The 2016 Presidential election brought about high interest in the Libertarian movement with Trump and Clinton having such high negative numbers. Many people came to the party in hopes of finding a candidate they could get behind. There were enough people across this country that couldn’t understand the idea of having Trump or Clinton as President.
Rand Paul was going to build from his father’s following, take the movement mainstream, and win the Republican presidential nomination. He would realign the party establishment around anti-interventionist, fiscally conservative, and (some) socially liberal policies. That didn’t work.
Then the Libertarian Party was going to capitalize on the historic unpopularity of Hillary Clinton and, especially, Donald Trump. Their nominees would run up the middle — if not to the White House, then certainly to official minor party status and the possibility of federal matching funds for future candidates. But their nominees were Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, and that didn’t work, either.
So now libertarians are, at best, back to where they were four years ago. Paul is talking about recapturing the magic of his 2013 filibuster. Johnson and Weld are just a phone call away (not that either should be waiting by the phone this time). President Trump turned out to be more of a foreign policy hawk than he let on, and he is pushing a law-and-order agenda that conflicts with the open-border, pro-criminal justice reform principles of libertarianism. Is his presidency an opportunity, or is it the snuffing out of an opportunity
Something needs to happen in order to get the Libertarian movement back on track. There is a constant debate among American Libertarians on where that fight should happen. Should it be the Libertarian Party or should it be a take over of the Republican Party. Both of these options have been tried and both have failed. So what next?
There are rays of hope out there among candidates seeking positions, but who has the power to capture the hearts of all Americans?
To me there are two options. Rand Paul and Austin Petersen.
Both Republican, one an office holder and one seeking a position. If Austin Petersen were to win his U.S. Senate seat in Missouri and join forces with Rand Paul in the United States Senate, there would be an unstoppable Libertarian wall that would challenge the President and bring light to the idea of living free. Petersen has a fight on his hands in Missouri, but nothing is impossible.
Libertarians need something. Since Trump has taken office the love affair with Liberty has taken a back seat to the ugly rhetoric of Trump and the authoritarian governing that he has partaken in. We need that last hope of light!