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Columns

Why I'm Leaving the Libertarian Party and Joining the GOP

June 8, 2016 - 12:30pm

I will always espouse the ideals of libertarianism. I am a libertarian by nature and could not comprehend another way to bring about positive change in our society. However, I have learned over the course of several years that while the ideology is sound and right, the party that surrounds the ideology is no better than any other and in some ways can never bring about the change we need.

I fully support Gary Johnson for president, not because of his party affiliation but because of the man he is, and knowing that he is the best person running. But I no longer support the Libertarian Party of Florida and I feel I owe a lot of people an explanation and apology.  

Many people will rightly be angry at this decision and please understand that if I lived in a different state, I would not feel the way I do. Others will claim that they knew it all along, but they didn’t and are only making excuses to hide their own ineptitude. 

I got involved in politics because I wanted to change the world. In some ways, we all do. More importantly, I want to change the system that is ruling over the citizens of this country. It started for me, like many others, in 2008 with Ron Paul. Watching the enthusiasm of those people was infectious and I couldn’t do anything but join the movement. 

At first, I felt it was better to run outside the two major parties than as a Libertarian, even though I had been registered as a Libertarian in the past. I was approached to join the Libertarian Party of Florida and run under their banner and from there on out I made a commitment to the party. I worked tirelessly for the party and then again campaigned statewide for Adrian Wyllie, bringing the Libertarian message to nearly 250,000 people across the state. 

Many people in the party today are there in part because of the work I have done. Now looking back, I regret it. I sold them on a party that was different than the others. I brought them in with a promise of principles and ethics. I brought them in thinking we can change how Florida is governed by building the party that can take on the major parties in our state. I was wrong.

Libertarianism as a philosophy is on the rise. More and more people understand it and want more of it. They are supporting it and realizing they do want to be governed by sound fiscal policies and not worry about what their neighbor is doing. The philosophy of libertarianism is winning, but the Libertarian Party of Florida is holding it back and up until now, I was helping them. 

The Libertarian Party of Florida is filled with far too many bureaucrats who continuously look to bring more power within the party up to the top and will do so by any means. The very principles they spend hours debating in a platform are irrelevant when they want to make a rule to ban someone’s actions or fill vacancies with no election, appointing themselves and their friends. 

The loudest members of the party make sure to drive anyone away with their “only pure Libertarians need apply” philosophy, as if they can grow the party by Libertarians falling from the sky instead of coming from another party that may not have agreed with libertarianism in the past. 

Lately I have seen individuals involved in running the events for the state party be involved in a bribery scandal and then placed on the finance committee afterwards. I watched as the party filled vacancies that were clearly stated in the bylaws of the party, and in some way the statutes of Florida, as an “election” turn into appointing themselves and friends while telling all other nominees to “not worry about it, we have it handled” as if they run the same type of elections as North Korea. They ignore their own rules and when informed of that, they just change the rules to suit their needs.  

I thought I would only see this with the Democrats and Republicans. I promised people and gave my word that Libertarians were different. It turns out they are everything they are supposed to hate. 

I’ve learned that a party can’t really do it. Political parties are nothing more than vehicles. As you can see with the major parties right now, they will be whatever you want them to be. 

At this point I want to get back to what I got involved in politics for. I see an opportunity to make some substantive changes in Tallahassee and I can no longer be weighed down with the party. I want to change the system that matters and not argue over the one that does not.  

I truly believe that libertarianism matters and it is a voice that is needed across the country. I believe that we are starting to see a real change in politicians like Jeff Brandes, Matt Caldwell, Richard Corcoran, Dane Eagle, Matt Hudson and Jose Oliva. This is due to many factors but one of the most important for me is the work of many different groups working on issues in Tallahassee. 

One of those groups that I have worked with is the Republican Liberty Caucus. Time after time they were there standing with me in Tallahassee and supporting our effort.  This organization gets it and focuses their energy in changing the system in Tallahassee. People like Matt Nye, Bob White, Joe Jordan, Dan Tucker and countless others, have started to be able to see the fruits of their labor within the GOP. They have supported me even when I have not supported them. They have been welcoming and helpful and have put in the real work that the Libertarian Party ignores while arguing over who is the most Libertarian. 

I believe that with a laser focus and an effort to be as involved as possible in the legislative process, we can move this state in a libertarian direction more now than in any time before.  I am not telling you what party to join. I am not telling you to follow me. Do what you think is right for you. For me, it is time to fully separate from any involvement in the Libertarian Party of Florida. I do not believe that this political organization will become a force until there are enough people who want to actively form a third party and are professional enough to do it. Right now that is not the case. 

I hope that one day the Libertarian Party of Florida will be that force to bring freedom. But right now there are too many apathetic people in the party who want nothing more than to keep it small are too loud and will go to unethical lengths to keep people away. They attacked me. They attacked my family and they have done it time and time again.  

I am telling you that I am no longer a registered Libertarian. I am a libertarian by philosophy and that will never change. I am joining the Republican Liberty Caucus as a Republican. I will focus all of my political energy on Tallahassee for the next several years. The work we have done with the Liberty First Network has been more productive than anything else I have been involved with and want to dedicate my energy to that. 

I am still going to support and vote for Gary Johnson and will always vote for the best candidate regardless of party affiliation. We (as libertarians) need to influence however best we can, but not be confined in any one place. 

Libertarianism may save this country but the Libertarian Party of Florida will not do anything to improve our lives in our state any time soon. I cannot stand around and let them hinder me from influencing real change any longer.

It is a minority in the party overall that has brought about these actions. But they are a large portion of the people involved in leadership. I hope in doing this more Libertarians start to look at what has happened to the Libertarian Party of Florida and get active in fixing these issues before it is too late. 

I want to thank the people who have supported me over the years and still widely consider them to be my colleagues, even if our party affiliation differs. There are many great people and great Libertarians throughout the party and I want to continue to work with them to bring about positive changes in the state.

Alex Snitker was the Libertarian Party’s candidate in the U.S. Senate election in Florida in 2010. From 2013-2015, he served as the vice chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida. 

Comments

I agree with Alex's assessment of the LPF. However, if everyone who didn't like the way things are rolling within the LPF just up and left, how would that fix the LPF? If Gandhi was right with his statement: "Be the change you want to see in the world", then I can't leave something broken, I need to fix it. Why can't all these good leaders who have left share that sentiment? I have the highest respect for the people who STAY and try to fix the problem. I have less respect for those who just leave. I understand the frustration, but cannot fathom the idea of heading home without cleaning up the mess. Also, well said - Jeannette Jaquish. :-) I miss your tiny self. It was fun meeting you at the convention. I hope you get back to Florida soon. :-)

Good Riddance - pretend libertarians don't belong in the LP, nor the greater, more encompassing libertarian movement. Only people whose primary focus is POLITICS make this kind of move. The LPF maybe now, can go back to focusing on presenting true libertarian solutions through persuasion, of the correctness of the philosophy and the positives consequences of the world adopting it, rather than watering down the positions for the sake of votes. The watering down is a no-win compromise as first, the public gets a perverted, skewed understanding of what libertarianism is, and second, the few extra votes received by watering down libertarian positions mean nothing - it buys ZERO additional influence and lastly, it makes libertarians look as bad, and probably WORSE than leftists/Democrats and conservatives/Republicans because the watering down that the likes of Wyllie/Snitker/Alexandre dole out to the public is akin to outright lying - just like the Dems/Repubs do. Again - adios and don't let the door smack you hard in the ass as you whimper away.

Losing Snitker is a shame. I used to get extremely angry in political disagreements, until it dawned on me that if I and this friend, sibling, or fellow Libertarian couldn't disagree agreeably, then how could I expect the same of world leaders? Since then, I grin thru every disagreement because they became fun games. Snitker is an extremely smart hard working valuable guy. Libertarians MUST stop digging at each other. Debate, counter, explain, justify and argue, yes, but do it to learn other viewpoints. And if you persuade the other guy, well that is icing on the cake. I personally have never once in my life persuaded anyone within a conversation, though later they may tell me their opinion has changed. Niceness counts. Here is an article showing Snitker impressing a news editor: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/the-usual-suspects-and-alex-snitker-libertarian-candidate-for-us-senate/1105303

Good for him. It does not mean that anyone else should do so. I am a lifetime Republican- first vote for Reagan in '84 and I just registered Libertarian. I can no longer support a party that has nothing to do with conservatism. I do not see the republican party ever going back to its conservative roots. There are 25%+ of NPA's in this state for a reason. It is time to realize there is a reason we have Obamacare, Common Core and an ever increasing national debt that will bankrupt us. That is because republicans have become the water carriers for the democrats. I hope Alex is successful converting the RPOF back to conservative principles.

This is sad. But you have to find people you can work with. Alex will bring Libertarian ideas into the GOP, and the Florida LP can take a look at themselves and perhaps find room for improvement. It is like the USA should be, different states not controlled by the Feds, and people move to the state that suits them.

I worked with Alex on his campaign for Senate and as a member of the LPF Executive Committee. I have the utmost respect for him and his judgement and I am not at all surprised by this. While there are many excellent, dedicated members of the LPF Executive Committee, there also exists a divisive and truculent minority in the party who would rather squabble over philosophical minutia and who take an all-or-nothing approach to nominations and endorsements. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

I know nothing about the inner workings of the Libertarian Party of Florida, having never been a member. I have worked with Alex Snitker over the last several years though, defending and promoting liberty in Tallahassee and across Florida. From that vantage point I have seen him devote countless hours trying to build the LPF into a force for liberty while at the same time working countless hours in the actual fight for Liberty in Tallahassee through the Liberty First Network. As he makes this change the important thing for everyone to remember is that we are not losing one of Liberty's vanguards. It's more like a change of address. The Republican Liberty Caucus is often described as the libertarian wing of the Republican party. Ron Paul is a former national chair of the RLC. During this election cycle the RLC endorsed Rand Paul for President. Alex has come to the conclusion that he can accomplish more for Liberty as a Republican member of the Republican Liberty Caucus. Isn't that what it's all about? How can each of us promote Liberty to the best of our abilities? I wont say that the LPF's loss is the RLC's gain, because as long as Alex stays in the fight, we all win! Welcome to the Republican Liberty Caucus Alex. We are proud to have you!

I've not been involved in the Florida LP for long enough to understand all the internecine feuds, etc. However, I HAVE been involved in the Florida LP for long enough to notice that whenever there's real work for liberty being done, there's about 90% chance that Alex Snitker is one of the people doing it. The LPF probably needed Alex more than Alex needed the LPF. And the LPF should have noticed that before it was too late. Good luck in your future endeavors, Alex. I'm fairly confident you'll be back once you learn (again?) that being Republican for smaller government is like f--king for virginity.

Well Alex, we joined the Lpf the same week. We grew your Senate campaign and the Lpf to what it is today. You were my favorite Libertarian of all and I wrote often about this. However, you became an absolute dictator, demanding people do it your way and when people disagreed, you called them out screaming profanities or cutting them off on facebook. Somehow you think the corrupt GOP is better....think again! I am ashamed of you for this poor decision, very ashamed. What you see as disagreements in the party, I see as democracy. No Alex, you didn't leave the Lp because you were unhappy, you left to help Adrian Wyllie run as a Republican. I'm not fooled easily. In conclusion, I say, be your own man! Having, in this case a female giving you marching orders, never works well.

I will officially state, for the record, that it is highly unlikely that I will ever run for office again. And, on the off chance that I do run again some day, it will never be as a Republican or Democrat. I am a Libertarian.

Good riddance Alex Snitker. You made a fool of yourself attacking a Libertarian candidate you personally dislike and now you're going to blame the LPF? Use my party as a scapegoat for your insecurities? I'm not buying it. Good luck in your efforts you are a good representative of liberty but you let your personal vendetta get the best of you.

I do not care for Mr. Snicker or his dubious campaign tactics. When he left copier sales, he used my state government contact info to spam me with his political messages. Highly inappropriate. I repeatedly asked him to remove my email address but those requests were ignored. Just go away Alex.

Third parties have a universal problem, membership ignorance, flamboyance, and infighting. The video of the fool dancing nearly naked at the convention is a good starting point. There have been many who have tried to do the impossible with pure intention, but while herding cats is standard fair for the RNC and DNC, herding hungry and desperate cats is what third parties face. Libertarian views are what they are but a pragmatic approach over purity at all costs with argumentative individual intolerance would garner broad support. The system is rigged against third parties and thus infiltration of the RDNC is likely the only way real change will ever take place. God speed Alex.

Alex was among the early candidate signers of the Tenth Amendment Pledge back in 2009. He has always been for Constitutionally limited government and it is encouraging to see he will be focusing on Tallahassee. Alex has always been a friend of liberty and that will always be a constant. I appreciate Alex regardless of his party affiliation and I value his friendship.

Wow. Just wow.

For anyone that reads these comments please know that the statements made by Jim Torrance above, are gravely inaccurate. I say this from personal knowledge as a former member of the LPF and 2014 candidate for statewide office. The comments by Ms. Alexandre are 100% accurate. The comments by Mr. Torrance about Candidate Augustus Invictus are also inaccurate, except to the extent that they may be expressing his personal opinion. I wish Mr. Snitker the best of luck with the GOP. He is an extremely hard worker and dedicated political operative. That said, I don't think the LPF will miss his combative nature and divisiveness.

It's interesting to see you comment on here considering you left the party months ago. Although your "public" leaving didn't garner quite so much attention so it may be why you felt the need to weigh in here. You are pretty good at riding coattails.

Alex are you ever going to repay the $3000 you stole from the LPF when you were falsely refunded the party filing fee that the party paid for you?

A serious loss for the LP. If the GOP would get their collective noses out of consenting adult lives (e.g. abortion and same sex marriage) and stop corporate welfare, I could be persuaded back. After particiapting in the National Conference and last year's state, I have to agree with Alex, something is just not right.

Libertarians are like Dems but they don't know gov't gets bigger with increased personal mischief, and Dems welcome that. Effective self-governance depends on effective personal character. Dems welcomed throwing it all out with the bath water, and now we see the results.

I can imagine how hard it was for Alex to switch Parties, but he knows that Parties are just vehicles to accomplish our goals. The Repub Party isn't perfect, God knows, but it CAN be an effective vehicle, better than all other Parties, to potentially get us where we need to be. As Alex comes over to the GOP, I hope he's able to make a valuable contribution to Liberty.

I have known this guy since high school NJROTC, when we used to just call him just Snitker. I reconnected with him on Facebook just a few years ago and I could see his dedication and determination to change the face of US politics. He even swayed me towards a more Libertarian outlook on politics with his posts. It is regretful that Snitker has decided to make a change to a party just as rife with problems, if not more so. He is my friend, so whatever decision he makes for himself--I support. That being said, I think that changing parties is not the best idea. No matter what party you choose, there will be the same problems you have described in your post. Humans by nature are interested in power, even in a party that tries to return the power to the people. The GOP, the DEMS---any party---has the same problems. The only party that offers a chance to change these things is the Libertarian Party. You are still my friend and I still look forward to your posts. May God have mercy on the Libertarian Party--one of its biggest cheerleaders has left the arena.

Snitker and Wylie, along with their buddies Smith, Braden, and Kirkland, are why I left the LPF. They muscled in when it was at its height in 2007-9, then member lists and minutes started vanishing, plus secret meetings and takeovers of affiliates with expulsions of 'pure' Libertarians. The LPF had a strong media presence. Snitker ran a campaign where he insulted and antagonized the media contacts 'to get us press coverage.' Smith openly boasted they were right-wing government infiltrators. The LPF number of people in office went from 100 to maybe 10 and members from 5000 to maybe 500 under the Snitker-Wylie-Kirkland reign of terror. In addition, a series of initiatives for the State Constitution were defunded and stalled. Many other state LP's were similarly attacked starting in 2009. Nonetheless, the Libertarian Party is running perhaps its most qualified and well-spoken candidates as the purists come back. So Snitker declares the purists are destroying Libertarianism, the LPF he ran into the ground is a failure as people wise up, and leaves. This is a script the government and right-wingers play out over and again to disrupt small parties and groups they don't like. Watch out for his buddies he brought in, like that Nazi-looking Goat-killing nut. They're still there with Kirkland/Braden ready to smear any actual Libertarian in public office and campaign they can't control.

You are seriously putting Snitker and Wyllie in the same camp as Smith, Braden and Kirkland? That is like saying He-Man and Skeletor are friends. Snitker and Wyllie are rational good guys. The others you mentioned are whack jobs.

You do realize that many of the people you just mentioned are actually the people Alex is talking about in a negative way right? I don't think you understand fully what is going on but most of the people in the list you just mentioned are the same people that Alex has been fighting in the party and have done everything they can to get rid of him. They aren't friends. You put a bunch of people together in the same post that actually hate each other.

Alex is one of my closest friends. I am disappointed and angry with his decision to join the GOP. I think he's made a terrible mistake that he is likely to regret. Unfortunately, his assessment of the current state of the Libertarian Party of Florida is fairly accurate. Though I have my own strong criticisms of the current LPF leadership, I believe that the LP is the only option to restore limited government. I could never be a part of the corrupt, two-party duopoly that has been the root cause of the problems we face. But, I know Alex far too well to ever question his integrity and honor. As strongly as I disagree with him, there's no doubt in my mind that he believes that he is taking the best path to advance the cause of Liberty. I support him in his efforts, but I cannot support his party.

Achieving Liberty with the republican party is as hopeless as attaching wings to a garbage truck and trying to teach it how to fly. ;) ditto Adrian!

Welcome back, sir!

Party, principle, business, personal insults, frustration. This appears to be condition normal for activists. Patience is a rare trait for many. Problems can be corrected, and so can Party leadership at LPF. I wish you well with your next steps Alex.

Welcome home

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