April 26, 2023

718: The Libertarian Party - Fighting for Liberty in the Age of COVID-19

@ToddHagopian on how @LPNational is Defending Personal Freedom & Responsibility

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Are you fed up with the endless political bickering between the Democratsand Republicans? Are you tired of feeling like your voice doesn't matter? Then you need to tune in to this episode of The Brian Nichols Show, where Brianwelcomes Todd Hagopian, a veteran member of theLibertarian Party, to discuss the possibility of a third-party candidate in the upcoming election.

Toddand Briandon't hold back as they dive into the need for sales and marketing strategies in politics and how a third-party candidate could use these tactics to their advantage. They discuss the potential for a third-party candidate, like a Libertarian, to challenge the two-party system and provide a viable alternative for Americans who are looking for real change.

But it's not just talk – Toddshares real-world examples of how the Libertarian Party has become a refuge for many Americans who have had their rights infringed upon during the COVID-19 pandemic. He notes that the party was one of the few voices advocating for individual liberty during this time, and it's this kind of bold leadership that sets the Libertarian Party apart from other conservative groups.

The conversation then takes a deep dive into the state of the economy and how both sides of the political aisle have contributed to its current state. Toddargues that people are starting to see the negative effects of government programs put in place by Biden and his administration. He believes that people are feeling the effects of inflation and decreasing home prices, and that it's time for a new kind of leadership to step up and make a real difference.

Finally, Toddand Briandiscuss the potential forLiberty Republicans to join the Libertarian Party. Toddmakes a compelling case that money is a big factor in whyLiberty Republicansare staying with the GOP, and he lays out a plan for how the Libertarian Partycan attract these individuals and make a real impact.

So if you're ready to hear an honest and no-holds-barred conversation about the future of American politics, then you need to tune in to this episode of The Brian Nichols Show. Todd and Brianwill leave you feeling inspired and energized to make a real change in the world – so what are you waiting for?


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Brian Nichols  0:00  
America is at a crossroads. And a majority of voters say they want a third party. Well, is the Libertarian party ready to step up for the challenge? Let's talk about that. Instead of focusing on winning arguments, we're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, hey there, folks, Brian Nichols, here on The Brian Nichols Show. And thank you for joining us on of course, another fun filled episode. I am as always your humble host. Joining you live from our B and C Studios here in lovely Eastern Indiana folks, the recession is right around the corner, you feel it, I feel it and more importantly, your customers feel it. So do not get left stuck in the dust, revise your sales and messaging strategies today. So you are not stuck in the dirt tomorrow. Email me, Brian, at Brian Nichols. consulting.com. All right, let's talk about Yes, the fact that a majority of Americans are looking for an alternative out there actually, if you look at the number one and number two respective nominees, well presumptive nominees for their parties and Joe Biden, and Donald Trump for their GOP and Democratic parties. A majority of Americans say they don't want either of them to run they want somebody different. And could that be a third party candidate like a Libertarian candidate? Well, we're gonna discuss that in a little bit more joining us today on The Brian Nichols Show. Returning to the program, Todd Hagopian. Welcome back to The Brian Nichols Show.

Todd Hagopian  1:27  
Thank you so much. Absolutely. Todd, thank

Brian Nichols  1:30  
you for joining us. Great to have you back on the show. It's been a while and I know we've had a lot that's happened since you were last here on the show. So before we dig into all things, libertarian politics, do us a favor, reintroduce yourself here to The Brian Nichols Show audience.

Todd Hagopian  1:42  
Sure. I'm Todd Gopi. And I have been in the Libertarian Party for about seven years now. Brian and I met probably about five years ago or so and started coming on the show. Shortly after that, at some point in time, I was the Oklahoma libertarian treasurer. And then I became the LMC. Treasurer this past May. And so that's the only position I hold at the moment.

Brian Nichols  2:07  
Talk to us about where the Libertarian Party is, Todd, because as it is there in the intro, a lot of Americans are starting to raise their AI to maybe a different way of doing things politically. Now, that being said, right, a lot of folks, they're always going to be ingrained in their camp LEFT, RIGHT Democrat, Republican, but for what is I would say at least a plurality of American voters, they are open to a third party. So let's make that pitch. Where do you see right now the Libertarian Party fitting into this big puzzle?

Todd Hagopian  2:34  
Sure. So I mean, the Libertarian Party obviously can be broken up into the the idea of being a libertarian and the actual party, but let's talk about the idea of being a libertarian, because that's what happens. That's what that's what matters to most people. So the idea of being a libertarian, I mean, we're coming out of COVID, where a ton of people had had this experience where government basically infringed on their lives in a variety of different ways had very massive financial impacts had health impact, and mental health impacts. And and have noticed that, that the Libertarian Party was one of the few who were fighting for their rights during that time. And even the folks who have the right to might have been fighting for the rights and the time, were doing other things that they didn't like, big government spending money, we went into debt, all this inflation could be drawn back to Donald Trump at the beginning. And so between any any of these financial hardships that they've seen over the last few years can be drawn towards, you know, more more infringing government, more spending more things that are hurting us every day. And I think that's going to help us from that, from the side on the right. From the side, on the left, you're looking at, you know, massive, massive government programs that they've put in place and obviously accelerated the debt once once Biden got in which killed inflation. And people are now starting to realize that, you know, as Biden was talking about this inflation will just be transitory. And now all of a sudden, it's been demolished, demolish the economy heard the interest rates, you know, every single person is feeling it now, and home prices are starting to fall, which are most people's largest assets. I think people are starting to realize that they didn't know what they were talking about from an economic standpoint. So now you have both sides really failing at economy over the last two years, and the economy is gonna be what speaks to us, especially if we're halfway through a recession. By the time the election rolls around, or, or God forbid, just rolling into a recession would probably be kind of the perfect storm where both parties, both parties have have no defense against how they've treated us for the last four years.

Brian Nichols  4:54  
So both parties to your point seem to not really have an answer in terms of a pro Doing things with some common sense in the economic standpoint. Now I will say there's a lot of friends on the more right side of the aisle, like our Thomas Massie is our Rand Paul's who they get it, but they unfortunately are a minority within that greater party in the GOP, for example. So, let's say to those individuals, you know, hey, maybe there is an alternative in the Libertarian Party. What's the case there?

Todd Hagopian  5:24  
Yeah, sure. I mean, for for folks to actually jump ship and become libertarians. Obviously, we've been making that pitch for a long time. Justin Amash is the only one who's done that. I think that I think that those folks have started to give knots to libertarians, I believe this last cycle. Rand Paul actually endorsed a couple of libertarians here and there, I think it's starting to become a little more in to have that discussion and actually call yourself a libertarian, whereas probably eight years ago, we were talking about, what did they call us?

Brian Nichols  5:59  
It was libertarians or when I can't remember what

Todd Hagopian  6:03  
John McCain said that one time, but it was like wackadoodle, you know what I mean? Like he was he was talking about wacko birds, he was calling all the, you know, the masses and the politics of the world wacko birds and where it's now those guys are getting a little more comfortable actually saying the word libertarian and, and defining their strategy as libertarian, even if they're not libertarian, and I think that does help us. It's just like, you know, a moderate Democrat or a moderate Republican gets viewed differently by the moderates, you know, in the country. As these people start to talk about libertarian viewpoints and making libertarian arguments. I think that will help us. Do I ever think messy and run or read Rand Paul is going to come over to our side? Probably not. I don't think so. But But crazier things have happened. I didn't think about what either and he jumped, he jumped over. So well,

Brian Nichols  6:57  
let's kind of touch on that. Right? Because there seems like there should be at least a natural progression from disaffected liberty, Republican to libertarian here. To your point, only Justin Amash has been the one willing to take that step. Why, why do you think Todd that the Liberty Republicans out there who maybe are more on board with the Libertarian Party platform than they are with their GOP platform are sticking with the GOP

Todd Hagopian  7:25  
money? So I think it's it's real clear, like even Justin Amash didn't jump ship until he had decided that he wasn't going to run for offense again. And and I love Justin Amash. But but you can't deny that that's why he waited until that moment, you know, it was it was to the point where there, you can benefit so greatly from being in one of those two parties, and being in their financial machine. And until somebody kicks you to the curb, and doesn't support you anymore. There's no reason to leave. And at that moment when Donald Trump basically said he was going to support whoever ran against a mosh you know, and then Peter, I think, as Peter Meyer announced, he was going to run and buyer as a big name in Michigan. I'm from Michigan. I know the Meijer family, you know what I mean, like, at that point, Amash could see the writing on the wall and, and decided to become an independent first, if you remember, and then slowly became a libertarian as he decided he wasn't gonna run. And so, unfortunately, I think that there's too much you know, money in politics, and that is playing a role. And we're gonna really need you know, some some personalities that can raise money, if we want to crack that code. AND, and OR personalities where the money will follow. You know, so Rand Paul Thomas Massie, are those big enough personalities where the money will follow them into the Libertarian Party if they were to come? Not so sure about that Justin Amash was not, you know, there could be some out there that are.

Brian Nichols  9:03  
Well, that was a better topic to have you on the show, then Todd to talk about money, right? Because you are the LNC. Treasurer, right. That's your official title. Yes, sir. All right. So let's talk about that. Right, because I've heard a lot of detractors of the new regime, if you will, for the Libertarian Party with the Mises caucus, saying that when you look at where the Libertarian Party is, today, financially, we're not in as good of a spot now I've seen some of those long term progressions of money in money out it looks like we're pretty much on par for the course where you'd be in, you know, two, three years removed from a presidential cycle. But hey, that's just me. I'm an outsider looking in. Tell us, Todd, what's the actual monetary situation looking like here for the greater Libertarian Party?

Todd Hagopian  9:46  
Yeah, so first, we'll talk about monetary situation and then we'll talk about a p&l do different things. Okay. So when the new regime quote unquote, new regime took over, we had just run out of Money, we had just taken out a loan against the building to make payments,

Brian Nichols  10:06  
the building being Libertarian Party headquarters over in the greater DC

Todd Hagopian  10:09  
headquarters. It all happened here in q1 of 2022. They had basically missed revenue by a substantial amount, and continued to spend, even though they did hold back their expenses, they spent more than they took in. And they went from having, you know, approximately $100,000 in cash to having negative 50. And had to take a loan against the building. That's what we inherited. Right now we have about $240,000 of cash. So if you're talking about, you know, what is our FY and we paid off the loan, by the way, so that's 290. Net, you know what I mean? Sobbing, if you're talking about our financial position, the party has done an excellent job, we turned around a downturn, from a financial standpoint, turned around a massive downturn that was headed in the wrong direction, we got our spending under control. And we are bringing in more than we're kicking out. So that's, that's where we are today we have, we're, we're duty bound to keep approximately $80,000 of cash at any given time. The other people were to they just didn't do it. But to keep $80,000 in cash at any given time, so that we can deal with our expenses if we do have a terrible couple of months of fundraising. Okay. But we keep 240 at this point. So from that standpoint, we're doing really well. Now from a p&l standpoint, yeah, not so well. So our revenue is way, way down. Not good. I'm just gonna say that it's not good right now. So the last three months, we've averaged about $80,000 of revenue. In the past, you would probably be looking at 130 to $150,000 a month average. Now, they do fluctuate wildly from $100,000 months to $200,000 months. But 75 to $90,000 is not range, you can be for very long, there's a couple of things that have led to that, that we can talk through. Yeah, please, please do elaborate a little bit there. Yeah. So essentially, what we did is we knew that we were spending money wrong in the party. And so when you do that, when you take over a business and and the money's wrong, you've got to fix it, right? If you're making bad investments, you have to pull back the investments, and then divvy out the money in a better way.

Brian Nichols  12:32  
And really quick on how were they wrong? What What specifically would you say was,

Todd Hagopian  12:35  
for example, we were spending money on things that were losing money. So you don't spend 100,000 To make 80. You know, you don't spend 50,000, on a on a big, you know, production to bring in 20, you just you you don't make those types of investments. And you don't spend $100,000 on Project X, when you're not going to have that $100,000 More of more of revenue than expenses, you know what I mean? So you have to look at how much you're actually going to bring in and then make the budget accordingly. But you also have to make sure you're spending your fundraising expense dollars appropriately to drive the most fundraising revenue. Okay. So for example, direct mail was a terrible, terrible use of our money. And it was, you know, six figures of expense. And there were times when we were bringing it less than what we spent there were times when we were bringing in just over what we spent. But at the end of the day, it was basically negligible return. So we essentially eliminated that. Now we've taken it to, you know, this all public information, I publish financials every month, we've taken it down. We basically eliminated it for three or four months. And now we're going to build it back up. Okay. So when we look at $80,000, you know, year and or 80, that's now our month in revenue. Well, if we didn't spend 15, in direct mail, we didn't bring in the 16, that would have come in, you know, that would have been 100,000, our month, but we also had 15,000 less than expenses. So that's why we haven't lost money this year at 75 to 90,000 in revenue, whereas last year, they were losing money at 120,000 a month in revenue. Because we've we've controlled that expenditure. Now is the time where we have to start spending that money again, and spend the money on the fundraising expense. For example, last year, they spent over $50,000 on fundraising contractors. This year, we haven't spent hardly anything. You know what I mean? So we need to bring those back. And we already said that in the plan that just hadn't started yet. So the phone they think contractors are starting to direct mail is starting to slide back in. We're going to do some other things. Spend some more money on Project fundraising that we haven't done so far this year. And things are going to come back but the point was is you basically at To burn it down to nothing, and then start investing wisely again, or you could continue to as we were and, and spend a ton of money to make a little money, you know. And so that's, that's kind of the process that we've taken. And like any business turnaround, I would say, it got worse than you thought it was going to look. You know what I mean? And we were talking about this before the show, you know, it's hard to, it's hard to change your business. And there will be times where it just it gets worse than you thought. So if you had asked me if I thought we were going to be, you know, three sub 90,000 other months, nope, it not think that otherwise, that would sound the budget where to look, you know, you can tell exactly what I thought was gonna happen, because I gave you a 12 month budget, and I showed you exactly what I thought was gonna come in every month. So now that sadden the profit for those three months is about right on budget.

Brian Nichols  15:55  
So this might just again, be my third party perspective. But tell me if I'm wrong here today just seems like a lot of where our money was invested in years past was more so in helping us already as a part of the party greater Big L Libertarian Party to feel pretty right. It was sending the direct mail praising specific volunteers or specific chairs of different state, you know, affiliates, it was really just trying to make us feel like we were doing more than we really were. And that might be wrong. But then I look at where we should be spending our time, energy and effort I look at, well, what are the other two main parties doing? They're investing their money, in outreach in marketing in trying to recruit new members on top of already having the ability to recruit folks internally for fundraising? So is it that I am off base there? Or does that seem to pretty much align with what you saw when you open up the books?

Todd Hagopian  16:53  
I would say that it wasn't that bad. I would say that there were definitely major projects that they undertook, that were very expensive.

Brian Nichols  17:05  
Any examples you can give by chance? You're

Todd Hagopian  17:07  
so I mean, and I'm not saying these as projects I didn't approve of, okay, there, I'm just talking about expensive projects. So the frontier project, which allowed us to get Marshall, Burt elected, you know, to the Wyoming State House, for one term, and then and then he was defeated after that, that was a very, very expensive project that focused on one very specific part of the country to get one person, you know, I mean, it focused on more than one but to get one person elected for one term, and then we spent a lot of money on over three, three plus years, you know, now, was it worth it? I don't know. Well, we'll find out, you know, hopefully, activity in Wyoming will continue to grow. And we'll come back and get a few more. But that was a very expensive project, what could we have done with that money in terms of membership in terms of fundraising growth, in terms of that kind of stuff, I don't know. We've spent significant amounts of money in in like CRM, CRM expenses, for years trying to figure out what CRM we want to be in, we had to for a long time, we've now cut to one, we spent significant amount of money in like software so that people could have, you know, that would help them in local elections to door knock and stuff like this, you know, that nobody used. So there's just been a lot of a lot of examples of things that maybe had or probably had great, great intentions that just weren't, you know, should we have done that and set this stage and the party when we grow our base to this, you know, and we need to, frankly, get our fundraising up to this. And the way you get your fundraising up is to get members up, and we're guilty of it too, memberships declining, right now we need to figure that out. We need to be spending more money on member acquisition. And that's where that contract expenses comes in, that we're talking about. So I mean, you know, yeah, there were things but I wouldn't say it was like a beauty pageant. It wasn't, you know, they weren't spending stuff on things that didn't make sense. They were spending a lot of money on things that maybe only affected a few people, is how I would put it, whereas we need to if we had taken that same amount of money and tried to increase the number of people that were involved, you know, most people, most people become a member and then become a productive member. They don't, they don't start as a productive right libertarian and then become a member. You know, we need to get more members and Then drive them to the state party where they can be productive and then drive them into local politics where they can be productive and and then we start to see the result, you know? Yep.

Brian Nichols  20:10  
Well, Todd, we're already getting hard pressed for time here on the main part of the show, don't worry, we're going to be continuing things behind the paywall over on our Patreon, so folks, make sure you stick around there. But with that being said, I will start off our final thoughts here. And that is, if I could title give some consulting advice, not just to the greater Libertarian Party, but just libertarians in general out there, right, we have to stop selling features of libertarianism stop selling the shiny thing that we think people will be attracted to, but rather start painting the picture in terms of what a truly free libertarian society will look like, help them see that we can bring them from where they are today to a better, brighter future. And we do that not through good idea in people to death, but truly helping paint that picture articulating a vision and help appeal to the emotions. I know, libertarians, we try to like, like, you know, like the plague to avoid emotions, because we think well, you know, just our ideas are good enough alone to win. Sorry, folks, that's not true in politics. It's not true in sales. So what we need to do is actually put on our emotional empathetic hats and start approaching things that way, reach out to people, like you mentioned, Todd, folks who are open to our vision open to our message, which is not everybody, it's specific people when your target market is everyone that needs your target market is no one. So we have to figure out who is our niche. And with that help paint that pretty picture for them to know that we are not just a third political party, but rather a political party that will help make things better, Todd, that's my final thoughts for today's episode. What do you have for us?

Todd Hagopian  21:49  
Yeah, no, I think that's a great idea. Obviously, I talked a lot about marketing in the run up to that election. And I would say that we have not spent enough time or money on that and getting our message out and getting and working on increasing membership and working on increasing our reach. So I like your ideas. I'm glad you're doing the show. And I'm glad we're having these discussions.

Brian Nichols  22:11  
Amen. Todd. Well, folks, if you want to hear Todd's thoughts on both Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon, being asked from their respective channels at Fox News and CNN on the same day, we'll go ahead, hit your subscribe button over on our Patreon dollar 99 a month to become an audience insider and hear Todd's answer plus about 10 minutes or so of extra bonus content. We will see you guys over there behind the paywall. But, other than that, folks, go ahead and follow me on social media at B Nichols liberty, Twitter, Facebook, minds.com. And sovereign if you want to go ahead and catch the episode before everybody else it'll air a day in day ahead of time, but also it will air in its entirety with that bonus Patreon paywall behind the scenes content as well. And with that, Todd, where can folks go ahead and follow you they want continue the conversation?

Todd Hagopian  23:00  
Yep, gotta go pan on Twitter, libertarian and chief on Facebook. Those are basically the two places

Brian Nichols  23:08  
perfect. We'll include those links in the show notes. And by the way, folks, if you're joining us here on YouTube, you should be seeing a video pop up right about here. That's our episode from last Friday where we sat down with Michael Pickens. He was going to tell us how to reprogram our brains. Yeah, it's a great conversation. So I'll make sure I see you guys over there. But with that being said, we're going to go ahead and continue things behind the paywall. So with that being said Brian Nichols signing off here on The Brian Nichols Show for Todd Gopi. And we'll see you next time. Thanks for listening to The Brian Nichols Show. Find more episodes at the Brian Nichols show.com Enjoying the audio version of the show, then you'll love our YouTube channel. Be sure to head over there and subscribe. If you're new to The Brian Nichols Show, be sure to head to your favorite podcast catcher and click download all unplayed episodes so you don't miss one of our nearly 500 episodes that will be sure to leave you educated, enlightened and informed. If you got value from today's episode. Can you do me a favor and Edie the Brian Nichols show.com forward slash support and leave us a $5 donation and by the way, have you given the show five star review yet? If not bad apple podcasts and tell folks why you listen to the program and don't forget to tell your friends to subscribe to follow me on social media at be Nichols liberty and again, if you'd be so kind please consider making a donation to The Brian Nichols Show at Brian show.com forward slash support

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Todd HagopianProfile Photo

Todd Hagopian

LNC Treasurer

Husband, Father of Four

Current LNC Treasurer
Former OKLP State Treasurer
Former Tulsa Region Chair

Owner - Cash Flow Acquisitions, Inc (Portfolio Company)
Former President of Unarco (Berkshire Hathaway Company)
Former GM of ITW Weigh-Wrap (Illinois Tool Works Company)