Coincidentally Correct: Republicans happen to be Right on Campaign Finance and Voter ID

I am not a Republican and I never will be. There is little about the Republican Party that impresses me, and I despise the concept of political parties in general.

It’s likely that many people whom I encounter would assume otherwise. I attribute this to two things: that Capitalism and Federalism are my primary political issues and that Liberals are rapidly stampeding towards the Left. Republicans at least claim to share my affinity for private ownership, voluntary exchange, the free market, and State’s Rights, and I find Liberals to be less reasonable and more religious in their beliefs by the day. The latter can be proven by the left’s miraculous tendency to call Hillary Clinton a moderate Republican when in fact she is as far to the left as our country should tolerate.

If you ask me, I would consider myself a hybrid Conservative-Libertarian. I love Capitalism and the Constitution, I know that Rights are innate and inalienable, I demand limited government, I believe people should be free to suffer the consequences of their actions, I value individualism and mankind over collectivism and the environment, and while I care deeply about equality before the law, I am not concerned with equality of outcomes.

I’m saying all of this as an attempt to prove my ethos as a principled rather than partisan political thinker. While I could easily be painted into a corner as a Republican shill (and I’ll most likely be voting for a Republican come November), I want to make it as clear as possible that few things are less important to me than what the GOP says or how it fairs.

I hope you’ll take my word for it.

***

From an objective but principled standpoint, I will use this entry to explain why Republicans are correct on voter ID and campaign finance laws. I do not believe that Republicans are being righteous in their support for voter ID laws and Citizen’s-United-esque judicial rulings, nor do I believe that Democrats are being evil in their support for the opposite. Both parties are playing politics and trying to gain power, and if the situations surrounding these issues were to change, their priorities, rationale, and rhetoric would adjust accordingly. Regardless of the circumstances, voter ID laws are needed, and campaign finance reform laws are both unnecessary and an affront to Liberty.

Voter ID

Michael Gerson, a columnist for the Washington Post, coined one of my favorite phrases in a speech written for George W. Bush: the soft bigotry of low expectations. It’s a magnificent use of the English language.

In the world of modern politics, our society often correlates bigotry with policies and ideas that do not help certain groups of people such as blacks and women. It is “bigoted” to oppose Affirmative Action and welfare because those programs supposedly benefit the aforementioned groups.

Gerson’s phrase turns this idea on its head. Instead of calling the opposition to special privileges bigoted, it calls those who believe that certain people are unable to compete without special privileges bigoted! According to this phrase, it is not the “greedy” and “cold” who are the villains; it is instead the patronizingly sympathetic who are being discriminatory, prejudiced, and immoral through their support for preferential treatment.

The idea that certain groups of people are unable to complete the “daunting” task of acquiring a photo ID is a perfect illustration of the soft bigotry of low expectations. Yes, certain demographics in our nation are more likely to be impoverished than others. But America is not Bangladesh or Ethiopia, so forking over $5-20 bucks in exchange for proof of person and the ability to vote legitimately is not even close to too much to ask. Assuming that there are people who are so poor and so incapable of procuring ID in America in 2016 is ignorant and belittling. We need to raise the bar if we want people to succeed, not pat them on the head and tell them everything is going to be alright.

If there are instances in which states make it unreasonably difficult for individuals to acquire the form of identification needed to participate in elections, that is what needs to be changed, not the requirement for ID itself.

Beyond the condescending nature of loose voting laws, Democrats claim that Republican fears over voter fraud are unfounded. According to the available data, this is true. Voter fraud is not a proven phenomenon occurring on a large scale.

However, the act of fraudulence implies trickery, so tracking instances of this kind are inconclusive. We can never account for every occurrence of voter fraud because we may have been deceived!

As Ayn Rand says, you are never called upon to prove a negative, so I have to admit that assuming that something is taking place because it cannot be disproved is a logical fallacy (although Liberals are happy to purport the claim that 68% of rapes go unreported [reporting on something that is unreported is just as bad]).

Having said that, it remains in many minds that voter fraud and other violations of the democratic process are possible if not already occurring. Congressional approval continues to be a joke, and nobody trusts the government anymore. With this kind of atmosphere, I believe it is in the best interest of the government and public mentality to make elections as transparent as possible. Establishing voter ID laws in more states would effect more confidence in our Democratic process. And whether it changes election results or not, we’ll at least learn to trust our voting procedures again.

Campaign Finance

Two of the most prominent and polarizing high-profile figures of our current election cycle are Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. While they often seem like the antitheses of the other, they share many unique ideas and policies. One of these is the outright opposition to Citizens United and support of campaign finance freedom.

While I admittedly am no expert on our current campaign finance laws, the basic rules are that the amount of money individuals, corporations, unions, political action committees (PACs and Super-PACs), and members of a candidate’s campaign team can donate directly to a political campaign is limited. For example, an individual citizen can donate only $2,700 directly to a candidate’s political campaign per election cycle. A state, local, or district party committee can give up to $5,000.

PACs are another story, and understanding what defines a PAC is crucial. A more politically correct way of denoting a PAC is an “independent-expenditure only committee”. “Independent” is the key word. Unlike the private campaign teams that raise money directly for their political hopefuls, PACs operate on their own. Through television ads and other mediums, PACs support the candidates they favor and attack the candidates they disapprove of.

Here is an attack ad against Donald Trump created and paid for by Our Principles PAC, a Conservative organization that opposes Trump.

Here is a promotional ad for Ted Cruz created and paid for by Reigniting the Promise who back Cruz for president.

In 2010, the Supreme Court heard a landmark case between Citizens United, a conservative non-profit organization, and the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Citizens United was planning on airing a video critical of Hillary Clinton around the time of the 2008 Democratic primaries, but previously standing campaign finance laws prohibited this action. The Supreme Court overruled the previous laws arguing that the First Amendment protects the Rights of individuals and organizations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political speech. While this did not affect limitations on direct campaign contributions, spending by PACs has ballooned to inordinate levels ever since.

The thing is, the threat of potential consequences resulting in unlimited spending by PACs seems to be a non-issue based on our current presidential election cycle. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has been the presumptive 2016 Democratic nominee since her endorsement of Barack Obama following her concession in the aforementioned 2008 primary race. For eight years, essentially every pundit, politician, and member of the public has come to grips with the reality of Hillary Clinton squaring off with whomever the GOP winds to wind up nominating. While it seems inevitable that she will wind up fulfilling her destiny at this point, a great challenge has persisted in the form of Bernie Sanders. Sanders has won 18 separate primaries and caucuses thus far, and will likely win a few more. This was unimaginable just a year ago as it seemed clear that the party would unite behind Clinton. While Clinton has been supported with over $76 million from PACs and other organizations outside of her campaign (the most of any candidate on either side), Sanders has received next to nothing from these kinds of groups. However, when it comes to direct donations, Sanders is outpacing everyone, including Clinton by a hair, with over $182 million. Added together, Sanders has been the beneficiary of over 41% of direct and outside contributions to the top two candidates. Surprisingly, when it comes to the popular vote, Sanders has received roughly 45%. Sanders share of the votes is outpacing his share of campaign financing, and he has achieved this amount of voting support despite being up against Clinton’s name recognition, experience, and presumed nomination from the get-go. This leads me to believe that it is not money talking on the Democratic side, but voters making their marks.

The Republican primary is even more telling. Already armed with the family name of two of our last four presidents, Jeb Bush received by far the greatest amount in campaign finance on the GOP side. Despite getting over $120 million from PACs and other organizations, Jeb Bush suspended his campaign back in February. He was a non-contender throughout nearly his entire bid for the White House. Though Ted Cruz, who is still in the runnings, has accumulated over $63 million from outside contributions, that’s just a smidge more than Marco Rubio who dropped out a month and a half ago. The obvious kicker is that Donald Trump is at Bernie-levels when it comes to monetary assistance from PACs, yet he is the only remaining GOP candidate capable of accruing enough delegates to become the Republican nominee on the first ballot. In addition to Bush, Cruz, and Rubio, ten other candidates and also-rans on the GOP side have outpaced Trump in funding from PACs. Trump, as he and his constituents love to boast about, has self-financed nearly his entire campaign. The mega-billionaire has shrugged off the persistence of “money in politics”, and appears to be on his way to a showdown with Hillary Clinton come November.

Campaign finance tallies can be found here.

Sanders and Trump continue to rail against the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling despite its lack of effect on their presidential prospects. In the age of the internet and mass communication, big money and the mainstream media have lost their stranglehold on our minds and worldview. Instead of having to tune in to CNN for updates on what’s going on in the world, we have access to information from an unheard-of number of news outlets with unique and diverse value systems, perspectives, and ambitions. Candidates can spend all they want; the web has freed our minds and our ability to find the candidate that we think will work for us.

This is just one of many reasons the Citizens United ruling should be applauded. Here is a quick annotation of some others:

  • Empowering the federal government to pass legislation that regulates how we may participate in the Democratic process sets a dangerous precedent. How do they know what amount of money is appropriate and what amount is excessive?
  • Incumbent politicians have an innate advantage over their challengers, so limiting the money spent on political speech works in favor of those already in office. Also, those already in office are the ones who would write the campaign finance laws!
  • If the government can limit how much money an individual or PAC can spend promoting a candidate, what stops the government from limiting the amount of money a newspaper can spend on delivering the news or a webmaster from promoting his website? This is why the First Amendment uses the explicit phrase “Congress shall make no law…” to explain their role in limiting Freedom of Speech and of the Press.

George Will articulates these arguments more clearly in this PragerU video. He also presents a better solution than campaign finance reform: getting the government out of our lives so we don’t have to worry about politics so much! If legislators had less power, big money interests would have less of a reason to “buy” them in exchange for unfair regulations and other political favors later on. Reducing government’s role in our lives would give us more opportunity to take care of ourselves, our families, and our communities, and would prevent cronyism from ruining our Lives, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness.

In the same way that Democrats are appalled by voter ID laws because they believe they hurt their chances at being elected, Trump and Sanders favor campaign finance reform because it would work to their advantage. The more regulations are in place, the more of a chance Trump and other billionaires capable of self-financing their campaigns have at winning elections and drowning out the competition. Sanders, a populist candidate with an intellectually unsound message that appeals to the youthful and ignorant, would also benefit from campaign finance reforms as individuals with little experience and knowledge of politics could be rounded up to vote in his favor with less of a threat of rebuttals to his policy proposals being heard. In addition, Sanders’ nearly four decades of experience as a career politician gives him a massive advantage when it comes to name recognition and familiarity with his voting constituency. Trump’s high-profile persona would get the same leg up.

In conclusion, stricter voter ID laws and the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling are fair, Constitutional, and in the spirit of our Republic. They should not be described this way for favoring Republicans, and Republicans should not be described this way for supporting them. It is merely coincidental that requiring identification to vote and permitting PACs to spend whatever amount of money they would like to are part of the Republican platform. If the effects of these policies were to change, I suspect that the arguments from each side would change too.

Coincidentally Correct: Republicans happen to be Right on Campaign Finance and Voter ID

The Transgender Toilet Issue, and the Two Types of Idiotic Outrage

I’m starting to feel a little embarrassed about being an American.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my country, I love my Constitution, I love my traditions, and I love the American people who have helped to make me the man I am today. But when it comes to intellectual discourse, manners, morals, and tolerance and respect for one another’s points of view, I’m beginning to lose faith.

The 2016 Presidential Election has brought out the worst of us in many ways. The unprincipled, unreasonable, cult-like followings accumulated by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are cutting themselves off from objective reality, and many of the rest of us are recoiling in apathetic horror and disbelief.

The way I see it, this has all been a long time coming. Our constant outrage over minor issues and our hesitance to broach serious matters in an intellectually honest manner have turned our priorities upside down, and led us down a messy philosophical road.

In this piece, I will name several examples of what I believe are idiotic outrage and lump them into two categories: Faux-Outrage and Dictatorial Outrage.

Faux-Outrage

Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

I’m no historian, but everything I’ve read and heard about Harriet Tubman leads me to believe she was one tough cookie and deserves to be immortalized as an American icon. She freed slaves, battled Southern Democrats, stumped for civil liberties, and demonstrated that the Right of the people to keep and bear arms is synonymous with Freedom.

Andrew Jackson, whom Tubman is set to replace on the $20 bill come 2026, does not seem like an exceptional American to me. Ann Coulter recently tweeted an annotated biography of Jackson revealing his heroism in the Revolutionary War, and that is certainly something to admire. But as president, Jackson was a skeptic of Capitalism, expanded the powers of the executive branch, and oversaw more than a fair share of the racist activity that has tarnished our nation’s otherwise stupendous history.

Irrespective of my uninformed opinion of these two individuals, does it really matter which legend’s face is on the $20 bill? Is this a reason for concern? People on both the left and the right of the political spectrum have expressed Faux-Outrage over this issue, the Right whining over a white man being semi-replaced by a non-white-man, the Left weeping that Tubman’s portrait will be displayed on a symbol of Capitalism.

This is all silly. As our national debt skyrockets towards infinity, we should be less concerned about what our money looks like and more concerned about what it’s worth. With mobs picketing in the streets for a federal mandate to guarantee $15 to flip burgers or wait tables for an hour, the $20 bill may barely be enough to acquire sixty minutes of work in the near future. The possibility of inflation threatens our quality of life and ability to compete in a globalized economy, and should be fretted over more than few other issues.

Anyone care to rage against the tax-and-spend machine in Washington? Anyone? The truth is that making real changes in the way our government abuses us takes effort. And instead of focusing our energy on reclaiming our individual sovereignty, we freak out over pictures on dollars because it’s easy. It’s fake; it’s phony; it’s a perfect example of Faux-Outrage.

Confederate Flag

Last year, you would have thought the southeastern half of the United States was descending back into pre-1865 conditions and deploying lynch mobs to string up blacks across the region.

In reality, one drugged-out loser entered a church and massacred nine innocent black people for no reason other than his own failure at being human. Along with 9/11 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, it was among the most tragic events I’ve experienced in my lifetime.

So, what did we do? Did we unleash our fury onto the culprit? Did we scold his family for essentially being complicit in one of their own doing something so horrific?

Nope. We started shouting at a flag.

Images of the shooter exhibiting his affinity for the Confederate Flag arose across the national news media, and his disgustingly racist views went public. And with that, we had our scapegoat: a tri-colored rectangle.

While it’s not crazy to associate the Confederate Flag with the slave-owning south of a century and a half ago, to be so upset about its existence in public view is less of a moral crusade and more of symptom of the frustration induced by the impossibility of making all of the evil in the world go away.

Effectively, racial tensions in America continue to rise. Blaming an entire society of people and a symbol they fancy for the actions of one moron is ironically the exact same line of thinking as a racist who blames all members of an ethnic group for the actions of a few.

It’s self-righteous, safe, easy Faux-Outrage at its best.

Corey Lewandowski’s “Assault” on Journalism

I am no fan of the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency. As a hybrid Conservative-Libertarian, there are few components of what Trump claims to support, understand, and believe that make me optimistic about his presence in the White House.

I have criticized Trump from the get-go, and am hoping Ted Cruz can somehow manage to procure the GOP presidential nomination, so I don’t have to deeply consider whether or not I could ever cast a ballot for The Donald.

One thing I have tried to avoid is harping over Trump’s personal flaws and the media-manufactured controversy over his campaign. There is plenty of policy and philosophy to criticize, and that’s all we should consider when selecting a Commander-in-chief as a nation.

When news surfaced that Cory Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, had strong-armed a reporter, I rolled my eyes and moved on to more important matters. To my dismay, few non-Trump-loving individuals followed my lead.

From reading the headlines, one would have thought that Lewandowski had thrown the reporter’s camera to the ground and choke slammed her through a table. After watching the surveillance video of the actual event, any honest eyes can see that Lewandowski firmly grabbed the reporter’s forearm for hardly a second, and pulled her away from Trump, whom she was too close to in the crowded scene.

Were Lewandowski’s actions exemplary for such a high-ranking member of a presidential campaign team? Of course not. But people are not made of glass, and physical contact is not synonymous with assault.

The Liberal and anti-Trump Conservative media lost their collective minds, not because they believed what they had witnessed was deplorable, but rather as a means of causing a stir to further associate Donald Trump with violence.

Dishonestly feigning compassion and offense are Faux-Outrage at its most disgusting.

Dictatorial Outrage

The Transgender Bathroom Issue

My first example of “Dictatorial Outrage” is highly topical. As transgendered and other non-binary individuals gradually become more accepted and understood by society, issues arise. This is normal. When changes occur, societal norms must be called into question. Sometimes, our traditional way of doing things proves to be exclusionary or insufficient, and changes and adjustments need to be made. Sometimes, the way we had been handling aspects of our social interactions stands up to scrutiny and continues to be the standard. Giving equal Rights to all people regardless of their race was a welcome change, enforcing a one-child policy is not.

The debate over whether individuals should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with, rather than their biological gender, is complicated and requires a nuanced approach. Some transgendered individuals are so entrenched in their gender identity that few of us would be able to tell that they were once members of the opposite sex. Would it be correct to force a biological female who takes male hormones and could easily overpower an average female into the ladies’ room? Would it be correct to do the opposite to a biological male who has undergone a sex change and been assumed a female by everyone she’s encountered for years? Would it be reasonable to permit a 260-pound man who realized he was a female yesterday to use the girls’ room at Toys “R” Us? Would it be alright to allow a 9-year old girl who believes she is male to use the men’s room at a sporting event or another venue where heavy drinking often occurs?

This is not an easy problem to solve, and the first step we can take to solving it is admitting how tough of an issue it is.

For many, that is not an option. Those in opposition to blurring the bathroom lines claim that penises belong in the men’s room, end of story. Those who support bathroom choice call those with opposing views transphobic bigots. As a result, this is where the debate ends. Instead of putting our wits to the test and talking it out like adults, we turn each other into perverts and transphobes.

Launching ad hominem attacks at and refusing to engage in discourse with all who disagree with your point of view, particularly on controversial subjects like this one, are illustrating the meaning of Dictatorial Outrage.

I’m right, and you’re wrong. If you don’t agree with me, your opinions are invalid, and you must be punished.

These are the thoughts of a childish tyrant, and should be seen as far more taboo than a woman using the men’s room.

Cakes for Gay Weddings

Over the past two years or so, a certain type of encounter has chronically taken place. The situation is always the same: a gay couple wants a wedding cake, they enter a Christian-owned bakery, they ask for a wedding cake, the bakers say they don’t make cakes for homosexual weddings because it would be a violation of their religious convictions, the gay couple sues the bakery, and everyone loses their minds.

Once again, this is a difficult issue. While pure Libertarian philosophy dictates that any service provider should legally be allowed to deny service to any customer for any reason, it is perfectly reasonable and deeply valued in our culture that refusing service to an individual simply because of their sexuality, race, or other naturally occurring differences is morally and legally wrong. I could easily make a case for the previously mentioned Libertarian principle, but this is an issue on which compromises are fair, and I’ll concede the point. Discrimination is not welcome in our society.

The thing is, the gay wedding cake scenario does not fall into the discrimination category so simply. It is not that the bakers are refusing to serve gay customers; it’s that they are refusing to participate in a ceremony that violates their conscious. In other words, the bakers would happily sell a birthday cake to a gay costumer, and would refuse to sell a straight individual a wedding cake for a gay wedding. It’s not about the person; it’s about the practice.

Withholding service from a customer who seeks to use your product to celebrate an event or belief you disagree with should clearly be a protected Right in my humble opinion. A Jewish restaurant owner should not be forced to allow a neo-Nazi group to have a reunion in his establishment. The webmaster of a vegan cooking blog should not be forced to allow comments about how delicious meat is on his posts. A custom t-shirt designer who happens to be a Red Sox fan should not be forced to create t-shirts that celebrate the championships of the Yankees.

I welcome dissent towards the opinion I just expressed. Maybe there’s a hole in my logic somewhere. But to those who decline to entertain this point of view and request legal action be taken against the handful of bakers dumb enough to refuse business based on an irrelevant belief are despotic authoritarians at heart. The bakers should grow up, the inconvenienced customers should live and let live, and the outrage of the public is dictatorial and idiotic.

Abortion

Abortion is a tough issue for me, and it seems to be an issue that divides “Big-L Libertarians” from “Liberal-tarians”. I am personally pro-life, but am unsure as to how abortion policy can be established fairly, sensibly, and effectively. On issues that confuse me like this one, I appeal to the Constitution. And since there is no mention of abortion anywhere in the text of the Law of the Land, the 10th Amendment clearly explains that abortion is to be handled at the state level. The Supreme Court that decided Roe v. Wade disagrees.

The abortion debate is an important one. Millions of developing humans are aborted every year, and the methods, timeframes, and other conditions that relate to abortion are complex and indeterminate. With knowledge of how little we know about how and when a person inherits inalienable Rights, outrage over opinions about abortion should be rare.

I’ve heard sound reasons for each of the following points of view:

  • Abortion should always be illegal
  • Abortions after a certain point in development (generally after the first or second trimester or once brain activity has begun) should be illegal
  • Abortion should be illegal, but should be allowed in instances of rape or a threat to the mother’s health
  • Regardless of the morality of abortion, the government should not have a say in what a women does with her body
  • Abortion should be legal, but easier access to contraception and sex education will reduce instances
  • Regardless of legality, the government should not subsidize organizations that perform abortions

The only perspectives on abortion I’ve heard that truly offend me are suggestions that terminating the life of a born child still attached to the umbilical cord (or later) should be permitted. Outside of this rare point of view (which should certainly be allowed to be voiced), perspectives on abortion tend to be reasonable and achieved with some sort of moral or pragmatic backing.

Dictatorial Outrage occurs in the abortion discussion when one refuses to hear contrasting points of view and labels the opposition as baby-killers or women-haters. There is a fine line between using provocative rhetoric to express your point of view and straw-manning a person for his or her opinion in a debate. We should all be wary of where exactly that line is when talking about these kinds of contentious topics. We need fewer outraged dictators and more civil humans articulating and questioning their outlooks in our relentless search for the truth.

The Transgender Toilet Issue, and the Two Types of Idiotic Outrage

The Bright Side of Electing Each Remaining Candidate for Libertarians

As Libertarians, we’re used to being disappointed and pessimistic about the future. The Democrats are incapable of understanding basic economics, and the Republicans are beyond prepared to wage wars with anyone at any time. The current crop of presidential candidates are hard to look at and listen to, and our message has evidently fallen on deaf ears. The Libertarian revolution proposed by Ron Paul seems like a mission our grandchildren will still be fighting to fulfill. I wish them the best of luck.

Having said all of that, we have to stay optimistic. There are two sides to every coin, and glimmers of light are hidden in even the darkest situations. In this post, I will do my best to focus on the sunny side of things and discuss what I think the good news might be when one of the four remaining contenders for the 2016 presidential election is sworn in next year.

Take a deep breath, smile, and enjoy!

Bernie Sanders

The dark side is clear. The Social Justice Warriors hell-bent on destroying the Bill of Rights, Capitalism, and intellectual discourse will have their advocate in the Oval Office. Bernie Sanders’ followers, who are in large part young and inexperienced in life, need a loss for their own good, and a win would be terribly damaging to their already suspect mental health. These times call for tangos with tough luck, not participation trophies. I doubt the Socialist can even conceive what that means.

Sanders, like most of our other candidates, seeks to expand the illegitimate powers of the executive branch without hesitation, and America as we know it could be damaged beyond repair if he gets his way. It seems likely that Sanders would nominate Bill Ayers and Rachel Maddow to the Supreme Court before someone who mildly respects private property rights and state sovereignty, so it’s fair to assume that whatever legislation Sanders manages to get through Congress would be promptly legitimized by the judicial branch.

On the bright side, the unconstitutional and dangerous economic policies Sanders has been proposing are impossible to implement. Congress will likely remain in the hands of the GOP leaving Sanders high and dry as he tries to push his policies forward. When the true nature of “free education” (it’d only be for especially qualified individuals, not everyone [meaning rich kids will go to college for free]) is revealed, many of his supporters could join Conservatives and reasonable Democrats in opposing the unprecedented measures. Sanders will be up against a brick wall in his efforts to make his campaign promises come to fruition, and that’s good news for supporters of the free market and privatization.

As unlikely as Sanders’ fantastical economic ideas are to pass, some of his civil liberty initiatives could result in progress for the Libertarian movement. Sanders is against the unconstitutional Drug War (not because it’s unconstitutional), mass surveillance (again, not because of the Constitution), and supports auditing the Fed (though he spoiled Ron Paul’s attempt to do so when it actually had a chance of happening). Political action of this variety has a fair amount of bipartisan support, so we may actually witness it with Sanders in the White House.

Intentions often result in their antithesis. And while I personally would not want to risk it with a moral idiot and apparent apologist for Communism in power, a Sanders presidency could unintentionally be a Libertarian dream come true.

The super-herd backing Sanders seems committed to using politics instead of hard work and good decision making to better their situations. So if you’re serious about Liberty, be prepared for a long fight against the Marxist uprising Sanders is bringing about.

Hillary Clinton

A bright side to Hillary Clinton being elected president? Well… no one would be able to complain about America never electing a female president again! Uh… hang on… I know there are a few more advantages. There has to be, right?

The real bright side of electing Hillary Clinton is how easy it would be to knock her out of office as an incumbent come 2020. The one issue Progressives, Libertarians, Trumpians, and Conservatives can come together on is despising Bill Clinton’s wife. After four years in office, it would be a breeze thumping her back to civilian status. We’d just have to hope that the GOP can get its act together and unify behind a halfway decent candidate when the time comes.

What’s more is that Hillary Clinton is not an ideologue like Cruz or Sanders and is not a pragmatist like Donald Trump. She is an ice-veined, soulless, thoughtless career politician. And if you haven’t figure it out yet, the priorities of folks like her are (1) get elected and (2) get reelected. As a result, Clinton would likely spend her entire first term working on her 2020 campaign instead of fighting to make changes in the country. When the 2020 election comes along, our first female president would likely be ousted before having a minute to focus on signing legislation.

No harm, no foul? Personally, I wouldn’t want to risk it.

Donald Trump

He’s a protectionist, he seems unafraid to make executive orders, he never references the Constitution, he openly opposes many of our First Amendment Rights, and he’s kind of a jerk. The dark side of a President Donald Trump is out in the open for everyone to see.

Nonetheless, bright sides to a Trumpian presidency do exist. For one, Trump’s healthcare plan is actually solid, though it has not received much coverage in the Conservative media. I assume that this is because the establishment is afraid to expose how swell it is and risk losing more #NeverTrump voters.

Another thing to think about is how overblown criticisms of Trump have been overall. I called him a protectionist two paragraphs ago, but he’s actually a reasonably reliable Capitalist. His beef is not necessarily that we have free trade, it’s that the deals we make are subpar. Trump thinks he can negotiate superior trade deals, and it’s not crazy to imagine that with the author of The Art of the Deal in charge. While the American economy is a bit too important for me to feel secure with it in Trump’s hands, I’d surely take his advice on making deals if I had my own company.

On foreign policy, Trump says some crazy things. He talks about killing the families’ of terrorists, imperialistically taking oil from our enemies, expanding our use of torture, and temporarily banning Muslims from entering the US. As vile and unconstitutional as all of that sounds, haven’t we all come to realize that Trump doesn’t mean half the things he says? #NeverTrump Conservatives and Liberals alike constantly rail on Trump for his inconsistencies, flip-flops, and speak-before-you-think approach to communication. So, why are we all of a sudden so concerned that his war and immigration proposals are sincere? I think he’s ramping up the rhetoric to light a fire under his supporters’ rear ends more than he is articulating his actual policy ideas.

Trump, seemingly more than any other candidate, seems to genuinely believe that our involvement in nations abroad is unjustifiable and costly. Isn’t that what we Libertarians have been saying this entire time? Is Trump more like Ron Paul on foreign policy than we give him credit for?

A Trump presidency would certainly concern me. And I don’t blame anyone for being drastically more worried than that. But there’s a chance that it would not only be far from the end of the world, maybe the dawn of a smarter and far less politically correct approach to promoting Liberty in America would be on the horizon with The Donald in charge.

Ted Cruz

While many Libertarians disagree, and I understand where they’re coming from, I believe that Ted Cruz would be a great choice for those of us who’d like to see a Liberty-minded candidate in the White House. He wants to cut both social and corporate welfare, he wants to lower taxes and implement a flat rate, and he wants to follow the 10th Amendment to return power to the states and the people respectively. Cruz is anti-gay marriage and opposed to the legalization of marijuana, but he recognizes that the president and the federal government have no business making decisions on these issues, and wants to leave them to the states. Call him a bigot if you want to, but at least he plays by the rules.

Since I could go on and on about what I believe the bright sides of a Cruz presidency would be (and you can read more about that here), I’ll change things up and focus on his dark side.

Ted Cruz does not understand the 4th Amendment. Though he initially praised Edward Snowden, Cruz has turned his back on the whistleblower and called him a traitor. He sided with the feds on the San Bernardino iPhone controversy, and he claims he’d like to monitor Muslim communities for threats of radicalization. This is not what Libertarians or the Constitution stand for, and Cruz owes us an explanation.

Additionally, Cruz has a massively expensive plan to reinvigorate our military. And while most Libertarians agree that our armed forces should be robust, we all feel that current spending on the military is out of control and contributing to the national debt. We may not have to cut military spending, but an increase seems unnecessary.

In the end, Cruz would likely make strides in decentralizing federal power, and, while austerity measures are always a challenge, he’s our best bet to at least keep taxes and spending from increasing. Empowering the states and the people and being a bit more Conservative with fiscal matters would be huge net positives for Libertarians. The bright side is easy to see with Cruz.

The Bright Side of Electing Each Remaining Candidate for Libertarians

The Seven Party System

If there is one tidbit of knowledge we have gained from the wild and wacky 2016 presidential election thus far, it is that the two party system we have grown to hate is gasping for its last breaths of air. As badly as we hate each other right now, we can rejoice in that fact collectively.

In this post, I have broken our nation into seven distinct political ideologies that seem to be informing those of us engaged in the electoral process. It goes without saying that we are all individuals with our own unique beliefs, so no one fits exactly in to any of these seven boxes, but I think I’m on to something with this one. So, please take a look, spare a few moments for self-reflection, and see if you fit into one of the seven parties I believe are currently taking shape.

Leftists

  • Free Speech: Certain viewpoints may trigger or cause offense to historically oppressed peoples. These viewpoints are hate speech and are not protected by the First Amendment.
  • Religion: There is no God, and morals are subjective since we all experience the world differently. Christianity’s presence in the public sphere must be stomped out. However, Muslims must not be criticized for their cultural differences. Western imperialism is responsible for terrorism; Islam is not.
  • Economics: Workers, customers, the government, and the public at large deserve the vast majority of credit for all economic advancement. Entrepreneurs can only operate and control their businesses when they benefit the public. If their main concern is profit, the government should step in to make sure they pay their fair share to the rest of us. Taxes should be high for all, and especially high for the wealthy. We should persist in our struggle for wealth and income equality for all.
  • Foreign Policy: War is never the answer, and the military should be drastically reduced in size. Chaos in the Middle East and poverty around the world are direct results of Western Imperialism. Israel is to blame for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Trade: Free trade only benefits transnational corporations. Taxes and regulations should exist to discourage investment abroad and purchasing of foreign products. Only nations that meet our high standard for working conditions should be considered for being trade partners.
  • Social Issues: All drugs should be legalized, regulated, and taxed, businesses should never be allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs, Affirmative-Action-like initiatives should be expanded with an emphasis on diversity, private gun ownership should be illegal, and abortions through the third trimester should be available on demand.
  • Welfare: Education, healthcare, housing, food, unemployment benefits, childcare, and a host of other basic human needs should be provided by the government. This is the government’s key purpose.
  • Constitution: Founded on slavery, the Constitution is irrelevant.
  • Immigration: The United States, along with the rest of the world, should adopt an open border policy. We should welcome refugees with open arms too, because we’re all in this together.
  • Environment: Conservation of the environment is far more important than human prosperity. Sweeping regulations should exist to protect the environment from man.
  • Notable Leftists– Elizabeth Warren, Bill Ayers, Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky
  • 2016 Candidate-Bernie Sanders
  • News Sources: Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, MSNBC

Democrats

  • Free Speech: While most speech is protected under the First Amendment, spreading dissent about issues like Climate Change is contemptible and should be prosecuted. Hate speech should be monitored as well.
  • Religion: Religious people who favor the right policies are tolerable, but Conservative Christians are not. There is no link between Islam and terrorism.
  • Economics: A progressive income tax should be implemented, and the government should manipulate the economy when it believes it will benefit society. Alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, and other unhealthy products should be taxed at especially high rates. Unions are beneficial for the economy, and mandates should exist to permit all workers to unionize.
  • Foreign Policy: Military forces and sanctions should be used to coerce nations abroad into accepting a Democratic style of government. It is our responsibility to remove dictators and replace them with leaders who reflect Democratic values. The military should be powerful, but should be decreased in size. Israel is not completely innocent, but Palestine has been more aggressive in their ongoing conflict.
  • Trade: The government is fully capable of negotiating the fairest and best trade deals with nations abroad. Trade agreements should exist between coalitions of nations across the world.
  • Social Issues: Marijuana should be legalized, regulated, and taxed, businesses should never be allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs, Affirmative-Action-like initiatives should be expanded with an emphasis on diversity, gun purchasing should be made extremely difficult, and abortions through the third trimester should be available on demand.
  • Welfare: Education, healthcare, housing, food, unemployment benefits, childcare, and a host of other basic human needs should be provided by the government to all people.
  • Constitution: The Constitution is a living document and should only be followed textually when it suits the public good. Agreements made with the United Nations supersede Constitutional law.
  • Immigration: Peoples that are likely to vote in our favor should be welcomed into the country. Likely political opponents should face tougher barriers. Refugees should be welcomed and educated to vote for Democrats.
  • Environment: The government knows best and is most capable when it comes to protecting the environment. Businesses and human behavior should be regulated without apology. The threat of Climate Change presents an excellent opportunity for government expansion and global centralization.
  • Notable Democrats-Barack Obama, Al Sharpton, John Kerry, George Soros
  • 2016 Candidate: Hillary Clinton
  • News Sources: Washington Post, CNN

Neo-Classical Liberals

  • Free Speech: Ideas are the most precious resource in the universe. Every utterance, outside of yelling “bomb” on an airplane, should be protected. Opinions should be expressed and questioned in an academic format. The answer to bad speech is more speech.
  • Religion: God does not exist, but objective morality does. We can figure out what is moral by thinking deeply and talking to our neighbors. While religion should not be free from criticism, freedom of religion should be protected for all people as long as religious practices do not violate basic human rights. All religions are primitive and regressive, but Islam is uniquely and inherently violent. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but there is a direct relationship between Islam and terrorism.
  • Economics: While the old tradition of Classical Liberalism favors free markets, greed should be shunned, and businesses are accountable to the public and the environment. Leading a healthy, frugal, and thoughtful lifestyle will solve many economic woes, so campaigns and education promoting said lifestyle should be encouraged. Scientific research and renewable energy sources should be heavily subsidized by the government.
  • Foreign Policy: War should be avoided, but military action is sometimes necessary. Radical Islamic Terrorism is running rampant and, while often unsuccessful, conquests in the Middle East are sometimes justifiable. However, we have no businesses propping up dictators. Democratic life is not for everyone. Israel is not perfect, but clearly the victim in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Trade: The government is fully capable of negotiating the fairest and best trade deals. Trade agreements should exist between coalitions of nations across the world. Free trade should be the aim of such deals.
  • Social Issues: Marijuana should be legalized, businesses should be allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs in a few select instances, Affirmative-Action-like initiatives are sometimes necessary, but diversity of ideas is more important than diversity of ethnicity, private gun ownership should be more heavily regulated, and abortions through the second trimester should be legal.
  • Welfare: Generous safety nets should exist for the downtrodden, free education should be made available for qualified students from lower socioeconomic communities, and government-run, single-payer healthcare should be implemented.
  • Constitution: The basic principles of the Constitution are noble, enlightened, and important. While the Constitution should continue to be the law of the land, it should be updated to fit our more progressive values.
  • Immigration: Immigrants should be welcomed, but it is sometimes necessary to limit the amount of migrants entering the country, particularly when they come from nations whose values are in conflict with our own. We can accept refugees from abroad, but must be careful in doing so.
  • Environment: Climate Change is a great threat, but its potential should not be exaggerated. Climate skeptics and deniers must be debated and educated so they can be shown the errors of their ways.
  • Notable Neo-Classical Liberals-Sam Harris, Bill Maher, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Richard Dawkins, Dave Rubin
  • 2016 Candidate: N/A
  • News Sources: New York Times, Economist

Republicans

  • Free Speech: Free Speech should be unlimited, but words have consequences.
  • Religion: God is real, and my inalienable Rights are bestowed upon me by Him. No man can be truly moral without accepting God as his savior. While religion should never be forced upon anyone, and Atheists should be free to choose their path, there is no reason religion must be kept out of public view. Muslims are not evil, but Islam is. We should do everything in our power to convince Muslims to convert to a Judeo-Christian faith.
  • Economics: Capitalism is clearly the best economic system out there, but that does not mean we must follow it like a religion. Sometimes having government get involved makes things easier. Taxes should be low, but may need to be raised at times. Sometimes government subsidies are necessary for economic growth and job creation.
  • Foreign Policy: Military forces and sanctions should be used to coerce nations abroad into accepting a Democratic style of government. The military should receive heavy funding. While the United States does not have a perfect military record, our military and commitment to protecting freedom around the world have been forces for good. We should not be constrained by the United Nations, and Israel must be defended to the death.
  • Trade: The government is fully capable of negotiating the fairest and best trade deals. Trade agreements should exist between coalitions of nations across the world with free trade as the ultimate goal.
  • Social Issues: All non-medical drug use should be illegal, businesses should absolutely be allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs, Affirmative-Action-like initiatives hurt the people they intend to help, the Right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and abortion should be illegal, but possibly allowed in instances of rape or a threat to the mother’s life.
  • Welfare: Aside from Medicare, Medicaid, and a few other programs for the truly needy, welfare spending should be drastically cut. Private charities are more effective at caring for the poor. However, it’s sometimes easier to fund welfare programs than to remain deadlocked in Congress.
  • Constitution: We would like to follow the Constitution, but sometimes it’s too difficult. We are absolutists on the Second Amendment, but the rest of the Bill of Rights is a bit tougher to work with. The 4th Amendment should not get in the way of protecting the homeland.
  • Immigration: Immigration should be encouraged, but controlled. Qualified immigrants are a great boon for economic growth, but illegal immigration is a serious problem. It should be expected that all immigrants awarded the privilege of entering our nation will respect our way of life by learning and embracing our language and customs.
  • Environment: If Climate Change is real, the private sector will have to handle it. The government is already regulating us far beyond an acceptable level and should not be tasked with reducing the rising of the oceans. The government can’t even balance a budget.
  • Notable Republicans-Marco Rubio, Joe Scarborough, Jeb Bush, Bill O’Reilly
  • 2016 Candidate: John Kasich
  • News Sources: Wall Street Journal, Fox News

The Alt-Right

  • Free Speech: Free Speech should be unlimited.
  • Religion: I call myself Christian, but the Bible does not run my life. Muslims are often dangerous, and Islam causes terrorism. We should monitor the behavior of Muslims inside and outside of our country.
  • Economics: Big business is in bed with government, and executive orders should be issued against corporations that favor profits over American workers. We should have a mostly free market just as long as American workers are protected, and a president with some business chops would be a huge plus.
  • Foreign Policy: Extreme measures should be taken against threats from abroad. Bombings, torture, imperialism, and Guantanamo-Bay-style imprisonment are due justice for those who dare to endanger the United States. However, we should not be the world’s police, and if foreign nations want our help, they should be ready to cough up some dough. The enemy of our enemy is our friend, and Israel isn’t all that special.
  • Trade: Free trade only benefits transnational corporations. Taxes and regulations should exist to punish investment abroad and purchasing of foreign products. Protect our jobs and our businesses first.
  • Social Issues: The states should handle drug laws, businesses should be allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs, Affirmative-Action-like initiatives are racist, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and while Planned Parenthood should not receive public funding, abortions are sometimes necessary.
  • Welfare: Aside from Medicare, Medicaid, and a few other programs for the truly needy, welfare spending should be drastically cut. My tax dollars should not be given to someone who refuses to work.
  • Constitution: The Constitution does not matter much anymore. Our own representatives fail to follow it, so why should we? A powerful president that understands us is more practical.
  • Immigration: Immigrants are taking our jobs and endangering our way of life. We need a temporary pause on immigration until we can secure our borders. Any immigrant that enters the United States must speak English and accept American culture. We don’t go to their countries telling them what to do, so they should give us the same respect.
  • Environment: Global Warming is a hoax.
  • Notable Alt-Rightists-Chris Christie, Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter
  • 2016 Candidate: Donald Trump
  • News Sources: Brietbart, Drudge

Conservatives

  • Free Speech: Free Speech should be unlimited. Few of our principles are more absolute than this.
  • Religion: God is real, and my inalienable Rights are bestowed upon me by Him. No man can be truly moral without accepting God as his savior. While religion should never be forced upon anyone, and Atheists should be free to choose their path, there is no reason religion must be kept out of public view. Muslims are not evil, but Islam is. We should do everything in our power to convince Muslims to convert to a Judeo-Christian faith.
  • Economics: Capitalism solves all. It has been eradicating poverty and hunger since its inception, and should be allowed to run its course. Cronyism is to blame for wealth inequality and other economic woes, and these problems would subside if government would get out of the way. Low taxes, and preferably a flat tax rate, are crucial for economic growth and individual happiness and achievement. Bailouts and subsidies are unconstitutional.
  • Foreign Policy: The United States’ presence abroad is necessary. If we were to substantially scale back our participation in global affairs, chaos would likely ensue. While the United States does not have a perfect military record, our military and commitment to protecting freedom around the world have been forces for good. We should not be constrained by the United Nations, and Israel must be defended to the death.
  • Trade: Free trade is consistent with Capitalism and benefits all. Not only does it encourage investment from abroad and a willingness to import great products to our shores, it assists the needy across the globe in working their way up the ladder through job and wealth creation. Without free trade, poverty and despair would fester.
  • Social Issues: Marijuana legalization should be handled at the state level, businesses should absolutely be allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs, Affirmative-Action-like initiatives hurt the people they intend to help, the Right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and while I believe all abortions are murder, the states should be allowed to decide their own policies.
  • Welfare: Aside from Medicare, Medicaid, and a few other programs for the truly needy, welfare spending should be drastically cut. Private charities are more effective at caring for the poor.
  • Constitution: “The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.”-Abraham Lincoln
  • Immigration: Immigration should be encouraged, but controlled. Qualified immigrants are a great boon for economic growth, but illegal immigration is a serious problem. It should be expected that all immigrants awarded the privilege of entering our nation will respect our way of life by learning and embracing our language and customs.
  • Environment: If Climate Change is real, the private sector will have to handle it. The government is already regulating us far beyond an acceptable level and should not be tasked with decelerating the rising of the oceans. The government can’t even balance a budget.
  • Notable Conservatives-Glenn Beck, Dennis Prager, Ben Carson, Mark Levin
  • 2016 Candidate: Ted Cruz
  • News Sources: National Review, Daily Signal

Libertarians

  • Free Speech: Free Speech should be unlimited. Few of our principles are more absolute than this.
  • Religion: Individuals have the Right to believe in or not believe in whatever they want, but morality is objective. Hurting people, taking their stuff, and violating contracts are immoral acts, and government exists solely to keep these things from happening. There is no doubt that a link exists between Islam and terrorism.
  • Economics: Not only is Capitalism the most efficient economic system known to man, it is also completely in line with objective morality. Capitalism’s only principles are private ownership and voluntary exchange, and any government actions taken outside these principles is cronyism. Taxes are theft, and if they exist at an obligatory level at all, they should only be used to pay for activities specifically authorized by the Constitution.
  • Foreign Policy: If attacked or facing an imminent threat, the military can respond with necessary force. Otherwise, we have no business sticking our noses in the matters of nations abroad. We should be polite to nations that match our values and openly critical of nations that don’t. We can support Israel with our words, but not with our dollars.
  • Trade: Free trade is consistent with Capitalism and benefits all. Not only does it encourage investment from abroad and a willingness to import great products to our shores, it assists the needy across the globe in working their way up the ladder through job and wealth creation. Without free trade, poverty and despair would fester.
  • Social Issues: The government has no Right to tell people what they can do with their bodies, private businesses should be allowed to discriminate against any customer for any reason, Affirmative-Action-like initiatives are immoral because they judge people based on involuntary, external factors instead of character and merit, the Right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and abortion is a tough issue that we’re still debating because we don’t have an answer as to when a person inherits Rights.
  • Welfare: The government has no Right to redistribute wealth. By removing welfare programs, individuals will learn to become more responsible for their own lives, and the wealthy will be more inclined and able to make voluntary charitable contributions which are more effective anyway.
  • Constitution: The Constitution is not perfect, but it’s close enough. We can compromise our ideals for the legal preservation of our most necessary Rights.
  • Immigration: Political lines should not prevent individuals from pursuing their own interests. We do not judge people based on their place of birth, but rather the content of their character. But if we’re forced to pay into welfare programs, we don’t want a raw deal. Immigration will have to be controlled until we know we won’t be paying for an immigrant’s free lunch. If the welfare state is abolished, we’ll call for open borders.
  • Environment: If Climate Change is real, the private sector will have to handle it. The government is already regulating us far beyond an acceptable level and should not be tasked with reducing the rising of the oceans. The government can’t even balance a budget.
  • Notable Libertarians-John Stossel, Ron Paul, John McAfee, Nick Gillespie
  • 2016 Candidate: Gary Johnson
  • News Sources: Reason, Cato
The Seven Party System