Should Lincoln Chafee invert a boot and place it on his head?
It might help him compete. The famous Republican turned Democratic politician from Rhode Island — former U.S. Senator and Governor, both, and sometime presidential hopeful — has filed to run for the presidency.
But as a Libertarian.
The Libertarian Party started out nearly fifty years ago as a venue for libertarians disgusted with Richard Nixon and the Republican Party to make a pitch to the American people to abandon the lying, thieving, murderous statism of our times and swap it for freedom. In the words of its first presidential nominee, philosopher John Hospers, the idea was to “challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.”
The Libertarian Party has pulled in supporters from left, right and center, but mostly from the GOP, as seen in a solid one third of its past presidential runs:
- former Republican elector Roger MacBride (1976)
- former and future Republican U.S. Representative Ron Paul (1988)
- former Republican U.S. Representative Bob Barr (2008)
- former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (2012; 2016)
The Libertarians are an earnest lot, trying to get the attention of earnest American voters by putting up men with political credentials. In the case of Gary Johnson’s last campaign, the strategy “paid off” with over 4.4 million votes. The LP attracts ambitious politicians and publicity seekers who do not quite fit in with the two parties, in no small part because Libertarians have done a great job of obtaining all-important ballot status in most if not all 50 states in presidential elections.
Libertarian Party members have so far avoided non-political celebrity candidates, such as the late activist and actor Russell Means (1988) and gonzo millionaire John McAfee (2012). Chafee would be the first Democratic pol to get the nomination. But he is running against some strong libertarian activists (Kim Ruff, Jo Jorgensen, Jacob Hornberger, et al.) as well as a return bid from McAfee (who also happens to be on the run from the IRS).
A parody candidate calling himself “Vermin Supreme” and running on a joke (and quite anti-freedom) platform (mandatory ponies for everyone!), has just won the Libertarian position in the New Hampshire Primary’s non-binding preference poll — 26 to Chafee’s 4, perhaps because he wears a boot on his head.
Tough competition for Chafee, who seems only a little more libertarian than Vermin.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.