Step Two–Do Real Politics
The Libertarian National Committee is tasked with a short series of Mission Critical Activities. We need to raise and spend money well. We need to recruit and retain members. We need to run a first-rate back office. But above all, we need to Do Real Politics. A political party that is not doing real politics is really not doing anything; it’s just occupying space and draining its members’ wallets.
Part Two listed a long series of ways of doing real politics. They’re all the important and worthwhile activities. I don’t claim that list is complete, but it’s a good start. I don’t claim we’re going to be able to do all of them, all at once, as though we were about to become the majority party. I do believe that the Libertarian Renaissance slate will be able to make a start on all of them, enough of a start that our present and future donors will have the flavor of the activity, and be ready to invest in it if they want. Some of the activities I propose, such as running a national convention, reinvigorating state affiliates, and making downloadable trifolds available, are fairly self-explanatory. A few could use a bit more discussion, and that’s what I offer here.
Outreach and Advertising
[Of course, when this first appeared, more than a decade ago, there was a covert assumption that ads were intended to bring people to our colors, not cause them to flee in terror.]
If we are not putting the Libertarian message in front of the American people, we are failing. We need to make sure that when people realize the duopoly party is not for them, they remember our Libertarian Party.
To reach our potential supporters, we must use the media that reach them. That’s advertising: The Internet. The World Wide Web. Internet social groups. Then, closer to election season, we have Radio. Television. Newspapers and magazines. Theater slides. To reach young people who have not yet chosen a party, the Internet in all its manifestations should be a primary target for the National Committee.
The National Committee should have a substantial internet and other advertising budget. It should spend on advertising, consistently, every month.
We’re here to persuade other people to Vote Libertarian! time after time, not just to reassure ourselves that it’s OK for us to vote for ourselves. Running candidates is the most fundamental outreach method, but it is linked to the election cycle: No election, no campaign.
Political campaigns send libertarian ideas to voters when they are most likely to listen. Campaigns serve as external outreach to potentially-libertarian voters. Campaigns also serve as internal outreach, sending Libertarian voters the message that they could become activists. The National Committee should support the Presidential campaign every four years, and other Federal campaigns when they take place. “Support” includes not only ballot access funding but also independent expenditures.
Every Libertarian Party group should identify and cultivate media contacts. We each focus on media outlets that cover our group’s geographic range. For the National Committee, that range is the entire United States. For a few thousand dollars, you can buy a complete media contact list and filter it down to a high-quality list; the National Committee usefully does this once for the entire party.