The post-World War II period between the 1950s and 1970s was an era of great sociopolitical contrast. The civil rights movement, Marshall Plan, Peace Corps and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society juxtaposed heavily against the Cold War, Vietnam War, segregation, war on drugs and perceived enlargement of federal powers. Amidst the idealistic baby boomers-powered counterculture struggle across major cities and college grounds, libertarianism experienced a minor renaissance in American politics. Described by Ayn Rand as “hippies of the right," they began to converge in small groups to explore and expound on the ideals of liberty, individual rights, limited government, laissez-faire economics, and the evils of coercive taxation and imperialism.

One such group appeared at the home of David F. Nolan. However, unlike other informal libertarian gatherings, Nolan’s group-of-five (featuring his then-wife Susan, Luke Zell, Hue Futch and Dale Nelson) was focused on establishing a formal political structure to espouse the merits of libertarianism to the nation. Although the majority of their meetings were held in Nolan’s home in Westminster, Colorado, the Libertarian Party was formally established in Zell’s home in Colorado Springs on December 11, 1971. Interestingly, the decision was only made after over a 100 people on Nolan’s bumper-sticker sales mailing list, whom they’ve written to, responded positively to the idea of joining the new party. A month later, Nolan held a press conference to introduce the party to the nation.

However, the new party wasn’t warmly received by the libertarian community initially. In fact, Murray Rothbard, the godfather of the modern American libertarian movement, was downright critical of the party. But the Libertarian Party slowly gained the trust of the community, even as the leadership fought a bitter identity war in its early days. Less than ten years later, it fielded a libertarian presidential candidate against Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election. Ed Crane and his running mate, David Koch (the younger brother of Charles Koch) received an admirable 921,128 votes in the election.

Although the party’s electoral success was rather limited during its first few decades, it managed to create a platform which allowed the dissemination of libertarian ideas to a broader audience on a wide range of issues. It also gave a home to Americans disillusioned by the big two political parties. In a 2001 interview, Nolan stated that “our greatest success is that we have created the only viable mechanism now existing to offer a reasonable hope of stopping the imposition of a very authoritarian system in this country that might last for generations.”

In terms of ballot access and number of registered party members, the Libertarian Party is arguably the biggest third-party in the country for the last three decades. With the high unfavorability ratings of the candidates of the two major parties and rising anti-establishment sentiment, many Libertarians are quietly confident that the party’s presidential candidate, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, will perform strongly this November.

 Declared Libertarian Party Presidential Candidates 
  List of Presidential Candidates Candidates ordered randomly
  Candidates ordered alphabetically
  Candidates ordered by age

2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate
Owner of Stonegait LLC
Libertarian Presidential Candidate 2016 Austin Petersen
From the farms of Missouri, Austin Petersen has risen to own and manage his own media company. His policies are solidly Libertarian, and he is even preparing for the formation of a “transitional government” to facilitate the switch to a more constitutionally-founded United States.

2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate
Author, Publisher, and Radio/TV host; Libertarian Activist
2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate Darryl Perry
The 36-year old author, publisher, and radio/TV host already has more than 15 years of political activity behind him. Perry is a textbook libertarian, advocating drastic reduction of the powers of the Federal Government, while granting more power to the individual.

2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate
Actor and Business Owner
Libertarian Presidential Candidate Cecil Ince
An actor who makes his living pretending to be other people, Cecil Ince's desire to be President is very real. He's a Libertarian who frowns on encroachments upon personal liberty, and worries that the United States is taking an unhealthy globalist attitude in world affairs.

2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate
Lawyer and Engineer
2016 Libertarian Candidate  Derrick Michael Reid
A hard worker with a bright mind that has brought him great academic advancement, Derrick Michael Reid is more at home solving equations than discussing politics. He has some fervent political opinions, mostly focusing on personal liberty, but his difficulties in communicating them promise to be a liability.

2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate
Former Governor of New Mexico
2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson
The ex-construction company owner governed New Mexico for eight years, during which time, the state’s deficit was wiped out - without the aid of any new tax increases. He also memorably vetoed over 750 pieces of legislations to keep a check on the state government’s spending.

2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate
Author and CEO
Libertarian Presidential Candidate 2016 Steve Kerbel
No fan of either the Republican or Democrat parties, Steve Kerbel holds to a defiantly Libertarian platform. He believes in personal freedom and accountability, with the absolute minimum of government necessary to keep the nation running. Kerbel is a pro-business candidate.

2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate
Licensed Physician
Libertarian Presidential Candidate 2016 Marc Feldman
A minor candidate without a large financial backing, Marc Allan Feldman questions the prevailing wisdom that deep pockets are a prerequisite to victory in politics, contending that “votes are not for sale”. He is a Libertarian and opposes the fiscal policies of both major parties.

2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate
Anti-Virus Pioneer and Privacy Advocate
Libertarian Candidate 2016 John McAfee
John McAfee has a questionable legal past marked by a murder investigation, but his professional contributions command respect. He developed the first commercial anti-virus software for computers, building a successful company on his accomplishment. He is running for president on a platform that emphasizes technology and privacy.

2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate
Veteran and Spiritual Visionary
Libertarian Presidential Candidate 2016 Joy Waymire
Joy Waymire is a Godly woman who believes the Lord has shown her the way, even to the point of healing a slew of incurable medical conditions from which she once suffered. Politically, she is a straight-laced Libertarian, calling for little government and maximum personal freedom.

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