Has Trump Dissatisfaction Made the Libertarian Party More Attractive?

The percentage gains since Trump became a GOP leader in new Libertarian Party donors has been impressive, but the whole numbers are still small.


Can #Nevertrump mean that some Republicans of free-market/small-government principles will consider the Libertarian Party (L.P.), especially now that it is as sure as can be that Trump is the GOP nominee?

Gage Skidmore via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

The L.P. has, in the months since Trump started dominating the GOP race, seen some progress, though it is progress from a place where percentages seem much more impressive than raw numbers. 

The Party had been averaging for most of last year 114 new donors a month, but this year as Trump became more prominent, they pulled 546 new ones in March and then 706 in April.

The L.P.'s total current active donor number rose 4.32 percent over the past year, though still amounting to only 13,028.

The number likely to vote for the Party is of course enormously larger; their presidential candidate in 2012, former Republican Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, got a record 1.2 million votes for the Party.

A lot of that data is conveniently gathered in an article today at Washington Examiner by Ashe Schow, which runs under the less-exciting-than-it-sounds headline "Libertarian Party membership applications double after Trump becomes GOP nominee."

That's 99 new memberships from last night til noon, compared to 46 the previous day. It is almost certain that Trump is to blame, and it's nice, but even 100 new members, or voters, every day between now and the election will not do a whole lot in and of itself to propel the Party to fortune or victory. 

David French at National Review today is willing, in that magazine's anti-Trump tradition so far, to say true conservatives or any voter of "integrity" need to think third party and throws at the Libertarian Party the damnably faint praise of:

Now is an ideal time for the Libertarian Party to get its act together and nominate a truly serious candidate — a person who may not meet the party's typical purity tests but who can at least make a serious argument and advance a range of policies that unite both conservatives and libertarians.

It's unclear if French has never heard of the L.P.'s last nominee and very probably their next one, former Republican Gov. Gary Johnson, a beloved GOP manager of a then-quite Democratic state with a pretty impressive record on taxes and spending and vetoing, and the first state leader to be openly for pot legalization to boot. (That's a plus, National Review.) Or perhaps for some reason successful two-term Republican governor isn't "serious" enough for French, in which case, be happy with Trump and your godawful old party.

This roundup of nevertrumpers at The Blaze also manages to find no one willing to say the words "Libertarian Party." It seems even Republicans in exile can't manage to be serious enough about liberty to think the previously unthinkable.