So You Want to Be a National Convention Delegate!
By Marc Montoni, LP Radical Caucus
1. BE A MEMBER OF YOUR STATE **AND** NATIONAL LP.
Really, in most states, being a supporting member of your state and national Libertarian Party costs $50 or less for both.
I am in favor of all delegates being allowed to do their jobs without being required to pay a floor fee; however, I am also in favor of requiring **every** delegate to be a dues-paid member of **both** the national and state parties (at least -- in many areas they could also be supporting a local committee as well).
You can help us eliminate the Deformer's "freeloader" argument by making sure you have made at least the basic dues donation for both your national and state membership.
You are not required to purchase a package to attend only the Business Session.
BAD IDEA: Forget to register.
3. MAKE SURE YOU'RE CREDENTIALED.
Your state LP sends its delegate list to the Credentials Committee, and it is the members of the CC who decide who is qualified to take part on the convention floor.
DO NOT fail to verify that the Credentials Committee has credentialed you, especially if you're planning to attend only the Business Session.
BAD IDEA: To forget your colleagues are human. Trust, but verify.
4. RESERVE YOUR HOTEL ROOM!
The convention website says the LP convention rate is sold out. However, there are people looking for roommates, and there are alternative hotels nearby.
If you seek roommates, begin seeking them now. The below page was established for the '14 cnvention but people are still using it for this one:
or perhaps: http://www.easynest.com/
BAD IDEA: Waiting until the last minute to make your travel plans.
The above Facebook group has rideshares offered & needed also.
BAD IDEA: Failing to figure out how you're getting there.
6. FIND OUT HOW TO BECOME A DELEGATE FROM YOUR STATE
Find out what the procedure will to seek a delegation seat with your state LP.
If you don't win a delegate seat this year, then start working on the next cycle. Have some accomplishment behind you. Don't wait to organize a booth, do a fundraising round for the Party, recruit candidates and members, or organize your home precinct. DO IT NOW. Next week is too late; next month is too late. Do nothing and show up at your state convention and those who have done their homework will be first in line for those precious delegate seats -- ahead of YOU. Get away from the computer, get off the couch, and engage in a real political act.
BAD IDEA: Ignoring your state party's convention call.
7. SHOW UP AT YOUR STATE CONVENTION, AND SEEK ELECTION TO A DELEGATE SEAT.
SHOW UP at your state LP convention, with your LP activity resume in hand, and do what you need to do to be among those considered for a delegate seat. This is a fairly complete schedule:
BAD IDEA: Failing to show up.
8. STUDY NATIONAL'S RULES AND PROCEDURES.
Do a thorough read of the Delegation Chair's Manual.
Study up on the Convention Committee structure:
Here are the Delegate Allocations by state:
BAD IDEA: Remaining unfamiliar with or clueless about convention procedures.
9. GET FAMILIAR WITH THE LP NATIONAL PLATFORM
Read through the current LP Platform, such as it is:
It's a lot shorter that it used to be, and it says a lot less. Not a bad idea to pick a couple of previous platforms so you understand what used to be in it:
BAD IDEA: Not being fairly familiar with what the Party actually says.
Take anything said about the LP platform and how it "compares" with the platforms of other parties with a grain of salt. Review the opposition's platform(s)for yourself:
BAD IDEA: Remaining ignorant of what our competition has in their platforms.
BAD IDEA: Allowing the individuals on the Platform Committee -- some of whom want us to say nothing about anything -- to make up your mind for you.
10. KNOW YOUR PLATFORM COMMITTEE
a) Check out who is on the Platform Committee:
b) Review what the majority on the Platform Committee has planned for the Platform; and keep in mind that a majority of the Platform Committee wants the LP platform to say very little:
c) This committee had a meeting in March:
d) Minutes from that March meeting:
11. LP BYLAWS
Familiarize yourself with the current LP Bylaws:
BAD IDEA: Remaining unfamiliar with the current LP Bylaws.
12. BYLAWS COMMITTEE
a) Check out who is on the Bylaws Committee:
b) Study the Bylaws Proposals from the Bylaws Committee, and be sure to review any comments on each proposal:
BAD IDEA: Taking every idea in the Bylaws Committee Report at face value. Some items will have a hidden agenda.
13. Get yourself a copy of Robert's Rules:
Watch "Parliamentary procedure made simple: how to conduct a meeting". Available at most large-ish public libraries. Example:
If you can't find it at your local library, don't forget your municipality's law library, as well as school and college libraries. I saw a few university copies available on this search:
BAD IDEA: Complaining when parliamentary tricks are used to silence and bypass you, and you don't know how to counter them.
BAD IDEA: Relying on the advice of "Registered Parliamentarians", who can't seem to understand the part of their training that dictates they must recuse themselves from offering opinions if they have a stake in what they are interpreting.
BAD IDEA: Relying on the advice of witch-doctor shamans who want you to believe they have special insight *you* could not possibly have.
14. HAVE A GREAT TIME!
I don't go because I think all of my ideas, candidates for LNC positions, or whatever will all win. I go because I want to see that crazy remnant I enjoy spending time with so much. Go for the drinking games, the parties and the socializing, and have a good time.
See you there!
-- end --
Originally written January 2008, by Marc Montoni <AMCAmbassador@yahoo.com>, for the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus. This version released 2016. License to use hereby granted under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ . All use of this or derivative works must include an unedited copy of this attribution statement as well as an unedited copy of the above original article (if used in a derivative work).
For more information about the Radical Caucus, see www.LPRadicalCaucus.org or see the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2497146127/ .