016 election. With far fewer resources and little name recognition in the beginning of the season, he has become a powerhouse, especially in social media.

He brings with him experience from FreedomWorks, the Ron Paul campaign, Outreach Coordinator for the Libertarian Party, and helping produce Judge Napalitano’s show on Fox Business. He may be young, but throughout the campaign has become very articulate, relatable, and more consistent as the time has gone on.

He may be young, but he brings passion with him that has otherwise been very lacking in previous nominees. This passion makes him far easier to follow and support, since most people want to get behind someone who will real bring a fight, and Austin looks like he will be more than ready to take the gloves off if the time comes.

Regardless of who the delegates choose in one week, the candidate selected will be a far better choice than what is offered. It is important to look to the principles of the candidates and not just who get them most media time. The mainstream may try to say that a vote for one of these three men may be wasted, but in all reality, you are only wasting your vote if you aren’t voting for something you believe in.

Marine Vet for Freedom will be on site at the Libertarian Party Convention, and we will report all results as they happen. So stay tuned for the announcement of the next President of the United States after the votes are tallied on May 29th.

 

Gary Johnson Wins Nebraska Primary

wp-1460868578585.jpgWhile results from state primaries and conventions do not bind delegates in the Libertarian Party, it is important to note when candidates win in these as a reflection of possible results at the Convention where the Libertarian nominee will be chosen

With 1426 precincts reporting out of 1480, we can confidently call Gary Johnson as the clear winner of the Libertarian primary in Nebraska with 52.3% of the vote as of 10:54 MST.

Results are posted by the Nebraska Secretary of State here.

The other candidates were in a dead heat for the first portion of the polling, results as of us calling for Gov. Johnson are as follows:

  • Marc Feldman: 6.7%
  • Steve Kerbel: 5%
  • John McAfee: 17.1%
  • Austin Petersen: 18.7%

NE Primary

 

Time to Unify

LP_EagleflameOne of the constant challenges faced within the Libertarian Party goes beyond the election cycles, selecting candidates, or running for office. The biggest challenge I believe we have is the way that certain factions tend to fight.  Anarchists versus Minarchists, big tent versus philosophy centric, winning versus educating. It is something that has certainly hit us with the 2016 election, where it could be said that we are nearly in a non-violent civil war.

It has gotten to the point where certain groups are calling for the expulsion of others, and this is why this article is being written. To hopefully add voice to the fact that without each other, there is no way to get to where government can be limited.

The Libertarian Party is the only party that has spoken up consistently against waste, fraud, corruption, and abuse. It has been the only voice championing liberty, even when it wasn’t popular. Since its inception in 1971, the Libertarian Party has given voice to hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised people in America.

The ultimate goal of all libertarians is to move in a direction of more liberty, and we should be doing so in as large a manner as possible. If a bill introduced falls short of the goal, we should accept the step and then push to continue moving towards abolition. We cannot cut off our noses to spite our face.

It feels like the many sides of libertarian believe they are the only ones who can do this, not recognizing that we all need each other in order to bring about anything even close to what our goals are. The purity test, the exclusion of anarchists by minarchists; we are fast becoming our own worst enemy.

It seems that many are forgetting the alliance set by the Dallas Accord to make sure that we can eventually obtain a more ideal world. That union is what keeps the Libertarian Party centered on principles (as the more radical elements provide a check and balance to the party being overrun), and the more minarchist elements are able to reach out to the people who aren’t quite ready for radicalism.

We need to recognize that without this alliance, the Libertarian Party goes nowhere. Radicals and minarchists need each other. Now is the time for us to really push as 2016 has afforded us the unique opportunity to contrast the two party system. We cannot afford to fight about what a “real” libertarian is.  We need to utilize each other to build and grow like never before.

 

 

Top 5 Reason Libertarians Shouldn’t Support Donald Trump

donald-trumpA lot of individuals on social media have been trying to make a libertarian case for Donald Trump. The worst part of it is that several self-proclaimed libertarians are getting into the pro-Trump movement, and trying to bring us back into the lesser evils argument.

So here are my top ten reasons why no libertarian should support Donald Trump as President of the United States:

  1. Donald Trump has called for war crimes in public. In an interview on Fox & Friends, Candidate Trump had the following words on how to handle the problem with ISIS in the Middle East. “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.” As libertarians, we do not believe in killing innocent people, and we do not condone murdering people based on the crimes or atrocities that may have been committed by a family member.
  2. Mr. Trump favors eminent domain.  While some argument might be made in defense of eminent domain when discussing something like roads, Mr. Trump has used the force of government to utilize eminent domain for personal profit in his own business ventures.  Private property is one of the things that is considered a cornerstone of the American brand of libertarian philosophy. And even in the more left leaning circles of libertarian thought, land is held in the commons and not something that can just be taken for personal gain.
  3. The presidential candidate wants to shut down travel from Islamic nations, and build a wall preventing travel across the Southern border. Libertarians believe that part of a free society includes the ability to freely travel.  While some will disagree citing national security, what they fail to realize is that we wouldn’t be in half of the mess we are currently in if not for an interventionist foreign policy. We must also remember that if we trade liberty for security, eventually we will eventually have neither.
  4. Until Mr. Trump suddenly decided to become a Republican, he has been donating to politicians that have been implementing economic policies that have wrought havoc on cities, states, and the nation. This includes one of his opponents, Hillary Clinton, who he is quoted as saying she is a close friend, and in 2008 that there was no one more qualified to be President.
  5. It wasn’t until a few months ago that Donald Trump changed his tune on health care. While we can certainly agree that a person can change positions in what they believe, normally you can find a pivot point. However, with Mr. Trump running with the wind, there is never a demonstrated pivot, only him stating the popular opinion of the time.  So this would indicate that since no pivot can be demonstrated, he still would advocate for a single payer healthcare system, which is a bane as choices become limited, lines for treatment get longer, and we continue to further our national debt.

There are far more reasons to not support Donald Trump. These are enough for any libertarian to say no to him being selected as the leader of the nation.

Watch “Candidate Speech at the Libertarian Party of Utah” on YouTube

Utah Libertarians Pick Candidates, Choose National Delegates for 2016

Saturday, April 23rd, the Libertarian Party of Utah held their annual convention to select candidates and choose delegates for the National Convention in May, where they will help select the nominee for President of the United States. This year’s turn out was possibly the largest in the state’s party history.

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It began, as all conventions, with credentialing attendees who were eligible to vote on candidates and party business items. The reason to bring this up is that it took far longer than normal to finish the process, as the line literally went out the door for the majority of the morning, even though credentialing started thirty minutes prior to the scheduled start.

In spite of the long lines and a late kick off, enthusiasm ran high as candidates prepped their final thought in their heads, and old friends shook hands. New faces were present as well, with several officially joining the Libertarian Party on the spot.

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Libertarian Party of Utah Chair Andrew McCullough

Party Chairman, Andrew McCullough, kicked things off with great news on the fiscal situation in the Utah party, as well as the record growth experienced in the last year. The party has been adding record number of concerned Utahans every month, which as reported, may have even tripled the size of the party.

There were of course the candidates up for nomination, and while a little smaller than 2014’s, looks to be one of the strongest seen based on the experience of the candidates who stepped up.

*Craig Bowden – U.S. House, 1st District
*Brian Kamerath/Barry Short – Governor/Lt. Governor
*Andrew McCullough – Utah Attorney General
*Jim Dexter – Utah State Senate, District 6
*Aaron Davis – Utah State House, District 6
*Joe Buchman – Utah State Senate, District 14
*Derryck Gordon – Utah State House, District 10
*Brent Zimmerman – Utah State House, District 16
*Chelsea Travis – Utah State House, District 35
*Lee Anne Walker – Utah State House, District 46

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State House candidate Derryck Gordon

On top of the selection of candidates for offices within Utah, the Libertarian group held a Presidential straw poll and chose delegates to head to the National Convention in May at the Rosen Centre in Orlando.

Results of the straw poll are as follows:
Gary Johnson – 33
Austin Petersen – 11
John McAfee – 10
Vermin Supreme – 4
Darryl Perry – 1

The candidates selected for the poll were based off those who had representation speak on their behalf.

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Charlynn Patterson, one of the selected delegates pitching why she should be chosen

This year, Utah was also able to select a full delegation of 8, with all 8 alternates chosen as well. Each person interested in becoming a delegate was able to speak for two minutes on why they should be selected.

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Former Mayor Willie Marshall

Former mayor Willie Marshall addressed the crowd on how to get elected as a Libertarian using his three rules of “Suit up, show up, and play the game.” It was amazing to have an example of triumph from an elected libertarian in Utah.

Utah Libertarians lastly selected their six electors in the event the Libertarian nominee wins the majority of votes in November.

Candidate Analysis – John McAfee

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One of the final entries I will be making in the series of candidate analysis for those running for the nomination for President within the Libertarian Party will be John McAfee.

Mr. McAfee is probably the most widely known of those who stepped up to run in 2016 within the Libertarian Party. A household name for anyone who ever bought anti-virus software, this alone gives him an advantage among the general electorate. Name recognition is a huge thing, especially when you are a third party with hurdles in getting media attention.

John is also very well articulated on libertarian philosophy. He doesn’t seem to have to think before giving a response to a question, and he’s able to communicate in terms palatable to most people. His speaking ability also sounds genuine, and when he delivers, even if previously rehearsed, sounds like it came off the cuff.

Out of the candidates who have garnered somewhat more considerable media attention, he has also remained the most consistently libertarian in his answers. This is important because as libertarians, we want the message to stay on course and not watered down.

Mr. McAfee is also no stranger to leading, as his reported net worth before Intel bought his company, was around $100 million. This shows direction to the future, the ability to have others willingly follow, and demonstrates outstanding organizational structure.

He also has a better command of possible cyber threats that are a very real chance in today’s technology driven world. He is far and above the best candidate having knowledge in this regard, and something that needs to be considered.

In spite of these strengths, there are a few things I have observed that do need to be addressed about John McAfee.

The first one that is the most obvious is there have been suspicions present he is only using our party for ballot access. Before he declared as a Libertarian candidate, he was a Presidential candidate for the Cyber Party. While this alone is certainly not a disqualifier, as many of us came from elsewhere before going libertarian, it does tie in with two other concerns I have.

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The fist tied in concern is that he has publicly stated if Gary Johnson were to be nominated, he would cease supporting the party. What he fails to realize in this is that delegates are human and measure their own criteria in selecting candidates. We don’t always get things right (Root & Barr spring immediately to mind). We survived them, and we’ll survive again so long as we continue to hold onto principle. And by abandoning altogether, he also removes support from candidates in other races who are beyond libertarian in application.

You don’t have to support a candidate you don’t believe in, but I would still continue to fight for other candidates at all levels of office.

The second tie in to my concerns are the massive public works programs he advocated for while in the Cyber Party. I personally believe he has realized that we wouldn’t support such programs as libertarians. He denies knowledge of these program suggestions, but they were on his website for a couple months before he made the switch to the Libertarian Party.

The final concerns I have about Mr. McAfee is his time in Belize. He has denied allegations, but the media will have a hay day with his past if he gains any decent rise in polling to be considered a threat to the duopoly. Even if the allegations are false, and even though we as libertarians don’t care if a person chooses to consume illicit substances or have multiple companions, the general electorate may not be so accepting or tolerant as Bill O’Reilly or George Stephanopoulos rip him apart at the behest of their party leaders.

So, my two cents on McAfee are simply to tread carefully. It might go really well or might tear us apart. You are the judge with your vote.

To learn more go to http://www.McAfee2016.com

Candidate Analysis – Gary Johnson

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Next up on the list is the former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson. It goes without saying that Gary has probably the best resume on paper in the Libertarian field. He grew a business from one man “handy man,” to the largest construction company in New Mexico. He was elected twice as Governor of the state. And recently, Gary was the CEO of a marijuana edibles company.

Gary also started Our America Initiative to challenge the debate commission on presidential debates excluding 3rd party candidates, especially considering the Libertarian Party has a definite electoral chance, if given the same coverage.

As the Libertarian Party nominee in 2012, he also shattered the ceiling with total votes. Rising up over 1 million in the general election.

No one can argue that the background is impressive, if not daunting to overcome if you’re also vying for the nod from delegates in May. However, his background alone isn’t what delegates look at. We measure platforms, strategy, strengths, and weaknesses in who we select.

So aside from his strong resume, let’s have a chat about Governor Johnson.

One strong suite for him has been his approachability. He is very relaxed, easy to talk to, and understood well by many people. He comes across as an average guy and not a high and mighty elitist.

Gary is also able to offer substance in his ideas proposed. If you ask him on his position, whether you agree with his position or not, he is able to give specifics on the how and why he would do something. This is critical for any candidate.

Gov. Johnson has also garnered far more media attention than all other candidates combined. This includes prime time slots on mainstream sources like Fox, MSNBC, & CNN. However he also talks to the independent blogger, which adds to the credibility of being approachable.

While all of this is good, there are concerns about his campaign and his positions that need to be addressed.

First, in debates he tends to have a hard time articulating in a specific timeframe. Give him enough time and he’s sharp as a tack, but when under the pressure of time limits, he stumbles a lot. Especially if you happen to trigger him and get under his skin.

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He has also recently had some issues of advocating positions contrary to libertarian philosophy. While he is attempting to be more pragmatic in his approach, one particular stance he took on the Stossel Program debate on April 1st hit many libertarians hard. The stance was on forcing interactions between businesses and consumers. Free association is a huge deal for libertarians, and his “contention” was that a business should provide service against their beliefs.

Another common critique you’ll find is that he lacks energy. In a one on one, you can see the passion, but in some appearances, he can best be described as flaccid. If he wants to electrify the electorate in America. He needs to step up and make people believe him. He could take a lesson from Austin Petersen in this regard.

Lasly, he seems overly obsessed with issues like ISIS and Sharia Law. This tends to fall in line with the fear mongering we experience from the Republican Party. It’s common sense that in a place standing with liberty as supreme, there would be no chance for Sharia to be forced on the American people.

Overall, he is a decent choice for nomination, but he needs to step up his A-game and also spend more time studying free association. I’ve heard from many that the comments made on Stossel were a deal breaker. So I rate him as pragmatic in approach, but not necessarily going to win over radical delegates. So with a Johnson vote it is pragmatism versus pure message. That’s what has to be decided if you’re a delegate.

You can read more about Gary at http://www.GaryJohnson2016.com

Candidate Analysis – Austin Petersen

austin-petersen-600x400I am going to put this out front immediately on this article that I have not liked, nor do I support, Austin Petersen. That being said, I am going to be leaving the bias behind and evaluate him on his campaign. The debate between those who support the NAP and those who don’t is left at the door. I will abide by the Dallas Accord with this posting and let it rest for another day.

Austin Petersen hails from the State of Missouri. As he states, he’s a simple farm boy who began his journey in life in the town of Peculiar.

He certainly brings one thing that other candidates need in any campaign: enthusiasm. Whether or not you support him, he does bring a high level of energy. That is a good quality for any campaign, from city council to President of the United States. It’s hard to get behind someone who lacks any passion.

While I disagree with his earlier approach of changing the Republican Party from within, all the way through the summer of 2015, for the most part he seems to have advocated for smaller government and decentralization. This lends to some credibility since many of us were once in the same boat, myself included. Even Gary Johnson jumped ship from Republican to Libertarian.

He is appealing in appearance, which is also something that some other candidates [at all levels] could take a page from. A tailored suit, a good haircut, and clean cut look go a long way with the American electorate. Respecting your appearance usually implies respect for the job. If you look like a slob, people will usually think you are lazy.

His command of social media is his largest competitive factor, in my opinion, and he executes in a way most people have yet to comprehend. In today’s world, it is absolutely necessary to use this tool in politics, especially in a third party. He also has a more intimate knowledge of the inner workings of traditional media sources than most, having been an associate producer on Judge Napolitano’s former show on the Fox Business Network.

The last positive point I will give Petersen is that he isn’t afraid to go after a front-runner. You have to be willing to fight, and it looks like he’s prepared to do so, as evidenced in some of the debates held leading up to the convention in May, where he’s landed some hits on Governor Johnson. Going after a Libertarian candidate like this appears to just be a warm up to what he would bring if ever to face a Trump or Clinton. The gloves definitely come off with Petersen.

For his strengths, he has also shown some weakness. First of which is personal attacks against individuals in the Libertarian Party. He lets himself get drawn into online grudge open-uri20160401-3-1heezjzmatches, and in the process, comes off looking arrogant, rude, spiteful, and unprofessional. Many other authors have taken the time to go over his insult slinging, and I don’t want this article to be redundant, so I will just leave it at this: he needs to stay off his social media outlets to get into muckraking. All it does is split the party. The party he needs to nominate him first.

This brings me to my next point about Mr. Petersen: for someone who has claimed to be a uniter and coalition builder, he can’t even bring our party together. Like it or not, anarchism is the foundational root of libertarian philosophy. While there will always be differences between the minarchists and anarchists in the Libertarian Party, we tend to come together for the greater good. Austin has seemed to be intent on burning bridges with the more radical elements, in one post even threatening to “throw them on the streets” after convention.

For years, the Dallas Accord has kept us unified in the goal of moving toward liberty. Without the more radical elements, I believe we cease being a party of principles and become irrelevant in needing to exist at all, since two parties already exist without any solid principles. We are central to keeping the party grounded in strong foundational principles.

Another downside to his campaign is that nearly everything he says is recycled from someone else. He isn’t bringing anything new to the table we haven’t already heard from thousands of politicians citing founding fathers, and using the Constitution as a fall back answer. I believe the term currently being used is pulling a Rubio.

His bumper sticker responses are great for a sound byte, but he offers no real substance to what he’s saying. It reminds me of when Lois Griffin from Family Guy runs for Mayor and keeps repeating “9/11!” or “terrorists!” It doesn’t sound genuine. He needs to try speaking from the heart, instead of getting a pre-practiced answer to try and fit its circular shape into a square shaped question.

I personally don’t care about his past experience, as only two candidates running right now either have major company CEO level or governing experience. What I do care about is the way our party goes. My analysis is that Austin is not ready for this level of office. A certain level of respect and humility is needed to serve others in public, especially this office. Could he be ready some day? Perhaps in a few years after being seasoned a bit more, and only if he ends up working to rebuild what he has burnt.

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