I just read an article on reason.com that asked the question: “Did the Libertarian Party Blow It in 2016?” The short answer is yes. Whereas the long answer is yes, but it wasn’t their fault. It is here where I want to vent my frustration…..
As soon as it was evident that the election was going to be Clinton vs Trump, probably in April-ish, the Libertarian Party needed to cement their support behind Gary Johnson, which they mostly did, and then get behind him 1,000% and spread one singular message, that he was a viable third-party option. That message never got through to the masses, and to me, the second Gary Johnson lost is when Evan McMullin got into the race.
Like in the movie Idiocracy, the Amercian public at large is not getting smarter as a group. Gary Johnson never had name recognition, he wasn’t a movie star or self-promoting businessman, and he didn’t have the gears of a billion dollar political machine in his back pocket. What he had was ideas, and to a certain extent, a naivety to the process. I know he ran in 2012, I voted for him, but this time around the Gary Johnson option seemed reasonable.
During the Summer of 2016 was the time to make hay, skim voters from the left and the right, both Sanders’ people and Anti-Trumpers, and make the Libertarian Party a big tent. A New Party to challenge the status quo. That never happened. The Democrat Party circled the wagons and retained most Sanders people and the Republican Party circled the wagons and retained most Anti-Trumpers. People held their noses and voted for the Party. The few that didn’t, didn’t endorse Johnson. The two-party stranglehold had done its job.
The reason I bring this up today is because I was stupid. I knew it would make me mad, but I listened anyhow to a podcast yesterday from the New Republic, Episode #39: Evan McMullin on the Rules of Resisting Donald Trump. Now let me state, on the record, Evan McMullin is a well-spoken, engaging speaker. If you didn’t examine his content, you would want to vote for him in the future. The reason I disagree with McMullin so vehemently is because the last thing he is, is an independent.
McMullin wants to be at the fore-front of the New Conservative Movement. In his interview, he talks about working for Goldman Sachs, speaks of his time in the CIA, and what a joy it’s been working with such luminaries as Paul Ryan and John Boehner. I’m not saying that’s specifically a bad thing, what I’m saying is that he’s a Republican, through and through, and his candidacy was clearly one of a Republican temper-tantrum.
McMullin is still in the news because he is positioning himself as an Anti-Authoritarian vs the Authoritarian (Trump), which is comical if you think about it. The Republican Party threw 16 competitors at Trump in the primaries, and lost. What McMullin is now, is a young Pat Buchanan. What McMullin’s candidacy did, was limit Johnson getting a foothold in the desert southwest which could have propelled Johnson forward. Of course the nail in Gary Johnson’s coffin was “what is Aleppo?” on September 8, but you can’t be an underdog and make any mistakes. The game was already heavily slanted against Johnson to begin with.
But after listening to 35 minutes of the McMullin interview, I had to turn it off. How can you be Evan McMullin and claim to be independent? The New Conservative Movement is not another political party, what McMullin is trying to do is move the Republican Party back to the right, just like Bernie Sanders was trying to move his party back to the left. What the Libertarians failed to do this election was to show that a third party could decisively make inroads against a megalomaniac and an unpopular career politician. How do you change the system without a billion dollars in your back pocket and an apathetic, distracted populace?