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Libertarian Party SWOT Analysis

For English readers, that’s Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats

The follow was written three election cycles ago. I’ve made a few updating notes, in square brackets.
Please link widely to this article.

A Simple Summary:

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

Business plans sensibly start with a serious look at the situation. Where are we? What do we do well? What’s stopping us from succeeding? Where do we have opportunities? What is threatening us? The answers appear as bullet-pointed lists.

SWOT Analysis

LNC Inc. suffers from an extensive series of long-term weaknesses. These have now combined into a threat to its continued existence. If these weaknesses are not corrected soon, the National Party will cease to function in a meaningful way. On the other hand, there are enormous opportunities awaiting an active, effective party.

Strengths

First consider the places where we are doing well.

● Great loyalty of our party faithful in face of adversity and defeat.

● Name recognition. People know now our name ‘libertarian’ and what it means.

● State affiliates. We are the only third party truly active in most states.

● Ballot access. We actually know how to get on the ballot across the country.

● Money. Close to [two] million[s] a year in income, with a large contact list; could be effective if used well.

● Core beliefs. A solid core of libertarian beliefs, most supported by [many] libertarians.

Weaknesses

● Negative momentum–the National Party is going backwards.

● Weak leadership. A National Committee not focused on substance. Purges and witch hunts [of individual LNC members.}. [Now: Purges and witchhunts against state affiliates.]

● Activists [driven out of] party positions. [For example, the leaderships in New Mexico, Delaware, Massachusetts, Idaho, and New Hampshire.]

● Poor financial management. Too much money going to things that do not do politics, communicate our message, or add value proportionate to cost.

● Weak staff development and supervision. No Executive Director for a year during 2008-2010. An LNC press release absurdly attacking Libertarian author and candidate for our [2008] Presidential nomination Mary Ruwart. [Now: Staff downsizing.]

● Lack of vision: Where should we go? What could we be?

● Dilution/diminution of core libertarian message. Core positions tossed aside in name of expediency. [Most recently: nixing freedom fo chocie for women].

● Faux libertarians leaving the impression that we are social reactionaries.

● Lack of affiliate support.

● Management by inertia. No priority setting.

● No focus on younger potential members. Potential libertarians being lost to campaign for liberty, tea parties, and similar groups.

● Parliamentary Paralysis–Obsession with Robert’s Rules of Order to the point of fetishism.

Opportunities

● Opposition Republican Party handing itself over to people who most Americans realize are idiots.

● Opposition Democratic Party copying key Republican positions.

● Opposition – Both Parties trying to turn our Constitutional Republic into an authoritarian national security state.

● Americans are absolutely furious. Far right has lapsed into low level insurgency with assassinations (Tiller), violence (Texas IRS office attack, Congressional district office attacks), and incivility (Tea parties). Occupy and Restore the Fourth movements. {And now, January 2021, the Capitol Building sacked by the far right.]

● Majority of Americans now tending independent in their political allegiance.

● Heavy polling support for a new third party.

● Young people who support our social freedom stands. Overwhelming support among young people for marijuana legalization, gay marriage, abortion rights, and an end to foreign wars.

● Public support for libertarian stands–no bailouts, ending Asian wars, obeying the Bill of Rights–with the other two parties in opposition.

Threats

● Plummeting party income. [Since more or less fixed.]

● Falling membership. [Levelled off]

● Member disinterest and cynicism.

● Decreasing credibility–some fundraising appeals lost money.

● Continually diminishing activity.

● Emerging competition.

● Party being confused with Republican crackpots.

● Political infighting at the destroy the opposition level. LNC attacks on our Oregon affiliate until stopped by litigation and the LNC Judicial Committee. [Revived with attacks on the New Mexico, Idaho, Delaware, Virginia, and Massachusetts parties, and internal coups by the alt-right against state party leaderships.]

● Treading water–the National Committee response to the above is to keep repeating the same activities on a smaller and smaller scale.

Libertarian sympathetic magic. The National Committee believes that because the opposing national parties have party office buildings in Washington, D.C., that buying a building will turn us into a national party. [We bought a building, albeit not in D.C.]

Summary

Despite enormous mismanagement, our strengths are many. We may not yet be the majority party, but we are far stronger than any of the other third parties.

Our opportunities are enormous. They have never been better.

The threats we face are existential. If they are not overcome, our party will effectively cease to exist.

We have a long list of weaknesses. Until we overcome them, our strengths will be neutralized, our opportunities will lie fallow, and the threats we face will continue to mount.

Our Response

Those are the problems our Party faces. They’re very serious.

But we’re not dead. Not quite yet.

Let’s turn to a solution–The Libertarian Renaissance for Libertarian Revival

2 Comments

  1. Don Don November 29, 2022

    Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to an organization, and Opportunities and Threats are external to an organization.

    With that said, some of the threats listed should be moved under Weaknesses. I would add Threats such as ballot access laws, lack of media, etc.

  2. George Whitfield George Whitfield November 29, 2022

    Thorough and well written analysis.

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