Why no fundraisers? Why no PAC or corporate support? Why a five dollar cap on individual contributions?
Here are my top ten reasons:
10. I can be a candidate and keep my job. I am a busy physician, an anesthesiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Fundraising takes up the majority of the time of many candidates. If I don't do that, I can still work full time.
9. It will be good for the LP. I am keeping the cost of my campaign very low. I will leave no debt for the LP to pay. A large number of unpaid volunteers could give a big boost to membership.
9. It empowers people. I believe the Libertarian Party should be less about limited government, and more about unlimited individuals. Anyone with $5 to donate can be my largest donor. Anyone I speak with knows I am not speaking with them because I want money.
8. I can employ technology. The cost of campaign database management has dropped precipitously. Obamas technological platform probably cost a million dollars. The Voter Relationship Management system I use is far more robust and cost $20 per month. I tried to find an experienced Certified NationBuilder Expert that I could hire. There were some available, but they had strong ties to either Democrats or Republicans. I wanted an Expert who agreed with me on the importance of getting money out of politics. I could not find one. So I completed NationBulder training and became a Certified NationBuilder Expert.
7. I can leverage grassroots. Studies have shown that television, radio, and other mass media is not nearly as successful as personal phone calls, knocking on doors, and shaking hands. I am putting together a very large grassroots network, coordinated by the VRM system
6. It could turn the major party billions from a political asset to a liability. Many voters are horrified at the huge expense of the campaign. They know a lot of that money comes from special interests that are going to make a good profit from government spending after the election. A very low cost campaign could look very, very good in comparison
5. The LP is a disruptive innovation. While gathering experience in the entrepreneurial world, I read about disruptive innovation. Clayton M. Christensen wrote eloquently about innovation that does not advance a market, but fundamentally changes it. Key factors include keeping costs very low, and expecting much lower revenue. Target marketing efforts to low end users ignored by the incumbents. Market to current non-users who have no prior investment in old technology. This advice politically would mean to market at low cost to non-voters. Certainly no "lesser of two evils" problem there.
4. I can represent the people instead of special interests. No need to try to recruit special interests for intensive fundraising. There is nothing wrong with going to the traditional liberty-oriented groups like second amendment, marriage equality, and marijuana legalization. But a very low cost campaign allows me to focus on much broader messages of cutting spending, balancing the budget, and getting the corrupting influence of big money out of political campaigns.
3. It demonstrates integrity. Anyone can say they are for smaller government and more freedom. You can say that you are not after more and more money. But it is hard to be credible when you are having fundraisers all the time. Most of the time when I tell people that I have a $5 dollar cap, the response is "Wow, I like it!"
2. I shows I am a serious candidate. Raising money from special interests does not make a person better at governing. Just the opposite. There are many people who feel, like me, that the number one threat to our national security is our spending and our debt. How can you be a serious candidate when you have no plan to address our number one threat? I can be credible when I say I will balance the budget on day one. People know I will do it when they see how I run my own campaign. I will have no favors to repay. No big money bosses that I have to coddle.
1. It is a winnable strategy. I was having a good discussion with a senior leader in the Republican Liberty Caucus. He was explaining to me why a Libertarian party candidate could not possibly win. He said whatever liberty issue gains traction with the public, before the Libertarian party can benefit, the Republican party will jump in, and get out in front with the issue in a bigger, louder, more effective way. Gun rights, marriage equality, marijuana, civil forfeiture, whatever. If it starts to succeed, they will pre-empt us. I asked him, "What if my initiative to get money out of politics gains traction? What if I start to get 3%, 5%, or 10% and gain momentum? Do you think the Republican Party could possibly get in front of that?" He thought for a moment, furrowed his brow, and quietly said "no, I don't think so."