I am the Chairman of one of only three truly national political parties in the United States, the Libertarian Party.

We also have the distinction of having the only national convention this year that didn't have shenanigans like cutting off a sitting Senator's microphone or the disgraced resignation of the party Chair.

Our candidate for President, Gary Johnson, will be on all 50 state ballots and the District of Columbia, so every American can vote for a qualified, healthy, and sane candidate for President instead of the two bullies the old parties put up.

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ask me anything.

Proof: https://www.facebook.com/sarwark4chair/photos/a.662700317196659.1073741829.475061202627239/857661171033905/?type=3&theater

EDIT: Thank you guys so much for all of the questions! Time for me to go back to work.

EDIT: A few good questions bubbled up after the fact, so I'll take a little while to answer some more.

EDIT: I think ten hours of answering questions is long enough for an AmA. Thanks everyone and good night!

Comments: 5484 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

VenusInFauxFurs394 karma

Hi Mr. Sarwark!

I have two questions for you:

I know that the Libertarian Party is against having the federal government involved in education, and I understand why, but I have yet to really see how the Libertarian Party would provide education for all children. I know that if I did not have public education (for better or worse), I would have no education at all. How would the Party fill that gap for those who would not have the funds to pay for their child's education?

My second question has to do with inclusion. The Libertarian Party is made up primarily of straight, white men. How does the Libertarian Party plan to bring in more minorities (racial, sexual, etc.) and women? Is this even a goal of the Party?

Thank you for doing this AMA!

nsarwark184 karma

I know that the Libertarian Party is against having the federal government involved in education, and I understand why, but I have yet to really see how the Libertarian Party would provide education for all children. I know that if I did not have public education (for better or worse), I would have no education at all. How would the Party fill that gap for those who would not have the funds to pay for their child's education?

Thank you for the question. Elementary through high school education will probably continue to be locally provided for the foreseeable future. In some states (like Maryland where I used to live), there is a guarantee in the state constitution of free government provided education. When it's at the state level, at least the decision is closer to the voters and people can move to states that have different rules.

My kids go to a government school here in Phoenix, but we also have a hybrid system here with open enrollment in the district and charter schools and voucher programs. It's not a perfect system, but we're engaged and people are trying.

When I went to a private religious school as a child, members of the community and the more well off families would fund scholarships for kids (like myself) whose parents couldn't afford full tuition. I believe that people are fundamentally good and want to help other people.

Where I think we can agree is that the Federal government is not adding value to the actual provision of education to children. They take tax dollars for a bureaucracy, provide mandates from Washington, and generally make things worse.

My second question has to do with inclusion. The Libertarian Party is made up primarily of straight, white men. How does the Libertarian Party plan to bring in more minorities (racial, sexual, etc.) and women? Is this even a goal of the Party?

We're trying to be more welcoming and I'm seeing a lot more diversity than we had when I first got involved in the party. If you go look at our LNC Leadership page it's still pretty white, but there are more women, young people, and people of color than there used to be.

There are no barriers to leadership in the Libertarian Party. If you are willing to step up and do the work of fighting for freedom, we welcome you with open arms. That's why the popularity of Gary Johnson is such a thorn in the side of the alt-right. We reject their racism and bigotry, we just want freedom.

foolsandchildren193 karma

What is being done, even behind-the-scenes, to get Johnson-Weld's poll numbers up and to ensure they will be in the national debates?

nsarwark231 karma

Advertising, including TV, radio, Internet, and billboards. Word of mouth, rallies, earned media coverage. Signs, t-shirts, bumper stickers.

The Libertarian Party has some great door hangers you can pass out in your neighborhood to tell your neighbors about who Gary Johnson is.

foolsandchildren45 karma

Thank you for your answer. Given all the work going on, what is your thinking on the odds of making the debates? I, like a lot of others, am staying positive, but we'd love to see the buzz growing!

nsarwark98 karma

I think the odds are better than I've ever seen.

sconce260034 karma

Better than two weeks ago?

nsarwark167 karma

Yes.

Like in physics and calculus, it's not always speed that's important, sometimes it's acceleration.

omgshutupalready179 karma

Would you have signed the Civil Rights Act?

nsarwark25 karma

Would you have signed the Civil Rights Act?

I would have signed the provisions restricting government mandated discrimination like segregation in public schools, etc. I think that there are more effective ways to deal with private discrimination (see Jonathan Rauch's "Kindly Inquisitors" for a long treatment of the subject) than with government regulation.

Since a law is presented as a package and there was not a line-item veto, I probably would have signed it at the time and in the historical context.

dustarook134 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. I studied economics in college and have identified with some form or another of libertarianism ever since. I have 2 questions:

1) How do you feel about the negative income tax proposed by Milton Friedman for lower income people? I feel like it could be a pretty uniting issue and is a more responsible type of basic income.

2) One of the issues that has made me step back a bit from Gary Johnson after being a strong supporter initially is his proposal for a national sales tax. The main issues I have are: a) consumption taxes can be regressive, meaning they abnormally affect lower income individuals b) they can have an adverse affect on consumption, which slows the velocity of money circulating through the economy (i.e. the money multiplier affect) What are your thoughts on how to counteract these negatives?

Is there really value in making such a fringe view on taxation such a large part of the party platform?

nsarwark157 karma

1) How do you feel about the negative income tax proposed by Milton Friedman for lower income people? I feel like it could be a pretty uniting issue and is a more responsible type of basic income.

It's not part of the platform, but I've always liked the simplicity of a negative income tax as part of a social safety net proposed by Hayek. It's less susceptible to gamesmanship and corruption and has much lower administrative overhead. If taxation is theft (and it is) but people want a safety net (and they do), shouldn't we try to take as little as possible and get as much of it as possible to those who actually benefit?

2) One of the issues that has made me step back a bit from Gary Johnson after being a strong supporter initially is his proposal for a national sales tax. The main issues I have are: a) consumption taxes can be regressive, meaning they abnormally affect lower income individuals b) they can have an adverse affect on consumption, which slows the velocity of money circulating through the economy (i.e. the money multiplier affect) What are your thoughts on how to counteract these negatives?

The regression is counteracted through a prebate, though that gets us back to the overhead issues I mentioned above. The monetary velocity issue is real, though there is some evidence that the currently high velocity is leading to malinvestment as so much capital chases so few opportunities.

Gary's not perfect on every issue, but if you strip off party label and just look at qualifications and character, he's the only person running for President who I would trust with the job.

AdamSB08129 karma

Is any progress being made with the IAVA situation?

Also, is taxation theft?

Edit: Thanks for answering my question! And anyone who'd like more info about Gary Johnson's campaign for presidency, please come on over to /r/GaryJohnson. We've got 18,000+ subscribers and are trying to hit 20,000 by mid-September. Thanks!

p

nsarwark265 karma

For those who don't know, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has decided not to invite the Presidential candidate most popular with veterans to their Commander in Chief forum on September 7th. This has angered may OIF/OEF vets who feel their voice is being stifled by an organization that purportedly stands for them.

I wrote an open letter to IAVA and many people have visited the IAVA Facebook page to share their opinions and review their service. ;)

Our lawyers may be sending them some advice about the difference between nonpartisan and bipartisan and what it does to your tax exemption when you confuse the two...

The_Great_Goblin97 karma

I appreciate how the Libertarian party has positioned itself as the only good choice when the alternatives are so bad, but the reason we have such bad alternatives is the plurality FPTP voting system we use.

Why hasn't the Libertarian ticket addressed this and do have a position on comprehensive voting reform?

nsarwark115 karma

Why hasn't the Libertarian ticket addressed this and do have a position on comprehensive voting reform?

The party platform supports voting reform. The ticket is running within the system we currently have.

IncognitoIsBetter97 karma

Hello Mr. Sarwark!

I have two questions.

With the increased attention the presidential ticket of the LP has been receiving throughout this election, how is it currently impacting the Party, are you receiving more membership applications or any of the sort?

And, in case the LP makes it to 5% and becomes eligible to receive federal funds... What is your position in regards to what the LP should do with them? Should the party turn them away in principle or should they keep it to help the party grow?

nsarwark153 karma

Our membership and fundraising are growing at an incredible rate. Dues paying membership has nearly doubled since the beginning of the year and donations are through the roof.

If we become eligible for Federal matching funds, I think it will be a decision for the delegates at the national convention to make. That's the body most representative of all of the Libertarian Party members, so it's better for them to make the decision than for me to do it (or even to tell them what I think they should do).

futures2391 karma

Nick how does the Libertarian Party rally together the purists and the pragmatists? There never seems to be a candidate that pleases everyone.

nsarwark140 karma

We focus on the mission and don't waste time fighting with each other.

Remember, "Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands."

If you focus on setting the world free, you don't have time for petty infighting.

Or at least I don't.

Jaelup5 karma

They don't care about the purists, like, at all. And rightfully so, the Libertarians would be stuck at .1% of the vote every year if they let the radicals take over.

nsarwark14 karma

False: The Chair and the Vice Chair are both known radicals.

captmorgan5089 karma

If Gary Johnson gets to 10 million. Secret Service protection is available to him. Would you recommend he turn it down on principle or take it?

nsarwark98 karma

Take it.

He's the best hope for our country, no need to put himself in danger of someone doing something violent.

LiberContrarion85 karma

Right-leaning libertarian here. I hold Ron Paul as near a perfect candidate as has been found, but was excited to vote for Gary Johnson in 2012 and even attended a fundraiser. I expected to hold my nose on some of the social issues and happily do the same this year.

...and then the comments on the TPP came out. The fact that Johnson would support such a comprehensive agreement on the basis of some guy telling him it may be good for free trade is embarrassing. I can disagree with someone on multiple issues and still support them, but this screams that he's just not taking the race seriously.

Can you convince me that I'm wrong? ...that he is taking this seriously and would recant such a disagreeable decision after taking proper time to research and reflect?

nsarwark129 karma

Can you convince me that I'm wrong? ...that he is taking this seriously and would recant such a disagreeable decision after taking proper time to research and reflect?

He's taking the race seriously. The TPP is a massive agreement that has some good things in it and some bad things in it. It's more sensible for him to ask a Cato scholar who has actually read it and analyzed it for his/her take on the overall agreement than to take time away from campaigning to read the whole thing.

But let's say he's completely wrong on the issue. Is there another candidate in the race who you agree with on more issues than Gary Johnson. Go ahead and take the isidewith.com quiz, it'll let you compare all of your positions with all of the candidate's positions.

If you find a candidate you agree with more than Gary Johnson, you owe it to yourself to vote for him/her.

sconce260069 karma

Supposedly 60 minutes was spotted at a Gary Johnson rally. Do you know if they are doing a piece on him and if so do you know when it will be released?

I would imagine that would be very good for poll numbers as it reaches an older demographic that currently is reluctant to vote for Governor Johnson.

Edit: Thanks for answering my question! And anyone who'd like more info about Gary Johnson's campaign for presidency, please come on over to /r/GaryJohnson... we've got 18,000+ subscribers and are trying to hit 20,000 by mid-September. Thanks!

nsarwark127 karma

I can't confirm or deny 60 Minutes' coverage of Gary Johnson, but this campaign and election cycle has had unprecedented levels of media interest in the Libertarian Party.

At the national convention, we had a press conference with at least 8 cameras and almost 50 reporters from around the world.

hedoesntget_it66 karma

How will you address the current situation of the DEA and their lobbying to push kratom, a plant related to coffee, as a Schedule 1 drug? Source

nsarwark136 karma

We may file a comment on the administrative rulemaking and will use it as a springboard to talk about why it's evil to lock people in cages for what they put in their bodies.

cracker120663 karma

What are we doing to find and recruit down ticket state level candidates?

nsarwark112 karma

We actively solicit people to step up and run for office. For most down ticket candidates, that recruiting is done by the state affiliate parties.

Stepping up to run for office is one of the best things that a Libertarian Party member can do. It gives our friends and neighbors an opportunity to vote for someone they can believe in instead of voting against someone they hate.

fartwiffle55 karma

Mr. Sarwark,

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are flying under a banner that represents a wide variety of ideals from left-center or moderate libertarians such as myself to voluntaryists, ancaps, anarchists, and more. There's a lot of variety to pack in and generally agree on.

Both Gary and Bill are intelligent gentlemen, and I get the idea that Gary is the type that yearns for new knowledge. Sometimes that leads him to say things that aren't necessarily in perfect agreement with LP principles. I don't have any problem with that because Gary always seems to think things out or converse with other intelligent people (like yourself).

It's my understanding that Gary talked to you after he acquired more information about vaccines and herd immunity and you guys talked it through and came to an agreement on how vaccines best fit into the LP platform. Have you considered having a similar conversation with Bill Weld about how the 2nd amendment fits? I genuinely feel like he does support the 2nd amendment, and for all the right reasons, but whereas Gary might fumble and mince words over cakes and pork Bill can really turn an intelligent point about firearms into a negative NRA-ILA headline.

nsarwark142 karma

I'm open to having that conversation with Bill the next time we talk. I am confident that neither Johnson nor Weld are going to support gun control proposals.

The NRA-ILA's coverage is dishonest and shady. Did Bill Weld support an assault weapons ban? Yeah, in the late 1990s in Massachusetts.

The Republican nominee (that the NRA endorsed) supported an assault weapons ban in 2000 and has a track record of being a liar. Believing what he says about guns or Supreme Court justices after watching the track record of how he treats small contractors is like marriage after divorce; it's the triumph of hope over experience.

But yeah, I'll talk to Bill.

TDenverFan54 karma

What odds would you give Johnson of making the debate?

nsarwark86 karma

3:2 in favor.

two_off54 karma

What percentage or how many votes would you like to get to consider this years campaign a success?

If there was a change to the voting system away from first-past-the-post, which system would you like to see implemented?

nsarwark163 karma

This year's campaign will be a success if the Libertarian Party comes out as a stronger voice for all Americans who want the right to pursue happiness any way they choose, as long as they don't hurt people or take their stuff.

My goal is still to have to go to a Gary Johnson inauguration party.

Proportional representation would help, but it would also change the structure of our government. Approval voting (vote for as many candidates as you approve of) would be a great change to the voting system and help us get past the politics of fear.

The old parties like the current system. Without being more afraid of the other bully, nobody would vote for the bullies they put up.

kajkajete57 karma

Follow-up. If Maine passes ranked-choice voting (will be an ballot initiative in November to do so) would the LP focus in some Maine races?

nsarwark106 karma

It would definitely be something we'd consider.

Will that initiative be in time for the special election to replace the Governor? ;)

CompleteShutIn52 karma

How has your job herding cats been going?

nsarwark78 karma

We had the most professional and exciting political convention of all three of the national political parties and I got re-elected with nearly 65% of the vote in a three-way race.

So I'd say it's been going pretty good.

Xelif49 karma

the most professional convention

The shirtless guy sure was dancing professionally!

nsarwark22 karma

He didn't win.

I did.

breakerbreaker5 karma

We had the most professional and exciting political convention of all three of the national political parties

I wish you and your party luck but let's not pretend your convention was anywhere near professional. The Libertarian Party is currently a carnival show. Libertarians have good arguments and deserve a voice in the public stage but goddamn, the nut jobs are killing any chance of respectability.

nsarwark12 karma

but goddamn, the nut jobs are killing any chance of respectability.

You must be confusing us with the Republican Party. They nominated their nutjob.

lesleepetersen50 karma

As a member of Outright Libertarians, I frequently see candidates from our party who are unaware of how to address issues of same-gender marriage and other LGBT+ issues from a liberty standpoint, do you have any advice for those candidates?

nsarwark92 karma

My advice would be for those candidates to listen to people from the LGBT+ community before they speak on those issues and to constantly be trying to better communicate. The Outright webinar on how to be an ally is a great place to start. Thank you for doing it.

lesleepetersen13 karma

Particularly in regards of how to address those issues from a liberty standpoint and be effective allies for us.

Outright Libertarians is hosting a webinar on a similar issue, would you mind attending? https://www.facebook.com/events/1760236560926438/

nsarwark21 karma

Unfortunately the scheduling conflicts with my work schedule, but I will try to catch an archive if there is one.

DickFeely43 karma

Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized Keynes or 1 Keynes-sized duck?

nsarwark91 karma

1 Keynes-sized duck.

Single target is easier to dodge and counterattack.

Zack3246030 karma

What should I (as a registered and active LP member) focus on AFTER this election; In 2017-2020?

nsarwark70 karma

Build up your state and local party and help it grow.

AtlantanKnight729 karma

Hello, thanks for doing this! I'm a first-time presidential election voter and I'm cautiously optimistic for the future of politics in America. How do you plan on integrating the new wave of millenial libertarians and disenfranchised moderates into the Libertarian Party? I think lots of people my age would be very receptive to the party's message.

nsarwark49 karma

Like I said in the intro, our party is the only political party that's growing in this country. If you look at partisan voter registration, every other political party has declined over the last four years. Only the Libertarian Party has grown.

We're welcoming millennials and disenfranchised moderates with open arms. Some will not stay, but I think the majority will feel welcomed and help us keep up our rapid growth until we become the dominant party in the United States.

Time is on our side.

Inamanlyfashion29 karma

If Maine manages to implement ranked-choice voting this fall, will the LP make a big push for state and local positions in Maine?

nsarwark46 karma

Probably, but it's going to be a decision for the Libertarian Party of Maine.

FanOfGoodMovies26 karma

Do you expect the Libertarian party and other non-Republican/non-Democratic parties to ever participate in regular televised debates on policy?
How about debates sponsored by the League of Women voters, since the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) forced them out of sponsoring any more Democrat/Republican Presidential debates?

nsarwark39 karma

Do you expect the Libertarian party and other non-Republican/non-Democratic parties to ever participate in regular televised debates on policy?

Yes, I think the time is coming. We have ideas that are increasingly popular and TV stations want to sell ad time. The CNN town hall was #1 in the 18-34 demographic, which is advertising gold.

How about debates sponsored by the League of Women voters, since the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) forced them out of sponsoring any more Democrat/Republican Presidential debates?

Libertarians often do participate in LWV debates at all of the levels below President (which is controlled by the corrupt cheaty cheaters at the CPD).

Hugo_Hackenbush25 karma

It appears Gov. Johnson has stagnated in the polls around 9%. How do you intend to get him up to 15% in time to get him into the debates?

nsarwark40 karma

How do you intend to get him up to 15% in time to get him into the debates?

Advertising, volunteering, earned media, and word of mouth.

Also an assist from the terrible candidates the old parties put up.

TheReverendBill22 karma

I'm no economics major, but returning to the gold standard seems like a horrible idea from what I have read. I will be voting for Gary Johnson, but can you speak to why Libertarians favor the gold standard?

nsarwark27 karma

I'm no economics major, but returning to the gold standard seems like a horrible idea from what I have read. I will be voting for Gary Johnson, but can you speak to why Libertarians favor the gold standard?

Some Libertarians favor the gold standard, some like bitcoin, some favor a Friedman static rate of monetary inflation. The thing that ties all of those together is that they are not susceptible to manipulation by governments to inflate away savings or give out special favors to cronies in the way our current central banking system allows.

InquisitiveRunner22 karma

If Gov. Johnson is elected, who will comprise his cabinet? Libertarians only? Or will members of other parties be included as well?

nsarwark54 karma

He's stated that he would get the best people from the Libertarian Party and the other two old parties, for a tripartisan administration.

PacifistSocialist18 karma

Since when is the Libertarian Party the "only growing political party in the United States"? Support for the Green Party has doubled in the past few months, going up from 2% in April to 5% today.

nsarwark5 karma

I was referencing partisan voter registration figures, not poll numbers for a particular candidate. See my sources here.

Freedom__Ninja16 karma

Hello, Mr. Chairman. I am 14 years old and have been closely following the Liberty movement for about 3-4 months. I plan on devoting much of my adult life to the Libertarian Party, and a political career. Do you have any advice as I continue on this journey?

nsarwark29 karma

Thank you for getting involved.

I've been a Libertarian since I was around 12 years old, when my father took me to some local Libertarian Party meetings here in Phoenix. So I'm glad you're getting an early start, but you're already two years behind me, so you'll have to work harder. ;)

Get involved in your local party. Get to know people who have been around, take their advice, but don't take all of their advice.

Step up and do the work. Leadership roles in a young party don't go to well-connected cronies like they do in the two old ones; they go to the people willing to do the work.

Check out the Libertarian Youth Caucus. One of their cofounders, Trent Somes III is only 18 and serves on our national committee.

Tlwofford15 karma

What have you guys found to be the most effective way to mass market Johnson? I'm a county coordinator for GJ in Colorado, and wondering if you would recommend canvassing, phone banking, etc... We have several large events in the next month that will bring a lot of attention, but what have you found to be most effective?

nsarwark42 karma

The most effective activism is the activism that you actually do.

If you like talking to people on the phone, phone bank. If you like being the door hanger fairy, walk your neighborhood with door hangers.

There is not enough time left in this election to do rigorous A/B testing of methods to get Johnson's name recognition and polling numbers up, we just need to do all of it.

You can sleep on November 9th. :)

PinkFloydNick15 karma

Good afternoon Chairman Sarwark,

Nicholas Amato, contributor at Being Libertarian here. Two questions for you.

One: Do you have any goals and ideas for the growth and future of the party? What are the most important things that need to happen going forward, besides pushing to get Johnson and Weld as much exposure as possible. Are there any changes the party needs to make?

Two: How important are down-ballot races, in your opinion, to the party's growth, and how does the party intend to support these races going forward? We've seen a lot of attention focused on the Johnson campaign, but there's lots of potential to start gaining ground in terms of local, state, and senatorial races.

Thanks, and thank you for participating in this AMA! :)

nsarwark37 karma

I want the party to come out of this election stronger and bigger than it went in. And the next election. And the one after that.

This is a long game that I play because I want my kids to have a better country than I grew up in.

The most important thing is to build up the state and local parties and to recruit voters and candidates all over the country. There is another party that nominated a big name for President in 2000, but once that guy got tired of running for President, they lost momentum and didn't have any infrastructure. The Libertarian Party will not make that mistake. The party is bigger than any one candidate or election.

Down ballot races are key to long term growth. See the answer to another question about coattails and reverse coattails.

Also, dank memes.

Freedom__Ninja9 karma

How do you feel about Lily Tang Williams being excluded from the debates by less than a tenth of a percent?

nsarwark17 karma

I'm not pleased.

Matt Welch covered the story on Reason.

I've been talking to the party's lawyer about what our next steps should be, but it does illustrate how important it is to #ReRegister Libertarian. We're only 733 registered voters short in Colorado to Lily being eligible for that debate.

dlbuunk9 karma

Dear Chairman Sarwark,

If come November the LP establishes itself as mayor party, and the GOP crumbles, there is the risk that the LP becomes sort of a New Republican Party, same as always, only slightly less bigoted. Party membership is generally administered by the states (something I, as an European, still can't wrap my head around) and mayor parties are expected to nominate by primary, not convention.

What plans are there, and if none, what ideas do you have to keep the party libertarian?

Thanks for taking your time to answer,

/u/dlbuunk

nsarwark21 karma

The whole concept of political parties making taxpayers pay for their internal elections through the primary process is disgusting. Why should I pay for a process that I don't get to (or want to) participate in? Yet my tax dollars paid for my racist Sheriff to get renominated in his primary yesterday.

We would do our best to keep nominating our candidates at meaningful conventions, where they are chose by Libertarian delegates from across the country. The best way to keep the party libertarian is to keep it full of libertarians.

As Chairman, I can keep the messaging libertarian. Keeping the state parties libertarian is a job for the individual LP members in those states.

aschsr9 karma

What is the stance of the LP on electoral reform?

Will you continue a series of "Things my candidate didn't do today" tweets?

Has the LP discussed the polling schedule with the CPD? We havent gotten new polls in a month

Who inspires you?

How can those of us supporting Johnson internationally do to help?

Thanks for taking some time to do this! Hopefully you'll get to more than 6 questions like a certain orange haired fellow.

nsarwark24 karma

What is the stance of the LP on electoral reform?

We're for it.

Will you continue a series of "Things my candidate didn't do today" tweets?

As long as the old party candidates keep providing material for them. (That's a yes.)

Has the LP discussed the polling schedule with the CPD? We havent gotten new polls in a month

After the two lawsuits, it's fair to say we're not on speaking terms with the people at the CPD. We will maintain our focus on beating them at their own rigged game.

Who inspires you?

Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Rebbe Schneerson, Thomas Jefferson, and Marc Allan Feldman

How can those of us supporting Johnson internationally do to help?

There's a new initiative called Libertarians Abroad that you may want to get involved in. Email [email protected] and I'll put you in touch with the organizers.

Thanks for taking some time to do this! Hopefully you'll get to more than 6 questions like a certain orange haired fellow.

It ain't hard to do better than an oompa loompa.

VapingOstrich8 karma

Mr. Chairman, what is the party's stance on the FDA regulations placed on electronic cigarettes?

nsarwark30 karma

The FDA is actively trying to take healthier options away from people who want to quit traditional smoking, probably due to pressure from tobacco lobbyists and corporate cronies afraid of competition.

It's evil and will cost lives.

The_Patriot_17767 karma

Star Wars or Star Trek?

nsarwark20 karma

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars.

IV-VII.

I have not allowed my children to be exposed to I-III.

bxl17767 karma

Two questions, if I might :)

  • Since the LP is a big tent, how would you handle supporting the LP candidate if he weren't Johnson -- is your job easier or harder with a different stripe of candidate? Where does you personal libertarian positions lie?

  • Should the LP platform be less about what the LP would not do and have some more positive affirmations of libertarianism? For example, that the LP supports sex work and the decriminalization of sex work.

nsarwark9 karma

Since the LP is a big tent, how would you handle supporting the LP candidate if he weren't Johnson -- is your job easier or harder with a different stripe of candidate? Where does you personal libertarian positions lie?

I had a strategic plan for how to best support the five candidates who had a realistic shot at winning the nomination in Orlando. The plans were different, because the candidates were different, but I was ready to work with any of them.

My personal positions are pretty close to 100/100 on the Nolan chart, but that doesn't matter. Chair is a job of giving voice to the principles and facilitating the work of others. If you find yourself injecting too much of your personal opinion, you're doing it wrong.

Should the LP platform be less about what the LP would not do and have some more positive affirmations of libertarianism? For example, that the LP supports sex work and the decriminalization of sex work.

It's a common debate at each national convention. The platform has changed over the years to sometimes focus on abolition and other times on sharing a positive vision. I think we need some of both.

Zack324607 karma

Hi Mr. Sarwark.

I just (very excitedly) voted in the very first Florida LP primary.

Will the majority focus of the state parties be on the POTUS or the down ticket elections?

nsarwark16 karma

Most state parties (including Florida) are focusing on both.

Libertarian candidates traditionally have coattails (Presidential ticket does well which increases down ticket votes), but also reverse coattails (having a good down ticket candidate increases Presidential vote totals).

When voters see more Libertarians on their ballot, they are more willing to vote Libertarian.

Gaja6USA7 karma

Are you concerned that the GaryJohnson/Weld ticket might be diluting the Libertarian message?

nsarwark8 karma

Nope. I'm excited that they are sharing the Libertarian message with so many new people who have never heard it.

Presidential campaigns last about six months, the Libertarian Party is forever.

AuTiMechanic7 karma

Hello Mr. Sarwark!

Thanks a ton for taking the time to do this AMA, it means a lot to me. As a 20 year old college student, I was excited to vote in my first presidential election this year--until I saw the candidates haha. Until recent months, I had never heard of the libertarian party, but I'm now very interested. I know now more than ever how important it is to make an informed voting decision, especially in this election.

My question for you is the one I'm willing to bet you get the most often: what can you do for me? As an active college student who absolutely loves higher learning, I'm getting discouraged by the rising cost of higher level degrees and how, as a country, we're falling behind in the academic race. What are the LP's thoughts on this, or other things a college student might be interested in?

nsarwark19 karma

My question for you is the one I'm willing to bet you get the most often: what can you do for me? As an active college student who absolutely loves higher learning, I'm getting discouraged by the rising cost of higher level degrees and how, as a country, we're falling behind in the academic race. What are the LP's thoughts on this, or other things a college student might be interested in?

We need to end government subsidized student loans. When you subsidize higher education, you create a price floor which inflates the cost of all higher education.

We also need to remove the government favor to the banks that makes student loan debt nondischargeable in bankruptcy. If lenders were aware that a student could have their loans discharged in bankruptcy proceedings, they would not lend for students to go to substandard colleges or to get degrees with low payoffs.

kajkajete6 karma

You always say you it's an honour to be the less important member of the libertarian party.

Do you believe that taking a more hands-on approach to vetting candidates could be useful for the party? I am not saying you should tilt the presidential primaries in favour of a candidate (looking at you Debbie) but if you have ever consider taking an active role rejecting some potential nominees (2008 presidential nominee and some candidates you will only find in Florida come to mind).

Also, how does it feel to fail a petition drive ;).

nsarwark10 karma

Do you believe that taking a more hands-on approach to vetting candidates could be useful for the party? I am not saying you should tilt the presidential primaries in favour of a candidate (looking at you Debbie) but if you have ever consider taking an active role rejecting some potential nominees (2008 presidential nominee and some candidates you will only find in Florida come to mind).

My experience is that the Libertarian Party's members and delegates do a fine job of vetting the candidates. I trust them to make the right decisions.

Also, how does it feel to fail a petition drive ;).

I wouldn't know, we haven't done that since I became Chair in 2014. We're on track to have our Presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states and DC.

MikesterAZ6 karma

What advice would you give a Libertarian candidate in a two way race against a Democrat who wants to be competitive on GSM issues, given that same sex marriage is a done deal at this point, how can they back up their social tolerance with actionable policy ideas?

Would you recommend a webinar like this?: https://www.facebook.com/events/1760236560926438/

nsarwark6 karma

I would suggest that they contact a group like Outright Libertarians and learn how to be a good ally for the LGBT+ community.

Thanks for doing that webinar, I think it'll be great for our candidates.

miki77miki6 karma

Hello Mr.Sarwark, I have a few questions.

Have you heard about the commander-in-chief protest in response to the IAVA and do you think the LP could draw some attention to it?

Will the LP be accepting federal matching funds after this election?

When will the LP start pushing election reform?

Thanks for being a great cat-herder.

nsarwark8 karma

Have you heard about the commander-in-chief protest in response to the IAVA and do you think the LP could draw some attention to it?

Yes. We are doing all we can to encourage IAVA to actually stand up for their members instead of use them as political props.

Will the LP be accepting federal matching funds after this election?

It'll be up to the delegates at convention, I'm not going to make that decision for them.

When will the LP start pushing election reform? We already are.

VIRMD6 karma

First, thank you for your tireless efforts toward a better America and for doing this AMA!

  • Do you anticipate the success of the Johnson/Weld campaign shaping the platform and policy of future Libertarian nominees, or do you see future nominees reverting to more conventional Libertarian Party ideals?

  • In what ways do you personally feel the Johnson/Weld flavor of Libertarianism improves upon conventional Libertarian Party ideals?

Edit: Thanks, /u/nsarwark!

Want more info on Gary's campaign for presidency? Come on over to /r/GaryJohnson, a positive community of 18,000+ Johnson/Weld supporters (expecting to hit 20,000 by mid-September). See you there!

nsarwark11 karma

Do you anticipate the success of the Johnson/Weld campaign shaping the platform and policy of future Libertarian nominees, or do you see future nominees reverting to more conventional Libertarian Party ideals?

Both. Every convention has to pick the right balance between purity of message and size of megaphone. If this balance is successful, future delegates may take a similar approach. But they also might try something different.

Libertarians are unpredictable.

In what ways do you personally feel the Johnson/Weld flavor of Libertarianism improves upon conventional Libertarian Party ideals?

The way they are communicating the message has it resonating with a lot more people in the middle. That scares some people and excites others. Both feelings are valid.

84946 karma

Hello Chairman,

At the LP convention, did the people sitting in the front row get ponchos to block the spit coming from Darryl Perry?

On a serious note, Gary Johnson's poll numbers have been stagnant at around 10-11% in the past few weeks. What is the Libertarian Party doing to make a final push to ensure Gary gets into the debates? Also, if he's at thirteen or fourteen percent by the time the deadline rolls around, do you think the Commission on Presidential Debates will still let him in?

Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA!

nsarwark5 karma

At the LP convention, did the people sitting in the front row get ponchos to block the spit coming from Darryl Perry?

TANSTAAFP. (There ain't no such thing as a free poncho)

On a serious note, Gary Johnson's poll numbers have been stagnant at around 10-11% in the past few weeks. What is the Libertarian Party doing to make a final push to ensure Gary gets into the debates? Also, if he's at thirteen or fourteen percent by the time the deadline rolls around, do you think the Commission on Presidential Debates will still let him in?

We're doing everything possible to get his name out to the voters, which is the most important thing to improve the poll numbers. If we're short by even 0.001%, I think the CPD will keep him out.

The CPD is terrible.

terawrizt6 karma

How well do you feel Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are upholding the values of the Libertarian Party in their campaign? Do you think they accurately represent the party of principle?

nsarwark28 karma

They're both about a million times more libertarian than the corporate shill or the reality show star. There are some issues I disagree with each of them on, but I don't focus on my disagreements with people.

Like Mayor Ed Koch of New York used to say, "If you agree with me on 9 out of 12 issues, you should vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, you should find a psychiatrist."

They are the candidates who were chosen by the majority of delegates to the Libertarian National Convention in Orlando. It wasn't rigged, no delegates came in bound to a particular candidate. There were debates and campaigning and Governor's Johnson and Weld were chosen.

The convention's been over for three months now. Now's the time to get to work electing them.

dksk34436 karma

I support the Libertarian Party, but I am only 16 so I am not eligible to vote. Is there any way I can help support the party or do I just have to wait until I turn 18?

nsarwark7 karma

Contact your state and local party and volunteer. I've been a Libertarian since I was around 12, there's always work to be done and a lot of it doesn't have an age requirement.

am10167-37975 karma

in the case where you don't get in the debate would you consider trying to compete in an alternative debate on another network?

nsarwark8 karma

Maybe, but we're focused on getting in at present.

lagerbaer5 karma

Probably it's too late, but: What is a Libertarian's answer to people like Shkreli, who drive up the price for a lifesaving drug beyond reason? I'm sure Ayn Rand would be proud, but obviously people are outraged.

Am I a moocher if I'm upset that a drug that used to cost $10 a pop suddenly costs $500 a pop?

nsarwark8 karma

He got smacked by the market, as it should be.

What is your answer to a Senator's daughter using her political connections to prevent competition for the EpiPen?

Dom3sticPuma5 karma

Can you tell me your thoughts/opinions on the legalization of marijuana use? Specifically legalizing on a federal level to then research possible medicinal applications?

nsarwark12 karma

I support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and all other purposes.

Your body, your choice.

Kymus5 karma

Hi Nick, thank you for taking the time to do this.

Over the last 8 years, Republicans have thrown around the term "Libertarian" a great deal. It appears now that moderate Republicans, far Left Democrats, and the media generally consider the Libertarian Party to be a Right-Wing conservative Republican-lite sort of group*. I have even met a few Libertarians that claim that Libertarianism is conservatism.

What can the Libertarian Party and Libertarians do to help fix this sort of image problem?

(*In my experience, more moderate Democrats aren't very familiar with the Libertarian Party and far Right Republicans insist it's just Democrat-lite, ironically)

nsarwark15 karma

We can continue to stand up for all of your freedoms, all of the time, not just the ones that appeal to one side of the political spectrum or the other. Our support for drug legalization, ending overseas wars, open immigration, and marriage equality can't be confused with conservative positions.

ylwrseoftx5 karma

what is your recommendation for LP members and GJ supporters in rural areas to help spread the message? going door to door isn't really a viable option, especially when trespassing on private property just to get to said door is not only wrong, but liable to get you shot at. ;)

nsarwark7 karma

Phone banking is a good way to get the message out.

benfranklyblog5 karma

Hi there Nicholas! You're doing a great job! My question is, how will the Libertarian Party leverage the momentum we're gaining in this presidential election to keep the energy up and flowing into down ballot races in the years to come?

nsarwark10 karma

We're using the momentum to put in place better processes and infrastructure. We're prospecting Johnson supporters to get them involved in the national and state and local Libertarian Party.

You don't win without focusing on the long game and the short game.

MikeGScott4 karma

You say you didn't have shenanigans but didn't a chairman candidate get naked on stage and dance?

nsarwark5 karma

He lost, I won.

mister_hoot4 karma

Is it really the only growing political party in the United States? Turnout numbers in the Republican primaries seem to suggest substantial growth since 2012.

nsarwark3 karma

It's the only political party growing in partisan voter registration numbers. source

futureformerteacher4 karma

How much are the Koch Brothers paying for your campaign?

nsarwark6 karma

None, but if you think they'd like to chip in, they can donate here.

ArniePie4 karma

Which state do you think the LP has the best chance at winning a federal office (Congressman or Senator), either this cycle or in 2 years?

nsarwark9 karma

The ones where we're most active. Colorado, Texas, Georgia, Indiana, Washington, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Florida are a few that come to mind, but I'm happy to be surprised by any of the others.

Grady_Tripp4 karma

Why does your party cling to such pro-big business ideas as privitization and deregulation? You would have me and many others if it weren't for this.

nsarwark10 karma

Supporting the free market is different from, and often directly opposed to, big business.

IUPCaleb4 karma

Why do some here say you're not answering questions when you've answered at least 10x more than any other political personality ever has? Do you think it's due to a hatred for libertarianism among the uneduated/schills? That's what I think. :) Freedom, for the win!

nsarwark8 karma

Some people can't read. They should be helped, not mocked.

rnmill3 karma

Are there any politicians that are considering changing to the libertarian party? You don't have to name name's just a estimate of how many

nsarwark3 karma

Are there any politicians that are considering changing to the libertarian party?

Yes. We've had three politicians switch in the last year, John Moore in Nevada, Laura Ebke in Nebraska, and Mark Madsen in Utah. As more people switch, I think the rate will accelerate.

Also, I have to give a shout out to the old party Presidential nominees who are making their party members want to switch. Good job recruiting for the Libertarian Party!

twoambien3 karma

How many used cars have you sold this month?

How does one get into that line of work?

nsarwark6 karma

We're at 26 units for the month, but the day isn't over yet.

Go into a dealership and ask if they're hiring a salesperson.

kielsky2 karma

Mr. Sarwark, what do you see as the future of the LP, in terms of "top-down" vs. "grass-roots-up"? Local organizing, or big national campaigns?

nsarwark3 karma

Both.

You can't build local excitement without something national to point to, and you can't get traction for a national campaign without a down ticket presence to show that you're serious.