Contributed by Jared Cason
As a new member of the LP National as well as South Carolina Libertarian Party, I can say that there is a lot to keep up with on the county, state, and national level. I know that it can be a lot to unpack, because I am experiencing it in real time.
- Do I need to join a caucus?
- What is the purpose of a caucus?
- Why does this caucus hate the other caucuses?
- Why does this caucus hate everyone? Does this caucus hate everyone?
- Why are all of these people yelling at each other and accomplishing so little?
Please remember that this piece of literature is merely my opinion and should not be taken as the SCLP’s official position.
A caucus is a faction within the party that advocates for specific policy positions. Often organized around ideology, regional affiliation, or other common factors, a caucus can form alliances within the party and strengthen advocacy.
Within the LP, I wouldn’t advise anyone on which caucus to join, which one represents your brand of liberty, and/or if any of them are right or wrong. I can, however, tell you (as an adult human) that some messaging that overflows to normie-land will make you look like an idiot whether you support that message or not. I can also tell you that normies will use this horrible messaging (although consistent with platform and ideology) to dispute and discredit anyone trying to advocate for Liberty, The Libertarian Party, The Liberty Movement, Libertarianism, and The Libertarian Lifestyle.
To put it plainly: non-Libertarians do not separate caucus-specific messaging from other messaging. Damaging messages out of a caucus negatively impact the work of the party as a whole.
While internally we can discern what certain members of our party mean, even what their motivations are, we must consider what a window shopper will see when looking in.
As a new member of the Party, I have been quite vocal about my choice in my community. I have met resistance plenty of times, and members of SCLP have seen digital evidence of this through social media. About 17 days ago, I received quite a few calls and messages regarding the messaging of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire (LPNH) twitter feed.
Some of the people reaching out to me may have joined the party, at the very least they cast a vote for someone with an (L) next to their name on a ballot. These potential members have been following some Libertarian pages and feeds on their preferred social media platforms.
I suggested the controversial LPNH tweets might be a rogue member using the official twitter feed nefariously.
Social media may be digital evidence of societal decay, and SCLP has had their share of fecal matter flinging in Facebook groups (if you don’t know what I’m referring to, be thankful). However, digital platforms are the easiest way to reach potential new party members, and undecided voters alike.
LPNH screwed up. The chaos that ensued from those tweets had the attention of tenured party members, new party members, and non-party members alike. Potential party members and voters have seen members of the National Committee, Members of a State Affiliate, and virtually anyone with social media access that claims to represent the Libertarian Party chime in on the madness surrounding the LPNH account. Tenured members repeatedly said that they haven’t seen anything like this in the past.
Reckless and unsupervised use of social media discredits an organization.
As the drama unfolded and so many liberty-affiliated individuals and organizations weighed in, the dumpster fire only raged higher. There was no rational way to resolve the conflict. We are all damaged by it.
How do we move on from the awful actions taken by members of LPNH, members of LNC, and members of the Libertarian Party National?
As a new member, watching the constant and destructive cycle on social media, I could see why there could be an exodus from the Libertarian Party. It seems as though we conduct ourselves as a bunch of toddlers that were told ‘no.’
How do we maintain credibility in a public stage if folks who may have cast a vote for a Libertarian candidate in the future see these petty digital disputes?
We need organized messaging. All of the goings on of the past month could have been avoided if targeted messaging were more organized.
Libertarians know the best way to explain Liberty. I believe that all state and local affiliates could learn a bit of a lesson from poor actions taken and the fallout that lands within the party. A training for regional and state committee communications managers is in order.
More importantly, the consequences of actions taken by LPNH and LNC Executive Committee have fallout that lands outside of the Party as a whole. As a new party member, and local advocate, winning hearts and minds to Liberty just got a lot harder. Anyone that we could have won to the Party, and any candidate that may have run for office with an (L) next to their name will see the evidence of this and have to defend it in the public forum.
How do we move on?
We do just that. We move on. We conduct our business legally and with due process. We cannot be better than Republicrats if we behave in a manner similar to them. We cannot defeat them in the next election cycle if we squabble amongst ourselves and demean our own party over petty disputes.