PETERSEN: Will the Libertarian Party Vote For Trump Instead of Their Own Candidate?

by | May 16, 2024 | Opinion

Will Libertarian Party members vote for Donald Trump instead of their own candidate this year? “Yeah… agreed,” says Vice Presidential candidate for the LP Larry Sharpe. “When you are losing, and the Libertarian Party is losing… and when you’re losing is when you gamble… and this is the right time to gamble.”

When pressed on the possibility that inviting Trump to the LP convention may backfire for the party, he replied that “everything you said is true it could happen, but without it we’re in trouble.” Sharpe admits that it’s a roll of the dice and all they can hope for is that their people “do the right thing.” He is holding out hope that the Libertarians can take more from Republicans than the GOP takes from the LP, but that seems unlikely. “We’re going to lose some people, no doubt,” Sharpe said.

Larry Sharpe also had some kind words for Trump, saying that “he’s got charisma, no doubt. Guy’s got charisma, he’s gonna take some of our people… as long as we take more and in the long run we gain more… I’m good.”

Libertarian Party National Committee Chair Angela McCardle also had nice words to say about Trump last week when she appeared on my show, expressing how she wishes he would get back on Twitter. “My loyalty has to be to the Libertarian Party … but Donald Trump is a much better person and president than Joe Biden.” The more right-leaning Mises Caucus members who brought her to power seem to have a favored candidate in the primary, but considering that the LP is on track to take 4th place in this election for the first time since 1992, it’s quite possible that many in the Mises Caucus may just decide to vote for Trump. The outrage that ensued was predictable. Many are upset at the loss of prestige of the party from 2016 with their highest national vote total, to expectations like Sharpe in 2024 of losing. But much of the downfall is probably attributed to the national mood rather than the common bungling of LP politicos.

Recently it was announced that libertarian Tea Party org Freedomworks would shut its doors, citing Trumpian populism as the culprit. The same tensions that must be roiling the LP were mirrored in the non-profit that once boasted million dollar budgets, a big national profile, and lawmakers vying to be feted by the group. Former FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon cited the conflict between the more libertarian activists that remained in the group bumping up against the more Trump friendly populists. “Our staff became divided into MAGA and Never Trump factions,” Brandon said.

Brandon explains how the institution tried to rebrand itself as a more centrist organization, but it was ultimately unsuccessful. This suggests too that the LP would face a similar fate if they had continued down the path blazed by 2016 LP candidate Gary Johnson. The American electorate has moved on, and libertarians who are serious about continuing to advance their principles have either made their peace with Trump, or side with Democrats like former LP Chair Nick Sarwark and many of the writers at the libertarian Reason magazine. It’s highly unlikely that those who voted Jo Jorgensen in 2020 would vote for whoever the LP selects out of its current crop, so my guess is that Libertarians and libertarians will split between Trump and Biden this year.

Larry Sharpe is vying for the Libertarian Party’s Vice Presidential spot alongside Adult Friend Finder millionaire Lars Mapstead. Sharpe’s enough of a veteran LPer that he knows that the president and vice president roles are selected separately, but says he won’t fight for the spot if he isn’t on the ticket with Mapstead. We spoke about Donald Trump appearing at the Libertarian Party convention in the interview below. The Libertarian Party will select its candidate over Memorial Day in Washington DC, and will hear from former President Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and third party candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr there as well.

Austin Petersen is a former Libertarian presidential candidate turned Republican and the host of the Wake Up America show every Monday-Friday from 7-9am central which you can stream live on Rumble, or listen to on Spotify or iTunes. He resides in Jefferson City, Missouri with his wife Stephanie and their two presidential French Bulldogs, Calvin and George.

NEXT: Petersen: Javier Milei Stands as a Beacon of Hope for Economic Freedom and Traditional Values

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