When you hear the word republican come up you might think of an image, as I do, of an old rich white dude who’s really uptight and prudish about morality while having no problem bombing countries.

But as I have discovered, there are not only people that fit that description in the Democratic Party, but there’s a breed of conservatism that could make the GOP more appealing to young voters.

Libertarianism is becoming quite popular with many college students and community members, although the people who love it don’t know they do.

Many of my friends that I find out are Republican subscribe to this view without even knowing. “I’m a social democrat and a fiscal republican,” I hear many say.

Libertarian would be a better word to sum up this ideal. Libertarians are in favor of little government in all aspects of life. Democrats favor this in social policies and republicans favor it in the market.

Most of the people who tell me that they are republican subscribe to this view.

When I first became a part of the group Students for Sensible Drug Policy, I was shocked to find out how many people who opposed the drug war just as bitterly as I did hailed the elephant’s party.

“How are you Republican,” I would ask seeing as how Nixon started the drug war in the ‘70s, escalating under Ronald Reagan.

“Republicans love the drug war. I would think you would be a DARE-loving, marijuana-hating czar that would want to lock up drug users to protect ‘public morality?”

They would tell me that they opposed large government and using federal taxes to arrest people for drugs is a waste of money and just another way for the government to get involved in our private lives.

Many of my friends and members of our chapter here in Keene hold this view.

It’s the prevalent view through the current Free Keene movement.

Right on, having a smaller government is a legitimate point and a topic worthy of debate. But the problem is the terms of defining oneself. I feel that if someone holds this view, then they’re not republicans.

Republicans, as stated before, believe in the free market but they want to tell you how to “morally” live your life, favor government wire-tapping, favor a larger military and continually try to mix religion with civic life, all things that libertarians are vividly against.

Most of my friends that say they’re Republican believe in legalizing marijuana, stand-out against police abuse, are not against gay marriage, and are pro-choice.

This is not the manifesto of the current Republican party, which is why they have such a disconnection with the younger generation.

The new young Republicans realize that to preach limited government means to support it in all areas of life besides the business world.

The new Republican is a Libertarian. Libertarians are creating much more of an appeal because they don’t hold the stuffed up views of the Santorums and Gingriches of the world.

Ron Paul, one of the few Libertarian politicians that held public office, was one of the most popular Republican candidates for president among our age group.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, gained a heavy following on Facebook and stole a lot of votes. I voted for Gary Johnson this year even though I’m more to the left. Jill Stein, the green party candidate, wasn’t on the ballot in New Hampshire.

Why does this matter? It matters because this could be a new breath for a Republican party, which is starting to die out.

The libertarian party could be a party that supports policies and holds views that progressives gel with.

It could devour the moderate vote if the god fearing war hawks of the current party diminish.

The libertarian party could also steal the vote of liberals, who see Obama as a failure to the change he promised.

The new Republican is a Libertarian and they could potentially dominate if they become the party’s status quo.

But for that to happen, the Reagan conservatives that control the party need to go.


Brian Rabadeau can be contacted 

at brabadeau@keene-equiniox.com  

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