The former 1988 Libertarian nominee and 2008 and 2012 Republican candidate for president(ial nomination -p) says Trump is just a temporary setback for the libertarian moment.
Distrust in America’s foreign and monetary policies, unrelieved by the election of Donald Trump, is going to be a “big opening” for libertarians in 2020, former Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul told the Washington Examiner.
Trump was able to co-opt much of the messaging [against -p] an establishment that has maintained a bipartisan consensus on these issues without offering much of substance to voters committed to the values of freedom.
“The appearance of the libertarian movement has been set back partially because of Trump, but intellectually we’ve been doing well,” Paul said. “We as libertarians have some work to do before [voters] are going to accept a true-blue libertarian, but I think moving in that direction and having a popular candidate is very possible” in 2020.
“We’re on the verge of something like what happened in ’89 when the Soviet system just collapsed,” Paul told the Examiner. “I’m just hoping our system comes apart as gracefully.”
The Examiner noted that Paul doesn’t think the U.S. will break up the way that the Soviet Union did, but rather that the U.S. will have to deal with its unsustainable foreign policy and the Fed-driven monetary policy that helps fuel it.
“I think our stature in the world and our empire will end, and that’s when, hopefully, the doors will be open and [people will] say, ‘Hey, maybe these libertarians have some answers to this’,” Paul told the Examiner. “If they only hear our message, I know they would choose liberty and sound money and freedom and peace over the mess we have today.”
“I think the foreign policy is a total disaster,” Paul told the Examiner.”Trump’s approach sounds good one day but the next day he’s antagonizing everyone in the world and thinks we should start a war here and there.”
Paul also said he’d be delighted if Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been a disaster for civil liberties, although he’s not optimistic the replacement would be any better.
“This time when we have a permanent war on terrorism there’s no backing off — and with the war on immigrants, and the borders,” he said. “Anybody who thinks we’re not doing too badly has not been flying on an airplane lately. That’s about as authoritarian-fascism as you can get.”
Paul said government policies that steer money to the wealthy create understandable anger among poorer Americans — pointing to the success of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, in his 2016 campaign for the Democratic nomination. Paul said a libertarian answer, halting inflation and “crony capitalism,” would result in more freedom.
IPR note: Steven Nelson’s article at the Examiner says that Ron Paul was referring to a prospective libertarian Republican primary challenge to President Trump, but Krayewski at reason uses uncapitalized libertarian throughout the article and capitalizes it in the title along with every other word. Nelson’s original headline is about a GOP primary challenge, but if Ron Paul actually told him whether he was referring to a libertarian Republican candidate or a Libertarian Party candidate in the general election, it was left out of anything actually put in quotes in the article.
It is possible, as far as we know at this time, that Paul just referred to “libertarian” verbally and Nelson assumed he meant libertarian Republican. However, it’s also possible that Ron Paul made the “Republican” part explicit and it was just left out of his quotes in the article. As Krayewski notes, Ron Paul took both approaches at various times in his political career. From what I have read elsewhere, he personally quit the GOP for a second time just after the end of their 2012 national convention.