After Super Tuesday it seems pretty much set in stone that the Democrats will nominate Hillary Clinton and the Republicans will nominate Donald Trump for the presidency.
If that happens it will be the perfect opportunity in history for the Libertarian Party to go mainstream, to be an actual contender, to get that magic 5%, and become a major party. I’m not the only one who thinks so, many media outlets have talked about the idea of a serious third party emerging. This is because a big portion of conservatives and Republicans are absolutely not willing to support Trump, commentators and even Republican congressmen have stated they’d be willing to support a third party candidate if Trump wins.
The #NeverTrump crowd, or the anti-Trump Republicans are the perfect coalition for the Libertarian party to take advantage off, because realistically for these people the LP is the closest to their ideals of a small constitutional government. Now think about it, last election the Libertarian Party got over a million votes or 1% of the electorate. That’s the most votes in LP history, and I’m absolutely certain that many of them came from the Ron Paul movement. People who where tired of having to choose between candidates like Obama and Romney. That’s 1%, 1/5th of our desired 5%, and that boost likely came from Ron Paul supporters. Now imagine having Cruz supporters and Rubio supporters combined as the #NeverTrump coalition, as well as the Rand Paul Conservatarian crowd, just a small portion of those voters could get us the 5% or even more.
So with that considered, with such an opportunity the Libertarian Party can absolutely not afford to screw this up. They need a political candidate who can keep up with the 2 parties, someone who actually presents himself as a serious candidate. And so I will be comparing five Libertarian Party candidates: Gary Johnson, John McAfee, Austin Petersen, Darryl W Perry, and Marc Allan Feldman. Why these five you ask? Because those where the five that got onto the main debate of the latest Libertarian Party debate.
Johnson is the clear front runner of the Libertarian Party and when people think about the LP and a potential third party candidate, he is the guy that comes to mind. And it’s understandable why. Out of all the candidates he is the most recognizable as a political figured, he’s the former government of New Mexico where he held a strong successful libertarian record, he got the most Libertarian votes in the party’s history. His combination of pragmatic rhetoric to bring in independents with a principled political record to make libertarians trust him makes him a juggernaut in the party.
If there would be any criticism I had to make of him it would be that he should stop talking about his athletic history during speeches. Furthermore, his pro-choice stance is something that could turn off a lot of the anti-Trump crowd so he’d have to play on his record of not supporting public funding of abortion and his record of banning late term abortion. But overall this man is a powerful contender.
McAfee came along as a complete outsider of the party, formerly running as an independent on the “Cyber Party” ticket, he has decided to run on the Libertarian Party ticket due to the difficulty of getting ballot access with a new party. Despite not really having been part of the Libertarian movement, you can definitely see that he does understand what it means to be a libertarian and when you hear him speak you can feel the libertarian inside him. Rather than pushing people away by telling them that they’re filthy statists, he understands that everyone is libertarian in one way other another, they just don’t know it. McAfee genuinely wants people to know that, and that makes him endearing.
For me McAfee went from a protest candidate to a serious contender after the LP debate. However, the biggest shame, which is really a massive stab for his chances, is his history. His history is so controversial that it’s borderline criminal, if he actually became a serious contender there would be far too much dirt on him, for him to have a serious chance. That said, I would still support him whether he be the party’s candidate or a running mate.
Petersen is probably the biggest libertarian candidate without name recognition. Though unlike the other lesser known candidates he has gotten some significant media coverage such as Fox Business and RT, but despite this many people would not likely known who he is. Despite this he believes that he can create a grand coalition to help the Libertarian Party get that 5%.
Indeed his candidacy can basically be considered a second Rand Paul run, his focus on the constitution and his pro-life views would likely give him the strongest appeal among conservatives which would be a significant ally for the LP. And he knows this as he has stated himself that he wants to create a new fusionism between all the forms of conservatives and libertarians. Furthermore he’s well experienced with social media and knows how to build up a fan-base online.
Petersen’s biggest problem however is his immaturity and poor debate skills. He has made immature remarks, such as calling Christopher Cantwell a “chubby fuck” and claiming that he “drowns in pussy.” He is very prone to stirring libertarian infighting such as exploiting child abuse stories to shame anarcho-capitalists, as well as clearly nitpicking Gary Johnson to stir a fight in the latest LP debate, which was obviously for attention. He speaks too fast, is too arrogant and his speeches often do not make sense. Despite the fact that I would not support him as LP candidate, I would not mind him being a running mate of another candidate. He would make for a strong backbone in the social media aspects of campaigning and would garner pro-lifer voters that are on the fence.
Darryl W Perry:
If you don’t know who Perry is, I don’t blame you, neither did I. Darryl Perry is a radio host who promotes Anarcho-capitalism and Voluntaryism. He is running for the Libertarian Party for one thing, not to get the 5% or for any party ambitions, but to simply spread his ideas of liberty. Darryl Perry represents the anarchist-wing of the LP, and that’s probably his biggest downfall. Not only does he hold very radical and unelectable views but really the only base that would support him are ancaps who mostly do not even vote in the first place.
I commend Perry for his principled stance, but there’s nothing more off turning than purism in political views, it pushes away moderates and makes you look fringe. He would simply not be able to bring in independents or make people respect libertarians. He would, in all honesty, make the worst libertarian candidate.
Marc Allan Feldman:
Like with Darryl Perry, if you don’t know who this guy is I can’t blame you. Feldman is a physician who out of the minor candidates managed to get into the top 5 in the main debate. What makes Feldman most unique of the candidate is his Bernie Sanders approach of opposing big money in politics. Indeed, his campaign which is called “Votes Not For Sale” and basically only accepts five dollar donations, although you can donate more if you want to. He has said he only aims at representing those giving him small donations.
Whether this will appeal to independents, I don’t know, but this guy has a lot of problems. For one he’s kind of a goofball, as he wants Kanye West to be his running mate, despite the fact that he doesn’t get to choose his running mate, it’s decided by vote. In any case, Kanye West? Really? Second, he has almost no name recognition whatsoever. This is really important, you can’t expect the party to just carry you, it’s supposed to be the other way around. Finally, he’s a poor debater, which was especially shown when he got last place in the main debate. The best thing I can say about him is that he’s not as radical as Perry, so automatically more electable in that respect.
Those are my thoughts on the candidates, overall I think Gary Johnson is the best option for the LP to go with, building on to his already strong popularity. John McAfee and Austin Petersen would make solid running mates. Feldman and Perry however, just do not seem electable at all.