Libertarian(ish) Candidates

If you want to find a few liberty-loving politicos, look lower on the ballot

We know one thing for certain: The winner of this year’s presidential election will not be libertarian in any way, shape, or form. But with a little luck, there will be some libertarian-flavored opposition on Capitol Hill to greet our next commander in chief when he takes the oath of office in January.

Many small-l libertarians are running in competitive down-ballot races across the country, and several may actually win. Some (Richard Tisei of Massachusetts) are more libertarian than others (Ted Cruz of Texas). Still others (Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan) are already being touted as “the next Ron Paul.” Rhode Island’s Barry Hinckley and Minnesota’s Kurt Bills have tough races ahead of them in their pursuit of a less intrusive federal government, while Kentucky’s Thomas Massie just needs to hold off token opposition. Meanwhile, Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona is looking to make the big jump from Congress to the U.S. Senate, and Mia Love of Utah is looking to make history in her newly drawn district. If some of these players make it to Washington in January, they will join a growing circle of libertarianish, Tea Party-approved Republicans that includes Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, Tennessee’s John Duncan Jr., and others. 

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) may be leaving Congress in January, but the following candidates might make sure there is still somebody in Washington reliably voting “no.”

BEST BETS TO WIN

Ted Cruz

U.S. Senate, Texas

Ted Cruz’s primary victory in Texas over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in July was arguably the biggest primary upset of the year. With his call to eliminate multiple cabinet-level departments and support for a full audit of the Federal Reserve, Cruz, the Ivy League–educated son of a Cuban immigrant, knows how to warm the cold hearts of fiscal conservatives. Cruz has talked vaguely about his support for a “fairer” or “flatter” tax system while getting behind a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. With endorsements from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Young Americans for Liberty, Club for Growth, plus libertarian kingmakers Ron and Rand Paul, Cruz’s economic credentials are solid.

His positions on social issues are less impressive. Cruz, like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), is a tough talker when it comes to immigration. In a June 2012 statement to the Houston Chronicle, Cruz said that he “categorically oppose[s] amnesty.” He has called for building a wall across the southern border with Mexico and opposes the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act, which would provide a path to legal residency for illegal immigrants brought to the United States as minors. He opposes marriage equality for gays and lesbians and is reliably pro-life. At one point in his legal career Cruz was actively involved in defending the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on public property. His record in the courtroom is packed with cases on the social conservative side of the ledger.

But the campaign has focused so much on economic issues that both social issues and foreign policy have barely registered as topics of discussion. Cruz’s foreign policy positions are not fully formed, but he has stated that we should use the “threat of overwhelming force if we see any evidence that (North Korea or Iran) might pass nuclear weapons on to terrorists or threaten us with nuclear blackmail.” Cruz was against the Libya intervention but his reasons for it are more procedural than anything else.

The Cook Political Report, a highly respected handicapper of political races across the country, predicted as of mid-August that Cruz’s general election race should be in the “solidly Republican” camp. Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat statewide since 1994, and his opponent, former state Rep. Paul Sadler, is mostly a sacrificial lamb. The Libertarian Party is running restaurant owner John Jay Myers, but it does not appear that he will be a major factor in the race.

Thomas Massie

U.S. House of Representatives, Kentucky’s Fourth District

Rand Paul’s first endorsement victory of the year came in his home state of Kentucky this May, with the congressional primary win of Thomas Massie, the executive judge (think county manager) of Lewis County. Massie has already built up an impressively libertarian record in his short time in office: rejecting federal funds for projects his county couldn’t afford, selling off county-owned property, focusing on local services that constituents actually care about.

As a potential congressman, Massie supports the elimination of the Federal Reserve and wants to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial regulation package. He favors both lower taxes and balanced budgets, helping him earn the backing of the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Republican Liberty Caucus.

Massie, unlike many fiscal conservatives, would also like to repeal the PATRIOT Act and National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, along with abolishing the Transportation Security Administration and Department of Education. He is hostile to the drug war, and he supports medical marijuana as well as the legalization of industrial hemp. 

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  • R C Dean||

    I do want Mia Love to win, solely for the lulz she will bring to the Congressional Black Caucus.

  • Sudden||

    You actually think they'll invite her to join?

  • ||

    I think it's the hemming and hawing and throat clearing and renaming that he looks forward to.

  • R C Dean||

    They turned down the white guy from a black district because he was white.

    As far as I know, they've never turned down black person. I just want to see them either (a) twist in the wind trying to justify keeping a bona fide black person out of the black caucus or (b) put up with her harassing their crony/welfare state asses at every meeting.

  • pmains||

    They invited Allen West and Tim Scott.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Why? She's not "really" Black.

  • Raistlin Majere||

    I still think they should re-name it "the big, black caucus."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    A pure libertarian would leave a seat vacant.

  • Paul.||

    Bows to this.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Why? Isn't a -1 vote better than a 0?

  • Paul.||

    I took it as a good joke. The roadmap to the joke being: A real libertarian eschews power and tries to reduce the size of government. Therefore, Congress has one less person seeking power and ordering other people around. If the government holds a legislative session to pass new laws and nobody shows up...

    But on the serious side, of course a -1 vote is better than 0.

  • BigT||

    Does this make Obama a libertarian? - he's an empty chair.

  • Ryan60657||

    "make the big jump from Congress to the U.S. Senate"

    Is the Senate no longer part of the United States Congress?

  • T||

    They seceded in 1861, but were forcibly reintegrated in 1865.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Would to God it wasn't...

  • Randian||

    Is the Senate no longer part of the United States Congress?

    THANK YOU

  • Paul.||

    Congress is often used as a euphemism for The House of Representatives. Because we call guys in The House "congressmen/persons" and people in the Senate "senators".

    Stephen Fry is watching.

  • Azathoth!!||

    We call people in the House 'Representative'. Congressman is inclusive of both the House and the Senate.

  • R C Dean||

    For the polling junkies:

    The Houston Chronicle Blog ‘Texas on the Potomac’ took a look at the polls after the election four years ago and found out which ones were the most accurate. Topping the list was Rasmussen (hated by the left) and Pew (discredited by the left this year.) Ranked very low was the IBD/TIPP polling firm, right behind it was NBC/WSJ. Even further down was Gallup.

    Taking all of that into consideration, the top two polls to consider then would be Rasmussen and GWU. Take out Gallup as an outlier on the Romney side and IBD/TIPP as an outlier favoring the president, and you come out with a Romney +2 margin at 49/47.

    http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012.....for-votes/

  • Paul.||

    Whatever happened to Zogby?

  • ||

    He basically got out of political polling after '08. I'm still unclear as a former Zogby online poll participant if this was because he was bought out or what.

  • Paul.||

    Pew (discredited by the left this year.)

    What does this mean?

  • John||

    But Gallup had the last three Presidential races almost exactly right. They had Obama at 53% in 08, Bush ahead by 2 in 04, and Gore and Bush in a dead heat in 00.

  • JW||

    (ish)

    I'm making this my new party designation.

  • CE||

    What are "abortion rights"? How can you have a right to kill someone else?

  • Moe Effingood||

    What are "abortion rights"?

    Abortion rights = the right to kill you in self-defense if you try to physically restrain a woman and force her to do something she does not want to do.

    Your jurisdiction ends when someone else's body begins. Comprehende?

  • Robert||

    If that's what people decide is right, it's a right. How else can you possibly determine what's right other than by people thinking about it?

  • ||

    You're confusing the moral question "What is right?" With the question "What are my rights?"

    Abortion rights = the right to kill you in self-defense if you try to physically restrain a woman and force her to do something she does not want to do.

    This is utterly and completely incoherent.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Raise your hand if you'd bang the chick in the picture.

    *raises hand*

    And some WONDER why there are no libertardian wimmins...

  • ||

    Oh hell yes I came here to say that

  • Big 'Orra||

    Overall, the GOP has an edge when it comes to good looking women.

  • Auscifer||

    Justin Amash - Best Congressman ever?

    The explanation on each vote is the single best tool out there for following the daily activity in the House. I don't even live in his district.

    Plus, his tweeter feed is really amusing. A few months ago he tweeted a pic from his office window, with view of a chair that was thrown onto the roof of the adajecent building. So random, yet so funny. Worth following.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    That pic would be worth it -

    *heads over to The Tweeting...*

  • Drake||

    My Congressman, Scott Garrett is definitely Libertarian(ish) and a member of the Liberty Caucus. He hates internet gambling for some reason, but is otherwise pretty good.

  • DarrenM||

    He hates internet gambling for some reason

    So what? The question is whether he supports legislation to do anything abou it. I wasn't aware being libertarian meant approving of anything anyone else does.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Interesting how every single libertarianish candidate is a Republican. Just like Ron paul--and Rand Paul. Why, so is Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for President.

    Go figger.

    And yet we can't seem to kick liberaltarians and the liberals that hold their leashes to the curb.

  • Proprietist||

    Interesting that the LP has candidates running in most of these races that are even better. Go figure.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Honestly, the same thing struck me.

  • Robert||

    I was glad to see Mr. Quinn didn't reach for some bogus balance by bending over backwards to include some Democratic nominee. I'd be very pleased if there were some, of course.

  • Lisa||

    "Interesting how every single libertarianish candidate is a Republican."

    But it's not surprising. Republicans tend to support the free market more and they also tend to support freedom of choice more. Democrats don't like school choice, food choice, private property. Even in areas of "social" freedom, like gay marriage....they end up finding some way to assert control - like with the ban on gay therapy in California.

    That's not to say that Republicans are consistent in supporting freedom, but Democrats are pretty consistently against freedom.

  • buddhastalin||

    Republicans tend to support the free market more

    except when they put forth a farm bill that includes crop insurance and price support programs that artificially distort the market

    and they also tend to support freedom of choice more

    except if you're a pregnant woman making a choice concerning her own body or if you choose an Islam-based school or if you're anyone choosing what substances to inhale

    Let's please put an end to this falsehood that Republicans are libertarian or even libertarianish.

  • Drake||

    Well - Many of us were raised on Republican small-government promises dating back to Reagan or even Goldwater.

    Unfortunately, those promises rarely resulted in actual small-government. That's how I ended up here.

  • Lisa||

    I challenge you to find an elected politician in history that has done everything a libertarian should do, according to everyone who calls themselves a libertarian. You can't. So I guess every elected politician is a freedom-hating statist. That puts the burden on you to prove why libertarians shouldn't be dismissed as crazy people with no clue how the real world works. Or you could admit that, in reality, things are only true in degrees.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    To expand my point, there is a reason for this. As much as they argue vehemently about the specifics of policy, conservatives and libertarians largely share the same underlying philosophy of government. The general principle that defines libertarian thought - that the government should exist solely to protect people's rights - wouldn't be wildly out of place in a conservative's creed. The modern, progressive left, on the other hand actively believes the government exists as a means of creating a utopian society.

  • Lisa||

    I agree with this. Although I think a lot of libertarians have a pretty utopian outlook. Maybe there's a split among libertarians between the tragic and utopian views.

  • ||

    A real libertarian eschews power and tries to reduce the size of government. Therefore, Congress has one less person seeking power and ordering other people around. If the government holds a legislative session to pass new laws and nobody shows up...

    A very libertarian elected official would show up, vote no on just about everything, and lambast the other officials in floor speeches pointing out the illiberality of the laws and spending they were trying to pass.

  • Drake||

    I'll know we are close when they start holding sessions to repeal laws.

  • AlgerHiss||

    Minnesota is one of the most schizophrenic, mentally deficient states. These ass holes have produced nothing but soft, gooey non-leftists such as Tim Pawlenty and Rudy Boschwitz. Hell, go ahead and throw in that ignorant wrestler as governor. (Good God, that wrestler was such a nothing-gasbag.)

    But in their hearts, Minnesota is pure Karl Marx. They won’t admit it, but they cream their jeans when they recall their favorite son, Gus Hall.

    When you hear Minnesota, think Gus Hall.

    Minnesota can go screw themselves.

    Oh, and by the way, Minnesota, twice, voted to NOT allow Black Americans the right to vote.

  • Moe Effingood||

    I live in Minnesota, you simplistic judgmental dipshi..

    It is a diverse state that produced both Keith Ellison and Michele Bachmann. And Gov. Ventura is pretty libertarian. He endorsed and campaigned for Gary Johnson here.

    Kurt Bills is not quite libertarian. He voted to send the gay marriage amendment to the voters. A libertarian stance would have been no. He voted to send the voter ID amendment to the voters. Not quite libertarian again.

    I want Klobuchar fired, but don't know what the hell Bills is going to do once in power at the federal level. The 3rd party alternative wants medicare for all. The LP has no US Senate candidate. I have no idea who to vote for.

  • Shmurphy||

    Man, fuck Ted Cruz. John Jay Myers is the real libertarian running for senate in Texas.

  • ||

    He opposes [extending] marriage equality privileges for to gays and lesbians

    FTFY. "Marriage equality" will be when nobody asks me which of my 24 spouses I want to file jointly with on my tax return, because they no longer dole out government benefits to people in monogamous relationships because they are so much more special than single people, and people in other types of relationships.

    Also, since "gay" refers generically to homosexuals, "gays and lesbians" is kind of redundant. If you're going to go PC, go for the gold: "gay and lesbian same-gender-attracted homosexual persons".

  • BMFPitt||

    Unless he is proposing a repeal of all the current spousal benefits, he's against equality.

  • ||

    Because inequality isn't really inequality as long as you extend the institution of inequality to include 1 more group than it presently does. Makes perfect sense.

  • BMFPitt||

    So you're too angry about this to understand when someone agrees with you, huh?

  • BMFPitt||

    libertarianish, Tea Party-approved Republicans

    I find that anyone who is Tea-Party approved is much more -ish than libertarian.

  • Shmurphy||

    This man speaks the truth.

  • GrizzlyAdam||

    "make history as the first African-American Republican woman.... Love was born in Brooklyn and raised in Connecticut by her Haitian parents...."

    She's not African-American. If we must hyphenate her heritage, it would be Haitian-American.

    I live in the Matheson/Love district, and it's a tight, feisty, race. Love says the right things, but then, that's easy. But I do think she actually believes most of what she says, and that's encouraging.

  • buddhastalin||

    Too many social conservatives on this list. Stop pretending that Republicans are "libertarianish".

  • ||

    True Scotsmen or not, they do beat the alternative in most cases.

  • jacob the barbarian||

    Nice purity test. Take the half-a-loaf before you starve to death.

  • galtgulch||

    If you are living in a state where your vote for either major party candidate will not be likely to make much difference you might prefer to make your vote count by voting for the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

    He already is showing 4% in national polls and if he can garner 5% will assure that in 2016 the LP will be eligible to get 90M dollars in matching funds which would enable their candidate to enlighten the electorate with libertarian perspective on issues.

    That might be a turning point, if not the end, for the two party dominance in American politics

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