organizing manual for the Libertarian Party)
by Perry Willis 3/5/98
Part I: The Big
begin by answering the question "why?" Part I will give you the
general concepts required for understanding the thinking behind the program
described in Parts II and III. It gives you the "why' behind the ideas in
this organizing manual.
Start by reading Section I of Part I. Is about a subject that will come to be
near and dear to your heart - productive laziness. In fact, it will explain
why you won't need to read this entire organizing manual.
Does that sound strange?
Have I aroused your curiosity?
Good. Then let's proceed.
Section 1: Productive Laziness
Big jobs can be intimidating. And building the Libertarian Party is a big job
indeed. Therefore, the purpose of this organizing manual is to make the job of
building the Libertarian Party un-intimidating.
Unfortunately, the thought of reading a huge organizing manual can also be
pretty daunting. Therefore, let me put your mind at ease. You don't have to
sit down and read this whole manual. For now, just keep reading this section,
and I'll explain how you can accomplish more by doing less.
The easy way is the best way
Someone once said that the reason God invented time was in order to keep
everything from happening at once. Meaning that not everything can happen at
once. Time doesn't permit it. Therefore, don't fight the tyranny of time.
, make it your friend.
Take it easy. Do one thing at a time. This manual was designed in such a way
as to make that possible. Let me show you what I mean.
What to do now, and what to do later
Part I of this manual will give you the "big picture." It can be
read in four or five 30 minute sittings. That's easy. And once you've read it,
you'll have a much better understanding of the "why" behind the
recommendations, suggestions, projects, and to-do lists that follow. But
That's not all. . .
After you've finished Part I you won't have to do any more reading if you don
t want to. You can just start doing the projects ~ one step at a time. Which
means that you'll be reading them one-by-one, as you do them, instead of all
at once. And that's easy, because each step of each project is easy!
In fact, I don't think you could read the rest of this manual even if you
wanted to. Is composed mostly of step-by-step checklists. So don't try to read
it like a narrative, because it isn't. It's something better. Is a set of
recipes designed to make your life easier.
Used properly, this manual will do 3/4ths of the work for you. It does this by
providing answers to the following questions:
l. What are the tasks you need to do?
2. In what order should you do them?
3. How should they be done?
All that remains is the execution. And guess what? If you follow this program
you won't even have to do 3/4ths of that work either. This manual will show
you how to get other people to do it for you!
But don t mourn for your volunteers. This manual makes their lives simpler
too. Properly used it will allow them to experience the joy of success while
spending very little time working!
IT'S about leverage. This manual will enable you to produce greater and
greater results without having to invest more time.
In fact, the greatest danger you may face will be the desire to do more than
organizing manual asks of you. If, in your understandable enthusiasm for our
cause, you succumb to the temptation to do more, faster, you'll risk
confusion, over-commitment, and burnout. Beware, many Libertarian
organizations have died of these ills.
Stick with this program and that won't happen. The program prevents it. Let me
explain a little bit more about the method behind this seeming madness.
Are you too lazy to fail?
In Robert A. Heinlein's epic novel, "Time Enough for Love,' there s a
wonderful vignette called "The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail." In
this short story-within-story Heinlein lays out the philosophy of his hero,
Lazarus Long. Is a philosophy that you should adopt as your own. It goes like
this. . .
While attending school at West Point Lazarus Long observes that many people
place a mistaken emphasis on work. Work, of course, is unavoidable in a
general sense. It must be done. But what remains unanswered is the question of
how much work is enough? Answering that question was of great importance to
Lazarus because he recognized that
he was essentially lazy -- he didn't want to have to do any more work than was
Therefore, he devoted himself to the task of figuring out how to do as little
as he could get away with, while still getting what he wanted. The result was
that he achieved more success, with less effort than anybody could have
I want to urge you to be lazy the way Lazarus was lazy. Lazy like a fox. Use
this manual the way it was intended and you'll achieve that result
How you too can be lazy like a fox
The first thing you need to understand is that no one has ever built a truly
successful third party before. Many powerful people have tried and all have
failed. Some might counter this by saying that the Republican Party was a new
party that became a major party, but that isn't really true. The GOP was born
out of the ashes of the old Whigs. It was the Whig Party with a new name and a
few new members. The point stands - we are attempting something that has never
been done before.
So how do we proceed? We proceed by learning from past failures and partial
successes, and by applying the accumulated experience of people who have
worked in the Libertarian Party for many years - successfully! The result is
the strategy described in the next few pages.
So the first way that you can be productively lazy is to accept, just for the
time being, the strategy that is presented here. It may not be right, it may
not be the only way, but it isn't drawn from thin air either. By following
this strategy you'll gain the experience and expertise to try ideas of your
own devising. More importantly, you'll learn how to test them to learn whether
there really new and really good, or simply tired repetitions of old mistakes
that you didn't know about
Don t reinvent the flat tire (to borrow an apt phrase from the great
Libertarian speech writer, Michael Cloud). Be lazy. Don't try to invent your
own strategy just yet Go with a plan born of experience. After you've taken
all of the steps in this manual you'll have plenty of time to try new things,
and the experience to give them a better chance of success.
We'll begin with a strategic overview. This will give you a few bite-size
concepts that will illuminate all that follows.
Then we'll apply those concepts to an actual strategic plan called The Road to
Then we'll develop a division of labor that will help you to be productively
lazy by showing you which kinds of activities
aren't appropriate for your level of organization. Why waste energy by
pursuing projects that aren't a part of your comparative advantage? Be
productively lazy. Do what you can do best.
Then we'll take a look at something called Operation Everywhere. This section
will show you what you'll have to do in order to make your organization
visible to everyone, everywhere, everyday. But don't be intimidated. Later in
the manual we 11 show you how to achieve this result "the lazy way."
Finally, at the end of Part I, we'll take a look at an effective approach to
strategic planning. This will help you to see the logic behind the overall
presentation. We'll also share a few case studies of strategic concepts gone
wrong. Concepts derived from poor strategic planning.
Then, after having paid close attention to every word in Part I, you can
pursue parts II and III in a lazier fashion. I would recommend reading the
intros to each ~~ of the steps to get an idea of how it all fits together, but
don't take the time to
the checklists that follow the intros. The time to do that is when you're
ready to actually execute each recipe.
All of this can be done in just a couple of hours. Then guess what? You'll be
ready to do the first recipe. And that will only take two or three hours. As
will the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that. You
can build a successful organization the easy way, with no muss or fuss, one
step at a time.
All you have to do is do it And you can do it. So do it And good luck.
2: Strategic Overview
No one can say for certain when, or if, we will achieve ultimate victory. But
we probably can say which milestones we'll have to pass on our way to that
goal. This organizing manual attempts to define those milestones.
Likewise, is difficult to say how long it will take to reach each particular
milestone, but that doesn't matter, because it isn't important to know that
yet. Is only important to know what we must do. This organizing manual
attempts to define our "to do" list.
Fortunately, we probably can state the order in which various tasks should be
performed, because, by a logic of cause and effect, one thing leads to
another. The achievement of each new goal flows out of the achievement of an
earlier goal. This organizing manual attempts to define that flow. Thus, we
will not only describe our "to do" list, but also our priority list
-- our "order of battle."
No one can say that there is only one best way to achieve our goals, but this
organizing manual does present one set of good ways for doing so.
Conversely, this organizing manual says very little about ways that should not
be tried. But long experience teaches us that some things are futile. Those
things are identified.
Five concepts underlie all that is written here:
1. We must engage
in relentless incrementalism: This means that, though our road is long and
hard, the steps required to walk it are small and easy. We can walk them one
2. We must follow
the path of least resistance: This means that we must delay what is hard and
concentrate on what is easy in order to gain the resources for those things
which are hard.
3. In the area of
membership recruitment this dictates a strategy of "discovery before
persuasion." We must find and recruit those who already agree with us
before investing resources in changing the minds of those who disagree. This
approach not only allows us to grow to the required size at the earliest
possible date (whatever that date is), it also provides us with the resources
needed to engage in successful conversion at a later time. In addition, it is
certain that many minds will be changed through the activities that lead to
the discovery of those who already agree.
4. We must adopt
a work ethic of "more and better all the time:" This means that the
small things we do must always lead to bigger things, and the good things to
better things. By committing to the standard of more and better all the time,
we can go further, faster, every day - constantly accelerating toward our
5. We must
remember, that all other things being equal, "God is on the side of the
big battalions." This means that we must build a bigger "army"
than our political opponents have. If we have more contributors, volunteers
and voters than the Democrats and Republicans do, then is certain that we will
win. If we do not, then success is left to chance. Therefore, building our
arm' is our most important goal, and membership recruitment is our first
priority. Each member recruited and each member retained is a crucial step on
the road to victory.
6. We must
remember Napoleon s dictate that, "An army marches on its stomach."
This means that the logistical and operational considerations behind the
recruitment and use of our "political army" may be more important
than our good ideas and our brilliant rhetoric. This document is an operations
manual for building a big "army" and taking it to
I hope that you will find if of value in pursuing our common goals. In the
next section we will take a look at the process of strategic planning.
Section 3: Strategic Planning
Doing Big Things in a Small Way
To plan for victory you must define victory. You must imagine the end
condition you want to achieve and then work backward to determine the steps,
the goals, and the methods required to create that condition. You must do this
in minute detail.
This means that you must plan all the way back to the smallest goals and
projects required to walk the road to victory. This will allow you to start
your efforts (as opposed to your planning) with the easiest tasks.
More important still, you must insure that there is a chain of cause and
effect, by which small projects provide you with the resources to do larger
You must build -- relentlessly and incrementally -- the resources needed to do
anything and everything that victory requires. The largest payoffs always
come, and can only come, from a long series of the smallest steps.
Avoiding the Pitfalls
We will start by teaching you how to avoid the common pitfalls of strategic
planning. It is all too common for Libertarians, when engaged in strategic
planning, to build castles in the air, with no foundation for their support.
+ We may
have decided, for instance, that we want to have a Libertarian governor in a
particular state by the year 2000.
having done so we then fail to define how many registered Libertarians would
be required for that purpose, or to even recognize that a constituency of
voters is an unavoidable pre-condition for electoral success.
having failed to plan for that, we also fail to define how many workers would
be needed to identify that many potential Libertarians and ask them to
register with or vote for our party.
before having failed to do that we also failed to identify the administrative
systems required to manage that many field workers.
before failing to do that we failed to define how much money was needed to pay
for such an administrative system and to hire that many workers.
before that failure came the failure to define how many members were required
to pay for that system.
+ But even
before that failure came the failure to structure the fund-raising system
needed to raise the necessary money from those members, assuming that the
organization had that many members.
implies that the chain of failures began still earlier, in a failure to define
how a sufficient number of members could be recruited.
+ And that
oversight was founded on a still more basic failure to design a plan for
identifying potential members and asking them to join.
+ But even
that failure was founded on an earlier negligence to create volunteer-based
outreach programs to generate the names of good prospects.
+ But such
a program was impossible without a more fundamental program for recruiting
itself floundered from the lack of a good database system and a regular means
of communication by which to inform the troops of the "when, why, where
and how' of what needed to be done.
It is a sad but universal truth that the general effect of most Libertarian
plans is that less is done after the planning process is over than was
accomplished before it began. Were it productive to provide examples of this I
could fill at least a page with the names of LP organizations that have. . .
+ Engaged in strategic planning that served only to build castles in the air.
+ And that
failed to provide the initial and intermediate steps required to provide
foundations for those "castles'
which the "planners" seemed satisfied that, by virtue of the plan
alone, the revolution was all but won. . .
+ And then sat back and marveled at their work's perfection, doing little or
In the following section we will examine how you can avoid this problem in
your own organization.
General principles for planning, organizing, and acting
First, we must recognize that the plan is not the action, just as the map is
not the territory.
We Libertarians are abstract thinkers. This means that we are prone to be
satisfied with the plan itself, and neglect implementation.
Our imaginations are so powerful that the mere act of planning conjures in our
minds a vivid image and feeling of the plan as though the actions it describes
had already been performed.
This, in turn, provides us with many of the satisfactions of success without
our ever having had to undergo the fatigue of actually doing something.
To break away from the imaginary world of strategic planning, and actually do
some work can be a real downer for many of us.
Therefore, as the clear recognition of a problem is the father to its cure,
let us first admit this tiny failing to ourselves, and then proceed to learn
how to find real satisfaction in concrete activity.
This can best be done by discovering what it is that leads us to put off
taking concrete action, and then, by removing that obstacle, we can also learn
what it is about productive work that people the world over, and throughout
history, have found most satisfying. By doing so we will maximize our
enjoyment and satisfaction as Libertarian activists.
Nothing is more daunting and leads more directly to procrastination than a job
that is too big. And the creation of a new major party would certainly seem to
be a job that is entirely too big for anyone. But there is a way around this
Cognitive psychologists have identified a phenomenon called "learned
helplessness," which they believe is the prime cause of those states of
depression (and their accompanying behaviors of languid procrastination) that
are cognitive in their cause rather than physical.
An elegant experiment has been conducted which illustrates what is meant by
"learned helplessness." Dogs have been placed in cages with bowls of
food that are constructed so that the dogs are shocked whenever they attempt
to eat. The dogs learn very quickly that no matter how hard they try they will
never be able to get at that food. As a result, depression and languidness set
in long before hunger itself becomes a problem. The same kind of thing can
happen with human beings.
Many of us are well aware of just how difficult it will be to create a new
major party. We also recognize that planning will be required to do it, and so
we quite rightly start at that point. Planning is fun. But if the planning
process never identifies a simple starting point for action then we can begin
to feel helpless before the vastness of the plan itself and the even greater
vastness of what it proposes to achieve.
We therefore, as a painless substitute for real activity and real success,
become lost in the dream world of the planning process, churning out one grand
plan after another, forever hoping to find the Holy Grail of an easy starting
But eventually reality sinks in and the failure to do anything concrete is
recognized. At that point a feeling of helplessness overwhelms us, followed by
depression and procrastination, after which we simply give up.
Still others dispense with planning and dive right into frenetic, aimless
activity, without a plan. But unless we are lucky, or intuitive geniuses, we
will almost certainly start our activities in the wrong place, and thereby
meet with failure.
And so we again churn and churn, working hard, but to no avail. And as we meet
with failure after failure, we slowly learn that we are helpless before the
problems that seem to beset our project. We become depressed and despondent.
The end result of this process is what we commonly call burnout.
The only cure for burnout is prevention. We prevent burnout by limiting the
size of our projects to the resources available for their execution. Success
follows. And with success comes increased resources to do bigger projects.
Smaller successes leverage larger successes.
Therefore, all planning, at every step of the way, must be about the building
of "levers." Archimedes said, "Give me a large enough lever and
a place to stand, and I will move the world." And isn't that what we are
trying to do, in an abstract sense - move the world?
Don't we want to start with the simplest thing we can do that will also have
the effect of allowing us to do something slightly harder, but with no more
effort than we invested in the first thing?
Here is the key - we must build levers that build bigger levers that build
bigger levels until we have a large enough lever to move the world. And by
starting with the smallest possible lever we are also fostering something that
psychologists are coming to think of as the key to human happiness.
The Flow State
The flow-state is what occurs when we are engaged in activities that are just
large enough to challenge our talents, but not so large as to defeat them.
If tasks that are too large can make us depressed, sap our energies, and drive
us into retirement from burnout, then tasks that are just-large-enough can
fill us with enthusiasm, power, and feelings of self worth.
+ By starting with easy projects we acquire the resources to do harder
By using small levers to build large levers the total amount of personal
energy we invest remains roughly the same, but the work done and the progress
achieved grows larger and larger.
+ And if we
do this long enough - relentlessly and incrementally - then something
Quantitative changes leads to qualitative change
At some point the size of our lever grows to a point where there is a
qualitative change in the lever (Remember - the lever is just a metaphor for
our Libertarian Party organization!).
This is a change not just in our lever's size, but in its nature, so that its
use passes out of the realm of what it is possible for a volunteer to do, and
into a realm where professional employees are not only desired, but also
At that point the burden of the volunteer activist starts to diminish.
The National Example
This is exactly what has happened at the national level. Once upon a time,
volunteers did much of the work of the national party. The Libertarian
National Committee was more than a board of directors, it was also a committee
This meant that individual LNC members were engaged in highly complex
activities that taxed their time and personal resources.
Does this sound like your local group? Of course it does.
But this personal sacrifice by the members of the LNC was leading somewhere.
It was creating the resources needed for a qualitative change in how the work
of the Libertarian National Committee was performed.
Our volunteers created the resources required to professionalize the party.
Which, in turn, allowed us to not only do more than we had done before, but
also to do it better. State and local parties can and should follow this same
path. This organizing manual will show you how to do that.
Proper strategic planning can be summed up in six points:
` 1. Start with your ultimate
goal and work backward through a succession of projects that are designed to
meet that goal.
2. Plan your
projects in reverse order, from the hard and complex to the simple and easy.
3. Make your
planning for the harder projects very schematic, because they will be done
4. By contrast,
make the planning for your earliest and easiest projects very detailed,
because you will do them first
5. Exclude all
projects that do not have the effect of increasing your available resources.
6. Remember that
you are building levers that will build larger levers. Your standard is
"more and better all the time:'
To give you a better idea of how to think strategically, let's examine a few
popular Libertarian strategic ideas that happen to be erroneous. By seeing
what is wrong with them you can gain an even better understanding of how
strategic planning works.
Section 4: Case Studies in Strategic Error
Case Study #1:
Proposal: Let's concentrate all of our resources on one congressional campaign
and get someone elected to the U.S. House.
Is a popular idea: go all-out somewhere to get at least one Libertarian
elected to congress. I agree that it sounds good. So let's draw up a plan to
do it and see what happens.
To begin with, it seems necessary to use elected Democrats and Republicans as
a guide for our campaign. After all, there the only examples we have. But in
doing so we notice three things. . .
1. Democrats seem
to win in districts that have more registered Democrats, while Republicans
seem to win in districts that have more registered
2. Major parties
often decide that they won't run candidates in districts where the other party
has a clear advantage in registrations, or if they do, they don't spend much
money on them. They don't see any point That's why certain districts are
3. But in
districts where registrations are fairly even you see hotly contested races
where millions of dollars are spent trying to win. In other words, each party
counts on their base of registered voters to keep them fairly even with the
other party, so that all of the money they spend really goes to win over the
independent or swing voters.
Therefore, it seems that we would need a base of registered voters roughly
equal to that of the dominant party in our chosen district, just to have a
chance to compete for the margin of victory - those votes that are provided
primarily by registered independents.
This is borne out by the race Jon Coon ran for the Michigan legislature in
1996. Jon out-spent the Democratic incumbent two-to-one, and the Republican
challenger several hundred to one. He also ran a textbook campaign that any
political pro would have been proud of. But Jon only got 15.95 of the vote,
while the Republican, who spent next to nothing, got 15.8%.
The Democrats voted for the Democratic candidate and the Republicans voted for
the Republican candidate. Jon's district was 80% Democrat, so the Democrat
won. It's that simple. Jon did a hell of a job winning over independent
voters, but there just weren't enough
But, if this is true, then how did we win our past legislative victories in
Alaska and New Hampshire? Well, we have to remember that those races had some
unique characteristics. First, all of the districts were very small - some of
the smallest in the country. And, in the case of New Hampshire, all of our
elected legislators won through dual nominations. This means that they ran on
both the Libertarian and the Republican tickets. And the fact is, they got
most of their votes from Republicans, for whom the Libertarian candidates were
actually Republican candidates, because they had both nominations.
There seems to be no way around it. In order to win you need to have roughly
the same number of registered voters as the dominant party in the district. So
how many is that? Well, the U.S. Statistical abstract tells us that Democrat
and Republican registrations are roughly equal - about 31 o, while about 35 %
voters are independents. So it seems that we'll need about 31% of the
registered voters in an average district, just to get to first base. But there
are few if any congressional districts in the country where we have even 1% of
the registered voters.
So how do we register enough people to reach parity with our opponents? Well,
we could hire petitioners to do it. If fact, this would be essential, because
no one has ever had much success getting volunteers to register large numbers
of people to a new party - not even Ross Perot. Fortunately, it is possible
hire petitioners to register large numbers of people. We've done it many
times, most notably in California in 1978, and in Arizona in 1995.
So how much would it cost to register enough people in a single congressional
district Well, the average district has about 280 000 registered voters, so
31% of that would be 86,800 people. Call it 90,000. And it costs about 4 to
register a person with a particular party, or about $360,000 total.
Unfortunately, this is about what it cost us to get on the ballot in all 50
states in 1996!
So right away we have problems. There may not be enough money in the whole
Libertarian Party to register that many people in a single district, even if
we could get everyone to defer all other projects and agree on one district to
target But getting that many human beings to agree on anything would be like
herding cats - it's impossible. Some will want to support one campaign, and
some another. That's how the marketplace works, and we can no more change that
fact than King Canute could roll back the tides or the Democrats and
Republicans can repeal the law of supply and demand.
But the problem is even worse than that, for three reasons. . .
90,000 people in one congressional district isn't the same as registering
90,000 people in a state as large as California. 90,000 people is one third of
the population of a congressional district, but less than 1% of the population
of California. This means that in an area as small as a congressional district
there isn't as much of an opportunity to re-register large numbers of people
because MOST OF THEM ARE SATISFIED WTTH THEIR CURRENT AFFILIATIONS! That's
what we have to change, the fact that people are satisfied (if not entirely
happy) with the Democrats and Republicans. And the people who aren't
registered at all are already pretty happy not being involved in the process,
so they won't necessarily be that much easier to recruit. Result: it's going
to cost a lot more than 4 a person to register 90,000 people in a population
the size of a congressional district!
2. Just because someone agrees to register with you doesn't mean that they're
'~ really devoted to you. We saw that with the California registrations in the
early 80's. Later, after the registration drive had been completed, we tried
to recruit some of our new registrants as dues paying members. And we were
shocked to learn that most of them DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY
REALLY STOOD FOR. Worse still, a great many of them didn't even remember that
they had registered to vote that way! They just didn't remember having it done
it In many cases they had agreed to register Libertarian just so they could
get our petitioners out of their way so they could be on about their business.
So even if we registered 90,000 people it doesn't follow that we'd have 90,000
3. But the
problem gets worse. Even after you have your voter base you still aren't
finished. You still need to raise enough money to compete with the other guys
for the swing votes. How much money? Somewhere between half a million and a
million dollars. And one million dollars is exactly half of the national LP's
budget for 1997. Which means that even if you could get every Libertarian in
the country to focus half of their contributions on one congressional race
(which you could probably never do in a million billion years) that's about
all you'd do. Nearly everything else the national party does - membership
recruitment, media relations, ballot access, all of it, would have to be shut
down. And you still might not win your congressional seat, because the other
guys will be fighting for it just as hard.
Breathtaking isn't it? But should we find it depressing? I don't think so.
Why? Because there's a way around all of these problems. A way that will
enable us to not only elect one Libertarian to congress, but many. Membership
recruitment is the key.
If we had 1,000,000 members then we could probably raise between 100 million
and $200 million per year at the national level, and probably an equal amount
at the state and local level. At that point our financial resources would be
about the same as the D's and R's. But what about the registered voter base?
Where would that come from? It would come as fall-out from the effort to
Think about it. You have to give someone a lot of information to convince them
to join the party, but those who do join are helping to pay the cost you
incurred to convince them. They do this by giving you a $25 dues check.
Therefore, every member you recruit gives you additional resources to go out
and recruit new members. And it stands to reason that for every person you
convince to give you 25, there may be five or six or ten who aren't
enthusiastic enough to give you money, but who are willing to take the time to
change their registrations.
Can we really recruit that many members? We think we can, and we'll show how
and why later in this manual. So don t despair. We may not be able to win one
congressional district today, but by recruiting one member after another after
another, we may be able to challenge in every congressional district,
everywhere, sometime in the very near future. That's why we call membership
recruitment our Road to Victory.
Case Study #2:
Proposal: That we recruit a billionaire or a celebrity to lead us to victory
This is another proposal that sounds good. After all, we're working to recruit
new members anyway, so why don't we spend more effort trying to recruit the
kinds of people who can do more for us than simply staffing information booths
and contributing small amounts of money? That makes a lot of sense doesn't it
so let's try to figure out how to do it.
First, we need to have a list of potential prospects. But that's no problem
since we already have such a list. We know of many celebrities and
billionaires who have either said that they are libertarians or who are
already contributing significant amounts of money to other movement
Okay, so how do we get them to join our organization? It could be as simple as
asking them, but doesn't it seem that we ought to be a little more
sophisticated than that? After all, we spend more effort than that recruiting
our other members. We doesn't it send out recruiting letters that just say,
"Would you please join the Libertarian Party? Thank you very much."
Instead, we try to give people reasons why they should join. More importantly,
we try to anticipate what their objections might be and deal with them.
Shouldn't we do the same thing with celebrities and billionaires?
Of course we should.
So the first step in our plan should be to try to anticipate reasons why they
might want to join us, as well as reasons why they might prefer not to. This
would seem to be fairly simple, but it's actually quite difficult.
Celebrities and billionaires are almost certainly motivated to join
organizations such as ours for the same reasons that we joined the LP because they agree with our organization s principles and want
to promote them. So we could just
contact them, remind them that we share common principles, and tell them how
their membership would help to promote those principles. But that isn't as
easy as it sounds.
First, you have to be able to reach them. And the very fact that their
membership in our organization would be so valuable to us also means that it
would be valuable to lots of other groups as well. All people with money face
the same problem - everybody wants some of it. And people who are famous have
that problem plus one more - everyone wants to be able to say they know them,
ask for their autograph, or perhaps even cut off a lock of their hair!
So guess what? Billionaires and celebrities setup systems to prevent all of
their time from being consumed by requests for money, personal appearances,
and DNA samples. They live behind walls, both literally and figuratively.
Therefore, knowing where they live or where they work or who their agent is
isn't enough. You also have to figure out how to get your appeal past their
personal assistant, secretary, agent and/or all of the above.
Which also means that you have to get inside the minds not only of the person
you re trying to recruit, but also his or her protectors. After all, these
protectors are being paid to not waste their boss's time. And they don't do
that by telling him or her about every invitation, or by sharing all of the
details of every proposal. If they were going to do that then might just as
well plop all of the incoming mail on the boss's desk and let him or her weed
it out. And in that case they wouldn't be needed at all would they?
This adds a significant extra burden on our end, because even if we convince
the protectors to let their bosses know that we want them to do something,
that may turn out to be all that the protector does. The person you're trying
to communicate with may not even hear all of your reasons why they should do
what you want them to do. Instead, your request will most likely be delivered
along with a whole stream of similar invitations.
"The Friars s club wants you to speak on July 7."
"Send my regrets."
"The American Cancer Society wants a piece of your clothing to auction
off at a fundraising event."
"Ask the maid to send them a pair of socks."
Libertarian Party wants you to become a member."
"Hhmm, that one sounds interesting, but it would probably result in my
having to deal with more invitations to speak, give money, do fundraising
events, run for office, or sign letters. Just a bunch more stuff I don't have
time for. I'm not a politician, I'm a movie star. Maybe when I retire. Tell
them thanks, but not at this time."
See what I mean? So how do you overcome this? Well, you have to overcome it
the same way you would overcome similar objections with anybody else. You have
to get your prospects excited about the Libertarian Party, AND you have to
overcome their objections by letting them know that they wouldn't have to deal
with anything they didn't want to have to deal with.
But how can you get them excited and overcome their objections if you first
have to get them excited and overcome their objections before they will take
the time to consider why they should be excited and why they won't have
anything to be concerned about? Is a Catch 22 isn't it?
Yes it is.
Remember, if this was easy everybody would be doing it
But other organizations have done it so why can't we? The answer is that we
can but we have to go about it in the right way. Which means that the first
thing we have to overcome is our belief that a billionaire or a celebrity can
carry us to the Promised Land. That's exactly what the billionaire and the
celebrity are most afraid of, that they'll be expected to do for the
organization what the organization hasn't been able to do for itself.
Which implies a second obligation on our part. We have to bring at least as
much to the table as the billionaire or the celebrity does. After all, if they
could really do it all on their own why would they need to join us? They could
just start their own party or organization. Why should they go through the
hassle of dealing with a bunch of strangers if they have the personal
influence, wealth, and power to do the job on their own? Remember, Ross Perot
didn't spend $60 million on George Bush, Bob Dole, or Bill Clinton, he spent
it on himself.
But this, in turn implies a new way to approach billionaires and celebrities.
If you do that then celebrities and billionaires are going to notice it, for
the same reasons that you noticed their success!
It's obvious. Become successful and people will notice it. And, if they agree
with what you're doing, they'll become excited by you're success and want to
And at that point it will also be obvious to them that they won't have to do
it all on their own because you're already succeeding without them. That means
that they'll be able to feel confident that they can be a help to the cause,
and not a martyr to it.
If we become successful then we won't have to worry about getting past the
protectors - we'll be on television and in the newspapers, just like the
celebrities and the billionaires! Success penetrates barriers, generates
excitement, and overcomes objections. Success is the sales argument best
suited to reaching and convincing successful people!
Celebrities and billionaires aren't tools that we can use to become
successful. Instead, success is a tool that we can use to recruit celebrities
and billionaires to help us become even more successful. Is that simple and is
also that hard.
But does this mean that we shouldn't go ahead and try to recruit celebrities
and billionaires whenever we become aware that they agree with us? Of course
We can and should send out polite invitations, and once in a great while we 11
get lucky and one of them will join the party. And that will be a great help
to our cause, but a help only.
The Church of Scientology has scores of celebrities as members, and these
celebrity members do a lot of work to promote the Church, but the Church of
Scientology hasn't eclipsed the Catholics or the Mormons has it? Of course it
hasn't. Celebrity members can't do everything. People aren't necessarily going
to give up their own beliefs just because Clint Eastwood says so. People still
have to be convinced.
Likewise, the Cato Institute has several billionaires on its Board of
Directors, but Cato hasn't conquered the world yet either, has it?
When we have as many members as the Church of Scientology or as much prestige
and money as the Cato Institute then we 11 have no problems getting past the
protectors and recruiting lots of billionaires and celebrities. But a strategy
that aims at using the rich and famous as the path to success is one that will
only end up pestering a lot of busy people to no end.
In short, there are things we can do to recruit billionaires and celebrities,
but the chances of success are slim, and the chances that any success we do
have will bring us victory are slimmer still. In addition, the best way to
achieve success in this area is to first achieve success in other areas.
There are no magic bullets, and you can t get something for nothing. To
believe otherwise is to fail to ask enough questions and consider enough
facts. And good strategic planning requires that you both ask enough questions
and pay close attention to the way the world works.
We have to offer celebrities and billionaires something in return for what
they have to offer to us. We have to bring as much to the relationship as they
do. That's the way the world works.
Case Study #3:
Proposal: That we convince the media to give us coverage equal to the
Democrats and Republicans and thereby achieve victory.
This is another popular idea that suffers from many of the same failings as
the desire to get celebrities and billionaires to do more for us than we can
do for ourselves. Is an idea that fails to ask many of the same questions,
such as, why should the media do this, and what would it really accomplish?
Unless you know why certain kinds of people might want to do something you
have very little chance of convincing them to do it. And unless you're certain
about what that something would accomplish then you're very likely to end up
with unintended consequences.
Every organization wants daily coverage from the media, just like every
organization wants to get millions from billionaires and endorsements from
celebrities. Why should the media give it to us and not to the rest? Just
because we think we have superior ideas? Big deal, so do all the other groups.
Or perhaps it's because we think it's unfair that we get less coverage than
the older parties? If so, then we have strange ideas about fairness. Why on
earth should a group that has only a few thousand members get as much
attention as groups that have hundreds of thousands of members? How could any
news organization ever justify such unearned attention? Wouldn't it look like
they were biased on our behalf, and trying to do for us what we couldn't do
Further, if we did get equal coverage what makes us so certain that it would
be positive coverage? Sure, we might be able to pester the media into giving
us more exposure, but would the exposure we gained through such pestering
really be to our advantage?
I can readily visualize the kinds of headlines and story leads that might
result from such pestering: "Who is this group that makes so much noise
but has so few members? Why do Americans ignore the Libertarian Party? Despite
the Libertarian Parts claims to have better ideas the American people don t
seem to agree. Let's analyze why."
If you pester journalists for coverage that you haven't earned then you may
get the kind of coverage that you hadn't intended to earn - negative coverage.
If I was a journalist who was constantly pestered by some tiny group that
accused me of being blind to good ideas or unfair, that's probably the kind of
story I'd write.
Some Libertarians respond to this by repeating the tired old cliche that any
coverage is good coverage as long as they spell your name right. But think
again, the media spelled Charles Manson's name right repeatedly during his
trial, but correct spelling didn't convince the American people that Charlie
was a good guy. It was what they reported about Manson that formed the
public's opinion of his character.
Think about it!
+ Would you
pay money for an ad that asked "Who is this group that makes so much
noise but has so few members?"
+ Would you
pay for an ad that asked, "Why do Americans ignore the Libertarian
+ Of course
not. Then why would you work to have journalists write such things for
"free?" Isn't it obvious that any quality standard that applies to
paid advertising also applies to free media?
What's more, what makes us think that free media is really free? Are lunches
free? Are press releases free? Do friendly relations with journalists require
no forethought, planning, or time to develop? Free media isn't free. Free
media costs plenty, so we'd better make sure we get our money's worth, just as
with everything else we do.
how? Or more importantly, why? What can "free' media really do for us ,
and how much is it worth? These are the important strategic questions that we
have to ask ourselves, because without the correct answers we're not going to
be able to get what we want.
Can "free' media really convince people that we're right? Maybe, but is
not likely. It isn't the media s job to produce puff pieces and sales pitches.
Their job is to provide factual information and balanced analysis, pro and
This means that journalists aren't necessarily going to present our message
our way. More often than not they're going to present it their way, with
plenty of dissenting commentary from either themselves or other people.
What's more, journalists are busy people. The next deadline is always just a
few hours away. And that means that there going to misquote things,
misunderstand things, leave things out, or put things in the wrong order. And
it also means that there going to quote erroneous criticisms from people with
opposing viewpoints and leave them un-rebutted.
They won't do these things because there malicious, they'll do them because
there busy, or because they honestly disagree, or because there compelled to
offer critical reaction to the things we say and do, just as they do with the
Democrats and Republicans.
It bears repeating: it isn't the media's job to convince people to join the
Libertarian Party or to vote for our candidates. They're job is to tell people
what we're doing and what our critics think about it.
Unfortunately, when we Libertarians think about "free' media we tend to
be like the stone age tribes that mistook United Nation's planes for gods
bearing gifts from the sky. We have a Cargo Cult mentality about the media. We
mistake cause for effect. We think the Democrats and Republicans are
successful because they get media coverage when in fact they get media
coverage because there successful. Media coverage is an affirmation of success
not the cause of it
What's more, media coverage in the "real world" often turns out to
be something to be endured just as often as it turns out to be something to be
enjoyed. It's always a mixed bag. And the reason the Democrats and Republicans
spend so much time on it is because they have to! They have to do their best
to make sure that they get more positive coverage and less negative coverage.
And if you ever hear a Democrat or a Republican claim that all coverage is
good coverage, don't be naive - that's the kind of thing people say when they
have no choice but to grin and bear it.
Someday we'll be in the same boat. And when that day arrives it will be a sure
sign that we've already done what it takes to be successful. This is a very
important insight, because it helps us discern the true importance of media
coverage. And that purpose isn't to sell people on our ideas (although that
sometimes happens). Instead, the importance of media coverage is that it sends
a strong message to the public that we are relevant! That right or wrong, we
So what must we do in order to matter? It's simple. We must grow. Through our
own efforts. And when we have as many members and voters as the older parties
then we'll be relevant, and then the coverage will follow, both good and bad.
But does media coverage play no role in our growth today? Of course it plays a
role. But to understand what that role is you have to think in terms of your
short-term goals. If your short-term goal is to grow (because of all the
long-term benefits that will flow from that) then you ought to concentrate on
the kinds of media coverage that can help you to recruit new supporters.
The best examples of how this can be done come from the Browne for President
campaign, and from the work of Bill Winter and George Getz at the national
The Browne campaign wanted to generate inquiries that could be converted into
members. Therefore, it was necessary that it concentrate on media outlets that
would allow it to promote our 800#. In addition, the campaign's preference was
to be able to tell its own story its own way, without filtering and
interpretation by journalists. The campaign also wanted to be able to present
a complete sales argument to potential members and voters, much as you would
do in a direct mail letter. And finally, the campaign wanted to concentrate
its resources where it could get the greatest results for the least effort.
What this meant in practice was that we needed a medium where we had something
to offer - something that would help the people who were providing the
coverage as much as the coverage helped us.
Only one medium had all of these features - talk shows. Therefore, that's
where the Browne campaign concentrated its media efforts.
This is not to say that other kinds of media attention weren't desired, they
were. But with severely limited resources, the campaign had to concentrate on
areas where it could do the most with the least, and hope that by doing so it
could also generate additional attention from other sources.
The most crucial feature of this plan was that we had something to offer to
talk show hosts - an articulate guest with provocative ideas that would light
up the phone lines. Therefore, the press releases that were prepared by Bill
Winter and George Getz had to show that we had interesting things to say,
things that would help talk show hosts grab listeners. The press releases that
Bill and George prepared did exactly that, and then Harry carried through on
the implied promise of those releases by being an interesting and articulate
But we wanted more than just one shot appearances on individual talk shows, if
possible. We wanted talk show hosts and audiences to keep talking about us
even when Harry wasn't on the show. But in order to make that happen we once
again had to provide something that would make talk show hosts want to keep
talking about us. A continued stream of press releases helped with part of
this, and led to repeat appearances by Harry on many shows. But we went two
steps beyond that
First, we started something we called Operation Drumbeat to enlist talk show
hosts in a campaign calling for Harry's inclusion in the presidential debates.
We argued that if Harry could light up phone lines, he could light up the
This campaign allowed us to ask talk show hosts to endorse the idea of Harry s
inclusion in the debates, which also led many of them to endorse Harry s
Thereafter, whenever Bob Dole or Bill Clinton said or did something that a
particular talk show host didn't like, he had something he could do about it -
he could repeat his support for having Harry included in the debates. And many
of them did this again and again and again, with the result that Harry s
campaign was being talked about even when he wasn't on the show!
Second, we sweetened the pot by buying advertising on talk shows as well. Thus
the drumbeat. Through the combination of all of these factors we delivered a
series of reminders about Harry's campaign to a targeted audience of
politically aware people.
By thinking strategically, asking the right questions, and paying attention to
the way things really work, as opposed to how we wished they worked, we were
able to create a plan that gave us exactly what we wanted.
+ We got thousands of inquiries.
+ And those
inquiries helped us to create more net membership growth for the party in one
year than in the previous ten years combined.
+ We also
got more votes, because thousands who had heard Harry tell his own story in
his own way were convinced to vote for him.
+ We also got more endorsements than any previous campaign in LP history.
+ Plus, as
the drumbeat went on, other journalists took note and started to give him
coverage that he probably wouldn't have received otherwise.
And all of this was accomplished without pestering anybody. Without accusing
people of being blind to good ideas or being unfair. We got the coverage we
did because we deserved it, because we provided something valuable.
And since then, the national LP has continued with this same basic strategy,
creating ever-increasing amounts of media coverage.
Notice how it was done. . .
determined an objective that was most highly valuable to us given our current
situation - membership growth.
2. We asked how we could best pursue that objective with the least effort.
3. We identified
what we could do for others that would allow us to get what we wanted.
These are the fundamentals of good strategic planning.
Case Study #4:
Proposal: That we forego the presidential campaign in order to focus all of
our resources on winnable races
This idea derives from an understandable misconception. We are a political
party, therefore our aim is to win races, therefore we should concentrate all
of our resources on those races that we can win, and none on those races that
But so stated, have we actually identified what we really want? Isn't it true
that our objectives are far grander than victory in a few small races? Aren't
we really seeking to win enough races to control policy and thereby create a
Libertarian society? Of course we are. Holding a few positions here and there
is far better than not holding them, but it isn't going to change the world is
it? Only majorities can change things in our system.
But how can we ever become the majority party if we lack the resources? The
answer is that we can t. Therefore, we must necessarily divide our grand
objective into short term and long term goals. We must aim first, in the short
term, at gaining the resources that we will need in order to become a majority
party in the long term.
This will inevitably mean that we will win more and more small races as we go
along, and then more and more medium races when we grow large enough,
culminating in victories in races at all levels as our resources draw even
with those of our competitors.
But this leaves open the question of what we have to do in order to increase
our resources. There are a great many answers to this question, many of which
are covered in this manual, but if we ask ourselves where most of our growth
has come from in the past, the answer is clear - presidential campaigns.
Presidential campaigns generate the most excitement, raise the most money, buy
the most advertising, and attract the most attention. They generate more
inquiries than any other thing we do, which leads to more members, more
volunteers, more candidates, more money, and more of everything that we need
in order to compete.
To not run a presidential campaign would be to give up the entire war for the
sake of victory in just a few small battles. But, as if that wasn't enough,
this idea also fails on other counts.
It ignores human nature. In the real world some Libertarian somewhere will
always want to run for president. And in the real world there will always be
plenty of people who will want to support his or her campaign. Thus, the goal
of diverting resources that would have been used on a presidential campaign to
smaller races simply cannot be achieved.
It ignores the expectations of the voters. In the real world real voters
expect real political parties to run candidates at all levels, but for
president most of all. If you intend to have a political party without a
presidential candidate, then don t be surprised if the voters don t take your
effort very seriously, and instead decide to retain their old allegiances to
the Democrats and Republicans.
It often diverts attention from our more important short-term goals for the
sake of illusions. Sadly, this has been demonstrated again and again. As soon
as Libertarians succeed in electing two or three people to public office they
often start believing that there significant players in the political process.
They then devote most of their attention to city hall, or the state capital,
instead of to the growth efforts that allowed them to achieve those victories
to begin with. And what does this accomplish? Little or nothing, because the
politicians of the older parties don't take our maneuvers seriously. They know
that two or three office holders can't pass or repeal anything. They're simply
irrelevant. But we try anyway, diverting important resources from more viable
projects. The result is that membership and all of our other vital indicators
decline from neglect, and very soon our office holders lose at the polls from
the lack of a base of support, and we're back where we started.
It mis-evaluates how much office holders can really do for us in the short
term. Our public office holders are one of our greatest assets, as long as we
use them properly and don't expect too much of them. They represent a sign of
our viability, that we can win, that we have a future. They can be powerful
membership recruiters. They can attract the media. They can raise needed
money. They provide a farm team from which to recruit candidates for higher
office when the time is right. They can and should do all of these things, but
they cannot change the way the government works. That requires majorities, at
all levels. Therefore, to expect that electing large numbers of people to
small offices is the solution to the whole puzzle, rather than simply a part
of the puzzle, is to not only misunderstand the size and nature of the
problem, but also cause and effect.
Similar misunderstandings apply to similar strategic ideas. Some people
believe that we should only run candidates who have a chance to win. But
neither George McGovern nor Walter Mondale had a chance to win the presidency.
Should the Democrats therefore have forgone running a candidate for president?
Of course not.
What's more, a candidate is an advertisement for the Libertarian Party. His or
her name and party label appears on the ballot for all to see. Should we
really forgo this inexpensive exposure?
More importantly, a single vote for any Libertarian candidate is the first and
easiest investment that any person can make in the Libertarian Party. Should
we .. really deny people this easy first step toward a relationship with our
And finally, growing numbers of candidates, at all levels, are a sign of the
growing strength of the party. And growing numbers of candidates also win
increasing numbers of votes, which the media and the public must slowly but
surely come to notice.
In conclusion, to concentrate resources is a sound strategic idea, but only if
it is applied to sound objectives. Only large political constituencies can
deliver political victories. Therefore, running candidates at all levels, so
that we can identify and recruit new supporters at all levels, is vital to our
These case studies demonstrate the kind of thinking that you have to go
through in order to decide whether your "great idea" is also a
practical one, and if it is, how to go about pursuing it.
And the kinds of questions that I dealt with in each case can also be applied
to similar projects. Would you like to conduct an initiative and referendum
campaign in your state or county? Run the numbers. Find out how much money you
would need. That will tell you how many contributors-members you would have to
have before that kind of project would become a viable one.
Would you like to win the electoral votes in your particular state at the next
presidential election? Again, run the numbers. You'll find that you would need
far more resources, and therefore members, than we currently have in the
entire country. It was exactly this kind of analysis that led the Browne
campaign to abandon its New Hampshire strategy in 1996, and instead focus on
radio talk shows to create inquiries so that we would have more members in the
future. It was determined that the only way the New Hampshire strategy would
ever become viable was if we had enough members to support it. And, if you
look at it carefully, you'll find that the same holds true for any project you
might want to undertake.
Most big projects and great ideas simply aren't possible for us in the short
term , but by following a program that allows us to do small projects that
lead to bigger projects, we will reach the point where some of our favorite
ideas actually become possible.
Now let's use take the kind of thinking I've described in this section and use
it to create an actual strategic plan for the Libertarian Party.
Section 4: The Road to Victory - a Strategic Plan f or the Libertarian Party
Now let's use what we've learned so far to come up with a strategic plan for
the Libertarian Party. We re going to. . .
l. Start with our
ultimate goal and work backward through a succession of projects that are
designed to meet that goal. The concept of relentless incrementalism will
guide this process.
2. Plan our
projects in reverse order, from the hard and complex to the simple and easy.
These projects will be linked by a chain of cause and effect.
3. Make our
planning for the harder projects very schematic, because we will do them
4. Make the
planning for our earliest and easiest projects very detailed, because we will
do them first.
5. Exclude all
projects that do not have the effect of increasing our available resources.
This will allow us to follow the path of least resistance.
6. Remember that
we are building levers that will build larger levers. Our standard will be
"more and better all the time."
We will also. . .
7. Determine the
objectives that seem most highly valuable at each level of growth. Our
planning will be context sensitive.
8. Ask a lot of
questions about how to pursue our objectives with the least effort. Productive
laziness will be the order of the day.
9. Identify what
we can do for others so that they will be motivated to do things for us. We
will not win by whining or pestering people.
Politics, Leverage, and Productive Laziness
Let's start by examining the nature of our organization. We are a political
party. This means that we have the opportunity to make the changes we want
through that most libertarian of methods, peaceful persuasion.
In addition, our use of the political process has an element of productive
laziness about it, because it provides us with a high-leverage tool for
achieving our goals. The source of this leverage is the fact that is possible
to change the government's policies without ever convincing a majority of the
people to vote for our candidates. This could happen in several ways.
1. The Democrats and/or the Republicans could adopt some or all of our ideas.
2. We could fail
to elect majorities to the various elected bodies, but still elect just enough
people to force the other parties to move in a Libertarian direction.
3. We could even
win majority control of many elected bodies without ever winning a majority of
the vote. This is possible because many elections can be won with pluralities
rather than majorities.
Given the options, how should we proceed in setting the end goal at which our
strategic planning aims? The concept of productive laziness would seem to
suggest what appears to be the easiest route - convince the Democrats and
Republicans to do it for us.
Unfortunately, this goal isn't as productively lazy as it appears.
For one thing, it overlooks the element of uncertainty. It is far from certain
that either the Democrats or the Republicans would ever adopt anything more
than our rhetoric, no matter how big we got, or how much we threatened their
political monopoly. The reason for this is that their incentives run in the
Understand people's incentives and you can better predict what they'll do
If we ask ourselves why people run for office as Democrats or Republicans we
get three possible answers. . .
1. They want to have the power to pursue either liberal or conservative
to control either our personal lives, or our economic lives, or both.
2. They want power for themselves, personally.
3. They see it as a road to
riches, a powerful position from which to build lucrative relationships with
wealthy special interests.
Libertarian ideas serve none of these motivations.
Our ideas would reduce the size and scope of government, not harness it to
conservative or liberal ends.
Our ideas would reduce the personal power of each and every politician, not
preserve or extend it
Our ideas would remove the government's power to benefit special interests,
not continue or expand it.
So why would any politician, driven by any of these motivations, ever want to
adopt our ideas? To win votes? Perhaps, but does it really make sense for them
to do so if it means abandoning the purposes that led them to seek office to
Would we really expect them to reduce the power of the government simply so
they could retain superficial control over an institution that no longer has
the kind of power they value? Do we really expect them to voluntarily forgo. .
+ The power to control our economic or personal lives
+ The pomp and circumstance of their high powered offices
+ The power to benefit friends and punish enemies?
It seems unlikely.
The Socialist Example
But some people point to the fact that the Democrats implemented much of the
old Socialist Parts platform as an example that it is possible. But in fact,
this example actually proves my point.
Of course the Democrats adopted the Socialist platform - they had every
incentive to do so! The Socialist platform expanded their ability to control
people's lives, and to confer and withhold benefits. It also enhanced the
petty prestige that people derive from being a Congressman or a Senator or the
~~ President of the United States.
Therefore, since their personal interests are dependent on the government
being powerful, is far more likely that the older parties will simply borrow
our rhetoric in an effort to "take a free ride" on the popularity of
our ideas. It's even possible that they could do much to discredit those ideas
in the process. Indeed, we have already seen this happen in several instances,
both the borrowing and the discrediting.
+ When a
Ronald Reagan claims that he has cut the size of government, but people are
still paying high taxes, we shouldn't be surprised if individual voters say,
"We did cut the size of government and it didn't make any difference to
+ Or when a
Bill Clinton declares that "government is smaller than is been in twenty
years," but people are still paying high taxes and see no real change in
their lives, we shouldn't be surprised if they become skeptical about
Libertarian promises to do the same. They think is been tried.
More telling still is the example of how the older parties have influenced
each other. As the Republicans have threatened the Democrats' control of the
federal government the Democrats have responded by adopting Republican
rhetoric! But they haven't matched that rhetoric with action! They haven t
worked to reduce the size of government! They've stolen the promises and
neglected the execution!
Likewise, the Republicans have always responded to Democratic efforts to
expand the power of government by demanding their own slice of the pie! In the
absence of any firm principles, all of the incentives speak in favor of the
growth of government. The Republicans have every incentive to offer the
Democrats control over your economic life in return for gaining control over
your personal life, because, in the final analysis, trades such as this expand
the power and wealth of all politicians, regardless of party or professed
Therefore, the productive laziness of the "get the others guys to do it'
strategy has to be called into question. It would still take quite a lot of
work to reach the point where we might influence the older parties to adopt
our ideas, but it would be pointless work if it didn't also result in the
actual implementation of those ideas.
Pointless work is the very opposite of productive laziness. We want our work
to bring the ends we desire. Therefore, if at all possible, which should
choose goals and strategies that are certain to bring about a Libertarian
society, assuming that we can find the tactics required to make those
+ We may
grow large enough to influence the older parties to implement our ideas for
us, but is doubtful at best.
+ Or, we
may win just enough seats to achieve the same end from a position of actual
political power, but it's far from certain that this would result in anything
but a holding action.
Or, we may win majority control of the levers of government while only winning
a plurality of the vote, but this seems like an unstable perch from which to
launch a far reaching revolution.
So what should we do instead?
We are a party of principle, and that principle is indivisible. We may welcome
partial steps in the direction of a principle-based society, but the direction
is not the destination. The destination is what we desire. We want to create a
Libertarian society, as soon as possible, and as easily as possible.
Therefore, we want a strategic plan that offers us the maximum certainty of
the desired outcome with the minimum effort required. And the one strategic
goal that best exemplifies this idea goes as follows. . .
We want to receive a majority of the votes in a majority of the races, for all
governmental bodies, at all levels.
If we can figure out a way to achieve this, then we won't need to depend on
anyone else to create a Libertarian society for us. We can just do it
ourselves. Therefore, our strategic planning should begin from this point.
How do we go about receiving a majority of the vote in a majority of the races
for all governmental bodies, at all levels?
This is the great strategic question that we have to answer. How do we work
back from our strategic goal, through all of the steps required to achieve it
to the current state of affairs, to arrive at a plan that will achieve the
It would seem, as a minimum, that we would need to have candidates in a
majority of the races at all levels throughout the country.
But it must be recognized that this is only a minimum condition for having a
chance to reach our goal. And what we're looking for is more than a chance
-we're trying to find a path to certainty.
The principle of productive laziness dictates that, if possible, we should try
to limit any risk that may cause our work to be wasted, or to achieve less
than our desired goal. Therefore, we should introduce an element of
redundancy, so that unexpected failures in one area can be compensated for by
unexpected successes elsewhere.
This dictates that we will need to have candidates in more than a majority of
the races. It also indicates that the least risky path will be to have a
candidate in every race.
This does not, of course, dictate that we will invest substantial resources on
all of these candidates, it merely suggests that we shouldn't deny ourselves
opportunities for choosing where we will invest our resources.
Since opportunities quite often arise in unexpected places, maximizing the
number of candidates will also maximize our opportunities for unexpected
In addition, decisions about which candidates will receive resources, and to
what extent, will be made by the marketplace, and not by some central decision
making authority. Individual contributors and volunteers will decide resource
allocation, by weighing each candidate's chances for success. If we expand the
available supply of candidates then we will also expand the markets ability to
pick the maximum number of winners.
Excess capacity = maximum flexibility = equals maximum risk management =
equals maximum certainty of success.
But where will these candidates come from?
We will need to have, as a minimum, a sufficient number of LP members from
which to recruit the desired number of candidates.
It also seems obvious that we will need to have an additional number of people
to recruit and train these candidates. And additional numbers of members to
provide the volunteers and the professional staff members required to run
In addition, since campaigns are transitory institutions, it cannot be
expected that candidate recruiters, volunteers and staff members will simply
appear as if by magic, on the day they are needed. Instead, they will have to
be developed, so that they can be ready long before any particular campaign
This implies the pre-existence of permanent Libertarian Party institutions,
performing certain functions at a certain level of efficiency. And since
campaigns are run at the national, state and local level, the goal of having
candidates in all races at all levels dictates that we have effective party
organizations in all places at all levels. And since these organizations will
also need volunteers and professional staff, the minimum number of members
required rises yet again.
But not all members will desire to serve either as volunteers or as paid
staff. Only a small percentage will. This means that we will need a larger
pool of members which to recruit a smaller pool of volunteers and employees.
Therefore, the number of members needed rises still further.
Likewise, human capital isn't the only requirement. Our candidates, volunteers
and professional staff members will also need tools for their work -
brochures, press kits, fundraising letters, and advertising. The list is long,
and it all costs money. Therefore, the required ratio of contributing members
to working members may be as high as 100 contributors for every 1 worker.
Contributors will often be workers as well, but a ratio anything like 100 to 1
will necessarily dictate that most members will be contributors only.
But that's not all. . .
The above considerations still only provide us with the minimum conditions
required for us to have a chance at electoral success. And we want more than a
chance - we want to win! Therefore, we will also have to meet the objective
requirements for winnable campaigns. And that means that we'll need
All candidates draw votes from two primary sources. . .
1. Their base of
solid party supporters. In states that permit partisan registrations these can
be easily identified - they're the people who have registered to vote in your
parts primary. But in states that don't allow partisan registrations,
potential voters have to be identified either through indirect means such as
precinct voting patterns from past elections, or by using telemarketing to
identify which voters support your party or candidate.
Swing voters. These are the voters who are either registered as
independents or who are registered with some specific party but who vote for
candidates of other parties on a regular basis.
We must assume, given no available evidence to the contrary, that we will have
to draw our votes from these same sources. Therefore, we will need to create
our own base of registered Libertarians, or people who can otherwise be
identified as Libertarian voters. In addition, we will also have to create
conditions under which large numbers of swing voters will decide to vote for
our candidates. We will deal with these problems in turn.
How to recruit a large base of registered Libertarian voters
People register Libertarian for one or more reasons. Either. . .
figure out on their own that they are Libertarian and register under their own
figure out that they are Libertarians through our outreach efforts and
register under their own initiative.
figure out that they are Libertarians through our outreach efforts and
register because we ask them to.
register Libertarian because they accidentally check the wrong box on the
register Libertarian without really being Libertarian just because one of our
petitioners asked them to.
We can dispense with those who register Libertarian accidentally, because they
are neither likely to be Libertarian voters, nor is there anyway to encourage
people to register with us accidentally! But the fact that these accidents do
happen does have some value to us, because they may help us to gain or retain
ballot status in some states. Unfortunately, in those states where we have not
or cannot gain permanent ballot status through registrations, these people
just cost us extra money when we send direct mail appeals to our registered
voters. They also add to our "get out the vote' costs. Therefore,
accidental registrants are probably a net drain for us.
We can also dispense with those who aren't really Libertarians but who
register that way just because we've asked them to - but not quite so quickly.
These people share the same pluses and minuses as the accidental registrants,
but, on balance, they probably represent a net gain to the party. The reason
for this is that we do not normally ask people to register with us unless we
have first ascertained that they are in fact Libertarians. The notable
exception to this comes when we conduct large voter registration drives in
order to gain permanent ballot status in a particular state. In such instances
it is always the case that most
the people we register don t really know or care about the Libertarian Party.
They are simply agreeing to register with us because they don't want to have
to say no. This means that if and when we do decide to conduct a massive voter
registration drive we are doing so because the economic value of permanent
ballot status is worth more than the extra direct mail and "get out the
vote' costs that we will incur as a result.
We must be clear about this -- petitioner driven voter registration drives do
not discover new Libertarian voters. That is not their value. Their only value
comes from attaining permanent ballot status.
Which brings us to the people who figure out that they are Libertarians on
their own and register under their own initiative. Doubtless, when you get
right down to it, these people didn't really figure it out on their own. At
some point, they must have learned about us through some kind of LP outreach.
Therefore, they represent an indirect benefit of our outreach efforts. But the
fact that this does happen from time to time is of no real help in developing
our strategy, because we cannot identify the chain of cause and effect. Which
means that we cannot say how we should allocate our resources in order to
cause more of this to happen, or what the real outcome would be if we did. We
simply know that as we do more outreach we will get more registrants of this
kind. But that still doesn't tell us what kind of outreach we should be doing.
Which bring us to those people who figure out that they are Libertarians, and
register that way, as a direct and identifiable result of our outreach. The
fact that we can identify these people necessarily means that. . .
1. We did
something directly, that we're aware of, that enabled them to discover their
2. That we then asked them to register with our party.
3. That we know that they actually did so.
This kind of thing happens all the time, through outreach booths, intro
nights, candidate forums, casual encounters, and Libertarian dinner clubs.
Good. But what is required in order for this kind of outreach to occur? Two
things: money and volunteers.
And who are our volunteers and where does our money come from? Only one place
- our members! Therefore, if we want more registrants we have to recruit more
members. Which implies something important about our outreach efforts.
Asking newly discovered Libertarians to register with the LP isn't our highest
priority, for the simple reason that, in the short term, recruiting
registrants is an expense item not an income item. Therefore, asking people to
join the party is the highest priority, because that will help to pay for more
outreach. Plus, it's a safe bet that if someone joins the party they're also
going to be willing to reregister. After all, why would they do something that
costs money, but refuse to do something that was free and which would only
take a few minutes of their time?
In addition, those who don't join may still be willing to take the less
expensive step of registering as a Libertarian voter. In fact, the relative
costs involved make it almost certain that for every newly discovered
Libertarian who actually joins the party, there will be several more who don't
join, but who take the less expensive step of changing their registration.
And in fact, that is exactly what we have seen happen. As of March 1998, the
Libertarian Party had only 24,500 dues paying members, but more than 160,000
registered voters. And of those registered voters only a few were recruited
through petition drives for the purpose of ballot access. The vast majority
reregistered as a result, either directly or indirectly, of Libertarian
outreach efforts conducted and paid for by LP members. This also means that
nearly 7 people have been willing to re-register as Libertarian voters for
every 1 person who actually joined the Libertarian Party.
The analysis is clear - good, solid, LP registrants are best recruited as a
fall-out benefit from efforts to recruit LP members. Therefore, the best way
to recruit the number of registrants we need is to first recruit the number of
members we need. How many is that? Keep reading and I'll give you our best
How to win the temporary (?) allegiance of large numbers of swing voters
Swing voters often determine who wins a particular race. Were we ever able to
recruit a dominant number of solid, consistent, registered Libertarian voters,
then we might be able to dispense with the swing voters. But until or unless
we achieve that result, our planning must assume that we will need to win the
votes of at least some swing voters some of the time. How can this be done?
There are two factors key - our political program and our viability.
The importance of our program is that it represents our sales offer to the
American people. Individual swing voters will decide for or against us based
on ~- the costs and benefits of our program versus those of our competitors.
Harry Browne s "Great Offer' is probably the finest Libertarian sales
offer ever presented to the American people (though few heard it). Even so,
the exact form of the Libertarian program offered by our candidates will be up
to each of them as individuals, and will vary according to their interests and
temperaments. Therefore, nothing definite can be said about it in this
organizing manual. We move on. . .
Viability. We now know, that no matter what benefits our candidates offer,
many swing voters will be motivated by a desire to not "waste their
votes" on candidates that they perceive as being unable to win. This
concern makes little or no sense, and we can and should argue against it, but
our plan must recognize that logical arguments will be less compelling than
proof that we can in fact win. There are many ways to provide this proof.
elected Libertarian office holders stand as one bit of evidence that
Libertarian victory is possible, but only if voters are aware that these
office holders exist.
+ A voter
registration base equal to or greater than that of our opponents would also be
convincing, but only if the voters were aware that we had such a large
in the polls would also help, and our large constituency of voters would
undoubtedly give us that, even if pollsters at first neglected to include our
candidates in their questions. But many voters may not follow the polls.
Therefore, we are still left with the need to communicate our viability.
There are two things that could do this. As mentioned before, daily media
coverage would undoubtedly convince people that we were relevant, and
potentially viable. Likewise, a large and ubiquitous advertising campaign
would have the same result, with the added advantage that we would be able to
tell our story our way. But, as mentioned before, "free' media isn't
free, and neither is advertising.
It can't be avoided - to make our viability known to the media and to the
public will require volunteers and money. And volunteers and money can only
come from dues paying LP members.
Therefore, membership growth is the key to everything - candidates,
volunteers, staff, registered LP voters, advertising, media attention, and
winning swing votes. All of it depends on having enough members.
Membership growth is the goal that achieves all goals. It is the "Holy
Grail" of our strategic plan.
But how many members do we need?
In order to have a chance for success we must have at least as many members as
the older parties. And how many is that? It's about 400,000 in
non-presidential election years, and 1,000,000 during the presidential
campaign season (notice again the importance of the presidential race!).
Can we really recruit that many members? The answer is a qualified yes. Polls
indicate that there may be as many as 50 million people who already hold
libertarian views, and this number could increase as we gain more members and
are thereby able to generate more publicity for our ideas. A slow decrease in
the number of liberals in America, and an increase in the number of
conservatives over the past few years would seem to indicate that
philosophical dispositions are not locked in place, but can be changed through
increased exposure to new or better ideas.
In addition, our own surveys, based on information booths that we have run
around the country, seem to confirm the estimates of these other polls.
But parity of members would only give us a chance at victory, and we want
more. Is more possible? Certainly the potential is there, but we can also
point to three facts that would seem to demonstrate that we may be able to
achieve dominance in members, and therefore, in all other categories as well.
polls, conducted over many years, indicate that a majority of the populace
wants less government. And only we are offering that.
2. Still other
polls have demonstrated a consistent desire for a new party on the part of a
majority of the American people. What's more, this desire has continued
unabated in spite of Ross Perot's founding of the Reform Party.
3. After Ross
Perot ran for president in 1992 he was able to recruit 2.6 million dues paying
members to United We Stand. And that is a membership base far in excess of
what the Democrats and Republicans have! It is possible that this outpouring
of support was an indicator of the aforementioned unhappiness with the two
older parties. In addition, it is also possible that the subsequent decline of
this membership base stemmed at least in part from Ross Perot's failure to
center his proposals on what most of his members probably wanted - less
government, less debt, and lower taxes. Therefore, by providing what a
majority of the American people say they want, a new party dedicated to less
government, it is at least possible that we could achieve dominance in
membership, money, volunteers, advertising, media, registrations, votes, and
elected office holders.
Therefore, we know what we must do - we must recruit millions of dues paying
members. All else will follow. And we now know that there is at least some
possibility that we really can recruit the number of members we need. What
remains to be discovered are the tactics that will work best for this purpose,
the cost of those tactics, and how long it will take to recruit any given
number of members. But before we can even begin to answer those questions we
must first develop a sub-strategy for our membership recruitment campaign.
A Strategy for Membership Recruitment
We must now answer the important strategic questions of who, how, when, and
+ Whom should we try to recruit first?
+ How should we go about recruiting them?
+ When, or in what order, should
we employ each of our recruitment techniques?
+ And where, or at what level, should each of these techniques be used?
Given that people have different tastes, temperaments, and opinions it stands
to reason that not all prospects will be equally susceptible to recruitment
Some will take longer and cost more to recruit, which raises the question of
who will pay this added cost?
The chain of cause and effect runs as follows: current LP members will provide
the resources needed to recruit our most likely prospects, while the most
likely prospects, once they are members, will provide the marginal resources
needed to recruit the less likely prospects.
Who are the most likely prospects? It seems obvious that those who already
agree with us will be most likely to join, while those who disagree will be
less likely. This dictates a strategy of "discovery before
persuasion." We must attempt to identify and recruit those who already
agree with us before we expend resources attempting to persuade those who
How will we discover those who already agree? There are many tactics we can
use for this purpose, but the broad strategic approach is as follows.
must attempt to define the characteristics of those who already agree with us.
This will involve the use of demographic and psycho-graphic profiles.
We must look for clues that people have similar philosophical dispositions.
This involves things such as membership in organizations with similar views
+ We must
use survey techniques to identify those who agree, while sifting out those who
disagree. The Nolan Chart quiz is a tactical example of the use of this
When, or in what order, will we use these various approaches? The short answer
is that we will use the most cost-effective tools first, and then, as we have
greater resources, we will expand our efforts to take advantage of the more
costly techniques. We will follow the path of least resistance. We will use
small levers to create larger levers.
Where, or at what levels, will these various techniques be used? Each of these
strategies will be employed at every level of the organization, but the
tactics will vary according to the comparative advantage of each level. We
will examine this issue next.
Establishing A Division of Labor
Specialization, comparative advantage, and the division of labor are key
concepts in our understanding of how a free market, capitalistic system works.
Therefore, these concepts are also applicable to our own endeavor.
+ If we can
identify tasks that are better performed at one level of organization than
another, then we will have identified the "comparative advantage" of
each level of the party.
+ If we
understand the "comparative advantage" of each level then we can say
which tasks each level should "specialize" in.
+ If we
know which tasks each level should "specialize' in, then we have
identified the proper "division of labor' for our organization.
In determining these factors a proper consideration of the relative weaknesses
of each level is just as important as a consideration of the relative
strengths of each. The following analysis is offered with this in mind.
The national party's strengths and weaknesses
The national party is far removed from the basic unit of political action -
the individual voter. National party leaders and staff members cannot go
door-to-door, run information booths, or canvas voters on the phone.
"Distance" is the essential limiting factor for the national party.
However, this limitation is counter-balanced by a corresponding strength - the
national party has a greater capacity to concentrate resources. This means
that it can...
1) Hire professional staff more easily than a state or local party.
2) Concentrate capital for use in massive advertising and direct mail
knowledge from individual state and local parties, and transmit it to all
other state and local groups.
These strengths and weaknesses have guided our strategic thinking, leading to
efforts such as Project Archimedes and Operation Toehold (which we hope will
grow into our Operation Everywhere advertising campaign). It has also led to
initiatives such as our Success '97 seminars and this organizing manual, by
which we hope to assist state and local parties in realizing their unique
The state parties' strengths and weaknesses
Many states are so large geographically that they suffer from the same problem
of "distance" as the national party. Others are so small that they
are indistinguishable from local parties. The comments here will be directed
at larger states, since small states will primarily benefit from the section
on local parties below.
Large states have a greater capacity to concentrate resources than local
parties have, but not so great a capacity as the national party. As membership
grows many larger states will gain the resources to do many of the same kinds
of things that national does. It is also probable that large states will
follow the same ladder of development as at national.
+ First, they will professionalize.
+ Second, they will do targeted direct mail prospecting.
+ Third, they will do targeted advertising.
One other kind of project is also possible for state parties of all sizes,
given sufficient membership - initiative and referendum campaigns.
But many state and local parties have gone awry by attempting these kinds of
projects before they had sufficient resources to do them well. Since these
resources can only come from members it is important to define how many
members are required for each stage of development, as well as how a state
organization can go about recruiting enough members to reach the first rung on
the ladder of development.
professionalize it is very likely that a state party will need at least 5,000
dues paying members. There are three points to consider.
1) 5,000 members
is the fewest number of members that any level of our organization has ever
had, while still being able to maintain a staff and headquarters operation.
2) It should be
possible to hire part-time people to do crucial administrative functions such
as accounting and database maintenance, even if you have a smaller membership,
but any effort to hire fulltime people if you have less than 5,000 members
will invariably meet with failure. The section on budgeting will help you
define when and how you should hire part-time people.
3) In this regard, one of the most common mistakes of state and local parties
rent an office. When you are very small offices consume most of your
resources, while serving no useful function. What's the point of having an
office if you can t hire people to staff it and there's nothing for them to do
in that office because all of your money is going to rent, utilities and
payroll? Offices of any kind are pointless until you have at least 5,000
being able to do effective direct mail is also dependent on membership,
because you have to hire talented people. The national party was not able to
mount a consistent direct mail effort until it had around 10,000 members, and
a strong case can be made that 20,000 or more is the correct number for a
truly professional effort.
truly effective advertising, on a consistent basis, probably requires at least
So how does a state party reach these membership levels through volunteer
efforts? This cannot be done without a proper appreciation of the limits that
places on the activities of a large state. Since a state party cannot reach
voters and potential members directly, it must do all that it can to foster
the activities of that part of our organization that can do these things - our
candidates and local parties.
Candidates: one of the most effective techniques in campaigning is
something called "voter identification." This is a process by which
voters are contacted in order to learn their level of interest in (and support
for) a candidate's positions. This serves not only to identify potential
Libertarian voters, but also potential members. Therefore, the more candidates
you can run, the more voter id work is likely to be done, and the more
potential members you are likely to discover. Therefore, a state party can
assist in the following way
1) It can offer
local parties volunteer resources for making calls to recruit candidates.
2) It can provide
local volunteers with information about how to run a campaign. Most
importantly, it can provide training in how to do fundraising and voter id
work. Much of this kind of information is either contained in this organizing
manual or is available from the national party. State parties can play an
important role in making sure this information gets to the right people.
3) It can raise
money, hire petitioners, and gain ballot status, so that more candidates will
have an opportunity to run in more parts of the state. This can include ballot
status at a county or district level, in addition to the state level.
organizations: a state party can recruit local leaders in un-organized
counties, and give them this organizing manual as a way to engage them in the
kind of direct generation of inquires and new members that is only possible at
the local level.
By concentrating on these few tasks, and doing them well, a state party can
grow to the point where it can begin to climb the same ladder of development
as the national party.
The local parties' strengths and weaknesses
Local parties face great limitations when it comes to concentrating financial
resources for major projects. However, they have major strengths when it comes
to mobilizing volunteers and doing direct, face-to-face outreach. Those kinds
of activities are the primary focus of this organizing manual. In the next
section we will take a second look at these issues, examine them in more
detail, and create an outline for effect activism at the local level.
An Outline For Activism -- Operation Everywhere
Is worth repeating -- for the Libertarian Party to succeed it must be as big
and as strong as its opponents. That means that we must have as many members
as the Democrats and Republicans do. But in order for people to become members
they must first know that the Libertarian Party exists, and what it stands
We must tell people who we are, what we want, and why we exist. But doing so
just once for each potential member is not enough. We are competing with
millions of other messages for the attention and interest of our audience.
+ To find potential members we must discover the political positions of
+ To get the attention of those who agree with us we must be everywhere.
To gain and hold their interest, we must restate the benefits of our program,
again and again and again, everyday.
This is the strategic concept we call Operation Everywhere: a program to make
ourselves visible to everyone, everywhere, everyday.
As mentioned before, there are two components to this program: a national
component, and a grassroots component.
Operation Everywhere at the national level
The national party cannot make itself visible at the local level through
direct means. It can only act at a distance. This dictates that it must use
broadcast methods of outreach and recruitment, such as direct mail and
advertising. But because the national party can concentrate greater financial
resources than a local party, it can employ these broadcast outreach tools
with economies of scale that are unavailable at the local level. Therefore,
the national party has a comparative advantage when it comes to doing large
direct mail and advertising campaigns.
There is also a natural order to the use of these national modes of outreach.
Direct mail can be targeted. Thus, it can achieve effective results without
the need for expensive repetition. This is important, because repeated
mailings to the same people are more expensive than repeated ads to the same
audience. Direct mail tends to become less effective with each repetition,
whereas advertising becomes more effective with each repetition. Thus, direct
mail will be used to recruit enough members for us to be able to afford high
repetition, full saturation advertising campaigns. This is in keeping with the
earlier comments about using small levers to build larger levers.
In short, direct mail and advertising are the means by which the Libertarian
Party will be made visible to everyone, everywhere, everyday, at the national
Operation Everywhere at the local level
Local parties have a comparative advantage over the national party when it
comes to the use of volunteers. It makes no sense for the Washington office to
try to coordinate the operation of an information booth at a flea market on
the other side of the country. This kind of outreach is something that a local
party can do, that the national party cannot.
A local party can make itself visible to everyone in a community by placing
literature or representatives everywhere.
This means literature. . .
+ In every waiting room.
+ In every lunchroom.
+ In every laundry room.
+ And on every counter top at a member owned place of business.
It means signs. . .
every storefront window at a member owned place of business.
+ On every member owned piece of property that faces a major thoroughfare.
~ + And in every member's front yard at election time.
It means info booths. . .
+ At every flea market
+ At every county fair
+ At every shopping mall
+ At every street fair
+ At every exhibition
+ At every rock concert
+ And on every college campus It means representatives. . .
+ In every Toastmasters Club
+ In every Rotary Club
+ In every Lion s Club
+ In every Optimist's Club
+ And in every Kiwanis Club
It means Libertarian speakers. . .
+ In every high school civics, economics, and philosophy class
+ At every college civics, economics, and philosophy class
+ And at every public forum
It means Libertarian candidates. . .
+ In every race at every level.
+ Who will mobilize volunteers to do voter "id" work to every voter
over the ~- phone.
+ And to walk precincts door-to-door
It means. . .
nights once a quarter and then once a month, and then every week
And finally, it means. . .
+ Bumper stickers on every member s car and buttons on every member's lapel.
This organizing manual will give you a step-by-step program for implementing
the grassroots component of Operation Everywhere at the local level.
Bringing It All Together
We have identified the end goal at which all of our strategic planning aims. .
We want to receive a majority of the votes in a majority of the races, for all
governmental bodies, at all levels.
We have identified that this will require us to have. . .
+ Candidates in a11 races at all levels
+ Organizations in all places at all levels
+ And a dominant constituency of Libertarian voters
We have also identified that this will require us to have more volunteers and
money than our opponents have, and that these things can only come from having
more members than they have.
We have identified that the number of members required for this purpose is in
excess of 400,000.
We have determined that "discovery before persuasion" is the
strategy that we will employ for deciding which prospects we will try to
We have further determined the kinds of tactics that we will use for
discovering .-. people who already agree with us - profiles, affiliations, and
We have also determined that these tactics will be employed on the broadest
possible scale. We will use small levers to create big levers, relentlessly
and incrementally, until we are big enough to make ourselves visible to
everyone, everywhere, everyday.
In addition, we have established the comparative advantage of each level of
our organization, and created an "order of battle" suitable to each.
The national party will use direct mail to recruit enough members so that it
gains the resources to do saturation advertising. It will also provide
materials and training to state and local parties so that they can better
fulfill their unique role.
State parties will provide ballot status for candidates, run statewide
campaigns and initiatives, and help to organize local parties.
Local parties will mobilize volunteers to run campaigns and outreach efforts
that will result in inquiries that can be converted to memberships.
We have worked our way backward from what we want to do, to how we intend to
accomplish it. Now it is time for details, starting with the simplest and
moving to the hardest.