Oklahoma’s Libertarian Party recently elected a 20-year-old Traci Baker to be the party’s state secretary. Baker, who studies at University of Oklahoma, is the first transgender political party executive in the nation, and her decision to register as Libertarian coincided with coming out as transgender.
“I was about to come out as trans, and I thought now’s a good time to re-register as a libertarian and associate with a party that I might be able to find some level of success with,” Baker said.
Young people are becoming involved in leading political parties, too. Twenty-five-year-old Anna Langthorn, the chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, is one example. But, Baker’s fiscally conservative yet socially liberal views didn’t square with either major political party.
Baker grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma. Her father died when she was ten years old, and from then on her family relied on social security checks to survive. But Baker’s political views aren’t merely a product of her family’s socio-economic situation.
“A lot of those experiences kind of shaped who I am today,” Baker said. “But I was always more fiscally conservative. I would say that most of my family is economically liberal and socially conservative, actually.”
Until 2016, the fiscally conservative Baker remained loyal to the Republican party because of its political clout. But, eventually, she decided compromising her socially liberal views wasn’t worth the tradeoff.
“That political clout wasn't worth the compromise anymore because of how overwhelmingly socially conservative the Republican Party was going in the direction of Trump. You know, people like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee... it just wasn't worth it anymore.”
Oklahoma’s Libertarian Party is fielding ten candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. In order to support them, Baker says she’ll reach out to young people like herself who don’t like Democrats or Republicans.
“I think the Libertarian Party is the most successful with younger people who are overwhelmingly rejecting old party politics, especially after the 2016 election,” Baker said.
Baker admits young people still tend to vote Democrat, but she thinks Libertarians can win races where Democrats aren’t competing this year, like Oklahoma state auditor.
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