2018 is quickly approaching and this election drama is only bound to heat up. So far, the Libertarian Party has not made any huge noise other than Larry Sharpe announcing his run for governor in New York. Sure, libertarians have announced their bids for various other offices (such as Austin Petersen and Eric Brakey), but they are all under a Republican ticket. So what does the Libertarian Party have to do to become a powerhouse in American politics? A lot, but start with the easy stuff: new leadership.
It is no secret 2016 was underwhelming for what Libertarians hoped to achieve, but still showed hints of change in America’s political environment. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld received just under 4.5 million votes equaling to 3.27% in the field. While it was short of the needed 5% goal many were hoping to see, it was the most votes a non- Major party candidate received since Ross Perot ran in 1992 and won just under 20 million votes and 18.91% in the field. The party leadership should look at the result as a mild success, but not one to dwell on. They need to look to 2018 and 2020.
Chairman Nicholas Sarwark is generally well liked. As an excellent parliamentarian and speaker, he was a great candidate to lead the party and won because of it. What he failed to do, however, is lead the Johnson-Weld campaign more efficiently. Maybe he wanted to let them handle it themselves and just help, who knows. Lesson learned. My suggestion to him is he step down as chairman and not seek reelection at the Libertarian Party Convention in New Orleans next year, not because he is bad for the party, but because he should run for the party.
Ideally, a John McAfee or Larry Sharpe-type head the ticket, but regardless Sarwark should be on it. He can provide excellent insight into a multitude of issues and has a cool-headed personality. His vast knowledge on the issues will help him greatly. The reason I say he should not lead the ticket is simply due to the fact the other potential candidates are either more well known or have extremely outgoing personalities that are perfect to get the ticket out there. Sarwark could easily lead the ticket and probably do well, but the party has a better shot with a bigger personality.
That leaves Arvin Vohra to step up in his place for chairman, right? Wrong. Vohra has made too many controversial statements that alienate much of the voting population. Whether it is calling military members moral-less murders or wrongly accusing Liberty Hangout of being Republican-lite and lovers of state-run public education (he did correct himself on the last point), he is not fit to lead a party that has people from Constitutionalists to Minarchists to Anarcho-Capitalists. He should quietly step down and continue to help the liberty movement, but remove himself from the spotlight. Controversial comments like he has made will only bring negative press to the party and the liberty movement itself.
The Libertarian Party members are more than capable of finding the right people to lead the party, in case this scenario plays out and Sarwark runs for VP and Vohra quietly returns to a smaller role. Liberty Hangout has been accused of being a pro-Republican, anti-Libertarian Party news site recently. This is not true. Here, we look to advance the message of liberty, whether it is through the Republican Liberty Caucus or the Libertarian Party. The GOP is the most likely area for victory, but under the right leadership, the Libertarian Party is only a few moves away from winning. Go out there in 2018 and 2020 and make some noise. Republican, Libertarian, Independent, whatever, get liberty into office.
In the words of Rand Paul, “We have come to take our country back”.