Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Libertarian Party Policy;A Bridge Too Far Or Aspects To Incorporate Into A New GOP In 2016?

I describe myself as being, amongst holding other opinions, "slightly libertarian". For someone looking to a Sarah Palin, or if not her then a "Palinite" GOP/candidate in 2016, I felt it of value to consider what, if anything from the Libertarian Party might be incorporated into Republican policy.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest[2] political party in the United States. It is also identified by many as the fastest growing political party in the United States.[3] Thepolitical platform of the Libertarian Party reflects the ideas of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated markets, a less powerful state, strong civil liberties (including support for same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights), cannabis legalization and regulation,separation of church and stateopen immigrationnon-interventionism and neutrality in diplomatic relations (i.e., avoiding foreign military or economic entanglements with other nations), freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries, and a more responsive anddirect democracy.[4] Some members of the Libertarian Party have also supported the repeal of NAFTACAFTA, and similar trade agreements, as well as the United States' exit from the United NationsWTO, and NATO.[5]

That the Libertarian vote, as a percentage of the overall presidential balloting is increasing, with ups and down as is natural, is beyond question. I would expect that Gary Johnson will increase it further, perhaps substantially so (depending possibly on how choose the Obama/Romney race is perceived to be on election day being a major factor).

Presidential tickets and results (From Wikipedia)

YearPres. Candidate / VPPopular VotesPercentageElectoral Votes
1972John Hospers / Theodora Nathan3,6740.0047%1
1976Roger MacBride / David Bergland172,5530.21%0
1980Ed Clark / David Koch921,1281.06%0
1984David Bergland / James Lewis228,1110.25%0
1988Ron Paul / Andre Marrou431,7500.47%0
1992Andre Marrou / Nancy Lord290,0870.28%0
1996Harry Browne / Jo Jorgensen485,7590.50%0
2000Harry Browne / Art Olivier384,4310.36%0
2004Michael Badnarik / Richard Campagna397,2650.32%0
2008Bob Barr / Wayne Allyn Root523,7130.40%0
2012Gary Johnson / Jim GrayTBDTBDTBD

Libertarian Party candidate House results over the same period have gone, in the aggregate, from zero to over a million in 2010. If in 2016 the economy is still depressed under President Obama, or hasn't improved under President Romney, then a landslide under a true conservative in the former case, or a primary challenge, then landslide in the latter case, is possible.

What new planks might be added to broaden the conservative base, and attract the growing libertarian element in society, to give an even bigger potential victory, which would mean the new administration had an absolute mandate for change? 

Looking at the current Libertarian platform as described by Wikipedia, there are some policies which could be adapted and some which the base would never accept in my opinion.

Acceptable, certainly is (with possible amendment/change of emphasis) "Minimally regulated markets". If the 2008 crash has taught us anything, it is that "markets" especially the banking industry, if left to its own, minimally regulated affairs, will collapse the economy through sheer greed and/or incompetence. 

There has to be oversight and regulation with, perhaps, a narrower area i.e. the banks, being  even more strictly regulated whilst productive industry is more lightly regulated.

"A less powerful state".There would be little difficulty in adopting this as a plank with the addition of an indication of states rights. "Strong civil liberties" In principle a plank which could be strongly adopted.with definitions. LGBT Rights. Could be accepted on the basis of states rights, as far as removal of any legal impediments in the way of access to amenities through e.g. civil unions. 

"Same-sex marriage." Would not be acceptable as a plank, but could be acceptable if stated as being a stated rights issue."Cannabis legalization and regulation" a states rights issue ( I must admit to wavering on "the war on drugs" considering its abject failure and the success in Portugal of decriminalization). 

"Open immigration, non-interventionism and diplomatic neutrality" are a bridge too far as long as Israel exists as a nation and ally, and radical Islam wishes to attack America and Americans. "Freedom of trade and travel" would need discussion and definition (Cuba is presumably meant by "freedom of travel"-but perhaps not North Korea)

There is much that is attractive to freedom minded conservatives, and some items that are unacceptable. However in the wider context of compromise, there is much that could be worked on together to gain the support of libertarian individuals who are a growing number of committed voters. 

There is much of the various Progressive/Populist parties of the 19th and 20th centuries about the growth of the libertarian movement. Whilst the various political parties that arose eventually disappeared or merged, much of what they espoused eventually became standard policy for both major parties today. 

It might well behoove the Republican establishment, especially a newly conservative controlled establishment, to consider what could be adopted from the Libertarian platform