Libertarianism

Libertarian Moment Update: "Wall Street is getting tired of funding socially conservative Republicans…"

The future clearly belongs to socially liberal, fiscally conservative candidates. Which means Dems and Reps have some growing up to do.

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Via the Twitter feed of Mike Hewlett comes this Business Insider piece that rings true to all of those regular Americans who identify as socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Here's hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman quoted on a recent Wall Street Week episode:

"I tend to be more Republican in my views, but socially very liberal. I'm going to have trouble with any Republican that does not disavow a fixation with social issues," he said. 

"Republicans have to understand that because young people in our country are not grabbed by those issues."…

During the last presidential election, it looked like Wall Street might finally get the kind of Republican they were looking for — Mitt Romney.

For most of his career, Romney was known as a moderate technocrat.

But when he ran for president, Romney was forced to turn to entice the party base. He played up his conservative family values instead.

Many on Wall Street loved his private-equity/business background to be sure. They liked his ideas on foreign policy, even, but they weren't crazy about his sudden lurch to the right on issues like abortion.

More here.

Let's file this sort of comment under "no duh." As noted here just a few weeks back, social conservatives are losing steam, with Gallup finding for the first time ever a tie between those of us who identify as liberal and conservative on social issues. At the same time, more of us identify as fiscally conservative than liberal on economic issues. Similarly, a composite "libertarian index" dating back to the early 1990s finds record-high beliefs that the government should do less in both social and economic realms. A year ago, Reason's poll found that 53 percent of millennials would vote for a socially liberal and fiscally conservative candidate. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the future belongs to those who, to paraphrase Rand Paul, belong to a "live and let live" party that also learns how to balance its books.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows regarding hard-core libertarianism, for sure. As Business Insider's Linette Levin notes, Wall Street types would be pretty happy with someone like Mike Bloomberg, who is generally pro-business but also the poster boy for all sorts of nanny-state bullshit, ranging from soda, smoking, and trans fat bans to gun control to highly dubious green initiatives; add to that his patently stupid comments against pot legalization.

However, it's also worth keeping in mind that NYC money men Daniel Loeb and Cliff Asness (the latter a rock-ribbed Ayn Rand-digging libertarian) were responsible for the Empire State's legalization of gay marriage. Surely the GOP would pick up far more votes than it lost if its presidential candidates emphatically stated that many social concerns are simply not the province of the state and should be addressed through civil society rather than top-down mandates.