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2016 Libertarian National Convention

in From Me To You, Liberator Online by Brett Bittner Comments are off

2016 Libertarian National Convention

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Last week, the Libertarian Party held their biannual convention, nominating their 2016 Presidential ticket, electing leadership for the next two years, and conducting appropriate business.

This year’s event was my fourth consecutive national convention, and it was my favorite to date.

Often, the nature of politics and the business at hand makes for a solemn and serious occasion, but this year, things were different.

Libertarian DebateThis year, the excitement was on par with a major sporting event, graduation, or a concert. That excitement was due to the contested Presidential nomination with some of the best candidates the party has ever fielded, accompanying the “feeling” that this is a pivotal election for the party. The stars are aligned for historic electoral outcomes as the animosity toward the establishment parties.

On top of the enthusiasm for unprecedented electoral success, several candidates for President brought supporters brought energy that caught on quickly.

At the pre-convention unofficial Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates on Thursday, I served on the panel for the standing room only events, asking the candidates to make their case to the delegates. With a welcome reception sandwiched between sessions of the debate, the energy carried over to infect the rest of the attendees.

By Friday morning’s opening gavel, the “buzz” made its way throughout the convention center, infecting everyone I came across. This was my fourth consecutive convention, and I’ve not seen anything like what I experienced. Often, my experience with Party-specific events is somewhat “flat,” while libertarian movement events are dynamic, engaging, and energetic. This definitely fell in line with the latter.

Even the vendors filled the hall with booths, where just two years ago, a couple booths stood outside the convention hall in a vast, lonely space. This year, we could have used two volunteers at the Advocates booth to help with the volume of excited libertarians who wanted to learn about how we support the libertarian movement, from the World’s Smallest Political Quiz to communication training and political persuasion, changing hearts and minds to libertarian ideas.

The energy and excitement never died, as the delegates and other attendees continued engaging with one another up to and beyond the Presidential nomination. The passion displayed by supporters showed their love of libertarianism, as they courted undecided delegates and conversed with others. The source could be the injection of youthful, engaged, and committed delegates and attendees. No matter, it didn’t stay there. It was EVERYWHERE.

Saturday’s Presidential debate and the nomination the following day felt like the Indy 500, the Super Bowl, and the World Series wrapped into one event. In fact, I think I’m still recovering from the energy spent today (Wednesday). Things certainly peaked as the Johnson/Weld ticket was nominated.

There’s so much more to share, and I wish I could have bottled my experience to share with others.

#TRUMPED

in Elections and Politics, From Me To You, Liberator Online by Brett Bittner Comments are off

#TRUMPED

This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.

He leads the polls among Republicans seeking the 2016 Presidential nomination.

He insulted a previous Republican nominee for that office and refused to apologize.

He even gave out another candidate’s personal cell phone number at a rally in that candidate’s home state.

To whom am I referring?

Donald TrumpDonald Trump. A businessman, a real estate mogul, a television personality, and, right now, the man who is DOMINATING the political news with his “boisterous personality.”

He made inflammatory statements about our southern neighbors and Mexican immigrants. He flaunted his immense wealth in a complaint about financial reporting. One national news outlet publicly relegated their coverage of him to the Entertainment section, rather than Politics.

His campaign style can only be described as a brash, insulting spectacle.

Trump is also a political enigma that stymies the traditional candidates, as they ponder whether to rush to be more like him to get their faces on television or to distance themselves from him.

Regardless of these things and his political positions (or lack thereof), Trump captivates the American public today.

He does that on style alone.

In an era where word choice, tone, and even tie color are polled and run by focus groups, he is the opposite. He is a candidate that seems to have no filter.

Americans are DESPERATE for something different from the traditionally bland selection of Governors, Senators, and Congressmen that seek the Presidency. Take a look at the campaigns of Herman Cain (2012), Dr. Ben Carson (2016), and Carly Fiorina (2016), none of whom brought with them any prior political experience in elected office.

Today, voters get that with Donald Trump. They also get flamboyance, cash, and a penchant for saying things that others would never dare say. Couple that with the desperation for something DIFFERENT, and he easily pushed to the front of a crowded field of Republicans.

Does he talk about meaningful issues? Or are people just enamored by his celebrity, his insults, and his ability to grab their attention?

Is he really a part of the debate? Or is the spectacle just something to watch?

What happens when people take a closer look? I think we all remember the media scrutiny with the also-rans in 2012 after their moment in the sun.

Do the voters really want another wealthy elite, albeit from the beneficiary side of Big Government, in charge? Maybe a better question is, will Trump’s still undefined political positions resonate with voters once the shine of his splashy entrance dulls and fades?

Maybe one of these days, someone who isn’t part of “the club” will get a chance to talk about the real issues we face and how freedom, rather that Big Government, is the catalyst to our return to peace, prosperity, and the republic the Founders envisioned.

I look forward to that day.