Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Mises Caucus Dilemma; Jacob Hornberger or Justin Amash?

A few months ago the Libertarian Mises Caucus lent their endorsement to LP frontrunner Jacob Hornberger to get the Libertarian nomination for President. Hornberger represents the true ideals of Libertarianism and appeals to the Mises branch of the party that has been looking for a slot in the establishment.

However, their world is being turned upside down as we expect Congressman Justin Amash to jump into the Libertarian Presidential race either today or tomorrow.

They released the following statement to supporters yesterday:

There are a lot of rumors flying around about Justin Amash joining the presidential race. Rumors that he got a lifetime membership, that he’s reached out to people to become staff, stopped stocking congressional related merchandise, etc.

Obviously, Amash jumping in the race would be a huge change. We on the board have been discussing this possibility for a while and have decided we will be sticking by Jacob Hornberger unabashedly and continuing to work toward his victory. It’s not a difficult decision, to be honest.

Amash has been great as a Congressman for the most part, however this move, should it happen, reeks of the same thing thats been going on with this party for years now: a longtime duopoly member joining the party without putting any type of investment into it, its candidates, or its delegates in order to use the LP’s ballot access and infrastructure for primarily political reasons, not reasons of principle. 

Justin has been teasing this for over a year and would just now be entering having bypassed pretty much the entire run of state conventions and candidate debates. You will hear from many in the LP establishment all of the same tired political reasons for why we should nominate him: “Why he’s a sitting congressman, and he has been in the media more than anybody. He can secure those votes, guarantee future ballot access, qualify for the matching campaign funds—and win access to the debates!” They will lay it on thick to coronate this guy.

I remind you that Gary Johnson got 4.3 million votes, and for what? What’s left of the Gary Johnson movement? Why did the vast majority of the people who came in with him in 2012 and 2016 leave by 2020? Who is going to maintain that ballot access that everybody is worried about if our members leave when their candidate leaves? The entire “sell out for political reasons” strategy has never borne the fruit it promises, otherwise we wouldn’t be here again hoping for the presidential candidate to keep us on the ballot when the last presidential candidate did historically well in that regard.

No, what’s needed isn’t short-term protest votes that might give us ballot access and little else. We need to create a movement. We need dedicated and passionate LIBERTARIANS to build up our activist base, our leadership, and our down-ticket candidates. We need to effectively appeal to the vast majority of libertarians who are already libertarians, but remain outside the party—the same ones who have flooded the party under the auspices of Tom Woods, Dave Smith, and everybody else to support the Mises Caucus and Jacob.

I’m not interested in running a “Never Trump” campaign or a campaign mired in the Mueller report. I’m not interested in further dividing libertarians along those lines. We want a campaign that boldly and confidently tells the world about libertarian principles, that changes the way people look at the world and who re-ignites movement the way Ron Paul did. That candidate is easily Jacob Hornberger, and we will still be focusing our financial and organizational efforts in support of his campaign. 

I understand some of you have different strategic considerations, like ballot access. But what is ballot access worth if we shy away from who we are? And if we don’t inspire a movement to maintain it like we’ve already failed to do? Will Amash tell the truth about the nature of the entire drug war? All gun laws? Will he run an abolitionist campaign, or will he uphold bunk ideas about the value of democracy and restoring failed institutions to their former glory? When the spotlight was on him for opposing Trump, did Amash separate himself from the duopoly to bring up Yemen or any of the other issues where we Libertarians oppose Trump to inject our narrative into the mainstream? No, he echoed the Democrats about the Mueller report, shrinking from the moment of opportunity. That has lost him a lot of respect in the movement, which is our biggest recruitment base.

So we have a real choice ahead of us. Do we again succumb to the allure of watering our brand down for political gain in the short term? Or do we lead with principle to build a revolution in the long term? The Libertarian Party Mises Caucus will be sticking to principle—and therefore sticking with Jacob.

I predict there will be a split once Amash jumps into the race. The rumors around his entrance have been happening for months and chances are the LP Mises Caucus would have endorsed his candidacy back then but had to make a decision to establish themselves as a viable policy caucus in the party. They made their pick and rightfully sticking with it, but there members will probably jump ship once Amash makes it official.

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