Tag: LP

Meet the 2020 Libertarian Candidates

Kevin Damato | @KevinCDamato

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, there is much talk about the boisterous and ever-growing democratic field. However, the 3rd largest American political party, the Libertarian Party, also has a primary ahead of them.

In 2016, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was able to garner small doses of media attention. However, the 2020 libertarian candidates seem rather unknown. Information on the candidates is limited, but outlets like Chris Spangle’s “We Are Libertarians Network” have done their best through their presidential candidate and debate series hosted by Hodey Johns.

Note that this is not a conclusive list of all candidates. Rather this is a short description of the most prominent figures who have announced their campaigns.

Continue reading “Meet the 2020 Libertarian Candidates”

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Maj Toure is Running for Philadelphia City Council

Kevin Damato | @KevinCDamato

Maj Toure, an activist and founder of the Black Guns Matter educational movement, recently announced his candidacy for Philadelphia City Council At-Large.

Maj is running under the guise of the Libertarian Party, but exaggerating his grassroots and solution-based style. Maj’s appearance as an outsider separates him from the “self-interested, politically corrupt posers” who he says currently run the city.

Continue reading “Maj Toure is Running for Philadelphia City Council”

Grading President Trump’s Libertarianism: Personal Liberty

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address marks the midway point of his first term. This is the first of four articles to analyze his policies and how well they relate to the Libertarian Party’s platform and libertarianism in general.

The four points to be analyzed are:

  • Personal Liberty
  • Economic Liberty
  • Securing Liberty
  • Overall Liberty

The Presidents policies will be analyzed with regards to how well I believe they correlate with the LP’s platform.

Self-Ownership, Expression and Communication, Privacy

President Trump’s appointment of two anti-marijuana legalizations Attorney Generals (Jeff Sessions, William Barr) and his expansion of the Drug War, most especially concerning opioids and the wall, are attacks on self-ownership. When it comes to substance use, he favors an authoritarian approach to substance use.

Self-Ownership Grade: D

His attacks on NFL players for kneeling to highlight the need for criminal justice reform, as well as to support immigrants from Muslim-dominant countries, are violations of freedom of self-expression. At the same time, he created a special class of citizens for law enforcement officers and public employees in which crimes against them would be legally treated as hate crime. However, he has not taken much legal action to stifle expression which means the government is not growing in this area.

Expression and Communication Grade: C

President Trump hasn’t ended the NSA/DHS spying on American citizens, despite complaining about being bugged by President Obama. Our President has demonized Edward Snowden but praised Wikileaks. Basically, he only supports whistleblowers when it helps him. Justice Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court despite his anti-Fourth Amendment writings. Many credit Kavanaugh’s legal writings for building justification for the surveillance state.

Privacy Grade: D

Personal Relationships, Abortion, and Parental Rights

President Trump has not made an issue out of defining marriage. If he continues the hands-off approach on government involvement in marriage, that would aid his score. Removing government from personal relationships is the preference. However, he has been antagonistic toward transgender persons regarding bathroom usage and has banned them from military service. I see this as the all too familiar republican story of only being for small government when personal beliefs coincide.

Personal Relationships: C

Early in his administration, President Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, which keeps Federal funding from being used to pay for international abortions. Later, he authorized State governments to stop funding Planned Parenthood. Both moves reduced the amount of State involvement in the abortion issue. However, he does advocate for legislation to ban various forms of abortion, which re-engages the State on the issue. Many are concerned that he has stacked the Supreme Court with Justices who will overturn legal precedent on the issue.

Abortion Grade: C

President Trump appointed Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, signaling a commitment to end Federal involvement in our education. In this capacity, DeVos has worked to eliminate Federal involvement while promoting private and home-schooling options. Additionally, our President signed an Executive Order aimed at curtailing the amount of Federal involvement allowed in education.

Education Grade: A

Crime and Justice, Death Penalty, Self-Defense

The First Step Act is a great opening salvo at a larger and more comprehensive criminal justice reform. Trump has talked about going further on this issue. Yet, his expansion of the Drug War that criminalizes victim-less crimes and his State-centered approach on sex-trafficking contradicts a libertarian stance on crime and justice.

Crime and Justice Grade: B

President Trump is in favor of the administration of the death penalty by the State.

Death Penalty Grade: F

Our President portrays himself a champion of gun ownership rights. He has opposed various attempts at gun control on the Federal level. However, he banned bump stocks and advocates for enhanced background checks.  He also supports red flag laws. He has also expressed support for Senator Feinstein to pass Assault Weapon Bans. In terms of immigration, private property owners deserve the right to enforce their property boundaries, even on our international border with Mexico, however they see fit. Immigration reform should address that reality.

Self-Defense Grade: B

Rating Trump on personal liberty, I give him a C (2.0). He could really harm his score if he continues promoting State-centered solutions at the expense of individual rights. I am truly rooting for him to improve that score.

Stay tuned for the next article in which I will grade Trump’s policies on Economic Liberty.


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Libertarian Jeff Hewitt Delivers Passionate SOTU Response

Sanders Jett-Folk | United States

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump presented his long-awaited State of the Union address to the American people. The Libertarian Party, represented by Riverside County (CA) Board of Supervisors member Jeff Hewitt, quickly gave a passionate response to the President’s address. In doing so, they hoped to unite Americans in the face of political division.

Jeff Hewitt: Bringing Americans Together?

Of the many themes that Hewitt presented in his statement, bringing Americans together was among the most important.

Hewitt stated that despite the division that Democrats and Republicans are trying to cause in our country, “…Americans are finding new ways to work together, to prosper, to help each other and to help themselves.”

He went on to say that new markets, voluntary exchange of ideas and goods, and innovation has “given all of us new ways to learn, to communicate, to travel, to heal ourselves, and to heal our world.”

He also denounced fearmongering politicians, such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump; Hewitt claimed they “try to frighten Americans by pronouncing disaster after disaster, which they say only they can save us from.”

Progress In America

A strong focus of Jeff Hewitt’s powerful statement was how far America has come over the years.

Hewitt spoke of America’s “agricultural and technological revolution” and expansion of “the circle of humanity to embrace the natural rights of people who were previously beaten down by centuries of oppression.”

One point made was how crime rates have decreased; “Here in America, violent crime rates have plummeted by 74 percent since their peak in 1993.”

Another strong assertion came about the decline of rampant poverty. “Since 1990, 1 billion people have transcended extreme poverty,” Hewitt said.

This fantastic progress, in Hewitt’s words, is the result of our laws holding “arbitrary political power subject to the rule of law.”

Limiting Government

Hewitt then discussed what the Libertarian Party firmly believes is holding our nation back: the government.

Speaking against rampant discrimination and division, Hewitt asserted that “Old-party politicians seek to divide us by nationality, by race, by religion, by gender and sexuality, and by any other means they can think of to create categories of people whose rights somehow matter less than the rest of ours.” He then affirmed the Libertarian belief that “All Americans should be equal before the law”.

Moving onto our economic situation, Hewitt stated that “Our federal government lacks fiscal discipline. Our national debt has skyrocketed to almost $22 trillion.” Affirming another Libertarian belief, he stated: “It is not acceptable for politicians to rack up this kind of debt.”

Hewitt then spoke out against the “absurd security theater” of the TSA, and the NSA’s “unconstitutional mass spying on Americans”. To summarize, “End the surveillance state!”

Continuing the Libertarian Party’s grievances against the government, Jeff Hewitt spoke against rampant war, stating that “Never-ending wars make Americans less safe.” He also renounced the “acts of cruelty” occurring against peaceful immigrants at the Southern border: “The United States should welcome immigrants.”

A Libertarian Future

Hewitt affirmed that the Libertarian Party can bring Americans together in this era of divisiveness.

“Libertarians stand against these injustices, and for the proposition that Americans deserve better”, he testified. “While Republicans and Democrats careen toward socialism and fascism, Libertarians stand for the timeless principles of justice; the self-evident truths of individual freedom; and the rights of every person to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

He went on to state that “Americans are better than our current government,” and noted that “elected Libertarians are already hard at work cutting taxes, slashing red tape, shrinking government, and offering thoughtful, pragmatic solutions to day-to-day problems.”

He ended his address by inviting people to “join [the Libertarian Party], as we seek peace, prosperity, and liberty for every American.”

Jeff Hewitt, the former Libertarian mayor of Calimesa, California, narrowly won a seat on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in 2018. He represents the county’s 5th district. He defeated his opponent, former Republican Assemblyman Russ Bogh, with 51.9% of the vote. Many saw the race as a critical victory for the Libertarian Party, as Riverside County’s population is greater than that of 15 states. His delivery of the official Libertarian response shows how crucial this victory was.


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Libertarians Can Make the Most Progress in Local Government

Josh Hughes | United States

The Libertarian Party has proven that on the federal level, it is largely inept and incapable of winning elections. In fact, it has not had much success at the state level, either. The 2016 and 2018 elections were a huge opportunity for the party growth, but both were a flop. The national party is a mess without a clear leader or strong candidates. Many state parties are suffering from the same dilemma. Rather than wasting time and resources on national elections, the libertarian party needs to think local. Libertarians can not only have a better chance of success in local elections but also can do the most good for libertarianism. 

The Impact of Libertarians in Local Government

It is true that many local level seats are largely nonpartisan. “What difference does it make if a Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian is in charge of zoning regulations?” one may ask. The Libertarian party desperately needs elected officials in local government, before they can dream about a Libertarian in the Oval Office. 

City Council and Mayors Office

When it comes to the partisan seats, Libertarians can be very instrumental. The mayor and city councilmen control a lot of what happens in terms of city taxes and spending. Libertarians on a city councilor in a mayors office can lower local sales tax. They can also promote small business operation within their jurisdiction. They can decide what major projects the city will invest in. In some rare instances, cities can even decide whether to prosecute certain crimes. An example of such would be Baltimore recently deciding to not prosecute marijuana possession cases. Cities also have the power to decide what the minimum wage will be in the city. Combatting the left-wing cries for raising minimum wages, city by the city could be instrumental to the liberty movement. There are many things that local governments do that impact the everyday lives of citizens. 

State Legislature

Of course, growing their presence in state Assemblies and Senate could prevent either party from passing big spending bills. They could even form coalitions with liberty leaning members of either party to pass libertarian legislation. Peoples’ lives are much more directly impacted by local and state governments then they are the federal government. 

Looking To The Future

The Libertarian Party is not going to win any big elections in the near future. The next few years should be a period of rebuilding for the party, where they can develop a unified platform and leadership. It will also be a good time for them garner more support from the average American, who is currently facing a very polarized and divided nation. If the Libertarian Party wants to experience success in the coming years, it is important that they become more involved in local level politics, as well as work to gain the respect and trust of the average voter. You can’t win the presidency overnight, but you can certainly grow the movement in local governments, state legislatures, up to the House, up to the Governor’s office, the Senate, and then maybe one day, the White House. 


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