Beginning when I joined the College Republicans in 2000 during the first Bush/Cheney campaign, to my time in the Maine Young Republicans leading up to McCain/Palin, to supporting many local and statewide races within State Party politics ever since — I’ve always been relatively active in the Republican Party. A “wannabe activist” if you will.
Now in my mid-30’s and 2016 happened. In an open election season that began so promising with 17 candidates, I started as a Rand Paul supporter… before shifting to Rubio… until finally settling on Cruz — all in hopes of avoiding Trump.
Then Trump became a reality.
While some of my Republican friends are still holding out hope that there will be mutiny at the National Convention, and the Grand Old Party will cast aside the bombastic casino owner of Reality TV fame, I decided it was time to begin looking for other options.
A week or so after Ted Cruz suspended his campaign, I decided to see who the Libertarian Party was running this year. Gary Johnson, their nominee from 2012, was back again. However, it was a young upstart who caught my attention — Austin Petersen. Barely old enough to run for President, he was saying all the right things from my center-right, pro-life perspective. He communicated Libertarian principles in a way that just made sense. He was my guy!
From there I found the online libertarian subculture. From Libertarianism.org’s introduction, to Reason’s free thinking, to the Cato Institute — and every Facebook page and Twitter account of liberty activists in between — I had discovered people that actually cared about their country AND their individual rights!
The Libertarian National Convention rolled around and I followed the events on CSPAN with intrigue — and intriguing it certainly was — with their Libertarian brand of self expression and humor. My candidate of choice did not get the nod, but the more well-known Gary Johnson was given another shot to expand on his record 1% from 2012.
Closer to home in Maine, the Libertarian Party was caught in a court battle. And as chance would have it, right around the time I was most interested in “being Libertarian”, a judge ruled in favor of the LP of Maine and granted them until July 12th to simply garner 462 more voter registrations in order to become an officially recognized party in our state.
Most people agree the 2-party system is broken in our country. Joining the LP in Maine was my chance to help break up the monopoly. I could be one of those 462 registrations!
So as of June 9th 2016, it officially happened. Here is photographic evidence:
Leaving Bangor City Hall I felt a sense of freedom I can’t easily explain. The weight of Donald Trump was off my back, and the air smelled a little sweeter.
Sure the Libertarian President ticket is a little too socially liberal for my liking. I’ve even shared how the Johnson/Weld ticket could tidy up their message a bit to appeal to more voters “like me”… But that’s just it — who am I to force “my liking” onto every other possible LP voter?
Who knows what post-2016 will bring. I can honestly say I hope Trump loses and sails off into the sunset never to return to the Republican Party again — even if that means 4 years of Hillary. The conservative movement could regroup and beat her in 2020, and would be all the better for it. Hillary’s possible Supreme Court nominations don’t worry me either.
Maybe someday I’ll rejoin the GOP, especially if Rand Paul (or Justin Amash) ever run in a GOP presidential primary again.
But others say the GOP may go the way of the Whig Party (see below video) — which would be no skin off my back as I’ve already found a new home.
Onward for Freedom!