A lot of individuals on social media have been trying to make a libertarian case for Donald Trump. The worst part of it is that several self-proclaimed libertarians are getting into the pro-Trump movement, and trying to bring us back into the lesser evils argument.
So here are my top ten reasons why no libertarian should support Donald Trump as President of the United States:
- Donald Trump has called for war crimes in public. In an interview on Fox & Friends, Candidate Trump had the following words on how to handle the problem with ISIS in the Middle East. “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.” As libertarians, we do not believe in killing innocent people, and we do not condone murdering people based on the crimes or atrocities that may have been committed by a family member.
- Mr. Trump favors eminent domain. While some argument might be made in defense of eminent domain when discussing something like roads, Mr. Trump has used the force of government to utilize eminent domain for personal profit in his own business ventures. Private property is one of the things that is considered a cornerstone of the American brand of libertarian philosophy. And even in the more left leaning circles of libertarian thought, land is held in the commons and not something that can just be taken for personal gain.
- The presidential candidate wants to shut down travel from Islamic nations, and build a wall preventing travel across the Southern border. Libertarians believe that part of a free society includes the ability to freely travel. While some will disagree citing national security, what they fail to realize is that we wouldn’t be in half of the mess we are currently in if not for an interventionist foreign policy. We must also remember that if we trade liberty for security, eventually we will eventually have neither.
- Until Mr. Trump suddenly decided to become a Republican, he has been donating to politicians that have been implementing economic policies that have wrought havoc on cities, states, and the nation. This includes one of his opponents, Hillary Clinton, who he is quoted as saying she is a close friend, and in 2008 that there was no one more qualified to be President.
- It wasn’t until a few months ago that Donald Trump changed his tune on health care. While we can certainly agree that a person can change positions in what they believe, normally you can find a pivot point. However, with Mr. Trump running with the wind, there is never a demonstrated pivot, only him stating the popular opinion of the time. So this would indicate that since no pivot can be demonstrated, he still would advocate for a single payer healthcare system, which is a bane as choices become limited, lines for treatment get longer, and we continue to further our national debt.
There are far more reasons to not support Donald Trump. These are enough for any libertarian to say no to him being selected as the leader of the nation.
Saturday, April 23rd, the Libertarian Party of Utah held their annual convention to select candidates and choose delegates for the National Convention in May, where they will help select the nominee for President of the United States. This year’s turn out was possibly the largest in the state’s party history.
It began, as all conventions, with credentialing attendees who were eligible to vote on candidates and party business items. The reason to bring this up is that it took far longer than normal to finish the process, as the line literally went out the door for the majority of the morning, even though credentialing started thirty minutes prior to the scheduled start.
In spite of the long lines and a late kick off, enthusiasm ran high as candidates prepped their final thought in their heads, and old friends shook hands. New faces were present as well, with several officially joining the Libertarian Party on the spot.
Party Chairman, Andrew McCullough, kicked things off with great news on the fiscal situation in the Utah party, as well as the record growth experienced in the last year. The party has been adding record number of concerned Utahans every month, which as reported, may have even tripled the size of the party.
There were of course the candidates up for nomination, and while a little smaller than 2014’s, looks to be one of the strongest seen based on the experience of the candidates who stepped up.
*Craig Bowden – U.S. House, 1st District
*Brian Kamerath/Barry Short – Governor/Lt. Governor
*Andrew McCullough – Utah Attorney General
*Jim Dexter – Utah State Senate, District 6
*Aaron Davis – Utah State House, District 6
*Joe Buchman – Utah State Senate, District 14
*Derryck Gordon – Utah State House, District 10
*Brent Zimmerman – Utah State House, District 16
*Chelsea Travis – Utah State House, District 35
*Lee Anne Walker – Utah State House, District 46
On top of the selection of candidates for offices within Utah, the Libertarian group held a Presidential straw poll and chose delegates to head to the National Convention in May at the Rosen Centre in Orlando.
Results of the straw poll are as follows:
Gary Johnson – 33
Austin Petersen – 11
John McAfee – 10
Vermin Supreme – 4
Darryl Perry – 1
The candidates selected for the poll were based off those who had representation speak on their behalf.
This year, Utah was also able to select a full delegation of 8, with all 8 alternates chosen as well. Each person interested in becoming a delegate was able to speak for two minutes on why they should be selected.
Former mayor Willie Marshall addressed the crowd on how to get elected as a Libertarian using his three rules of “Suit up, show up, and play the game.” It was amazing to have an example of triumph from an elected libertarian in Utah.
Utah Libertarians lastly selected their six electors in the event the Libertarian nominee wins the majority of votes in November.
One of the final entries I will be making in the series of candidate analysis for those running for the nomination for President within the Libertarian Party will be John McAfee.
Mr. McAfee is probably the most widely known of those who stepped up to run in 2016 within the Libertarian Party. A household name for anyone who ever bought anti-virus software, this alone gives him an advantage among the general electorate. Name recognition is a huge thing, especially when you are a third party with hurdles in getting media attention.
John is also very well articulated on libertarian philosophy. He doesn’t seem to have to think before giving a response to a question, and he’s able to communicate in terms palatable to most people. His speaking ability also sounds genuine, and when he delivers, even if previously rehearsed, sounds like it came off the cuff.
Out of the candidates who have garnered somewhat more considerable media attention, he has also remained the most consistently libertarian in his answers. This is important because as libertarians, we want the message to stay on course and not watered down.
Mr. McAfee is also no stranger to leading, as his reported net worth before Intel bought his company, was around $100 million. This shows direction to the future, the ability to have others willingly follow, and demonstrates outstanding organizational structure.
He also has a better command of possible cyber threats that are a very real chance in today’s technology driven world. He is far and above the best candidate having knowledge in this regard, and something that needs to be considered.
In spite of these strengths, there are a few things I have observed that do need to be addressed about John McAfee.
The first one that is the most obvious is there have been suspicions present he is only using our party for ballot access. Before he declared as a Libertarian candidate, he was a Presidential candidate for the Cyber Party. While this alone is certainly not a disqualifier, as many of us came from elsewhere before going libertarian, it does tie in with two other concerns I have.
The fist tied in concern is that he has publicly stated if Gary Johnson were to be nominated, he would cease supporting the party. What he fails to realize in this is that delegates are human and measure their own criteria in selecting candidates. We don’t always get things right (Root & Barr spring immediately to mind). We survived them, and we’ll survive again so long as we continue to hold onto principle. And by abandoning altogether, he also removes support from candidates in other races who are beyond libertarian in application.
You don’t have to support a candidate you don’t believe in, but I would still continue to fight for other candidates at all levels of office.
The second tie in to my concerns are the massive public works programs he advocated for while in the Cyber Party. I personally believe he has realized that we wouldn’t support such programs as libertarians. He denies knowledge of these program suggestions, but they were on his website for a couple months before he made the switch to the Libertarian Party.
The final concerns I have about Mr. McAfee is his time in Belize. He has denied allegations, but the media will have a hay day with his past if he gains any decent rise in polling to be considered a threat to the duopoly. Even if the allegations are false, and even though we as libertarians don’t care if a person chooses to consume illicit substances or have multiple companions, the general electorate may not be so accepting or tolerant as Bill O’Reilly or George Stephanopoulos rip him apart at the behest of their party leaders.
So, my two cents on McAfee are simply to tread carefully. It might go really well or might tear us apart. You are the judge with your vote.
To learn more go to http://www.McAfee2016.com
Next up on the list is the former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson. It goes without saying that Gary has probably the best resume on paper in the Libertarian field. He grew a business from one man “handy man,” to the largest construction company in New Mexico. He was elected twice as Governor of the state. And recently, Gary was the CEO of a marijuana edibles company.
Gary also started Our America Initiative to challenge the debate commission on presidential debates excluding 3rd party candidates, especially considering the Libertarian Party has a definite electoral chance, if given the same coverage.
As the Libertarian Party nominee in 2012, he also shattered the ceiling with total votes. Rising up over 1 million in the general election.
No one can argue that the background is impressive, if not daunting to overcome if you’re also vying for the nod from delegates in May. However, his background alone isn’t what delegates look at. We measure platforms, strategy, strengths, and weaknesses in who we select.
So aside from his strong resume, let’s have a chat about Governor Johnson.
One strong suite for him has been his approachability. He is very relaxed, easy to talk to, and understood well by many people. He comes across as an average guy and not a high and mighty elitist.
Gary is also able to offer substance in his ideas proposed. If you ask him on his position, whether you agree with his position or not, he is able to give specifics on the how and why he would do something. This is critical for any candidate.
Gov. Johnson has also garnered far more media attention than all other candidates combined. This includes prime time slots on mainstream sources like Fox, MSNBC, & CNN. However he also talks to the independent blogger, which adds to the credibility of being approachable.
While all of this is good, there are concerns about his campaign and his positions that need to be addressed.
First, in debates he tends to have a hard time articulating in a specific timeframe. Give him enough time and he’s sharp as a tack, but when under the pressure of time limits, he stumbles a lot. Especially if you happen to trigger him and get under his skin.
He has also recently had some issues of advocating positions contrary to libertarian philosophy. While he is attempting to be more pragmatic in his approach, one particular stance he took on the Stossel Program debate on April 1st hit many libertarians hard. The stance was on forcing interactions between businesses and consumers. Free association is a huge deal for libertarians, and his “contention” was that a business should provide service against their beliefs.
Another common critique you’ll find is that he lacks energy. In a one on one, you can see the passion, but in some appearances, he can best be described as flaccid. If he wants to electrify the electorate in America. He needs to step up and make people believe him. He could take a lesson from Austin Petersen in this regard.
Lasly, he seems overly obsessed with issues like ISIS and Sharia Law. This tends to fall in line with the fear mongering we experience from the Republican Party. It’s common sense that in a place standing with liberty as supreme, there would be no chance for Sharia to be forced on the American people.
Overall, he is a decent choice for nomination, but he needs to step up his A-game and also spend more time studying free association. I’ve heard from many that the comments made on Stossel were a deal breaker. So I rate him as pragmatic in approach, but not necessarily going to win over radical delegates. So with a Johnson vote it is pragmatism versus pure message. That’s what has to be decided if you’re a delegate.
You can read more about Gary at http://www.GaryJohnson2016.com
I am going to put this out front immediately on this article that I have not liked, nor do I support, Austin Petersen. That being said, I am going to be leaving the bias behind and evaluate him on his campaign. The debate between those who support the NAP and those who don’t is left at the door. I will abide by the Dallas Accord with this posting and let it rest for another day.
Austin Petersen hails from the State of Missouri. As he states, he’s a simple farm boy who began his journey in life in the town of Peculiar.
He certainly brings one thing that other candidates need in any campaign: enthusiasm. Whether or not you support him, he does bring a high level of energy. That is a good quality for any campaign, from city council to President of the United States. It’s hard to get behind someone who lacks any passion.
While I disagree with his earlier approach of changing the Republican Party from within, all the way through the summer of 2015, for the most part he seems to have advocated for smaller government and decentralization. This lends to some credibility since many of us were once in the same boat, myself included. Even Gary Johnson jumped ship from Republican to Libertarian.
He is appealing in appearance, which is also something that some other candidates [at all levels] could take a page from. A tailored suit, a good haircut, and clean cut look go a long way with the American electorate. Respecting your appearance usually implies respect for the job. If you look like a slob, people will usually think you are lazy.
His command of social media is his largest competitive factor, in my opinion, and he executes in a way most people have yet to comprehend. In today’s world, it is absolutely necessary to use this tool in politics, especially in a third party. He also has a more intimate knowledge of the inner workings of traditional media sources than most, having been an associate producer on Judge Napolitano’s former show on the Fox Business Network.
The last positive point I will give Petersen is that he isn’t afraid to go after a front-runner. You have to be willing to fight, and it looks like he’s prepared to do so, as evidenced in some of the debates held leading up to the convention in May, where he’s landed some hits on Governor Johnson. Going after a Libertarian candidate like this appears to just be a warm up to what he would bring if ever to face a Trump or Clinton. The gloves definitely come off with Petersen.
For his strengths, he has also shown some weakness. First of which is personal attacks against individuals in the Libertarian Party. He lets himself get drawn into online grudge matches, and in the process, comes off looking arrogant, rude, spiteful, and unprofessional. Many other authors have taken the time to go over his insult slinging, and I don’t want this article to be redundant, so I will just leave it at this: he needs to stay off his social media outlets to get into muckraking. All it does is split the party. The party he needs to nominate him first.
This brings me to my next point about Mr. Petersen: for someone who has claimed to be a uniter and coalition builder, he can’t even bring our party together. Like it or not, anarchism is the foundational root of libertarian philosophy. While there will always be differences between the minarchists and anarchists in the Libertarian Party, we tend to come together for the greater good. Austin has seemed to be intent on burning bridges with the more radical elements, in one post even threatening to “throw them on the streets” after convention.
For years, the Dallas Accord has kept us unified in the goal of moving toward liberty. Without the more radical elements, I believe we cease being a party of principles and become irrelevant in needing to exist at all, since two parties already exist without any solid principles. We are central to keeping the party grounded in strong foundational principles.
Another downside to his campaign is that nearly everything he says is recycled from someone else. He isn’t bringing anything new to the table we haven’t already heard from thousands of politicians citing founding fathers, and using the Constitution as a fall back answer. I believe the term currently being used is pulling a Rubio.
His bumper sticker responses are great for a sound byte, but he offers no real substance to what he’s saying. It reminds me of when Lois Griffin from Family Guy runs for Mayor and keeps repeating “9/11!” or “terrorists!” It doesn’t sound genuine. He needs to try speaking from the heart, instead of getting a pre-practiced answer to try and fit its circular shape into a square shaped question.
I personally don’t care about his past experience, as only two candidates running right now either have major company CEO level or governing experience. What I do care about is the way our party goes. My analysis is that Austin is not ready for this level of office. A certain level of respect and humility is needed to serve others in public, especially this office. Could he be ready some day? Perhaps in a few years after being seasoned a bit more, and only if he ends up working to rebuild what he has burnt.
Next in our series analyzing the candidates seeking the Libertarian Party nomination is an anesthesiologist from Ohio, Dr. Marc Allan Feldman.
Dr. Feldman has described himself as someone who wasn’t really involved in the political realm for the majority of his adult life in regards to voting. His first vote cast, being for himself in the 2010 election, where he ran as a Libertarian candidate for Ohio Attorney General, garnering over 100,000 votes. He has realized the dangers posed by the two party system and sees the Libertarian Party as having the potential to do a great good., As part of his campaign has promised that his vote is not for sale, but more so, that your votes aren’t for sale either. To demonstrate this approach, he has pledged to not accept any donations over $5.00, a unique proposition for any candidate in a race, but one he believes will reach out to those who are disenfranchised with the way politicians are bought by the highest bidder.
The good doctor has taken an interesting approach in seeking the nomination to say the least. From his hip hop throw down in the debate in Texas, to suggesting Kanye West as a running mate, he has certainly brought an interesting aspect to this race. While I personally scratch my head at the way he has been running things (having run myself for Congress), I give the man props for thinking outside the box in his attempts to reach out and appeal to voters.
Marc’s platform/plans are also a little more unique, and outside of the box. Every candidate I’ve ever heard speak has promised a “balanced budget,” but Dr. Feldman’s approach has been a little bit different, including his matching tax credit plan to reduce the amount each person has to pay in taxes. I am not sure how well it would work per se, but seeing someone thinking outside the typical box is a good thing in my opinion.
I will admit that I was very skeptical, and even highly critical of him in the beginning of the campaign season, but as time has gone on, he has definitely shown some great talent to produce ideas.
A couple downsides I do see to Dr. Feldman’s campaign are that I am not sure just how realistic it can be with a maximum donation of $5. While I applaud the stance, I question the practicality. I also could not support his suggestion for Vice President. It is an entertaining notion, but when it comes to being the President, I think there needs to be a measure of seriousness involved. For one, I do not believe he will add to the discussion of spreading liberty, though I am not 100% sure of his political alignment. We need someone who isn’t going to steal a microphone in the middle of a speech to degrade someone else. We need someone who can articulate what libertarianism is and how it could benefit the American people. There are also concerns of West’s fiscal management, as he is reportedly millions in debt.
Over all, I find Dr. Feldman to be a great guy, with his heart in the right place. He certainly thinks outside of the box, which is sorely needed in politics. I also like the unique perspective a doctor might bring to the White House. He could certainly change things for the better, but I worry that he could destroy chances of being taken seriously as a Party in the future.
To find out more about Dr. Marc Allan Feldman, head over to www.votesnotforsale.com
Darryl W. Perry, native of Birmingham, Alabama, is one of the several candidates running for the Libertarian Presidential nomination for 2016. If I were to describe him in just a few words, he is part of the anarchist wing of the Libertarian Party.
He has been an activist for many years, his biography stating “most of his adult life.” He has long advocated for peace and liberty for all.
Overall, Mr. Perry is about as libertarian in philosophy as a person gets. In observation of his platform, he essentially wants to disband almost all government in its entirety, and only fund government through voluntary contributions. By every metric on his platform, he is the “smallest government” candidate available in the 2016 race. Each platform plank mentioned removes government restrictions, taxation, and forms of force and coercion currently allowed by government to enforce law.
The drawback to his platform is that it is, in my experience with the electorate, too time consuming to read through for the current climate where 30 second sound bites have been ruling the day. While it is perfectly fine to elaborate positions, I have found it always best to limit a platform to 5-7 key themes that would run continuously throughout a campaign, with a section dedicated for those wanting to expand on those key points, or delve further into other positions.
So it is a mixed bag here where the platform presented is one that is 100% in line with principle, but could lose voter interest based on size.
When it comes to media appearance, Mr. Perry is no stranger. He is a blog talk radio host, and is able to effectively communicate the libertarian positions quite eloquently. Ability to communicate is a huge plus for the Perry campaign, and out of the candidates currently running for the nomination, his speaking ability, in combination of sticking with a true message, puts him above the rest. This is an area he truly shines.
The downside of his public appearances is that in today’s world, unfortunately, appearance does mean a lot to many people. While it certainly doesn’t bother me in the least bit, as policy means far more to me than what a person looks like, the reality is that a lot of people want a leader to look good. So when the cameras come, I do feel that many voters would be turned off by his image.
Another downside is that Mr. Perry has not garnered as much higher level attention in the media. While he certainly advocates for liberty very well, he isn’t getting the kind of media attention that propels the American electorate. This is a major downfall in the campaign. He definitely needs to step up a little more in moving to get covered in higher profile stories.
Another great point of the Perry campaign is the groundbreaking and historical suggestion for who he would like as his running mate: the first Muslim to be considered by a Presidential candidate, Mr. Will Coley.
Final analysis: Spot on with policy and philosophy, but lacking a pragmatic approach that will appeal to a broader audience not quite ready to fully embrace a government as limited as he (an many of us) wish for.
To learn more about Mr. Perry visit http://darrylwperry.com/. I do definitely agree with the vast majority of his positions and believe he is the most libertarian of the candidates.
I had promised to deliver an analysis of the 2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidates before the Convention in May. I will be releasing my findings one at a time, as many developments happened between when I first stated I would begin, and today.
There have been more candidates that stepped forward, several dropped out, debates have been occurring at various locations, including a live televised debate on the Stossel program. The myriad of changes had caused a pause in what I was trying to do earlier.
The order that has been chosen to have the candidates discussed is as follows:
- Darryl Perry
- Marc Allen Feldman
- Austin Peterson
- Gary Johnson
- John McAfee
- Shawna Sterling
While there are other candidates who have stepped forward for the Libertarian nomination, these are the ones who have put forth the most effort in the nomination process, and as such, I reserved the right to only put forth candidates who were active enough by my criteria to be included.
I would also like to thank the following candidates who have dropped out of the race since I began my evaluation process. Your contributions to the Party are well appreciated and I personally thank you for your continued dedication to liberty: Steve Kerbel, Cecil Ince, and Joy Waymire.
Expect the release of each evaluation at a minimum of one per day.