Last week in Cleveland, Ohio, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Jo Jorgensen fielded questions from Feminists for Liberty President and Reason Senior Editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown as well as from a selection of voters who submitted video questions. You can watch the whole thing below.
Jorgensen—who will be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia this November—was excluded from the debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump that took place on the same night, despite an extensive effort by libertarians and the Jorgensen campaign to #LetHerSpeak on the debate stage with the Republican and Democratic candidates.
“I’m both very excited and very disappointed to be here talking to you tonight,” Brown told Jorgensen at the start of the event.
Disappointed, because I wish that you and any presidential candidate with enough electoral access to potentially win could be up there debating with Joe Biden and Donald Trump tonight. Excited, because… if Republicans and Democrats need to exclude third parties in order to maintain their dominance, well, hey, at least we can still be here, talking directly to the American people—a lot of whom seem very fed up with the two-party stranglehold on American politics, or just aren’t sure about what either of them are offering at the moment.
I’ve been a libertarian philosophically for a long time now, but I just joined the Libertarian Party this year, and there’s a reason for that. I used to think that people with libertarian leaning impulses and ideology could work through the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and their apparatuses. At least a lot of Democrats cared about the First Amendment and were anti-war. At least Republicans cared about free markets and were for de-regulation. But in recent years, both have turned against these historic principles and places of agreement with libertarians—against all principles, except owning their opponents and forcing their preferred policies on everyone else, it sometimes seems.
Jorgensen talked to Brown about what the Libertarian Party stands for and what makes it, and her, different than the Republican and Democratic candidates. They went on to chat about Jorgensen’s views on criminal justice issues like qualified immunity and mandatory minimums, COVID-19, foreign policy, health care, occupational licensing, over-the-counter birth control, the drug war, and more.
Feminists for Liberty is not affiliated with the Libertarian Party (LP) or the Jorgensen campaign, p.s. But we’re always happy to see alternatives to the authoritarianism on display in different forms from both major parties. And Jorgensen seems smart, kind, and able to talk to people about libertarian ideas in a way that isn’t stuffy or insane.
Bonus points that Jorgensen happens to be a woman—the only national candidate in 2020 who is. In an election year that marks 100 years of the U.S. Constitution saying voting rights shouldn’t be contingent on sex, it’s nice to see at least one woman on the ballot for president, and especially so because she’s a candidate that carries on the historic feminist and libertarian tradition of respect for individual rights.
For the Libertarian Party—founded in 1971—Jorgensen represents the first female presidential nominee for president in the party’s history.
The LP has, however, had several women as vice presidential nominees, —including Jorgensen, in 1996.
Before her, there was Tonie Nathan in 1972 and, in 1992, Nancy Lord.
Tonie Nathan became the first U.S. woman to get an electoral college vote, when a Virginia Republican elector—Little House on the Prairie co-producer Roger MacBride— broke with GOP instructions to vote for Richard Nixon and cast his nomination for the John Hospers/Tonie Nathan ticket instead. (MacBride himself would be the party’s presidential nominee in 1976).
More on Jorgensen and her campaign:
- Libertarian Party Candidate Jo Jorgensen: Don’t Waste Your Vote on Trump or Biden — The Libertarian presidential nominee is polling at 5 percent. Who are her followers?