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.