Brian Doherty of Reason interviewed former Senator and Governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, about his withdrawal from the Libertarian Party’s 2020 presidential race. Chafee marvels at the lack of support for his campaign and questions whether the Libertarian Party really prioritizes an anti-war message. Additionally, he offers tepid support for former opponent Jo Jorgensen, and hints he may run for president again.
In the interview, Chafee acknowledges that his status as a new party member turned off party faithful. One such member informed him the party had already tried the model of nominating a new party member with executive experience and “still didn’t win states or make the debates.” Nevertheless, he felt the party would rally around his Libertarian bona fides. Instead he heard a “deafening silence.”
Despite voting for the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Afghanistan in 2001, voting to fund the Iraq War in 2003, voting against redeployment out of Iraq in 2006, and twice voting for the Patriot Act; Chafee claims he is “very consistently anti-war, anti-deficit, [and] strongly in favor of civil liberties.” The basis for his anti-war credentials is his 2002 vote as the sole Senate Republican opposing the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. Therefore, he, at least partially, attributes his campaign’s inability to gain traction to the party establishment’s lack of value for the anti-war stance. He feels many party members simply “pay lip service” to the anti-war movement.
Without endorsing, Chafee offers a bit of support for Jorgensen, identifying her as “a party loyalist no doubt.” He argues the party should consider her candidacy and the dichotomy of running a woman in a presidential election with two elderly white men (likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump) representing the major parties.
In closing, Doherty mentions that Chafee “strongly” hinted to him that he would run again for president in a future election cycle. Doherty does not specify for what party Chafee may run.