I make my libertarian views very clear, and I have also made my views on the Libertarian Party fairly clear. In the 2016 presidential election, I supported Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee, and I would have liked to see that campaign succeed. That election opened my eyes to the deeper workings of the LP, its flaws, and the challenges it faces, and I now have moved back to a more independent point of view.
Gary Johnson’s biggest opponent in the race for the Libertarian nomination was Austin Petersen, an entrepreneur in the media production business, a journalist, a Fine Arts major, and a political activist. Petersen lost the nomination to Johnson, but he has kept busy since then and is now running for US Senate in his home state of Missouri — this time as a Republican.
Since his campaign for president began, Petersen has been busy with strategy, and his strategies are ones I believe will make him successful.
His strategy has been to build up a strong following from not just Libertarians but Republicans as well. He works to communicate with his supporters. He spent months personally having phone calls with his supporters and asking for their opinions and advice. His most impressive achievement for this task thus far has been his Facebook group of almost 12,000 people, most of which are there either to support him or to learn more. In this group, I have seen civil, understanding discussions between Libertarians and both Republicans and Democrats, and many from outside libertarian ideals were able to better understand Petersen’s stances and even give him their support. This is a level of maturity I have yet to see displayed by other libertarian circles.
Petersen also made the choice to run as a Republican rather than a Libertarian, believing that it would give him the best chance. Petersen saw the same issues in the Libertarian Party that I have pointed out before, and it was clear that the Party’s activities were not a good fit for a serious candidate who has all intentions of winning. The GOP has money, support, and a good, reputable name — all of which the LP lacks.
Austin Petersen runs on a platform mostly in line with the Libertarian Party, though he does differ on several issues that make him more appealing to Republicans. He is pro-life, for one example, and he denounces the Non-Aggression Principle, which is what many libertarians hold as a core tenant. He is a common sense libertarian, not focusing blindly on principle. In one of the Libertarian presidential debates, he was famously booed for claiming that selling heroine to five year olds should be illegal. Petersen is a man who can satisfy more than just Libertarian Party members, and that is absolutely crucial in order to win an election.
Petersen is not a perfect candidate. From occasionally posting memes on his official social media pages, to his behavior in some of his past interviews, to including his Democratic opponent Claire McCaskill’s name on bumper stickers (a mistake Hillary Clinton made with her “Love Trump’s Hate” double entendre slogan), he has quite a few areas to grow. However, none of these things disqualify him from being an effective senator.
Austin Petersen’s knowledge of the issues, his passion for the American values of liberty, and his connection with his supporters, Petersen is an excellent candidate for Senate, and I would like to endorse him for that spot. In a time of political and social disruption like this one, there is a chance to truly change things for the better. To successfully do this, America needs individuals of principle and reason. I urge others to look into him if they have not already and to consider giving him their support.