A silver lining to the Trump cloud?

August 19, 2016

Here’s an interesting column by Nick Gillespie at Reason’s blog. I’m not sure that I agree with it, or with Lisa De Pasquale’s column.

Why Libertarians (and Other 3rd Parties) Should Thank Donald Trump
On substance and style, he’s a dumpster fire on steroids, with a hit of crack. But he’s shown how easy it is to destroy a major party.

With just three months to go before the long national nightmare that is Election 2016 transmogrifies into a either a Hillary Clinton or a Donald Trump presidency(!), let’s take a late-summer moment to squeeze some lemonade from lemons. Whatever happens in November, all of us who have political perspectives that are routinely discounted or dismissed by the Republican-Democratic duopoly should thank Donald Trump for creating a blueprint to power for us. […]

The simple fact is, as conservative commentator and Finding Mr. Righteous author Lisa De Pasquale, writes,

There has been much hand-wringing among the right on where Republicans go now that Trump has “destroyed” the party. They complain that the Republican Party has left them, while millions of Trump voters and libertarians believe party leaders and professional pundits left them decades ago. Regardless of whether the #NeverTrump crowd has valid points, it is clear that Trump has done libertarians a favor in busting the Old Guard of Republican kingmakers. The Old Guard isn’t mad that Trump doesn’t represent their principles, but that they no longer hold any power in picking the top of the ticket. The proof is that rather than get behind Gary Johnson, they’d rather trot out a candidate with zero name recognition or campaign infrastructure.


“A dumpster fire on steroids, with a hit of crack”… Heh!

The problem I have with Ms. De Pasquale’s argument is this: how many reasonably libertarian figures have Trump’s name recognition (or decades of self-aggrandizement)? I can’t think of any, aside from Penn Jillette. And offhand, I don’t think Penn has the personality to be a successful politician.

But maybe what Trump has done proves me wrong. Need someone who’s outspoken and has opinions not generally accepted by establishment figures? That’s Penn, idnit?

Hmmm… I’d probably vote for him. And Teller’s a pretty committed libertarian too… That’s it: Penn/Teller in 2020!

I got $100 says they’d win both Austin and Anchorage.

Update 8/31/16

But perhaps I spoke too quickly. Here’s a recently-published clip of Penn talking about libertarianism and US politics. It takes a few surprising turns.

I’m not fan of the Crony Capitalism Penn gets on about, but I’m even less fond of Crony Government. And that’s what socialist governments frequently end up being. I’m not sure why Senator Sanders’s implementation would be a whole lot different than Hugo Chávez’s.


  1. The fissures in the GOP have been a long time building. The primary has demonstrated how little the party reflects the general electorate, much less the growing number of independents. Perhaps that’s where a new party emerges, in the middle?

  2. Jnana – Agreed that the R’s fault lines are wide open. The play to Social Conservatives that started in the 60s & 70s seems to have run its course with the Trump nomination. (And it’s sort of remarkable that there’s a little of that in the D party too: Sanders’ 180-proof socialism vs Clinton’s more traditional approach of paternal government.)

    Where & when a new party emerges is an interesting question. The story of the founding of the Republican party is an interesting read. In that case, it took an issue of paramount importance to drive the event — correcting the Founders’ grave error of allowing slavery. (I get the politics of revolutionary times but, good gravy! We’re still living with the consequences of that mistake.)

    Do we have a comparable issue today? There are any number of problems (fill in the blanks as you like) but I don’t know that any of those by itself is comparable to the political stresses caused by slavery 160 years ago.

    I don’t see any single issue that would galvanize a sufficient number of voters to back a new party. No one’s written “The Battle Hymn of the INS,” for example (or ever will).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: