US Libertarians met for their National Convention in Washington DC late last month, where they heard from a range of speakers and selected their presidential candidate. However, this was unlike any other Libertarian National Convention – in fact, it was unlike any prior political party convention in US history.


The headline speaker for the Libertarian National Convention was the 45th President of the United States and presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 Presidential Election, Donald Trump. Never before in US history has a rival political candidate addressed a political party convention.

While much of the Trump-hating media described the speech as being met with a chorus of booing and heckling, that was not entirely accurate. While Trump certainly faced one of his most hostile crowds, there were several points where he managed to draw cheers from the libertarians. One of those moments probably marks the biggest political win for libertarians in history.

US Libertarians have their biggest opportunity to meaningfully influence the political landscape, ironically by running fewer candidates.


During his speech, Trump gave Libertarians an ultimatum: continue wining a meaningless three percent of the vote or join me and win together. Along with promising to free Ross Ulbricht, the founder and operator of Silk Road, Trump pledged to appoint libertarians to his cabinet and senior positions of government. And while there are genuine questions regarding the trustworthiness of Trump’s word, he is absolutely right.

The Libertarian Party, particularly within the US electoral system, will never win a single meaningful election. In over 20 years, the Libertarians have only won one of the possible 8,161 seats available in any federal, state or territorial congress. Having libertarians in Trump’s cabinet and senior levels of government would be a far more politically successful outcome for Libertarians than anything the Party has ever been able to achieve in its 53-year history.

The “The Party of Principle” needs to consider whether it is time to start putting principles over partisanship and accept that sometimes supporting someone else is the greatest force for liberty.

Trump pledged to appoint libertarians to his cabinet and senior positions of government.


Unfortunately, most of those in the room that day missed the boat, choosing to boo the former President for no other reason than that he is a former President and has an “R” next to his name. While I understand being derisive when non-libertarian policies are advocated at a Libertarian Convention, booing Trump for merely entering the room and approaching the podium is simply childish. Never have I been more embarrassed to be a libertarian.

Instead of embracing Trump’s offer, the Libertarians decided to nominate Chase Oliver: someone who publicly gushed over his favourite type of mask and virtue-signalled about how COVID-safe his family’s Thanksgiving dinner was. With a woke candidate, as well as Robert F. Kennedy Jr siphoning the protest vote, the Libertarian Party, faces an existential crisis. When Trump asked whether Libertarians would continue to be happy with three percent of the vote, he was being generous: the Libertarian Party will be lucky to achieve even one percent of the vote in this presidential race.


US Libertarians have their biggest opportunity to meaningfully influence the political landscape, ironically by running fewer candidates. Hopefully those within the Libertarian Party – and the “small-L” libertarians – can put their pride aside and see where this opportunity truly lies: alliances and influence.

Libertarians (both big and small-L) need to decide what matters more to them: clinging on to a meaningless three percent of the presidential vote (if they’re lucky) or having libertarians in the White House and senior government positions. It seems like an obvious choice to me.

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  1. Let’s look at the suggestion we sometimes hear that Libertarians should stay isolated so as to remain pure, even if at a 1% noise level of voter interest. If isolation is necessary, then Libertarians should also decline to ever be contaminated by winning a seat in any parliament, and then actually contributing to solutions in debates and committees.
    Of course, it would be nonsense to avoid winning a seat. In fact, have we ever seen the light of principled libertarianism from a lone member of a parliament? Well, yes we have. David Leyonhjelm! So it’s certainly possible to be a principled voice of Libertarianism in government.
    I would love the US Libertarians to support a candidate from another party that has similar fundamental principles of liberal democracy.


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