A rising star youth leader in the Libertarian Party wants young voters from other parties to come over to his side.
The Libertarian National Convention, convened to select the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates, debate, and subsequently adopt the party’s platform, is currently underway this Memorial Day Weekend in Orlando, Florida. Trent Somes, III, who is 18 years old and still in high school, is one of the co-founders of the Libertarian Youth Caucus, a brand new group that is making its presence known at the convention.
His group, founded out of Pennsylvania, is taking off. It has multiple affiliates in Nevada and will soon be inaugurating the same in up to 6 more states. It is a registered Political Action Committee which is just coming up to its first required filing with the Federal Election Commission this July. According to Somes, most of the group’s finances have gone towards expenses related to the convention, although it has also been active in efforts to elect Libertarian public officials.
Speaking to the dramatic rise of youth involvement in politics across the political arena this year, Somes had this to say, speaking exclusively with Bipartisan Report:
‘The Libertarian Party appreciates the youth way more than any other party. The other parties aren’t interested in principle or in changing the United States- instead, they are only interested in growing their own power. We, the Libertarians, aren’t. In fact, we are the only ones who if elected will actually subtract from our own power…the two major parties only want to use youth.’
United States Senator Bernie Sanders, underdog Democratic candidate, has carried the youth vote by huge margins throughout this election cycle. Many of these youth have been galvanized almost solely by Sanders’s candidacy, having been previously uninvolved in American electoral politics.
Many of these previously uninvolved voters, young or otherwise, have adopted the “Bernie or Bust” strategy. “Bernie or Bust” includes at least two different perspectives, although both groups share a refusal to support likely – but not certain – Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The first, and the one with wider prevalence in terms of exposure, is that said voter will not vote for anyone other than Sanders in the general election, no matter what. Others have expressed a willingness to support a Third party candidate such as likely Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein, while others have been open to the idea of a Libertarian style candidate
On top of that, perennial Libertarian leader Ron Paul even recently stated that he felt a certain “kinship” with Sanders’s political revolution. There are some key differences, but those consist of strategy. Both the democratic socialists behind Sanders and the Libertarians behind candidates like former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson represent the rising tide of radical populism in the United States political scene. The former group simply wants to work more actively towards said goal, while the Libertarians believe that a hands-off approach is the best way.
Former Governor Johnson is the likely nominee from the Libertarians this cycle, and he has polled, dramatically, at up to 11 percent when pitted against front runners Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
As stated by Nicholas Sarwark, the chair of the Libertarian National Committee:
‘The front-runners of both parties are absolutely hated by giant segments of the electorate. We are a serious alternative.’