The first Libertarian Party debate was hosted in Biloxi, Mississippi, by the Libertarian Parties of Mississippi and Alabama this past weekend. Here, despite my own personal bias, there were several clear winners and losers.
The debate was split into two parts; one with all eleven candidates and then the second half where only five candidates debated.
The debate was civilized and didn’t devolve into a spat of insults like the GOP debates.
Gary Johnson: Johnson had a resounding night. The former New Mexico governor made the case of why he should be the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee for the second time in a row. He is the most experienced candidate up there and the only one to hold office; plus he is already known to the national media. He also had one of the best lines in the debate when he called Donald Trump a “pussy.” He will be one of three candidates in the Fox Business Stossel debate in March.
John McAfee: The cybersecurity guru made a compelling case in why he should be the Libertarian Party’s nominee. He slammed the United States on it’s unpreparedness for cyber-warfare and was articulate and well-spoken. He also brought up that he is well-known in the media; being one of three candidates that has appeared on national television.
Austin Petersen: TLR’s founder was a winner for being able to keep up with Gary Johnson and John McAfee. He managed to get a reaction out of Gary Johnson over Sharia Law. Petersen’s message that there is a need for a broader ideological coalition in the Libertarian Party is something that should be echoed by all of the candidates. His line about building a wall around Donald Trump and making Bernie Sanders pay for it was the best line of the night.
Darryl Perry: While I disagree with Perry on his anarchist philosophy and advocacy for the dissolution of the United States, his communication skills are great. He doesn’t want to build the party, which is a minus, but his ability to communicate his proposals are top-notch. He’s going to make this race very interesting as he has become one of the top four candidates.
The Libertarian Party: They won because their top three candidates are Gary Johnson, John McAfee, and Austin Petersen.
Video Quality: My God, that first-half debate video quality was horrible. It improved in the second half, but our video quality needs to get better. Isn’t this the party of free market innovation? Can we get McAfee to address this?
Everyone else: They didn’t make a very good impression on the audience. That was evident in the second-half of the debate as only five of the eleven candidates were invited back. Hopefully they become better at debating and make a more profound contribution.
Watch the second part below and the first part here.