Fresh off the Trump 2016 victory, it seems the future is bright for the liberty movement. But now that outsiders have a voice in the administration, will they lose their momentum?
“We have no future. We nominated someone more liberal than Hillary Clinton to be President, and we had a fat naked guy speak at our convention,” a despondent millennial expressed on social media regarding Libertarians’ recent bid for the 2016 election.
But many young libertarians interviewed by Red Alert Politics expressed optimism about expanding their movement into the next four years. Most importantly, they believe a Trump presidency will take them far. While Donald Trump is not a libertarian, he offers one of the most conservative cabinets seen since Reagan, and that is a win for liberty.
After years of defending against the growth of government under Obama, Trump may be exactly what the liberty movement needs. They offer the chance to roll back government, and take the fight to the Left.
Not everything Trump stands for is beneficial, but there are things to get behind, libertarian commentator Julie Borowski tells Red Alert.
“Trump can help advance the liberty movement by reducing or eliminating taxes, repealing Obamacare, auditing the Federal Reserve, undoing some gun control legislation like import bans, and removing burdensome regulations on businesses,” she said.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been trying to audit the Fed for years, and it has never gotten the support it needs. But with Trump in office and looking to “drain the swamp,” the liberty movement may be checking off their entire wish list.
FreedomWorks has been on the ground fighting for liberty since the beginning. They have made it a selling point to protect Scalia’s seats, cut the budget with OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, rollback regulations with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and scrap ObamaCare with HHS Secretary Tom Price. The organization sees a bright future with Trump.
“We are very excited for the opportunity that we have to advance liberty right now,” Noah Wall, the national director of campaigns at FreedomWorks told Red Alert.
Cliff Maloney, president of the Young Americans for Liberty, thinks Trump can most advance liberty by enforcing campus free speech.
“President Trump even tweeted about how serious of an issue free speech is on campus,” he told Red Alert. “I met with the Trump transition team right before the inauguration to discuss YAL’s national Fight for Free Speech campaign. I hope that the Trump Administration holds public universities accountable, and works to ensure that they protect the First Amendment rights of all their students.”
For others, the issues are more industry-specific. Mahbod Moghadam, the libertarian founder of Everipedia.com, told Red Alert he hopes the President will limit regulations while in office.
“What matters to me, personally, the most is for Trump to ease regulations on financial markets – more companies need to be able to IPO! It is absurd that Uber and Airbnb have not IPO’d yet – it shows that something is truly wrong,” Moghadam, who describes himself as generally apolitical, said.
Stephen Bader, a young libertarian from Omaha, Nebraska, says he would vote again for Trump in 2020.
“In another world, I would be all for Dr. Paul for 2020 vision…or for Sasse, or Massie, or Amash…or so on!” he said emphatically. “But for now, I’m very optimistic, and quite pleased at how well the strategy of infiltration has worked thus far!”
There are, however, areas of concern. Both Borowski and Maloney mentioned NSA spying and tax regulations as major issues they found with Trump.
“He’s in favor of NSA spying and has said positive things about stop and frisk,” Borowski said. “Both violate the Fourth Amendment. He’s in support of tariffs that will be paid by US consumers in the form of higher prices. Protectionism is not a free market principle.”
Leadership Institute’s Nathan Fatal says a Trump presidency offers a “mixed bag” of rewards and issues. However, a major positive is that Trump helped attract apathetic millennials to the liberty movement through political activism.
“For a lot of libertarians, he was a wake-up call – like him or not. He’s assuming a lot of executive power, while at the same time taking unprecedented action that a lot of libertarians like,” Fatal says.
Fatal added that engaging millennials on social media would carry the movement further. Others agree. In an interview with former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), Maloney said he first became engaged in the liberty movement by watching YouTube videos.
David Haas, Director of Mission Advancement for CatholicVote and formerly on the Trump campaign, told Red Alert the movement would only move forward by cooperation between Republicans and Libertarians.
“We libertarians have the same faults of our opposition, and are too stuck in the ivory tower to realize that we simply aren’t connecting with the same values the working class that elected Trump hold,” Haas said. “And we very much have a similar taste for jobs, a strong economy, and a responsible/ accountable government. We need to put down the Rothbard and talk to the working class again, fostering a dialogue about the real, tangible benefits of our empowering philosophy.”