AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
Chris McDaniel is no stranger to challenging the powers that be within the Republican Party. The Mississippi State Senator challenged US Senator Thad Cochran in 2014, a campaign in which McDaniel was endorsed by Ron Paul, in what turned out to be a bruising primary. The Mississippi Republican establishment actually had to resort to rallying black Democrats to vote for Cochran in order to pull off the victory in the Republican primary, deepening the divisions between the establishment and grassroots wings of the party. Cochran resigned in April, and the Mississippi GOP tapped former Democrat State Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith as his replacement. McDaniel is now challenging Hyde-Smith for that seat, running on a platform which is sure to excite and mobilize liberty activists nationwide.
Since the Rand Paul 2016 campaign ended, the liberty movement within the Republican Party has been aggressively seeking out new growth opportunities, attempting to regain the momentum which we had during the Tea Party era. Unfortunately, most of these attempts have centered around candidates whose chances of actually winning their races are slim-to-none. We have finally found the race which can reverse that narrative and galvanize our momentum. In Chris McDaniel, the liberty movement finally has an exciting new champion who can win. But what is it about McDaniel which makes him a liberty candidate?
We at Liberty Hangout recently did an interview with McDaniel, who is now running for the US Senate seat in Mississippi, to find out. Over the course of the interview, McDaniel expressed a deep skepticism of government intrusions into personal privacy, the Republican Party’s history of fighting the national debt, the Senate leadership of Mitch McConnell, and our interventionist foreign policy. These positions combine to make McDaniel among the most impressive liberty candidates in the entire country, as you will see below. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Rocco: Hello Liberty Lovers! This is Rocco Lucente with Liberty Hangout, here to bring you the first in a series of candidate interviews in the lead up to the November midterms. Today we are joined by Mississippi state Senator Chris McDaniel, who is currently running to become the US Senator from Mississippi. Chris, thank you so much for talking with us today!
Chris McDaniel: Very glad to be here!
Rocco: This interview will be broadcast to an audience which largely self identifies as libertarian. Do you consider yourself a philosophical libertarian? If so why, and if not why not?
Chris McDaniel: I am about as close as you can get to a philosophical libertarian in America today. I was endorsed by Ron Paul in 2014, and I come from the Taft/Goldwater/Reagan school of thought, which has always had a deep respect for libertarianism. Ronald Reagan said that at the heart of conservatism is libertarianism, and I believe very much in that Taft/Goldwater/Reagan style of conservatism.
Rocco: One of the biggest points of contention within the libertarian community is immigration. You’ve taken a tough stance on illegal immigration, supporting the border wall, though some may worry that you would go too far in imposing restrictions. Rand Paul introduced a “Trust but Verify” amendment in 2013 which would have required that Congress vote on whether the border has been sufficiently secured before immigrants were granted legal status, a legal status which consisted of a work visa as opposed to a pathway to citizenship. Would you support such an idea?
Chris McDaniel: I love what Rand Paul is doing on this issue in the Senate, as we do need a secure border. We cannot achieve a libertarian society with an open border immigration policy. Right now we are bringing in a lot of people who are not necessarily open to libertarian ideas, so we need to secure the borders first and then address the welfare state. I take a very strong stance on the border because I do not believe an open border society can achieve liberty.
Rocco: One of the biggest issues which many libertarians have with the conservative stance on immigration is the support among many for a national ID Card. Those who oppose it within the libertarian community argue that it would allow the government to inappropriately monitor the activity of American citizens. What is your stance on the national ID card?
Chris McDaniel: I am a 10th amendment guy, and strongly believe in decentralizing the state apparatus. I do not want the government having any personal information about me, it makes me very uncomfortable. As such, I am opposed to the National ID Card.
Rocco: So often we hear politicians talk in big terms around election time when it comes to addressing the debt, yet inevitably almost all of those tough talkers wind up voting for half trillion to trillion dollar deficits. So I want to be specific and explicit. Will you pledge to oppose any budget, debt ceiling increase or continuing resolution which does not include significant spending cuts?
Chris McDaniel: I absolutely pledge that I will not vote for a dime of deficit spending. I made this pledge in my Contract with Mississippi, and I encourage you to record this and then go back and listen. If I don’t abide by my pledge, send me back home.
Rocco: A lot of Republicans are very angry about Mitch McConnell’s leadership of the Senate. Your opponent will likely be an automatic vote in favor of McConnell. What are your thoughts on Senator McConnell, and would you oppose his bid for majority leader if elected?
Chris McDaniel: I haven’t seen Mitch McConnell fight at all during his time as leader, and I’ve seen many Republicans not fighting during Mitch McConnell’s time as leader. It is time for new leadership in the Republican Party. I will never support Mitch McConnell or vote for him for Majority Leader, as I pledged in my Contract with Mississippi.
Rocco: You have publicly objected to intervention in Syria in the past, but the foreign intervention which rises ire from libertarians the most was arguably the invasion of Iraq. Would you have supported the war in Iraq, and do you think it was a good idea?
Chris McDaniel: I don’t think that anyone believes the war in Iraq was a good idea in retrospect. I come from the Taft/Goldwater/Reagan school, and that acknowledges that we are not supposed to be the police of the world. We are not supposed to use our military to defend the voting rights of Iraqis. I am not in favor of an interventionist foreign policy.
Rocco: Another major dividing line between libertarians and some conservatives is the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata. Do you believe that this program is Constitutional, and would you vote to continue it?
Chris McDaniel: I am absolutely against the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata, and pledged in my Contract with Mississippi that I will support efforts to reform the NSA. It is a violation of the 4th amendment, and I would vote against any attempts to continue it.
Rocco: Libertarians tend to be very stubborn about only voting for the people who they consider to be the very best candidates. Why should someone who voted for Ron Paul in 2012 and Rand Paul in 2016 vote for Chris McDaniel in 2018?
Chris McDaniel:I think the best answer is that I was endorsed by Ron Paul in 2014. If I am a good enough candidate for Ron Paul, I should be a good enough candidate for his supporters.
Rocco: Chris, where can our listeners follow you online and on social media?
Chris McDaniel: You can go to mcdaniel2018.com or to the Facebook Page “Senator Chris McDaniel”.
Rocco: Thank you so much for your time, and thank you for your dedication to libertarian principles. Good luck in November!
Indeed, McDaniel has a long and impressive record on liberty issues which he has personally highlighted in the past, more of which can be found here.
This mix of policy positions reveals a deep respect for property rights, local control, the non aggression principle and freedom of choice. If elected, McDaniel would be the #1 or #2 libertarian in the Senate, providing an essential ally to Rand Paul in a Senate which may remain closely divided when the 2018 midterms have concluded. This would give the liberty movement unprecedented leverage to lobby President Trump for our goals to be addressed in a more comprehensive manner. Liberty activists in Mississippi must do whatever they can to help McDaniel, and liberty activists nationwide should likewise do whatever they can (even if it’s just “liking” his Facebook page or donating $10) to ensure that we get this liberty lover into the Senate.