Election 2018

Larry Sharpe's Libertarian Message for New York

The Libertarian Party's candidate for governor speaks out.


"Libertarians believe that you should be as conservative or as liberal as you want to be as long as you don't want to force yourself on others," says Larry Sharpe, Libertarian candidate for governor of New York.

Sharpe is an unusual Libertarian candidate because he's doing well in some polls.

One found Sharpe getting 13 percent, and after people heard his campaign pitch, 25 percent. That would put him in second place, ahead of the Republican.

So of course the establishment shuts him out—he and other third-party candidates weren't allowed in the one gubernatorial debate.

Sharpe wins fans by arguing that it would be good if individuals make their own decisions without government spending constantly getting in the way.

"What we understand as libertarians is at the end of every single law is a guy or gal with a gun who's going to put you in a cage; if you don't want to go in that cage, they're going to shoot you. What that means is you should only use the law when there is loss of life, health, limb, property, or liberty… Not because I don't like what you're doing."

That's refreshing to hear from a politician.

No new government programs under a Sharpe administration, then?

"No, no, no, no, no, no," he assures me.

At least one candidate doesn't want to make government bigger.

New York faces a $4.4 billion deficit. Current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed raising taxes.

Sharpe has other ideas.

"Lease naming rights on our infrastructure," he says in my latest internet video. "The Triborough Bridge could be called the Staples Bridge, or the Apple Bridge."

My staff asked some New Yorkers what they thought about leasing naming rights to bridges and tunnels. "Bad idea!" said one woman. "It's commercializing!" Most people were opposed.

I said that to Sharpe.

"You know what she should do?" he responded. "Start a nonprofit, raise $30 million, she can name it whatever she wants."

One man said he didn't "want to rename something after some sort of corporation!"

"Shake your fist and say, 'This doesn't sound good,'" replied Sharpe. "You're going to wind up in a place where the tax burden is insanely high."

Under our current system, many bridges and other public structures advertise anyway—but they promote politicians. Gov. Cuomo just named a bridge after his father.

"An imperial bridge named after our royal family!" said Sharpe with a laugh. "I'm embarrassed."

We libertarians don't think politicians deserve monuments just because they got elected.

"Tell you what I'll do," said Sharpe. "(Governor Cuomo's) got $30 million a year? He can keep his name on that bridge and take care of the maintenance."

Sharpe applies similar thinking to New York's decrepit subway system.

"We have lines on the MTA right now not being used at night. Home Depot or Google or Amazon or whomever—they can use these lines…move their freight…. They'll pay. Win-win."

Sharpe's campaign is attracting new people. His rallies draw bigger crowds than minor party candidates normally get.

"If you're unhappy with the system, you've got to change it," he said on Joe Rogan's podcast.

For a libertarian, Sharpe surprised me by saying he wouldn't dream of proposing cuts to existing welfare programs. "Pull the rug out from somebody, somebody's going to be afraid," he explains. If voters fear you, they don't vote for you.

I assume he'd shrink those programs eventually, maybe after other parts of government were reduced and the economy improves as a result.

He also sounds friendlier to labor unions than most libertarians. "Collective bargaining is fine. My issue with the unions has always been: Are you forcing me?… I have a problem with (union shop laws). But you're voluntarily doing it? I don't have a problem at all."

Listening to Sharpe is very different from hearing most Republicans and Democrats.

"Because no one has any new ideas," he says. "No ideas how to fix anything or do anything right…. I'm a third party. I have to have ideas or no one will listen to me."

NEXT: Actor James Cromwell Expects 'Blood in the Streets' if Trump Is Not Stopped

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  1. “What we understand as libertarians is at the end of every single law is a guy or gal with a gun who’s going to put you in a cage; if you don’t want to go in that cage, they’re going to shoot you. What that means is you should only use the law when there is loss of life, health, limb, property, or liberty… “


    1. There’s a joke, with a huge basis in reality, that goes like this:

      “Scientists have identified a type of food which, once ingested, diminishes a woman’s natural sex drive to practically nothing. It’s called wedding cake.”

      This realization has made me change my tune on wedding cakes. They are very dangerous, even life-ruining, and I’m actually okay with highly restrictive legislation on them.

      1. My wedding cake was kosher. After eating it, my bride went from not wanting any hand holding to urging me to help her show those English what good breeding really means.

    2. Limerick:
      You may think that your law is benign,
      That makes “risky” behavior a crime.
      But each law you enforce,
      Requires you to use force,
      Which costs someone, in suffering, and time.

      Copr. 2004 Chris Garvey

  2. “If you don’t vote you have no right to complain” has it exactly backwards, democratic voting includes the consent to abide by majority rule. Complain all you want if you didn’t vote to agree to the decision of the majority, shut the hell up about the outcome after you agreed to the rules. Remember all the protests, the violence, the outrage, the “not my president”, the claims of stealing the election when Obama was elected? No? How about when Trump was elected? It seems to me there’s one side more determined than the other to “force yourself on others” – and oddly enough it’s the ones who call themselves “democrats” who refuse to abide by the results of the democratic process.

    1. Wingnuts claimed Obama wasn’t even an American, let alone their president. Then they got in line behind an otherwise risible birther-in-chief.

      Most of the hatred was because Pres. Obama’s father was black, and America’s defeated right-wing culture warriors have turned to bigotry.

      Carry on, clingers. See you at the polls.

      1. So why then were former Obama voters key to flipping MI, WI, PA, and OH for Trump? Were they like “I really can’t stand blacks, but this Obama guy is OK”? Please enlighten us reverend

    2. Rev Arty may be a dumbass, but he’s pretty much got you there. Pretending that the protests, outrage, “not my president” etc. didn’t happen is ridiculous. There was no shortage of that at all.

      My initial thought around all of the Trump-based “not my president” stuff was that it was unbelievable that democrats would line up behind this phrase when it was previously associated with the views of racist assholes who hated Obama. Then I realized that this phrase had a much longer history than just the last couple of administrations.

      1. The first person to come from whom I heard the naturally-born-citizen-objection to Obama was Hillary Clinton in 2008.

        1. My above comment is grammatical but convoluted. But this site won’t let me edit it. This might be better:
          Hillary Clinton was the first person, whom I heard make the naturally-born-citizen-objection to Obama.

  3. “No, no, no, no, no, no,”

    A sextuple negative!

    We’re on to you Sharpe….

  4. So the takeaway is, the progressive Cuomo, who bypasses the norms of republican governance to get what wants, will have another term. Sharpe’s candidacy will be, at best, a forgotten footnote in history.

    1. I guess if I ever move to NY, I would at least never have to be stressed about elections ever again, since there would be no point in my voting.

  5. I don’t know why Stossel keeps pushing the bridge thing with Larry Sharpe. That is not a very good political point to keep discussing when there are so many other good ones that Sharpe has.

    This is a descent interview of Larry Sharpe and shows Sharpe as the articulate go-getter business guy with many Libertarian views.
    Larry Sharpe interview on Dave Rubin

    Sharpe also says that he is an AnCap at heart and was excited about Obama’ “Hope and Change” in 2008.

    1. Sorry, but anybody who couldn’t see through Obama’s nonsense in 2008… Not a lot of faith in their ability to discern reality.

  6. I guess Reason is too busy hiring Bob Menendez’ staffers in order to get the links, sorry, the “Roundup”, in on time.

    1. I’d settle for a functioning website.

  7. If you are a NY Voter, there is another Libertarian on Larry Sharpe’s line.

  8. Sharpe is alright. I mean he’s not my perfect guy, but he’s solid on most stuff. He is definitely not a purist libertarian, and on some things that I disagree with his position on… But purists are idiots.

    If Sharpe was the 2nd worst politician running in a race, our country would be a paradise! As the very best running in NY, I would prefer a few tweaks to his ideas, but he’s good nuff. Since it’s a Dem lock down state anyway, might as well give ’em the old F-You!

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