Should Libertarians Should Vote for Trump?

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun16,2024 #finance

Trump was invited to speak at the Libertarian conference last week. He went and was booed. Should he even have gone to the conference?

Trump Booed at Libertarian Convention

The BBC reports Trump Booed at Libertarian Convention

Donald Trump was booed repeatedly during an appearance at the Libertarian Party’s national convention on Saturday as he asked members for their support.

Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, told the party’s delegates to unite with him to beat Democrat Joe Biden.

“We must work together,” he said. “Combine with us. You have to combine with us.”

The request was met with vigorous jeers from the Libertarian party members, gathered in Washington to pick their White House nominee.

Libertarians, who favour small government and individual freedom, typically lean to the right on issues like federal spending and gun rights.

But Mr Trump’s invitation to the convention divided the party, with many members decrying his Covid-19 policies while in office, as well as the national debt accrued under his watch.

Despite the icy welcome, the Republican pressed on with his half-hour speech, saying he’d come “to extend a hand of friendship” and pledging to include a Libertarian in his cabinet if elected.

‘We’re not going to vote for them’

Arielle Shack, a Libertarian voter, said she had travelled to the convention from New Jersey to show her opposition to allowing Mr Kennedy and Mr Trump to speak.

“We don’t want people that are not Libertarians here. If they don’t have our principles, we’re not going to vote for them,” Shack told the BBC’s news partner CBS.

Michael Reeves, a Libertarian delegate from Daphne, Alabama said he was “disappointed” by Mr Trump’s first term in the White House.

“I thought he had an opportunity to really make some changes in DC, and he didn’t,” Mr Reeves said. “The best we can say is that he didn’t start any new wars, and that’s a pretty low bar.”

He added that both Democrats and Republicans are moving the country towards a “more collectivist and authoritarian state”.

Trump Confronts Repeated Booing

NPR reports Trump Confronts Repeated Booing During Libertarian Convention Speech

Donald Trump was booed repeatedly while addressing the Libertarian Party National Convention on Saturday night, with many in the crowd shouting insults and decrying him for things like his COVID-19 policies, running up towering federal deficits and lying about his political record.

When he took the stage, many jeered while some supporters clad in “Make America Great” hats and T-shirts cheered and chanted “USA! USA!” It was a rare moment of Trump coming face-to-face with open detractors, which is highly unusual for someone accustomed to staging rallies in front of ever-adoring crowds.

Libertarians, who prioritize small government and individual freedoms, are often skeptical of the former president, and his invitation to address the convention has divided the party. Trump tried to make light of that by referring to the four criminal indictments against him and joking, “If I wasn’t a Libertarian before, I sure as hell am a Libertarian now.”

Despite the raucous atmosphere, Trump continued to press on with his speech, saying he’d come “to extend a hand of friendship” in common opposition to Biden. That prompted a chant of “We want Trump!” from supporters, but more cries of “End the Fed!” — a common refrain from Libertarians who oppose the Federal Reserve. One person who held up a sign reading “No wannabe dictators!” was dragged away by security.

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.

That was designed to energize Libertarian activists who believe government investigators overreached in building their case against Silk Road, and who generally oppose criminal drug policies more broadly. Ulbricht’s case was much-discussed during the Libertarian convention, and many of the hundreds in the crowd for Trump’s speech hoisted “Free Ross” signs and chanted the phrase as he spoke.

The Libertarian split over Trump was reflected by Peter Goettler, president and chief executive of the libertarian Cato Institute, who suggested in a Washington Post column that the former president’s appearance violated the gathering’s core values and that “the political party pretending to be libertarian has transitioned to a different identity.”

Q&A on the Libertarian Convention

Q: Should Trump have gone to the Libertarian convention?
A: Absolutely. He was invited. I think it was smart to go. RFK went as well.

Q: Should the Libertarians have invited Trump?
A: That was a great move. It brought the party more media coverage than they have gotten in decades.

Q: Did Trump crack a bad joke?
A: Yes. “If I wasn’t a Libertarian before, I sure as hell am a Libertarian now,” is ridiculous.

Q: Was Trump’s offer of appointing a Libertarian in his cabinet genuine?
A: Perhaps, but no one knows. Perhaps Trump doesn’t even know.

Q: Should Libertarians vote for Trump?
A: It depends. The WSJ, has a good article by a Libertarian writer on the pros and cons.

WSJ: Libertarians Should Vote for Trump

Walter E. Block says Libertarians Should Vote for Trump

Donald Trump spoke Saturday at the Libertarian National Convention. Hats off to party chairman Angela McArdle for inviting him along with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Vivek Ramaswamy and Joe Biden—who all showed up except the president, even though none are libertarians.

Some members of the party bitterly opposed the invitations. What’s the matter with them? Don’t they want the party of principle to be better publicized?

Libertarians regard the purchase, sale and use of drugs as “capitalist acts between consenting adults,” in the words of philosopher Robert Nozick (1938-2002). Additionally, Mr. Ulbricht’s sentence is unjust because it is disproportionate to his crime. Murderers have received more lenient sentences. If inviting Mr. Trump to speak to the Libertarian Party accomplishes nothing more than helping free this victimless criminal, it will have been worth it.

But I go a step further and urge Libertarians to vote for Mr. Trump. Not all Libertarians—only those in swing states. 

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.

The Libertarian Party typically attracts 1% to 3% of the electorate. But when opinion polls ask respondents if they support low taxes, free enterprise, and an end to victimless crimes, some 20% to 25% say yes. Libertarians, loosely defined in this manner, can have an effect on the coming election.

The Pragmatic Libertarian

It appears that Walter E. Block is a pragmatic Libertarian. That is how I have described myself to some close friends.

I would rather have a small step in the right direction or a step sideways than two steps in the wrong direction.

At the presidential level, I have not voted for a mainstream candidate for at least two decades. Curiously, I have been accused of being a Biden lover and and Obama lover, the former for blasting Trump on many issues and the latter simply for predicting Obama would win.

On at least four occasions, I have been accused of being extreme Right and extreme left on the same day!

I have plenty of issues with Trump. Any Libertarian would. But ask them who they would rather have.

I find Trump thoroughly distasteful on tariffs, military spending, the budget in general, Israel, mannerisms, interventions, and meddling. However, I am totally convinced Biden is heading the country for economic ruin. It’s a terrible set of picks.

Will I vote for Trump? Probably not. But it depends on his VP pick. I would have a more difficult time deciding how to vote if I was in a swing state.

What would I do in a swing state? I don’t know.

It’s easy to say you would do this or that, but when actually in the position to act, do something other than what you think you would do.

I am happy now to live in a state where I can easily vote my conscience. It’s 100% guaranteed to not be Biden.

Who Will Win the Presidential Election?

For a discussion of where things stand if the election were held today, please see Interactive Websites: Who Will Win the Presidential Election?

My base case at the moment is Trump would win the Electoral College 312 to 226 while losing the popular vote.

But the election isn’t today. There’s a decision in the Trump trial, debates, and economically speaking anything can happen.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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