Rikki Schlott

Rikki Schlott

Opinion

We’re libertarians who refuse to vote for the party’s ridiculous presidential candidate

I’m a libertarian, but I’m totally turned off by the party. And I’m not alone, especially now that Chase Oliver is its 2024 candidate.

Although libertarian ideology has mass appeal, the party has consistently alienated voters with outlandish antics and out-of-touch nominees, and this election cycle is no exception.

Since Oliver won the Libertarian primary late last month, the former Georgia Senate candidate has been going viral for some of his more lefty stances.

In resurfaced clips, the 38-year-old has been dragged for publicly advocating for defunding the police “until [they] restore trust with the people,” describing drag queen story hours as “performance art,” advocating for open borders and defending gender-affirming care for transgender kids as “the status quo.”

Former Georgia Senate candidate Chase Oliver prevailed in the Libertarian Party primaries last month. AP

The fundamental libertarian principle is “live and let live,” and there are certainly libertarians who embrace that ethos on both the political right and the left.

But the party is making a massive error by choosing a hard-left-leaning libertarian with values destined to turn off Republicans who might be looking for an alternative in 2024.

“The entire country is looking for something different than two old fogies and the same old uni-party,” Mark, a 42-year-old libertarian, told The Post. “This came to a crashing halt when the party nominated another leftist Libertarian in 2024.”

Chase Oliver (left) defended drag queen story hour as “performance art” during a podcast appearance. @goddeketal / X

For Mark, who works in IT in Dallas, Oliver’s nomination was the final straw that led him to re-register on voter rolls as beingunaffiliated with any party: “So many wasted opportunities in the last two decades, and I’ve had it.”

Indeed, the party has embarrassed itself for cycles on end with candidates that nobody had ever heard of — like no-name professor Jo Jorgensen in 2020 — and nominees who are downright outrageous, like Gary Johnson in 2016.

The former New Mexico governor, who peaked at 13% in polling numbers, couldn’t name a world leader he admires during an interview and famously did not know where Aleppo, Syria, was during the height of the Syrian refugee crisis.

He actually asked a MSNBC host, “What is Aleppo?” 

Gary Johnson was booed for defending drivers licenses on the primary debate stage in 2016. C-SPAN

To Johnson’s credit, he was the only candidate on the 2016 Libertarian primary debate stage who replied “yes” to the question, “Should someone have to have a government issued license to drive a car?”

His rivals answered with “hell no” and “What’s next, requiring a license to make toast in your own damn toaster?”

Most people associate libertarianism with principles like free speech, small government, religious liberty, and gun rights —not the right to get behind the wheel without any qualifications and endanger others’ lives.

But that viral moment was emblematic of the extremist ideological purity of the party.

Photos of Libertarian Party presidential candidate Chase Oliver wearing COVID masks have gone viral on X. @EndWokeness / X

“A third party needs pragmatism, first and foremost,” Sam, a 22-year-old disaffected libertarian who works in communications in New Jersey, told me. “Most people, myself included, associate libertarianism with social free-will and free market capitalism. We aren’t puritans or philosophers.”

But the driver’s license debacle wasn’t even the craziest thing to come out of a libertarian convention.

Other greatest hits include a party chairman candidate stripping on stage during a convention on a dare, and Vermin Love Supreme, who served as a member of the Libertarian Party’s judicial committee despite always wearing a boot on his head.

Cultural conservatives have taken issue with some of Oliver’s more left-leaning stances. @amuse/X

“I changed my registration to Independent when I saw how unserious the party had gotten,” a California finance professionalnamed Greg, 34, told The Post. “It is not an effective or serious party in any real sense.”

This year’s presidential election should be a historic opportunity for libertarians. Two incumbents with record low approval ratings should make a third-party candidate more viable than ever.

Freedom, liberty and self-determination are values that appeal to the right and the left. 

And yet the party — which has become an anarchist echo-chamber insulated from any real market pressure — managed to completely drop the ball by selecting a candidate who is an instantaneous turnoff to many Americans.

Libertarian ideology should be taken seriously. The libertarian party, however, has demonstrated time and again that it cannot be.