A Libertarian Time for Choosing

Ted Cruz began campaigning on the transfer of public lands (TPL) from the federal government to the states, and the people, in Nevada, in mid-February, a week before the Nevada caucuses.  He campaigned in, and won, Elko and adjacent counties, the birthplace of the Sagebrush Rebellion, the only part of the state where he prevailed.  The same issue, TPL, won him the Alaska caucuses a week later.  His big wins in Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado were also, in large part, due to this issue.  In the Far West, the federal ownership of public lands is very important to voters.

The Libertarian Party of Alaska has adopted a resolution endorsing TPL, and I expect that the national party, and its candidate, will follow suit.  The Alaskans who go to Orlando this weekend will tell their fellow Libertarian delegates of the supreme importance of this issue to Alaskans, especially as Prudhoe Bay runs dry.  This issue could be worth the three electoral votes of the Last Frontier.

Or more.  When Ted Cruz spoke to the Wyoming Republican State Convention on April 16, he got one standing ovation.  His promise to fight for the transfer of the public lands to the state, and people, of Wyoming brought the delegates to their feet.  Not unlike Alaska, the State of Wyoming and its budget are getting crushed by changes in the energy industry.  They're getting desperate.  TPL could get three more electoral votes in the Cowboy State.  Add Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico, and you're up to 36 E.V.s.  Vast areas of these states are owned and mismanaged by the federal government, and for every Cliven Bundy, there are thousands of residents of the Far West who want their land returned to the states and the people.

Libertarians are, by nature, big thinkers with lofty goals for upending the current political system.  They argue about everything from vaccination to campaign finance reform.  But to actually win electoral votes, the Libertarian candidate should focus his message and narrow it to three straightforward issues.  I would add to TPL two additional points of emphasis – adopting a Balanced Budget Amendment through the use of Article V and the end of the racial discrimination that hides under the euphemism of affirmative action.  I think those three issues are fully in tune with the American people, and all three serve to contrast the Libertarian with both Trump and Clinton.  The base of the Libertarian Party should be the Far West, and all three of these issues are strong there.

All three of these issues highlight the fecklessness of Congress.  The Libertarian candidate should run not only against Trump and Clinton, but against a Congress so paralyzed by corruption that federal management of public lands is an expensive disaster, spending and deficits are existential threats, and racial antagonism is stoked by a racial spoils system that does far more harm than good.  This is all Congress's doing.

What do these Congressmen actually do while they're in Washington?  Rep. David Jolly of Florida knows: they raise campaign cash, every day, for most of their waking hours.  That's just about all they do.  Jolly, who's running for the Senate, has a bill to prevent congressmen from raising money while they're in D.C.  A great idea, with seven co-sponsors.  It's DOA.  

Everyone knows that Congress is corrupt, and yet virtually no incumbents have lost their party primaries this year.  They have the money to beat off any challenge, and the gravy train rolls on.  Sanders voters appreciate this fact more than most.  Rather than dirty themselves by voting for the thief Clinton, maybe some of them could go Libertarian.  They're that pissed off, so anything is possible.

As the Kristol-Romney dream of an independent candidacy fades, more Never-Trumpers need to take a look at a one-night stand with the Libertarians.  Not a marriage, but if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.  

And what if Clinton beats Trump and the Libertarian?  What lesson will be learned?  Don't nominate another Trump, and move the Republican Party in a libertarian direction, where it needs to go anyway.  Away from Chamber of Commerce crony capitalism, toward youth and entrepreneurship.  Away from the Nanny State to individual liberty.

The fly in this ointment is illegal immigration.  If the Libertarian Party is less than foursquare against it, none of this works.  It's up to the Libertarians who meet in Orlando this weekend to decide if they want to make a difference this year.

Fritz Pettyjohn was the chairman of Reagan for President of Alaska, 1979-80, and  a Republican member of the Alaska House and Senate.  He blogs at ReaganProject.com.

Ted Cruz began campaigning on the transfer of public lands (TPL) from the federal government to the states, and the people, in Nevada, in mid-February, a week before the Nevada caucuses.  He campaigned in, and won, Elko and adjacent counties, the birthplace of the Sagebrush Rebellion, the only part of the state where he prevailed.  The same issue, TPL, won him the Alaska caucuses a week later.  His big wins in Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado were also, in large part, due to this issue.  In the Far West, the federal ownership of public lands is very important to voters.

The Libertarian Party of Alaska has adopted a resolution endorsing TPL, and I expect that the national party, and its candidate, will follow suit.  The Alaskans who go to Orlando this weekend will tell their fellow Libertarian delegates of the supreme importance of this issue to Alaskans, especially as Prudhoe Bay runs dry.  This issue could be worth the three electoral votes of the Last Frontier.

Or more.  When Ted Cruz spoke to the Wyoming Republican State Convention on April 16, he got one standing ovation.  His promise to fight for the transfer of the public lands to the state, and people, of Wyoming brought the delegates to their feet.  Not unlike Alaska, the State of Wyoming and its budget are getting crushed by changes in the energy industry.  They're getting desperate.  TPL could get three more electoral votes in the Cowboy State.  Add Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico, and you're up to 36 E.V.s.  Vast areas of these states are owned and mismanaged by the federal government, and for every Cliven Bundy, there are thousands of residents of the Far West who want their land returned to the states and the people.

Libertarians are, by nature, big thinkers with lofty goals for upending the current political system.  They argue about everything from vaccination to campaign finance reform.  But to actually win electoral votes, the Libertarian candidate should focus his message and narrow it to three straightforward issues.  I would add to TPL two additional points of emphasis – adopting a Balanced Budget Amendment through the use of Article V and the end of the racial discrimination that hides under the euphemism of affirmative action.  I think those three issues are fully in tune with the American people, and all three serve to contrast the Libertarian with both Trump and Clinton.  The base of the Libertarian Party should be the Far West, and all three of these issues are strong there.

All three of these issues highlight the fecklessness of Congress.  The Libertarian candidate should run not only against Trump and Clinton, but against a Congress so paralyzed by corruption that federal management of public lands is an expensive disaster, spending and deficits are existential threats, and racial antagonism is stoked by a racial spoils system that does far more harm than good.  This is all Congress's doing.

What do these Congressmen actually do while they're in Washington?  Rep. David Jolly of Florida knows: they raise campaign cash, every day, for most of their waking hours.  That's just about all they do.  Jolly, who's running for the Senate, has a bill to prevent congressmen from raising money while they're in D.C.  A great idea, with seven co-sponsors.  It's DOA.  

Everyone knows that Congress is corrupt, and yet virtually no incumbents have lost their party primaries this year.  They have the money to beat off any challenge, and the gravy train rolls on.  Sanders voters appreciate this fact more than most.  Rather than dirty themselves by voting for the thief Clinton, maybe some of them could go Libertarian.  They're that pissed off, so anything is possible.

As the Kristol-Romney dream of an independent candidacy fades, more Never-Trumpers need to take a look at a one-night stand with the Libertarians.  Not a marriage, but if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.  

And what if Clinton beats Trump and the Libertarian?  What lesson will be learned?  Don't nominate another Trump, and move the Republican Party in a libertarian direction, where it needs to go anyway.  Away from Chamber of Commerce crony capitalism, toward youth and entrepreneurship.  Away from the Nanny State to individual liberty.

The fly in this ointment is illegal immigration.  If the Libertarian Party is less than foursquare against it, none of this works.  It's up to the Libertarians who meet in Orlando this weekend to decide if they want to make a difference this year.

Fritz Pettyjohn was the chairman of Reagan for President of Alaska, 1979-80, and  a Republican member of the Alaska House and Senate.  He blogs at ReaganProject.com.