Guest OpEd: The Chaotic 2024 LP National Convention

by Ben Weir
The "Emo Ancap"

Ben (X: @TheEmoAncap), longtime Liberty warrior, musician and songwriter, host of Shut the Punk Up!, and founder of the LP Emo Caucus (X: @LPEmoCaucus), provides some reflections on the convention and each of the candidates as an outside of NC observer with no loyalties to any faction or caucus.

First looking at the presidential candidates.

Regarding Michael Rectenwald (@RecTheRegime), who is someone I consider a friend now. I greatly appreciated a lot of his views, but I wish he had focused more on talking points and building a platform that resonates with people in the Party.

Overall, his platform was virtually non-existent compared to other candidates (on his website). And while his podcast interviews were pretty great most of the time, I think he needed more of his promised media coverage prior to the convention taking place. He knows he messed up Friday night, and he deserves the harsh criticism that he has received for that. I am not going to be the guy that continues to throw blows at the guy though, because half of the people complaining about it would laugh their ass off when Gary Johnson did the same thing on national media just a few years ago. I do think he would have won if that hadn’t happened.

I also think Clint Russell (@LibertyLockPod) would have been a great dynamic duo for his team and would have been able to carry his message across the finish line with strong results.

I don’t think any of our candidates would have topped 1 percent of the vote, so this ticket was my second preferred choice out of the lot.

Rec is extremely intelligent, and I hope he continues to stay involved with the Party after this gut wrenching blow. I know a lot of people revolved their lives around this campaign with no plan B, and I hope they stick to the decentralized plan for Libertarianism and local activism. This is their greatest strength.

Then there is Lars Mapstead (@LibertarianLars), who was my first choice throughout the night. He had a great team, best website, and best plan of attack to disrupt the duopoly while the rest of the candidates were still going to be chasing 1 percent of the vote. Stop 270 was an awesome concept that many people agreed was the best overall strategy for the Party.

I am glad he didn’t participate in the caucus wars. He drove a “middle ground” campaign that should have appealed to people on both sides of that. Unfortunately, many people aren’t able to be independent thinkers and need someone else to tell them how to vote.

He ran an honest campaign, and never attacked his opponents (despite the baseless shots fired at him).

If Lars had won this weekend, I don’t think we would be where we are today with the fallout. Some people might not have liked it, but he was never a divisive candidate and doesn’t have many of the awful public takes that so many of his opponents had.

Larry Sharpe (@LarrySharpe) made the ticket just that much sweeter. I think he would have been great as Lars’ running mate. He did a great job at his VP debate against Clint, and is almost unanimously loved throughout the Party. There’s a good reason that Josh, Rec, and a few others approached him about the VP opportunity before the people they ultimately settled with.

We aren’t gonna get 1 percent of the vote, but stopping 270 is an achievable goal that would give us more success down ticket as Libertarians and disrupt the corrupt electoral college. It’s punk rock as fuck.

My friend Joshua Smith (@JoshuaAtLarge) had one of the best platforms out of all the candidates… hands down. He brought the most energy and had the best speeches when the opportunities arose.

I think ultimately that he might have overestimated his support within the Party. I think overall, he wasn’t going to get any of the caucus support because of previous conflicts he had with them… which is fine. Like I said before, our Party lacks original thinkers and if people were thinking for themselves instead of collectively as a slate… I think Josh would have probably performed almost as well as Rec.

He’s a family man and just started a new job, so I know he’s happy to be home with them. Overall, I don’t think his campaign was ever equipped to handle 5 months of long winded campaigning after this past weekend anyway. Money raised wasn’t where it needed to be to make that happen, and family life should absolutely take priority for him.

I hope he decides to run for something again at some point, and I think he could have a lot of success running one of these campaigns at a more localized or State level.

Oh boy… then there’s Mike ter Maat (@terMaatMike). I’ve talked with Mike many times, and he raised two emo daughters. Admittedly, I can never get past the fact he was a cop for 10 years. To me, that means he voluntarily was prosecuting people for victimless crimes… and feeding into a system that is literally destroying communities and families. I can’t get past that.

I’ve had fantastic conversations with Mike, and I do think he was one of the best communicators while on his campaign run.

I spoke with him in the hallway after he pulled what I thought was a less than honorable move and betrayed people he claimed to have supported within the last a week, and really burned a lot of bridges. I told him I was extremely disappointed in what happened and how he handled that. I thought he over promised. He told me, “This wasn’t what was best for me… it’s what I believe is best for the Party” and seemed very depressed/disappointed throughout the brief conversation. Regardless, I walked away very unsatisfied with the answers he gave me.

He had absolutely horrible takes on COVID, and everyone knew that walking into the convention. But, Mike was the ONLY candidate with a plan B. He didn’t get the Presidential nomination, so he went with the next best thing. He’s doing what’s best for himself. I guess I can’t blame him for that.

Good luck as VP, Mike.

Then we have Chase Oliver (@ChaseForLiberty). Chase was never a top choice for me. The COVID takes from his past and constant need to push identity politics (which I hate), are just a few of the big things I can’t look past.

I’ve had great conversations with Chase, and I definitely think he’s one of the best communicators we had. He will definitely appeal to normies and I hope he focuses most of his campaign on dismantling the police state… which is one of his strongest points. I’ve talked with him about this at length several times and his knowledge on the topic is impressive.

He’s a young guy, with a lot of energy. I think he will be able to handle the campaign trail and all of its trials very well.

My advice to him is this. Avoid identity politics (orientation, race, etc.), it’s a horrible look for you and even worse for the Party as a whole. If you look back at some of your takes on COVID with regret, please speak out publicly against them and recant your old position on it. Focus on your strengths. Slow down your speech when you get flustered.

As I’ve already said twice, we aren’t going to get more than 1 percent of the vote this year. The best thing Chase can do is just be honest, do everything he can to fix his past mistakes, and move forward.

Congrats to Chase! My line is open if you ever want to rebut my criticisms or chat about it.

Overall, this weekend was insane. Everyone was bound to leave it unsatisfied in some way. I’m an anarchist. I’m a libertarian. I’m proud of the work our Party is doing to bring a message of Liberty to the world. I think we are the best messengers for that.

I’m ready to move forward and focus on my new responsibilities as Region 8 alternate. I want to strengthen the New England region and give the State affiliates the training and tools they need to succeed. I want to emphasize decentralization through localized activism, and encourage State affiliates to develop more supporting county affiliates to strengthen their reach/decentralize more locally. This is our strength as a Party. Let’s use it.

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