Action for Liberty

From the Ashes of the GOP, A New Chance for Liberty

With GOP Demise, The Time is Now for Lovers of Liberty to Act

by Josh Guckert

With overwhelming victories in five states last night, Donald Trump seems all but guaranteed to become the Republican nominee for president. In spite of Hillary Clinton‘s general unpopularity, Trump appears poised to also lose in a massive landslide in November.

Sabato Map
The current outlook on a Clinton v. Trump electoral map, according to University of Virginia Professor and Political Scientist Larry Sabato.

Nonetheless, many in the Republican Party remain intent upon preventing Trump from winning the nomination at the Republican National Convention in July. No matter the result, it becomes less likely every day that the Republican Party will win the presidency in November; worse yet, the GOP loss is likely to have negative effects on the down-ticket candidates across the country, including in the Senate, where the Republicans hold a narrow majority.

With so much chaos set to ensue in this Republican party, one must ask him or herself: what happened? The party was poised to defend its majorities in the House and Senate this year and to put forward an excellent set of 17 presidential candidates, all with their own distinct stories and qualifications. Meanwhile, the Democrats were to put forward the wildly unpopular Hillary Clinton with no serious competition to challenge her. With all of these factors and after eight years of a Democratic presidency, history suggested that the public would finally swing back to the GOP.

Frankly, the Republican Party has arranged for its own demise in this fashion for years. It has attempted to operate on a coalition of voters assembled in 1980 and has refused to adapt to changing times. Due to this, the Republicans have become nothing more than the “anti” party: anti-immigration, anti-marijuana, anti-gay rights and anti-diplomacy.

With this negativity surrounding the party, the GOP has gone on the defensive in most national elections and has also found itself on the defensive against the populist movement which it created. So where then should lovers of liberty, who for so long identified with the Republican Party, go to further their political interests? The answer is a two-part solution.

First, we must sort through the rubble of the GOP which survives following Trump’s defeat in November. It is difficult to know at this point if enough change will be made so that a Republican challenger in 2020 will have a serious chance against likely incumbent Clinton, but work must nonetheless be done to rebuild the party with an image of liberty: low taxes, minimal government spending and general dis-involvement with Americans’ personal lives. This would also involve supporting and nominating liberty candidates within the GOP, like Justin Amash and Thomas Massie.

As a second prong, and more immediate in needing attention, those favoring individual liberty should support Libertarian Party candidates this November. This is most important in the presidential contest, as if the LP nominee earns 5% of the national vote, the party can earn national ballot access and public funding equal to the two major parties. Better yet, if the party nominee can earn 15% in polling throughout the election, that candidate can participate in national debates with Trump and Clinton so that Americans can better understand the principles of liberty.

In this time of crisis for the Republican Party, many groups will be lobbying for control. However, libertarians must remain calm and keep in mind the long-term goals of our movement. Should we be successful, we can remove the authoritarian streak which has so adversely impacted the country for decades, and place the fundamental ideas of liberty back at the forefront of American politics. The solutions are not easy, but the rewards are more than worthwhile.

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