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The Libertarian Party, born in Colorado 50 years ago, still seeks elusive mainstream acceptance

The United States’ third-largest political party — what its main founder considered “the last, best hope for freedom in America” — took root a half-century ago in a living room in Westminster. The TV flickered on, David Nolan would later recall, as the then-28-year-old advertising executive and his wife gathered in their duplex with three friends in August 1971. They listened, aghast, as Republican President Richard Nixon announced plans to intervene in the economy in once-unthinkable ways to deal with inflation and high unemployment. In that moment, the five who were among a growing movement of people skeptical of government interference in personal and economic lives decided they needed a new political home. Within months, the Libertarian Party was born. And in August, the national party...