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The Right Resistance: Libertarians need to get over their grudges – and boos – to back Trump

Donald Trump made a name for himself as a politician by bucking timid Republican non-traditions and cowardice by going directly at Democrat constituencies to poach a few votes on the margins to increase his own coalition and improve his chances at winning the

national election. He did it in 2016 and 2020, and he’s doing it now in communities with majorities of African-Americans and Hispanics such as speaking in The Bronx, New York a couple weeks ago.


“What have you got to lose (by supporting me)?” is a refrain Trump commonly employs to these groups.


Trump recently took his “join me” philosophy to the Libertarian Party’s convention, entering unfriendly territory to recruit possible fence-sitters for his MAGA 2.0 effort. Did it work? Sounds and sights provided clues.


In an article titled “Trump meets resistance in attempts woo Libertarians during speech at D.C. nominating convention”, Alex Miller reported at The Washington Times last week:


“Mr. Trump became the first former or current president to attend the Libertarian Party National Convention in its history, and used his stage time in a cramped ballroom at the Washington Hilton to urge attendees and delegates to nominate him, or at least vote for him, in his quest to retake the White House from President Biden...


“The former president could not resist firing back at the hostile crowd, however, poking fun at the Libertarian Party’s consistently low voter turnout numbers during presidential election years and questioning whether they wanted to win the White House. ‘You can keep going the way you have for the last long decades and get your 3%, then meet again get another 3%,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘No, you want to make yourself winners. It’s time to be winners. You have a lot of common sense, it’s time to be winners.’


“Mr. Trump’s rocky interaction with the crowd was foreshadowed by his surrogates speaking ahead of him who tried to win attendees over to support the former president. Vivek Ramaswamy, who previously ran against Mr. Trump for the GOP presidential nomination, was met with cheers of ‘f—- Trump’ on Friday. Sen. Mike Lee, who spoke just before the former president, was met with cheers when he touched on hallmarks of libertarianism, like ending the Federal Reserve, but when Mr. Trump’s name was mentioned, the room echoed with boos.”


Boohoo, libertarians. As I often retort to those who vehemently disagree with a point I made, what did I say that wasn’t true? In this sense, what did Trump say that wasn’t true, libertarians?


Libertarians made disagree on some policies, which is understandable, but at least Trump gave them not only the time of day – he asked to work with them. They would gain a seat at the table in a Trump 2.0 administration. If the Democrats win, they’ll be out in the street holding signs – or in jail. Which is preferable?


The fact is, many libertarians and their beliefs are little different than your standard, ordinary, garden variety leftist. Having known a decent number of self-described libertarians over the years, their views basically run the gamut from conservative to – or what many conservatives would call leftist activist.


Conservatives sometimes make the mistake of assuming all libertarians are like Ron Paul – a man who ran for president as both a Libertarian Party nominee and a Republican candidate. Paul, as many Republicans know, was often referred to as “Dr. No” because of his unbendable stance on voting “No” on legislation and amendments in the House if they violated his sense of constitutional muster. Ron would vote against basic resolutions that were almost unanimous – meaning all Democrats and Republicans agreed – because he deemed them in violation of the governing charter.


Paul gained the favor of many young-ish voters in 2008 and especially 2012 because he fit their anti-government positions. Paul was solidly against military adventurism, which endeared him to the anti-war crowd as well. He was opposite the Bush Republicans on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When asked about relations with rogue nations such as Iran, he advocated for trading with them and negotiations rather than bombs, a position that wasn’t very popular in 2008 with most Republicans as U.S. troops were still in Saddam Hussein’s former fiefdom.


Paul wasn’t against the military – far from it. But he wanted to bring the troops home to patrol the southern border and maintain the territorial integrity of the United States rather than stationing them overseas to fight someone else’s wars that had very little connection to the interests of ordinary Americans.


In other words, Paul’s views, at least on that subject, were similar to Donald Trump’s, who purposely picked a battle with Jeb Bush in the 2016 campaign over the latter’s aggressive foreign policy beliefs made unpopular by brother George W. Bush, G.W.’s vice president Dick Cheney and the first Bush president, George H.W. Bush.


So, there are a number of similarities between conservatives and libertarians. Ronald Reagan famously said in a 1975 interview, “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”


Sounds great, doesn’t it? If only it were that simple, Trump would’ve had a much easier time of it at the Libertarian Party convention last month.


But many of today’s libertarians don’t believe in much government oversight of anything – the southern border, regulation of drugs, laws against abortion, zoning, speeding, basic law enforcement, definition of marriage you name it. Does this mean they’re for a state of anarchy? You be the judge.


I’ve heard of libertarians who would do anything to avoid paying taxes, which included growing their own food (so as to avoid sales taxes) and squatting on “free” public land and erecting their own shelters (not to be confused with homeless-by-choice persons). Is this the heart of conservatism, as Reagan suggested? They essentially surmise that there shouldn’t be a government at all.


Many libertarians – at least the ones who hate Trump – are much closer to the Democrats’ notion of “anything goes” LGBTQIA+++ morality where the state, in this case, the United States, doesn’t have a hand in just about everything. Hard as it is to believe, many of them weren’t all that averse to supporting Bernie Sanders because the Vermont senator was for basically the entire anti-social-conservative platform.


Whereas most conservatives would concede that they had to make concessions on conscience to support Donald Trump, (some) libertarians aren’t willing to compromise on anything. You may recall that former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson won his state office as a Republican but ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket (in 2012 and 2016) because one, he didn’t have a prayer of getting the nomination (Note: Johnson also ran as a Republican in 2012) and his open advocacy for pot legalization put him on the outside looking in for most GOP voters.


As has been stated many times in this column, Donald Trump is not a principled conservative in his views towards government, the social agenda and certainly not fiscal restraint. Yet conservatives can eagerly support Trump because the former president offers the best chance, by far, through his policies, to accomplish many of the movement’s most important goals.


Libertarians seem to forget this point. As Trump stated at the convention a couple weeks ago, the two sides share much in common, particularly in his views on foreign aid and military deployments. If libertarians doubt this, perhaps they should review Nikki Haley’s candidacy from this year and determine where she differed the most from Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the libertarian-style conservatives vying to compete for the GOP’s presidential nomination.


I’ve made the argument before – often, in fact – that political absolutism results in nothing but political isolation. It’s my impression that the diehard libertarians don’t care about making friends, which is a wonderful, soul-satisfying personal stance, but a certain loser when pursuing electoral office. You can have your principles, as we all do, but your principles won’t defend you when the deep state goons come to get you as sent by Democrats and senile Joe Biden.


You’d think most Never Trumpers are libertarians, but they’re more like Big Government supporting Bill Kristol/Liz Cheney type neoconservatives than they are “Live Free or Die” purists. Never Trumpers and uncompromising libertarians end up in the same place, however – political no man’s land.


So Trump was smart to make a pitch to Libertarian Party adherents to try and win their backing in this year’s elections. Trump had to have known that many, many libertarians at the convention wouldn’t back him under any circumstances – and they didn’t even tone down their “boos” to hear what he had to say.


During his speech, Trump highlighted longtime conservative/libertarian writer Deroy Murdock, a principled voice for common sense who addressed his ideological brethren imploring them to back Trump this year. Murdock’s column at The American Spectator made the case. Again… what did Murdock write that wasn’t true?


Realistically speaking, Trump made a number of mistakes during the COVID farce four years ago which alienated libertarians to the core, something that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has used as the foundation for his independent presidential run.


These errors are not likely to be repeated in Trump’s second go ‘round as president, if he reaches the Oval Office once again. In the alternative, wouldn’t senile Joe Biden only double down on the next health scare while justifying more federal tyranny in the name of “protecting” people? Libertarians need to start thinking with their heads, not maintaining grudges that no longer apply.

  • Joe Biden economy

  • inflation

  • Biden cognitive decline

  • gas prices,

  • Nancy Pelosi

  • Biden senile

  • January 6 Committee

  • Liz Cheney

  • Build Back Better

  • Joe Manchin

  • RINOs

  • Marjorie Taylor Green

  • Kevin McCarthy

  • Mitch McConnell

  • 2022 elections

  • Donald Trump

  • 2024 presidential election

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