There have been numerous articles touting 2016 as the year when libertarian political philosphies may be poised to make a splash into the mainstream debate of presidential politics. Most reference Rand Paul as the vehicle by which these policies are gaining a spotlight within the Republican Party. The issues of limited government, fewer regulations, and the protection of personal privacy have been hot-button issues since the NSA spying revelations and the continued growth of government in general.
Report from Breitbart:
Recent polls indicate that libertarian ideas are gaining traction among voters, especially with “Millennials” under the age of 33, a group whose strong support was critical to the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
According to a February 2014 Pew Research Poll, only 31 percent of Millennials believe there is much difference between the Democratic and Republican parties (compared to 49 percent of Baby Boomers.) Even more significantly, a majority of Millennials support such classic libertarian positions as legalization of pot, gay marriage, and a less interventionist foreign policy.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the son of libertarian icon and former Presidential candidate Ron Paul, is well positioned to harness this growing libertarian sentiment in a likely 2016 run for the Republican Presidential nomination. Robert Draper argued in the New York Times Magazine last week that while a national “libertarian moment” may have arrived, Senator Paul may be unable to exploit it.
I’m skeptical to think that the mainstreaming of libertarian thought is going to make huge waves in the Republican primaries but there is no denying that Rand Paul is attempting to harness these issues to expand the voter base. Young people who may not be in line with social issues will, however, be enticed by a message of less government intrusion into their personal lives, specifically in the area of the internet and communications.
Is 2016 the year of the libertarian?