The GO Strategy for Libertarians

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

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The GO Strategy for Libertarians

by Frank Atwood, May 29, 2003 (posted)

Go with the GO grass-roots strategy!

  • The Colorado Libertarian Party should expend Front Range resources to capitalize on Western Slope victories.
  • Statewide candidates should focus on the Gilpin-Leadville-San Miguel corridor. [Editor's note: Bob Ewegen mentioned to me that Leadville technically lies on Colorado's eastern slope, though culturally it is more a part of the west. -- Ari Armstrong]
  • Local candidates should focus on their precincts and their opponent's precinct(s).
  • Campaign workers should campaign where it is meaningful to them -- most likely in their own precinct.

Halfway through If I Ran the Circus, L. Neil Smith mentions, "Guerrilla conflict Occurs when there is a sharp difference between two sides in terms of the assets and resources they command." We cannot afford Chess-like attrition! We need to implement a guerrilla or grass-roots campaign. (I choose to substitute "grass roots" for guerrilla in order to be less belligerent and focus on growth as experienced in the holistic game of Go, rather than the linearity of Chess.)

The classics with regards to growth and persuasion are
1) Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, and
2) Robert Cialdini's Persuasion.

Two outstanding perspectives of guerrilla or grass-roots campaigning are
1) Scott Boorman's The Protracted Game: A Wei-ch'i [Go] Interpretation of Maoist Revolutionary Strategy, and
2) John Boyd's OODA (Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action) Loop and Patterns of Conflict.

I feel this quote from Boorman is especially relevant: "Invert the relative importance of the objectives of territory and annihilation..." Rather than trying to annihilate the enemy (winning a state-wide election), we must focus on dominating the fringes (winning some counties).

The game of Go also has the element of encirclement, counter-encirclement, advance from edges to center, tipping points, political collapse, and isolated phenomenon.

Let's implement the ideas of these classics, and dominate the Gilpin-Leadville-San Miguel Corridor where we've already demonstrated strength -- where the Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State earned relatively high vote totals ranging from 4.8% to 9.6%. Whereas the statewide average was 3.1%, the results were higher in the following contiguous counties: San Miguel (9.3%), San Juan (9.2%), Hinsdale (7.1%), Gunnison (4.9%), Pitkin (4.8%), Lake (5.1%), Park (6%), Summit (4.8%), and Clear Creek (5.3%). In this corridor, let's triple our percentages in the 2004 Senate race against Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

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