Last weekend the Good Morning Liberty crew went to Memphis for the 2019 Young Americans for Liberty(YAL) conference. What we saw there was amazing. YAL has done something few have been able to do inside the liberty movement- win elections. They're doing this not by throwing billions of dollars at their candidates, but by organizing an army of young liberty activists. YAL has almost 500 chapters at college campuses around the United States. Their goal is to help elect 250 liberty-minded candidates to state and local offices by 2022.
They're lead by Cliff Maloney, a former National Youth Director for Rand Paul's presidential campaign, who's now YAL's President & CEO. We had Cliff on the podcast today to talk about their strategy to 'Make Liberty Win." It truly is hopeful to see someone taking Liberty from something we all talk about, to implementing an actual strategy to change the political landscape of our country. We strongly urge our readers to check out the different ways you can help this organization.
Here's a short transcript from the podcast.
We have Cliff Maloney, the president of Young Americans for Liberty. So cliff, thanks so much for joining us today on good morning liberty. I wanted to start off with your background and who you are, where you come from, and how you became involved with the Young Americans for Liberty.
I appreciate it, Charlie. I love what you guys are doing and I want to thank you for having me on today. Talking about myself- always a fun question to lead off.
So I was in college back in 2010, and I saw a Ron Paul Youtube video that kind of changed my life. It was the moment of him arguing with Giuliani and kind of lecturing Rudy about blow back. And what you're doing when you're actually talking about nation building and policing the world and what happens when you bomb other countries. And it was really a big moment, you know, kind of the Anti-War, conservative, and I would argue the liberty crowd was kind of birthed out of that. So I saw this video, now listen, it's just 2010 when I saw it, but it happened back in like, ‘07, ‘08. I kind of had this moment where I would watch all these videos, and I started to read books and I just couldn't figure out why other people weren't understanding this idea of a limited constitutional government and allowing people to flourish as individuals. So that was my start. Ron Paul was running for president. So in 2011 I actually applied to intern for his congressional office. For some reason they picked me. They said I was one of the most normal libertarians they'd ever seen-
Okay. So that’s not a super high bar..
Right! So, they hire me. I did that in the summer of 2011, and then got involved with Young Americans for Liberty, meeting all of these people in the campaign, and they were like, hey, you need to have a YAL chapter. So I started YAL chapter and, the rest is history. I actually went to school to teach math. I was a middle school math teacher- that was supposed to be the plan. Jeff Frazee, my predecessor talked me into, let's say, avoiding a free master's degree and coming to fight for liberty full time. It was supposed to be a temporary plan and it was all working out. 2014 I worked for YAL for a year as a regional director running Maryland, and up through Maine. Then in 2015, Rand Paul asked me to be his national youth director.
So I did that for the year, and then Rand dropped out. We had a lot of success with our youth efforts, but the campaign as a whole, when it ended, I had to decide, do I go back to teaching or do I kind of double down and figure out how we can advance these ideas? I was offered the role taking over as CEO and President of Young Americans for Liberty, and it's been a crazy three years. I'd love to dive in with you guys, and where we are now. But, that's my path to getting into the point of heading up YAL.
How many chapters do you guys have right now around college campuses?
We're hovering around 500. There was a time where we really focused on chapters rather than members. We had a significantly more, let's say in-depth chapter network. One of the things we're focused on, as you know, is “Operation Win at the door.” What we're trying to do is get to a point where, I mean door knockers are really our new metric of success. You know, because you look at how many people we bring to the ideas, but the trick is not well door knocking is more important than creating liberty lovers. No, the trick is creating effective liberty advocates. Creating people that are going to take the time, is really where our mission takes us. Look, for 10 years we exist as an organization that was trying to recruit and develop strong liberty advocates across the country.
But what we did in 2018 is we took a look around and we said, hey, this is fantastic. We need to continue to do this, but is there more that we can do? Is there a way to have more of a direct impact on the political process, which impacts all of us? That is why we launched operation went out the door. And for your viewers and listeners who are not familiar, you know, the idea here is we have a youth army of students. We're not going pay for digital or mail or TV or radio ads. We wanted to do what we have an advantage In doing, which is taking our people out into the streets and talking to voters.
So we did kind of a pilot program at 2018 of this operation went out the door and the idea was to do door knocking deployments for liberty candidates at the state level. Our goal was to elect 250 of these folks by the end of 2022, and we think that'll bring about some real change. I'll just share with you quickly that in our pilot year, we were able to win 37 races across the country, getting liberty legislators elected. We actually just had a victory in a special election. So we're up to 38 wins, and we're trudging along. We think we really have a plan here that is measurable and is scalable. And I would argue it's the future of liberty movement.
That's only the first three minutes of the 35 minute interview. Listen to the rest on our podcast!