By Harley Austin | United States
The 2018 Arizona Senator elections is now just around the corner with primaries on August 28th and general elections on November 6th. Unfortunately, this upcoming senate race has attracted some controversies, notably with the Arizona Libertarian Party. In response to a recent lawsuit which took all the previous Libertarian candidates off the Arizona Senate ballot, Adam Kokesh, a libertarian activist and future 2020 presidential candidate, has announced that he will be running for Arizona Senator.
Arizona, a notoriously “red” state, has a good number of libertarians, like most states in that region. In 2016, Gary Johnson won about 4.1% of the Arizonan vote, which is a higher percentage of libertarians than other states. However, recently Arizona’s Republican Party and Libertarian Party have had a several disputes between them.
For years, the Libertarians have claimed that Arizona’s ballot signature laws are being used by the Republicans to suppress their party. One recent law, which its Republican backer admitted was meant to make it easier for the Republican Party to win elections, changed the amount of signatures a Libertarian candidate would need to be on the ballot, from around 130 to over 3000. In addition to this, a recent Republican lawsuit resulted in all 2018 Libertarian candidates being removed from the ballot. This prompted Barry Hess, a former candidate for Arizona governor, and later Adam Kokesh, a libertarian activist and Arizona resident, to join the race as Libertarian write-in candidates.
Adam Kokesh has been a prominent libertarian activist for over a decade. Kokesh, a former US Marine, has been a key figure in anti-war activism and other libertarian movements since 2007. His devotion to the libertarian cause and commitment to activism and civil disobedience has brought him fame among the libertarian community, along with numerous arrests. In 2015, Kokesh released his book Freedom!, which describes his views on government and why it should be abolished. Freedom! would become a major success, with millions of copies sold and downloaded and numerous translations becoming available. This brought him more fame and admiration from libertarians, especially anarcho-capitalists, and made him a major figure of the movement.
Governments are the greatest cause of violence in the world today. They are coercive monopolies with only an illusion of public support. Everything they do is based on a presumed right to point guns at people who are acting peacefully.” -Adam Kokesh, Freedom!
However, his biggest claim to fame has been his future 2020 Presidential candidacy. In 2018, Kokesh announced that he will be running for president, or “Not-President” as he and his supporters have put it, as a Libertarian. His proposed presidential policies have been centered around abolishing the federal government, which made him a go-to political figure for anarcho-capitalists. While his radical approach and beliefs have brought skepticism among some libertarians, his support continues to grow, which may help in the Arizona Senate race. It’s unknown how the senate race will impact his presidential campaign, but it can be assumed that the campaign will continue if he does not win the senate election in November.
For the Senate campaign, Kokesh’s more radical advocacy of abolishing the federal government has been replaced with a slightly toned down message of “[getting] the federal government out of your way.” This is most likely meant to appeal to the average libertarian voter. Despite this, Kokesh’s uncompromising libertarian principles and policies are still very present in his platform. His proposed policies include ending the drug war, ending government spying, abolishing taxes, protecting cryptocurrencies, ending foreign wars, and helping US veterans.
As a veteran himself, ending the US’ interventionist foreign policy and helping veterans is one of Kokesh’s most prominent messages. In his own words, “as a US Senator, I will visit as many of the troops as possible. I will look them in the eyes and tell them that I was one of them, that they are not fighting for freedom, that we have been lied to, and that I will do everything I can to ensure not even one more American soldier dies for lies ever again.” These views could help him win support among Arizona’s high population of veterans, which is over 500,000.
With the primaries coming soon, along with an already turbulent and competitive climate among the LP and GOP, Kokesh has a long way to go in order to win the Arizona Senate race. Whether or not his campaign works out, this proves Kokesh’s true dedication to the liberty movement. With the 2018 senate elections and 2020 presidential elections soon to come, Kokesh’s involvement in the political realm will only continue to grow. Could Kokesh be a rising star in the libertarian movement? Only time will tell.
To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.