The lost libertarian moment?


After the first ballot of caucus in Iowa and taking into account a very low popularity poll, against him, in New Hampshire, Rand Paul decided to drop out of the Republican race for 2016 US election.

A year ago, very few expected that Senator’s electoral campaign would not have an optimistic track. His liberal views were listened encouraging for a part of the moderate Republican body, as his key positions on freedom of economy, business repatriation incentives, social reform, constant positioning apart from any idea of war, were considered as an interesting programmatic agenda.

Eventually, however, inside the Republican party, most intense and harsh political lines were prevailed, as those of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, resulting in milder political performances to be crushed. The political positioning of Rand Paul was contrary to both the social and foreign agenda of Trump and Cruz. His non-interventioning status was indicating in blaming the war in Iraq as the main cause of the current global threat of the radical Islam. Mainly, the fact that he also blamed Barack Obama for not taking the Congress approval for the war actions in Syria against ISIS, was heard as something completely against to all what has been worded from Republicans the latest years concerning an aggressive foreign policy claims.

In social issues, he was not presented dogmatic, as his even 100% «pro-life» position was altered to a doctor’s discretion choice. In other words, Rand Paul struggled to present a new, altered and progressive stigma in the Republican body, but in the end populist methods of structuring the electoral campaign did not give his a chance to walk through the barriers.

Now, the time of the withdrawal, we need to answer the question, did the libertarian agenda lose among the Republican causes or his candidacy was the reason of the lost libertarian agenda?

In communication matters, when Donald Trump started to shine and prevail in media and in the debates, Sen. Paul lost his ability to be vivid on stage. In his last debate performance he tried to compete Gov. Chris Christie or Marco Rubio in matters of foreign policy. In hard lines he made his points clear, but his performance against Trump was inconspicuous. He knew that he was telling important things, and importantly that he has embraced the precise agenda which could hit the Clinton’s one in a following stage, but at the same time, he watched the official debate to be lost in emotions and populism, in view of which he remained inflexible and frosted fro the beginning to the end. It was a battle, which he could not give at this time.

As regards the ideas, it is hard to claim whether the ideas of a libertarian agenda could ever be defeated in a US context. In any case, we are witnessing a radicalization route in both the political camps, Republicans and Democrats, with different social stimulus and targets. The performance of Bernie Sanders has nothing to do with the performance of Donald Trump, except for the fact that both their followers are struggling to fight the political, social and economic status quo. On the other, Cruz is ready to act in the most conservative way, US politics never could have imagined that could have be elected in America.

Veni Mouzakiari
Veni Mouzakiari
Phd Candidate at the department of International and European Studies, University of Macedonia. Political consultant


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