The Libertarian Fundraising Problem: 13,380.5% Behind

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The Libertarian Fundraising Problem

You read that headline right. The Republican National Committee out-fundraised the Libertarian National Committee by 13,380.5% in 2019. By comparison and not to be outdone, the Democratic National Committee also out-fundraised the Libertarian National Committee in 2019 but by a smaller margin of only 5,060.48%. 

The totals for each committee that were used to calculate the percentages break down as follows in total receipts for 2019:

Republican National Committee: $241,127,767.71 

Democratic National Committee: $92,306118.09

Libertarian National Committee: $1,788,712.77

You may be thinking, “Ok but there’s so many more registered Republicans and Democrats than Libertarians so this isn’t a fair comparison!” Fair enough. 

Let’s look at what the possible contribution rate is for each registered voter in each party for 2019. As of current data in 2020, there are approximately 152,666,000 registered voters nationwide

Based on that number and a recent poll from Gallup regarding party affiliation we can assume that 27% of the total are either Republicans or Democrats. This means that there are then approximately 41,219,820 registered Republicans and 41,219,820 registered Democrats. Independents then round out the remaining population at 45% but or 68,699,700 but clearly, this number cannot possibly represent the total number of registered Libertarians. So what is the real number of registered Libertarians?

 For all of the libertarian party’s short-comings, dancing naked men at their national convention in 2016, presidential candidates with a boot on their head winning their New Hampshire primary, and falling tens of thousands of percent short on fundraising compared to the major parties as this article demonstrates they do a great job keeping track of how exactly how many people are registered with their party nationally. As of the publication of this article and with the most recent report from their membership support committee, there are 552,904 total registered Libertarians nationwide. Let’s next then break down contributions party by party and on a per-member basis.

 For the Republicans, we have a total of $241,127,767.71 raised and approximately 41,219,820 nationwide who identify themselves as Republicans. That means each person, on average, could have contributed a mere $5.84 in 2019 to get the Republicans to their $241MM figure. This seems like a reasonable scenario doesn’t it? Skip a cup of Starbucks coffee and voila there’s $5 available to contribute.

Next, for the Democrats, we have a total of $92,306118.09raised and approximately 41,219,820 nationwide who identify themselves as Democrats. That means each person, on average, could have contributed a mere $2.24 in 2019 to get the Democrats to their $92MM figure. This is an even more attainable goal for those who identify as Democrats.  

Finally, for the Libertarians, we have a total of $1,788,712.77 raised and approximately 552,904 nationwide who are registered as Libertarians. That means each person, on average, could have contributed a mere $3.24 in 2019 to get the Libertarians to their $1.8MM figure. Again, skipping that cup of brew from the barista would easily get them there.

So, what does this all mean? Does it mean that Republicans are more generous on a per-person basis? Does it mean that Democrats are more stingy on a per-person basis? Does it mean that Libertarians are a little less generous than Republicans but more than the Democrats? Or does it mean there just aren’t that many Libertarians compared to Democrats and Republicans? The answer is pretty obvious as there aren’t but why aren’t there? 

As we’ve demonstrated with Independents totaling 68,699,700 people nationwide, 18% more than when compared to the D’s or R’s directly, something seems a miss. Why aren’t these people flocking to the Libertarian Party in droves? 

After all, recent polls have shown that most voters are unhappy with our current politics and the data backs it up with 45% of the nation identifying as Independents.  

Perhaps it’s the Libertarian Party, it’s platform, and its often colorful, fringy, and toxic members that repel the general public

Or perhaps it’s the fact that American’s have never been more polarized and tribal politically than any time in modern history-making the 2020 election seem like a life or death decision when it comes time to vote in November. No matter the reason or combination of, the Libertarian Party needs to attract many, many more of the vast number of Independents in the country if they ever wish to become a viable force in Federal or even State level elections. 

For a party that has now been around for nearly 50 years but still hasn’t managed to become such a force in the modern political arena, you have to wonder if it ever will. Maybe it’s time for the LNC to take a good look in the mirror and seriously question why they and their party have been and continue to be rejected by a majority of voters in the U.S. for nearly half a century. Maybe it’s not them, maybe it’s you. 

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