Activism

Four Big Issues Libertarians Bring to the Table in Elections

The police state rooted in the war on drugs, civil liberties, crony capitalism, and militarism. In other words, the big issues that affect society and humanity as a whole rather than partisan economic concerns or identity politics.

By Ed Krayewski

Reason

Election Day 2014 is just two weeks away and Libertarian candidates are going to be a factor—just as they have been throughout the election cycle. There are 37 “top-line” Libertarian candidates—candidates in statewide, top-of-the-ticket races—across the country, with several polling above the spread and a few even allowed into televised debates. As Brian Doherty notes, final results are unlikely to be as optimistic as current polling. However, the growing popularity of Libertarian candidates is indicative of the growing importance of issues and positions championed by Libertarians. The issues Libertarians bring into the spotlight when they run for office aren’t issues that are going away with the end of the election cycle, and you can even expect some of them to be adopted by candidates from the two major parties.

1. Marijuana Legalization

It used to be derogatory—libertarians are just a bunch of pot-smokers who want to legalize weed. Now it seems prescient. That transformation of a core libertarian platform position from something considered a quirky and unrealistic policy objective to cutting-edge policy has helped create this Libertarian Party moment, as Brian Doherty observed earlier this month.

While marijuana legalization is becoming more popular among the electorate, and legal in places like Colorado and Washington, it is still widely resisted by the two major parties. Colorado’s own Democrat governor, up for re-election in November, has been going around the state calling voters’ decision to legalize “reckless” (he doesn’t like that Colorado tried a policy no other state’s tried before).

Or consider Florida, where the Republican governor Rick Scott is facing former Republican governor turned Democrat Charlie Crist. Crist says he’s voting for an amendment on the ballot to legalize medical marijuana as an issue of “compassion.” But when a left wing group attacked Crist for supporting some of the “harshest marijuana laws in the country,” PolitiFact rated it Mostly False because… the harsh laws he signed were almost unanimously supported, meaning they were backed by Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature. It’s the same story around the country—and Libertarians provide an alternative.

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