Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Congressman-elect a "libertarian populist"

Libertarian Populism is Still Relevant in the Age of Trump | The American Conservative - Kevin Boyd:

November 19, 2018 - "The conventional wisdom says that libertarian politics is irrelevant in the age of Donald Trump.... Yet while there was some bad news for libertarians in the midterms, there was also plenty of good news.... .

"But it is the unexpectedly strong victory of Denver Riggleman of Bigfoot erotica fame in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District that shows how libertarian populism can still be a force in American politics. Riggleman is described by National Review’s Jibran Khan as 'a libertarian outsider with a knack for free-market populism.' Riggleman, who owns a whiskey distillery, ran a positive, policy-focused race against crony capitalism and for reforms in the H2A guest worker program in order help farmers get the labor they need....

"Riggleman, with the support of younger voters, won a contentious nominating convention against a leading social conservative. His victory shows that a libertarian populist message can still resonate, even in a battleground district.

"Why is libertarian populism still relevant? The latest answer is Amazon’s decision to place its HQ2 facility in Arlington, Virginia, and New York City (along with another project in Nashville). Amazon collected over $2.2 billion in government subsidies from the three states. The only congressional opposition to this act of blatant cronyism came from libertarians and [a] self-described socialist Congresswoman-elect....

"Libertarian populists ... are skeptical of both big business and big government. They are strong supporters of free speech whether the threat comes from the state or from private industry. They are unapologetically anti-globalist while at the same championing free trade and a realist foreign policy. They champion both environmental conservation and limited government. They understand that a limited social safety net is necessary. They support both streamlined legal immigration and border security.

"Do they have a chance in Trump’s Republican Party? Yes, because the efforts to build a Trumpism without Trump took a beating in the midterms. Corey Stewart was soundly defeated in his bid for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat.... Lou Barletta ... was defeated for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat. Kris Kobach was beaten in his bid to become Kansas’s governor. There is little love for Trumpism among suburbanites and young people, two demographics that the Republican Party must do better among if it hopes to win in the future.

"Trump himself seems to understand this to a point. He recently endorsed criminal justice reform legislation that is working its way through the U.S. Senate. He has hinted at supporting the legalization of marijuana at the federal level. One of his most important unofficial advisors is none other than Senator Rand Paul....

"The political movement of the foreseeable future is going to be populist, not centrist. Why shouldn’t the championing of human liberty be one of the causes that the people take up?"

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