Story by Mitchell Brown, for the Muleskinner—
From the Missouri State Fair, to Rock Fest, to college campuses across the state, Libertarian Senatorial candidate Jonathan Dine has hit all these spots.
On Oct. 17, he made a stop at Central. Dine said Libertarianism is growing among college students. He said the current generation is the most Libertarian of all time.
Dine said when he was growing up, he didn’t pay attention to politics. “As I grew older, and my tax burden grew, I started to pay more attention,” he said.
Dine said he believes career politicians have fallen out of touch with life outside of politics.
“I believe we need more ordinary Americans to stand up and take an active role in government,” Dine said on his website.
Benjamin Johnson, Libertarian Party Council member, said his interest in Libertarianism happened due to finding out about Ron Paul (R-Texas). Johnson said he was inspired seeing someone on a national level whose views resembled his own.
Dine is a 33-year-old personal trainer based in Kansas City,Mo. He summarized his platform as being one of smaller government, lower taxes and more personal freedom.
Dine said if elected, he would propose term limits for the House and the Senate. He suggested a limit of two six-year terms for a Senator and six two-year terms for a Congressperson. Dine also said if elected, he would vote no on any legislation containing earmarks.
He is also passionate about the decriminalization/legalization of marijuana. Dine said his position on legalization comes from a fiscally conservative perspective.
He said that if legalization was instated, then money spent in the criminal justice system on non-violent drug offenses could be spent on policing violent crimes.
Dine said he believes laws prohibiting marijuana have done more harm to society than the drug itself “We are only five percent of the world’s population, yet we have 25 percent of the world’s prison population,” he said.
Dine’s position on the issue garnered him national attention.
He attended this year’s annual Rock Fest, a heavy metal/hard rock festival put on by Kansas City, Mo. radio station 98.9 The Rock, with “legalize marijuana” written across his chest, “vote Dine“ written across his arms, and the Libertarian Party logo drawn on his back. A photo of the shirtless candidate made the cover of the New Republic magazine.
The verbal faux pas of Todd Akin, (R-Mo.) his infamous “legitimate rape” remark also served to draw attention to Dine’s campaign, as a number of Akin supporters began looking for an alternative. The race for the Missouri U.S. Senate seat is only a three person race between Dine, Akin and Democrat Claire McCaskill.(D-Mo.) “After he (Akin) made his gaff, I noticed an immediate increase in Facebook traffic, as well as emails, as well as donations, from even Republicans,” Dine said. “His rigid social conservatism does not fit with the majority of Americans.”
On social issues, Dine’s views are steeped in the pluralism of the Libertarian Party. Dine described the Libertarian Party as socially tolerant and accepting.
“As long as their (citizens) actions are peaceful and honest, and they aren’t trying to rip anybody off or harm anybody, through force or fraud, I welcome the freedom that comes with that,” Dine said.
Although a segment of Libertarian-leaning Republicans are active in the GOP, as exemplified by Ron Paul and his son Republican Sen. Rand Paul, Dine is not an advocate of injecting Libertarianism into the Republican Party.
“The Ron Paul Republicans had the belief that they could infiltrate the system from within,” Dine said. “The upper part of the GOP wants nothing to do with Libertarians.”
Dine’s appeal is not limited to fiscal conservatives and former Akin supporters.
He said younger liberal Democrats have also been receptive to his message.
“When I talk about ending the wars and protection of civil liberties, gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, it really does resonate with Democrats,” Dine said.
Dine cited increased spending by the two major parties as a reason he chose a third party. “The only difference between the Republicans and Democrats is in what they want to spend your money on,” Dine said.
Dine said he believes third parties are more likely to represent a combination of views. Dine said he foresees a day in the future when more Libertarians are in office.
He theorizes that the rise of Libertarianism will happen at a swift pace because of current economic woes.
“I truly believe we are on the verge of a revolution,” Dine said. “I think the revolution will be a peaceful one that occurs at the ballot box when people say no more to the two party system.”