[LPOC] Californication, LP-style

Libertarians that want us to ask folks to vote for us are right.
As a salesman, I know that in most cases you have to
ask someone to buy, or they won't.

Timing, is important.
The person has to understand the product.
They have to WANT the product.
They have to see value. Price isn't the issue.
It's how much they get out for how much they put in.
That's why they vote for Republicrats, often.
They ascribe to the myth that they're profiting more
than their investment in government.
They also have to trust the brand.

Like ANY product, there are only two things that matter.
Everything else is a subset of the above.
(I used to challenge my employees and students to name
anything that wasn't. No one ever has, nor can.)

Where I part with many activists is their
assertion that [fill in the blank] doesn't matter.

Some feel that 'getting organized' doesn't matter.
Others feel that fundraising doesn't matter.
Some think membership doesn't matter.

Well, I have news for you.
It ALL matters.
It's all part of the big picture.

Organization is KEY to any successful group effort.
Despite our lasseiz faire attitude to life and politics,
there's no getting around it. Organization and leadership
work. Good organization and leadership, that is.
Without a good product and ethical leadership,
there can be no success. And, for those folks that are
anti-organization of any kind, let me reassure you,
this is all voluntary. (It's involuntary organizations
that we work against and ought to dislike.)

Politics is like business or sports in many ways.
And for us to beat the other guys in this game,
we have to be better than they. Better organized
and better looking. Better communicators and
better fundraisers. We have to look and act like

Helping change policy is great.
Getting initiatives through passed is wonderful.
But, until we start getting elected, we're still also rans.

So, when one Libertarian wants to focus on Membership
and another wants to focus on fundraising, I'm happy.
But, the single issue Libertarians are like gold bugs.
They lose focus on the rest of the big picture.
Sure, they might be right in principle, but by
leaving out the other key elements they ensure failure.
Conversely, by including the other elements, we ensure success.

The single issue Libertarians marginalize us and play
into the perception that we're lunatic fringe. OK, I will
concede to the gold bugs that their concept is correct
and that someday the dollar will fail as a paper currency.
Most, if not all of their points are correct and their
predictions will come true. But, relevance to the voter's
life at this time is what matters.

We have the best ideas. We have the best platform.
But, those have no value if we can't sell them.

It's like saying Beta is better than VHS or that
Mac is better than Microsoft. Only worse.
If you want to use a Mac, you can. But,
our success is truly limited by our ability to
get others to endorse and support our platform.
There is no market share in politics. It's all or

Let's get elected!

We do have to be ORGANIZED.
We do have to need MEMBERSHIP.
We have to have a large slate of VOLUNTEERS.
We have to be top notch FUNDRAISERS.

They're all important.
And without them all, we're nowhere.

So, sure... Let's not forget to ask people to vote
for us. How many votes we get is the ultimate
way to score our success. But, let's not forget
the path to get there.

Next article on Libertarian 'salesmanship':
'I'll Take It!'

Copyright October 2003 Bruce Cohen

Bruce Cohen wrote:

Politics is like business or sports in many ways.
And for us to beat the other guys in this game,
we have to be better than they. Better organized
and better looking. Better communicators and
better fundraisers. We have to look and act like

Along these lines (better looking).. does anyone know someone good with fashion, who can help me dress well, but not stuffy and republican looking? I wanna go shopping.

As for better communicators, everyone in the LPSF I have heard is a brilliant and deep thinker. I recommend we work on our ability to teach our thoughts. I'm probably more guilty than anyone else. Swaying minds is a slow process and you need to be patient. Personally, I tend to like to argue, but this often only causes resistance from the opposition. I think it's better to ask directed questions, and let your audience perhaps discover the principles for themselves. At least, I think that should work, and it's something I want to practice.



  Heaven knows I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again. But corporate/business metaphors like "selling" the LP, the LP as a "product," and the Libertarian Party as a brand, is part of what is making the party come across as conservative to many people. It's not the type of language that's going to attract the kind of idealistic, creative young people we need to get the libertarian message out there.

  It's not just the issues the LP picks that make our party appear to lean to the right. It's the methodology; it's the language; it's the culture.

Yours in liberty,
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