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By Elliot Axelman
In November of 2018, New Yorkers will go to the polls faced with a choice: They can choose to re-elect a governor who has kept NY’s economy in last place for the past 8 years, they can elect a Republican who will surely campaign on an anti-Cuomo platform and then endorse all the same policies once in office, or they can vote for self-ownership & economic freedom – in the form of a libertarian.
Many libertarians expect that Queens native Larry Sharpe is going to announce his candidacy for governor of New York as a Libertarian next Wednesday (July 12th). Sharpe is a veteran of the US Marine Corp., an entrepreneur and was the favorite to win the vice-presidential nomination at the Libertarian National Convention in 2016, until Gary Johnson won the presidential nomination and demanded Bill Weld be his running mate. He is exceptionally kindhearted, a fantastic speaker, and bi-racial. He is experienced and patient and possesses a scholarly type of wisdom; yet he is also young, energetic, and cool enough to easily relate to nearly every type of millennial. Sharpe is a strong advocate in the battle to end drug prohibition, arguing that it is no more effective than alcohol prohibition was, and imprisoning people for smoking it should have stopped decades ago. This issue reflects a fundamental difference between Sharpe and current Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo believes that government should make every decision for people because people are too stupid and irresponsible to be trusted with freedom. Sharpe, in libertarian fashion, believes that people deserve the liberty to choose how they live, as long as they do not hurt another person. Cuomo has led NYS law enforcement since 2010. NYS law enforcement personnel have arrested many people for possession of marijuana ‘in public view’, with 83% of those arrested in 2015 being people of color. Sensing the losing battle against keeping drugs illegal, Cuomo promises to end criminalization of marijuana during his 8th year in office.
While on the topic of law enforcement, under Cuomo’s direction the State Trooper scandal must be mentioned, as it is a dangerous and clear abuse of power. I regularly see large numbers of state troopers harassing innocent people all over NYC, since they were dispatched to NYC months ago in order to bully NYC mayor Bill De Blasio. The scandal was so disgusting and unbecoming of a governor that a NYS police superintendent quit over the matter, and even the NY Times condemned Cuomo for it. Some cops even went on the record blaming Cuomo for leaving some upstate areas under-protected by the troopers who were busy in NYC harassing motorists. The libertarian nominee would almost certainly make police accountability a major pillar of his campaign. Libertarians believe that police should never be used to enforce personal grudges and they should never harass people for victimless crimes. If Sharpe can shine a light on these scandals and the massive MTA scandal, Cuomo may not be able to survive the election.
As mentioned earlier, Cuomo has kept NYS in dead last place among the 50 states in the US in economic freedom. This overregulation was highlighted recently when Cuomo used the iron fist of government to ban airbnb in NYC. Yes, you read that correctly. The governor made airbnb illegal in a specific city. He accomplished this twisted tyranny by writing a law that made “any listing of a rental for less that thirty days illegal in all cities of greater than one million people”. As disgusting and corrupt as this ploy is, it’s not the only time that Cuomo has used this type of language in a bill that was passed into law. Libertarians support property rights, meaning that if you own a home, you can do anything you want with it, including renting it out to people. Sharpe believes that rental lengths should not be influenced by state law. If you buy a house for $400,000 and you want to make some money back by renting it out to other people, you have that freedom. Any government that seeks to take away that freedom is far too strong.
“JOBS PROGRAM” FAILURES
Democrats often spout rhetoric asserting support for small business and jobs. Over the past seven years, Cuomo has stolen $25,000,000,000 from NY taxpayers and spent it on ‘jobs programs’. The last 50 million dollar program (that I was forced to fund) yielded 408 jobs over two years. Some of these programs include giving hundreds of millions of tax dollars to Elon Musk to help him build a SolarCity Factory in the Buffalo area and forcing taxpayers to give their money to people who install solar panels on their roofs. Libertarians do not believe in stealing money from people in order to fund pet projects.
Cuomo’s communist, job-killing policies open the door for a libertarian to gain large factions of voters in 2018. Millions of frustrated conservatives, millions of independents, moderate democrats, and thousands of strong libertarian activists could put Larry Sharpe over the top. If Sharpe can focus on NYS’s streak of the highest average income tax in the nation and worst economic outlook in the nation, while explaining to New Yorkers why libertarian policies will not only improve the economy and lower taxes, but also empower every individual to pursue whatever they want in life, he could pose a real threat to Cuomo, who many speculate plans to run for president in 2020 anyway. With a third New Hampshire state representative recently switching to the Libertarian Party and an upstate NY city board member doing the same last week, Libertarians seem to have considerable momentum going into 2018. If voters find the backbone to vote third party and if Sharpe can raise some real money over the next year, he certainly could win a 3-way race.