Why a Libertarian is Considering Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders has captured the hint of revolution in America. (photo courtesy of Cornell College)

A Libertarian Voting for a Democratic Socialist? Normally, I’m a big believer in hands-off government and have serious issues with traditional party candidates. However, I do like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. With the only other major party candidate I would even consider voting for out of the race (Rand Paul) and no clear favorite among Libertarian candidates (Gary Johnson would have my vote if he runs), I am looking at Sanders as a possibility. Mind you, I am not committed to support him just yet, but I do like him. Why?

  1. Foreign Policy: Though he is not perfect, Sanders would certainly handle war and foreign policy better than Obama, Clinton, and Bush did and is vastly superior to any of the remaining candidates on either side. He voted against the Iraq War and would be in favor of more diplomacy before force. Not my perfect candidate, but certainly closer to Libertarian views than most.
  2. Prison Reform: The United States incarcerates far too many people, and a disproportionate percentage of them are people of color. Rather than spending resources to incarcerate people who aren’t a physical threat (non-violent drug users, contempt of court, failure to pay), Sanders proposes we spend more on education, training, and jobs that will reduce crime. This focus on rehab would help people when they got out of prison, rather than have them continue through the same cycle. I agree wholeheartedly.                                                                                    
  3. Police Accountability: There is plenty of evidence that the police are out of control, and Sanders wants to hold them accountable for their actions. He wants to demilitarize the police force, provide body cameras to increase accountability, increase training standards, and increase civilian oversight. That all sounds good to me.
  4. Civil Liberties: Sanders is against the NSA spying on citizens and most forms of corporatism. He believes in helping end racial inequality, narrowing the gender gap, and providing equality for the LGBT community and for those with disabilities. Of the candidates that remain, he is by far the best choice to protect civil liberties.
  5. Reforms for banks and rural businesses: This is where I differ from Libertarian ideology. I think the big banks have hurt our economy, and the lack of privately-owned family farms has diminished our food quality. Tighter regulations on the banking industry and helping rural states increase locally-owned, family farms will increase the quality of our food as well as the health of the citizens.                  
  6. He’s anti-establishment: I don’t agree with a lot of Sanders’s policies, but he is on the outside, and I always like the guys on the outside.

My decision is not final. The likelihood is I will vote for Johnson should he win the Libertarian nomination (I plan on writing why Johnson would be good for America in a future blog but, for now, check out his website for his views and beliefs). However, Sanders is a far better choice than any of the other mainstream candidates, and at least he would do things differently than it has been done in the past. That cannot be a bad thing!


3 thoughts on “Why a Libertarian is Considering Bernie Sanders

  1. First off, I want to just say that I find it impressive when anyone makes a list like this, and yet considers themselves undecided. To me, that reflects that a lot more thought than most people put into anything. So that’s fantastic.

    Anyway, since you are undecided, let me try to convince you of why Bernie is not your guy 🙂

    1. Foreign Policy – I think you’re right on foreign policy. Full disclosure: I’m not someone who votes based on foreign policy. I think we have too much to clean up at home, and I also think that foreign matters are mired in so much muck that it’s not even possible to make an informed decision. Realistically though, I’d support whoever seems most opposed to intervention. So I’m kind of with you here.

    2. Prison Reform – I agree with you as far as the ideal. Reason actually has a good article talking about each of the candidates. They all kind of suck, but my opinion is that aside from Rand, Cruz and Kasich have historically been strongest on this point. Anyway, the reason article gives a little more detail on why Bernie may not be the best.

    3. Police Accountability – This is where it gets a little bit weird for me. I take jurisdictional issues seriously. When I hear people at the Federal level talking about police accountability, I can’t help but wonder what gives them jurisdiction over those local matters. I worry that when presidential candidates discuss a need for “police accountability” what they really are doing is pandering to voters and hoping to increase the size and power of the federal government. Everyone wants police to act right, but if there are constitutional problems those need to be dealt with through the courts. It’s just not the presidents job.

    4. Civil Liberties – these are kind of lumped all together, but in any event – sure when you look at LGBT issues Sanders is the better candidate. But at the same time, the major victories have already been won. Now when you look at something like the gender gap, I personally believe it’s a complete myth. In my mind, freedom of contract is one of the most basic civil liberties. There are already laws against workplace discrimination. We just don’t need any more. All they do is make it more expensive to run businesses. Any steps that are taken to address this supposed wage gap will be made at the expense of one freedom or another.

    5. Banks – I take a libertarian approach on the banks, so we probably won’t agree there.


    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment! I am unlikely to vote for Sanders (beyond the Democratic primary), but he has forced me to at least look at a major party candidate, which is something I never thought I’d do again (I don’t consider Rand Paul a Republican, despite the “R” next to his name).
      I do disagree about the gender gap. The issue isn’t just at the top of the pay scale, it’s also at the bottom. I see absolutely no reason why the same job shouldn’t pay the same amount.
      In regards to police accountability, I agree it should not be the President’s job. However, since no one who should be taking control is, it has become an issue that needs to be handled by someone. I’m hoping that since candidates are actually talking about it that the people who should be doing something will feel the pressure and actually do it, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that.
      Thanks again for a thoughtful, civil response!


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