May 30, 2024

Trump and the Libertarians

Donald Trump was booed repeatedly while addressing the Libertarian Party National Convention on Saturday night… Trump tried to win over the crowd by pledging to include a Libertarian in his Cabinet, but many in the crowd hissed in disbelief. The former president did get a big cheer when he promised to commute the life sentence of the convicted founder of the drug-selling website Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, and potentially release him on time served.” AP News

The Libertarian Party on Sunday nominated party activist Chase Oliver for president… Oliver is an activist from Atlanta who previously ran for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House from Georgia. His campaign website calls for major cuts to the federal budget with an eye toward balancing the budget, the abolition of the death penalty, and the closure of all overseas military bases and ending of military support to Israel and Ukraine.” AP News

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From the Left

The left applauds the audience’s rejection of Trump.

“To an audience proud of its principles and ever-fearful of compromise, Trump didn’t much bother to claim common ground. He offered to put a Libertarian in his Cabinet, and rather oddly promised to pardon imprisoned dark web crypto entrepreneur Ross Ulbricht. But otherwise, Trump mostly invited the crowd to try backing a winner for a change…

“[Trump will] continue to try to marginalize both [Robert F] Kennedy and Oliver while counting on hostility to the incumbent to minimize the ‘wasted’ votes they receive. Some Libertarians will grudgingly respect Trump for enduring a nasty reception at their convention while Joe Biden took a pass. But if Trump does become the 46th president, he probably won’t forget the losers who dared hoot insults at him.”

Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

“You don’t need to be a member of the Libertarian Party to understand that if Trump had been successful in his efforts to remain in power despite losing the 2020 election, our democratic republic as we know it would have ended. Elections would no longer matter if Trump or any candidate — without credible evidence and after losing all judicial appeals — could declare that he or she could remain in office simply by alleging there was widespread fraud…

“One delegate to the convention told the Times ahead of the address that Trump tries ‘to make himself sound Libertarian … but he’s the ultimate authoritarian.’… I hope people across the country read about what took place Saturday night at the Libertarian convention. Maybe, just maybe, the loud jeers and boos by those patriotic Americans directed against Trump will wake up their fellow citizens to the threat he poses if he’s elected again to lead our country.”

Dean Obeidallah, CNN

From the Right

The right applauds Trump’s efforts to win over potential voters.

The right applauds Trump’s efforts to win over potential voters.

“Trump was booed pretty lustily at the convention, showing he is more welcome in the Bronx than at a Libertarian Party gathering… While speaking to the Libertarians did not go as well as his recent blue-state rallies, it was a fun give-and-take… [But] The ultimate question is whether it helped Trump win gettable right-leaning Libertarian (and libertarian) votes

“It is of course much more important for Trump to win the Rust Belt than it is to win over [libertarian] voters, a feat he achieved in the past by sounding less small-l libertarian than other Republicans, whatever their actual dismal records on controlling government growth… Within reason, however, Trump can afford to try to grow his coalition. He is nothing if not a risk-taker.”

W. James Antle III, American Conservative

“Polls show, with a few exceptions, that Kennedy siphons more votes from Biden than Trump, and it appears that the Libertarian Party has nominated the one candidate who will likely fail to draw a significant number of votes away from the Republican candidate…

“Even Libertarian Party members dissatisfied with the nomination of a left-libertarian may weigh Trump’s concessions and social conservatism over Oliver’s undoubtedly superior understanding of economics…

“Between Kennedy’s stance on guns and his recent heel-turn on abortion and the Libertarian Party’s decision to nominate a candidate to the left of Biden on all social issues and the border, it appears that ‘Teflon Don’ has avoided a scenario in which a third-party candidate can threaten his right flank, even as the former president has tacked to the center as the general election approaches.”

Brady Leonard, Washington Examiner

Libertarian Perspectives

“Yes, politics is the art of compromise and, yes, libertarian goals can be achieved (and must be achieved) by working with people who are not libertarians. Trump, despite all his deficit-spending and tariff-hiking and wall-building, did sign the First Step Act. President Joe Biden, despite all his deficit-spending and tariff-hiking and loan-forgiving, did end the war in Afghanistan…

“Libertarians should always be ready to nudge those in power toward decisions that increase freedom—but we have no obligation to help anyone achieve power in the first place… An electoral alliance with those who wish to enlarge the state's power over individuals, corporations, and markets is not the path to greater freedom.”
Eric Boehm, Reason

“Many libertarians support the Libertarian Party precisely because they do not trust ether Biden or Trump to avoid destroying the country; in fact, some of the most anti-libertarian policies have advanced under both Republican and Democratic administrations, from runaway federal spending to government surveillance to public health tyranny…

“At a time when the former president is making inroads with all sorts of voters and delivering speeches all over the country, people who prize individual liberty booed him louder and more consistently than any other voting bloc… It's true that unlike Biden, Trump bothered to show up. But as the booing made clear, merely collecting a participant ribbon isn't remotely sufficient to earn the trust of most libertarians.”
Robby Soave, Reason

Some argue, “[I] urge Libertarians to vote for Mr. Trump…  In Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, we could make the difference. Libertarian nominee Jo Jorgensen received roughly 50,000 votes in Arizona in 2020, when Mr. Trump lost the state by about 10,000 ballots…

“If we pull the lever for Mr. Trump in these swing states, we may get a slightly more libertarian president and help free Mr. Ulbricht. If we vote Libertarian everywhere else, we make a statement and help preserve our ballot access. Some Libertarians find Mr. Trump unacceptable on grounds of principle. True, he is no libertarian, but Mr. Biden—the wokester, the socialist, the interventionist—is much further from us on the political-economic spectrum than Mr. Trump.”
Walter E. Block, Wall Street Journal

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