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That Whole Freedom Thing

by Henry Olsen

Can liberty-minded conservatives make themselves relevant again?

A year is an eternity in politics, the saying goes. If that’s true, then two years is an eon. And it seems an eon ago that the common wisdom held that the GOP was entering its “libertarian moment,” when the heirs of Barry Goldwater would finally come into their inheritance and retake the party they had long believed was their one true home.

That faction today suffers from PTSD, political-trauma shock disorder. Its champions, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, were decisively routed in the 2016 Republican primaries. The winner, Donald Trump, is about as diametrically opposed to Goldwaterism as is possible in the GOP, a man who seemingly has no political conscience, much less that of a conservative. The question one hears in any D.C. watering hole is also on the lips of millions of Republicans nationwide: “What has happened to my party?”

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