Can We Stop Taking the Libertarians Seriously Now?

It really is time for us to stop treating the Libertarians as a serious party nationally.

In 2016, the Republican and Democrat nominees for President both had historically high unpopularity ratings and historically high levels of distrust.

The best the Libertarians could do was nominate Gary Johnson, a pot head former governor, who then chose one of the most liberal Republicans to ever hold office in the United States, Bill Weld, as his running mate.

What did they then do?

First, they suggested that their Supreme Court picks would look more like Justice Breyer and retired Justice Souter, two of the least libertarian and most government authoritarian members of the Supreme Court in the last three decades.

Second, they defended big government policies and rejected religious liberty premised on the first amendment. They rejected the very libertarian concept of live and let live and let the market decide things.

Third, Bill Weld in particular became an apologist for Hillary Clinton.

They seemed to be more concerned with stopping Trump than getting themselves elected. They ran a bill board campaign and some really, really terrible radio advertisements.

In a year the Libertarians had a chance to make a play for a major share of the vote, they got 3.29% of the vote. It was, to be sure, the best showing for the Libertarians in terms of votes captured since Ed Clark and David Koch ran in 1980. Johnson and Weld topped them by about 100,000 votes.

But they could have done better had the Libertarians put on a more serious race.

The same holds true at the state level. Georgia is a terrific example. Allen Buckley ran as the Libertarian alternative to Senator Johnny Isakson and Democrat Jim Barksdale. In 2004 and 2008, Buckley was the Libertarian candidate and in 2008 served as a spoiler forcing a runoff between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin. Instead of finding a new candidate, the Libertarians went back to Martin 2016 after having run him as their Lieutenant Governor choice in 2006.

The Libertarian Party claims itself as an alternative while some see it as a party wherein a protest vote can be registered against the two major parties. But it is hardly a protest when no one notices.

There is just no reason to treat the Libertarian Party seriously any more. It has been given multiple opportunities to grow up, but wants to remain in Neverland.

Bill Weld Slams The Door On Conservatives

If there was the tiniest chance principled conservatives might consider the Libertarian ticket as the adult alternative to Cheeto Jesus, Bill Weld just killed it (from an interview with Reason TV).

On the Supreme Court…

JOHNSON: Really, there are going to be no litmus test. You’re going to appoint good people, and you’re going appoint people that look at the Constitution of original intent.

WELD: Well, I don’t think you have to panic and say it has to be a way lefty or way righty. Steve Breyer has been a good justice. He was appointed by Democrats.

GILLESPIE: A Massachusetts guy, right?

WELD: A Massachusetts guy. Merrick Garland, I think, would have been a very good pick, and he’s nominated by Obama. Everyone sort of agrees on that. It’s just the two party hysteria that says, “Just as you can have far-right congressmen in the Republican Party and far-left congressmen, congresswomen in the Democratic Party, therefore the same is true for the Supreme Court.” The opposite is the case. You want people who are tranquil of mind and can analyze the issues and come to a conclusion that makes sense, rooted in the jurisprudence of our country going back hundreds of years.

On Congress…

GILLESPIE: You mentioned far-right and far-left people in Congress. Who are current members of the Senate and the House that you think you can work with? Because if you guys come in, obviously you’re not going to have a libertarian Congress.

JOHNSON: I think there is a real opportunity to, not naming names, but just–

GILLESPIE: Name names! Name names.

WELD: Rob Portman, obviously. Kelly Ayotte. Susan Collins, the best of all. Mark Kirk on the Republican side. A guy, he’s a challenger, Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. Not saying I’m endorsing him, but he’s obviously a person of substantial ability.

Yeah. This really gives Trump ammunition to claim he’s the only one who would even consider appointing conservative justices. But we can trust Trump to do only one thing.