Justin Amash Steps In the Libertarian Ring..
Oklahoma's Libertarians have had several big successes in recent years, but many more false starts. Conservatives in the legislature restored some sanity to our ballot access laws. That allowed Libertarians a sustained presence in our political menu choices to order from... even though they've not provided us any broadly appealing candidates.
In 2016, Republicans selected Ted Cruz, and really had some difficulty with Donald Trump as the nominee. Had the Libertarians nominated Austin Petersen or some other prolife candidate without the 'social justice warrior' rabid agenda; A significant number of Okies would have had an easy time not only voting Libertarian, but actually migrating to a libertarian platform & message. It could have put Oklahoma in play for Hillary Clinton, by creating a rift which leftists would certainly have exploited.
Last 'go around' William Weld joined his former Republican-turned-Libertarian, Gary Johnson, on the Libertarian presidential ticket. While the two were former governors, neither were strong apologists for libertarian philosophy in govt. public policy.
The Oklahoma Libertarians postponed their state convention, several weeks ago. Perhaps that's a blessing, given today's news in the presidential race.
I asked the then-chairman of the OKLP why she supported Johnson over Petersen, whom we both agreed was the better apologist of libertarian principles. She said her reason was name recognition, so the party can stay on the Oklahoma ballot after 2016.
I responded; "So you just got recognized as a party last month, and you're already selling out your principles?"
"I know", she replied. "It's terrible!" It ended up being a moot issue, because the legislature reformed the ballot access laws not long after the 2016 OKLP convention. The OKLP will likely remain, as long as they can get folks to pay exorbitant filing fees to be the candidate for the party.
Not long after Trump got elected, his championing of social conservative issues did serve to solidify his hold on the social conservative base, in Oklahoma and nationwide. Oklahoma Wesleyan University President, Dr. Everett Piper, told the Tulsa County Republican Mens Club, in March of 2017; "Regarding President Trump, let me get this out of the way.... Crow never tasted so good!"
In late 2017 I met with Libertarian Party national leader, Larry Sharpe. He seemed very surprised when I told him that Republicans in Oklahoma dodged a bullet when the Libertarians chose Johnson over Petersen. I had to explain in great detail how the Oklahoma Libertarians would have captured a windfall of conservatives who were repulsed by Trump's reputation and personal behavior. It's not that Petersen would have won Oklahoma, but It would have caused Trump to spend more resources to retain Oklahoma, and Democrats would have exploited the issue, perhaps causing Trump to only win Oklahoma by little more than 50% of the vote. Completely the opposite of the OKLP leadership's rationale for preferring Johnson's name recognition.
Exploiters, Suiters, & Devotees
The Libertarian party has some strong devotees, but most Americans are more familiar with the suitors and exploiters, who make flashy campaigns to promote themselves more than the principles of the party they exploit. That's true of other parties, as well. Look what happened to the Reform Party once Ross Perot and his supporters had to find another candidate? Donald Trump & Patrick Buchanan fought over the leftovers and the 2000 presidential race was their final event. We only talked about Buchanan in the context of how he almost cost GW Bush the Florida electors, and the presidency.
With Gary Johnson no longer entertaining a 2020 race, William Weld was a consideration. He found his star fading fast.
Formerly Republican, then independent, and now Libertarian Rep. Justin Amash just announced a last-minute bid for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party (L.P.). That it took him so long rubs fellow candidate Jo Jorgensen, the L.P.'s 1996 vice presidential nominee, the wrong way. "I think it's unfortunate he didn't join the L.P. the day he renounced his Republican Party membership," she says in a phone interview tonight, "because we could have had a Libertarian in Congress, the first one ever, presenting the Libertarian message."
Another former L.P. vice presidential candidate, former Judge James Gray (who ran with Gary Johnson on the 2012 ticket), said in a phone interview tonight that Amash had the courtesy to inform him "a week ago Saturday" in a "most cordial" call that he was planning to dip his toes in the water. "I told him we Libertarians believe in competition and I welcome you into this race."
Adam Kokesh, a "voluntaryist" candidate who wants to dissolve the federal government, was not reachable for comment as of posting time, but he did speak to the Amash question in a campaign email last May. He praised Amash, noting that the congressman "is screwed for having integrity within a party [Republicans, at that time] that amplifies lies on a daily basis" and said that "Now here's the question for us Libertarians…do we welcome Justin Amash and recruit him to seek our nomination? Without hesitation, I say, 'Hell yes!!!'"
Mark Whitney, founder of TheLaw.net and a comedian, griped that "if this a##hole Justin Amash comes over, if he's the nominee I will not support him."
Whitney insists that the "Party of Principles should stop nominating criminals from [a] criminal organization" like the GOP who "come over last minute" to take advantage of the L.P.'s money and activists and then leave it in the lurch--"stop nominating these [former Republican] pricks!"
Vermin Supreme, a candidate trying to walk a fine line between comedic performance artist and actual politician, said; "The Amish are a very valued community in the America I love. Their commitment to community reliance and barn building is inspiring. The Amish prove that a pony based economy is possible. They live it. I would welcome any Amish person to join the ranks of the Libertarian Party."
"In all sincerity, Justin Amash has demonstrated principle throughout his Congressional career and I admire and respect that. He would be a great asset and partner in the House to help whomever the Libertarian Party nominates for President as an advocate for the necessary changes in order to advance freedom in the United States, from exercising the sole dominion over their own body to the freedom of movement across borders for people and capital."
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