Kevin Boyd, writing for The American Conservative, notes that libertarians have had mixed success in the GOP during the Trump era. Boyd explains that while the current administration and its supporters hold views at times at odds with libertarian dogma, there is latitude for libertarians to work within the GOP. Boyd even suggests that with the traditional GOP leadership structure in such disarray, there may be an opportunity for libertarians to survive. He writes (abridged):
Last Tuesday’s elections were a mixed bag for Tea Party legislators, or what we might call libertarian Republicans. The bad news was Corey Stewart’s defeat of Nick Freitas in the Virginia Senate primary and Katie Arrington’s defeat of Congressman Mark Sanford in South Carolina. However, the GOP’s libertarian wing picked up wins by Eric Brakey, who prevailed for the Senate nomination in Maine, and Lee Bright, who qualified for a U.S. House runoff in South Carolina.
Still, questions have been raised about whether or not libertarians are even welcome in a Republican Party controlled by President Donald Trump. After all Trump is not exactly a champion of small or even limited government—and that’s putting it mildly. The Trump administration has championed policies that libertarians generally despise, such as increased tariffs, immigration restrictions, spending hikes, and preserving the current entitlements system. And the Trump movement’s embrace of nationalism certainly goes against the cosmopolitan ideals of many libertarians.
This has led some libertarians to conclude that Republicans just aren’t into them. Among those who think that way is Reason editor-at-large Matt Welch, who says the GOP is a lost cause:
Libertarian policy goals will still sometimes be met under Trump, some of them intentionally, some not. He will continue deregulating and appointing some good judges, may yet contribute to genuine peace on the Korean peninsula, and has proven surprisingly malleable on marijuana enforcement and prison reform. But as an organizing body, particularly anywhere near the levers of federal power, the GOP is an increasingly unreliable ally to libertarians.
Libertarians can survive in the Trump era. After all, Trump’s destruction of the old GOP has given them space to operate. But libertarian Republicans must not forget their anti-establishment roots and they cannot take their election races for granted.
Read more here.
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