Newly minted Libertarian feels GOP strayed from small government values | Nebraska News

A day after the Fourth of July, Trevor Reilly sat at Granite City Food & Brewery crafting plans.

He was looking to make a name for the small, fringe party he adopted after feeling the GOP had turned its back on him.

The Lancaster Libertarian party, which Reilly heads, has started to meet there monthly since January, looking for ways to grow a party seemingly overlooked in last year’s election.

Reilly, a libertarian neophyte and newly ordained political activist, didn’t see last year’s presidential election as a two-dimensional, “pick-the-lesser-of-the-two-evils” fight between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. 

Instead, Reilly, a 25-year-old University of Nebraska-Lincoln student and Afghanistan veteran, took a third route campaigning for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

“It’s like being part of the ‘Bad News Bears,'” he said. “You’re the underdog.”

Being the underdog was a change of pace for Reilly.

Ever since he was eligible to vote, he had always been a staunch Republican, a direct outcome of growing up in a conservative household.

But as the election cycle picked up, Reilly saw himself drawn to the TV more and more — watching everything from “Morning Joe” on MSNBC to Fox News.

That’s how he found out about the Libertarian Party, eventually deciding to switch affiliations after he said the GOP abandoned the values he held dear — like smaller government and fewer taxes. 

“More Republicans were straying away from the values, like smaller government, that they used to hold,” he said. “This year’s election was just a culmination of that.” 

Reilly has been the head of the Lancaster Libertarian Party since October, spearheading activism previously unseen in the party in Lincoln.

From June 25 to July 2, the party held Freedom Week, devoted to discussing and highlighting libertarian ideals.

Such as smaller…

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