Will the LP Be Destroyed by Victories?

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The thesis of this reflection is simple: if the Republicans move to the right on economic issues, trying to attract fiscal-Right voters, and stay with the Right on guns, while the Democrats move to their social left by supporting legalization of recreational cannabis, sex workers, and gambling, then every Libertarian Party issue will be championed by either Democrats or Republicans who will have a better chance of winning elections. At that point, the LP will have no reason to exist.

The GOP recently passed tax cuts, and the current White House is aggressively deregulating. The LP can do little that the GOP is not already doing. The GOP is also extremely strong on gun rights and opposition to gun control, and, like the Democrats’, its foreign policy is veering toward military disengagement abroad.

The LP has won by forcing the two major parties to embrace libertarian issues in a way that would have been untenable and even unthinkable in previous generations.

Meanwhile, state and local Democratic parties are increasingly willing to reform criminal laws to legalize recreational cannabis. Right now it is also a vanguard or vogue position among far-left Democrats to support legalizing prostitution (a position that has long been championed by gay rights groups on the far left). There are whispers in New York that the Democrats in the state legislature intend to legalize both recreational cannabis and sex workers, a path that other state Democratic Parties are also treading.

The LP has won by forcing the two major parties to embrace libertarian issues in a way that would have been untenable and even unthinkable in previous generations. But take away weed, whores, guns, and tax cuts, and what is left for the LP to talk about? Nothing. There may be nothing more for the LP to do. But do not worry. I have a solution to this problem.

The one thing liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans cannot do is create a social space uniquely for libertarians. The Libertarian Party should essentially reimagine itself as a social club for liberty where running candidates is a hobby but the real purpose is building a community. The LP can organize meetings, sponsor online events, build forums for communication, assist the authorship and distribution of ideological content, and fund academic scholarships. The LP will probably never win elections even if it tries, so it has nothing to lose by moving in this direction.

But take away weed, whores, guns, and tax cuts, and what is left for the LP to talk about?

An organized movement built from LP grassroots community activism could then trickle down into the mass of mainstream voters, keeping the GOP on the far Right and forcing Democrats to defend the social Left. Other than providing services uniquely to libertarians, there may be nothing the LP can do that Republicans or Democrats could not do better in today's political climate.




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Comments

Johnimo

We Libertarians prevented either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump from getting 50% of the votes in the last Presidential election. That's a REAL good reason to have candidates and to support them. The whole point is to have an integrated philosophy of freedom, not divided and piecemeal as you suggest above.

V O T E libertarian !

paul thiel

The number one threat to the U S economy, and at least at the federal level our national security, is government debt. The problem is not taxes, it is government spending. And neither Republicans nor Democrats are proposing anything that looks like significant reductions in government spending. Until they do, this is THE issue for the Libertarian Party and the reason for its continued existence. Regardless of how many Libertarians candidates are elected and how high their offices are, as long as Libertarians consistently denounce government deficits and the reckless spending that causes them, when deficits finally crush the economy, Libertarians will be those who know and have the answers to America's woes.

Thomas Knapp

... is borders/immigration.

The GOP was reasonably libertarian on that one as late as the 1980 election (in which both Reagan and Bush sought the GOP nomination on the libertarian position, "open borders," in those words), but it's spent the last two decades trying to out-Democrat the Democrats on anti-immigrationism -- finally succeeding by resorting to nominating a Democrat for president in 2016.

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