Diversify Your Political Investment

Thank you to the Cato Institute and to the other contributors for making possible this enlightening discussion of where libertarians should focus their political efforts. While contentious at times, it is important to remember that we all want to bring libertarian ideas and policies into fruition and share a goal of a world set free in our lifetime.

While we can work on that goal within the Republican or Democratic parties, that is not the goal of those parties, nor of the majority of their members or elected officials. Quite the opposite. In contrast, the Libertarian party platform states explicitly that “[o]ur goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.” Individual candidates and campaigns may do better or worse at achieving that goal, but the goal is clear.

When those stances are taken by Republicans or Democrats, it’s due to pressure. Sometimes the pressure comes from within the party, but more often it’s pressure from without. The risk of losing voters who share libertarian goals can be a great motivator for candidates to adopt libertarian positions.

The political marketplace shares some similarities with the economic marketplace. Maybe this discussion convinced you to put the majority of your political investment into the Libertarian Party. Maybe you were persuaded that there are better returns in the GOP, or that the current crisis requires a temporary flight to the Democrats. No matter where you fall, diversification is as wise in politics as investing.

Becoming a sustaining member of the Libertarian Party is an easy way to show solidarity with our shared goals, even if you aren’t ready to break ties with one of the others. You don’t even have to change your voter registration. You can stay updated on our progress and help keep the other two parties honest. Competition makes everyone better.

Also from this issue

Lead Essay

  • Nicholas Sarwark says that now more than ever, the Libertarian Party is the best home for people with libertarian views. The two major parties are both thoroughly populist and win elections only by promising increasingly unlibertarian policies. Strategically, striking out on our own makes sense, he says, because it amounts to negotiating from a position of relative strength.

Response Essays

  • Matt Nye says that the Republican Party is the true home of libertarians, one where they will find an undeniable gift: electability. This the Libertarian Party has never provided, making it largely a wasted effort. Nye is candid about the GOP’s ideological shortcomings and its venality. But, he says, the Libertarian Party hasn’t exactly been pure itself.

  • Graham Vyse argues that libertarians need to focus on the immediate danger of a second Trump administration. Donald Trump’s authoritarian tendencies have remade the Republican Party, he argues, and not for the better. The time has come for libertarians to unite with their former enemies on the left, at least temporarily, to defend a minimal form of liberalism against an extraordinary threat.