State Sen. Mark Madsen of Utah held a press conference this afternoon explaining his decision, in his last term as a state Senator (he will hold to his previously announced plans to retire from office at the end of his current term in January) to leave the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party.
The Republicans, he notes, have abandoned the principles of self-ownership and free markets, switching from what he calls a Jeffersonian focus to one of progressive strongman types like Teddy Roosevelt.
"Hard work, risk, reward, and recognition of the reality there are no guarantees in life" have all been abandoned by both major parties, with a "mommy state" pushed by the Democrats and a "daddy state" pushed by the Republicans, he says.
"No party is entitled to my membership or my support," Madsen says. He is going where his principles take him, he said, which is to the Libertarian Party and to support of its presidential ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld.
"Liberty, agency, ingenuity, and opportunity" are the values he says the L.P. stands for.
While he insists he'd made up his mind about the switch before the Republican National Convention last week, Madsen did mention how untoward he found it that fellow Republicans were shouting at the Utah delegation, and their federal Sen. Mike Lee, that they were not welcome in the GOP any longer if they were not 100 percent behind Donald Trump.
Anthony Fisher reported here from the RNC about the Utah delegation's problems with the Party and its nominee Trump.
Madsen admits that the party switch is "largely symbolic" since he will only be a sitting Libertarian in the Senate for less than 6 months. When asked what the point was, then, he said that a big part was to make the press come and listen to his message about the Republicans' abandonment of freedom-related principles, from civil rights to property rights to medical marijuana. He called on others in politics concerned with people's right to manage their own lifes to reconsider their political affiliations.
His inability to get a medical marijuana bill through the Utah legislature was, he says, part of his disillusionment with the Republicans and modern politics, but reinforced a decision he was already inclined to make about a political world where ability to make choices and accept consequences about one's own life were not respected, one where even elected officials allegedly dedicated to freedom usually just kowtow to bureaucratic processes.
Video of the full press conference can be found at the Libertarian Party of Utah's Facebook page.