Carte Blanche: The Best Method For The Libertarian Party
After all the reining applause for proposals in 2016 that would grow government, there was some sort of sympathy for Libertarian Party (LP) candidate Gary Johnson. This may have been due to the unpopularity of the major party nominations, but regardless, Johnson received more votes in the presidential election than any other Libertarian. Since its creation, the Party of Principle continues to grow in membership and ran more than 2,000 candidates in 2018, currently holding 188 seats throughout the country in local positions.
The likelihood of winning a federal election is irrelevant, as the Libertarian Party plays its role in curbing the power of the major parties. Republicans and Democrats will convince voters that a third party ticket is useless, but if this were true, they would not be concerned about it in the first place. Besides winning locals seats in many states, the Party serves as a check on power of the mainstream. Any percentage of the vote stolen by the LP indicates that Republicans and Democrats will need to adopt more libertarian positions in order to win that vote back. Any Libertarian vote is a negative reinforcement of the poor statist platforms that have been dominating America.
If this ability to make a difference is possible, then what is the best method to grow the Party? Should candidates take a more moderate stance or a hard line anti-government position? What issues should they focus on? Given that Libertarians have the ability to win certain local elections, should they ignore presidential elections and divert resources to the grassroots? Something to consider is that the most successful libertarian campaign has been Ron Paul. He converted more people ideologically than any of the beltway candidates such as Gary Johnson or Bill Weld. This was not done by being careful, but by going for the throat on controversial issues like war and central banking, injecting new ideas into the national discussion. “End the Fed” was not even a slogan until Ron Paul made it so.
It should also be considered that voters do not cast their vote after reading each political philosophy in depth and consider their merits. They vote based on the candidate’s immediate policy proposals and rhetoric. Therefore, the path to continue growth is clear. Whether the LP is running for local or federal elections, the best candidates should take robust libertarian positions on limited key issues. These should be the most impactful issues that are ignored by both Republicans and Democrats. On these issues, Libertarian candidates should make their opinions distinct from the mainstream, speak with conviction, and never concede anything.
The first key position a Libertarian should run with is an isolationist foreign policy. As Tom Woods has said, it is a disgrace that “anti-war” is not synonymous with the Libertarian Party. This might be the most important position that is generally supported by average voters and entirely ignored by both major parties. The “Rudy Guliani moment” became the most memorable exchange of Ron Paul’s campaign where he exposed the illogical terror wars during the 2008 GOP debate. This exchange was echoed in the recent Democratic debate when Tulsi Gabbard annihilated some nobody called Tim Ryan on the topic of the war in Afghanistan. The American Empire is probably the worst contortion of liberty and Constitutional intent. Permanent war is an extremely potent and addictive drug of big government, and cannot coexist with limited government. However, beyond being an impactful issue, the anti-war position has the ability to attract progressives that realize the Democrats have no intention of ending the terror wars and conservatives that realize that intervention abroad and liberty at home is a fraudulent goal.
The second pillar on which a Libertarian should run is an opposition to the Federal Reserve. There is a certain wing of the LP that wants to adopt a stance accepting of the central bank, either because they believe it is a losing issue with the people, or more likely because they are too lazy to become informed in depth on the subject. The existence of the Ron Paul liberty movement explodes the claim that voters cannot be receptive to Fed opposition. The Libertarian Party should have no room for candidates that do not stand up to the most powerful central planning monarchy ruling over our economy. Not only is this institution powerful, but it is the lifeblood of crony capitalism, unlimited government spending, and war. If LP candidates consistently spread education and rhetoric against the Federal Reserve, it will have attractive elements to both the right and left. Left-leaning voters can realize that the Fed was created by, and is run by, the largest private banks serving as a government-sponsored cartel. Right-leaning voters can develop the realization that the Fed is an anti-capitalist tool using inflation as a means to hide a tax on the poor and middle class.
Third, an effective candidate should never back down from support of a balanced budget. This issue is another that is logically deduced from the previous two positions and is subsequently ignored by Democrats and Republicans. If the face of the Libertarian Party never concedes the point, most voters will probably agree that $22 trillion in government debt is unsustainable and it can only be balanced with spending cuts rather than confiscatory taxation. Furthermore, only an agenda that cuts both military and domestic spending has any chance of balancing the budget. Libertarians should uphold fiscal sustainability and never back down from facts over feelings.
Finally, Libertarian candidates accept decentralization as a broad solution for all government power. The Party has an internal conflict with those who believe libertarianism will work by gaining control of the federal government and imposing it successfully on 320 million people. This view is no less naive than statism. States rights have been the most effective protection of individual liberty and opposition to central power in history. Besides logically following an end to infinite war, central banking, and unlimited deficit spending, decentralization is a concept that is supportive of diverse cultures and worldviews, giving it the ability to attract any voting group. In public opinion when unstoppable growths of government are rising, Libertarians should remain consistent by supporting decentralization to the states as a realistic alternative.
If a Libertarian candidate sticks to these four issues with powerful rhetoric and integrity, they are sure to capture dissatisfied voters and stand out from mainstream politicians. To counter this plan, there is clearly a characterization of candidates that should not run on the Libertarian ticket. These are the candidates that ignore the four issues described and focus the perception of the LP on milquetoast points of view on simple social problems. They have little knowledge of free-market economics or libertarian political philosophy. They never talk about war and believe the Federal Reserve plays an important role in “stabilizing prices.” Their presentation of the LP leads us to believe that their philosophy is based on gun control and marijuana. Candidates like this make no difference to American politics.