Thoughts and Choice on the Libertarian Candidates
Kim Moore
/ Categories: Taking Liberties

Thoughts and Choice on the Libertarian Candidates

Looking at the Presidential and Vice Presidential LP Races

The Libertarian Party Presidential Race has been more than exciting this year.  From anarchy to forced anti-discrimination acts to friendly discussions and heated debates, the Libertarians have seen everything the major two parties have over the decades.  We’re even beginning to receive media coverage.  Even the Vice Presidents have been saying a lot this year.

Over the next week, we will be socializing with and vetting our candidates one on one at the National Convention in Orlando Florida.  It’s time we choose who we will put up against the major parties, as well as several other minor parties.  And our choice this year could have more of an effect than ever on the voting population.

I have just recently started publicly coming out for my choices as I wanted to remain as neutral as possible until just before the convention because of my position in the state party.  I’ve been watching the debates, reading the news, and speaking with the campaigns.  My ideal ticket will be based on what I see as:

1)      Libertarian Values & Strategic Planning

2)      Acceptability & Electability by the General American Voters

3)      Experience in Politics and/or Business

4)      Name Recognition

Dr. Mark Feldman

Dr. Feldman is a wonderful person.  He works hard and is passionate about what he is doing.  His political experience has been working strongly with the party and has solid Libertarian values.  He could also reach people by not being able to be bought – as his slogan says “Votes Not for Sale”.  I also personally LOVE his idea about bringing back immigration sponsorship, versus simply paying these funds out of the US Taxpayers’ pockets.  However, he barely has any name recognition and doesn’t have a strong financial fund to get his name out there.

I would love to see him run for Congress or Senate to assist our elected President in Washington or even be on the President’s Cabinet, but I do not see him as my candidate of choice.

Gary Johnson

This race is Mr. Johnson’s to lose; he is unfortunately doing a great job of just that within the party.  Mr. Johnson’s experience surpasses all of the other candidates running for President on our ticket as a former governor.  He knows how an executive political office works.  He even has a lot of business experience.  He has a platform set and knows what he wants to do, and has name recognition.  However, I feel he sometimes forgets that he first needs our nomination.  His arguments will resonate well with the public in general, but he has had government involvement in his answers; too much in many of the party members’ eyes, and he needs our votes first.  In person he is a great speaker and can connect with people easily, but on television he can come off a little boring – which is how most people will see him.

I do see Mr. Johnson as a presidential contender.  He would be wonderful for the party.  If he doesn’t get our nomination, I would love to see him on the President’s Cabinet if we win the Presidency.

John McAfee

Mr. McAfee is definitely the candidate with the most colorful, yet libertarian past.  He is someone who isn’t only a business man, but lives the libertarian lifestyle.  He has more energy on stage than Johnson, but still can keep the tone cool and calm.  The way I’ve seen him handle himself in the debates makes me believe he would easily handle the two major party candidates in a debate.  I’ve had several people from outside the party say they would easily vote for him.  However, he comes with baggage; lots of baggage.  Though there hasn’t been a request for extradition for him, the rumors are still around and this could completely hurt his chances of winning.  I’ve had a few friends say we would be crazy if we chose him.  But he is someone who seems to not be completely hated by anyone in the party.

I see Mr. McAfee as a presidential contender.  If he won, the nomination the party would have to be on top of defending his actions against a corrupt government.  If he doesn’t win the nomination, I would love for him to continue helping us grow the party, and perhaps work on the Cabinet.

Darryl Perry

Mr. Perry has been a consistent anarchist, belonging to a segment of the party that would like to go to no government as soon as possible.  He however, has been willing to do it a little bit more slowly.  He is also the only one who gave me a full slate of who he would choose to be on his cabinet when I requested.  He is taking his run seriously as an anarchist to the point of not accepting US monies.  This can be a huge issue as most people still do not use bitcoin, many probably still don’t even know what it is.  In addition, questions about his ballot status (should he win the nomination because of the lack of filing with the FEC) is very concerning and could cost several states not only their presidential ticket, but ballot access for the future.  It is also questionable how the general public would actually receive someone who openly advocates for the end of government altogether.

I would like to see Mr. Perry run for a lower office in Congress or Senate to help our country’s government reduce in size, and to prove that he can work toward that goal.

Austin Petersen

Mr. Petersen has been an interesting person to watch.  There has been drama surrounding him this entire year; partially because of his attitude in response to attacks on him, and also for attacking others (which unfortunately does work in politics). He is not afraid to state his opinions clearly.  Over the past couple of weeks, he has already been growing into making his responses more calmly, even if still accusatory, and has not come off so immature.  Immature could be the key word.  Does his age help or hinder him and the party?  He doesn’t come to the table with as much experience in business like McAfee or Johnson, but he does have some.  Would he help bring out the young to vote libertarian?  Well, I can’t answer that but I can say that of our newest members, I can directly connect about a third of them to Mr. Petersen.  He is also a wonderful speaker in person and on television.  I want to note that he at least pointed me to a transcript where he mentioned a few names of people that he would like on his Cabinet.

I would love to see him run for Congress or Senate.  I do see him as playing a part in the future of our party, but I think he still needs more seasoning.  He’s been gaining some steam in the last few days.

Other Candidates

There are several other candidates in the race, but they’ve either dropped out, joined too late, or haven’t garnered enough attention.  Heidi Zeman, Kevin McCormmick, and even Mike Shannon have caught my eye… for future runs.  They have simply joined too late and still need to work on more name recognition for me.  For now, I would love for all of these people to run for local, state, and congressional offices so if we win the presidential race, we have people ready to assist our President at other levels.

 

Of course a presidential candidate needs a running mate, and most of the top runners have already announced who they would prefer; but members of the Party only need to take that into consideration.  For a Vice President candidate, I am not as strict on experience weight as I am on a candidate for President. I would be looking for attempting to balance the ticket, and this year we have some excellent choices.  They are all great speakers with different takes, and I’m still learning more about some of them.

Kerry Bentivolio

A gentleman and prior congressman from my own state.  He received great rating from many fiscally conservative groups and does have experience and name recognition.  However, even though he has been a member in the past, he has not been that active in the Party until he announced for this position. He also has some social issues that don’t quite align with the Party, but he is working on understanding them from our viewpoint.  With his name recognition, he could help a ticket; but I’m not sure if I see the right kind of balance between the presidential hopefuls and Mr. Bentivolio. The only one I could see him with is Mr. Johnson, but then the ticket would have too much of a certain major party feel.

I would love to see him get more involved with the Party so he can represent the Libertarian view on issues better. He would also be someone to consider for some type of position in Washington should we win the presidency.

Will Coley

Oh my gosh, he is a better speaker than even any of the presidential candidates on personal stories.  He is moving, and nice.  He has already been a great libertarian activist.  However, when picked as Darryl Perry’s running mate, a point was made that Libertarians are not afraid of Mr. Coley’s religion.  This is exactly right, we’re not; but we are only a small percentage of the voting population and we must appeal to many people who are not ready for Mr. Coley’s religion, or more radical views on government.  This country wouldn’t even elect a Catholic for over 150 years after its inception because of the view on the Catholics, and we still have only had one.

I would love to see Mr. Coley run for Congress and prove to the American people there is nothing to fear and to support our presidential pick should they win.  Would also like to seem him in an ambassador role should we win the presidency.

Alicia Dearn

I have never been someone who has been “OMG – a woman is running yaaaayyy…”  I am someone who tends to side with the more conservative views on social issues, personally.  I’m someone who likes to focus on policies that will affect someone’s wallet and livelihood, so I haven’t been viewed as a women’s rights activist.  This is why I feel a little hypocritical about loving Alicia Dearn so much.  The story of her successes and failures and her activism with the Libertarians – she genuinely excites me.  In a year where the women in the general public even hate both of the major party frontrunners, having a strong, accomplished, yet compassionate woman would make for a very strong ticket.  My only criticism of Ms. Dearn is the same one I have of myself – I would love to see more excitement come out in her in-person public speeches.

She is definitely a Vice President contender for me.  If she isn’t, I hope that if we win the White House, she is on the Cabinet or Supreme Court.

Larry Sharpe

I’m still learning more about Mr. Sharpe.  He is well-spoken and very libertarian on the issues.  He comes from the Northeast which would help balance the continental balance of the ticket. However, I was a little disappointed in his understanding of how to reach out to a certain population in the public to get to join the party during the first vice presidential debate.

This is someone I will still be watching; but at this time I would like to see him run for Congress or Senate in order to help whomever our presidential nominee is in case we win in Washington.

 

Judd Weiss

Again, another well-spoken, energetic candidate who actually compliments his chosen running mate perfectly.  Maybe a little too perfectly.  Not only would it not be a balanced ticket for our more moderate Libertarians, but he too has some legal baggage.  Though Libertarians can look past these things, I’m not sure the American public could look past a ticket covered in baggage; and Mr. Weiss’s may be more difficult to defend than Mr. McAfee’s.  America is focusing on the victimization of women in many cases right now and I unfortunately see Mr. Weiss’s past turning off many female voters and more conservative-leaning men.  Please remember the American public’s view weighs heavily in my decisions, as I am looking to win.

I would love to see Mr. Weiss run for a congressional seat to assist whomever we get into the White House by bringing bills to the floor, or even maybe on the White House press team.

Bill Weld

As another prior governor many people liked during the terms he served, Mr. Weld has already been kicking up the media for the Libertarian Party, and has been a member in the past.  However, like Mr. Bentivolio, he would not balance a ticket and with his 2nd Amendment opinions. He still needs to learn more about the Libertarian view on issues.  This is in addition to the fact that he dropped out in New York when he sought their nomination for ticket but then also didn’t win in another party’s primaries.  He also already endorsed Kasich in a major party primary instead of going straight to Mr. Johnson and endorsing him, and has even said since he has been chosen that he wouldn’t be doing this had Kasich gotten the nomination.

I have some real concerns with Mr. Weld.  Will he drop out should Kasich become his party’s vice presidential nominee?  How would that affect our ballot access?  I would prefer that Mr. Weld assist us and prove to us he really is a Libertarian before making him our vice presidential candidate.  However, he would make an excellent addition to a Libertarian presidential Cabinet.

Other Vice Presidential Candidates

As vice presidential candidates don’t get their names out as soon as the presidential candidates, I have not learned much more about the others; but as many of these have received endorsements from their presidential counterparts, already have prior political experience, or they simply stand out, I do see this group as the frontrunners.

My Choice

Looking for something that will draw people’s attention without being too far out of the box I do have a dream ticket:

John McAfee/Alicia Dearn

As stated above, he has the charisma that can draw people into the Party and is edgy enough but presentable to the point of being taken seriously when he is portraying more radical ideas than what the average American is used to hearing.  Alicia Dearn can balance the more radical aspects to McAfee to help him be more accepting to more libertarian-leaning conservatives with her calming voice and empathetic strategies.  Even their slogans work together:

Vote Different – Imagine a Better America

Beyond this ticket I would be more than happy to work with these tickets also:

Alicia Dearn/Gary Johnson-John McAfee-Austin Petersen

Wait-What?  She’s not even running.  I know, but I’ve been watching this race and I see a very small chance that NOTA could win.  And we cannot afford that in our Party, but this ticket may not even have a chance to happen due to current bylaws on the subject.  It doesn’t mean it’s not a ticket I wouldn’t mind seeing, but as she doesn’t have name recognition, she would need one of the three men stated to help boost her up.

Gary Johnson/Alicia Dearn-Kevin McCormick-Bill Weld

Let’s face it: Mr. Johnson is well-known and has experience.  We could not go wrong with him; however, can he go all the way?  Also, even though Bill Weld is not a balanced ticket, again, his experience AND the fact that he is Johnson’s choice is why he is on here.  Of course Alicia Dearn is still my top choice for VP in this combo also.  She and McCormick help balance the ticket a little more by bringing it back toward more Libertarian base.

John McAfee/Austin Petersen

This would be a great balanced ticket of more radical views versus conservative views.  This ticket would bring incredible energy to the election season.  However, Petersen has made some enemies in this party.

Austin Petersen/Alicia Dearn-John McAfee-Kevin McCormick-Mike Shannon

Even though Petersen has shaken up more than a few people, he is growing in strength.  He is getting press time is well-spoken, and I didn’t mention this before, but is the candidate I most align with on isidewith.com.  Up until more Michigan members supporting him became my friends, he was even the Facebook friend I most sided with.  I can’t wait until he runs a better campaign in the future. But if he gets the nomination now, I will not be heartbroken.  And this would actually be my biggest split on VP Choice.  Dearn or McAfee – I love them both.  We’ll have to see if Petersen wins; though I have a leaning toward Alicia Dearn as VP overall.

Thank you.

Kimberly McCurry

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