Rand Paul’s campaign reported $2.5 million in donations for the entire third quarter, a precipitous drop from his previous reports and a fraction of what rivals Ben Carson ($20 million) and Jeb Bush ($12 million) brought in. That and anemic poll numbershave inspired many to not only pronounce Paul’s presidential campaign dead, but to gleefully declare the so-called “Libertarian Moment” over.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Anyone who believes the presidential election is a barometer of how libertarian America is becoming doesn’t understand libertarianism and isn’t paying attention to what’s happening in the real world. Libertarians don’t believe government solves anything, no matter who is running it. The purest libertarians refuse to vote on principle.
As radical as that might sound, almost half of all eligible American voters behave the same way, if not for the same reasons. Let’s face it, most Americans couldn’t name three policies held by the frontrunner in either party and couldn’t explain one in detail.
This is often ridiculed in the myriad You Tube videos where men and women “on the street” are asked basic policy questions and don’t have a clue what policies their candidates support. You’re supposed to assume they’re stupid.
For the most part, they’re not stupid. They just don’t care. They may say they support this or that candidate when a microphone is shoved in their face, but in reality they live their lives, do their jobs and run their businesses without giving politics a second thought. This is an inherently libertarian worldview and it’s growing.
60% of eligible voters haven’t voted in a presidential election since 1968. Even less vote in the mid-terms. Take your own unscientific poll. Ask 20 people you know what they think about politics. You’ll more than likely find “not interested” far ahead of conservative or liberal.
What Americans are interested in is the market and what it can offer them, regardless of what the government says or even legislates. Sharing economy companies like Uber and Airbnb are growing exponentially because they offer higher quality products at substantially lower prices. They are able to do so precisely because they either sidestep or openly flout the protectionist regulation supported by their established competitors.
During both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations and majorities in Congress, gun sales have exploded in the past fifteen years, despite strong anti-gun rhetoric following highly publicized mass shootings. This isn’t limited to red states in flyover country. Gun sales have even seen a meteoric rise in deep blue California.
Even what has been accomplished in electoral politics has had a strong libertarian bent.
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