09-19-2016, 04:24 PM
I don't believe the Ron Paul campaigns of 2008 would have exploded into being without the kind of "wake up" preparations of the grassroots that LP campaigns had seeded in the years/decades prior. This kind of contribution can't be measured across a single election cycle. Newcomers in 2007 had missed the LP's developmental years, and the prior excitement of the Harry Browne years, etc. Not noting this, too many in the Paul movement adopted a kind of microwave construct that with the right national candidate, all the other problems could be solved in short order. Paul supporters just said to the long-slaving and broader liberty movement, "hi, we'll take it from here," and presumed a superiority and competence over the rest of the grassroots they never established in fact.
What excited people about Paul was he was a solid libertarian running a "third party' style campaign in a major party race, thus his message could not be shut out, marginalized or compromised. The establishment stopped him by simply porting the marginalization techniques they had used on the minor parties over to soft-or-hard blacking out Paul in the GOP primary race. This backfired on the elite, however, because the higher visibility of the major party race caused more people to notice what was going on. That in turn woke more people up to the issue of what does the movement need to do, to defeat this establishment?
The LP, like all other third parties in America, is mainly constrained from growth by this kind of structural suppression of political alternatives built into the election system by the elite special interests. This elites controls both major parties, monopolizes power through them, and alternative movements are either compromised/co-opted into one of the majors, or marginalized into irrelevance. In the post Paul era, I see the LP serving as a major vetting system for fielding liberty candidates, in addition to running educational campaigns. From this available pool of vetted with campaign experience, the movement could run them in fusion candidacies (e.g., LP/CP/GOP) that overcome the structural barriers to getting alternatives elected (mainly by running them in open seat or special election situations).
This kind of leapfrogging over the system requires at least a loose alliance between liberty people across the major party and minor party spectrum, with the grassroots cooperating with each other regardless of their party preference, and intellectual libertarians working with populist liberty trends. Such a coalition existed under the unity provided by the Pauls, but has become frayed by the current cycle, with much of the LP and RP universes retreating from engaging the populists. If this continues, the movement will either disintegrate altogether, or the populist alt-right might decide to invade and take over the LP, as one means to re-forge the alliance.