Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Libertarian National Convention 2016: Seems Like a Small Issue, But Isn't Small to Me


Delegates to the Libertarian Party's national convention receive "tokens" to give to their preferred candidates for the party's presidential nomination. There's a minimum threshold number of "tokens" that a candidate has to collect in order to participate in the candidate debate on the main stage (and, IIRC -- someone will correct me if I am wrong, I'm sure -- a few other things, such as perhaps getting stage time for nomination speeches).

At one time, this was no big deal: Candidates who had extra "tokens" above and beyond the threshold could give some of their "tokens" to other candidates, for whatever reasons they felt worthwhile. For example, maximizing the number of participants in the debate either because they felt that would be advantageous to them, or because they felt it was the right and fair thing to do, or whatever.

In 2008, I recall that Christine Smith, who was seeking the nomination, actively assisted my preferred candidate, Steve Kubby, in accruing the necessary tokens. When we reached the goal, we in turn helped her -- but, once again IIRC, I don't think we managed to get her over the threshold. I assume the reason she helped us is that we were closer to the threshold and she felt it was important to have Steve's voice in there even if she couldn't get there herself. I was, and remain, grateful to her in any case.

Apparently the system changed in 2012 and remains unchanged in 2016: Now the "tokens" are "non-transferable." So in theory, candidates who reach the threshold could continue collecting "tokens" for no other purpose than to at least partially lock other candidates out of the process.

I will not give my "token" to a candidate who has reached the threshold, even if that candidate is my preferred candidate. Nor, if I become aware that a candidate has continued collecting "tokens" after reaching the threshold, will I vote for that candidate to receive the party's nomination. If you're not ready and able to debate all comers and win the nomination on your merits in open competition, you don't deserve it.

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