Nominate Candidate and Strategy Continues
April 4th 2006
LP Party of FL
Pam Beach, FL--Libertarians here selected a small roster of State
candidates at their recent convention in Boca Raton, continuing, say
attendees, a strategy of local low-budget candidates and developing a
network of 1000 Libertarian supporters in each State House District.
That may not sound like much, but Libertarians have a reputation of
being dedicated and focused activists who tend to be community leaders
to begin with, who leverage their influence with attention getting ideas
supported by quiet coalitions with a wide array of groups. And it would
make the Libertarian Party of Florida, or LPF, say observers, not only
the largest civic action network in the State, but one of the strongest
in the country. It would in effect make it a Libertarian community or
city spread through the State.
At first papers were skeptical, attributing Libertarian initiatives,
such as a 2002 project that used a periodic petitioning mechanism that
allowed them to run more State House candidates than the Democrats with
a few hundred signatures, to gimmickry. Not quite, said the LPF, saying
it needed to get in front of community leaders (they did presentations
to some 30,000), train a 'farm team' and determine infrastructure
needs, start building a community network, and develop a positive and
workmanlike approach with officials.
Increasingly, however, many media have no doubts. "It's a Libertarian
Invasion," moaned the Herald in Sarasota. Other papers saw Politics 101.
One noted they were "Doing what political parties are supposed to,"
while another said bluntly: Florida Libertarians think like and are
"...building a political army."
A PHASED APPROACH
2002 indeed marked the first Florida election where Libertarians
were--thank to a Constitutional Amendment they proposed-- both legally,
and in practice, able to compete with the other parties on an equal
basis. The initiative, dubbed Operation Full Slate in its first stages,
attracted over 1 million voters to select a Libertarian candidate, and
according to ABC news, 'Changed Florida Politics Forever' by putting
Third party candidates on the 'mental map of the average' voter.
In 2004 they focused again on local candidates, and have been steadily
building an array of appointees and elected officials well grounded in
the community who, according to LPF officials, are getting things done.
The message is simple: Libertarians champion individual rights, and
promote voluntary and private alternatives to government programs. The
message is stronger, say candidates, as Increasingly, they point to the
record of Libertarians who've helped lead important changes in the
In 2006, Libertarians say they will be carefully assessing and testing
approaches on a few state races as models for increasing local networks
and visibility. Based on the results and lessons learned, many LPF
county affiliates are looking at either 2008 or 2010 as the next
attention getting effort.
DO THE MATH
Said Operation Full Slate co-organizer Michael Gilson-De Lemos, who
chairs the LPF affiliate in Pinellas
and St. Petersburg, Florida: "Informed Republican and Democratic leaders
understand and respect that we represent a growing constituency. Our
constituency doesn't react to scare images but expect accountability.
They're spreading the paradigm that if you're a government official or
public intellectual or policy maker who is not receptive to tolerance
and more with less or have to call out more police and military, then
you're not a tough decision-maker: you're just an incompetent."
"In 2002 we ran many trained candidates and made a lot of friends. In
2012 we'll run them as spokesmen for a process building up 120,000
community leaders using that paradigm more than ever. Do the math."
Said convention speaker Willy Marshall, a Libertarian 'do more with
less' mayor from Utah who paved the entire city's roads while slashing
taxes, "This is the right approach. You suit up, show up and do the
By Mike Davis
Keywords and misspellings: politics poletics
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