"The Republican Party hates libertarians," says Libertarian Party national chair Nicholas Sarwark. "And as they show their disgust and distaste, and try to punish their legislators, what they're doing is driving them into our arms."
Sarwark sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas to discuss the Libertarian Party's plans for 2018, Gary Johnson's impact as a presidential candidate, and Donald Trump's effect on libertarianism.
"The Trump presidency so far has been tremendous," explains Sarwark. "It is pretty much the best recruiting tool for the Libertarian Party we've ever had."
Edited by Andrew Heaton.
This is a rush transcript. Check all quotes against the audio for accuracy.
Nick Gillespie: Hi, I'm Nick Gillespie with Reason, and today I'm talking with Nicholas Sarwark. He is the chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, or the LP, as we like to call it around here. Nicholas, thanks for talking to us.
Sarwark: Thanks for having me, Nick.
Nick Gillespie: The Trump presidency so far, does it bear out your worst fears of what he was going to wrought?
Sarwark: The Trump presidency so far has been tremendous. It is pretty much the best recruiting tool for the Libertarian Party we've ever had. It's much better than anything I could develop inside the party. He's shown that the success of Republicanism is the death of liberty, which is a good way to show people that there's an option from the two-party system.
Nick Gillespie: What are the things that he's done so far that particularly, you think, drive that message home?
Sarwark: The nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, a man who walked himself into lying to a senator during a hearing, which shows his incompetence as an attorney, and wants to bring us back to the failed policies of prosecuting the racist war on drugs, using civil asset forfeiture to steal money and things from citizens who haven't been convicted of a crime-
Nick Gillespie: Or necessarily haven't even been indicted or charged with anything.
Sarwark: Exactly. Basically highway robbery. Through bringing back an old failed program of adoption, he's able to work around state laws to try and prevent civil asset forfeiture abuse. Those sort of things are really putting a lie to the idea that the Republican Party or the Trump presidency is going to be any friend to somebody who favors individual liberty or small government.
Nick Gillespie: What is the LP strategy for the midterm elections and 2020?