“I’d go all in for an Edward Snowden campaign. I’d quit everything else I was doing to share that message. To watch every American associate the Libertarian Party with a smart, capable, intelligent and well-spoken man whose controversies would not be grabbing “pussy” or sniffing children, but controversies every American should be talking about: the willingness of the government to impede your rights and spy on you.
It’d be epic. It’d be amazing.
And we’d still lose.
Because the Libertarian Party is playing a game that is rigged by our political opponents. The only thing they hate more than each other is third parties. The duopoly works hard together to stop us from achieving electoral success, from hard-to-achieve ballot access and petitioning rules in various states, to refusal to include us in national debates.
And that’s something we need to acknowledge. We’re going to lose again.
I know we want to fantasize about winning. We want to believe that one of our candidates is going to somehow inspire the people to reject the Democrats and the Republicans. We want to believe they’ll override the millions of people who are only voting for one because they hate the other, we want to believe we can succeed on merit, and by putting up someone who is simply reasonable, and respectable and makes sense: We can do it!
No, we can’t.
Forgive me, other LP candidates, for excluding those who didn’t qualify for Thursday’s final debate, but I’m narrowing this down: we are not going to see President Hornberger, President Gray, President Jorgensen, President Monds, or President Supreme (feel free to mentally fill in any of the other LP candidates here).
It’s not going to happen. We’re not going to win. So declarations about which federal agencies we’d dismantle, or how we’d bring all the troops home — they’re lovely sentiments about what life could look like under a Libertarian presidency, but not only are they wishful thinking, they are lacking sufficient attention. We don’t have the eyes nor ears on what we talk about. Being the nominee will give someone a little attention — but we have no former governors or congressmen to give us that little bit of “take us seriously!” that the media can consider.
So what we have to decide: is who of these candidates can interest people, can engage people, can command media attention, or inspire sheer morbid curiosity so we have a chance to deliver our message?
Who can make people pay attention? And how?
Can any of these candidates really claim they’ll actually interest a late night television show, a cable news interview, or even achieve any internet virality among people who aren’t already Libertarians?
But I think of what the Libertarian Party presidential nominee actually truly has the responsibility to do: to bring attention to Libertarian ideas, to make people think about Libertarianism in a way that compels them, interests them, gets them out to vote, or gets them talking. Of the five options in the final debate, I realize, with a certain amount of personal incredulity, that I actually think Vermin Supreme would be the best choice.”