Donald Trump is not going to be president. All of the talk about Trump settling down and becoming more presidential was just the dream of a few GOPers and media types who want a real horse race. Even with the nomination locked up, Trump is continuing to insult his fellow Republicans and waging war with a media that helped create him. He’s going to run as the same person he’s always been: a narcissistic egomaniac with little regard for the truth and no self-restraint.
Establishment Republicans know that the White House is probably lost for another four years and they’re looking for an alternative that responsible Republicans can rally behind. Bill Kristol says that a strong independent candidate will announce this week. Rumor has it that it’s GOP lawyer David French. You remember Mr. French, right? The butler and nanny on the TV show Family Affair.
I don’t understand why Kristol is pushing an unknown lawyer and writer when the Libertarian Party seems to have just given conservatives a viable alternative. This weekend, they nominated former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson as their nominee and former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld as his running mate. That could be a formidable ticket.
Both Johnson and Weld have impressive resumes and offer a new generation of conservatives a place to go. While it won’t happen overnight, the Libertarian Party could become the new Republican Party. On domestic issues in particular, the party mirrors the thoughts of many young Republicans.
From reading conservative blogs and articles, most twenty- and thirty-something Republicans aren’t interested in fighting over bathrooms or Confederate flags. They don’t have a problem with people of color and they don’t care about sexuality. They want a government that leaves them alone so they can make money and build families. They don’t like taxes and regulations but they don’t want government in their personal lives, either.
The Libertarian platform offers compromise with Democrats on such controversial issues as immigration and drug reform. At the same time, Libertarians embrace free-trade policies that Republicans believe are necessary for a strong economy. In many ways, the party has as much to offer young conservatives as the current GOP does.
The biggest point of contention seems, to me, to be over national defense. Most Republicans embrace a neoconservative stance toward foreign policy while Libertarians are more isolationist. That split, though, currently exists in the Democratic Party. No party is going to be completely unified in every area.
Donald Trump has essentially killed the Republican Party. He’s a standard bearer with no principles. Rallying behind him in an attempt to save the party won’t work. Conservatives need to rebuild their coalition with an eye to the future. Adopting the the Libertarian Party as the vehicle for progress might offer them a way forward.
Johnson and Weld probably won’t win this year, but they’re not out of the running. With current finance laws, a couple of billionaires could underwrite their campaign. The support of young conservatives who were planning to vote Republican just a few months ago could reshape the political landscape. It’s a strange year and stranger things have already happened.
Thomas Mills is the Founder and Publisher of Politics N.C., a website of commentary and analysis.