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by Benjamin Hitzig
What do Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Ron Paul have in common? Well at first glance not much, as ideologically the three don’t share that much common ground. Bernie Sanders believes that the top 1% should pay their fair share. Donald Trump believes that the solution to the majority of the drug and immigration problem is building a wall and cutting regulations. Ron Paul believes the core issues revolve around three things: interventionism, high taxes, and the war on drugs– all of which he wants to repeal. Although the end goals of these three are very different, one thing that they all have in common is that they have a message that unified different individuals.
Bernie Sanders unified a large portion of younger millennials, many of whom believed a class of elites stacked the deck against them. Ron Paul unified people from both sides of the spectrum who felt dissatisfied because of a failed war on drugs, expensive and endless foreign wars, and soaring tax rates which he promised would be cut back. He even went as far as to say the IRS would be dismantled and replaced with nothing. Donald Trump gathered a large portion of the middle American population as well as a silent majority from everywhere in the U.S. who felt like their freedom of speech had been suppressed by the left, their healthcare had been destroyed by the Obama, and feared that illegal immigration and terrorism would lead to chaos.
It is important to recognize that Bernie Sanders appeared as a hero to a younger generation. Ron Paul appeared as a hero to a wide demographic of freedom fighters. Trump was looked at as such by a silent but growing demographic that felt forgotten about. How can this apply to the Libertarians of 2016? and furthermore, how can we achieve a larger audience by conveying a message of free market/personal liberty while staying true to our principles?
In an article published by The Washington Examiner, Thomas Massie (R. Kentucky), gives us a little insight as to why Trump won. He says that He, Ron Paul, and Rand Paul were not supported because of their values. instead they were supported because they had the craziest views, and Donald Trump had the craziest of the crazy. Thomas Massie isn’t even wrong. Donald Trump didn’t do the whole political thing, instead he talked to people like they were people. A steal worker in Pittsburgh probably doesn’t want some suit in Washington talking down to him. Donald Trump knew that, and Hillary Clinton didn’t. And although many of Trumps views could be seen as controversial, they resonated with a large portion of the population.
This leads us to the main question we have to ask ourselves: how can we convey the principles of liberty in a voice that can resonate to the public? Ron and Rand Paul have been able to break through to mainstream popularity in the past, so how can it be done again? In the age of Trump, we have a new and unique opportunity to convey our message. More people are opened to listening than ever before. We just need a strong unified message, so now comes the question of what the message would be.
Do we tell people to destroy roads? Probably not a place to start. What about taxation being theft? Well, it’s the truth, sure, but once again maybe not a place to start. How about the war on drugs? More people on both sides of the aisle are realizing it’s a failure, however a portion of the older crowd still wants every illegal substance to stay illegal. How about less government? This works on a bunch of different levels– Reagan and Trump were both able to ride this ideology into the white house, so why not a libertarian? It’s actually pretty simple, with the revelations of WikiLeaks, more people are realizing how much of our privacy is being invaded. So instead of throwing ten ideas at the general public at once, let’s stick to just one at the outset. Let’s push the ideology of limited government and show people it’s strongly libertarian, but also ubiquitously beneficial.