The Libertarian Party of Colorado has entered into an agreement with the Republican Party of the state that is intended to help the right overcome the stranglehold Democrats hold on the politics of the Centennial State. In order to achieve this goal, both parties agreed to make certain concessions. Social media has both praised and criticized the agreement. The question now is, will anything ever come out of this?
Libertarians and Republicans in Colorado decided to make a “handshake deal” in which the Republican Party at the state level will not participate in local elections, especially those where Libertarians run candidates. The Libertarian Party, in return, will not be running candidates in state elections – particularly close elections where the GOP needs every vote.
Dave Williams, the Chairman of Colorado’s Republican Party, made his commitment in a letter addressed to Hannah Goodman, chairwoman of the Libertarian Party of Colorado. Williams said that the agreement is intended to “work towards a common goal” of promoting personal freedom and limited government in Colorado.
The GOP acknowledged that the Libertarian Party “focuses on electing candidates with limited government to local offices” and said it “aligns itself with our principles of individual freedom and free markets.”
Williams wrote: “As a result, the Colorado Republican Party has agreed not to directly involve our state organization in municipal nonpartisan elections for which your party is focusing resources and efforts,”
He added: “By making sure that voices and perspectives are aligned within our local government, we can actively combat the dominance of radical Democrats. We can foster a more accountable and balanced system, which serves the interests of all Coloradans.”
We are excited to share the reciprocal handshake agreement with @cologop.
They reinforce the commitment to pro-liberty, free-market ideology and also agree to not get involved in municipal non-partisan elections the LPCO has interest in. pic.twitter.com/GVOVI9ZdHz
— Libertarian Party of Colorado (@LPCO) June 16, 2023
The Libertarian Party of Colorado, on the other hand, agreed to not run “spoiler” candidates at the state level that could undermine the GOP’s chance of winning these seats. This pledge was not without a condition. Goodman wrote to Williams that she would not be running candidates for statewide races if the GOP did not support Republican candidates with a liberty-focused agenda.
Goodman wrote that “the illusion of choice has been whittled down over the years, as the GOP continues supporting policies and practices it would never have supported years ago.” “We saw democrats and republicans standing together on COVID lockdowns. Vaccine mandates. The destruction of the First and Second Amendments. And many other tyrannical actions throughout recent years.”
We call on the Republican Party, to seriously consider our goals and objectives and run Liberty-minded candidates who are anti-establishment in the future. We will not compete in races where the Republican Party runs candidates that support individual liberties. We reserve the right, if necessary, to run our own candidates in races where you do not choose to nominate strong Liberty candidates.
We negotiated an unprecedented deal with @LPCO that if we run more limited-government & pro-liberty nominees they won’t run spoiler candidates.
— Colorado Republican Party (@cologop) June 13, 2023
This might appear to be an agreement that is mutually beneficial for both parties. A closer look at the agreement suggests it might not be worth even the digital paper that was used to write it.
This is a deal between two state parties. This would not prevent local Republican parties from fielding candidates for local elections, which they will do. If the state GOP was serious, it would not use its resources and influence to defeat a Libertarian.
Many people don’t realize that the Republican Party of their state is not often involved in local elections. In most states, this is the norm. Although they may offer some support in the communities of their state, their main role is to help elect statewide candidates.
Local elections are usually left to the local parties. What the state GOP has pledged to do is not much different than what it would do normally, and this does nothing to improve Libertarians’ chances of winning local seats.
The GOP’s recent record makes it difficult to believe that they can be trusted with liberty-focused candidates. In fact, the GOP has tried to keep Libertarians off the ballot on many occasions in states such as Texas and New York. I’ve repeated this a thousand times: Republicans run with a libertarian agenda and then govern as Diet Democrats ™ when they are in office. The GOP is Lucy, and Republican voters are Charlie Brown kicking the football. It’s difficult to believe that this arrangement will produce better results.
It is not true that there are no Republicans who support liberty. Williams’ intentions also aren’t negative. It is naive to think that the GOP will support a candidate who fights for freedom, rather than one who uses rhetoric and then acts like Mitt Romney once elected. Some might get by. I don’t think it will be enough to make any difference.
It’s possible that I am wrong. If I am wrong, I’ll happily eat the crow and a healthy dose of BBQ sauce. If history is any guide, then this deal will be a waste of time despite its good intentions. The Libertarian Party should continue to focus on winning locally, without expecting the GOP to ever become a partner. We have the best chance to gain influence and power over time to weaken the government.