2018 Midterms: The Liberty Republican Coup D’essai

Henry Clay 12/28/17

Rand Paul With Sunglasses

The Libertarian wing of the GOP (Liberty Republicans, Libertarians, Paleolibertarianism etc) has been a steady force in the GOP for years. There is a historical precedent for libertarian/conservative radicals being involved in the GOP and conservatives have had their shining moments. Calvin Coolidge's presidency, The influence of libertarian-leaning Senator Robert Taft, the Presidential candidacy of Barry Goldwater, The Presidency of Ronald Reagan (that was Libertarian in words only but inspirational nonetheless), and now the large and gaining popularity of both Ron and Rand Paul.

The most recent resurgence of these ideas and the sentiment around them began with the tea party movement, and its' crucial consensus that the movement was just as repulsed by moderate Republicans as they were to Democrats who, they believe, had been working in tandem to grow the state for decades. The main issue with the tea party was that it was simply a reactionary movement. A true grassroots movement against Obama, against Obamacare, against the establishment Republicans, and against over taxation.

The movement is all but dead today, but that is not to say it failed, it didn't. The movement was never meant to do more than that which it had already accomplished. That is where the Liberty Republican movement comes in. The growing number of college conservative organizations adopting libertarian slogans and beliefs, with activists, YouTubers, politicians and conservative media leading the way, should worry the left and should give the right a reason to hope again. Many conservative Personalities have been cross-promoting each other, endorsing similar candidates and have gotten off the uninspired ‘undo the last 8 years’ trope, which, by implication lets Bush 43 off the hook, and fails to recognize Republicans have failed us about as much as the Democrats have.

There is a new consensus amongst the participants of the new right-wing insurgency, and it is that Progressivism, leftism, and authoritarianism is to be rejected completely. That we should abandon and denounce the conservatives who gave and continue to give endless concessions to the left. A reversal is due if we stay the course, reignite debates the left thought they had won decades ago.

After Ron Paul’s 2012 run, Rand Paul’s 2016 run, and the ceasefire with the Trump populists, the real question to be asked is where do we go next? How do we make this movement and this dream a reality? The answer is in plain sight. The 2018 Midterms is the answer, and nothing else in this upcoming year will come even close to it in importance. Sure beltway libertarian organizations do a good job, libertarian college groups allow college kids to organize, and Rand Paul is a wonderful and foundationally important voice of our movement, but the movement desperately needs more substantial and tangible political victories. The movement needs a win and needs to show they deserve a seat at the table, and a spot in the national political discussion.

The 2018 midterms are not just a referendum on the right vs left battle that goes back and forth, but it is also a chance to change the identity of a party. It is a way to influence and push the President in your direction. In 1994 midterms, The Republican Party trounced the Democrats and under the leadership of Speaker Gingrich forced President Clinton to move more to the center of the political spectrum, and was a presidency defined by bipartisanship. In the 2010 midterms, the Republicans had a major comeback largely driven by the tea party, and we didn't look back. We kept the house since and in doing so were able to obstruct President Obama from any more major legislative wins thereafter. The midterms are always consequential but this one is the perfect storm.

We have a President who is unafraid of controversy (perhaps more out of necessity than choice) and who is starting to realize that those in the liberty movement are his natural allies. If he helps us, we will stick by him through controversial moments when the rest of the party will not. The most recent example of such a test of integrity was the Roy Moore situation. Roy Moore was abandoned by the party establishment and lost the support of every sitting Senator, with the exception of Senator Paul. Along with Paul, Congressman Massie and Congressman Mark Meadows, who are all seen as Libertarian leaning figures endorsed Roy Moore. Trump has already endorsed Freedom Caucus member and Congressman Ron DeSantis in the Florida Governor race. Why is this important? Because of this tweet a few months back

Rand Paul With President Trump

President Trump’s friendship with Senator Paul and growing respect for our movement have its limits currently. But if we are to make a larger show of force in 2018, Trump will not just respect and admire our caucus, he will have to fear any amount of divorcing from principle. He will have to work with the liberty movement, and the democratic party will be compelled to respond, likely by retreating back towards the center (assuming the Republicans retain their majorities). This will test whether or not the movement will have its time to shine. Currently, there are many prominent figures aligned with our beliefs, and there will be much more who come to prominence who align themselves with us as well. For efficiency's sake, I will name a few Senate candidates likely to join the Rand Paul wing of the GOP.

1. Austin Petersen

Austin Petersen is a Libertarian activist who is running for Senate against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. The State heavily leans red so the main challenge for Austin Petersen will be in the Primary election, not the General. His main primary opponent is current Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

2. Danny Tarkanian

Danny Tarkanian has run for office many times and is very closely aligned with Senator Paul. He is running in the GOP primary against Senator Dean Heller.

3. Matt Rosendale

Matt Rosendale is the auditor of Montana and is someone to watch very closely, likely an ally.

4. Eric Brakey

Eric Brakey is running to unseat Senator Angus King. Maine is a swing state that Trump lost by only 2 points with a Republican Governor. In my Ceccpoint News exclusive interview with Eric Brakey, I could tell he was 100% on board with the Liberty Republican plan and message. He was the Maine director for Ron Paul’s 2012 Presidential Campaign and founder of the Defense of Liberty PAC. His most significant challenge will be in the General election.

5. Kelli Ward

Running in Arizona. Much more likely to win the nomination now that incumbent senator jeff flake is not running. She was recently endorsed by Senator Paul.

This list will grow as more candidates make their views clear and as more attention is shifted to the midterms. These midterms are just the beginning but it is our moment, our foray into national politics, our testing of messaging, our testing to see how we will fit within the party, and our chance to establish ourselves as a real force in American Politics.

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