For the first time in almost 100 years, voters in Florida will experience a state-wide primary election that does not feature either a Republican or Democrat. Registered Libertarians will go to the polls in August to decide who will be their nominee for the United States Senate. Many people are completely unaware of this primary, which is due to the general black-out the media has towards third party politics in this country. Those who are involved in the libertarian movement in Florida have had a front row seat in what can only be described as a monumental train wreck.
Libertarians will choose between either Augustus Invictus or Paul Stanton to be their nominee. Much has already been written about Mr. Invictus, some false and some true. I do not find it necessary to recite what has been said, as it has been well documented already. Mr. Invictus has addressed each and every point made about his candidacy, and as a libertarian, I find his answers to be sufficient. Many within the party have objected to his candidacy from the beginning. They point to how he chooses to worship, how he chooses to live his life, and how he doesn’t espouse the party doctrine. Correct me if I am wrong, but how someone chooses to worship or live is at the core of libertarian values. Mr. Invictus does not shy away from his life, writings, or speeches. They are well documented and available for you to make your own decisions. The fact that some libertarians are attacking him for his religious beliefs defies logic and goes against the basic tenets of the ideology.
His opponent, Mr. Stanton, seems to be the beneficiary of this smear campaign being waged against Mr. Invictus. I cannot tell you much of what Mr. Stanton stands for or his motivations for running for the Senate. Aside from the memes on social media that regurgitates basic libertarian bullet points, he has offered nothing about who he is. Should we ridicule his religious practices? Should we call into question his personal life or marital status? Should we treat Mr. Stanton the same way his supporters have Mr. Invictus?
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Mr. Stanton has refused to participate in a debate for the past two months. His excuses have ranged from being too busy to not wanting to “give my opponent a platform for his views”. The exposure the Libertarian Party of Florida would receive from a Senate debate would be enormous and help grow the party beyond the 2016 election. In his refusal to even debate, Mr. Stanton shows how little he cares about the future of the libertarian movement. It is my opinion that he is being used by people who do not want to see Mr. Invictus become the nominee, no matter what harm it does to the growth of the party. I personally witnessed an exchange between the two candidates during a break on the floor of the Libertarian National Convention in May. Mr. Stanton was not able to clarify why he would not participate in a debate that evening and it in no way resembled his current mantra of “not wanting to give a platform” to Mr. Invictus. How credible will it be for Mr. Stanton to demand to the Democrat and Republican candidates to include him in their debates in the fall if he becomes the nominee? How should we expect him to debate our libertarian values in the United States Senate when he continually refuses to do so during a primary race?
It is interesting to note that one of the claims leveled by Mr. Stanton is that the calls for preparing for insurrection by Mr. Invictus violates the non-aggression principle. The NAP, which all Libertarians must sign to become party members, states that the initiation of force will not be used to attain political goals. Yet there are some Stanton supporters that have threatened physical harm against Mr. Invictus, a clear violation of the NAP. The former chairman of the Florida Libertarian Party Adrian Wyllie, who resigned as a protest to Mr. Invictus’s candidacy, recently posted on Twitter the following : “Libertarians aren’t pacifists. Though we’ll never throw the first punch, we’ll damn well throw the second. – July 21, 2016”. Would that statement be considered “a call for violence”?
I had met both candidates only briefly during the Libertarian National Convention and I walked away with a different opinion of them both that I had when going in. I found Mr. Invictus to be quieter and more soft-spoken than his persona in his recorded speeches. Mr. Stanton was only interested in a donation to his campaign, and when I declined, he lost interest and walked away.
There has been a lot of rancor among Florida Libertarians, mostly on social media, that threatens any semblance of party unity. In a year where a majority of Americans are sick and tired of the two old parties and are open to finding a new and different approach to government, Libertarians in Florida are demonstrating a failure to capitalize on this unique situation. There is only one candidate that has demonstrated transparency and has clear and concise views that put liberty and freedom first. I endorse Augustus Invictus for United States Senate and urge all Libertarian to cast their vote for him in the primary.