On last Thursday’s episode of Meet the Press Daily on MSNBC, host Chuck Todd, who also serves as a moderator for Meet the Press on NBC, asked libertarian icon and former Republican Congressman Ron Paul if he could support the presidential ambitions of either Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz.
“Now, there’s some parts of your message though that I think Donald Trump’s tried to co-opt. I think there’s some part of your message that Ted Cruz has tried to co-opt. Do believe that and have they— are either one of them speaking to you enough that you could envision supporting them?” asked Todd.
“Impossible,” replied Paul, who then suggested that Trump and Cruz are “authoritarians” and said that “libertarians are non-authoritarians.”
He continued, “So especially [their] foreign policy [positions] and then when it comes to the drug war. How many are out there talking about the evils of the drug war and how we throw people in jail? Rand was the only one that talked about that. But no, they’re pushed aside— they can’t stand to have that in a debate so they put him aside and he doesn’t get to present that case.”
Todd also pointed out to Paul that Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders “most often voted for some of your bills than anybody else running in this race.”
“Yes,” Paul replied. “It could be because we did work together and people would say, ‘Why are you and Bernie you know, agreeing on this issue?’ But we would both attack subsidies of corporations, but he is an outright authoritarian because on economic matters he would be totally authoritarian for the re-distribution of wealth and just soak it to the rich, even if the rich didn’t make it off special contracts for the government.”
Speaking on Sanders’ foreign policy positions, Paul said, “He’s not a non-interventionist, but he certainly is a lot better than the other Democrats.”
Paul then argued that President Obama had enacted some policies appreciated by libertarians and pointed to his opening of trade relations with Cuba and his lifting of sanctions on Iran.
Despite the fact that a libertarian candidate has not yet surged in the polls in the 2016 presidential race, Paul struck an optimistic tone in his assessment of the recent victories of the U.S. libertarian movement.
“I think there are great strides to emphasize the benefits of non-intervention in foreign policy, and, right now even, we’re winning in the [repeal of the] drug war. Most states are now nullifying federal laws. They’re saying, ‘To heck with ya’. Those laws are stupid.’ So I think libertarianism is making great progress in many ways, but don’t look to the people in Washington and the national debate, especially if they regulate the debates to the point where the libertarian message is excluded.”
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