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LNC Bylaws Committee Proposal: Eliminate Regional Representatives.

The LNC Bylaws Committee is working on a proposal to eliminate Regional Representatives.

The LNC is currently composed of four Officers, five At-Large Members, and eight or nine Regional Representatives.

As is well known, the only resistance to the Mises management of the LNC comes from a few Regional Representatives.  The Mises solution: Get rid of the Regional Representatives.  Replace them with a tiny number of additional At-Large members.  The proposal reads:

Article 7 of the Bylaws section 2 is amended to read:

2. The National Committee shall be composed of the following members:
a) the officers of the Party;
b) seven members elected at large by the delegates at a regular convention.

The long segment on Regional Representatives is deleted. There would no longer be any regional representatives.

The net effect is to silence potential critics of the leadership.

 

 

14 Comments

  1. Dr. Chuck Moulton Dr. Chuck Moulton February 2, 2024

    I strongly favor this proposal. I think it has been mischaracterized here.

    Our board is much too large to be effective. Those who have served on the LNC, watched LNC meetings, served on large state affiliate committees, or served on boards in general can see that plainly. If you have 18 people who want to be heard on every issue (sometimes repeatedly), things take a lot longer than if there are 11 or fewer — and the decisions made by larger boards are not better. Any experienced board member and any management consultant would be shocked and apalled by the size of the current LNC. An ideal board should be 8-12 members.

    Shrinking the LNC does not necessarily mean shrinking participation in national matters. The LNC can and should have many committees to which it delegates responsibility or from which it gets specialized advice — and these committees can and should include non-LNC members. For example, the affiliate support committee provides services to state affiliates and gathers information on how state affiliates around the country are doing. The ballot access committee can include knowledgable LP members not currently serving on the LNC.

    I do not think that talent is necessarily equally geographically distributed around the party. I have seen many past regional alternate elections where lots of people step backward or touch their noses saying “not it” and the one remaining is elected. Some states have many active, competent, enthusiastic activists with the financial means to travel around the country to meetings while others have few or none.

    Voters do not necessarily have geography as their primary constituency or vote moving issue. Someone may care more about ballot access or ideology or credentials or any of a number of things than what state or region a candidate happens to live in. Here people have the freedom to vote based on what matters to them, not just geography.

    With cumulative voting — which is an integral part of this proposal — the board will be representative of the body as a whole. If I’m wrong and voters do actually care primarily about geography (which I doubt), they can band together and cast all votes for someone from a particular state or region (this method is known as “plumping” in cumulative voting). More importantly, cumulative voting allows a minority voting bloc to strategically band together and ensure they get a representative on the board, unlike approval voting (our current system) where a majority bloc can run the table and get all the seats.

    I know passing this bylaws proposal to shrink the size of the LNC, go all at-large, and use cumulative voting will be an uphill battle to pass in convention. Still, I think this would be the most important and impactful bylaws change we could make this year or in the last decade. I say that as someone who has served on the bylaws committee every cycle since 2008.

    The notion that this is related to the Mises Caucus is absurd. I did not vote for the Mises Caucus. I have supported going all at-large and having a smaller board (as well as cumulative voting) for over 20 years. This is a proposal which will benefit the party long term while various factional disputes come and go.

    I am not fixated on what particular caucuses or personalities this would help or hurt in 2024 or 2026. If history is any predictor, many of these caucuses and personalities will dissolve or move on sometime in the next decade — some sooner than later. The real question is under what system will the LNC and the Libertarian Party function better over the next 10, 20, or 30 years. That’s why I support this proposal.

    Proposals to enlarge the LNC go in the wrong direction. The LNC is already dysfunctional because it is too big — making it even bigger would exacerbate that problem. Nor is the idea appealing to me of having a large token “LNC” with little power which appoints a mini LNC (misnamed the “EC”) with the real power. That simply adds another level of obfuscation to the system for no benefit. The Moellman proposal also involves this mini LNC being paid positions — they are essentially staff. At some points in this party’s history — including right now — we don’t have the money to pay that many staff (mini LNC “EC”) members. The only supposed benefit I see to the Moellman proposal is from the point of view that geography, by which I mean residency in a particular state, is more important than anything else. If this word did not already have a pre-existing definition in the libertarian context, I would label that point of view “statism”.

    In contrast, the bylaw’s committee’s proposal, although impactful, is much less of a departure from the existing structure. It uses the existing national conventions, elections we already have, and a voting system that is well understood. I don’t think we need to reinvent the wheel when better tires would solve most of the structural issues we are plagued with.

    I consider Ken Moellman a good friend, and I know he wants what is best for the party from his perspective. I invite him to a cordial, respectful debate on the relative merits of his 51 member LNC restructuring proposal vs. the bylaws committee’s all at-large + shrinking the LNC + cumulative voting restructing proposal sometime in the next few months before the convention. We can livestream it and put up a video on YouTube to better inform the delegates, much as we did 2 years ago when we served on the bylaws committee together and went through the bylaws proposals one by one on stream.

    • ATBAFT ATBAFT February 2, 2024

      Dr. Moulton makes sense with his observations. Large boards, in my experience, tend to rubber stamp the officers’ decisions (except when the nature/mission of the organization lends itself to factionalism (as does a political party.) Cumulative voting is a sensible feature of the proposal to have seven at-large reps. To further allow for more different voices to be elected, perhaps giving each delegate only 4 votes, and not 7, would help?

    • Jeff Davidson Jeff Davidson February 2, 2024

      Hello Dr Moulton –
      Thanks for your thoughtful explanation of what you see as the benefits of this proposal. My question somewhat off-topic, both to the TPW article and to your comment here, but is at least tangentially related. What is your view of the other proposed bylaws changes and how your proposal might interact with them? For instance, there is one proposal that IMO would significantly enhance the ability of the LNC to improperly interfere with state affiliates. Would the move to a smaller, more nimble board be a positive thing with an LNC so empowered? Another proposal allows the LNC to meet on 15 minutes notice during the convention itself. Current LNC members have been openly researching how to de-credential delegates. Given all of these different proposals, some folks who might otherwise prefer your idea to Mr Moellman’s might instead prefer a larger, more unwieldy, slower-moving LNC. How do you see all of these different proposals playing together in practice?

      • Dr. Chuck Moulton Dr. Chuck Moulton February 3, 2024

        I am against that bylaws proposal on dealing with affiliate disputes, as I posted in the thread on that topic. If you have suggested alternative language for a better method of dealing with affiliate disputes, please email me. I wrote the dissent to the Delaware decision while on the JC, which tracks my thoughts on the problems with centralization.

        I think regardless of the size of the board, cumulative voting facilitates minority voices much better than approval voting or multi-round majority voting.

    • Thomas Leonard Knapp Thomas Leonard Knapp February 2, 2024

      “The LNC is already dysfunctional because it is too big”

      What, I wonder, might the board of a functional party that wins elections look like?

      “The DNC is composed of the chairs and vice-chairs of each state Democratic Party’s central committee, two hundred members apportioned among the states based on population and generally elected either on the ballot by primary voters or by the state Democratic Party committee, a number of elected officials serving in an ex officio capacity, and a variety of representatives of major Democratic Party constituencies.”

      The RNC seems to be somewhat smaller. According to Bing’s AI, as of 2011 it only had 168 members, including a committeeman and committeewoman from each US state and territory.

      This isn’t a proposal to shrink the LNC per se. It’s a proposal to concentrate power in the hands of one, or at most a few, PACs and caucuses with national reach.

      Coupled with the bylaws proposal to give the LNC power to choose each state affiliate’s officers any time it doesn’t like the choices made in-state (a power already exercised illegitimately and with opposition), that concentration becomes doubly vile.

      • Dr. Chuck Moulton Dr. Chuck Moulton February 3, 2024

        This is a cargo cult mentality. Republicans and Democrats win more elections than Libertarians. There is no evidence that this is caused by the structure or size of their national committee.

  2. Ken Moellman Ken Moellman January 31, 2024

    Back in 2014, there was discussion about the structure of the LNC. There was discussion about “big board” vs “little board” and the advantages and disadvantages to both. We have something in-between, and mostly take the negatives of both.

    * A big board has lots of voices and more ideas, but action is slow. Bureaucracy leads to people going rogue, creating problems in the board.

    * A small board moves fast, but has limited voices and input, leading to mistakes and omissions.

    While I agree that the structure of the LNC needs to change, this proposal goes the wrong way:

    * It centralizes everything to the national convention. One event every 2 years determines the entire board. There is no reasonable mechanism to fix this within this framework.

    * Like the 17th Amendment removed states from Congress, this would remove the state affiliates from the LNC entirely. This leads to the bigger question of “what’s the purpose of the LNC anyway?”

    I have proposed an alternative. I originally proposed it within the bylaws committee, but it was mischaracterized. One LNC member was downright rude about it (guess which one). So I’ve since resigned from that committee, and published the high-level (so far) design on FixTheLP.com and I bring it up whenever it’s relevant.

    The alternative I’ve written up would:

    * Create the LNEC; paid top-level staff who run the party day-to-day and are directly and immediately accountable to the LNC.

    * Increase the LNC to 51 members, but limit their actions to only a few items (approve annual budget, hire LNEC, undo anything the LNEC does, and consider any affiliation/disaffiliation matters)

    This would have the small board running things day-to-day, nimble and professional, but immediately accountable to the LNC. The members of the LNC, in turn, are accountable to the members in their own state affiliates. There are a number of other positive downstream effects, as well.

    The primary negative said about it is that it’s undemocratic. First, it’s funny because the people who say that are usually from the same group that decries democracy. But I note the question, “What is the point of the LNC?” If it’s to help get people elected to office, then doing what works best for the majority of our affiliates is what will accomplish that. But I would also agree to a larger LNC made up of more member-based regions, if democracy is deemed important to running a functional national party.

    Anyway, I hope people will check out FixTheLP.com and if you like the idea, please pass it along to other LP members.

  3. Darryl W Perry Darryl W Perry January 30, 2024

    It wasn’t that long ago there were discussions about eliminating At-Large and allowing for more Regions.
    This proposal however is a step in the wrong direction!

  4. Nolan's Duty Nolan's Duty January 26, 2024

    Can you disclose who is the drafter and mover of this proposal?

    Of course, Caryn Ann Harlos who is chairing the bylaws committee would never allow such a bylaw change to be moved out of her committee that would undermine member rights by reducing the representation of average members from the LNC!!!

    • Jim Jim January 28, 2024

      From a quick look, it seems to have been initiated by Paul Bracco, who I think is the same Mises affiliated person who initiated the increase in dues to $50 just because inflation. He begins the discussion by saying “if we do not include an LNC restructuring proposal in our report” … “it is a near-certainty to be moved from the floor.” By which, I assume, he means that Michael Heise wants it done.

      There doesn’t appear to be any push back, except on the details.

      Harlos says “I am more convinced than ever that regionals are of the devil and if I had my way, this would be effective THIS convention.”

      https://groups.google.com/a/lp.org/g/bylaws-committee-2024/c/eO4Sy9mQXcs

    • J. M. Jacobs J. M. Jacobs January 28, 2024

      The person who moved this version was Paul Bracco; it was adopted by a
      10-0 vote. An earlier version, without cumulative voting, was defeated.

      The main proponent, however, was Dr. Charles Moulton, who I believe
      called it “The best bylaw amendment ever.”

      One major difference is electing the at large delegates using cumulative
      voting. It will virtually insure than there will be more diversity on
      the LNC.

  5. Thomas Leonard Knapp Thomas Leonard Knapp January 26, 2024

    I’m shocked — shocked! — that once they managed to seize control of the national apparatus, all their guff about “decentralization” went right out the window.

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