From Irrelevance To Infamy: How The Libertarian Party Sold Its Soul For The GOP’s Leftovers

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It is sad to see how despair can war an individual’s mind, and in spite of professing to be logical and rational, libertarians are not immune to this effect. In the aftermath of the Libertarian Party National Convention, we are seeing the tragic consequences of desperation manifest themselves throughout the greater liberty movement.

The libertarian brand is now being besmirched and tarnished on a grand scale like never before because the Libertarian Party happily rolled out the red carpet for infiltrators to take over. Two lackluster, left-leaning Republican governors who were unable to maintain relevance in their own party are now parading around as the standard bearers for the Libertarian Party. To anyone who has been down in the trenches of the liberty movement where it actually matters since the onset of the Ron Paul Revolution, this is simply unacceptable.

When the Libertarian Party was merely an annoying distraction on the periphery, miles away from mattering, they were a tolerable albeit annoying afterthought. As a liberty conservative, they were a good vantage point to gauge what not to do if you wanted to achieve success. At the very least, the Libertarian Party was something to strive not to become, and it had never caused too much damage to the cause prior to now.

In lieu of Johnson/Weld, the LP drastically changed in nearly an instant. In less than 24 hours, Libertarians transformed from principled individuals who did not buy the two party system into the same excuse-spewing, partisan, collectivist saps they once hated. The duplicity is astounding, and what is most astounding about this is what they are selling their souls for: a couple of boring has-beens. Even the always-gracious libertarian hero Tom Woods has bemoaned these startling developments on his popular podcast.

Judge for yourself. Libertarian Party Presidential nominee Gary Johnson went on Meet the Press the day after he officially won the candidacy. This was the big moment he had been waiting for. In this interview, Johnson is clearly giddy, and looks like he may have smoked the devil’s lettuce shortly beforehand. But never fear, he has his right-hand man Vice President Bill Weld by his side! They are ‘running as a team,’ Johnson says, and he can’t defer to his gun-grabbing idol quickly enough:

Notice the bizarre tone of the above clip. In one segment, Johnson has a golden opportunity to proclaim the message of liberty but decides instead to cower down on the big stage and let Weld stammer through some milquetoast talking points. Johnson declares without provocation that ‘we are a joint ticket.’ This is clearly a dog whistle from Johnson to his establishment masters that he isn’t going to rock the boat too much, and Mr. Council on Foreign Relations beside him will really be calling the shots.

This is the vaunted media coverage that Johnson was touting that he needed to win, and it is not even remotely impressive. It looks as if the LP nominated a guy who can’t even handle being the nominee on his own, and is so unready for prime time that he needs a warmongering globalist beside him just to look half-way respectable. In contrast, Ron Paul went to war against the entire political establishment to promote a pure message of liberty during his Presidential runs. On the other hand, Johnson needs an insider to hold his hand to spread an incoherent, watered-down message of liberty.

Although Johnson once called Donald Trump a derogatory and sexist slur, Trump can at least stand on his own two feet. Trump doesn’t need another man beside him to prop him up. As Weld defends statism at every turn, Johnson sits there feckless and weak-kneed like he left his gonads at home. Johnson was too craven to put Weld in his place after he defended Medicaid, Medicare, Hillary Clinton’s innocence, and other atrocities. Could you imagine Trump allowing another man to emasculate him like this on a big stage? Of course not, and that is why you can expect far more libertarians to vote Trump over the dismal LP ticket.

This isn’t a comparison of the policy virtues of Johnson and Trump, but rather of their respective leadership styles. Johnson doesn’t have a backbone. He may have climbed many mountains and smoked a lot of trees, but Trump would absolutely steamroll him in a man-to-man showdown. Trump has already taken down the best of the best. He has humbled Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, etc. Trump has shamed men with elite pedigrees who had billion dollar political machines behind them. That is no small accomplishment.

Trump has smacked down candidates who were far more polished and ready for prime time than the crew that humiliated Johnson during his 2012 GOP run for President, which was enough to send Johnson running to the Libertarian Party with his tail between his legs. Johnson couldn’t cut the mustard in the GOP, and his running mate hasn’t been relevant politically for decades. Are we really supposed to believe that a couple of liberal wishy-washy GOP leftovers stand a chance against Trump? Get real.

I’ve heard all of the excuses from the apologists. They say putting up Johnson/Weld to get 5 percent, 15 percent, or whatever percentage is needed to raise the profile of the party to bolster grassroots activists. To the people who actually believe this line of bunk, ask yourself this question: Has Johnson even talked about grassroots libertarian activists during his big press junket? Hardly, if at all. Instead, he constantly drones on about how Trump is a big bad racist and that he is the only adult in the room – the same, old, tired spiel that sent over 15 candidates to their catastrophic demise over the past year!

Libertarian Party members: you better hope you don’t get anywhere near 15 percent in the polls this year. You better pray that you do not sniff real notoriety. Because if you did, the embarrassment you felt from watching the scantily-clad anarchist’s striptease would pale in comparison to watching a reality TV buffoon bulldoze your spineless messiah. Johnson can barely spit out an answer to a question about property rights that should be straight-forward and obvious for any libertarian with a basic understanding of the philosophy. Trump would make mince meat of this clueless lightweight.

Now to be fair, the LP deserves a tremendous amount of credit for being the home to stalwarts for the cause such as Murray Rothbard, who organized in the Radical Caucus of the Libertarian Party for a great many years. It also featured fantastic candidates on its big ticket like Ron Paul and Harry Browne as well as less-than-mediocre candidates like Bill Weld, Bob Barr, Gary Johnson and Wayne Allyn Root. The good-hearted activists of the Libertarian Party ought to look for a place where they don’t have to surrender their souls for a vain attempt to have the vaguest chance of achieving political significance.

In the Republican Party, Ron Paul as well as his modern-day successors Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Thomas Massie, Justin Amash, Walter Jones, Dave Brat and others have shown that proclaiming the message of liberty can lead to national political success. It won’t always be easy, and it won’t always be fun. There may be turbulence along the way, but victory can certainly be achieved. The fact that the Libertarian Party, the alleged party of principle, happily rolled over in a millisecond to coronate a couple of boring, unappealing GOP washouts really says it all about the power dynamic of this situation, doesn’t it?

If the libertarian message ever achieves full-fledged mainstream recognition, the message will be articulated by someone with significant stature and gravitas. It will not be articulated from someone who was forced to quit a major party so he could hijack a very marginal party to be a big fish in a small pond because he couldn’t hang with the big boys like Gary Johnson.

It is time to face facts that the Libertarian Party is just destined to be a haven for the likes of Augustus Invictus, Starchild, James Weeks, and other off-the-wall characters of that nature. This is the sorry, inevitable fate of that party, which will go down in history as an irrelevant footnote if we are lucky. It is time for all serious liberty activists to come to where they can actually have a chance to succeed in the GOP, rather than disgracing the movement with the dregs in the Busch leagues.

Shane has been an activist for liberty-related causes for over 10 years. He is the Media Relations Director of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Michigan, Communications Director for the Michigan Conservative Coalition, State Director of the Michigan Tenth Amendment Center, and County Coordinator for Michigan Campaign for Liberty.

  • Will Tyler

    “Ron Paul as well as his modern-day successors Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Thomas Massie, Justin Amash, Walter Jones, Dave Brat and others” have NOT shown that “proclaiming the message of liberty can lead to national political success”. They have been vilified and marginalized by Republicans and the press – after decades of trying in Ron Paul’s case.

    Somehow, despite the clear history of failure to bring liberty to the disintegrating, politically bankrupt GOP whose nominee is “a reality TV buffoon”, Shane Trejo thinks libertarians “have a chance to succeed” there. And he expects “far more libertarians to vote Trump” than for the LP ticket. Pure fantasy. Wake up and smell the coffee Shane.

    Johnson and Weld are not GOP leftovers. They were term-limited out after being re-elected by historic margins as Republican governors in largely Democratic states. Their actions while in office (like Paul, Amash, Massie, etc.) were mostly libertarian in nature. If Amash & Massie leave the failing GOP and join the LP, would they instantly become “leftovers” and “has-beens”? This article is one person’s opinion, and reads more like a hit piece to create dissension in the LP.

    If one truly supports advancing the liberty movement you will support Johnson and Weld; the most electable, experienced, well respected candidates the Libertarian party has ever nominated.

    Mr. Trejo, you are obviously a GOP standard bearer, and your 10 years in the liberty movement does not seem to have taught you much. Please take some time to grow up and try to write commentary that relies on facts and insight rather than ad homilies, inaccuracies and innuendo.

    • SMH2much

      Amash, Massie & the others have consistently scored for Liberty, despite being registered Republicans. The same cannot be said for GJ & Weld.

  • Elizabeth Honce

    Very well said, mr. Trejo.

  • davis0102

    Outstanding article, spot on.

  • Fantastic article. You explain the harsh reality better than anything I’ve seen so far.

  • SMH2much

    You nailed it. Bam!

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