Libertarians should vote Democrat in 2018

Luke Widenhouse, Contributor

As more and more high-school students register to vote, or perhaps even prepare to vote themselves, the question arises as to which party one should support. Obviously, the progressive voter will go in favor of the Democratic Party, while the conservative voter will go in favor of the Republicans. But what of the libertarian-inclined voter? Despite common belief, that voter would be much better advised to vote Democrat.

Simply put, libertarianism is a broad collection of ideologies which stress liberty as a core principle. The terms, “left,” and, “right,” can be added to libertarianism to distinguish two different libertarian positions.

Left-libertarianism is an ideology which stresses both individual liberty and equality. By contrast, right-libertarianism is an ideology (mostly in the United States) which argues strongly in favor of private property, civil liberties, and limited government intervention in the economy. While left- and right-libertarianism are drastically different, we libertarians are united by support for individual liberty and a belief that power is a dangerous force that must be watched and kept limited.

It’s frustrating that the Libertarian Party has no influence on politics at the national level, and has won only a handful of state legislatures in the past decade. The Libertarian Party is also unattractive for left-leaning and moderate libertarians due to its more radical stances against any type of regulation or government intervention in the economy.

Therefore, the libertarian voter must choose between the two main parties—Democrat and Republican.

Most libertarian voters will go for the GOP. After all, the Republican Party has produced some of the most famous libertarian-leaning politicians. People like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson were both Republicans before defecting to the Libertarian Party.

For extremely radical right-libertarians of the Ron Paul variety, the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party may seem to be a dream come true. For the moderate libertarian, the Republicans’ support for lower income taxes and free markets will also be appealing.

However, the libertarian voter would do far better supporting the Democratic Party. While the Republicans claim to support policies of individual liberty and limited government, their actions directly contradict this assertion. It is the Republican Party that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and ultimately the freedom of people to make their own choices about their bodies or their private lives. It is the Republican Party which has repeatedly failed to stand up for civil liberties, first with the PATRIOT Act and later with their repeating condonement of National Security Agency’s (NSA) warrantless surveillance, telephone wiretapping, and the gradual stripping of such fundamental values as trial by jury and due process. We, as libertarians, cannot allow our passionate beliefs in markets blind us to the repeated attacks on the Bill of Rights that the Republicans have committed.

The Republicans have further shown their utter disregard for individual liberty through their repeated pushes against immigration and free movement of people. They have pushed spending cuts, yet they continue to raise defense spending to eye-watering levels.

On the ideal of the free market, the Republicans have consistently demonstrated their support for large corporations. For those who truly care about free markets, the Democratic Party has demonstrated their support for competition and prices as means of economic activity.

The Democratic Freedom Caucus, while relatively small and without any elected officials at a nationwide level, promotes many left-libertarian ideals including support for civil liberties, personal freedom, and property tax.

No one will ever completely agree with a party. What one must do is align with the party which they agree with most. The Democratic Party’s support for civil liberties, the rule of law, free movement of people and opposition towards continued United States involvement in foreign wars all align with freedom-oriented ideals.