What the hell will happen to the Libertarian Party in 2020 if Hillary Clinton is elected in 2016?
A Hillary win will not be good for the LP, because the GOP will likely rebuild and can probably come up with a better nominee than Captain Lunatic. And examining Republicans, I’d be happy to see someone such as Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Bruce Rauner, or my ideal candidate, Jeff Flake, take over the GOP in 2020 and walk into the White House. I’d also very likely be able to stomach a vote for Ted Cruz, Bruce Rauner or Paul Ryan if the LP failed to get a stronger candidate, and I’d donate to a Flake or Brian Sandoval campaign.
For the DNC, I predict Hillary Clinton convinces Liz Warren to not primary her in 2020 and the hard left puts up someone such as Zephyr Teachout or another leftist Bernie Sanders clone.
2020 will likely be Ryan v Clinton, where Paul wins, I don’t complain much and the LP gets about .5%.
Yet, who will run for the LP nomination?
TIER ONE: THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Austin Petersen: A guy who has no resume at all which ran a negative campaign in 2016 focused on spreading rumors about the eventual nominee and trying to cater to the Rand Paul crowd who evolved into a hardcore borderline anarchist. Yet, since his loss, I’ve noticed an online cult saying “Oh, Austin would have won!” if he was the nominee. I don’t know how someone running on a platform which included ending drivers licenses and who said he’d have hesitated if he was in the Senate on the Civil Rights Act is a winner nationally when he loses 2 to 1 in an LP primary. I can see Bill O’Reilly doing a segment on his show saying, “Those smart libertarians are at it again. First thong boy and now the guy who does live stream videos talking about legalizing crack while dressed as a pirate.” I just don’t see ANY chance he breaks .5% and doesn’t humiliate the movement somehow. He seems like he has a place in the movement, but not as a perennial presidential candidate. Yet, if he can run for the Senate from Missouri as a libertarian and break 5% of the vote there, I’d probably end up giving him a second look as a candidate. It’d prove I was wrong and he was right regarding his content.
Larry Sharpe: Larry is a nice guy and I think would probably make the best gubernatorial candidate in NYLP history. However, I have two criticisms. 1) I can’t get a sense of his background. It doesn’t seem that his business is really that large; when I read on a bio that someone is a motivational speaker, I normally want to avoid that person. 2) I see a lot of people online think he’s a very good speaker and while I agree he speaks well, I don’t normally get the vibe of candidate from him. I kind of get a bit more of the vibe he’s talking to a local high school about libertarianism.
Adam Kokesh: Adam is a potential candidate I like a lot, and some people might ask me why, since he is an anarchist and I’m not. He’s a better activist than Austin Petersen. He’s actually really good at what he does. He ran for Congress as a republican in 2010 being a veteran and I believe earned over 30% of the vote in New Mexico, with Gary Johnson being one of those votes. But, there are a few things from Adam’s past that could be potential liabilities to the movement.
Nicholas Sarwark/Kevin McCormick: This is my ideal ticket for the LP in 2020. Nick is a good chairman who has done more national TV interviews over any of the other names combined. He has some typical nerdy quirks, but the guy probably can be viable and communicate to all edges of the movement. For Kevin McCormick, I will go out on a limb and say if he announced his 2016 campaign in January, he’d have likely come in third place over McAfee. The reason I like Kevin is pretty simple. For Being Libertarian, we were looking at setting up a Google hangout debate and asked him if he’d want to do it. He actually shot us back a message saying “No” and said it was due to his feelings it wouldn’t be of good quality. Looking at that and how the LP was flooded with terrible debates in 2016 where our candidates looked like fools to a lot of interested people, a voice like that automatically gets some love from me. Also, Kevin ran a simple platform which was libertarian and addressed real points. Of anyone who ran in the 2016 field for president or VP in the LP, Kevin has the brightest future.
In the actual election, though, I’d doubt Sarwark/McCormick would break 1%. I also see a little issue with them both being residents of Arizona where under current law they couldn’t be on the ballot together. Yet that’s four years away; one of them can move!
TIER TWO: THE GOP COLLAPSING TIER.
This list is very similar to my 2020 list if Trump wins, but this just relies on someone insane such as Linda McMahon doing a joke campaign in 2020 and she somehow wins the Republican nomination. While I doubt it’d be a smackdown, the alt-right will probably find someone stupid or a Republican such as Scott Walker or Joe Walsh. Here are some Republicans who might find a home in the LP.
Jeff Flake: Yet, great senator and I’d encourage him to run.
Mark Sanford: Probably the one most likely to do this seeing how he would struggle in a GOP primary due to previous personal issues. He was a great governor and is a solid member of the House.
Scott Rigell: Any Republican who endorsed Gary deserves a nod. His issue is just lack of name recognition outside of Virginia. He could, however, with the right running mate, become viable in some sort of Trump v Clinton 2.0.
Gary Johnson: Hey, I know that guy! Seriously though, if the LP can’t find anyone else, I’d support a last minute draft campaign to stop the usual suspects tier.
Any of the state senators or assembly to recently switch parties: At least they’ve been elected to offices higher than dog catcher!
TIER THREE: THE GUYS WHO COULD PULL IT OFF
This list is comprised of people I believe who could run in 2020, yet with a Clinton v Ryan race and actually do things such as raise over five million dollars, get over 5% in the polls, be taken seriously and make national news. This is nowhere as near as strong as list two, but it can work.
Tim Draper: Not at all known by the liberty community, but I want everyone to Google him. He’s a self-made billionaire who has invested in SpaceX, Tesla and several other companies. He also worked to try and cut California into six states and is an advocate of public school choice. If he ran and pledged 30 million, which is similar to what he did for school choice, yet I’m 100% confident he could break 5% in the election.
John Mackey: This dude is awesome. The hipster libertarian founder of Whole Foods who bikes constantly and is a college dropout that formed a multi-billion dollar company. In the event of a Clinton win, I want to interview this guy and beg him to run in 2020.
Justin Amash: I don’t see Justin Amash being able to make much more progress as a Congressman. It doesn’t seem like he’s making many friends. Yet, at this point, he should travel the country campaign for other Congressional candidates.
Penn Jillette: Would he win and get taken very seriously? No. Will he get major interviews, have everyone know who he is and be able to communicate the tenets of liberarianism well? Yes!
Peter Schiff: I’m not a big fan of Schiff; I like some of what he has to say, but question a lot of his financial predictions. Overall though, I do think him holding financial contacts and CNBC contacts can allow him at least some shot at hitting the 2% zone. I, in a world where Jill Stein gets a few national nods, see no issue with his kind of classic boiler room attitude as the face for libertarianism.
I’m going to close and say my ideal pick in 2020 would probably be Gary Johnson/Tim Draper. In the event of a Clinton v Ryan race, it will require a different type of VP. I feel Gary bringing a name and brand to the table where Draper brings Silicon Valley is the correct move to progress this. I’m however looking at the Clinton win and sadly seeing not a huge amount of options with the LP.
This post was written by Charles Peralo.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.