February 9, 2020

PARK | Have You Taken the Time to Consider the Libertarian Presidential Candidates?

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Are you sick of pondering paper ripping, partisan impeachment proceedings and whether or not Pete Buttigieg actually won Iowa? Are you tired of establishment candidates running the politics of our two party system or longing for dissolution of the entire government? Perhaps you’re looking for a pro-immigration candidate who does not koozie up to wine cave owners or a pro-tax cut candidate who does not profess his love for authoritarian leaders. If any of the above describes you, it might be time to take a dip in the Libertarian pool of presidential candidates.

Despite garnering a record 4.5 million votes in the last presidential election, our nation’s third-largest and fastest-growing political party has been criminally underreported this cycle. Well, no longer. I am here to grant the party of minimum government and maximum freedom its day in The Sun.

While the rest of the nation was busy getting, first ironically, then sincerely addicted to TikTok, the Libertarian Party quietly assembled the most eccentric collection of candidates to vie for our nation’s highest seat of power in preparation for their national convention in May. They are notably different from the major party candidates; they don’t share Biden’s baggage, Bernie’s background or Trump’s beautiful bald spot. But I assure you, what the Libertarian candidates may lack in supporters, funding and elected experience, they make up for in fun hats, criminal records and unbridled love for marijuana.

I invite you to explore this lineup of freedom fighters. Sure, they may never win, but neither will 29 of the contestants each season on The Bachelor, and that hasn’t stopped us from following them religiously through their doomed attempts to find love on network television. Much like The Bachelor, these candidates share a brazen, unwavering hope to increase their following, win the hearts of America and spend the rest of their lives promoting SugarBearHair Vitamins on Instagram.

Behold my top picks for the nomination:

Adam Kokesh is running for “Not-President of the United States” and leading the pack in financial contributions at over $200,000. His goal is simple: to peacefully and orderly dissolve the federal government. This anti-war Iraq veteran and activist announced his candidacy back in 2013 from prison during a Fox interview after being arrested for an Open Carry incident. We love us some civil disobedience. Much like the great Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Lil Wayne, Adam Kokesh began writing his pièce de résistance, FREEDOM!, in jail. This treatise is a meditation on how governments trample upon liberty and serves as the crux of his platform to burn it all down.

Dan “Taxation Is Theft” Behrman was so devoted to his cause that he legally changed his name to spread his core belief. I dare you to find a more dedicated candidate. I don’t see Donald “Build a Wall” Trump or Bernie “The Top 1% Owns 42% of the Nation’s Wealth” Sanders showing the same level of commitment. His bright yellow “Taxation is Theft” top hat is arguably more iconic than Trump’s MAGA hat.

If you were praying for female redemption after the last election, but could not possibly get over Klobuchar’s salad-eating habits or Warren’s Native American claims, fear not; Jo Jorgensen may be the candidate for you. This Clemson University psychology professor was the former Libertarian Party Vice-Presidential nominee and believes that generations of Republican and Democrat politicians have failed the American people. She supports immigration, environmental reform and decriminalizing non-violent victimless crimes. And given that she is a well-spoken, well-educated and well-qualified woman, she is, naturally, well-suited to be passed over for one of her male counterparts.

Arvin Vohra announced his bid for president the same day he was ousted as the vice-chair of the Libertarian Party for being too radical. How, you may ask, could you be too radical for a government party that does not believe in government? Well this anarcho-capitalist has joked about school shootings, called veterans hired killers, and expressed that welfare recipients should not be allowed to vote. Outside of the party, he teaches SAT prep to students, which is concerning considering he does not believe in a government age of consent.

Former Republican senator, Independent governor, and Democratic presidential nominee Lincoln Chafee is certainly the most politically experienced candidate in the pool. He may change parties like Martha Pollack changes snow day status, but he boasts a thirty-year public service career with zero scandals and promises to protect our freedoms and always tell the truth.

Vermin Supreme is a perennial candidate and my personal favorite. Back when Biden voted for the Iraq War, Supreme advocated for free ponies for all Americans. And this key tenant of his platform has remained constant throughout his five bids for president. This self-described “Tyrant You Can Trust” promises mandatory tooth brushing, “funcentration” camps on the border and zombie apocalypse awareness. Supreme championed the New Hampshire Libertarian primary in his famous boot hat. But his magic may best be distilled by one of his lines in the South Carolina debates: “I smoke dope. I smoke grass. If you don’t like it, you can kiss my ass.”

For many of these candidates, their campaigns play out like performance art, but each of these players seem acutely aware of their own absurdity. Because to do the nearly-impossible task of creating change as a third party candidate in a two party system requires unwavering resolve and radical unselfconsciousness. Whether it be through a boot hat, name change or promise to tear down the system, what is self evident is that the Libertarian candidates will stop at no length to be heard.

 

Sarah Park is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at sarahpark@cornellsun.com. Spark Notes runs every other Monday this semester.