Andre Marrou's Presidential Campaign

From John McPherson:

Last night Andre Marrou gave a speech to my Toastmasters Club, and I offer a summary of it, with his permission.

He basically covered his post-campaign reflections on his experience as the Libertarian presidential candidate, and offered some advice and answered questions from the audience.

Things we did right:

  1. Winning in Dixville Notch. Note: he said that he had to fight his own people (campaign management, staff, LP leadership) in order to do this.
  2. Getting 50-state ballot access (one and a half weeks before Perot did). Note: some state branches (e.g., North Carolina) of the LP fought against this, claiming that it was a national LP matter only. Note 2: The media should have reported this, but it was ignored.
  3. Having a woman on the ticket, especially in the "Year of the Woman." Neither the Demos, Repubs or Peros had a woman on the ticket. Note: the press ignored all this.
  4. Getting two Libertarians elected, and two re-elected, in New Hampshire.
  5. Using TV. Note: he had to fight the LP for that. Many Libertarians seem stuck on print media, which has limited readership. The electronic media is the way of the future.
  6. Having over 1,000 Libertarian candidates down-ticket. Note: Perot's party had only about 10.
  7. Having a low "dollars per vote" ratio. (now only if we had more money ...)

Things we did wrong:

  1. Not enough money. We only had on the order of 10,000 contributors, and the average contribution was (only) about $25.
  2. We didn't bring a lawsuit against the Presidential Debate Commission, which barred him from the debates. Note: he couldn't convince party leadership to do this.
  3. Not enough TV. He said that we should have spent almost every penny on it.
  4. The ongoing internecine war in the LP. Such divisiveness only hurts us. If we have a complaint against another person, we should take it up with that person privately.
  5. Lack of a hierarchy. Although as Libertarians we often feel that our opinions are just as valid as everyone else's, this simply isn't true. Some of us have had more experience and success, and are more capable of focusing efforts effectively.

The future of the LP:

  1. We should do what is necessary (without initiating force or fraud) in order to win.
  2. We need people with charisma (winning elections is basically a personality contest), and who know how to explain our philosophy well to the "3 Ps": public, press and peers. We need to make it more palatable; it's not necessary to water it down.
  3. We don't need to sell out in order to win elections, and, once in office a Libertarian will likely become more libertarian, not less. As bad as you think government is, it is worse than that!
  4. Both Republicans and Democrats are socialists. Republicans are right-wing socialists, and democrats are left-wing socialists. He defines socialism as the transfer of money and power to the government. We want to get money and power back into the hands of the individuals, and we should emphasize this point.
  5. Both Republicans and Democrats want to mandate what they see as "good," and to prohibit what they see as "bad," and on many points they are on opposing sides. Libertarians want neither to mandate nor prohibit, we want to put the choice back to the individuals. In this sense, we occupy the middle ground, and we would do well to present ourselves as such.