By: Austin Petersen
A little over two years ago I stood in a crowded nightclub surrounded by screaming New Yorkers watching millions of dollars pour into the campaign coffers of Congressman Ron Paul. It was December 16th, the night of the first real Tea Party. As the deafening crowd roared their approval, I stood back with my video camera taping the events so that I could show the world what happened there.
As the millions rolled in that night, little did I know it would be the beginning of my future career in politics. The following February, Dr. Paul’s campaign was suspended and I was disheartened when a phone call from Washington D.C. came in. It was Shane Cory; he wanted me to come to CPAC to interview for a job. I booked the next flight to Reagan, and a week later committed to fill the position of Volunteer Coordinator at the Libertarian National Committee.
I started work in D.C. after having taken over from the last volunteer coordinator with no idea what to do, or where to begin. I knew third party politics would be difficult, but I honestly expected more resistance than I got in some ways. I’ve always been someone to think outside the box and applied that to make projects successful with little to no resources. The Libertarian Party afforded me a fantastic opportunity that I sought to use to further our commonly shared beliefs any way that was possible. I was given near complete autonomy to experiment in an office full of books from decades of libertarian campaigns, one an original signed copy of work by Milton Friedman. It was an experience of a lifetime that I will always remember.
If I could give Libertarians some advice it would be this: Run professional, strategic, think-outside-the-box campaigns. There are enough motivated libertarian minded youths out there now for you to rally to your campaigns. Learn the tools of the trade on Facebook, Youtube and other social networking sites to bring in the support you need. Your friends will run as Libertarians if you ask them to. So do it and support them! Or run yourself for goodness sakes, but just do it, and do it with class and professionalism. You should have a good answer to the questions: Why should people run as a libertarian? Why should the American people vote for our candidates? What does it mean to be a Libertarian?
During the past year and a half I’ve traveled all over the country, worked on Bob Barr’s Presidential campaign, petitioned congress, built a large and exciting internship program at LPHQ, and made many lifelong friends in the movement. I will always be grateful to the LNC for giving me a chance to succeed in professional politics. Now I’m off to start a new journey but with the same goal; to maximize individual liberty. I wish you all the best of luck.
Long Live the Libertarian Party!