The occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave has no major consequence to everyone’s day-to-day life. Nevertheless, the Republicans and Democrats continue to use Doomsday rhetoric to make their supporters believe otherwise.
We will still wake up to take care of our families, go to our jobs, and see our friends. The government overreach will still be there via regulation, taxation, overspending, and an ever-increasing portfolio of wars. An election is simply a change in the warden at the prison.
Now, more than ever, SCLP must focus on growth at all levels.
There is always an influx of interest in governance during election years because people are fed up with government overreach and nauseated by the prospect of more-of-the-same from the R’s and D’s. But enthusiasm for activism dies down after the election dust settles.
We need to do a better job of mobilizing citizens for ideas, debates, policy changes, and elections that occur every year. The local and state elections, the regulations and ordinances levied on the regular, the daily- weekly- and monthly work of elected officials all have greater impact on our everyday lives than who is POTUS.
As for the cause of liberty and its agents in the LP, we must use election cycle momentum to nurture the grassroots efforts of growth. Members can help acclimate and engage individuals throughout the layers of the party. As we earn voters and volunteers, we must educate them on the party history, and planks of both the national and state platforms. Once newly engaged members decide what are the most important planks to them, we should encourage their participation in activism related to those planks.
SCLP education should focus on how the government works.
Libertarians frequently profess hatred of the government and its myriad functions yet, as activists, we must know how it runs. Should our candidates be elected, we cannot not fail out of simple ignorance. Libertarians advocate change and must work within the framework of government to enact it. Our pool of candidates has increased this year with an influx of enthusiasm resulting from the POTUS election. We owe it to them to ensure they are informed and prepared to take on the role when they win.
Candidates also need support with their campaigns. This support should be available for all candidates but especially for rookies. As we gain more voter support on state and local levels, candidates need to be educated on how to finance a campaign, follow election procedures, and engage with voters. This cycle, we made great strides: several candidates in local elections earned 30+ percent. One LP candidate got the endorsement of a local city paper. We can have LP candidates in the mix in ’21, ‘22 and ’23. Even nonpartisan races offer a chance to fill the government with liberty-minded individuals.
SCLP should invest in outreach.
The national party has good name recognition but at the state and county levels, we hear a different story. We must mobilize for a better community every day, not just during election cycles. The SCLP can accomplish this through monthly service projects. Demonstrating that volunteerism is more compassionate and efficient than government agencies is a way to evangelize the Libertarian solution. Sponsorships and exhibition booths at farmers markets, fairs, parades, rallies, and conventions are all ways of sharing Libertarian solutions with citizens. As activists, we need to regularly attend government meetings, be they school board, county- or city-council, or town hall forums. Let officials know there are more ideas in our communities than national party lines.
SCLP should focus on the crippling restraints of the election cycle and set about dismantling them.
End straight party voting and implement rank choice ballots. Straight party voting robs voters of their constitutional responsibility to choose candidates not factions. Ranked choice ballots eliminate runoffs and rewards independent candidates. Libertarians advocate for None of the Above (NOTA) on every ballot to enable voters a communication that none of the candidates are acceptable.
It didn’t take the recent election to prove our voices and beliefs are not represented in the current government configuration. We have work to do. Now is the time to work toward a more demonstrative and effective 2024 election. Maybe we’ll have a better chance of lighting the torch of liberty at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
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This post was a collaborative piece between James Marsh, Charleston County LP and Kasie Whitener, Richland County LP. Wanna write for the SCLP? email firstname.lastname@example.org