After the GOP convention in Tampa in August, Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and political career will officially come to an end. Despite the protestations of some hardcore supporters, Ron Paul will not be the Republican nominee and in fact, he will likely not even be nominated at the convention in Tampa. Many supporters are gravitating towards campaign of Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, however to be perfectly blunt, my three month old puppy has a better shot at being elected President than he does. In addition, there will be same number of Libertarian Party members of the House and Senate, none. This is not what I hope will happen, this is simply stating reality. If the liberty movement is to continue after the end of Ron Paul’s career, we need to lay a solid foundation for political success. I believe the best way to lay a foundation for the liberty movement is take a page from professional baseball and build a “farm team” of future leaders to run for political office and activists to work the races.
In professional baseball all Major League Baseball teams have a developmental system of minor league teams. The minor league teams are rated from AAA all the way down to A. In addition, there are special developmental leagues for rookie players drafted right out of college. Other sports leagues are trying to replicate the system to develop the next generation of professional athletes. We in the liberty movement, regardless of what we call ourselves, need to take the same approach to politics and political office.
First things first though, in order for this to truly work, liberty movement activists need to be willing to participate in a political party of government. The only two parties that meet that requirement are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. I know this will disappoint the majority of my fellow contributors and many of our readers, but the Libertarian Party is a political dead end. The fact of the matter is the Libertarian Party has averaged less than 1% of the vote in most elections and there is no sign that the trend will reverse itself anytime soon. If you are a left-leaning libertarian, you’ll probably be more effective working within the Democratic Party and if you’re a right-leaning libertarian, you’ll probably be more effective working within the Republican Party. This does not mean compromising your principles, this just means you’re willing to make alliances with those you agree with much of the time to gain political power.
What we need to start doing is start identifying those people among us who are political office material. Preferably, they need to be strong leaders who are good with people, even those they disagree with, and those who can articulate their ideas well. Instead of making their first run for office at a statewide level or even a national level, they should first start running for local office such as the city council or mayor or even for state legislature. It’s much less expensive moneywise than running for a big office like governor or Congressman and you can best leverage a volunteer base in a local race than a national or statewide race. Working in local government will give liberty candidates valuable experience in tailoring their message to the concerns of average, everyday Americans instead of preaching to the choir of liberty activists. This does not mean abandoning the principles of liberty; it just means appealing to non-liberty voters who are more concerned about everyday issues than about the Federal Reserve for example. Then, once you have demonstrated a record of success and expanded your own personal base of support past just the liberty activists, run for the big offices. It’s not a sexy plan and it’s not exactly one that can be implemented overnight, but the size and scope of government did not enlarge overnight as well.
Finally, we need to refine and develop liberty activists as well as liberty candidates. If you’re a liberty activist, please volunteer for the campaign of a liberty candidate or even a non-liberty candidate who you can stomach. Gain the valuable campaigning experience and bring it to future campaigns. There are also many resources both on the web and offline to help campaigners win elections. After the election, get involved with activist organizations both nationally and on the local level. Also, network with fellow liberty supporters both online and offline and don’t let the ideas of liberty end with Ron Paul’s political career.