Our Best Chance

It’s time for the liberty movement to step-up its game.

After every election cycle in the United States two things happen without fail; the people who opposed the loser engage in a game of told-you-so and other gloating, and the opponents of the winner engage in a pity-party punctuated by long articles explaining how their loss had nothing to do with them and that they could still be trusted to know whatever it is they are talking about.

This cycle plays out not only between parties but within parties as well, and while the Libertarian Party of Florida membership is no more or less prone to this behavior, I have to point out that we are less able to afford to do so than any other party. I say this because we risk forgetting one of the single most accepted and most agreed upon truths I have ever witnessed in my short time in the LPF. At some point, before conventions were wrapped up and candidates were confirmed almost all of us agreed that 2016 was the best opportunity for our message to strike home in decades. By any measure, save our own abysmally low bar of past performances, we failed to capitalize on this opportunity.

This is not a rant about specific candidates. Nor would I like to even approach that as a subject. I will not be engaging in that sort of gloating or handwringing or blame games. Instead I wish to focus on the idea that in an election cycle featuring candidates we could not have tailor made in order to warn America to our message and our alternative our primary win is a few percentage points and a handful of states that now qualify for federal funding. I would like to focus on the idea that it doesn’t get much easier than we just had it, and that future election years promise to be substantially more difficult.

This is a failure that runs deeper than candidates or leadership or membership or the electorate or any of the other fashionable scapegoats of election year failures to perform. We must have the intellectual courage to examine this outcome with the honesty necessary to gain useful knowledge from it. I believe the knowledge is the idea that the Libertarian Party of Florida, the Libertarian Party national, and the greater libertarian movement cannot rest its hopes on terrible opposition but instead must become an effective political force and at that point we won’t have to hope for terrible opposition or exaggerate our chances to donors. I propose the radical idea that the party at all levels has more important and more practical things to do than run moonshots every cycle with the same predictable outcome.

Joshua Folsom