The ripples across the Libertarian pond after the announcement of Justin Amash’s party switch and presidential run are a good time to discuss the failings of the Libertarian Party in the political science department.
By: Ryan Ramsey
The “derp” levels in the LP following the announcement of our gaining the first Libertarian in Congress are high.
The legitimate critique of Justin Amash is the only thing NOT being discussed in the LP circle jerk. The negative banter circulating reeks of same smell as the rest of our failures to ascend to a place of actually attaining power to enact our principles.
The average LP officer or delegate is not even at the political science 101 level, so in this piece I will address one piece of “derp”, what platforms are actually for. Then I will explain some things about the dynamics of our current electorate, and the actual reason Amash could extraordinarily harm us, in hopes his apparatus can recognize and mitigate it. If they do, he could be an enormous contributor.
First, I will address the cringy “derp” of rank amateurs, it begins with this question:
How does (insert candidate)’s views align with our platform?
Time for political science 101 kids.
Platforms are not the list of what party members believe, and should never be a litmus test for a candidate. Platforms are political tools that change each election cycle to accomplish the goals of a party, getting people elected. They serve as weapons against your opponent by making strategic attacks on their failures and to motivate or pacify internal factions.
It should unify a party, ours is a divisive tool for blowhards seeking to win petty philosophical arguments by winning a new plank.
Successful parties know this. The most recent example when Hillary won the primary the DNC made a significant platform changes to salt the wounds of angry Bernie supporters to keep them active after Hillary’s nomination.
The treatment of a platform to define who is a real libertarian is one of the main factors that keep us from advancing. Our bloated platform that seeks to define our position on every issue forms a large chunk of the LP Achilles Heel.
The most important rule of being a Libertarian is knowing you are ahead of your time and smarter than nearly everyone, and learning to speak in terms the electorate understands. Once elected you can do whatever you want, and once they have adopted the Libertarian identity they will support you.
Most people have never read their party platform. In realpolitik they are largely irrelevant. However, incorporating one good thing that contrasts us to the majors, in a way that highlights their failures, can be huge. Incorporating one bad thing is political suicide.
To the extent that platforms are relevant they should be designed based on accurate assessments of public opinion and how to provide maximum traction in the current climate.
For example we may all want the drug war ended, but in the 80s when the lemmings were chanting “just say no” was the wrong time to lead with “legalize heroin”. That single foolish mistake by 80’s Libertarians marginalized us for the next two decades, until society caught up with us. Today the open-bordertards are bringing the same ruin to our cause.
Injecting an open border plank into the platform with no caveats addressing the 130 billion+ in annual taxpayer extortion redistributed to illegals, let alone the additional amounts paid to legal immigrants, is makes us a laughing stock among the main voting block that holds the key to our victory.
The lemmings are chanting “build a wall”, whether you like it or not. Now as the Chinese virus forces all America to suffer the sodomy of basic liberties like going to work or grabbing a beer, telling them that we should not check immigrants for disease makes the entire party into an “Achkshually” meme.
The platforms purpose is energizing people to get out and vote for your guy, save the virtue signals for another arena. The party is not the liberty movement, and our platform does not determine who is libertarian.
The LP has a narrow and specific role in the liberty movement, break the duopoly by electing libertarians to roll back state intrusion into our lives. If our platform contains anything that alienates voters or becomes a tool to alienate our only sitting member of the House of Representatives…. then our platform is shit or you do not understand its purpose. In this case both apply.
The fact our delegates voted for it gives it no more credibility than other stupid votes in history, like the Supreme Court ruling supporting fugitive slave laws. Dumb is dumb, wrong is wrong, and Democracy is the road to Socialism.
From 1944-1978 The average elected official in Congress only voted in line with their platform 61% of the time. Hyper polarization has bumped that number up to 80% the last few decades, which provides a scientific basis for the 80/20 rule.
I do not think hyper-polarization helps us, but let’s accept the environment as reality. Anyone who meets at least 80/20 and wants to run should be welcomed, and Amash meets this by any definition, he’s voted solid on the 2A, cannabis, war, and to reduce govt.
If you are asking if Justin Amash aligns with our platform or criticizing him for a place he differs, slap yourself for being an idiot, then log out of Facebook and spend some time learning political science.
Instead of arguing about immigration or abortion, we should remove those planks all together.
The abortion plank does not welcome people of either view. What science tells us is that it alienates both camps. Fiscally Conservative Socially liberal does the same thing. It makes leftists say “you want to starve the poor”, and Conservatives think you want to “give their daughters to muslim tranny harems”.
Let bible belt libertarians campaign as pro life and New York ones as pro choice.
Let inner city Libertarians campaign as open border if we must, and Libertarians in the affluent, blue collar, and rural areas facing the economic destruction illegals bring, and paying the extortion to feed and house them, campaign as Americans who love their country enough to check for criminals, test for disease, and make sure immigrants are here to meet a labor demand, not an artificial market force created to neutralize our ideology with a horde of Socialist voters, and that they are producers not parasites. That is a good summation of what Representative Amash has voted for and it is a perfectly Libertarian view, regardless of what a platform says.
The elephant in the room, and key element to whether the campaign of Justin Amash hurts or harms the LP
Back to science. The GOP Conservative base is nearly all 80/20 libertarian, and they hate their own leadership. Romney and McCain are just as foul in their mouths as Pelosi. They don’t love Trump because of his policy, they love him because he is not the Neo-con establishment that keeps forcing them to vote for liberal Republicans to stop openly Marxist Democrat lunatics.
People vote based on identity, not issues. That’s why the 1.25 trillion in bank bailouts and socialized medicare expansion by Bush was fine and Obamacare’s 1 trillion was going to kill us all if you ask a GOP voter.
The low hanging fruit for us is these disaffected Republican voters, and they are the key to our ascension. You cannot attack a voter’s identity and change them. You have to create an identity conflict that forces them to change to keep it. We are the real party of small government. Look at these Republicans voting for gun control, what the hell man, how can you be in the gun grabber party? That is how I flipped people and founded affiliates.
Science also takes a dump on the idea we would become “Republican lite”. Once a voter makes the identity change, they either go back or become increasingly entrenched in the new identity. Once you make the leap to keep a high level component of your identity hierarchy, the rest will fall like dominos. Once you switch, accepting there is no difference between telling you what guns are allowed in your safe and what 2 adults do in their bedroom is a small matter.
Because of the political landscape, the MAGA wing of the GOP is to be courted. Our candidates and platform should all cater to the largest anti-establishment voter block in our lifetime.
We do not have to sell them on issues, they agree with us on everything besides our wishy washy abortion plank and the absurd by any measure border plank. Trumps loss or impending term limit will make them politically homeless, and the GOP nominee coronated after him will be a disgusting neo-liberal they will hate. By bringing them on, we could have the handful of Senators we need to control the entire federal government seated in a couple of 2 year election cycles.
Fidelity is one of the 9 Noble Virtues of my faith. It means you truly endeavor to succeed and keep your oaths, and give all to an undertaking. That means putting your personal BS aside to see the goal accomplished, even if you cannot have it your way.
The other reason this portion of the electorate is the target of libertarians with actual fidelity is another political science matter. The Democrat voter base is very different than the Republican base. They do not have an ideology.
The Democrat Party is a coalition of special interest groups united by shared victimhood. The various minorities and impoverished factions are united for protection from state sponsored discrimination, and/or handouts from the Great Society, but have widely differing beliefs and interests.
The gay community is largely affluent and has no need of Socialism, but unites to vote Democrat with black America, which is actually remarkably Conservative and intolerant towards gay people.
Democrats are the party of Jim Crow, and Libertarians are far better on gay rights, but we have zero ability to do anything about it. There are a number of factions among the Democrat protection racket that oppose Marxism, but we need to have the political muscle to protect them before we will accomplish that identity shift.
The key to the long term ability to bleed the Democrat coalition is the short term seizure of the opportunity provided by the disgust with the GOP establishment that is the underlying power behind MAGA and the Trump phenomena.
We can make gains in local elections among Democrats, but a stripped down platform that catered to the low hanging fruit would not hinder that, and that is a sideshow to the main event of breaking the duopoly.
All this explains how Justin Amash could be as damaging as the open border “derp” or the 80’s “legalize heroin” blowhards.
Amash’s siding with the Democrats on the absurd impeachment circus could singlehandedly destroy the best chance of coopting MAGA and becoming a major party. If his campaign leads with “I hate Trump”, and sears that in the mind of millions of disaffected Conservatives, the LP will bash against their identity in a way that science says will ensure the most fertile ground we ever had to farm is forever salted.
I disagree on certain platform planks with Adam Kokesh, but I support him because he brings a logical plan to dismantle the federal government in a bankruptcy style dissolution to the table, and his candidacy can inject this idea into the national discussion. He does not have to focus on the other candidates to do it.
A campaign run on opposing Trump only serves to cast us as the Democrats minions sitting at the kid’s table.
Justin Amash’s ability to destroy or help us hinges on one thing.
Is he going to make this about his hatred of Trump or about a tactical action using political science to court the target demographic we need to seduce?
The least relevant question asked is where Amash stands on an LP platform plank.
The most important thing to ask of Amash and his supporters is that they find a way to campaign in a way that gets libertarian ideas into the national debate without mentioning Donald Trump.
For extra credit, the same science that shows we are failures in messaging to voters, says that internally we should dispense with pleasantries. If any of this triggered you, I leave you with a quote by Benjamin Franklin:
The sting in any rebuke is the truth.
One thought on “On Amash and Platforms”
Making “The Perfect” the Enemy of “The Good” is for fanatics and amateurs. Some of the best political analysis I’ve read in years! Keep it up!