Donald Trump has, in the last two weeks, wrapped up the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and ensured what many are calling “the worst election of our lifetimes” by making this a Trump vs Clinton election. When faced with such a prospect, combined with the embarrassing ineptitude of the Libertarian Party as they attempt to choose a nominee, it would be very easy for Liberty Conservatives across the country to become cynical. After all, this is objectively the toughest moment we’ve faced as a movement since Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential run sparked years of constant growth.
That being said, rather than focus on the disastrous state of the Presidential election, liberty activists may find more optimism and opportunity in looking down ballot at the potential liberty leaders of the future. We have a chance to promote men and women across the country who have the talent, experience and passion to lead the next generation of liberty lovers in the fight against big government. These men and women come from all walks of life, all different parts of the country and have taken many different routes to where they are today. But they all share one thing in common; the potential to play a crucial role in restoring liberty to America.
The representative to Congress from Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, Thomas Massie is one of (along with Rand Paul and Justin Amash) the three major libertarian figures in Congress today. Known as “That one Republican who never would vote for John Boehner“, Thomas Massie revels in angering the Republican establishment, much to the delight of liberty activists everywhere. A self described “crunchy con”, Massie drives an electric car and uses solar panels to power his home. But don’t let his eco-friendly ways make you think Massie is a member of the environmentalist left, this man boasts an outstanding 95% FreedomWorks rating and is consistently on our side when the fights over debt ceiling, continuing resolution and civil liberties bills emerge. Massie was a staunch Rand Paul supporter in the 2016 election, to the extent that once Rand dropped out Massie said there were no other good Republican options and there was no good outcome in 2016. Massie has consistently denied that he desires to run for any higher office, whether that be Senate or the Presidency, so we will have to watch this valiant fighter for liberty continue to sprint to the house floor to challenge the status quo at every turn.
2. Justin Amash
Justin Amash is a person who truly needs no introduction among the hardcore activists of the liberty movement. Representing Michigan’s 3rd District, Amash came into Congress with a ton of hype, being touted as the next Ron Paul, and he has more than lived up to those expectations. With a perfect 100% rating from FreedomWorks, Amash has been a sure thing vote for liberty in Congress in a way that only him and Thomas Massie can truly claim. The establishment tried to take out Amash in 2014, running establishment Republican Brian Ellis against him and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, only to go down in a losing effort. Amash was stripped of his committee position for refusing to vote for John Boehner, and has been a consistent vote against their debt ceiling increases. Amash introduced the original bill to end NSA Spying to Congress, and lead the fight to end surveillance in the house. This man is a true son of the Ron Paul Revolution, and may end up being the man who galvanizes the liberty movement in the 2020 presidential election. If he is the liberty movement’s standard bearer in 2020 he can expect near universal support from libertarians across the country who have been impressed with his principled voting record. Amash growing into that role would be a major shift stylistically from the more political approach of Rand Paul back to a more issue based, principled approach to campaigning.
David Simpson is the man who this author personally believes to be the most suitable long term “prospect” for a spot in the Senate, the governors mansion or even the White House. Simpson currently represents the 7th district in the Texas State House of Representatives, and is running for the Texas State Senate in a run off election. A devout man of faith and staunch liberty activist, Simpson has championed every cause from opposing the TSA to marijuana legaliztion to nullifying federal gun control. Simpson is one of the most battle tested state level representatives in the country who identifies with the liberty movement, and has stood on principle even when attacked for doing so. Endorsed by Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas, Simpson is widely regarded by activists in the state as one of the best representatives in Texas. Known for releasing powerful campaign videos (such as the ones below) and giving stirring speeches from the floor of the Texas State House, Simpson is an outstanding spokesman and a truly powerful messenger. Whether or not he wins his run off election later this month, Simpson will surely be a rising star in our movement for years to come. Libertarian activists need to begin lining up behind this champion of liberty to help maximize how far he can go in Texas (or even federal) politics.
Another great champion of liberty running for the Texas State House, Keith Strahan has shown himself to be one of the most articulate young Americans in the country when it comes to spelling out libertarian principles. Endorsed by The Liberty Conservative and Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas, Strahan has galvanized the Texas liberty movement to battle the Republican Establishment in this heavily contested primary. Grounded with a deep knowledge of libertarian ideas and constitutional principles, Strahan will be a sure thing vote for free markets and civil liberties in the Texas State House. It is important for us to get liberty activists involved at the state and local level, as it will make the Congressional, Senate and Presidential fights much less difficult. If we are able to get Keith Strahan elected to the Texas State House it will put a young, principled liberty activist in a position to fight for their constituents as well as run for a higher office down the road. This is a candidate who liberty activists across Texas and across the country need to get behind, as his is the ultimate “build our bench” election.
5. Tom Davis
A fierce liberty conservative representing South Carolina’s 46th District in the State Senate, Tom Davis has perhaps the longest history of fighting for liberty of any state level representative on this list. A former Chief of Staff to governor Mark Sanford, Davis has been fighting for liberty in South Carolina for over a decade. Introducing bills on controversial issues such as medical marijuana, highway funding and criminal justice reform, Davis has never been afraid to take on his own party when they are wrong. A staunch libertarian, Davis made waves in the liberty movement initially at Ron Paul’s “We Are The Future Rally”, where in a fiery speech he declared that he has thrown himself headfirst into the liberty movement and railed against the Federal Reserve. Davis said the Federal Reserve was a “corrupt, insidious creature” that has tripled out monetary base. The focal point of his rousing speech, Davis claimed that “At some point in time…..the house of cards will fall, the chickens will come home to roost” and brought the crowd to their feet by calling Ben Bernanke a “traitor and dictator” who is rotting out our Republic. Ever since he uttered those words Davis has been on the radar of liberty activists across the country, and we have a responsibility to support men like him for standing on principle in such bold and fierce ways.
Running for Congress in Florida’s 1st Congressional District, Rebekah Johansen Bydlak has a history of fighting for liberty that can be stacked against almost anybody in the country, a rather bold statement considering that Rebekah is just 25 years old. Acting as Outreach Director of Coalition to Reduce Spending, a group led by Jonathan Bydlak (who has been called the “Grover Norquist of Spening Cuts”), Rebekah has made it her mission in the last several years to find candidates and get them to pledge to “reject the debt”, a commitment to never vote for an unbalanced budget or increase in off budget spending. That being said, Rebekah’s history of liberty activism goes back much further than CRS. She was for a long time an active member of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), which is how many people in the liberty movement from across the country got to know Rebekah. She helped organize the YAL State Convention in Florida in 2013, and you could always count on seeing her at the YAL booth whenever they had a table at a DC event. If we can get Rebekah elected to Congress she would become the brightest rising star on the right overnight, acting as the personification of what our movement has to offer to the country. I could not be more excited that Rebekah has chosen to run for Congress, she is the only Congressional candidate whom I have donated to in this cycle!
7. Rod Blum
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2014 Congressional elections was the election of Rod Blum to Congress representing Iowa’s 1st District. Despite being in a district where the Democrats had a 5 point registration edge over the Republicans, Blum managed to defeat Democrat Pat Murphy with 51% of the vote to win the seat. What made this even more surprising was that Blum did not campaign as a milquetoast moderate, as most Republicans running in majority Democrat districts do. He campaigned as a staunch Tea Party conservative, having right wing icons like Senator Rand Paul campaign for him and running on an anti Washington platform. Blum immediately vindicated every conservative activist who supported him by casting his first vote against John Boehner’s speakership upon his arrival to Congress. Since that point Blum has maintained a very good 86% scorecard rating from FreedomWorks, voting against wasteful Omnibus programs and the Export-Import bank reauthorization. Blum has a re-election bid coming up in which Democrats will unquestionably be gunning for his seat as one of their targets to “flip” back into the blue column. Liberty activists across Iowa in particular can make a huge difference by helping the Blum campaign overcome those odds.
8. Eric Brakey
Another very young liberty lover who has made a splash in politics is Eric Brakey, the 27 year old State Senator from Maine’s 20th District. Having seen his rise in politics as the Maine state director of Ron Paul 2012 and his fervent support of Rand Paul in 2016, there are very few people who I have seen fight harder for our candidates at the national level than Eric. During the Ron Paul delegate squabbles in Maine in 2012 Brakey was at the forefront of the fight, leading a walk out of delegates from Maine and several other states who were upset that Ron Paul was wrongfully stripped of delegates he had won at the state convention. After this Brakey founded Defense of Liberty PAC, a PAC dedicated to promoting free markets in the Maine legislature. Then in 2014 Brakey won election to the Maine state senate, and achieved one of the largest victories of this decade for liberty at the state level. Brakey was able to successfully push a Constitutional Carry (the right to conceal carry a gun without a permit) bill through the Maine Senate, with the governor eventually signing it into law to make Maine the 6th Constitutional Carry state in the country. Eric has a rare combination of youth and experience which make him an outstanding prospect for higher office down the line. I have a feeling we have only seen the beginning of what he will do in his political career!
When somebody chooses to make defending liberty their profession it is among the highest possible moral callings, and Catherine Bernard through her legal work has defended victims of law enforcement violence and government abuse. Fighting on the front lines of the War on Drugs as a public defender, Catherine has fought hard to reduce the penalties for drug offenders in the most tangible way an individual possibly can. Catherine is now taking that passion for liberty and experience in defending it to run for the Georgia State House representing District 80. One of only four Georgia Delegates to the 2012 RNC to vote against Mitt Romney at the convention, Bernard’s history in political activism is one of challenging the status quo and defying the establishment. She has testified in front of the Georgia General Assembly in favor of preventing no knock warrants from being codified into Georgia law, in what was ultimately a successful effort. Bernard is an articulate, effective spokeswoman for liberty who has the talent to reach major political heights. Even the most discriminating of liberty activists will vouch for Catherine’s willingness to fight relentlessly for our principles, and that is the sort of fight we need in our representatives.
These nine bold, principled liberty lovers have an incredible future ahead of them, but they will not maximize their potential without our help. The power of the internet has given us the ability to identify candidates from across the country who will fight relentlessly for libertarian ideas. Doing so was the primary reason for the founding of The Liberty Conservative. In times like these, when momentum has stalled and the energy level is at a low point, we need to band together to create some energy and some excitement to keep libertarians involved in the political process. Through promoting these fine patriots we can ensure that the liberty movement’s growth potential is not harmed by the 2016 election. More importantly, we can put ourselves in a position to have a major voice in the party if Trump does lose to Hillary. So let’s start focusing more on the David Simpson’s, Rebekah Bydlak’s and Keith Strahan’s of the country and less on the Trump’s and Clinton’s!