As a libertarian and registered Republican, to say I’m disappointed with the GOP’s current crop of presidential candidates is a mild understatement. I pretty much hate them all. My top choices were Gov. Scott Walker (first to drop out) and Sen. Rand Paul (latest casualty). If Trump or Cruz become the GOP candidate there is only one scenario in which I will vote for either of them:
If Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee.
I don’t have a long history of Hillary bashing the way some on the Right have. 8 years ago I even said some nice things about her. But the woman simply doesn’t know how to tell the truth. She’s a pathological liar, and one that deserves prison for her handling of top secret data on her unsecured server, and ostracism for her role in wrecking Libya and sentencing an ambassador and his security detail to death – and covering up with lies by blaming it on a video afterward. She also exemplifies the crony capitalist, taking millions from Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs then portraying herself as being soulmates with Occupy Wall Street. As the British newspaper columnist Tim Stanley for the Daily Telegraph writes, “Her politics is the politics of identity, narrowed down to a very specific constituency: she’s selling herself as the hope of everyday rich white women who want to be president.” There is only one thing worse than a Trump presidency in my view and that’s a Hillary presidency.
Which brings me to Bernie Sanders. Sanders is a self-avowed “democratic socialist”, a form of government more akin to those found in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia than in the United States. Sanders has spent his entire life espousing socialism. He has not lied about it, nor has he hidden it the way Hillary has hidden her ties to Wall Street. Sanders is a socialist, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to vote for him.
While I don’t like his economic policies, especially now when I’m preparing to finalize my taxes whereby the Wife and I send an extremely large portion of our labor earnings to the Federal and State governments, I’m less averse to his social liberalism. If you want to revolutionize American economics, the Presidency is not the place to do it. Congress controls the country’s purse strings, and there is no way his socialist economic policies would see the light of day in a Congress dominated by Republicans.
It’s often said that Libertarians combine the fiscal conservatism of the Republican Party with the social liberalism of the Democrats, but it’s been a long time since either party came close to either stereotype. The Republicans under Bush spent like Democrats during their 8 years in power, 6 years of which they held control of Congress as well as the White House, and today’s Democratic Party is the party of censorship, gun confiscation, and state interference into the private lives of its citizenry.
It’s worth noting that until very recently Sanders wasn’t a member of the Democratic Party. His stances on social issues are much more libertarian-friendly than the woman appearing on Reason magazine’s cover next to the title, “Hail to the Censor! Hillary Clinton’s Long War on Free Speech.” Would a Sanders presidency be all that bad for libertarians?
Andrew Kirell, writing at The Daily Beast, doesn’t think so. In his piece The Libertarian Case for Bernie Kirell quotes Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie saying, “You could do worse than having Bernie Sanders in the White House,” he admitted. “The things that he would be able to direct in the White House would accord with libertarian values. Being a commander-in-chief, he would minister our foreign policy much differently than Obama or Bush; he would be much more likely to change the scheduling for marijuana, which the president can do; and he’d be in a much better position to push criminal justice reform.” Gillespie later responded on Reason.com’s website, writing “Suffice it to say that noting you could do worse than Sanders is not an endorsement.”
Unfortunately libertarians don’t have many choices this round, but isn’t this pretty much the SNAFU case every 4 years? When’s the last time you absolutely loved either candidate? I don’t think I’ve ever felt the thrill up the leg that Chris Mathews felt for Obama in 2008. I’m suspicious of any candidate who inspires such emotional charge.
But the truth is I think America would be better off under a President Sanders than it would be under a President Clinton or Trump. At the very least it would give both parties time to shake out the crazies so that in 2020 America would have saner choices than those offered by either parties today.