While many Americans are caught up between the Democrats and Republicans running for president in 2020, there are other lesser-known candidates running for third parties that are looking for a place in the national discourse. I interviewed one of those presidential hopefuls, State Rep. Max Abramson (L-NH), to talk about why college students should examine his platform.
Cristobal Spielmann (C.S.): You've spoken out against the "Academic Industrial Complex" and the misappropriated spending of the University of New Hampshire's new logo. Why should college students pay attention to third parties, and in particular, the Libertarian party?
Max Abramson (M.A.): Well, the Academic Industrial Complex, that is both the public school system, which is about a trillion dollars a year, and colleges and universities [which] are about 560 billion dollars a year. That's a big Democrat[ic] Party contributor, or I should say, constituency. The hospital industry and the medical industry is like a trillion dollars. They are also a big Democratic contributor. So, together they're called "Meds and Ed." In my opinion, the reason that the Democratic Party is no longer the party of the working class, is their biggest constituency: trial lawyers and advanced ed[ucation] are no longer about helping ordinary people. They've really become about the almighty dollar. Our college campuses almost always go Democrat, every single year, no matter what. So no matter what you do, just like a lot of high-crime ghettos, they don't have any political clout, the college students don't have political clout, and so they kind of just keep getting raked over the coals year after year. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which is the college I first went to, now charges students about 71,000 dollars a year to attend, and it's almost all student loans.
C.S.: What would be the Libertarian solution to student loans? If there was a way you could, as the eventual Libertarian nominee, reach out to those students [with student loans]?
M.A.: The official Libertarian solution is to just get government out of everything, because the financial aid system, the way that it's set up now, actually just subsidizes the colleges and encourages them to keep pushing the costs of college ever higher. I have a "Making College Affordable" program which is lowered interest rates on existing student loans and requiring colleges to accept transfer credits, so you're not having to pay for the same class twice.
C.S.: So would those be like AP credits you are considering, from more high school-like programs, is that what you're suggesting?
M.A.: Yeah, advanced placement. I like CLEP testing; I did CLEP testing while I was in college. But the principle is, if you attended one college and racked up 10, 20, 30 credits, and then you go to another college and they discount all those things, they disregard a lot of it. So you end up having to pay the same thing twice and taxpayers have to pay for the same thing twice.
C.S.: You’ve run as a Republican in the past; is that correct?
M.A.: Yeah. Well, a group called the Republican Liberty Caucus, which is actually Libertarians and Constitution Party member guys running as Republicans.
C.S.: Why did you run for the Libertarian Party as a 2020 presidential candidate, and not, say, run as a Republican and introduce Libertarian ideas potentially on a larger platform?
M.A.: Well, my one issue is bringing the troops home. And you're not going to unseat Donald Trump on a platform of bringing the troops home. Because when you go to a lot of die-hard Trump supporters, Trump has indicated he'll gradually bring troops home, but he's just doing the same thing that Obama did, which is escalating the war [and] escalating troop involvement.
C.S.: You've mentioned this a little in your [previous] response, but Iran has gotten a lot of recent attention in the press. So, if you were elected president, what would be your solution to cooling those tensions, or as you say, "bringing the troops home?"
M.A.: I'm bringing the troops home on my first day in office, but I'm not unrealistic about what would happen in the Middle East. Those countries have been at war with each other for centuries, and whether we choose to stick in there or pull out, they're going to continue firing missiles at each other, killing innocent people, beheading rape victims and all sorts of terrible things are going to continue happening in the Middle East. I don't believe that there's anything we can do that will stabilize the Middle East. I think that we're going to have to bring the troops home and we might as well do that now. Those more aggressive regimes are going to continue killing their own people and committing atrocities and they just kind of have to evolve their way out of it.
C.S.: Lastly, assuming that you fail to win the nomination, would you support whoever the delegates chose as their nominee for the Libertarian party?
M.A.: No. As I've said over the years, I only support Dallas Accord candidates. I used to support the Libertarian [Party] automatically, but I've seen a combination of neocons, socialists, anarchists and other people win the nomination, and I've finally decided I'm only going to support small "L" Libertarians for the Libertarian nomination.
C.S.: Could you repeat, "Dallas Accord," is that correct?
M.A.: Right. 1974 [Libertarian] National Convention. There was a dispute between Constitutional Libertarians and people who wanted to just do away with government completely. So, the agreement was made both in writing and in blood, which is about giving back to the Constitution, and I take it as kind of a slap in the face when people want to push an agenda that's completely contrary to the Constitution.
This is the opinion of Cristobal Spielmann, a sophomore environmental science major from Brentwood, Tennessee. Tweet comments @LALoyolan or email email@example.com.