OPINION By Susan Hogarth
Region 5 Representative to the Libertarian National Committee
For my Libertarian peeps stressing about how best to 'strategize' their vote:
Don't sweat it.
Voting is the lowest level of political activism. It's an activity for people who want to feel like they're making a difference but don't want to put in any real effort.
Sure, vote. It's a tool, use it against your oppressors. But it's not a particularly powerful tool.
What IS powerful is the effect you—as an activist—can have on other people. You can—by thinking, speaking, and acting—encourage THEM to think, speak, and act.
And THAT is where the real power lies. Voting is like an afterthought at that point.
Look, forget strategy. Vote—or don't—as you see best. Make sure you understand the write-in rules for your state, because in many places write-in votes for 'unqualified' are tossed (guess who decides who is qualified?)
But much more important than voting is time spent getting people engaged in thinking about politics. Get someone involved in your local LP. Start laying the groundwork to turn whatever contacts you have from this election into local activists.
Voting is the LEAST IMPORTANT thing a political activist can do (actually, the least important thing anyone can do, but whatever...). Maybe the next-to-least; worrying about who you're going to vote for might be less important :)
Don't worry too much about it. Do something IMPORTANT politically. Change some minds. Get some people active. Get and stay active yourself.
If your state allows it, vote early and get it out of the way so it's no longer a distraction.
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We’ve got a lot of keyboard warriors, but it takes more than that. I respect folks who choose not to vote, that is obviously their choice, however; if we want to see a world set free in our lifetime, the current political system isn’t going to get us there. It’s taking us in the wrong direction of that goal. We need to get Libertarians excited about the party enough to vote. Candidates should promote voting as much as possible, or else, why are we doing this? I like this part of the opinion, “Change some minds. Get some people active. Get and stay active yourself.” We also should encourage voting as much as possible. It is the most peaceful way forward.
Do it or not. It is literally inconsequential at the moment. She’s right. We should be focusing on activism. Focus local and inspire change. If 20k people vote harder, there’s nothing we will do or change. If we can each convert 1 person to be a Libertarian and they convert 1 person to libertarian and they convert 1 person… etc, then we can make a change.
Activism is the best thing we can do to affect change in our lifetime. Voting, as it is currently presented, is among the least important things we can do right now in North Carolina.
As a state organizer for the Libertarian Party Mises Caucus ((and perhaps an unlikely supporter) (and replying as a personal LPNC member)), we focus on acting locally. In fact, the entire game plan of the LPMC NC is to basically ignore voting in bigger races right now and to focus on local races and on changing culture. It doesn’t matter if we have 20,000 committed and active voters. If we don’t have enough voters who believe in libertarianism, we will never win an election. We run candidates at the lowest level possible. Yes, candidates we hope win, but we don’t do it to just get votes. We do it because local activism is the best way to do it. You can be a activist while being a politician, but being a voter doesn’t make you an activist.
The LPMC slogan is the Decentralized Revolution… It isn’t the Vote Harder Caucus. We need more activists. We need a group of members who are numerous and focused on radical libertarian principles.
Go out and radicalize your best friend or your closest family member. Be radical. Inspire hate for the government. Nearly, if not everything, they do is wasteful, ineffective, and horrible.
Despite my steel man, I do have some criticism. It is bit tone deaf and the article was written two weeks after a disappointing result as a campaign manager for the sole candidate in NC in 2022. A better written article would have been must more persuasive. Don’t discourage other from voting. Encourage them to radicalize their friends and family.
Remember every vote gets noticed by the major parties. 2-3% at the booth has been proven to affect policy change. Every vote matters and is far from the “least important” thing they can do.
As a former state chair and one who has been working for 20 years to get Libertarians to act as a serious political party and run candidates for office, I think such a position is not only wrong and misguided but harmful to the party. And if that is what our national leadership thinks, maybe it’s time for me to rethink who I give my membership to.