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Trump and the Libertarians

6 May

This was published yesterday at Breitbart.  Since it was published, Mary Matalin joined the Libertarian Party and rumors surfaced that Trump might select Rand Paul as his Veep.

Bill Kristol appeared on WMAL’s morning conservative talk radio show, “Mornings on the Mall,” Thursday morning, breaking news that he is trying to find donors for a conservative third party run against Donald Trump if he is nominated as the Republian candidate for president.

Among the liberal Republicans there is also splintering.
Breitbart broke the story earlier this week that Donald Trump’s impending success in winning the GOP nomination was causing fractures in Republican Party delegations, as one DC GOP delegate, Rina Shah, was decertified as a delegate to the GOP nominating convention for saying publicly that she planned to vote for Hillary if Trump was nominated.
The DC Republican Party is something of an outlier.  It’s national committee man and woman, lawyer Bob Kabel and real estate developer Jill Homan, are both (openly) gay, as is its chairman, financial manager Jose Cunningham.  It’s executive director, Patrick Mara, though a happily married heterosexual and new dad, was the first DC candidate some years back to endorse gay marriage over civil unions, and the DC Republican Party supports gay marriage in its platform, and did so before the DC Democratic party did.  (Only the DC and Delaware GOP affiliates supported gay marriage in their platforms before the Supreme Court enacted it).
Perhaps coincidentally, Homan and Mara both fall into another faction of the current GOP:  Homan, a former campaigner for Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich, the Republican precursor to Larry Hogan, says she describes herself as “trending libertarian,” and Mara has been known to use the “L” word (lower case) to describe his brand of socially liberal, fiscally conservative Republicanism.
The “libertarian wing” of the Republican Party has been having spasms this week over Trump, and google searches for “Libertarian Party” shot up after Trump’s latest win.  Membership applications and donations to the Libertarian Party have doubled since Trump won the Indiana primary, with 100 people joining daily.
Congressman Justin Amash, PACster Matt Kibbe, and former Congressman Ron Paul are libertarian Republicans on the list of those pledged to never support  Trump. Senator Rand Paul doesn’t have any plans to endorse Trump, though Senator Paul has had no difficulty in the past endorsing Mitt Romney or campaigning pointedly for Republican gubernatorial candidates like Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia in 2013, when unusually successful Libertarian Party candidates like Robert Sarvis started polling over 5%.  George Will, who has evolved into a libertarian fellow traveler, blurbing CATO Institute books and speaking to libertarianish groups (as I write this he is introducing transsexual Christian libertarian economic historian Dierdre McCloskey tonight at the American Enterprise Institute), wrote an editorial predicting Trump will cause the GOP to lose both the House and Senate.  Dave Nalle, the former national chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group of libertarians inside the GOP, has switched parties at least temporarily, and will be a delegate to the Libertarian Party nominating convention in Orlando, May 26-30, where he hopes to help nominate former Republican Governor Gary Johnson, who has been appealing to GOP voters in the #NeverTrump movement.  Asked why he was switching parties, Nalle answered: ““Nominating Johnson gives Republicans who cannot stomach Trump an acceptable option other than Hillary. I blame the party leadership for its failure to support a reasonable alternative to Trump. They would rather let the party die at the hands of bigoted yahoos who do not believe in Republican values than accept the need for serious internal reform and platform changes which would attract new voters to the party. This completes a process of debasement of the party that began when leadership tried to expand the party base by welcoming radical groups which were driven out of the Democratic Party. Trumpism is the price we pay for not realizing that there are principles which are more important than winning elections.”
This week one of the DC GOP’s other 19 delegates (not Ms. Shah), invited me, as a local DC Libertarian, to lunch, to beg me to get Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party to run an aggressive, but ideologically moderate, campaign to appeal to Republicans who can’t vote for Trump.  This Republican delegate – DC’s delegates are all pledged to Rubio or Kasich  – had also tried to meet with Libertarian Party national director Wes Benedict, but had only managed to get a 15 minute phone pitch, where he made the same points.  When I told my lunch partner I actually thought Libertarian candidates for Congress should appeal to Trump voters (he may not have read my previous “Two Libertarian Cheers for Donald Trump”), he was horrified.  Supporting Donald Trump as a wrecking ball aimed at the political class and as someone who was energizing independents and non-voters is, according to my lunchmate, “anti-intellectual,” because Trump doesn’t always articulate the correct policy proposals.
So the libertarians, in the GOP and in the LP, are of two minds.  Some think Trump will drive many Republican voters to vote for Gary Johnson.  As Zuri Davis, an editorial assistant at the Rand Paulish webzine Rare told her friends, “My vote will be going towards the Libertarian Party in November.”  

But other Libertarians are supporting Trump.  Well known libertarian economist and author Walter Block, started a group of Libertarians for Trump., whose website aggregates pro-Trump articles by libertarianish authors like David Stockman.  The Chief Operating Officer for Libertarians for Trump is Martin Moulton, the 2014 Libertarian Party candidate for D.C. Shadow Representative to Congress, the top Libertarian vote getter in DC’s last election.   Moulton explains his support: “Now that Mr. Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee we seek to support the candidate most likely to win the 2016 presidential election and advance Libertarian policies. If a registered LP candidate does not gain the national attention and votes needed to beat Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trumps’s consistent calls to reevaluate NATO’s relevance, question interventionist disasters and financial losses, and his promise to audit the Federal Reserve in his first 100 days, make him the most likely 2016 candidate to successful enact and realize Libertarian solutions for all Americans.” 

At this date there are no known delegates to the Libertarian nominating convention supporting Trump.  So unlike the GOP, the LP may not have to take moves to decertify any delegates.

Patrick Mara – City Council race

2 Mar

Report to DC Voters

From: Edward Cowan

March 2, 2013

For DC Voters who want to end cronyism on the District council, the choice in the April 23 special election to fill a vacant At Large seat is obvious.

Patrick Mara is a candidate who can win and who can bring personal integrity and a breath of fresh air to our local legislature. 

Mara is a Republican, or as he says, a “moderate Republican” who is “socially progressive and fiscally responsible.” 

He would be the only Republican on the 13-seat council, giving it a bipartisan complexion for the first time since 2008. (Ten members are Democrats, two are Independents.)

Mara is newly married (his wife, Shannon O’Leary, is a specialist in child development) and owns a home on 11th Street NW in Columbia Heights. A native of Rhode Island, he graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, earned an M.B.A. from Babson College in Massachusetts, where he specialized in entrepreneurship. He operates his own political consulting and fund-raising business, the Dolan Group. 

In 2010, the voters of Ward 1 elected Mara to represent them on the Board of Education. He defeated an incumbent who sought re-election. 

Only Three Might Win

Realistically, only three of the seven candidates for the At Large seat have a chance to win a city-wide election: they are Mara, 38, and two established, organization Democrats, Michael A. Brown and Anita Bonds. 

Brown, who turns 48 on Monday, lost an At Large seat in the November 2012 election after one four-year term. He was hurt by his advocacy of online gambling from home and by disclosures that he had failed to pay taxes on time and that his driver’s license had been suspended repeatedly. As if those events didn’t suggest he is sloppy, perhaps most hurtful was his disclosure that his campaign was missing almost $114,000. In recent days, Brown has been telling voters that he has been cleared of any suspicion in that matter. 

He is an opportunist. He switched his registration to Independent in 2008 to capture a seat for which a Democrat was ineligible, then switched back to Democrat for the April 23 contest. At a candidates’ forum on Thursday sponsored by Ward 3 Democrats, Brown suggested that cars with District tags be given reduced parking rates, which sounded like pandering.

Lobbyists to Help Brown

Brown’s campaign is expected to get a boost from a fund-raiser to be held for him on March 7 by lobbyists and developers, according to the Post. A lawyer in private practice, Brown lives in the Chevy Chase section of Ward 4 with his wife and children. 

Bonds, 67, is a native of the District and chairs the DC Democratic State Committee. It elected her in December to hold, temporarily, the At Large seat at issue on April 23. The seat had been held by Phil Mendelson until he was elected council chairman in November. Whoever wins the election will serve through 2014. 

Bonds has been a Democratic wheelhorse for decades and was a lieutenant to a much younger Marion Barry. She told me that she is “on leave” from a government-relations job at Fort Myer Construction, receiving no compensation–pay or benefits–while on the council. In three months as an interim council member, Bonds has had little impact. 

Bottom Line

In sum, the political reality is that District voters will choose between electing a regular Democrat, Brown or Bonds, to a council top heavy with regular Democrats—or choosing Mara. 

Three of the other four candidates, Matthew Frumin (a Ward 3 ANC commissioner and an international trade lawyer), Paul Zukerberg (Ward 1, a lawyer who specializes in marijuana possession cases) and Elissa Silverman (Ward 6, a former Post reporter) are Democrats running city-wide for the first time. Silverman is the best informed about District business and the most analytical. She is an advocate of ever-more redistribution of income, as is her employer, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, where she is on leave. 

The seventh candidate is Perry Redd of the Statehood-Green party. He won’t win, either. His campaign is oriented to affordable housing, legislating a higher minimum wage, and “justice for returning citizens.” His Web site recounts that he has served “two stints in prison.” 

Mara Led in Three Wards

Mara is a proven vote-getter. In addition to capturing the school board seat, he came in second in the city-wide, 2011 special election for an At Large seat. Endorsed then by the Washington Post and by this writer, Mara polled 11,851 votes, just 1,700 fewer than the winner, Vincent Orange. He came in first in Wards 2 (49%), 3 (49%), and 6 (36%), and finished second in Ward 1. 

Despite having polled below 3 percent in Wards 7 and 8, he told me that he would knock on doors in every ward. He and his volunteers have, so far, knocked on 5,000 doors and made 20,000 phone calls, according to the campaign. 

Who is Patrick Mara?

Mara portrays himself as the “education reform” candidate who has visited 70 schools throughout the city. He suggests that in light of his experience on the Board of Education, he could serve as a counterweight to the strong-willed, volatile chairman of the council’s education committee, David Catania. 

He has called himself an “urban Republican,” meaning that he supports gay rights and same-sex marriage and is not part of the GOP’s Sun Belt bloc of hard-right conservatives. He proposes that as the council’s only Republican, he could be an effective ambassador for District interests among Republicans on Capitol Hill, lobbying for example for budget autonomy.

Mara says that he would look for ways to reduce taxes (no other candidate has volunteered that) and to be cautious about spending. “Others say spend, spend, spend,” Mara told me. “I say conserve and look at reducing.”

Mara takes a cautious approach to the use of government regulation, observing that it imposes costs that small business cannot easily absorb.

He touts a modest personal lifestyle. He does not own a car. He rides a bicycle or takes Metro. He boasts that he buys modestly priced suits at Jos. A. Bank and has had his shoes re-soled three times. 

Mara’s two years on the Board of Education have shown him to be hard-working, an elected representative who does field work and makes himself available to constituents. That is commendable, but hardly sufficient to make him the most promising candidate for the council seat. He vows that he would take no paid outside employment while on council.

What makes Patrick Mara the most appealing candidate is his independence of the majority Democrats, his unblemished record for personal integrity, and his willingness to be a one-man Opposition within a scandal-tainted council of only 13 in which comity and log-rolling have been the norm.

“I’ll be looking over everyone’s shoulder,” he said.

No other candidate has made that promise. []

Sunday Patrick Mara canvassing

3 Feb

As I’m sure you’ve all heard already, Pat Mara is on his way to becoming a DC councilman! A huge THANK YOU to those of you that came out to Tenlytown for signature collection in January! It paid off!!
There are currently 8 candidates running in the April 23rd Special Election to fill the At-Large DC Councilman seat and Mara is a TOP contender!
For Groundhog’s Day weekend, we are headed back to Tenleytown for some Door-to-Door campaigning. Meet us at the Panera Bread by the Tenleytown Metro.
* * 12pm – 3pm
Any questions, contact Dan Hoicowitz ( or 216-978-1511) or myself ( or 239-340-9184)

7 Democrats, 1 Republican on Special Election ballot; AP and Washington Post get names wrong

27 Jan

How embarrassing for the Post and the Associated Press. I know all those Jewish names sound alike, but the candidate is Paul Zuckerberg (pictured in photo on far left), not Paul Zuckerman. I bet if you look at his petitions or the handy tweets the DC Board of Elections provides you can get the names right.

8 candidates submit petitions to run in special election for open DC Council seat

WASHINGTON — Eight candidates have submitted petitions to run for an open D.C. Council seat in a special election this spring.
The deadline to submit petitions was 5 p.m. Wednesday. Candidates must collect signatures from 3,000 registered voters in the district to appear on the ballot.

The election will fill the at-large seat vacated by Phil Mendelson when he became council chairman last year. Democrat Anita Bonds is filling the seat on an interim basis and is among the candidates who turned in petitions.
The D.C. Board of Elections says former councilmember Michael A. Brown also submitted petitions. So did Republican school board member Patrick Mara, who finished second in a nine-person special election in 2011.
The other candidates are Matthew Frumin, Perry Redd, John Settles, Elissa Silverman and Paul Zukerman.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Paul Zuckerberg’s DC city council race

12 Jan
Paul Zuckerberg, a marijuana use defense attorney in DC who is running for the city council at large seat in April, held a meet and greet last night at his Adams Morgan office on Lanier Place, which a couple of local libertarians attended.  There were only around 16 people there, and after people associated with the Petworth charter school Zuckerberg’s kids attend (his campaign treasurer is also a charter school parent at the same school), people from the local libertarian meetup may have had the second best showing.  (I didn’t inquire as to how many were former clients.)

According to Zuckerberg he had 2100 signatures on the 11th.  Every candidate needs 3000; its a special election and even the Democrats and Republicans have to petition to get on the ballot.  News reports so far are that one Republican, Patrick Mara, and 14 Democrats – including incumbent Anita Bonds, Zuckerberg, and Michael Brown, who recently lost a re-election bid – are running.  Zuckerberg thinks he has met some Green Party people petitioning as well.

Zuckerberg hopes to get the 3000 before anyone else, so he can file them and get a news story out of it. You can’t file any signatures until you have the minimum number required, but can then file extras up until January 23rd.  To ward off challenges most candidates aim for 4500 to 6000 signatures.  Both Bonds and Brown (the son of Bill Clinton’s  Secretary of Commerce) have staffs of paid petitioners.

Many DC libertarians are supporting Patrick Mara, who supports charter schools, gay marriage, and fiscal restraint, and is viewed by many as libertarian-leaning.  So we went to Zuckerberg’s event to see if there we some equally good Democrats.  What we found was disappointing, though Zuckerberg is running in such a corrupt city and among such a boring and cretinous crop of Democrats that he still shines a little by contrast.

We began by asking Zuckerberg what his top 5 issues were above and beyond marijuana decriminalization.  He stalled at answering.  He finally got out that he is interested in education, and according to his website he does support charter schools, and sends his children to them.  The only other issue he ever got to was some plan for a bicycle trail from Maine to Key West that would tie together local routes like the C&O canal, allowing one to bike down the eastern seaboard.  No other issues came up.

Back to marijuana, the law and regulation of which is his vocation,  Zuckerberg had a lot more to say.  Much of it simultaneously horrifying and also better than what we have now.  Zuckerberg wants to maintain large civil fines for marijuana use but not have it be a crime with criminal charges.  According to him this is best because it means DC law would not contradict federal law.  In his mind if DC does not make something illegal that federal law does make illegal, that would be a state law contradicting the federal law.  Contradicting it by not existing, apparently.   I suppose large civil penalties mean people would still need marijuana defense lawyers too?

Additionally Zuckerberg favors having ABC style government owned stores to sell medical marijuana, because allowing private vendors to do it, as in California, makes it seem like the industry is a sham attempt to get around The Law and disobey the government.

Zuckerberg did have many anecdotes to tell about his work defending people arrested in DC, many of whom face federal charges since they are often smoking on the Mall, the GW parkway scenic rest stops, Rock Creek Park, and other federal government owned properties.  His heart seems to have some libertarian impulses but they are almost completely strangled by his conventional statist DC hive political faith.