By: Rob Lapham
Make your mark on Florida politics. In one easy lesson.
In the latest Gallup poll Americans rated the honesty and ethics of members of Congress about as close to the bottom as possible. Only lobbyists were slightly worse, and car sales people were rated dead even with our Congressional representatives. Even the public trust of those in other professions such as lawyers, labor union leaders, bankers and journalists was far more favorable than for members of Congress.
As we know, millions of voters have become so upset with the business-as-usual “Washington establishment” that they are willing to take a chance on anyone who offers the possibility of something better. The huge popularity of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders is a result.
Of course, the Republican and Democrat parties – the establishment – do not take this lying down. It is a serious threat to their hold on power. They will fight, and give no quarter, to keep it.
Off to the side of this political chaos stands the Libertarian Party.
I will come back to the Libertarian Party in a moment, but I need to digress. There are so many “fathers and mothers” – those who over the years articulated or contributed to what is our body of Libertarian thought, folks such as Frederic Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman to name a few, that there may be a tendency to overlook a prophet in our midst. (No, I’m not conferring God-like status on the guy, more recognizing him as an inspiring teacher, and one many of us will have the chance to meet, both at our state convention next month, and at the national convention in Orlando the end of May.)
In 2013 Wes Benedict, Executive Director of the Libertarian Party, wrote this book: Introduction to the Libertarian Party: For Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, and Everyone Else. His writing offers less on the underpinnings of Libertarian philosophy, more on later events: the history, structure and activities of our national party.
And, very importantly for me – how I could make the most impact as a Libertarian, how I could help bring the largest number of libertarian leaning, libertarian thinking people into our party as actively participating Libertarians. It is simple, really: Run For Office.
Before some of you recoil, feel uncomfortable, or just do not want to read anymore, please bear with me.
We have this political chaos. It is real and it is here right now. Millions of voters are searching for a better answer than the Democrats or the Republicans can offer, but a large percentage of those voters do not know what that better answer is. Yet.
As a noted (I would say infamous) political operative said, “You never want a serious crisis go to waste.”
So here is the pitch. For members of the Libertarian Party of Florida, for our allies, for those thinking about becoming a little more active.
The national contest will evolve however it evolves. Let’s focus on where we can make the biggest difference – right here.
We have 40 Florida Senate, 120 Florida House, 1 U.S. Senate and 27 U.S. House seats up for election this November 8. (There are hundreds of county and local offices too, but my understanding is that most of those are nonpartisan.)
Against that we have right now, today, fewer than a dozen Libertarians who are running for office.
Let’s change that. Let’s try our very best to offer every single voter in Florida at least one place on the ballot where he or she can vote Libertarian.
Benedict’s book was a prime driver in my decision to run for Congress in my former home state, Texas, in 2014. Up against impossible odds I never had more fun in my life! I am doing it again this year, running for office in Congressional District 2, covering part of the panhandle and north Florida. Frankly, I am going to enjoy presenting Libertarian solutions to our country’s challenges and watching my Republican and Democrat competition squirm. They have no solutions to offer except through more Big Government.
Personally, I am energized by and look forward to a political dogfight; however, if you are not one to want to mix it up onstage with the candidates of the “old parties” I can show you how to run your campaign from your armchair, spend a total of way less than $500 (alternatively, collect petition signatures, varies by District but generally fewer than 1,500 signatures). Never need to make a single speech but enjoy seeing your name on the November ballot nonetheless.
I have asked for 10 minutes at our state convention in West Palm Beach. I will share with you how exactly how you can make a real difference; one you will be proud of. And, for the first time, you will be giving the voters of Florida a real choice.
Thank you Wes Benedict. (Hey reader, yes you, buy the book! Amazon or elsewhere.)
I am looking forward to seeing each of you at the state convention!
1) Gallup poll Dec 2-6, 2015 https://www.gallup.com/poll/1654/honesty-ethics-professions.aspx
2) Rahm Emanuel Feb 9, 2009, then Chief of Staff to the President
Rob Lapham is the Libertarian Candidate for Florida Congressional District 2, and Region 2 representative to the Executive Committee, LPF.