As the 2016 presidential election nears, the speculation as to who the Republican nominee is the grand question for the GOP.
On one hand, you have traditional but young Republicans like Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan. You have wild cards like Chris Christie. There is the old guard like John McCain or Peter King, but then there is the libertarian wing of the GOP headlined by Rand Paul, formerly his father Ron Paul, and although maybe the least known, but arguably the most libertarian, Justin Amash.
Unless evidence is uncovered that Hillary Clinton had an affair with Fidel Castro, it would seem clear she will be the DNC nominee. She will certainly be a formidable opponent to any GOP selection. So the question begs who has the best chance of beating her.
Let’s first discuss polling that is out there. Throw every single one of them out. No matter how reputable these polling organizations are, there is simply too much time until the election for new evidence to come in and change people’s minds. Whether it be a scandal that is uncovered, or just getting to know a candidate better, the last Republican primary and its consant shifts in the front-runner proves that the debates and higher scrutiny of election season can change everything in an instant.
Many on the right feel that a typical Republican is the best way to go because that person will rally the troops. The idea is that the best candidate is the one that makes Republicans the happiest. I get that notion, but it is completely illogical; let me explain why.
This Gallup poll shows that while 25% identify as Republican, and 31% identify as Democrat, an astounding 42% say they are independent.
With that in mind, that means that if every single Republican votes for a traditional Republican candidate, and they manage to split the independent vote, they still lose by 6%. They must win the lion’s share of that group as well as their own party.
So how do they do that?
When you ask people why they don’t like Republicans, more often than not, you hear that they are stuck in the mud on gay rights, drug laws, or other social-conservative issues they refuse to let go of. While a predominance of people are still religious, many of them don’t want it legislated. We want a free society, and the 1st amendment honored.
Rep. Justin Amash is a shining example of this; he couldn’t be less hypocritical. He is an orthodox Christian, arguably someone who has a higher level of faith than the average Christian, yet he understands that matters of religious faith should be kept between family and friends, not enforced by government at the point of a gun.
Independents are generally sick of the two-party system because both seem to have a penchant for “screwing the public” as they see it. Why do they say this? Because they see bills with pork barrel special favors, government waste, corruption, and infringements to basic rights. Whether it be gun rights, the right for a gay couple to marry, for a person to smoke a joint, or to engage in paid sexual activity. People instinctively want to be free to do what they want so long as they aren’t hurting anybody. So the candidate that best represents that will win those votes.
Independents often say that they are socially liberal, but fiscally conservative when describing why they don’t affiliate with either party. That is libertarianism at its core! If I had a dollar for every person that was a libertarian and just didn’t know it, I’d have enough money to run my own campaign.
If the GOP select a traditional Republican, that candidate will get Republican votes, and that is all they will get.
If they select a libertarian candidate like Rand Paul or Justin Amash (if he were running), they will get all the Republican votes. Because let’s be honest, the GOP’s unofficial slogan for the next presidential election will undoubtedly be “Anybody but Hillary, 2016.”
But with a libertarian, they will also pick up independent voters who are non-religious. Then they will pick up those who want to use recreational drugs like marijuana since neither party seem to be overwhelmingly behind that. There are millions of voters in that demographic—you’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise.
Lastly, they will pick up some voters who would have otherwise voted for the Libertarian Party candidate because now they can comfortably pick a libertarian Republican. I voted for Gary Johnson, but a libertarian like Rand could sway my vote back to the GOP, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
So why doesn’t Rand Paul poll well against Hillary currently? Because everyone knows Hillary, while Rand remains somewhat unknown. They don’t know that Rand Paul does pro-bono eye surgeries for his constituency. They don’t know that Rand is actually frugal with his office budget, so much so that he returned $500,000 last year to the federal government. (Update: Rand Paul returned 1.8 Million the following year.) Senator Johnny Isakson should be commended for doing this as well as there are not many who do. Lastly, Rand hasn’t debated Hillary yet either. Since he has facts and history on his side, he will overcome her popularity with ideas that stand on their merits.
Once people are presented with a candidate who embraces the age-old libertarian mantra of “no victim, no crime,” that person will win independents by a landslide.
The GOP love to invoke The Gipper often, but seem to forget that he considered himself a libertarian. He said quite succinctly that “If you analyze it, I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.”
Lastly, I would also point out that Rand Paul is the only one reaching out to minorities and other non-traditional GOP supporters in an effort to grow the party in a way no other candidate does.
He visited Howard University before he was even running, taking many questions from all the students. He went to Detroit ahead of their expected bankruptcy. (Update: He also visited Ferguson after the unrest there.) An effort many
So GOP, if you want to win, you shouldn’t just want a libertarian, the numbers and history indicates that you need one. Do yourselves a favor; Rand Paul 2016. It’s truly your best hope.