The Libertarian Party’s Biggest Hurdle? It’s Own Leadership

Photo courtesy of the Libertarian Party

An organization is only best with a dedicated fearful leader at the top. The best companies in the country are led by some of the fiercest CEOs that fight to get the best out of their people. Political parties are no different. They need strong organizational leadership that sets the direction of their political agenda and recruits the top talent from around the country to run for political office.

So, what is the Libertarian Party‘s biggest challenge? It is not necessarily the people that run for the political offices, but rather the organizational structure of the party itself. This is not a knock on the people currently running the party, but the fact is that the people running it have no real experience in politics or organizational leadership to run the party effectively.

What is the advantage that the Republicans and Democrats have over any third party? Yes, it starts with money, but in the end, it rests with experienced leadership. These are parties that are run effectively and have made end roads in the American political system. The problem with the Libertarian Party is the structure of its leadership. Too many times there are stories of infighting and constant troubles.

Take this story out of Iowa. Here is a state that was deemed to be making inroads in the political scene in Iowa and around the country. They had raised their profile and gained status as a major political party and then this happens.

Members started raising concern this past summer when the party missed a filing deadline with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, leading to the treasurer’s resignation in August. In October, a former party chairman discovered messages showing the party hadn’t paid a Cedar Rapids hotel where the annual convention was held in April.

Shortly after the outstanding expenses were reported, party chairman Mike Conner resigned from his post. An internal review reportedly turned up $10,000 in unauthorized transactions, apparently for personal use.

Party members turned the findings over to law enforcement authorities and they are working with the state ethics office to clean up their violations. It’s a good start but it won’t solve the issues that got them where they are.

The Libertarian Party of Iowa’s problems are much bigger than one case of maladministration. A functioning organization would have had checks in place to ensure this didn’t happen in the first place, let alone go undetected for so long.

Courtesy of The Gazette

You would think this would be enough to create major changes and the need to move forward. However, that was not the case.

Party leaders held a public Zoom meeting last week to discuss the situation. For more than two hours, activists went back and forth about past missteps and a path forward.

At one point, the meeting devolved into a raucous airing of grievances. Members fought over unreturned phone calls, disparaging Facebook comments and who “liked” them. It probably was a necessary pressure valve for their pent up frustration but it was a bad look to do it in public.

Even by their own telling, Iowa Libertarians have struggled to perform basic organizational tasks — keeping records, sharing website access, following up with prospective volunteers, getting members to attend committee meetings. Factions have formed, not based on any obvious ideological divides but instead on personal grudges and organizational differences.

Courtesy of The Gazette

At the national level, they even went out of their way to oust party secretary Caryn Ann Harlos from her role and the previous chairman had to resign out of disgrace.

There is too much infighting for a party that needs to focus on strong leadership and winning elections. In the end, the only way to be effective at being a political party is to start winning key races and getting the word out to the ordinary voter that there is a third option. They should be crawling to appear on TV, setting the tone for the Libertarian agenda, and making it their lives work to get capable people to run for election.

America needs this third voice desperately. They need an alternative to the chaos we do see every day in Washington and around the world. They need Liberty!

Categories: Libertarian

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