At the close of this election cycle, it is evident that the Liberty Movement is still finding its way.
When prominent libertarian icon Ron Paul failed to clinch the 2012 Republican nomination, many supporters weren’t sure where to throw their support for the general election. Some held their noses and voted for Romney. Others obstinately wrote-in Dr. Paul. A significant amount of them backed the Libertarian Party’s nominee, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.
Those who came to embrace Johnson had one goal in mind for this election: to secure 5% of the vote, and thus break the duopoly long enjoyed by Democrats and Republicans.
Capturing this much of the electorate would have fractured our current system by granting third party candidates equal access to federal funding and ballots for the next election cycle. And, it would have possibly put the Libertarian party on the trajectory toward polling at 15%, which would have allowed future Libertarian candidates to appear in the presidential debates.
Sadly, Johnson only claimed 1% of the vote. Furthermore, Ron Paul will not be attempting to win over the Republican Party again, as he is vacating his House seat this January.
Given this turnover in leadership, and the apparent futility of penetrating the two party system, does the Liberty Movement still have traction in modern politics?
Yes, it does. And not only does it have traction, it is actually gaining momentum.
The untold story in this election is the quiet infiltration of a small, new liberty caucus in Congress. These newly elected officials, all Republican and all backed by Young Americans for Liberty PAC, are just the beginning of what could possibly turn into a stealthy libertarian takeover of the Republican Party – and the federal government.
This electoral success illuminates the path for libertarians going forward. The most pragmatic route for libertarians is not found in abandoning the two party system or setting their sights on the highest office in the country. The best course of action is to slowly take over the most receptive party available – the Republican Party – from the bottom up and use it to steadily take over all levels of government.
Yes, doing so will undoubtedly be difficult. I experienced the difficulties firsthand when I served as a Ron Paul delegate at the Louisiana State Convention, where many of us were blocked out of proceedings and even assaulted and arrested. But it is important to note that in spite of these difficulties, or perhaps even because of them, we have gained ground.
It is very true that the country will unlikely be receptive to a libertarian Republican nominee for president in 2016, but the political climate will be ripe for a wave of libertarians in the 2014 midterm elections.
Indeed – as Tuesday’s election results showed – it already is.