Tom Campbell Straddles Line Between Economics and Politics, in a Libertarian Direction

Day One of the Jack News Guide to the Libertarian Party Presidential Race in 2020.

Editor’s Note: The introduction to this series includes links to each of the nine profiles.

Former Congressman Tom Campbell is not widely known among movement libertarians, but perhaps the time has come that he should be. Campbell served two stints in the US House of Representatives, representing a portion of the area near Silicon Valley.  In between his time in the House, Campbell was a California state senator. He was also the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in CA in the 2000 election.

Campbell subsequently returned to academia, first as the Dean of the Haas Business School at the University of California at Berkeley, and then as the Dean of Chapman University School of Law. He was named Director of Finance for the California state government under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Campbell, after receiving his law degree, studied under famed libertarian luminary Milton Friedman for his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. As an academic, his intersection of law and economics represents the two most fertile fields in which libertarian ideas have gained the most traction.

As a politician, Campbell was widely cited as a libertarian-minded Republican, and he embraced that label. He is firmly liberal on social issues such as abortion, gay rights, and criminal justice, while also being a staunch fiscal conservative and proponent of free-market economics. On the issues, there would be little for Libertarians to object to.

He has also been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, first calling on the Republican National Committee to revoke his nomination, and then leaving the Republican Party when they did not.

In 2016, Campbell published a call for libertarian Republicans to consider voting for Gary Johnson instead, and was one of the names featured on Johnson’s Supreme Court shortlist. Given his passionate distaste for the man who has taken over his former party, it is not implausible that Campbell would wish to oppose Trump’s re-election in 2020 from atop the Libertarian ticket.

(Photo of Tom Campbell speaking at the 2013 Freedom Fest by Gage Skidmore used with permission.)

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The Jack News brings a fresh pragmatism to our political world. We are committed to freedom, common sense, and choices beyond nationalism and progressivism. We want smaller government and more individual liberty.

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