Ever since Austin Petersen, the former Libertarian Party presidential hopeful, joined the Missouri GOP Senate race there have been increased talks of a Conservative-Libertarian alliance. Ben Shapiro has stated in a Q&A during a Young America Foundation’s event that he foresees the alliance happening soon. He implied that it was inevitable. I, for one, think it won’t work the way we want it to. It failed miserably the last time and it will fail even worse this time.
Barry Goldwater Killed His Moment in ’64
Barry Goldwater’s campaign in 1964 was remembered as the worst modern Republican campaign. He had only won 6 states and 38.5% of the popular vote. To shift the blame entirely on Goldwater and his campaign message would be a complete miscarriage of history. He was the right man for the job, he was just chosen at the wrong time. People had Johnson Hubris. Despite Johnson being an absolutely terrible and vile man, his Great Society program had people fawning over him. The Republican Party had no chance at winning, no matter who they chose.
Johnson’s overwhelming popularity wasn’t the only reason Goldwater lost. The media had painted Goldwater as a warmonger who would start World War III. They got that idea because of Goldwater’s support for the Vietnam war. He expressed that Communism must be defeated in order for the world to be safe. The media also painted him as a villain because of his fiscal policies. Goldwater deeply detested Johnson’s Great Society programs because they were bankrupting Social Security.
The media’s collusion with Johnson is why Goldwater lost. For a brief period of time, all fiscal and moral sense was wiped collectively from America. Goldwater would have, easily, been a revolutionary figure. Instead, he was a crazy warmonger who hated the poor.
Conservatives, largely, reject Libertarians outright
Evidence can be seen in 2012 when at the Republican National Committee, John Boehner had passed the “Ron Paul Rule”. Previous convention rules had allowed any candidate who won five states to be on the ballot during the convention if it were contested. During the convention in 2012, they changed it to 8, removing the possibility of Ron Paul or any candidate besides Romney winning the nomination that year. The Ron Paul rule was only one example of the GOP elites rejecting Libertarianism. Another piece of evidence would be the hostility to libertarians by conservatives. I often see on social media the contempt for principled ideologues like Justin Amash and Ben Sasse mainly by people on the religious right.
While the vast majority of people may support libertarianism, in theory, it doesn’t mean that the people that vote in the Republican primaries do. The plurality of the registered voters in the United States does not identify with the two major political parties. Ron Paul and Rand Paul both enjoyed massive support on college campuses but lacked support in the primaries by that same demographic.
My point in this whole article is simple — A conservative-libertarian alliance may sound like a good idea but in reality, it won’t work because of the reservations of the current generation of primary voters. They were dissuaded by the Goldwater loss and they do not want it to happen again. Unless Millennials and Gen-Z begin to vote in party primaries, we will never see libertarian candidates at the head of either major party ballot.