By |Published On: June 2nd, 2024|Categories: Libertarian Party|

A Message from Mises Caucus Chairman Aaron Harris

To All Friends of Liberty:

I’d like to thank all of our Mises Caucus delegates, state organizers, and financial supporters, as well our slate of candidates—especially Angela McArdle, Caryn Ann Harlos, Clint Russell, and Michael Rectenwald—for the work they put in leading up to and during last weekend’s Libertarian National Convention. Without their efforts, the mixed results we achieved, as confusing and disappointing as they are, would have been much worse.

Before I go any further, though, I need to re-introduce myself. When Michael Heise left the Mises Caucus board several months ago to run Michael Rectenwald’s presidential campaign, he and the rest of our board asked me to fill the chairman’s role and I gladly accepted. I am actually somewhat pleased that, though we announced the change when it happened, a lot of you didn’t seem to take notice. My approach has been to make sure our board remains true to Mike’s vision for the Caucus (as outlined in the Project Decentralized Revolution strategy document and video, which Mike wrote with help from myself and Mises Caucus Vice Chair David Hynes) and trust my fellow board members and our state organizers to run their areas of responsibility and expertise, while I continued to do what I’ve done for the last five years: send most of these emails, handle media inquiries, and host our podcast, Decentralized Revolution.

It broke my heart that I was not in DC fighting alongside you, but I had a good reason: after a trip to the emergency room last Friday night, my wife gave birth to our twin sons by caesarean section on Sunday morning. (I wrote the first draft of this letter deep into my fourth night on the couch in the neonatal intensive care unit; my younger son needed a little extra care, but he’s fine and by the time you read this we should be home with mom and big brother!)

After much discussion among the Mises Caucus board this week, they’ve asked me to explain what happened in DC, how it happened, and where we as the Mises Caucus are going from here.

Though we helped re-elect Angela McArdle as chair and won three quarters of the 17-member Libertarian National Committee, the headline is that our endorsed presidential ticket of Michael Rectenwald and Clint Russell failed to win the LP nomination. As disappointing as this is, context is important.

Dr. Rectenwald was the first-place candidate through the first five ballots, and lost only after the third-place candidate, Mike ter Maat, struck a deal with the second-place candidate, Chase Oliver. Oliver, in exchange for ter Maat’s endorsement, agreed to endorse ter Maat for the vice presidential nomination. (For the record, ter Maat had always claimed he was a member of the Mises Caucus and had made multiple private assurances that, if it became clear he could not win, he would endorse Dr. Rectenwald.)

After this dubious bargain, Oliver eliminated Rectenwald, but still lacked the majority needed to win. In the final round, exactly 300 delegates (nearly all Mises Caucus) stood strong and voted for None of the Above (NOTA); many other delegates who were opposed to Oliver (both Mises Caucus and not) held their noses and voted for him in fear that not having a presidential candidate by convention’s end would mean the loss of ballot access in several states.

So, Chase Oliver, who promises to be one of the worst candidates in the LP’s history—he is by far the least qualified person to appear on our ticket—backed in to the nomination in an atmosphere of parliamentary chicanery, backroom dealings, and sheer exhaustion—a defeat for the Mises Caucus to be sure, and one that stings badly, but not exactly a sign that the LP has regressed to Bill Weldian levels.

But I know many of you are asking, “Why was Rectenwald the nominee?” The short answer is that he was the only one who stepped up. Everyone knows the plan all along was to nominate Dave Smith. Many of you found the Mises Caucus because of Dave Smith. Dave Smith told us he would run. Dave Smith was with us up to and through Reno, where he literally accepted the mantle of leadership of the liberty movement from Dr. Ron Paul’s own hand. After all that, however, Dave Smith eventually decided not to run.

Before Dave’s announcement, as it became increasingly more clear that he might not run after all, we started reaching out to possible replacements. We asked every libertarian we could find who had the requisite communication skills, professional accomplishments, and—most importantly—personal character needed for such a monumental task, and they all said no.

We promise you every such libertarian who has crossed your mind also crossed ours, and that he—or she—said no. Even Spike Cohen, who could have instantly unified the LP. Even Clint Russell, who did bravely step up to run with our support for the vice presidential nomination, declined to seek the top spot. Only Michael Rectenwald said yes, humbly running the best campaign he could under the circumstances—and at considerable personal expense to himself during a time of turmoil and loss in his family. Even with his imperfections, the rest of the board and I couldn’t be more grateful for Dr. Rectenwald’s tremendous commitment and sacrifice and we strongly hope he will be at our side in future battles.

As for the battles fought last weekend, I hope this letter is giving you a picture of just how hard we fought over the last few months—a time in which Dave Smith and other major libertarians were demonstrating a puzzling lack of interest in a project they had, pre-Reno, been offering maximum public support for. Our delegates—our ground troops, to stretch the military metaphor—marched into DC on foot without the air support they were counting on. It is only because of their tenacity and the leadership of Angela McArdle, Michael Heise, Clint Russell, and Michael Rectenwald that we held the LNC and nearly salvaged the presidential race; we could have easily lost everything.

But let’s not forget what we did win. Thanks in large part to Angela, we a) rebuffed a potential takeover bid from RFK Jr., the most significant non-duopoly presidential candidate since Ross Perot, while building bridges that could lead to collaboration with him on issues like medical freedom, b) allowed Clint Russell to shine in a head-to-head debate with Vivek Ramaswamy, and c) extracted a public promise from Donald Trump to both free Ross Ulbricht and include at least one libertarian in his Cabinet if he wins in November.

It remains to be seen what long-term effect these events will have (and if Trump will honor his promises), but it can be said that, for the first time ever, the Libertarian Party is an actual force in national politics—despite having a no-name candidate who will likely do great harm to our brand and will struggle to get anywhere close to a half percent of the vote in November.

Where does the Mises Caucus go from here, especially now that Michael Heise has stepped out of the arena? We can say that we will continue to pursue Project Decentralized Revolution strategy and we are not going to abandon the Libertarian Party to the small cadre of hobbyists who are determined to keep using it to play a grown-up version of Boys State or Model United Nations complete with regime-speak talking points.

As a board, we decline to endorse the Oliver/ter Maat ticket—but we encourage all Mises Caucus members, libertarians, and LP members to vote for president—or not—in the way that makes the most sense to you in your state. We will cheer the LP ticket if and when they represent libertarian ideas well, and respond accordingly—and mercilessly—when they fail to do so.

We will have more to announce in the coming weeks—some of it potentially very big—but we are first going to consult with our loyal state organizers, convention delegates, and financial supporters early next week to determine exactly what to pursue and when. Though our numbers are quite a bit smaller now than post-Reno, those who remain are truly passionate warriors for liberty and their work will ensure that we continue to have a disproportionately positive effect on liberty.

My biggest personal regret is that I didn’t do enough to warn all of you about the effect that Dave’s retreat from the field had on our prospects, and for that I apologize. Indeed, I offered the board my resignation, but they declined to accept it.

The board and I would be happy to talk these issues over with any of you personally, and I would be happy to engage in public dialogue with any person of good faith who wants to understand what happened in DC or discuss the Mises Caucus’ future prospects (subject of course to the time constraints inherent in being a father to twin newborns).

Please email me directly (aaron at misescaucus dot com) with your feedback, your questions, or your offers to get more involved with our mission. And please consider supporting us with your gift to Mises PAC, either on a one-time or monthly recurring basis at

Yours in Liberty,

Aaron Harris
Chairman of the Mises Caucus

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