In 1988 Dr. Ron Paul ran for President as the nominee from the Libertarian Party, he garnered .47% of the vote, and virtually no one was listening. He tallied only slightly better as a candidate for the Republican nomination in 2008, but he was able to get the attention of a large minority of the American electorate. In the fourth quarter of the 2008 campaign Dr. Paul raised nearly $20 million, more than any other Republican candidate that quarter. The money came from 130,000 individuals, including 100,000 new contributors. The average amount of a donation was about $100. Dr. Paul had won the ear of a significant number of Americans. By 2012 Ron Paul had become a factor in the Republican nomination process. Ron Paul only won 190 delegates at the convention, but it was apparent that the Republican nominee could not ignore the good doctor and his supporters.
Ron Paul held a seat in Congress for 12 terms as a Republican, and other libertarian legislators have won seats as Republican candidates, a feat which has eluded libertarians running as the Libertarian Party nominee. Of the 135 Libertarians holding elective office today 99 of them have won in non-partisan races. Less than 600 Libertarians have won elections since the inception of the party in 1971.
It is possible that a Libertarian candidate can win a particular election, they have done so on several occasions. If libertarians really want to have an effect on the political process in America they should continue Dr. Ron Paul's legacy and run candidates in Republican primaries then throw every ounce of support behind those candidates. That support should not only emanate from that district, but it needs to come from across the nation. After all libertarian principles do not only benefit those living in the district being represented, but they benefit libertarian thinking people, and for that matter, non-libertarian thinking people, across the nation.
Ron Paul may have never been elected President of these United States, or even become the Republican nominee, but his most recent attempts at the office has created the foundation for future libertarian victories. Libertarian candidates running in Republican primaries raise the libertarian voice in the political arena, and raise the prospects of a libertarian obtaining political power as an elected official. The former may be achieved by running as the Libertarian nominee, the latter is highly less likely when running on the Libertarian ticket.
No, the Republican Party does not embody the principles of libertarianism. It probably never will, but by forcing the debate into the current system some libertarian principles are going to eventually win out. Libertarians can stand to learn a lesson from the communists and socialists; long term thinking. It will not be easy breaking into the Republican political process, but libertarians will win victories by persevering through the road blocks that will certainly be placed in front of them by Republicans.