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Can the Liberty Movement Connect With Black Americans?
Are libertarians willing to do what it takes?
I was recently on an episode of the Decentralized Revolution podcast with Aaron Harris of the Mises Caucus. It has not aired yet, but we talked about a number of topics, including my journey from focusing on partisan politics to what I’m doing now: Focusing on liberty over party at the local level.
Near the end of the interview, Harris asked me about how the liberty movement might start gaining inroads with a wider swath of Americans — particularly black voters. The topic had already been on my mind when I joined up with the movement.
In fact, I wrote an article about it on Liberty Nation. In the piece, I highlighted the importance of liberty-focused candidates focusing on areas of commonality with the black community, who have been used to supporting Democrats for nearly a century. Indeed, I have always wondered if libertarian candidates would fare better than Republicans if both parties made a concerted effort to reach African Americans.
I suspect the answer is yes.
But the fact of the matter is that Republicans don’t truly want black votes. The GOP’s leadership loves to talk a good game about engaging with nonwhite Americans, but in reality, they are doing little to change the paradigm. God knows I, and many others, tried our best to get the party to expand its tent, but it does not appear that they are interested at the moment.
This provides an opportunity for liberty-focused leaders to start making inroads and competing with Democrats. Since the GOP won’t venture into black communities, libertarians are the only ones who might have a chance.
In my Liberty Nation piece, I recommended focusing on criminal justice, economics, education, and other issues that black voters prioritize. These also happen to be the issues that libertarians excel at.
Take policing, for example.
Democrats love to boast about how much they hate police brutality. They pretend to support policies that hold officers accountable when they abuse their authority. In reality, they preside over the cities in which police malfeasance has been the most oppressive to black Americans.
Republicans, on the other hand, are not even interested in reforming police. They do not believe the system is broken nor do they believe the “law and order” mantra should apply to people wearing uniforms and badges. You have only to look at how conservative influencers reacted to the killing of Tyre Nichols to understand the point I’m making.
However, liberty-focused folks actually do want to pursue policies like ending qualified immunity, decriminalizing behavior that should not be criminal in the first place, ending the war on drugs, and actually having a system that punishes bad police officers.
This is only one example showing a synergy between liberty and the black community. But I would also warn that none of this matters if people are unwilling to take the liberty movement into black neighborhoods. This is not a message that can be given from afar. Posting about liberty on Twitter is all well and good, but if we want to reach black and also brown voters, we have to show up face to face. It has to be a concerted long-term effort.
To put it simply, we can’t expect to start winning elections overnight. The Democrats have a strong foothold in these communities and they will not abide threats to their power without a vicious fight. Moreover, it will take time to earn the trust of those living in those communities under progressive rule. We have to show them that we are not just “Republicans lite.” There has to be a sense that change can and will happen.
These are only a few meandering thoughts on the matter. I’m sure I will be having more conversations on this subject. But I will say I am encouraged by what I have been hearing from members of the Mises Caucus and Libertarian Party when it comes to reaching black voters.
I get the distinct impression that they actually want to win over nonwhite Americans instead of going the Republican route. There is a sincerity I detect from the folks with whom I have conversed that was almost nonexistent in the GOP. Perhaps when we put our heads together, Project Decentralized Revolution can be what is necessary to build a bigger tent in the liberty movement.
This is one of several issues I will discuss in my upcoming book “Chasing Liberty: A Journey from Partisan Politics to the Fight for Freedom.”
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