Libertarianism in the Digital Age – by T.J. Scott

There is an opportunity for the Libertarian Party in the wake of the Trump election.  The body politic in the U.S. has been fragmenting for about 25 years.  While it can be argued that this phenomenon goes back to the Dixiecrats of 1948, the election of 1992 and the emergence of Ross Perot is a better marker.  He was the first outsider to tap into the electorate, that when combined with the hardcore Republican base, gave us Donald Trump.

There is ideological chaos wherever you look.  The Democrats are moving further Left, a place that doesn’t typically win for them, and the Trumpublicans no longer have an ideology. Their ideology is effectively, a cult of personality.  When beliefs are abandoned to curry favor with a cult-like leader, the party is lost.

The hardcore Republican base is no longer, if it ever was, a fertile ground to cultivate Libertarians.  The Democrats, even the more moderate ones, are repulsed by our economic policies, so that may not be an option anymore either.

So what about the remaining 30-35% of the electorate? These are the folks we as a party typically believe to be Libertarian but don’t know it, yet.  They identify as independents for the most part, but most have a bias to the right or left. And they are not as invested in politics as core Democrats and Republicans.  They may also want to be even less invested these days given the surrealistic drama that is Trumpian politics.  This is an opportunity to show them an alternative; the Libertarian Party.  Thank you, Mr. Trump.

The question then becomes how do we reach them? Social Media.  Facebook, Twitter, et al provide a more level playing field for Libertarian recruitment.  I’ve seen videos and read an article or two that the Facebook strategy of the Trump Campaign was KEY to his Electoral College victory.  Why not capitalize on that same proven strategy to recruit that 30-35% of the uncaptured electorate?

The Democrats acquired the entire Facebook Database directly from Facebook back in 2012.  The Republicans got what they needed from Facebook, the management of which leans Democratic, thanks to Cambridge Analytical.  But, the door to Facebook’s database is now closed.  The key to either statewide or national success is Social Media.  So, while social media can level the playing field, we are still at a disadvantage.  How do we get that database?  If we can’t get the database what digital strategies are open to us and at what cost? Facebook “boosting” seems inadequate.

I don’t have the answers, just the questions.


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