Republicans woo Libertarians, Democrats ignore them — at their peril

Former President Donald Trump spoke to the Libertarian Party’s Annual Convention on Saturday, May 25, 2024. Fox News reported that he was met with a crowd of repeated booing during his speech. The Nation’s National Affairs Correspondent John Nichols described Trump’s Outreach to the Libertarians as an Absolute Train Wreck.

But Fox also noted that some Republican supporters wore “Make America Great” hats and T-shirts cheering “USA! USA!” It’s unclear if they were libertarians or just Republicans attending the convention.

In brief, Trump didn’t make any friends with his typical self-aggrandizement. Nevertheless, his instinct that libertarians were voters, which he needed, was correct. In twenty polls spanning thirteen years, Gallup found that 17 to 23% of the American electorate voters see themselves as libertarians. They are a substantial chunk of voters.

Libertarian voters can tip the presidential election in the swing states.

It’s easy to ignore or even belittle the Libertarian Party’s past election results. Admittedly, the Libertarian presidential candidate’s performance has been minuscule. They’ve been at one or three percent of the popular vote in the last three presidential races.