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Time Will tell whether the Political Winds will Favor the Libertarians

Known for favouring small government as well as expansive civil liberties, the Libertarians are the only third party in position to secure ballot status in all 50 states.

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Campaign buttons for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and vice presidential candidate Bill Weld at the National Libertarian Party Convention in Orlando, Fla., May 27, 2016. Image source: AP

As the presidential election looms, poll after poll shows Americans are yearning for a better choice than the two presumptive nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, respectively.

Known for favouring small government as well as expansive civil liberties, the Libertarians are the only third party in position to secure ballot status in all 50 states.

But only few of the Americans know what the party stands for.

The Libertarian Party offers an ideological and political alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties, in favor of reducing government involvement in all sectors, from the economy to social issues. The inception of the party can be dated back to 1971.

Reuters/Ipsos polls. Image source: Reuters
Reuters/Ipsos polls. Image source: Reuters

A Reuters poll in 2015 indicated that about 1 in 5 Americans considered themselves “somewhat libertarian” however the party has struggled to build itself into an influential political force.

In 2012, the Libertarian presidential candidate received less than 1 percent of the popular vote.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks to a delegate at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Image source: AP
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks to a delegate at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Image source: AP

On social matters, Libertarians generally take a liberal approach, favoring same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of most, or all, drugs. The party is deeply pro-gun rights and takes a skeptical stance on any military involvement in other countries.

The party platform does not currently address the death penalty.

Many of the party’s ideas are rooted in principles espoused by Ayn Rand, author of the novel Atlas Shrugged. Her idea of individual freedom defines the libertarian movement — that self-interest trumps anything else so long as it did not mean hurting anyone else.

In fiscal matters, the Libertarians espouse unrestricted competition among financial institutions as well as the elimination of the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security and income taxes.

Delegates listen to speeches in the main hall at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Image source: AP
Delegates listen to speeches in the main hall at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.
Image source: AP

They advocate for slashing government benefits, reducing economic regulations and implementing radical reform — if not the outright elimination — of the Federal Reserve.

The party’s foreign policy platform is equally radical. It calls for the U.S. to “abandon its attempts to act as a policeman for a world” and maintain a military solely for the purpose of national defense. It also calls for an end to the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid of every kind.

Familiarizing Americans with its platform remains a challenge for the party. But the deep unpopularity of Trump and Clinton has raised hopes that this might be the year that the American voters pay more attention to the Libertarian Party. (Reuters)

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Trade War Between Washington and Beijing Effecting Farmers

Roger Lande says sometimes China does things “we don’t like,” but all relationships, with family, friends and business associates, have ups and downs.

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China, USA, Trade War
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping participate in a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. VOA

The trade war between Washington and Beijing is hurting farmers who grow huge amounts of soybeans in Iowa for export to the massive Chinese market.

Farmers in Iowa hope that the strong commercial and close personal relationships that China and the U.S. farm state have nurtured for many years will help the two sides overcome complications like the record U.S. trade deficit with China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has visited Iowa farmers repeatedly over the past couple of decades and former Iowa governor Terry Branstad is now the U.S. ambassador to Beijing.

The close ties have been strained by Washington’s allegations that China unfairly manipulates markets, steals American intellectual property, and creates bureaucratic obstacles to trade. China also accuses the United States of unfair practices.

FILE - Justin Roth holds a handful of soybeans at the Brooklyn Elevator in Brooklyn, Iowa, Nov. 21, 2018.
– Justin Roth holds a handful of soybeans at the Brooklyn Elevator in Brooklyn, Iowa, Nov. 21, 2018. (voa0

Tariff war

The United States imposed tariffs on Chinese exports, and Beijing retaliated with tariffs on American agricultural products.

That meant that Iowa soybeans were more expensive and less competitive on global markets.

Demand for U.S. soybeans — and prices paid to U.S. farmers — plunged $85 a metric ton.

An Iowa farmer who manages several farms, including 153 hectares of soybeans, says his profits fell 100 percent for 2018. David Miller is not happy to lose money but says without the tariffs, China would not pay any attention to the talks.

FILE - farmer Michael Petefish walks through his soybeans at his farm near Claremont in southern Minnesota.
– farmer Michael Petefish walks through his soybeans at his farm near Claremont in southern Minnesota.(VOA0

Needing each other

China really needs what Iowa produces, according to Grant Kimberley, the marketing manager for the Iowa Soybean Association, who has been to China more than 20 times.

“China needs soybeans … because their middle class has grown, and that means they are eating more protein in their diet, more meat, and if you have more meat production, you have to have more soybeans to feed those animals,” he said.

Kimberley’s family runs a 600 hectare farm, 48 kilometers from Des Moines, which was one of the places visited by Xi, who saw that it uses more advanced equipment and technology than is available to Chinese farmers.

The former director of Iowa’s department of natural resources, Roger Lande, and his wife, Sarah, have twice hosted Xi, at their home in the small town of Muscatine.

Also Read: Amidst Weakened Domestic Demand, China Expected To Report Slow Economic Growth

Roger Lande says sometimes China does things “we don’t like,” but all relationships, with family, friends and business associates, have ups and downs.

Kimberley is optimistic things will work out.

“Because that’s a long-standing relationship that’s been in place for 35 years,” he said. And “I think the overall underlying support and the people that are involved between the states and the province is still strong. And, and everybody recognizes that, over the long term, eventually this will get resolved,” he added. (VOA)