Membership applications for the Libertarian Party (LP) doubled after Donald Trump became the GOP’s presumptive nominee in May, and that trend doesn’t look like it’s changing any time soon.
It’s not just average Americans who are jumping the Republican ship; it’s politicians, too.
Just this week, Utah state Sen. Mark Madsen switched his party allegiance from Republican to Libertarian. He said in a news conference:
“Every decision and inclination I had before [the RNC] was reinforced. No party is entitled to my membership or my support.”
— reason (@reason) July 25, 2016
But Sen. Madsen is just the latest Republican to make the switch. Seven months prior, Nevada legislator Rep. John Moore joined the LP and said he “looked forward” to his future working with the party:
“I first met some of the leaders of the Party during the last legislation session and I was really impressed. We started working together and before I decided to join the Libertarian Party they provided a lot of support for me. Since we started working together under the Libertarian Party banner I have received so much support and I am really looking forward to our future together.”
And another politician just followed in Moore’s footsteps. Nebraska state Senator Laura Ebke changed her party registration from Republican to Libertarian last month.
In a statement, Sen. Ebke expressed her outright support for Libertarian presidential nominee, Gov. Gary Johnson:
“I’m excited to be joining with the Libertarian Party at this point in history. The national ticket of Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld brings a tremendous level of credibility to the table. A pro-fiscal responsibility, small government, plus pro-civil liberties platform respects the Constitution and the taxpayer.”
While the youngest son of President George H. Bush, Marvin, comes from a family of Republicans, he also says he’s voting Libertarian this election.
Bush explained on The Sports Junkies podcast Wednesday that he’s not at all impressed with Clinton or Trump:
“Well that’s why I’m voting Libertarian. A hundred percent. And so these two guys — nobody knows about them, people think I’m sort of a wasted vote — both Gary Johnson and Bill Weld were each successful two-term governors who balanced their budgets, so they’re fiscally conservative, and their essential message is ‘get bureaucracy off our backs,’ which used to be a part of what the Republicans believed. And let me put it in terms of what’s topical for you: The Libertarians would not impose a rule at your radio station that said you can’t play music of your choice in the background.”
The former Republicans have joined joined a growing list of those who are throwing their weight behind Johnson as he aims to take down Trump and Hillary.
— Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) June 2, 2016
Here are just a few politicians, athletes and celebrities who have publicly endorsed Johnson as of July 27, 2016:
- Gov. Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
- Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA)
- State Rep. Max Abramson (L-NH)
- State Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer (R-MT)
- “The Price Is Right” Host, Drew Carey
- Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Rudy Carpenter
- New England Patriots player, Chris Long
- Bassist for Nirvana, Krist Novoselić
- “The Montel Williams Show” host, Montel Williams
- Penn and Teller, notorious American magicians
Carla Howell, who’s Political Director of the Libertarian Party, tells Independent Journal Review that the party knows of a few others not on the list.
She also says they “do not have data on which of new party members or newly-registered Libertarians were previously Republicans or Democrats.”
It is also uncertain where the bulk of Gov. Johnson’s support is now coming from. While we’re hearing about a good bit of ship-jumping from a disgruntled Republican party, there are some signs that the support for the Libertarian ticket is largely coming from Bernie Sanders supporters who just can’t seem to get behind Hillary,
In the latest CNN/ORC poll, Johnson has seen an uptick among voters, now garnering 13% of the vote. If the Johnson-Weld ticket reaches 15% in select national polls, the candidates will be invited to participate on the national debate stage.