Are you recovered yet? If you’re the kind of political junkie who finds themselves on this website and listening to the Lions of Liberty podcast on the reg, chances are you were up until the wee hours of the morning Tuesday night watching the final hours of the US Presidential election. The 24 hours that followed were filled with shock, vitriol, and utter dismay from mainstream media pundits to millions of regular people who just never believed Donald J. Trump could actually become the President of the United States. While myself and Felony Friday host John Odermatt have been calling a Trump victory for quite some time – largely due to our own following of the work of Scott Adams and his noting of Trump’s “master persuader” skills – even I found myself up late at night, just as shocked as the MSNBC pundits. Even with the logical thought that he had a very good chance to win in my mind, the reality of Donald Trump as President just seemed too surreal to be true.
And yet, here we are.
There are no doubt many potential positives and negatives that come along with a Donald Trump victory, and with many of the other results of the 2016 U.S. elections. I’ll try to break down a few of the silver linings, and the ominous dark clouds, as it pertains to the ideas of liberty.
In the interest of ending on a high note, let’s start with the Dark Clouds:
- Donald Trump won the Presidency, but not the popular vote – and much of the electorate feels deeply divided. We’ve already seen protests and violence erupt and Trump is still over two months from being able to begin to attempt to implement any policies. There is potential for more civil unrest going forward – particularly if he tries to push forward with “the wall” or other policies seen as racist.
- Trump’s potential cabinet is full of neocon goons. Names that have been floated for prominent positions include longtime war proponent Sen. Jeff Sessions, extreme neocon John Bolton, and Rudy Giulani – the man who essentially helped Ron Paul launch the liberty movement in 2007 through his vehement denial of the concept of blowback. This should be worrisome to the anti-war crowd.
- Trump will have a Republican Congress and a Republican Senate. Whenever a President has a Congress and Senate fully on his side, there is the potential for massive amounts of legislation to be passed, and as liberty observers know by now, the vast majority of said legislation is typically not in the direction of liberty. There is certainly the potential for good to come, but the potential for an Executive blank check is one everyone should be wary of.
And now, for some potential silver linings, not all directly related to the election of Trump:
- The repudiation of Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and the mainstream media. The mainstream media has, since the beginning of the general election, been pushing a Clinton presidency up to and including direct collusion with Clinton campaign and the DNC. The talking heads were flabbergasted. With everything that is known about Hillary Clinton – from her war mongering ways to her extremely transparent “pay for play” scheming via the Clinton Foundation to her campaign helping to rig the primary and incite violence at Trump rallies – not to mention everything to come out from Wikileaks – it is clear that electing this woman would have given a rubber stamp to future impunity of this magnitude from other politicians. Trump certainly has the potential for high level corruption – but Hillary’s has been clear and on display for the world to see.
- Double Dynasty Death. Not only did Donald Trump end the Clinton’s hope for a continued dynasty – essentially sapping away all power they had to offer over through the Clinton Foundation – let’s not forget who also destroyed the Bush dynasty on the way. We will never see a Bush or Clinton hold high elected office in the United States again, and we do have Donald Trump to thank for that.
- Trump and the GOP could pass great legislation. Just as there is the potential for Trump and a Republican Congress to do great harm, there is potential for good as well. While some aspects are misguided (trade tariffs), a lot of the stuff in Donald Trump’s 100 Day Plan is really great. Now it may have all been campaign bluster, and we’ve seen many politicians fail to follow through on promises before, but if Trump can actually pass things like banning White House employees from working as lobbyists, withdrawing from the TPP, massive tax cuts on the middle class, national concealed carry repricocity – we could see a few positive steps towards greater liberty. At the same time, if he fails to follow through on this stuff, he’s provided plenty of ammunition to hold his feet to the fire with.
- Liberty congressmen re-elected: Three of the very best congressmen when it comes to the ideals of liberty – Senator Rand Paul, Rep. Justin Amash and and Rep. Thomas Massie – were all sent back to Congress. All 3 of these men have been the best representatives for the values of liberty that have ever been in the United States Congress (outside of Ron Paul of course) – and it is absolutely vital to have them there during a time when the Republicans are in control.
- People are rejecting the War on Drugs. There were 9 state ballot measures up for a vote on election day involving various levels of legalizing marijuana. Eight of them passed. Only Arizona’s measure failed and it was by a very slim margin. To think that twenty years ago, it was California and California alone which had just passed the nation’s first medical marijuana bill. Now, twenty years later, and the majority of Americans live in states where marijuana has some aspect of legality. This is a massive cultural shift. Now this certainly doesn’t mean everyone is becoming a principled libertarian on the issue, but it still strikes another massive blow to the overall War on Drugs, with marijuana prohibition being a major aspect of. If the marijuana crack keeps expanding, we could see the whole dam go down. I’ll be speaking with John Odermatt about this issue on tomorrow’s edition of Felony Friday.
- Close to 4 million people voted for Liberty. We can argue all day long – and often do! – about how “libertarian” Gary Johnson really is, but at the end of the day almost 4 million people cast a vote for the Libertarian ticket. Many of them may have been doing so as simply a rejection of Clinton/Trump, but just the mere act of voting for a third party can indicate the beginning of a shift away from the Big Two corporatist parties. Add in the Stein, McMullin, et al votes and the numbers get even higher. More people than ever are considering alternatives to the Republican and Democrat duopoly, and that is a wonderful thing.
That sums up my initial post election thoughts. Either way, for liberty activists, there is a lot of work to be done, and most of it will first be done not in the political arena, but the arena of ideas. And of course, that’s why we do what we do here!
Speaking of “doing what we do”, here’s our upcoming post-election podcast agenda.
- Friday 11/11/16 – Felony Friday hosted by John Odermatt and guest starring yours truly, where we will give our election hot takes and look at the marijuana legislation that passed across the country on Tuesday.
- Monday 11/14/16 – Brian McWilliams takes us on a final journey through Mr. Johnson’s Libertyhood
- Wednesday 11/16/16 – Our long-awaited post-election roundtable, in the style of Libertarians in Living Rooms Drinking Liquor!
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