The Miami-Dade County affiliate of the Libertarian Party met for its fourth monthly meeting since its creation back in October 2012. About a dozen of libertarians gathered on Tuesday in the affluent Miami neighborhood of Coconut Grove to talk about local politics, the future of America, and a concrete party strategy for the upcoming electoral year.
The meeting was shorter than usual. Judge Andrew Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Fox News analyst, and libertarian activist, was supposed to talk to the group but canceled at the last moment. Instead, however, Roger Stone is planned to talk to the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County in February on the topic of electoral campaigning. Stone has been an influential campaign organizer, working for Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian candidates from Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon to Al Sharpton and Gary Johnson.
The two-hour-long meeting was animated by strong and ceaseless critics of the county government. From recent talks of banning so-called "Happy Ending" Massages to the incredible wastes made by the current local Establishment, there were plenty of reasons to conclude that it is time "to get rid of them all," according to Joseph F. Natoli.
Natoli is a wealthy investor based out in Opa-locka and specialized in aviation. He has been involved in county politics for years, often openly criticizing county commissioners for reckless spending habits and ridiculous programs. A long-time libertarian, he has been contributing substantially to Ron Paul supporter groups, such as Campaign for Liberty.
When asked about his position within the party, which approached him earlier this year, Joseph Natoli announced the formation of an exploratory committee to analyze the possibility of running for the Miami-Dade County Commission Board. If Natoli runs, he will be the first Libertarian to run for this office.
Eric Faden, the young vice-chairman of the county chapter of the Libertarian Party, also announced a possible run for office in the almost exclusively Hispanic city of Hialeah. Faden, a 21-year-old student at Florida International University, did not precise which office he will be seeking. And even if he sees his chances of winning as low, the idea of a Libertarian running for local office is already an important concept for the county that delivered one of the poorest performances for Gary Johnson in 2012.
Some of the members also agreed to stop characterizing the Libertarian Party as a third party. According to Brian, a New Yorker visiting his native Miami and attending the meeting, such characterization is what costs the most to the LP. "It includes it in a separate group, aside from mainstream politics," he said. And it is true that with more than a million votes in November, the party deserves more credit that currently given.
Speaking around an audience eating seafood and drinking beer, many members concluded the meeting with a pessimistic note. "Just as the Roman Empire collapsed because of inflation and the unwillingness to change, so will the American Empire, and a dark age might as well occur after our collapse," said one member. "We are passed the tipping point."
But attacking the system from the bottom is definitely the favored strategy for the party leadership. Instead of focusing on national politics, a scene much more apathetic to libertarian ideas, the movement should attack from the local scene. Just as progressives in the late 19th century and Christian conservatives in the post-Nixon era accomplished, the best way for libertarians to receive a more influential role in national politics is to start with local School Boards, Town Councils, County Commissions, etc.
"Besides having libertarians elected to office in the county, we also need to lobby elected officials as much as possible on individual issues and get as many of our people on local boards as possible," agreed Joseph Natoli and Suzanne Gilmore, the party's treasurer.
This approach is a new one for the party, which has since the 1970s focused mainly on national and international politics. And the new strategy may be the one that will bring libertarianism to success in the United States after all. By creating small communities free of zoning rules, property taxes, corruption, and benefiting from government transparency and fiscal accountability, the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County might as well be the door for a new national strategy.