Should libertarians support Mitt Romney?
One of the biggest questions many libertarians are dealing with is who to support for president this year. The Libertarian Party has nominated a somewhat credible candidate, at least by his resume alone, in former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Some others are trying to mount a nationwide write in campaign to try and get Ron Paul elected, even though his campaign is over.
While our conservative friends are trying to persuade us to support Mitt Romney. Kurt Schlichter has written one of the more persuasive pieces over on Breitbart’s Big Government:
There is no more time for games, no room for hurt feelings. Ron Paul fans, you need to choose, because not voting for Romney is a vote for Obama. It’s that simple. And you could make the difference.
Making no choice in this election is a choice –it’s a choice for a collectivist who will get two or three Supreme Court picks over a man who picked a guy, Paul Ryan, who understands capitalism and its unbreakable link to human freedom. Now, this is a two-way street. Romney and Ryan need to reach out to libertarians over their common ground. Fortunately, there is lots of common ground.
No, the Republican Party is not a libertarian party, but it is the only party with any libertarian element. It’s the only place you have any chance of being heard. And with guys like Rand Paul and the libertarian-friendly Tea Party elements, you can be in the GOP.
Most of that is true. The Republican Party of the two major parties is the one that has a genuine libertarian element. The Democratic Party as seen in its convention is generally hostile to individual liberty.
The Republicans are not libertarians, but at least libertarian-conservatives make up an influential and growing part of the party. There are exactly zero “libertarian-liberals.” Nor can there be; Democrats embrace everything libertarians oppose.
That’s partially true. Libertarian-conservatives (like myself) are growing in influence in the GOP. However, there are left-leaning libertarians. They’re more concerned about social liberty than economic liberty. They will never cast a vote for Mitt Romney.
The Romney-Ryan camp needs to do its part too; they need to reaffirm their commitment to Constitutional liberty. Freedom needs to be part of the conversation, not just Obama’s appalling record. While they can’t undo the gratuitous insults at the convention, they can make their case to the possibly decisive libertarians.
The reason why many libertarians can’t back Romney right now is that he has not made this argument. He needs to not only articulate a vision for freedom, but a positive one as well. The current argument he’s trying to make with the “makers vs takers” is a negative one that will turn off more people than it engages.
If and when Romney starts to makes the positive argument for freedom, libertarians should back him. Until then, each libertarian should vote their conscience.