Chase Oliver, on his campaign for the Libertarian nomination for President, was hosted by students at Dean College in Franklin, MA today, where he made his pitch for the libertarian cause.
In a political season where people with opposing viewpoints are too often described in demonizing, or dehumanizing terms, Mr. Oliver was steadfast in his delivery of a positive message of equal rights and dignity for all people. He may appear a bit younger than his 38 years, which he described as “exactly half the age of Donald Trump,” but he offered a mature and thoughtful take on how me might advance Liberty in the next election cycle.
As many of our readers already know, Chase Oliver reached the national stage when his campaign for the US Senate from Georgia forced a runoff. By getting a little more than two percent of the vote, Oliver prevented both the Republican candidate, Herschel Walker, and the Democratic candidate, Raphael Warnock, from winning more than fifty percent of the vote, as Georgia law requires for election. Oliver used the result of his race to draw attention to ranked choice voting (RCV), as an alternative to plurality voting. Georgia taxpayers were forced to spend over $10 million on the runoff, which could have been avoided with RCV, which receives high marks from voters in the states that use it already. He was accused of being a “spoiler,” but made the point that with the two-party system as it is today, “you can’t spoil something that is already rotten.”
In his speech to an audience that was a mix of Dean College students and local libertarian activists, Oliver outlined some of the issues his campaign will emphasize: immigration policy, criminal justice reform, and ending war. On each issue, he presented policies that were rooted in the political reality of where we are now, and what practical steps are achievable in the direction of liberty. Showing more maturity than many self-described liberty activists, Oliver avoided the stark, tear-it-all-down rhetoric that one might see on podcasts and social media.
Mr. Oliver put the dignity and rights of all people at the center of his policy solutions. On immigration, he advocated for an Ellis Island style of perfunctory screening, but otherwise open arms to anyone who wants to work, build a better life, and contribute to the life of the economy and the community. On criminal justice reform, he highlighted ending sovereign immunity and replacing it with a system of liability insurance that would make bad actors uninsurable, and incentivize better police practices that will restore trust, and make people more willing to approach law enforcement if criminal activity were affecting their community.
His main foreign policy point was to repudiate the history of US covert actions that have engendered “blowback” from places like Iran and Afghanistan. In this, he echoed the statements of Ron Paul in his campaign for the Republican nomination in 2008. While condemning the recent horrific acts of terror by Hamas in Israel, he advocated for a hands-off approach in the region, and offered less than the full-throated defense of Israel’s right to vigorous self-defense that some in the audience might have wanted to hear.
Oliver drew on his experience in the maritime shipping logistics field to make the point that when markets and trade exist between nations, war is much less likely, and we should be building economic ties as a bulwark against war.
He offered a practical solution to winding down the student loan debt crisis that walked a middle path between an unconstitutional loan forgiveness program and continuation of the status quo. Oliver would wind-down the existing program by setting interest on student loans to zero, and having people pay down the principal, while simultaneously returning student loans to private banks, where market discipline will create more incentives for colleges to compete on price, and for banks to demand value for the educations they are betting on.
I had an opportunity to chat with Chase prior to his remarks. His lapel pin caught my eye, which had a Star Trek logo. I couldn’t resist nerding out a bit with a fellow Trek fan. Let it be known that Chase Oliver takes a back seat to no one as a Trekker. That alone may get him my vote.
His campaign web site is at: https://www.votechaseoliver.com/