Neha Patil (Editor)

Libertarian Republican

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Libertarian Republican

A libertarian Republican is a politician or Republican party member who has advocated libertarian policies while typically voting for and being involved with the United States Republican Party.


Beliefs and size

The Republican Party is divided into factions. In a 2014 Pew Research Center survey on political typology and polarization, 12% of Republicans described themselves as libertarian. The libertarian branch of the party is smaller than other branches, including "Main Street" voters (pragmatic, establishment-supporting, open to more compromise), Tea Party voters (radical right-wing populists with "a deep mistrust of experts, elites and even the G.O.P. establishment"), and Christian conservatives (dominated by white evangelical voters, mostly from the South). However, the libertarian bloc in the party is larger in size than several other groups, such as former Northeastern moderate Republicans (which have almost disappeared) and hawkish "national security" voters who favor neoconservativism. Compared to other Republican factions, libertarian Republicans have relatively little party loyalty.

According to a 2012 New York Times analysis, libertarian Republicans have a variety of motivating issues. On economic and domestic policy, they favor cutting taxes and regulations, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and protecting gun rights. On social issues, they favor privacy and oppose the USA Patriot Act, support abortion rights, and oppose the War on Drugs. On foreign and defense policy, libertarian Republicans are "fiercely isolationist." Two-thirds of libertarian Republicans are males.

The Republican Liberty Caucus, which describes itself as "the oldest continuously operating organization in the Liberty Republican movement with state charters nationwide," was founded in 1991. Among the group's past chairs are Chuck Muth.

The House Liberty Caucus is a congressional caucus formed by Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan. In 2014, the group "consisted of about 30 libertarian-inclined Republicans (and occasional Democratic visitors like Jared Polis)." The group is a rival to the conservative Republican Study Committee, which favors high military spending.

Cabinet-level officials

  • Director Mick Mulvaney of the Office of Management and Budget; former U.S. Representative from South Carolina
  • U.S. Representatives

  • Representative Justin Amash of Michigan
  • Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky - described as "a Northern Kentucky Republican with libertarian leanings," Massie is a "self-styled libertarian" who has received libertarian support, although he has also described himself as a "'constitutional conservative' within the Republican Party."
  • Representative Raúl Labrador of Idaho
  • Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California
  • Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina (also a former governor of South Carolina) – often described as a figure with libertarian views; claimed to have turned down an offer from Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson to be his vice presidential running mate in the 2016 election.
  • Former Representative Bob Barr of Georgia
  • Former Representative Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan
  • Former Representative Connie Mack IV of Florida – described as "a staunch fiscal conservative...with libertarian tendencies."
  • Former Representative Ron Paul of Texas – longstanding Libertarian Republican icon; unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988 as the Libertarian nominee.
  • Former Representatives Howard H. Buffett of Nebraska, Ralph W. Gwinn of New York, Frederick C. Smith of Ohio, and H.R. Gross of Iowa – members of the House described by Murray Rothbard as "extreme right ... solidly isolationist and opposed to foreign wars and interventions, and roughly free-market and libertarian in domestic affairs."
  • U.S. Senators

  • Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky — is sometimes regarded as libertarian-leaning, although David Boaz of the Cato Institute notes that "Paul doesn't claim to be a libertarian, and he takes positions that many libertarians disagree with."
  • Senator Mike Lee of Utah – described as an economic and civil libertarian.
  • Former Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona
  • Former Senator George Frisbie Hoar of Massachusetts
  • State governors

  • Former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico - served two terms as governor as a Republican, but switched from the Republican Party to the Libertarian Party in 2011).
  • Governor Butch Otter of Idaho
  • Former Governor William Weld of Massachusetts - As a Republican governor of Massachusetts, Weld was identified with a "brand of New England Republicanism" and did not hold libertarian positions. Later, Weld drifted toward the Libertarian Party. In 2006, Weld unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for New York governor; he gained the gained the Libertarian Party endorsement that year before dropping out of the race; in 2016, Weld unsuccessfully ran for vice president as the running mate of Gary Johnson on the ticket of the Libertarian Party, which Weld has never previously belonged to.
  • State legislators

  • Kurt Bills, former Minnesota state representative; describes himself as a "libertarian-leaning constitutional conservative"; Reason magazine writes that "most of his positions align with mainstream libertarian ideas. He is hostile to the drug war, favors a non-interventionist foreign policy, and embraces Austrian economics."
  • Laura Ebke, Nebraska state senator - elected to the legislature in 2014 and advanced libertarian positions. She described herself in early 2015 as "a Republican and a conservative libertarian," In 2016, Ebke switched to the Libertarian Party.
  • Richard Tisei, former Massachusetts state senator and state Senate minority leader; identifies as a "traditional Northeast libertarian" in the social and fiscal senses.
  • Authors and scholars

  • Nobel Prize–winning economist Milton Friedman
  • Author Zora Neale Hurston
  • Wall Street Journal writer Stephen Moore
  • Economist and philosopher Murray Rothbard (until the 1950s)
  • Economist Mark Skousen
  • Others

  • Jerry Doyle, radio talk show host
  • Clint Eastwood, actor, filmmaker – describes himself as a libertarian and says that he has "always been a libertarian," but is associated with the Republican Party. Eastwood spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention, and voted for Republican nominee John McCain in 2008.
  • Jack Hunter, Charleston, South Carolina radio talk show host ("The Southern Avenger"), political commentator, former aide to Rand Paul, editor of Rare Politics – has written of his "attraction to libertarianism." Hunter was a longtime defender of the Confederate flag and expressed neo-Confederate views, which libertarian commentator and law professor Ilya Somin criticized in 2013 as inconsistent with libertarianism. In 2015, Hunter stated that he was wrong about the flag.
  • Kennedy, TV commentator and former MTV VJ
  • Dennis Miller, television personality – described himself as a "conservative libertarian" in the 1990s, although "his commentary always contained a streak of right-wing populism." After the September 11 attacks, Miller's views, particularly on foreign and defense policy, drifted further to the right.
  • Grover Norquist, anti-tax activist and Republican figure; economic libertarian identified with "support for supply-side economics and skepticism about climate science."
  • P. J. O'Rourke, humorist, author – longtime libertarian-conservative Republican, although he endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.
  • Wayne Allyn Root, businessman
  • Peter Schiff, investment broker – described as "libertarian" or "libertarian-leaning"; unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for the 2010 election for U.S. Senate in Connecticut.
  • Mark Spitznagel, hedge fund manager
  • Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley businessman, Paypal co-founder – a registered Republican and self-described libertarian.
  • References

    Libertarian Republican Wikipedia