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A 2024 Cheney-Weld Presidential Ticket for the Libertarian Party?
There is a possibility that Liz Cheney, the U.S. representative from Wyoming, could seek the 2024 Libertarian Party presidential nomination in order to provide her with a platform to continue her fight against Donald Trump. Cheney, who has been at the forefront of the fight against Trump regarding the January 6 protests at the Capitol, recently lost — resoundingly — her bid for reelection to a Trump-backed primary candidate. She has now signaled that she is not about to give up her battle against Trump and has indicated an intent to run for president in 2024 with the aim of preventing Trump from regaining the White House.
But Cheney is smart enough to realize that if she runs against Trump in the Republican presidential primaries, she is almost certain to be smashed, once again, by the Trump machine within the GOP. Therefore, there is a good possibility that she will be looking to run against Trump in the general election, which means running for president as a third-party candidate.
Enter the Libertarian Party, which for many years has, unfortunately in my opinion, served as a revolving door for disgruntled Republicans, including those who wish to use the L.P. (and its 50-state ballot access) to run for president. In fact, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the conservative-oriented, reform-oriented wing of the Libertarian Party is already reaching out to Cheney and exhorting her to join the LP and become the party’s presidential candidate for 2024.
Moreover, to create an ideal reform-oriented presidential ticket for 2024, I also wouldn’t be surprised if reform-oriented Libertarians are also reaching out to former Massachusetts Republican governor Bill Weld to persuade him to return to the Libertarian Party and be Cheney’s vice-presidential running mate. Weld, who came through the revolving door to become a Libertarian, was the favorite of the L.P. reform crowd to become the party’s presidential nominee in 2020. They were featuring him in magazine and website interviews, articles, LP fundraising drives, podcasts, and other events with the aim of making him the L.P.’s 2020 presidential nominee. Weld’s potential LP presidential candidacy was garnering national attention, such as with a Washington Post article by conservative columnist George Will entitled “Can This Libertarian Save Conservatism?”
Alas, however, after having been groomed by reform-oriented Libertarians to be the party’s 2020 presidential nominee, Weld decided to slip back through the revolving door and return home to the Republican Party to run against Trump in the Republican primaries. That’s not to say, of course, that he couldn’t be persuaded to come back through the revolving door and join Cheney in a 2024 LP presidential-vice-presidential ticket.
I can already hear the big argument for a Cheney-Weld ticket among reform-oriented Libertarians: “Publicity, Jacob, publicity! A former Republican member of Congress! A former Republican governor! They would bring massive publicity to the Libertarian Party!”
And they would be right. No doubt about it. There would be huge publicity, especially given Cheney’s high-profile political fight against Trump. There is no doubt that a Cheney-Weld LP ticket would be featured and talked about in the mainstream media, both here in the United States as well as worldwide. The Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, the Guardian, El Pais, and many others. In fact, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if George Will had a Washington Post article about the Cheney-Weld LP ticket, this one entitled, “Can This Libertarian Team Save Conservatism?”
Moreover, the LP would have two nationally known politicians serving as their presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Instant name recognition! And just think: A huge fundraising base, especially among other disgruntled Republicans who also have a severe dislike for Trump.
What’s not to like?
Well, only that such a ticket could be the death knell of the Libertarian Party, at least the party that was originally conceived back in 1971. Instead of being “The Party of Principle,” the LP could change its self-imposed motto to “The Party of Publicity” or “The Party of Vote-Getting” or “The Party of Reform” or “The Party of Practicality and Pragmatism” or “The Party of Getting Libertarians Elected to Public Office.”
Yes, I know what the reform-oriented Libertarians would say, “Jacob, Cheney and Weld are close enough to libertarianism to be our presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Nobody has to be a ‘radical’ Libertarian to be our presidential or vice-presidential candidates.”
Moreover, the fact is that Cheney and Weld most likely favor most everything reform-oriented Libertarians stand for: Social Security reform, Medicare reform, school choice (i.e., vouchers), health-savings accounts, regulatory reform, tax reform, Pentagon reform, CIA reform, immigration reform, drug-war reform, education reform, a “strong national defense,” getting free-market conservatives appointed to regulatory commissions, and selective foreign interventionism.
Where does Liz Chaney stand on the drug war? I’m not sure but as a Republican and an ardent conservative, I am confident that she is a fierce drug warrior. But I also have no doubts that reform-oriented Libertarians could induce her to embrace a position favoring medical marijuana in exchange for the LP presidential nomination. That, of course, would be sufficiently “radical” for the reform-oriented Libertarians.
One of the most interesting aspects of a Cheney-Weld ticket would be if they were successful in getting into the presidential debates. Imagine one of the debate commentators asking Trump, Biden, and Cheney where they stand on immigration. Cheney would respond, “I have my differences with Trump and Biden, but on immigration we Libertarians are on the same page as Republicans and Democrats. We have to secure our borders. We need a higher Berlin Wall along the border, more Border Patrol agents conducting warrantless searches of farms and ranches, more immigration raids on private businesses, more forced deportations, more highway checkpoints, more boarding of Greyhound buses to check people’s papers, more immigration officials, more felony convictions, and maybe even the military. When it comes to enforcing our government-controlled immigration system, we Libertarians are second to none, no matter how many deaths and how much suffering it continues to produce and no matter how much of an immigration police state we have to bring to the American Southwest.”
A Cheney-Weld ticket would be a disaster for the Libertarian Party. It would serve to solidify the destruction of the Libertarian brand among the American people and convince even more Americans that the L.P. is noting more than a rightwing or conservative-oriented political party. More important, it would gravely wound, if not kill, the political soul of the Libertarian Party.
The Libertarian Party is the only political party that can lead America out of the welfare, monetary, fiscal, regulatory, bureaucratic, tax, warfare, and foreign-policy morass in which both Republicans and Democrats have plunged out nation. But to do so requires Libertarians to fight as Libertarians, not as Republicans and not as Republican-lites. It means adhering strictly to our libertarian principles on all the burning issues facing our nation. It means keeping the Libertarian Party the “Party of Principle.”
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