Lincoln Chafee Announces 2020 Libertarian Party Presidential Campaign

Today, at the National Press Club in Washington, former Republican Senator, Independent Governor, and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, formally announced he is seeking the Libertarian Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

Born into a politically connected family, Chafee succeeded his father, John Chafee, as U.S. Senator in 1999 and established himself as a Liberal Republican, emphasizing support for gun control and environmental protections.  He was the only Senate Republican to vote against the authorization for the Iraq War in 2002, but supported the Patriot Act the previous year.  In the 2004 presidential election, he wrote-in former President George H.W. Bush.  Chafee was voted out of office in the Democratic wave election of 2006.  The next year he publicly endorsed the presidential campaign of future president Barack Obama and officially left the Republican Party.  He was elected Governor of Rhode Island as an Independent in 2010 but did not seek re-election.  He endorsed the re-election of President Obama in 2012 and joined the Democratic Party in 2013.  He sought the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination and participated in a widely criticized Democratic debate in which he called for the adoption of the metric system. Due to a lack of support, he withdrew before the primaries and endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

Chafee joined the Libertarian Party last March and said he was open to a presidential run in August.  He filed his candidacy with the FEC on January 5.

See video of his official announcement below:

Chafee joins a growing field of candidates that includes New Hampshire representative Max Abramson, anti-war activist Adam Kokesh, businessman John McAfee, former Vice chair Arvin Vohra, 1996 Vice presidential nominee Jo Jorgensen, 2000 presidential candidate Jacob Hornberger, software engineer Dan Behrman, Radical caucus vice chair Kim Ruff and performance artist Vermin Supreme.

Others speculated to make a run include former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, Independent Congressman Justin Amash, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, and businessman Rocky De La Fuente.

80 thoughts on “Lincoln Chafee Announces 2020 Libertarian Party Presidential Campaign

  1. William Saturn Post author

    Interesting discussion on this topic from Ballot Access News:

    Andy on January 8, 2020 at 8:35 am said:
    Going back one year ago, did anybody out there every consider Lincoln Chafee to be a libertarian, or consider him to be somebody they’d want as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President in 2020?

    I have been involved in the Libertarian Party and movement since the 1990’s, and I’d never heard anyone in the party or movement ever mention Lincoln Chafee as being a amall “l” libertarian, or even a libertarian leaner, or as someone they’d want to back as a candidate for office.

    So why would anyone in the Libertarian Party support, or even consider, him as a candidate for the LP’s presidential nomination now? What has Lincoln Chafee done to make himself a libertarian? Sure, he showed up in the party, filled out a membership form, and sent in a donation, but how can this be considered to be enough to justify nominating somebody to be at the top of the Libertarian Party’s ticket in 2020, especially given that as an elected Governor and Senator, he violated multiple libertarian principles, and was never even considered to be a small “l” libertarian by anyone? Sure, he’s got a few things on his record that could be considered to be libertarian, or libertarian leaning, but he’s also go a lot of things on his record that a not libertarian at all. Since he’s been out of political office, he’s engaged in a grand total of ZERO libertarian activism. I am not even aware of him having donated money to any libertarian organization prior to him recently joining the Libertarian Party, nor am I aware of him ever endorsing any Libertarian Party candidates, or even anyone who could be considered to be a small “l” libertarian running under a different party label (like Ron Paul or Rand Paul or etc…).

    So given Lincoln Chafee’s track record, and lack of libertarian activism, why would anyone in the Libertarian Party take him seriously as a candidate? He deserves to be laughed, or booed, out of the room.

    Richard Winger on January 8, 2020 at 8:55 am said:
    Andy, every two years, there are 435 US House elections, 33 or 34 US Senate elections, and about 8,000 state legislative elections. Have you ever thought that the party platform, as presented to the public, can be expressed by the Libertarians who run for those offices? Why should the presidential nominee be the only face of the party? Have you ever tried to recruit people to run for other federal and state offices that present libertarianism the way you think it should be presented?

    Demo Rep on January 8, 2020 at 9:37 am said:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Chafee

    Enough machinations to get him to be the 2020 Prez candidate ??? Stay tuned.


    Any LC ballot access machinations in little RI ???

    One more National DNC scheme to have LC divide and conquer Trump in 8-10 marginal EC States ??? Duh.

    Richard Winger on January 8, 2020 at 9:43 am said:
    Rhode Island is one of only six states in which the Libertarian Party has never been a qualified party. But if the party could ever get 5% for president in Rhode Island, it would then be a qualified party for the next two elections.

    Casual Observer on January 8, 2020 at 9:55 am said:
    Richard- Do you view Lincoln Chafee favorably?

    me on January 8, 2020 at 10:33 am said:
    It sure sounds like Richard Winger is in the tank for Chafee.

    Andy on January 8, 2020 at 10:48 am said:
    Richard, I certainly agree that the Libertarian Party’s platform/philosophy can be represented by candidates at all levels, however, reality is that the highest percentage of the public pays attention to the presidential ticket, and in the minds of most of the public, the presidential ticket IS the public face/standard bearers for the party. If the candidates on the presidential ticket do not accurately represent the party’s platform and philosophy, or even come close to representing it, they are giving the public a false impression of what the party is about, and they make the party look bad, especially to anyone paying attention.

    What is the point of having a Libertarian Party if the party is going to run candidates who are not really libertarians?

    Andy on January 8, 2020 at 10:53 am said:
    Also, who really cares about Lincoln Chafee anyway? He did poorly when he ran in the Democrat presidential primary in 2016, and there was no great demand to “draft” Lincoln Chafee for President, especially among the Libertarian Party and movement. I NEVER heard any Libertarians, or small “I” libertarians say anything like, “Gee, I sure wish we could get Lincoln Chafee as a presidential candidate.”

    Richard Winger on January 8, 2020 at 12:15 pm said:
    Lincoln Chafee is the only person since 1875 (who was not a Dem or Rep nominee) to win a statewide election in Rhode Island. There was an independent elected Governor in 1875 also, Rowland Hazard.

    Andy on January 8, 2020 at 12:48 pm said:
    That is nice, but it does not make him a libertarian, nor does it invalidate my assertion that there was basically zero demand for him to run for President, particularly from libertarians.

    Casual Observer on January 8, 2020 at 12:48 pm said:
    Richard- an independent can be anything philosophically. Do you believe Chafee is a libertarian?

    Andy on January 8, 2020 at 1:14 pm said:
    If Chafee is actually serious about promoting liberty, why doesn’t he just support one of the actual libertarian Libertarians that is already running, in Adam Kokesh, or Jacob Hornberger, or Arvin Vohara, or Kim Ruff, or Jo Jorgenson, or Dan Behrman? Why does he have to run himself when we already have several long time libertarian activist candidates in the race? Ego trip? Sabotage? Opportunity to make some money? Wants to run but knows he can’t win a major party primary, and knows it is to difficult to get on the ballot nationally as an independent, so he figures his best bet is to hijack the LP’s ballot access since it is the “third” party that has the most ballot access?

    Demo Rep on January 8, 2020 at 1:26 pm said:
    How many folks look at the LP Platform due to the LP Prez candidate ???

    Abolish the EC.

    PR – legis
    NONPARTISAN AppV – exec/judic
    TOTSOP


    me on January 8, 2020 at 1:47 pm said:

    Richard keeps dodging questions on his support of Chafee.

    Chafee is doing this for his ego. He knows the LP is easy to take over. When he fails either at convention or the general election, he’ll switch to either the Green or Consitution Party in time for 2024.

    Jeff Becker on January 8, 2020 at 1:54 pm said:
    He did. Here is the link to the video of his speech: https://turnto10.com/politics/chafee-to-formally-launch-presidential-bid-as-libertarian

    Howie Hawkins for President on January 8, 2020 at 4:47 pm said:
    Casual Observer,

    I don’t think Richard would answer this way, but in response to your question I think a libertarian philosophy is one that permits someone the freedom to change their mind and think differently on different issues. I don’t think Chafee is a libertarian in a strict sense. But his career suggests a determination not to be identified as a strict adherent to any particular ideology. I think he’s a libertarian in a rough sense. And that might be good enough to help the party achieve some kind of success.

    Casual Observer on January 8, 2020 at 5:31 pm said:
    If a libertarian is one who wants less government involvement in virtually every issue and more individual choice then I don’t see Chafee (or Weld or even Johnson) as being libertarian. Having said that I can understand the desire by some party members to want to nominate a “big name” candidate and hope to increase vote totals and contributions. In the last three presidential election cycles that is exactly what the party has done. I haven’t seen any significant breakthrough.

    Andy on January 8, 2020 at 9:17 pm said:
    There was statistically no real increase in vote percent with Barr. There was a vote increase percent with Johnson, but a lot of it had to do with the highly favorable circumstances under which he ran, but in terms of party growth, dues paying membership numbers have been pretty stagnant. The last time I checked exact numbers, which was close to a year ago, the LP had around 15,100 dues paying members, which is less than half of what it had in 2000-2001, and around what it had back around 1994 or 1995, and keep in mind that US population has increased quite a bit since then. The number of elected Libertarians is less than half of what it was in 2003, and it has been about two decades since the LP elected anyone to a state legislature. Also, since the last three LP Prez tickets were so weak philosophically, the party’s image has been tarnished (Is a Libertarian Party that nominates the likes of Bob Barr and Bill Weld really “the party of principle” anymore? I think not.), and the party has failed to bring more people to adopt a hardcore libertarian philosophy than it could have otherwise.

    I just hope the LP does not throw away a fourth presidential election by nominating Lincoln Chafee, or anyone like him.

    Egyptian God on January 8, 2020 at 9:28 pm said:
    According to the IPR-X article “did-gary-johnson-use-my-idea-to-win-votes” the reason for Gary Johnson’s increase in the vote share may be because he stole campaign ideas from Nathan Norman.

    Jim on January 9, 2020 at 2:22 am said:
    Weld and Chafee are Modern Liberals. Not too long ago they fit comfortably in either of the major parties, depending on where they came down on a few issues. Now that the Republicans have shifted toward nationalism and the Democrats toward socialism, the Modern Liberals no longer feel comfortable in either place. The LP is the best fit for them. But not a perfect fit.

    We’re going to get a lot more of them. And there are a lot more of them than there are ancaps or minarchists. Maybe enough to win a plurality in a national election. Ancaps and minarchists are never going to win federal elections on their own, but by staying active in the party they might be able to influence the Modern Liberals while we wait on the cryptocurrency revolution to wreck havoc on the government’s tax confiscations.

    J.T.S. ’92LP US Senate candidate on January 9, 2020 at 4:46 am said:
    Chafee like weld is a Rockefeller Republican. A globalist who wants the LP’s ballot access to pull support away from Trump. This libertarian isn’t gung-ho to turn the POTUS over to these dangerous dimwitted socialist Dems.
    I continue to hold out hope the LP can nominate a TRUE Libertarian that can garner widespread support for the true libertarian principles not just another Republican Lite.

    Andy on January 9, 2020 at 6:06 am said:
    These supposed “modern liberals” (as Jim describes them) like Lincoln Chafee and Bill Weld,
    should have no place in the Libertarian Party. They are not remotely libertarian. They come in to hijack ballot access, subvert the message, and turn the party into controlled opposition.

    Casual Observer on January 9, 2020 at 6:36 am said:
    I also hope the party is not overrun by “modern liberals”. The party just needs more “classical liberals” and everything will be just fine. BTW, the party does NOT need “compassionate conservatives” like G.W. Bush described himself, either. Perhaps “constitutional conservatives” like Rand Paul or Justin Amash are a closer fit to the party than politians that advocate gun control measures or eschew free markets.

    Andy on January 9, 2020 at 7:35 am said:
    “Compassionate conservatives” who engage in acts of military aggression against people who never attacked attacked the country in which we live.

    Demo Rep on January 9, 2020 at 8:18 am said:
    RE- update

    Did LC smoke some MJ before/during/after his Prez announcement ???

    WalterZiobro on January 9, 2020 at 8:28 am said:
    @ Jim:

    You make a good point. Liberals are being forced out of both the Democratic and Republican Parties, and are looking for a new home. While the Libertarian Party looks like an opportunity, even they know it’s not the best option. This may sound a bit absurd, but IMO, it might be a good idea for the Libertarians to encourage the formation of a Liberal Party so these homeless liberals will stop squatting on the Libertarian Party.

    ROBERT MILNES on January 9, 2020 at 8:41 am said:
    The GP and LP are SO GONE already, down the path of losing-AGAIN. Howie Hawkins is owned somehow and has been selected by the powers that be for a controlled loss in 2020. Vermin WAS selected but since I outed paulie here at BAN comments, he has withdrawn, taking Vermin with him. Now the replacement has materialized, Lincoln Chaffee with Richard himself as his de facto sponsor.
    We do not need legislation to have fair and representative debates and elections. The infrastructure is in place. Top Ten Plus PLAS. Once support for it is announced by EITHER GP or LP or BOTH ideally, game on. Support will immediately and vastly come from the left and right from people who realize they no longer have to hold their nose and chose between the lesser of two evils or throw away their vote to a losing third party or not vote at all.
    I think it is still not too late for 2020, but the die has been cast. The GP and LP conventions are rigged.
    I have called -again-for a Boycott!/Strike against the GP and LP until they announce that tey will give Top Ten Plus PLAS a fair try.
    Call or email the GP and LP that you are boycotting and striking. NOW!
    And have a nice day.

    ROBERT MILNES on January 9, 2020 at 9:39 am said:
    BTW, I have decided to out William S. Saturn here at BAN comments. I think he exists as an online persona only. Run by the Israelis. He lives as a program in a supercomputer in Tel Aviv. Has anyone ever met him? I tried and failed. Is there a photo of him online anywhere? I do not think so.
    Also I have asked Kris Lesiak to interview alleged Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter Robert Bowers. I hope to champion his defense soon. I will simply put Israel on trial. An American jury will acquit him by reason of self defense of oneself and/or others.
    And I stand by what I have said throughout my life. Debarah Knapp tv anchor in Philadelphia and now San Antonio was not pregnant. Alicia is not her daughter by Henry Bonill, former Texas Congressman. She was reading psychoanalytic letters by me and developed neurotic symptoms. The FBI knows this.
    And I stand by my belief that Nancy McCusker Benson, PhD is not dead. She was kidnapped by the Israeli Mossad and given a fake funeral. So was Dr. Robert McFarland MD, also of Boulder.
    And also my father. I was the last person to leave the viewing room in the funeral parlor. I considered taking his photo then cutting off his face to find out if it was a mask over a wax dummy or mannequin. But I decided to not do that but rather be patient and find out what is going on some other way.
    My father, my uncle, Nancy and McFarland and others are being held somewhere. I do not know where.

    Robert Stock on January 9, 2020 at 10:06 am said:
    Boy, are there some lunatics posting on this site! Wow.

    ROBERT MILNES on January 9, 2020 at 10:55 am said:
    And you think the warmongering, corrupt, treacherous democrats and republicans are not crazy?

    WalterZiobro on January 9, 2020 at 11:01 am said:
    The educational and entertainment quality of BAN comments are unsurpassed.

    Demo Rep on January 9, 2020 at 3:11 pm said:
    Again – how about a quite separate website for the many pre-skoool juveniles, agents, spies, con law morons, X-files types, etc. on this list ???

    — so that adults can deal with the zillion statist machinations reported by RW.

  2. William Saturn Post author

    I suspect it had something to do with the technical issues on here. People would post comments and they wouldn’t show up until the next day. I guess most went to BAN after getting frustrated with it.

  3. George Phillies

    Here comes the carpetbagger!

    We really should change the party rules on eligibility to run for our Presidential nomination. Five or ten years, with no participation in the activity or election of any other party, comes to mind.

  4. Tony From Long Island

    From long rambling craziness:

    Andy: . . . . He did poorly when he ran in the Democrat presidential primary in 2016 . . . .”

    That’s DemocratIC . . . . you’re welcome.

    btw. . . . that Robert Milnes guy is a nut job. Makes me long for our old Andy . . .

  5. paulie

    Comments by or about Milnes are not welcome on IPR except on April 1st. Since Warren has chosen to ban Andy, that should apply to him as well.

  6. paulie

    I suspect it had something to do with the technical issues on here. People would post comments and they wouldn’t show up until the next day.

    That does have a lot to do with it but there’s also the fact that it has caused our article authors to no longer be interested in posting much in the way of articles. It’s just not fun where there is not much conversation or when it’s the same people saying the same things to each other thousands of times over and over.

  7. paulie

    There’s one comment in that discussion which actually makes sense:

    Weld and Chafee are Modern Liberals. Not too long ago they fit comfortably in either of the major parties, depending on where they came down on a few issues. Now that the Republicans have shifted toward nationalism and the Democrats toward socialism, the Modern Liberals no longer feel comfortable in either place. The LP is the best fit for them. But not a perfect fit.

    We’re going to get a lot more of them. And there are a lot more of them than there are ancaps or minarchists. Maybe enough to win a plurality in a national election. Ancaps and minarchists are never going to win federal elections on their own, but by staying active in the party they might be able to influence the Modern Liberals while we wait on the cryptocurrency revolution to wreck havoc on the government’s tax confiscations.

    Kudos, Jim, good point.

  8. paulie

    I wonder why there isn’t this level of conversation and dialogue at IPR?

    I don’t want that level of constantly repeating trolling and nutjob nonsense on IPR. If you do, BAN provides a place for it. Please enjoy it there and don’t bring it over here through cut and paste or further discussion.

  9. paulie

    It’s also unfair to the banned trolls and nut jobs to cross post their comments here, where they can’t respond to the responses. And it’s unfair to IPR rules if you are going to be ferrying responses back and forth from and to them. Just don’t do it.

  10. paulie

    That does have a lot to do with it but there’s also the fact that it has caused our article authors to no longer be interested in posting much in the way of articles. It’s just not fun where there is not much conversation or when it’s the same people saying the same things to each other thousands of times over and over.

    Kudos to Richard Winger, he doesn’t live for the comment discussion the way I do; he manages to stay focused on posting new articles. I wish I had that determination, but I really lose interest when there’s not a bunch of people doing it, when people give me crap about what I do or don’t post or nitpick stuff to death, when there is not an interesting comment exchange (and no, I don’t count Andy Jacobs, Nathan Norman/Egyptian God or Robert Milnes as such), when there’s not much of a comment exchange of any kind, etc, etc. IPR just has not been firing on all cylinders in recent years and I don’t know whether than can or even should be fixed, much less how.

  11. dL

    We really should change the party rules on eligibility to run for our Presidential nomination.

    citizen of the United States, a resident for 14 years, and 35 years of age or older. It’s up to the membership not to keep nominating retreads.

  12. dL

    Kudos, Jim, good point.

    The Dems have not shifted toward socialism. While there is a Sanders-Cortez wing, the Democrats nonetheless remain a majority center-right capitalist party.

  13. paulie

    The Dems have not shifted toward socialism. While there is a Sanders-Cortez wing, the Democrats nonetheless remain a majority center-right capitalist party.

    In part, but there’s a strong wing that is more and more comfortable with socialism. They control much of the party’s youth wing and are by no means limited to that demographic. Sanders likely would have won the nomination last time if Clinton and the DNC had not cheated. It’s plausible he might this time. If not, it’s quite likely AOC or someone will win it before too long.

    While not exactly socialism, government employee unions maintain veto power inside the DP and candidates such as Biden and Clinton have to kowtow to them enough to not totally lose their support. Thus, while the Welds and Chaffees of the world may find a Clinton or a Biden preferable to a Trump, they are still not quite in line with today’s Democrats, and certainly not in line with today’s Republiklan.

  14. paulie

    citizen of the United States, a resident for 14 years, and 35 years of age or older.

    Rules of eligibility to be elected and rules of eligibility for LP nomination are different. The party has every right to choose its own rules for who is deemed ineligible to seek its nomination. If the party chooses to make people who constitutionally not eligible for the office eligible for its nomination, it would have to deal with the consequence if that’s who the delegates choose. But it has every right to add qualifications for its nomination, and I believe already has, such as being a dues paying party member.

  15. Jim

    George Phillies “We really should change the party rules on eligibility to run for our Presidential nomination. Five or ten years, with no participation in the activity or election of any other party, comes to mind.”

    Yeah. I’d say 5 years as a member of the LP to run for President, or 2 years if they have already run for a lower office as a Libertarian. And at least 1 year of party membership for delegates.

  16. Jim

    dL “The Dems have not shifted toward socialism. While there is a Sanders-Cortez wing, the Democrats nonetheless remain a majority center-right capitalist party.”

    At best, that majority is down to razor thin and the socialist faction may now be a majority. There should be little doubt that these numbers have shifted sharply in recent years:

    https://i.imgur.com/UiVlWW8.png

    But today’s socialist Democrats, for the most part, are New Left socialists, not Old Left Socialists. Where the Old Left organized around workers, the New Left recognized that workers were too satisfied with consumerism to get them all riled up for radical change. So the New Left organizes around either historically marginalized groups – women, gays, blacks, immigrants, etc, or certain causes, like environmentalism (Green is the new Red.) So they argue for redistribution based on historical injustices, like slavery reparations, along with free goodies, like universal healthcare. The end goal for the New Left is still the same as for old school socialism – political and economic equality. But the Old Left, of course, begins its autistic “not real socialism” refrain anytime the claim is made that something can be socialist without workers owning the means of production. It’s like they forgot that workers owning the means of production was a means to an end, not the end itself.

  17. Gene Berkman

    Senator Lincoln Chafee voted against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq. President The Donald just used this AUMF as his authority for the assassination of the Iranian General, making the AUMF a current issue again. There are now several proposals to repeal the AUMF supported by most Democrats and by Rand Paul, Justin Amash etc.

    Ron Paul has praised Tulsi Gabbard because she is antiwar, and he praised Dennis Kucinich in the past for
    his antiwar views. Kucinich is definitely socialistic, and Tulsi Gabbard supports a more active government than Lincoln Chafee does. Opposing interventionism is a really important issue right now, and Lincoln Chafee has an antiwar record.

  18. NewFederalist

    Gene- do you view Chafee favorably on issues other than his anti-war position? Do you consider him to be libertarian?

  19. paulie

    do you view Chafee favorably on issues other than his anti-war position?

    At least some of them. See

    https://gdspoliticalanimal.blogspot.com/2020/01/lincoln-chafee-backs-drug.html

    https://gdspoliticalanimal.blogspot.com/2020/01/chafee-files-with-fec-to-run-for.html

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/rhode-island/2019/07/19/the-party-peace-why-joined-libertarian-party/6syxdoJgnN04qcmJpAFwyH/story.html

    Do you consider him to be libertarian?

    That depends on your criteria, whether you believe him about his evolution on issues since his time in office, what issues you consider litmus tests, and so on.

  20. paulie

    What I don’t view favorably is the optics of nominating a presidential candidate 4 times in a row who was a politician with another party, had nonlibertarian positions or actions in office, joined the LP during or not too long before the presidential election they run in, and have only a partial and perhaps strategic conversion on the issues. Of those candidates, Barr was back in the Republican Party before the following presidential election, as were VP candidates Wayne Root and Bill Weld; none of these candidates ran as LP candidates for any other office except Johnson, and none of them ran as LP candidates for any other office before running for president.

    On the positive side, at least Chafee’s most recent run was as a Democrat, countering the perception that we are right wing or “GOP Jr” – but he also looks inconsistent, having been a Republican, Independent, Democrat and publicly pondering joining the Greens before joining the LP. He’s best known as a Republican, which is not good, and in any case it’s counter to making a case that we are a party separate and distinct from all others.

    I’d prefer someone who has a resume as an LP or movement activist rather than a party switching politician, especially since we haven’t tried running the former for president in over a decade and a half. But I also bristle at the idea that there is nothing libertarian about him, especially when it comes from those who make any number of excuses for right wing “republitarian” politicians who are coercive far right social conservatives and in some cases also warmongers.

  21. Thomas Knapp

    “none of them ran as LP candidates for any other office before running for president”

    Weld did (governor of New York), for about a minute and a half before breaking his promise not to drop out if he didn’t get the Republican nomination too.

    We knew he was a liar before he lied to us in 2016.

  22. Thomas Knapp

    Naturally, I’m suspicious of just how real and how thorough Chafee’s “conversion” on the issues is.

    And I do think it’s bad branding to nominate a “major party retread” every damn time (this would be the fourth time in a row).

    So far, though, he does seem to be sticking to issues where he seems to honestly and pre-existingly agree with the LP’s platform (war in general and the war on drugs), instead of e.g. the “Fair Tax” or “states’ rights is the essence of libertarianism” or “no gun or due process rights for people on secret government enemies lists.” So there’s that, anyway.

    I still think we can do better, but we’ve definitely done worse.

  23. Tony From Long Island

    Paulie: ” . . . . .Comments by or about {RM} are not welcome on IPR except on April 1st. . . . ”

    Wasn’t aware he was among the banned. Sorry my friend.

  24. NewFederalist

    I guess the one big issue I want to see clarification on is gun rights. With all the “red flag” laws and proposed laws which clearly violate due process I want a nominee who really believes in “innocent until proven guilty” or at the very least the right to confront the accuser BEFORE property is siezed.

    My first impression of Mr. Chafee is that he is NOT good on gun rights.

  25. Bondurant

    When did IPR become infused with spam on mobile? It’s so intrusive that parts of the article are obstructed.

    Chafee does nothing to excite me. Just another entitled career politician struggling with irrelevance.

  26. dL

    Senator Lincoln Chafee voted against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq.

    He voted against the 2002 Iraq AUMF. However, he voted for the 2001 AUMF(he spent a good deal of time in that press conference conducting a shoulda/coulda/woulda why he didn’t vote w/ Barbara Lee on that one). Chafee also voted for the Patriot Act.

    The Donald just used this AUMF

    Outside of Iraq, which had its own AUFM, every other war/action has relied on the 2001 AUFM.

  27. paulie

    When did IPR become infused with spam on mobile? It’s so intrusive that parts of the article are obstructed.

    No one here can do anything about that except Warren Redlich and he doesn’t read most of these comments. His contact info is above at the about IPR link.

  28. JamesT

    Is Lincoln Chafee a libertarian…no

    But comparing a guy who voted against the Iraq War, AUMF, etc to Bill Weld is just offensive and disrespectful to someone who actually took a stand for liberty when it mattered.

    I don’t think this guy would make a great candidate but he’s not Weld and his consistent anti-war stance putS him above Bob Barr. So the LP could do a lot worse.

  29. Darcy G. Richardson

    “Naturally, I’m suspicious of just how real and how thorough Chafee’s “conversion” on the issues is.” — Tom Knapp

    It seems like this has become a quadrennial exercise for the Libertarian Party — is he really a libertarian? — but that’s only to be expected from a party that has become a kind of halfway house for recovering failed politicians from the major parties, some of whom like Bob Barr and Bill Weld eventually return like a dog to their original vomit, and is now little more than a meaningless depository for the country’s “protest” votes.

    It’s a shame those votes don’t actually mean something.

    Given that the 2020 presidential election is almost certainly going to be a referendum on the megalomaniacal man in the White House and will probably be a fairly lean year for the country’s nationally-organized third parties, the LP should nominate a tried and true libertarian or someone outside the “political class,” or get out of the way for a new movement to challenge the duopoly.

    I think it’s safe to say that those inclined to vote for an independent or third-party candidate this year have had their fill with politicians from both parties. It deserves better than three candidates from the same two parties for a change. Maybe the country wants something different. Just saying…

  30. robert capozzi

    DGR: It deserves better than three candidates from the same two parties for a change. Maybe the country wants something different. Just saying…

    Me: DJT *is* different…in so many ways. Not sure that DIFFERENT is necessarily a positive in this environment.

    LC sounds like a lessarchist with resume and skills to plausibly sit in the Oval and actually govern. Attracting people to lessarchy is more likely to be accomplished by such a person. LC has the extra added advantage of showing a disaffection with the major parties.

  31. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    The leaders and elected office holders of the Dem and Repub parties are both more moderate than their bases.

    Dem voters want harsher regulations against Wall Street, and higher taxes on the super-rich, than Dem leaders will allow. GOP voters want harsher immigration enforcement than Repub leaders will allow. Both bases are more anti-war than their party leaders will allow.

    Both major parties are more centrist than their bases, which is one reason so many people are disgusted with politicians. Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, and foreign lobbies have veto power over the people’s vote, thus maintaining the centrist status quo that works for the establishment.

  32. Thomas Knapp

    Darcy,

    Just to be clear here, my preferred candidate of those thus far announced is Jacob Hornberger.

    AND I think that this “other party’s discards” thing is incredibly bad branding.

    BUT: I also assume that it’s possible for someone originally from another party to genuinely have changes of mind (if for no other reason than that most LP members come from other parties themselves).

    So, with respect to Chafee, I would urge those who are considering him to look at what changes of mind — away from past positions and to libertarian positions — he is claiming, with an eye toward the evidence for those changes of mind and whether those changes of mind seem plausible or merely opportunistic. And I would hope for a general take from those people on just how honest or dishonest he seems to them in general.

    The concern above and beyond branding is that — for example — Barr came rumbling into the 2008 convention claiming to have changed his mind about all sorts of things. Within days of becoming the nominee it became clear that he was lying about those changes of mind, as anyone who was following his public writings even as he sought the nomination could have predicted. Ditto Weld, who was literally telling the 2016 delegates one thing in the convention hall (“I’ve changed on guns”), then going outside to tell CNN the opposite (“I haven’t changed on guns”).

    Bad branding plus dishonesty is far worse than bad branding by itself. Chafee is poor branding from my perspective, but I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude as to his honesty.

  33. dL

    No one here can do anything about that except Warren Redlich

    Who installed the wordfence plugin? I can no longer embed tweets 🙁

  34. paulie

    They hate the word socialism. They love government redistribution of wealth (except to people they perceive as “the other.”)

  35. Jim

    paulie “They hate the word socialism. They love government redistribution of wealth (except to people they perceive as “the other.”)”

    Close. They care about “the other”. They don’t care about socialism one way or the other. If Trump says he’ll build the wall and hates socialism, they’ll hate socialism, too. If Trump says he’ll round-em-up and kick-em-out and wants socialism for farmers, they’ll support socialism for farmers, too. They’ll do whatever mental gymnastics are needed.

    But, I’m not sure the farmer bailout qualifies as socialism, although I would put them adjacent to socialism. It’s just a type of progressivism – economic nationalism. The purpose of the farmer bailout wasn’t to redistribute wealth, it was to compensate them for damages from Trump’s idiotic tariff war after farm exports got caught up in that. It isn’t socialism when the government deliberately destroys your business and then gives you a check for the damages.

    It’s the same sort of shit Perot and the Reform party wanted. Or Nader, if I remember his positions right. Teddy Roosevelt. The Greenback Party. They’re all in that same tradition.

  36. Pingback: “I Guess the Libertarian Party Is Now the Party of Lincoln” | Saturn's Repository

  37. dL

    It isn’t socialism when the government deliberately destroys your business and then gives you a check for the damages.

    Jim, are you are really going to resort to a “not true socialism” defense when it comes to the GOP?

  38. dL

    LC sounds like a lessarchist with resume and skills to plausibly sit in the Oval

    “A resume and skill set” to plausibly sit in the Oval Office entails the plausible prospect of raising >=500 million dollars. Chafee can’t even roll his own donation page.

  39. dL

    Both major parties are more centrist than their bases

    The democrats, maybe. Not the Repubs. Trump is not a moderating influence on the conservative base, and any stipulation that the GOP establishment is privately seething about Trump suggests that that the base is powerful enough to keep those sentiments private. Personally, I think Nancy Pelosi(“We are capitalists”) represents the Democratic party pretty well, and those who want to cite Sanders as refutation forget that Sanders is not actually a democrat. He is an independent that caucuses w/ the democrats.

  40. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    dl: Not the Repubs. Trump is not a moderating influence on the conservative base, and any stipulation that the GOP establishment is privately seething about Trump suggests that that the base is powerful enough to keep those sentiments private.

    Yes, the GOP leadership is more moderate than the base. The base wanted a wall. The GOP controlled the presidency, and both houses of Congress, for two years, yet made no serious attempt to build a wall. Instead, they focused on tax reform, a favorite of the GOP establishment.

  41. Jim

    dL “Jim, are you are really going to resort to a “not true socialism” defense when it comes to the GOP?”

    It’s an issue by issue basis. The Republicans and Democrats are both progressive parties, with the Democrat’s progressivism being influenced more by socialism and the Republican’s more by nationalism. There is some crossover by both. If you wanted to use Republican support for Social Security or Romneycare as an example, then that would be more in line with socialist progressivism. But the farmer bailout resulting from the trade war is an economic nationalist progressivism, not a socialist progressivism. One has the intent of protecting and promoting American wealth, the other the intent of leveling wealth through redistribution.

  42. dL

    One has the intent of protecting and promoting American wealth, the other the intent of leveling wealth through redistribution.

    Following Bastiat, the republican version(plunder of the privileged classes) leads to the democratic version(the poor man’s plunder, the right to relief). Socialism both. But Bastiat was a bit more sympathetic to the poor man’s plunder version.

  43. J.R.Myers

    Political parties are vehicles for campaigns and candidates. They are repositories of institutional knowledge, such as ballot qualifications and elections. They are supposed to be the boots on the ground. The grassroots public expression of our political ideologies. As the ballot access laws become more restrictive, and more parties are removed from, or prevented from obtaining ballot qualification, candidates will have to become more creative in their approach to campaigning. It is only natural to expect that parties with ballot access will attract those who are seeking alternatives to the status quo. We should embrace the concept of political party fluidity, in response to ever more oppressive State imposed political restrictions. It is truly a case of United We Stand, Divided We Fall. So far, we have been successfully divided into our little third party fiefdoms. Let’s not be shackled in our minds by a political power construct meant to divide and conquer us. We deserve better than the false choice offered to us by the American Oligarchs. Beyond the false left/right narrative, 2020 is a chance for a new vision of unity for the American people.

  44. Gene Berkman

    DL said:
    “Outside of Iraq, which had its own AUFM, every other war/action has relied on the 2001 AUFM.”

    All news reports indicate that Presiden Trump invoked the AUMF against Iraq as his legal basis for the assassination of the Iran general. Sen Rand Paul specifically mentioned that it is wrong to invoke the AUMF against Iraq to justify Trump’s actions, and he and several progressive Democrats have renewed their calls to repeal the AUMF against Iraq, specifically because of Trump’s actions.

  45. Gene Berkman

    I think Lincoln Chafee has libertarian tendencies, and probably will become more comfortable with libertarian views as he associates with libertarians. But he is already for less government than Dennis Kucinich or Tulsi Gabbard, and Ron Paul has praised both for their antiwar stands.

    In 2004 I was willing to support Howard Dean because he seemed the strongest antiwar candidate for President. This year backing a strong antiwar candidate – Justin Amash or Lincoln Chafee – will have more significance for building the Libertarian Party than running some person who always presents the libertarian argument in a fringe manner designed to alienate people – I won’t name names, because I don’t want this comment to be too long.

  46. dL

    I won’t name names

    Why not? Name names…

    This year backing a strong antiwar candidate – Justin Amash or Lincoln Chafee – will have more significance for building the Libertarian Party

    It’s the same story every four years. The LP needs GOP retreads to advance. To me, that’s not an advancement; it’s a regression. Essentially, an admission that the LP needs to be what the GOP was 10-15 years ago. But I don’t recall anyone thinking the GOP was all that great a decade ago and begs the question: why was the LP even around 10-15 years ago if the the GOP from that period is now somehow an acceptable alternative? Anti-war credentials for a libertarian should be no more remarkable than 98.7 body temperature. And if holding such credentials/views has now become extra-ordinary, what does that they say about the effect of 3 straight republican retread tickets has had on the level of expectations? Lincoln Chafee is a low bar…

    running some person who always presents the libertarian argument in a fringe manner

    What, you don’t think Bob Barr, Wayne Allyn Root and William Weld didn’t alienate people? Is it too much to ask for a candidate who didn’t vote fro the freakin Patriot Act?

  47. NewFederalist

    Lincoln Chafee is fine on the endless war issue but he is really bad on the 2nd Amendment and while he talks about reducing spending he seems to referring to the deficit not the debt. Reducing the deficit is not going to avert economic calamity unless the deficit is eliminated and we begin reducing the debt. That and the bad public perception that the Libertarian Party is just a minor league affiliate of a major party is enough to make me prefer another alternative.

  48. George Dance

    Gene: “I won’t name names”
    dl: “Why not? Name names…”

    Okay, Adam Kokesh. The centerpiece of his platform is to repeal the U.S. government (which means either amending or outright repealing the Constitution) by Executive Order. The downside of that is that it’s not just a ‘fringe’ idea, but a ‘kook’ idea. What’s the upside; that it educates the voter in libertarianism? How?

  49. George Dance

    dl – “Adam Kokesh vs the year’s GOP retread is a false dilemma, but if we have to choose which version of the angry white male to put out there to voters, I’ll take Kokesh over an earl shribe shiny badger like Wayne Allyn Root.”

    Root isn’t running; let’s stick to the actual field. Of those, you prefer Kokesh to Abramson and Chafee.

  50. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Gene Berkman: I think Lincoln Chafee has libertarian tendencies …

    I suppose you could justifiably say that Barr, Root, and Johnson also had “libertarian tendencies” — and I hated Root.

    For that matter, Sanders, Trump, and almost any establishment candidate can be found to have “libertarian tendencies” if you focus on one issue, and don’t require an “extremist” position on even that one issue. Sanders is a bit more anti-war than is Biden. Trump a bit more pro-gun rights than is Warren. None of this makes any of them a libertarian, or even close.

    “Libertarian tendencies” is a very vague term, and, depending on how you define it, can allow for a very low bar.

  51. Chuck Moulton

    dL wrote:

    Adam Kokesh vs the year’s GOP retread is a false dilemma

    At the risk of pointing out the obvious: it is a false dilemma because Kokesh is also a GOP retread. He ran Republican for the U.S. Congress.

  52. dL

    At the risk of pointing out the obvious

    yeah, I forgot about that, but to be fair, I forgot about it b/c he was the road kill, not the tire, in a GOP primary.

  53. dL

    Root isn’t running; let’s stick to the actual field.

    Your judgement RE: Barr/Root circa 2008 is pertinent to your judgements now RE: which candidates will end up embarrassing the LP.

    Of those, you prefer Kokesh to Abramson and Chafee.

    I prefer none of the above three . But under no circumstance would I support or tolerate a pro-life[sic], bordertarian Republican like Max Abramson.

  54. George Dance

    Gallup uses 2 questions to set the bar; in paraphrase, (1) should the government do more or less to solve the country’s problems; (2) should the government promote American values, or not promote values at all? They use the answers to divide the respondents into 4 quadrants, each of 20-30% of the voters; those who answer “less” and “not promote values” are the ‘libertarian’ quadrant, which was 27% last time I bothered looking.

  55. Gene Berkman

    Thanks Chuck, I was just about to mention Adam Kokesh as a Republican candidate for Congress.
    Of course he lost the primary, so he could be called a “Republican reject.”

    In response to some other comments – I did not like Bob Barr or Wayne Root as candidates. Barr did have libertarian tendencies but too many problems in his record. Wayne Root just came across as a con man – I did meet him and was quite turned off.

    Bill Weld may have alienated people, but he raised more money than any previous LP candidate, and the Johnson Weld ticket did get a record vote total, exceeding the previous record set by Gary Johnson in 2012.

    Supporting people who have been elected as Republicans does not mean we want the Libertarian Party to be like the Republican Party from a few years ago. The ex-Republicans we have nominated, except for Bob Barr, were all clearly out of the mainstream of the Republican Party. Gary Johnson not only backed legal marijuana, he was also pro-choice on abortion, and opposed the anti-Gay crusade of the modern conservatives.

    Bill Weld is pro-choice and pro-gay rights, and both Weld and Johnson had better records on spending than most Republican Governors. Their record in office was not perfect from a libertarian view, but have you looked at the records of local Libertarian office-holders? Until libertarian views are more widely accepted, there is little an office-holder can do except criticize around the edges. And the same is true of Ron Paul in Congress.

    The reason the Libertarian Party nominates former Republican office-holders is that few Libertarian officeholders are available. And it does not really impress people when you nominate a mayor pro-tem for President of the United States.

  56. George Dance

    Gene Berkman: “The reason the Libertarian Party nominates former Republican office-holders is that few Libertarian officeholders are available. And it does not really impress people when you nominate a may or pro-tem for President of the United States.

    I was reminded of that earlier this month, when I was reading Harry Browne’s New Year’s resolutions, and ran into this line: “No one will hear the message if the messenger is unattractive.” I’m sure he meant things like wearing a suit and tie, and not F-bombing people, but I believe voters (and the media) are looking for more than that before they take a candidate seriously.

  57. dL

    No one will hear the message if the messenger is unattractive.

    nope… politics is called “hollywood for the ugly” for a reason. politicos ain’t that beautiful, but people still listen.

    wearing a suit and tie

    Quite the anachronism. The suite and tie as a symbol of success and power has long since passed. Now it is more a symbol that you are in trouble or a lower class service worker…

  58. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    robert capozzi: And the bar should be set where, by whom….?

    Stupid question. The delegates set the bar. You mean you didn’t know even that?

    How long have you been in the Libertarian Party?

  59. dL

    Stupid question. The delegates set the bar. You mean you didn’t know even that?

    The delegates have been setting a low bar. So low that some people want the LP to set more restrictive requirements for candidate eligibility. Requirements that would be more restrictive than the major parties require. Not a good look. A party that advocates for the abolition of prior restraint on trade(i.e, government regulations) but has to impose a prior restraint on free to chose b/c the membership is too fickle and unprincipled to be trusted.

  60. robert capozzi

    RTAA,

    I lapsed years ago, but i joined in 1980. Some NAP Fundamentalists use NAP and platform adherence as their litmus tests, despite the fact that those positions are all-but-impossible to attain in four years. To me, that tells me the LP isn’t doing politics, but rather utopian philosophizing.

    My sense is that delegates intuitively get that political movement requires generalized aspirations but more modest specific positioning, along with credibility and communications skills. Die-hard NAP Fundamentalists continue to fight rear-guard actions to maintain a more “pure” philosophy club stance.

  61. Eric Sundwall

    Adopting the Metric System should be our highest priority as Citizens of Functionality.

    I’m tired of the Two Measurement System.

    Adopting Unix Time will take more time.

  62. George Dance

    “Some NAP Fundamentalists use NAP and platform adherence as their litmus tests, despite the fact that those positions are all-but-impossible to attain in four years. To me, that tells me the LP isn’t doing politics, but rather utopian philosophizing.”

    I understand what you’re saying, but i think you’re wrong to place the blame on NAP. The attempt of some libertarians to run as more-libertarian-than-thou is not always motivated by NAP – witness Austin Petersen, whose 2016 campaign was almost entirely an attempt to out-libertarian Gary Johnson, but who repudiated and campaigned against NAP at the same time.

    Nor does a believer in NAP have to back the candidate who sounds the most libertarian. Witness me: I’m a firm believe in NAP on ethical grounds, but at the same time I believe a Presidential campaign should adopt a gradualist or incremental or approach: it should not hide what libertarian means, but it should make clear that the campaign is about what a Libertarian President, if elected, plans to do over the next four years.

  63. dL

    but at the same time I believe a Presidential campaign should adopt a gradualist or incremental or approach: it should not hide what libertarian means, but it should make clear that the campaign is about what a Libertarian President, if elected, plans to do over the next four years.

    isn’t there a video game out there you guys can buy that comes with a cheat code depositing 1/2 billion dollars into a campaign budget that would at least allow you to graduate from delusion to simulation?

  64. Jim

    George Dance “I’m a firm believe in NAP on ethical grounds, but at the same time I believe a Presidential campaign should adopt a gradualist or incremental or approach: it should not hide what libertarian means, but it should make clear that the campaign is about what a Libertarian President, if elected, plans to do over the next four years.”

    I think that’s the position that has been driving LP growth over the last 6 years. I see a lot of it online from people who are relatively new to the party.

  65. robert capozzi

    GD,

    You and AP are not what I’d characterize as NAP Fundamentalists. I myself am highly syriginmpathetic to the NAP as a GENERAL sentiment. Rolling back state aggression strikes me as the right way to go. The question for me is HOW one reduces the net incidence of state coercion.

    NAP Fundamentalists have little to no concern about the HOW; they reduce politics to binary moral questions, issue by issue. The Fundamentalists support any and all tax cuts, for ex., even though the federal deficit is ballooning.

    NAP Fundamentalists rigidly cling to the LP Platform as a serial litmus test. They use the SoP as overarching litmus test. They seem to expect fealty to the Platform and SoP from all candidates. They expect robotic recitations of any and all deviations — I support X which is not NAP pre-approved.

    This appoach is not politically viable.

  66. Tony From Long Island

    Eric S: ” . . . . Adopting the Metric System should be our highest priority as Citizens of Functionality. . . . .
    Adopting Unix Time will take more time. . . . ”

    Can’t we just skip ahead to stardates?

  67. Thomas Knapp

    George,

    It’s important to remember that the term “NAP fundamentalists” doesn’t correspond to the holdings or actions of any real-life people. “NAP fundamentalists” exist in Bob Capozzi’s brain and nowhere else, and are responsible for all bad things, including him not being able to find his car keys.

  68. paulie

    Can’t we just skip ahead to stardates?

    I don’t see why not. Trump already has the Space Force using Starfleet’s logo.

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