Disclaimer: I am a staff writer for the Libertarian Republic and a supporter of Austin Petersen for president.
April 1 will be a historic day for the Libertarian Party.
The first Libertarian Party forum will air live on national television. Three candidates were invited; Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, cybersecurity guru John McAfee, and Libertarian Republic founder Austin Petersen.
Each of them brings unique attributes to the forum.
Johnson is the most prolific candidate out there. He was the Libertarian Party nominee in 2012, getting 1 million votes or close to 1 percent of the total vote.
Johnson is the clear favorite; having "won" the Mineosota caucuses with 76.3 percent of the vote. He has the strongest record to back him. As the two-term governor of New Mexico, he was able to cut taxes, strongly advocatedfor marijuana legalization, and vetoed countless bills. Johnson is the former CEO of Cannabis Sativa, which sells marijuana products in states where it is legal.
He is currently pursuing a lawsuit against the Presidential Debate Commission to allow third parties into the debate with the Republican and Democratic nominee.
His positions include replacing the U.S taxation system with one tax, called a consumption tax or a Fair Tax, ending the war on drugs, and reforming the immigration system to make legal immigration easier.
Johnson has been on a media blitz as of late. He's been featured in a NowThis Election video which has more than on 1.7 million views on Facebook. He's been on Fox Business, Washington Times, The Daily Caller, and TheBlaze as well.
McAfee is the most eccentric of the three candidates. McAfee is the founder of McAfee Anti-Virus Software, though he left the company over 15 years ago. McAfee's record includes fleeing to Belize, before being raided by Belizian security forces, and being accused of murder.
His main issue is cybersecurity. He garnered media attention when he claimed that he could hack into the iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorist using "social engineering." (He's since walked back on it according to a Daily Dot interview.) He's been on Apple's side the entire time and claims that the government could be violating the 13th Amendment.
McAfee is also able to command media. He's appeared on CNBC, CNN, and has been featured heavily in Business Insiderin the past two weeks, specifically for his defense of Apple.
Petersen is the odd man in the Libertarian Party. He's famous for rejecting the Non-Aggression Principle, which is a main-stay of the Libertarian platform. Petersen is the founder of The Libertarian Republic, the second-most popular libertarian news site after Reason Magazine. He was a producer for Judge Napolitano's show "Freedom Watch" and is a frequent contributor to "Stossel" on Fox Business.
He's also different from the others in that he is pro-life. However, he doesn't advocate for abortion to be outlawed. He also advocates for a flat tax instead of the fair tax. He also has made reaching out to disaffected conservatives and independents a major part of his campaign; a big tent party like the Democrats and Republicans.
Probably the most interesting tidbit is that he is the youngest candidate in the Libertarian race. He's only 35; having celebrated his birthday last month. He also wasn't invited to the Libertarian Party of Colorado's state convention due to his opposition of the Non-Aggression Principle.
What Does This Mean For The Libertarian Party?
The Libertarian Party has the chance to become a major player. It will be the powerful third party, instead of a fringe party that has crazy people within it. That's why it was wise to limit it to three candidates who are somewhat known to the general public.
The forum presents an opportunity. Fox Business's "Stossel" is nationally televised and has a sizable audience each week. If the candidates can present their vision for America concisely and effectively, more people will look to the Libertarian Party.
But if the candidates delvove into a bitter spectacle of ego and personal attacks, then we will see another version of the GOP debates. What people need to hear is about the issues. Personality is important, but policy is what ultimately matters the most.
This forum presents a path forward. Will they take it and continue their crusade to be viable alternate for disaffected conservatives, liberals, and independents? Or will they continue to be viewed as a fringe party on the corners of the American political world?
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