Winning, Losing, and Integrity
It's not about winning or losing, it's about integrity.
A good friend sent me a long private message. In it, he pointed out that Trump's Republican Party seemed to be imploding and suggested throwing a curve ball (so to speak) into the political process to shake things up, but also generate the media attention that we (as Libertarians) very much desire. His idea was to have the Libertarians set themselves up to replace the Republican Party; to "replace republicanism with libertarianism". This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to "flip the script", but to do so by having the Libertarians, just this one time, join forces with the Democratic Party "to defeat the greatest danger to our Constitution in Donald Trump" and throw their support to the Democrats and Joe Biden.
Admittedly, the media would devour the idea and run the story for weeks. The already fractured Republican Party could very likely be dealt the final death blow, and the Libertarians could then easily replace the Republican party as the opposition to the Democrats.
Here is my response:
First, I understand your synopsis quite well, and Libertarians in general already have set plans into motion to become the next majority political party when (as you have suggested) the Republican Party implodes. Quite frankly, we are not being very quiet about it, but no one in the media seems to care too much. Donald Trump continues to advocate his belief that his "silent majority" supporters will propel him into a second term, but everything that he has done over the past few months has screamed that he is afraid he will lose. From his handling of the COVID crisis earlier this year to his more recent equivocation over mail-in voting to his suggestion to move the date of the election, Trump's actions point to his frustration in his attempts to engineer the election for his victory.
But, for us, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are simply cut from the same cloth. There is absolutely nothing that Joe Biden or the Democrats have that we want except perhaps majority party status. While we support a few of the same ideas, the methods used by the Democratic Party to advocate the supposed difference between them and the Republican Party are, to us, quite similar in nature, and not at all aligned with the primary idea of our party, "liberty for all with malice toward none". One of several similar memes that I have seen in recent weeks has one person suggesting, as you have, that we support Joe Biden. The other person in the meme asks a simple question, what reason can you give for us to support Joe Biden that does not use the name 'Trump'?
We understand quite well that the Old Party system attempts to stifle any dissent to their messaging simply by being louder. As they say, money talks, and the more you have, the louder your message is broadcast. We quite simply have not yet affected enough support to achieve the sort of funding that the Old Parties currently receive. But for us, and we believe that it should be this way for everyone, the race for President of the United States is not about who will win or who will lose, but about who is qualified and who is not. It's about integrity in the character of the candidate. I first became involved with the Libertarian party shortly after the turn of the century, and in that time, I have never seen any wavering in that singular belief regardless of the candidate being put forth. Libertarians believe that Dr. Jorgensen is eminently more qualified for the position than any of the other known candidates for the office (Trump, Biden, Hawkins), and that belief will continue to sustain our efforts even after this election cycle's completion, win or lose. Yes, we rail against the two-party system and seek to dismantle it for something that we believe allows the people to choose from a variety of candidates instead of only two, but we cannot abandon our core principle just to see one person and his party fail, which will likely happen regardless of our support or condemnation. We call ourselves "the party of principle" not just because we believe in the principles of liberty, but also because we will not abandon those principles for any reason.
I do, however, like your idea of "flip the script" and many of us who are running for office, myself included, are doing exactly that. We are reaching out to disaffected Old Party voters and simply asking them to look at our qualifications for the office, and then make up their own mind. If you have noticed, I have not overtly denounced either of the Old Party candidates in my race. I have, instead, pointed out that there are differences and that their messaging seems to contradict the facts. And I intend that there will be more of this sort of tactic to come. As a statistician, I understand the odds so I have no illusion of actually winning the seat, but that does not mean that I am playing to lose or even playing not to win; I am definitely playing to win, far more now than I was when I started. Dr. Jorgensen is playing at the same level, despite knowing the odds are against her. She is, after all, a psychologist and I must presume that she is also smart enough to understand the odds.
Instead, I wonder if a different "flip the script" scenario might be more pernicious; have those disaffected Republicans who cannot vote for Trump, and those disaffected Democrats who also find nothing worthwhile in a Biden presidency vote instead for Jo Jorgensen. Perhaps we should encourage the Democratic Party to endorse Dr. Jorgensen. That would definitely make headlines, but you are correct that this opportunity may never come around again, but I think we will be sticking to our principles just the same. After all, it's not about winning or losing, it's about the integrity with which you play the game. And for us, that's more important than simply winning.