2016 continues to the year of surprises. Brexit succeeded, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, and Donald Trump won the presidential election. But the surprises didn’t just end there.
Despite not even running for President this year, Ron Paul shocked the world by receiving an electoral vote today. All the while, Gary Johnson failed to receive a single electoral vote, despite spending millions on his presidential campaign and having high expectations this year. Many in the Libertarian Party expected Johnson to hit 15% in the polls, make it into the presidential debate, get 5% of the nationwide vote, win a state, do well in his home state of New Mexico, and maybe throw the election to the House… and he failed to meet a single one of these expectations.
Myself and many other libertarians were less than enthused with Johnson’s campaign and opted not to support him. His watering down of the message and poor determination in choosing Bill Weld to be his running mate proved him incapable of being a standard-bearer for the libertarian message. More good would be done for the movement by either promoting a raw, unadulterated libertarian message, or by voting for the lesser evil with an actual chance of winning the election.
If this election has shown us anything, it is that radicalism sells, since having a unique message helps you stand out from your competitors. This is what made Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump stand out to voters this year, and what continues to help Ron Paul stand out to those interested in learning more about libertarianism.
If Ron Paul was able to win an electoral vote this year without even running for president, then perhaps the smartest things libertarians can do in 2020 is to forget all about wasting time and money on another Gary Johnson and instead get behind Ron Paul and the true philosophical message of libertarianism.
Ron Paul was the ultimate salesman for the ideas of self-ownership, property rights, decentralization, and non-aggression. If his influence was powerful enough to win him an electoral vote in 2016, imagine how much bigger our impact could be in 2020 if we actively promote Dr. Paul for president once more.