Gay D.C. Libertarian Party leader resigns as nat’l chair

ABOVE: Joe Bishop-Henchman, photo via Twitter.

Gay D.C. Libertarian Party leader Joe Bishop-Henchman, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the D.C. Council in 2020, resigned in June as chair of the Libertarian National Committee in what observers are calling a bitter intra-party dispute that could shatter the nation’s third largest political party.

In a little-noticed development outside Libertarian Party circles, Bishop-Henchman, who had been serving as chair of the D.C. Libertarian Party since June 2018, won election last year as chair of the Libertarian National Committee, which is the governing body of the national Libertarian Party.

He announced his resignation from the national party chair position in a June 18 open letter in which he denounced national party leaders for failing to oppose a growing faction within the party centered in New Hampshire that he said has adopted a “toxic culture” that was destroying the party.

“The lies and threats leveled against myself and many good Libertarians and friends – less about my actions with regard to New Hampshire, and threats against any Libertarian who tries to defend the Party – have made clear to me that we are now firmly set down a path I cannot continue to support,” he states in his letter.

“At its root, the biggest problem I see in the Libertarian Party, at nearly all levels, is that toxic people are tolerated,” he wrote. “One or two rotten apples spoil the bunch. Toxic people exhaust or drive out good people,” he continued. “Our mechanisms for removing such individuals and addressing such bad behavior are designed to be effectively impossible.”

Bishop-Henchman didn’t specifically say in his letter who he was referring to and what it was those he was criticizing were doing. But a June 23 article in the online libertarian publication Reason, which is not affiliated with the Libertarian Party, says Bishop-Henchman appears to be referring to leaders of a party faction known as the Mises caucus, which reportedly is attempting to gain control of the national Libertarian Party after taking control of several state parties, including New Hampshire.

The article says some in the Mises faction have taken what mainline libertarians consider extremist positions, including comparing restrictions imposed by cities and states in response to the COVID-19 pandemic such as mandates for the wearing masks or shutting down indoor business operations and vaccination requirements as Nazi-like tactics comparable to concentration camps in Hitler’s Germany.

One of the statements made on Twitter by a leader of the New Hampshire Mises faction, according to the Reason article, says, “John McCain’s brain tumor saved more lives than Anthony Fauci.” Another Twitter posting by a supporter of the Mises faction, the Reason article says, reportedly stated that the party should be concerned more about lowering taxes than the murder of transgender women and that child labor should no longer be outlawed in the U.S.

Several other national party leaders followed Bishop-Henchman in resigning from their positions over what they said were irreconcilable disagreements with the Mises faction followers and leaders.

A spokesperson for the Libertarian National Committee couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on Bishop-Henchman’s criticism of the party.

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