If not Trump, then who? – assessing the libertarian opinion

Justin McGowan, Staff Writer

With Donald Trump now reaching the amount of delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination, the question being raised is whether or not the establishment will back him. Paul Ryan recently endorsed Trump after a lenghtly period of ambivalence.  Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now backing Trump. With the party steering toward unity over ideology the question that remains is what will happen to the voters who refuse to compromise and sell out their ideology?

The popular belief as to why Trump is gaining more support is that he won’t compromise on certain core values of the GOP establishment.

“I believe that he, unlike Hillary, truly cares about…America… Also I support his lack of political correctness, which I believe…is weakening our country” said Senior Vincenzo Gargano.

Sean Fiola added: “Trump is a strong leader with a massive ego…He will not allow himself to be pushed around by special interest groups. He also has the best Twitter account I’ve ever seen.” Both Gargano and Fiola are registered Republicans.

With many MHS seniors registering to vote this past February, those who registered Republican are mainly on the “Trump train” as each and every day students can be seen wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat or “Trump 2016” tee-shirt. Many even attended the rally he held in Bethpage back in April.

Some Republicans report voting for Trump because they think he will unify the Republican party, not because they truly believe in and support him.

“I became a Republican because of the party’s conservative values and I believe Trump is a liberal who will not represent me in the manner I would hope. He’s lied throughout the race and has given no indication he deserves my vote” Senior Mark Fedoronko said.

There is however an alternative to Trump. The Libertarian Party was founded in 1971. By 1980, the party had gained ballot access in all 50 states, the first time a third party had done so since the Socialist party in 1916. The big figures of the party include former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson, who has been the party’s nominee the past two election cycles, Ron Paul who has gone back and forth over the years between being a Libertarian and a Republican, and David H. Koch, the billionaire who was the party’s first candidate in 1980. While taking aspects of both parties in social liberalism from the Democrats and Fiscal Conservatism from the Republicans, the Libertarian party is on the rise among young people.

“I believe many people are Libertarians and just don’t know it,” said Gary Johnson during a Fox Business debate hosted by John Stossel on April 8. With social conservatism being a thing of the past and driving many young people away from the Republican party, the Libertarians are growing fast. Some MHS seniors even registered as Libertarians back in February.

“I view it as a viable alternative to the Republican party because it features the foundations of the Republican party however…they are more socially liberal when it comes to gay marriage and legalization of marijuana. They are also true economic conservatives and have a less aggressive foreign policy”  Senior Joe Mauceri, a registered libertarian, said. Social conservatism and evangelicalism drove many away from Ted Cruz during his campaign.

MHS senior Kaitlyn Oddo, a registered Libertarian, takes fault with one core aspect of the Republican Party.  “The Republican party is too swept up in religious ideals, many of which are factually incorrect and disrupt the learning process of children. Choosing religion over the rights of citizens is bigoted and backwards for a 21st century nation.”

“Libertarianism is all about people’s freedom, something I find to be very important. Everyone should be free to choose whatever they would like to do, not have their personal opinions or decisions regulated by the government.” Senior Kevin Hitchings said.

Though himself a fan of Libertarian ideals and a registered Republican, Hitchings doesn’t see the Libertarian party as a viable alternative to Trump.

“I understand the rationale of those who see it that way but I don’t. My hope is that a Trump election will smash the left-right political structure and form a more libertarian-authoritarian structure. He is gathering himself around individuals like Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, Dr. Ben Carson, and Jeff Sessions (R-AL). He will bring bombastic political correctness shattering rhetoric and smart policy wonks who want to truly keep America out of unnecessary wars and shrink the size of government.”       

A big question that many are trying to figure out is who Bernie Sanders’ supporters will go for, another outsider in Trump or their presumptive nominee in Hillary Clinton. Many are already saying they will vote for Trump.

However, senior John Merz says he will not be among that group: “[Trump] is two-faced and is playing his constituents like fools. He is not trustworthy because there is no value behind his words. He hides behind the word ‘flexible.’ Flexibility does not carry over to ‘yeah I’m going to build a wall’ to ‘oh yeah that wall’s not going to happen’…”

Nonetheless, July will be an interesting month. as both the Republican and Democratic parties hold their conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia respectively. Gary Johnson is the locked-in nominee for the Libertarian Party. As Kevin Hitchings said, a Trump-Clinton election could cause a party realignment. If this proves to be true, and with party ideology clearly at stake on both sides, this election could see the biggest party realignment since the 1960’s.

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