Classical Liberals and Libertarians Should Vote Republican | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Dave Rubin during a Newsweek podcast debate on the U.S. political realignment. You can listen to the podcast here:

I've interviewed Gary Johnson. I think he is a decent guy and he was a pretty good governor, actually, but he was a terrible presidential candidate. Forgetting he doesn't know Aleppo and this and that, I knew he would have gotten mauled no matter what. I actually publicly supported him because my feeling was, "Hey, let's just get this guy on stage one time. Trump's going to beat him senseless. And Hillary will whack him on the other side with facts or, whatever it is that Hillary does with people." But I wanted for a moment, to let there be one applause line for a libertarian. I thought that would be good. And then unfortunately he didn't get in. And then in this past election, I had Jo Jorgensen on my show and she flat-out asked me if I was going to vote for her, which was a very bad thing for a guest to do, because I said, "no."

What Nick just said there was about how there was this sort of growing movement, sort of in the Republican Party, of these interesting libertarians. One of the things that really moved me on Trump was Rand Paul, who I think Nick would agree is our best sort of standard-bearer of libertarianism. He's the most libertarian that you're going to get within the system, as it exists right now. And we can discuss about how you could blow up the system or add seven more parties or all sorts of things around that.

"I voted" stickers with the Seahawks logo
"I voted" stickers with the Seahawks logo are pictured on Election Day at a voting center set up at the CenturyLink Field Event Center for people that need to register or get other assistance in the vote-by-mail state in Seattle, Washington on November 3, 2020. JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

But one of the reasons that I came around on Trump was because the guy who I liked the most, the guy who I thought had the most small-government ideas, who didn't want to get into those wars, who wanted to reduce taxes, wanted to kick power back to the states—all that—well, he became one of Trump's biggest allies in the Senate. So that offered a sort of comfort for me, which allowed me to vote for Trump.

Really, my argument around Trump—even though that's not exactly what we're talking about here, but it all sort of fits together—is that Trump in essence was sort of liberal. He was sort of libertarian. He was sort of conservative, right? You could make arguments that he was conservative. He put conservative judges on. He was liberal in that he's the first president to be for gay marriage. He was libertarian in that he, during COVID, wanted to kick a lot of stuff back to the states. He didn't get us in any wars—I felt Trump was sort of defending everything. And that came in a package that was orange with crazy hair and tweeted too much and all that stuff, but I thought he was as close as you could get to a little bit of something for everybody.

Dave Rubin is host of "The Rubin Report."

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.