Libertarians, who attest to value personal freedom and limited government above all else, find themselves splintering in the Trump era.
“You couldn’t have crafted a more anti-libertarian candidate than Trump if you tried.” — Shikha Dalmia, The Week
Some libertarians have excoriated the president, who has consistently put his authoritarian tendencies on full display. But for others, the movement’s long-standing adjacency to Republican politics has complicated their response.
Listen: Columnist Shikha Dalmia talks about the divides among libertarians and the future of their movement after Trump
“You couldn’t have crafted a more anti-libertarian candidate than Trump if you tried,” says Dalmia. But she notes that Trump’s successful push for tax cuts has allowed many libertarians and conservatives to ignore his autocratic tendencies.
“That’s the fig leaf that allowed them to ignore all the things Trump was engaging in,” she says.
On whether progressives could court some libertarians to ally with them against Trump’s brand of Republicanism, Dalmia says there’s a rocky history there that will make it difficult.
“There hasn’t been a deeper alliance between libertarians and progressives that one would like to see,” she says. “Libertarian lawmakers see sort of majority interests first and minority interests second, and progressives rightly prioritize minority interests which is why you don’t see more alliance between libertarians and progressives.”