Making the rounds on my social media accounts was a screenshot of former Nebraska gubernatorial candidate, Mark Elworth Jr., claiming that although he is running as a libertarian, he is not associated with the party and considers the voters and members of the party to be “whiny bitches”.
The former candidate, who is a former member of the Green party and claimed “I’ve always been involved in third parties because we can speak our minds,” also stated that he doesn’t care that he doesn’t “cater” to the LP and “[i]f the LP really didn’t want me on the ballot they would run someone against me.”
He then continued his stint within the LP by running for the party’s nominee for Vice-President, but then switched to running as the Legalize Marijuana Now Party’s Vice-presidential candidate. Currently, Elworth is running for US Senate in 2018 under the Legal Marijuana Now Party.
I divulge into this story of a libertarian candidate who has demonstrated that they are not libertarian (though there is a lot of overlap in his beliefs, he sounds more like a Sanders supporter), to discuss the prevailing problem within the party currently: infiltration and appropriation of the party to those who should not be representing libertarians.
And I don’t mean that the party is being infiltrated by leftists with the new Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party (if you sincerely believe this, please google communalism, mutualism and syndicalism as they are all forms of socialism that could fit within a libertarian society), but more along the lines of people who hold severely collectivist views or advocate for more government interference and yet claim the title of libertarian.
The biggest hurdle of the Libertarian Party, I believe, is the perception that we are not a serious party. Part of this in my opinion, is the lack of vetting that goes into candidates for office. Having participated in my own state affiliates convention, I have seen that there’s a policy of having a name on every position open in each election cycle over selecting quality candidates.
And I understand that there’s ballot access requirements that have to be met every cycle, so there may be times where someone has to be on the ballot who may not be entirely vested in the race. Thus, is the life of being outside the major parties, but when the general population see a man start stripping during our national convention or that a man with a boot on his head is vying for the president slot or that the Party’s candidate for a governorship thinks we’re “whiny bitches”, it gives the impression that we’re a radical party of jokes.
How do we fix this? I would suggest an application process for all elections. If a candidate demonstrates that they understand libertarian principles and can communicate effectively, they may represent the party. No more of the “putting names down just to have them” policies unless in dire circumstances. No more allowing the former Green party members, “anarcho-fascists”, or future headliners at Chippendales, to be on the ballot.
If we want to move forward, we have to be viewed as a serious part of the political race.