It may seem a bit trite to start an article on the Republican Party with a quote from Ronald Reagan. I’ll do it anyway. Reagan infamously (at least infamously among libertarians) once said
, “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism."
If young voters in the Iowa caucus are any indication, libertarianism might also be a large part of conservatism’s future.
This might be difficult, or even impossible, for some people to imagine and that’s ok. It would have been impossible for most people in 1970 to predict the existence of the Internet two decades into the future.
Just because you
can’t see the change doesn’t mean it’s not on it’s way.
Of course, blind conjecture doesn’t mean much. I can say that the Republican Party will have a libertarian core; but, without evidence, what does it matter? Well, there is some evidence.
Take this little nugget of truth from Tuesday’s Iowa caucus: Ron Paul won 50%
of the vote from participants between the ages of 17 and 24 and 45% from those between 25 and 29. Meanwhile, he only received 11% of the baby boomer vote.
That’s right, the youngest active members of Iowa’s Republican Party overwhelmingly supported Ron Paul, the limited government, pro-freedom, anti-drug war, non-interventionist candidate. As the older voters die off (it may sound callous but it's also an inevitability), the libertarian wing may very well take the place of the neo-con wing.
And that’s not all.
Another nugget from Iowa: When Ron Paul ran in 2008
he received a mere 10% of the total vote. This time around he more than doubled
that level of support with 21%. Romney, on the other hand, stayed exactly the same. He had 25% of the vote in 2008 and 25% of the vote in 2012.
The limited government views of Ron Paul are far more popular this time around.
Perhaps even more telling: Among those Iowa voters who said they were looking for a "True Conservative" Ron Paul received 37% of the vote
, which is more than any other candidate.
Granted, the GOP in Iowa is trying to ignore Ron Paul. The Washington Post
is reporting that even though Paul received 21% of the vote he won’t likely receive any of Iowa’s delegates. The establishment won’t have it. Instead, they will split the delegate count between Romney and Santorum.
The party leadership is understandably afraid of change, but the tide is turning.
Let me remind you of the statistic I cited earlier: Ron Paul received more votes from participants between the ages of 17 and 29 than any other candidate.
Twenty years from now those voters will be the establishment. If they keep a similar core of values the GOP, at least in Iowa, will be much more libertarian.