The libertarian movement in America recently caught momentum in 2008 when Congressman Ron Paul ran for the Republican nomination. It has since been carried on by his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Many are confused as to what the libertarian ideology actually consists of. “Libertarian ideas are deeply rooted in America. Skepticism about power and about government, individualism, the idea that we’re all equal under the law, free enterprise, getting ahead in the world through your own hard work — all of those ideas are very fundamentally American” (“America’s Libertarian Movement“).
They are understood to be fiscally conservative and socially tolerant (to put a loose definition around it). They want the government out of people’s lives and it’s scope of power to remain small. The position Rand Paul takes is that he is a libertarian Republican. By running for president, he is trying to change the course of his party by moving them in a more libertarian direction. This will help them broaden their reach to young and independent voters.
Even tough many libertarians do not agree with Rand and side more with his father, Ron, he is meshing Republican conservatives values with those from the Libertarian Party. This helps him better appeal to moderates who do not favor either side. It is said that a majority of Americans today consider themselves fiscal conservatives and social liberals, but neither of the major parties have shifted their platforms to contain this view.
As the Republicans struggle to appeal to the masses of voters, a shift in direction for the party seems crucial for its survival. Adding a more libertarian philosophy to the party could help encompass more voters and becoming more appealing in a general election. Maybe 2016 will be the turning point.