Trump really is a mixed bag for libertarians. There are things we in the liberty movement don’t like about Trump. For instance his flirtation with the neoccons (who largely abandoned him in the election and even in some cases defected to Clinton) and John Bolton in particular has been disappointing. We also generally fear that Senator Sessions who has been nominated for Attorney General will continue the drug war. And of course the much heralded Carrier deal was crony capitalism complete with $2 million in taxpayer financed subsidies for the company. Not so good.
But on some other things, school choice, taxes, regulation, getting back to actual discussion and jettisoning political correctness, his generally non-neocon orientation toward overseas conflict, his actual understanding (for the most part) of the importance of markets and of entrepreneurialism, the fact that he’s looking to cut the federal workforce significantly, Trump’s pretty good.
Trump will be opposed by libertarians when he moves away from liberty. To the degree that he moves toward liberty he will be cheered.
Consider also that we could have been stuck with a president Jeb Bush. Or worse.
And with Sen. Rand Paul’s power to bog down Trump’s nominees, the libertarian movement sees tangible opportunities to make its influence felt.
“Somebody’s got to be out there reminding Republicans where we stand on all of these issues,” said Brendan Steinhauser, a conservative operative based in Texas with deep ties to the liberty movement.
He pointed to the tariff and Carrier issues in particular as Trump actions giving libertarians heartburn, even as he said activists were also ready to “cheer” on Trump when he made more conservative calls and Cabinet nominations, and there have been several.
“Yes, our president — of our party, our country — may have some ideas that are very different,” he said. “It’s incumbent on us to remind him, our party, our country, what good, pro-liberty policies are. That’s a very practical thing. It’s happening right now.”