The gop and the libertarians
The Republican Party is at a fork in the road. Once the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Reagan they have taken a turn in a totally different direction. The way that Donald Trump has shaped the GOP will have a lasting impact for years to come. There are two groups battling each other as Trump faces another impeachment trial.
One big sect of the GOP are the Libertarian Republicans that have fought for years to bring a sense of reason and Liberty to a party that was built on the ideals of freedom for all. The libertarian rejection of Trump is not about one man. It is about the direction of American conservatism itself. Republicans may permanently lose the libertarian voting bloc if they fail to learn their lesson.
Daniel J. Smith and Alexander William Salter write in the Dallas Morning News:
The libertarian problem is much bigger than Republicans realize. The official libertarian vote exceeded Biden’s margin of victory in several key states. Furthermore, public opinion data shows that libertarians represent between 10% and 20% of the voting population, according to Cato Institute analysis. By demonizing libertarians, Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot.
Libertarians, a cantankerous and individualist bunch, do not share a coordinated electoral strategy. Rather, their political tactics have been a mixed bag of not voting, voting for the capital-L Libertarian Party with practically zero chance of success, or voting Republican. In the 2020 election, many libertarians declined to vote for Donald Trump. But some libertarians did something unprecedented: They voted Democratic.
So why do Libertarians have such disdain for Trump? Why can’t they see past the policies that he tried to implement during his time as President.
Libertarians tended to reject Trump’s open disregard for the Constitution, on full display as the ex-president desperately attempted to cling onto power. In truth, there were always worrying signs about Trump, even before his exaggeration of the crowd size at his inauguration and his repeated suggestions that he would not accept the results of the election. Despite their revulsion toward Biden’s economic policies, many libertarians saw the preservation of our constitutional republic, and the peaceful transfer of power, as far more important.
It is apparent that the Republican Party is splitting. They are battling the MAGA force that has grown over the past four years and fighting to keep themselves relevant with ordinary voters. For years the GOP has pushed aside the Libertarian wing and has caused many of them to flee to placed like the Libertarian Party. The rejection of Ron Paul and his supporters for two election cycles brought about MAGA and the rise of the old south.
And as Daniel J. Smith and Alexander William Salter said,
Furthermore, Trump snubbed core tenets of the Republican platform, which in past elections gave some libertarians enough justification to vote for GOP candidates. Trump, who oversaw a 40% increase in the national debt, was certainly no proponent of limited government. He also rejected free trade and open immigration. To many libertarians, this is unacceptable.
If the Republican party does not explicitly reject Trumpism and dismantle its remnants, they risk permanently losing the support of libertarians. In fact, if Democrats are savvy enough, they could actively court the libertarian vote. While often misconstrued as “far-right,” libertarians are better understood as procedural moderates with a strong appreciation for both personal and economic freedom.
So, the biggest questions is where do the Libertarians go that have been rejected by the GOP? Do they join the Libertarian Party, or hold out hopes that they will have a place in the new GOP?