After Trump’s win in Tuesday’s Republican primary, it became clear that there was no path to victory for the two remaining candidates. Ted Cruz dropped out that evening, and it was announced that John Kasich would suspend his campaign the following afternoon.
In the wake of Trump’s final ascent, interest in the Libertarian Party (LP), the country’s largest third party, has spiked.Ed Krayewski at Reason provided a screenshot of a Google Trends graph showing that after Trump’s Indiana victory, searches for the Libertarian Party increased dramatically.
And it seems this interest has translated into new members for the LP.
As Ashe Schow reported at the Washington Examiner, “Between 7 p.m. Tuesday evening and noon on Wednesday, the Libertarian Party received 99 new memberships. For the same time period a day earlier, the LP received only 46 new memberships.”
Schow spoke with the LP’s Executive Director Wes Benedict, who said, “Of course [Republicans] are scared of Trump. Trump sounds like an authoritarian. We don’t need a secret deal-maker. We need more transparency, and a smaller, less intrusive government that provides a level playing field for all and has fewer deals for special interests.”
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s current presidential frontrunner, is working to capitalize on this momentum. His campaign sent out an email saying that after Cruz dropped out of the race, searches for “Gary Johnson” increased by 5,000 percent. And Johnson, a former Republican Governor, released this video in an effort to court disaffected conservatives.
Personally, I’ve had my differences with the Libertarian Party, largely because many of its members are focused on ideological purity to a point that I think makes governing impossible. I do believe though, if Gary Johnson is in fact the nominee (which will be decided at the LP national convention this month) that he’d be a viable alternative for many #NeverTrump diehards.
Johnson is after all, as his video explains, a former Republican Governor with a stellar record. And while some conservatives understandably have a problem with the fact that Johnson is personally pro-choice, I’d suggest they consider that he’s opposed to Roe v. Wade on constitutional grounds.
This means the matter would go back to the states, as was the case pre-Roe.
Ultimately, I’m not convinced that a LP candidate would actually be able to win the presidency. But if the LP polls at 15 percent, their nominee will be on the debate stage with Clinton and Trump.
It would certainly be refreshing for voters to see a third option, especially if it’s a pro-liberty one.