Hundreds gathered at Florida International University on August 17, showing support for their party’s presidential nominee. Libertarian rallies in previous election years hardly drew out such a large crowd, but in the midst of a divisive presidential race, voters have begun to explore new alternatives.
“I think the truth is,” said former Republican State Representative Juan Carlos Planas, “is that a lot of millennial republicans, especially those who grew up in republican households, have always felt comfortable with the economic views of the Republican Party, but they now feel out of touch with the social views.”
Karen Froniewski, a Gary Johnson supporter, is just one of those out of touch voters. When asked if she identified as a libertarian, she responded “I do now.”
“I’ve been voting for, gosh, forty years I guess,” Froniewski said. “And I’ve just been so disenfranchised the last several elections. It’s time for a change. Things need to get shaken up.”
As the political climate has become more heated during this election year, the desire for change has grown.
“This has to be the worst that I’ve ever seen,” Froniewski said. “The mudslinging, the name calling. I would just say the Republican Party should be embarrassed about who they’re trying to have elected for President of the United States.”
This discontent view has trickled down to young people following politics as well. “This is probably one of the most polarizing elections in American history,” said Charlie Schmidt, a teenaged rally attendee. “People are definitely looking for an alternative, and that’s Gary Johnson.”
But party members believe that libertarianism’s appeal will last far after the voting booths close in November.
“I think this is the start of something big,” Planas said. “The truth is, when you look at what the future of what the Republican Party should be, it should be the libertarian party. I think the truth is that most people are libertarians, they just don’t realize it yet. And I think that’s something that’s going to continue to grow and grow.”