The Night Before Trump Speaks, Libertarian Party Convention Turns Into a Free-For-All

What is a libertarian? Who is a libertarian? 

The Libertarian Party is in the midst of an identity crisis. That’s nothing new. The party has been trying to decide what “libertarianism” means for 50 years. While basically pro-capitalist, the party also harbors “libertarian socialists” who hate capitalism but love freedom. Go figure.


The schism in the libertarian philosophy has split the party named for that philosophy right down the middle. And tonight, those differences are going to be on display when Donald Trump speaks to the Libertarian Party convention.

The convention will nominate a presidential candidate and the prospective nominees are none too thrilled with being upstaged by Trump.

Trump’s appearance has caused an earthquake in the party which has displeased the usually staid convention. One faction wanted to bar Trump and Robert Kennedy from speaking. The debate got so animated that punches were thrown and obscenities were exchanged.

“I would like to propose that we go tell Donald Trump to go f**k himself!” Kaelan Dreyer, a Libertarian from New Mexico, yelled into a microphone. Mr. Dreyer then began calling the chairman obscene names and absorbed several punches before being led out of the hall.

“The vast majority of Libertarian Party members are not happy with this invitation,” said Bill Redpath, a 40-year veteran of the Libertarian Party and a former national party chair who’s helped organize their presidential ballot access for decades. “There are some people who call Trump the most Libertarian president of our lifetimes. That’s utterly ridiculous.”

Delroy Murdoch of The American Spectator, believes Trump should ask for the Libertarian Party endorsement “based, largely, on his presidential record. Reminding his audience about the measures that he implemented should make their freedom-loving hearts soar.”


So, maybe not so ridiculous.

In accepting the invitation to speak, Trump said “Libertarians are some of the most independent and thoughtful thinkers in our Country, and I am honored to join them in Washington, DC,” Trump stated. “We must all work together to help advance freedom and liberty for every American, and a second Trump Administration will achieve that goal.”


Trump advisers say they plan to use his Saturday speech to highlight the overlap in Trump’s policies with those embraced by right-leaning libertarians. Richard Grenell, a former Trump cabinet official who is widely expected to play a role in a potential second Trump administration, has been reaching out to Libertarian Party leaders and activists, as has Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a libertarian-leaning Republican. Trump allies say the goal isn’t necessarily to dominate among libertarian voters, but rather minimize defections to a third-party candidate. During the 2020 campaign, Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen drew more votes in some key states than the margin separating Trump and now-President Joe Biden.

Robert Kennedy might have done better if he stayed home. His speech drew few convention attendees.


“Any libertarian worth their stripes who has looked at Donald Trump’s record, will see that he barely aligns with the conservative camp and is a far cry from the Libertarian Party,” said Steven Nekhaila, a director at large for the Libertarian National Committee.

Trump is not a libertarian. He has never claimed to be a libertarian. He has recognized that conservatives and libertarians share some values and agree on a few issues like reduced federal spending and an expansive freedom agenda.

But it’s an open question whether or not Trump will be allowed to speak. Nathan Madden, a delegate from Arizona, said “He could get booed off stage.”

Not very libertarian of them, is it?

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