Could Today's Libertarian Be Tomorrow's Liberal?
Scottie Hughes | Aug 13, 2013
Should I vote with my heart or my brain? It’s a question most Libertarians will ask themselves when they step into the ballot box in 2014 and 2016.
Until Libertarians have a serious candidate running on more than just legalization of marijuana, both Republicans and Democrats have an equal chance at recruiting this growing bloc of voters, especially among the younger voters who have recently turned to the Libertarian viewpoint as a result of their mistrust of Government. The chain of scandals from this administration does not sit well with today's youth as well as any other age group on either side of the aisle, with the most obvious solution being a Party based on less Government.
For years, GOP grandees have taken it for granted that Libertarians would be with them come Election Day. After all, aren’t Libertarians essentially free-market, freedom-loving conservatives who just don’t want to be formally affiliated with Republicans?
But lately it seems just as many of the opinions that Libertarians promote are in line with the left’s political agenda. Because of this, Libertarians could find themselves recruited by Democratic candidates in the upcoming elections.
By definition, a Libertarian is a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action. Libertarians believe in personal responsibility while preserving personal freedom. They oppose the Government interfering with any of their business, family, or personal decisions.
It all sounds like Republican boilerplate until you get to two issues that will cause Libertarians to defect to Democrats in droves, if they haven’t already.
The legalization of Marijuana is one of the more polarizing Libertarian issues. On one hand, you have those who might never have used pot but believe in removing marijuana from the jurisdiction of the federal government and allowing the states to regulate it on reasons of principle. And then there is the not insignificant number of “Libertarians” who just want the Government to get out of their stash and make pot more easily available.
Neither reason sits well with members of the religious right or conservatives as a whole. This view in fact more aligns itself to those on the left who often advocate for the legalization and use of marijuana. In fact, in a recent poll released by the left leaning Pew Center in April, 50% of Americans said that smoking marijuana was not a moral issue as compared to 35% who answered in kind in 2006. That same poll also stated that 60% of Independents think Marijuana should be made legal – the same percentage of Republicans who think it should remain illegal.
Another issue which makes Libertarians easy prey for liberals is homosexual marriage rights. Some libertarians believe that this is a States rights issues because it was not defined by the 10th Amendment and that the Government should stay out of defining a family. However, others just want to marry their partner and have the same rights as other “traditional” marriages.
These are just two issues in which Libertarian beliefs run parallel to Progressives. Other issues include the legalization and removal of all restrictions on alcohol, pornography, prostitution, gambling, and suicide.
As the Democrats watch the Tea Party and other Conservative groups continue to grow in momentum towards 2014, they know they must appeal to Libertarians. And it is their libertine social views that could be an opening for voter recruitment. Watch as the Democrats start running more emotional campaign commercials focused on issues like equal marriage rights for all, how pot can relieve painful health symptoms, and an oppressive national security apparatus. The Republicans; however, might also tweak their message by focusing on the outrageous spending and new limits and restrictions which this Administration has implemented in volume on small businesses and individual freedoms.
This post was modified from its original form on 13 Aug, 4:49
Today’s Libertarians are not very organized; however, with over 1 million voting for the official Libertarian Party’s nominee in the last Presidential election, these voters will be even more valuable in a non-Presidential election. Let’s just hope the majority of Libertarians are more influenced by the words of Reagan and Goldwater then Cheech and Chong.
Hardly liked the guy.
Would rather take my marching orders from cheech and chong.
At least I agree with their philosophy more than Reagan, creator of homelessness as an American nightmare.
Better to have nice dreams
I'll take Cheech and Chong anyday!! They're more about liberty than Reagan ever was
Young people are attracted to libertarian party and now the dems realize that and they will try and recruit many yet they are never going to change their idealogy of big government and control.
I know in MA, the libertarian party is strong and it is within the GOP but they won''t vote for the typical GOP candidates who tout party line and that is why the elections are so close.
Gomez had no money and lost by 5 % to Markey who outspent him 3 times over.
Same with Mitt, the libs put in Ron Paul in MA originally and the traditional GOP ignored their vote of Ron Paul and did the delegation over again.
Republicans are going to have to be extremly clear on issues to get young libertarians, I fully realize that and I do not think they are going to go into the democrat party which is way too alien in idealogy.
I believe you're correct Shelah. In addition, neo-conservatives are returning to their leftist roots. They are increasingly cozy with big government Democrats. Note Lindsey Graham, McCain and others speaking out in support of Obama, the NSA, the IDA, National ID and other statist policies.
I won't vote for a big government GOP'er either. What would be the point?
The article needs to distinguish between big and small L 'libertarians." There is a great difference. Jim and I are small L libertarians. Like myself, I suspect Jim has no delusions that the L party is any more benevolent or trustworthy than any other political party. Its corruption is decided only by its size and popularity (ie; wealthy backer/controllers).