The Taming of the Tea Party

It wasn't a pretty year for the Tea Party movement—unless you were in the Ron Paul wing.

When you're listing the losers of this election cycle—not just on Tuesday but all year—be sure to include the Tea Party movement. You might have missed the sustained beating it took throughout the campaign, given how hard the Democrats worked to paint the Romney/Ryan ticket as a tricorne-wearing Godzilla lurching toward a helpless village. But consider this sequence of events:

• A wave of weak candidates—Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry—attracted a Tea Party following and then imploded. The only one of these who ever had a credible path to the nomination was Perry, and he blew it with one of the most cringe-inducing debate meltdowns in campaign history.

• Desperate to prevent Mitt Romney, the etch-a-sketching architect of Obamacare, from taking the nomination, Tea Partiers found themselves voting for Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, two men closely associated with the Republican "revolution" of 1994—and, more important, with the descent of the Congress thus elected into heavy spending and corporate cronyism. When the Tea Party movement began, its activists saw themselves as rebels against the Republican establishment; they had little good to say about what the GOP Congress had become. Now many of them were falling in behind Gingrich, the man who launched that Congress, and Santorum, a player in the corporatist K Street Project.

• Romney got the nomination. At the convention, his camp pushed through rule changes that greatly strengthened the party chiefs at the expense of local activists, making future insurgencies less likely to succeed. The Tea Partiers got the conservatives' usual consolation prize, the vice presidential nomination, with Paul Ryan inserted into the role previously played by Sarah Palin, Jack Kemp, and Dan Quayle. He immediately began to revise his positions where they conflicted with Romney's.

• Romney moved to the center. The Tea Partiers held their tongue. Now that the election is over, groups like the Tea Party Patriots are calling Romney a "weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment." But as the campaign concluded, the fear of Obama kept them mum.

• Obama won anyway.

Everyone understands that the last item on that list represents a defeat for the Tea Party platform, but it isn't as widely appreciated how much the earlier steps in the process were losses too. Yes, it means something that people like Gingrich and Santorum and Romney had to give Tea Party fans the rhetoric they wanted. Part of exercising political pressure, after all, is extracting promises from people who disagree with you. But promises, particularly in presidential primaries, often turn out to be lip service, something the left discovered when it thought it was electing an opponent of the national security state. It's certainly hard to believe—to bring up a scenario that both Republicans and Democrats invoked to get their voters to the polls—that a President Romney would have expended much effort trying to repeal Obama's health care legislation, or that he would have been able to get such a bill past the Democratic Senate if he'd tried.

There's more to the Tea Parties than a presidential race, of course, and there may be many more primary challenges and Tax Day protests to come. But the only element of the movement that's coming out of this week with many reasons to be happy is the one that never did fall in en masse behind Romney.

The Tea Party crowd had a complicated relationship with Ron Paul's supporters, and some of the latter would deny the Tea Party label. Others claim to be the original, uncorrupted Tea Party insurgency. Either way, they had a pretty good night on Tuesday. The Ron Paul Republican Justin Amash was reelected to Congress in Michigan, as were Paul's longtime allies Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee and Walter Jones of North Carolina; three anti-war, anti–PATRIOT Act, pro-legalization Republicans—Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Ted Yoho of Florida, and Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan—were elected for the first time. In the Senate, Paul's son Rand will be joined by the Paul-backed candidate Ted Cruz, who doesn't look as libertarian as the new blood in the House but does seem more anti-statist than the modal Senate Republican. The most Paulian presidential candidate on the November ballot, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, won over a million votes, a rare level of support for any third-party candidate and the highest raw total the LP has ever achieved.

The fact that I'm citing a million-vote showing as an impressive precedent is a sign that these people aren't really playing for presidential stakes. Not at the moment, anyway. But this is, at the very least, a trend worth watching. The constitutionalist caucus may be small, but unlike the broader Tea Party movement it has some momentum on its side.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • John Thacker||

    Sadly Roscoe Bartlett got redistricted out of Congress, though he was getting old. He was another member of the Paul-Duncan-Jones alliance.

  • ||

    No love for Flake.

    Although he has no allegiance with the tea party as far as i know and Ron Paul did not pick him can we at least say his positions are pretty damn similar to the above listed candidates?

  • Jesse Walker||

    I was trying to stick to the explicit Paulians, but yeah, I probably could've found a way to work him in too.

  • ||

    Yeah, he's been especially hateful of the Federal Reserve.

  • CE||

    No love for Flake.

    You didn't need to add anything else.

  • SIV||

    Paul Broun totally stomped that Darwin dude.

  • BarryD||

    I went to the local manifestation of the very first Tea Party protest at lunchtime near downtown.

    There was an interesting variety of speakers at the old bandstand in the park, including a guy from the local Objectivist Club, and various libertarian and Paulista types. There were Truthers and hippies, old people and young, a wide variety of people, from misfits to the overly normal.

    I got on their e-mail list, and it was cool for a while. But it wasn't long before the local Tea Party point guy started talking about "getting God back into government." Buh-bye.

  • Drake||

    I was at a couple of early ones too. All about cutting the size and expense of government - and a "who cares?" attitude towards the social stuff.

  • BarryD||

    Exactly. I was on board with that, too.

    I don't understand the social conservative mindset. I really don't. Neither does most of the country.

    I don't mean simple stuff like opposition to gay marriage -- a lot of the country has been, "Huh? What? Uh, no." about that for a long time. I understand that people will react this way, and that will be true as long as we accept the immoral notion that 50.1% of us can decide what the rest are allowed to do with their personal lives. "Progressives" are just as bad; they just have different trendy causes.

    What I don't get about the SoCon mindset is how people can start out with a "let's try not to bankrupt the country" and end up with "we must teach Creationism in schools!"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Assuming that all the socon causes are bogus, there's still the fact that you find socons worried about national bankruptcy in the local Tea Party.

    Any group which isn't professionally organized from the top down is going to have a not-ready-for-prime-time feel. But there are people worried about the economic issues even while having heretical social-issues views.

  • BarryD||

    The point is not that socon causes are bogus.

    The point is that socons can't help themselves, and stay focused long enough to be effective.

    Nobody is going to outlaw abortion in the US any time soon, for example. But a socon can't focus on economic issues for more than 5 minutes, while he/she can rant about abortion for 5 hours.

    ADD + OCD = Obama for another 4 years.

  • entropy||

    That's not really true.

    By and large, the bulk of the people talking about abortion and whatnot this election were democrats.

    You've got an Akin and a Murdoch here or there, but Romney and the whole GOP promptly disowned the guy. Those issues were all thrown on the back burner for the republicans this time and the SoCons stayed mostly mum and took it.

    If anything, that might be an argument that unlike the other modern republican presidents who actually won, Romney didn't hit the democrats with god and gays enough so his turnout sucked. I don't know if that's true, but it might be.

    It was the democrats constantly bringing up the specter of the far right socons banning birth control making it an issue the whole election. The GOP ran on jobs, jobs, jobs, and the economy. They even soft peddled with the neocon foreign policy stuff.

  • Rasilio||

    Not during the primaries which is why the rape camps war on wimmenz attacks worked so well, they matched the rhetoric that Romney was forced to use but probably didn't really believe during the primaries. Further the god squad, and especially those in the tea parties showed their true colors by backing Gingrich and Santorum over a true fiscal conservative like Paul.

    If the tea parties had backed Paul it would have been a 2 man race between him and Romney after New Hampshire and the entire race would have been about economics and foreign policy, social issues would never have been mentioned the rest of the primary and even if Romney had carried the nomination in that scenario he would have had a much easier time shrugging off claims he wanted to set up rape camps or ban abortion and been able to make a stronger attack on the jobs front.

  • Kyfho Myoba||


  • Blueman||

    The problem is that the social issues became front and center once the Tea Party (TM) got going.

    I went to early Tea Party meetings and while they had socons (which is fine by me) the main issue was national bankruptcy/debt/taxes. It became less fine by me when they insisted that social conservative issues must necessarily be included. If they could only have focused on the economic issues, the tea party really could have been something.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The "Tea Party" label has been so utterly corrupted as to be worse than meaningless.

    Thanks to those ignorant fuck social conservatives, "Tea Party Republican" is an epithet. Like RACIST.

  • Peej||

    You know, I would say that "Tea Party" became an epithet through a deliberate strategy of the Democratic Party and their allies in the media.

    A group of black congressmen stage a walk through through the Tea Party protest on Capitol Hill. They claim that people yelled racial epithets at them and spat on them. The latter claim is later retracted, but nobody remembers the retraction. The former claim is unsupported by physical evidence, even though the entourage is full of cameras. Claims are repeated uncritically throughout the media.

    Voila - demonization complete, fiscal conservative movement completely defanged, welcome to the one party state.

  • GW||

    Yeah, the Tea Party became irrelevant once the SoCons got involved. It just became a subset of the Republican Party at that point.

  • XM||

    SoCons were with the tea party from the beginning. The organization was highly regarded among (white) church members. You won't find many white evangelical disowning the tea party because it didn't care for social issues.

    Whether the tea party is cohesive unit centered on fiscal conservatism or broken into various center right groups seem irrelevant. In blue states it doesn't matter. In reddish states, Paulites and Socons will probably support behind someone like Rubio or Rand Paul.

    If SoCons stopped supporting the tea party or the libertarian cause, why is that a good thing? Then the tea party is reduced to Ron Paul types who will be crushed even worse by the fearsome demographic.

  • BarryD||

    The SoCons supported the Tea Party at first, but the Tea Party had an agenda of its own, that was not the SoCon agenda.

    That's the point.

    It's not about ostracizing SoCons who are fiscal conservatives. That would be stupid. They're allies, generally.

    But the Tea Party lost its focus, which rendered it irrelevant, and drove out the many NON-SoCons who were ALSO allies.

  • XM||

    I don't think Social Conservatives ever divorced themselves from the tea party. There were some tea partiers who didn't like prayers and such at some rallies, but there wasn't any major schism.

    Lots of GOP evangelicals actually support amnesty and subsidies given to charitable causes. Not a few Christians are against the death penalty and sanctions on some nations. Most of the nation is pro life. But that's not going to change anything.

    SoCon were not able to put big govt Socon like Santorum over moderate Romney or Socon libertarian Ron Paul in the GOP primary. There's little reason to fear their influence, because it's really not there.

  • ||

    Er, missing the point. The point is that No the SoCons didn't divorce themselves, and yes, prayers at rallies DID drive away some people who would otherwise have been allies.

    Just to pick up on a thread that's been much discussed lately, suppose yourv a Chinese Buddist or a Hindu and you show up at a Tea Party rally because you are honestly concerned about government debt and you don't want your kids to be taxed into oblivion. How is a Christian prayer going to make you feel? Welcome?

  • Bucky||

    if a christian prayer is going to bug you out, how committed to the fiscal conservative cause are you?

  • Rasilio||

    The problem with the SoCons is not that they were not allies with the Tea Parties, the problem is that they couldn't keep their mouths shut about social issues for more than 5 minutes at those rallies/meetings. Further when the rubber hit the road rather than backing an actual small government conservative they backed a big government one because they liked his views on foreign policy and the drug war better.

    Basically they stabbed the fiscal conservative message in the back and did it in the name of the tea party destroying any credibility the institution had

  • ||

    I don't care if the SoCons support the libertarian cause, as long as they don't hijack the movement to advance a SoCon agenda.

    Attaching stupid pet issues like immigration and gay marriage to an otherwise economic agenda drives away more people than it attracts.

  • BarryD||

    That's not the problem, so much as that it became a redundant subset.

    When focused on economic issues -- where GWB did little but to build the foundation for Obama's policies -- the Tea Party was something different, insurgents loosely connected with but also protesting the establishment Republican Party. The moment they got distracted by the same old SoCon stuff, they lost people like me, and they molded themselves right back into the existing GOP, hence disappearing.

    Also, pushing wacko candidates was pretty stupid, and not seeing that they were wackos was a very bad sign for the Tea Party.

  • ||

    I think the original rationale for pushing wacko candidates was to send a message "I hate the bailouts and am so disgusted with how you voted for them that I'd rather vote for this crazy fucktard than you".

  • BarryD||

    True. I should have clarified.

    I meant wacko candidates who conform with the religious conservative stereotypes of the SoCon wing of the GOP.

    A wacko nude skydiver with a PhD in Math and purple hair would have sent that message. Michelle Bachman, not so much, and she is the lesser of the wackos.

  • Another David||

    Between the Tea Party, the Occupy movement and Gary Johnson we could have had an actual, large-scale push for lower spending and the rejection of crony capitalism in a contentious presidential election where both sides were scrambling for votes. Sadly the Tea Partiers got co-opted by the hardcore Republicans and Occupy never figured out what they were actually protesting against, so here we are.

  • ||

    That and the fact that Occupy was about, you know, blowing up budgets with even more spending and eating the rich to pay for it.

  • ||

    That and the fact that Occupy was about whining how everyone else was getting a bailout so they should get one too.

  • Sevo||

    "Occupy never figured out what they were actually protesting against"
    In SF, it was pretty obvious the 'protest' was simply a demand for free shit and 'someone else' has to pay for it.

  • Another David||

    The sense I got, from news coverage and from talking with people from NYC, was that they were reacting to the 2008 crash and TARP, which was an object lesson that people who grease the right palms can do basically anything in pursuit of profit with total insulation from the consequences. And it's not like they were wrong about that, even if they were completely clueless about the root cause and proper solution. Maybe I'm an optimist for thinking that a few lessons on regulatory capture could have channeled it into something worthwhile.

  • ||

    Three years after TARP they notice that something happened and emerge from a haze of purple smoke and Bob Marley tunes. They are that stoned.

  • Graphite||

    Whatever other criticisms one wants to make of Occupy, I think they did a better job of avoiding being co-opted and neutered by the Democratic Party establishment than the Tea Party did of being neutralized by the GOP.

    Jim Grant put it best in an interview on Russia Today: "To the extent these are protests against the federal government's policy of socialized losses and privatized gains, I am with them." (He went on to clarify that his solutions to that issue probably differed from the Occupy movement's quite a bit.)

    There are a lot of big problems with Occupy, but I think it's a mistake for libertarians to be so immediately and reflexively assuming a hostile tone towards it.

  • entropy||

    Well, one would think some of them should be reachable, since they seem to be pissed about a lot of the same stuff. But I think 98% of them are immediately and reflexively hostile toward libertarians.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "I think they did a better job of avoiding being co-opted and neutered by the Democratic Party establishment"

    Sure, so long as one deliberately ignores the money, the guest speakers and the back-and-forth endorsements.

  • BigT||

    The TEA party arose with a sharp focus on one issue: spending. The Occupy movement congealed around a very amorphous unease with business as usual in DC. Very different. The TEA party showed enormous strength in 2010, and thus was quickly co-opted by so-cons who wanted to control that power. Occupy turned into an unruly mob and slowly dissipated without Dems ever needing to do more than acknowledge it.

    Very interesting, as both movements are essentially anti-Obama, anti-DC movements. And more interesting to see how the MSM slimed the good parts along with the bad, in support of the status quo.

  • ||

    Occupy was anti-Obama?

  • ||

    Occupy also (thankfully) failed to acheive anything meaningful in terms of actual legislation. The Tea Party unseated numerous Republicans, replaced them with fiscal conservatives, and took the House back from the Democrats.

    The signiature accomplishment of the Tea Party, of course, is the fiscal cliff. Which, honestly speaking, we should embrace. But of course the R's turned pussy and the mainstream media is screaming about how we have to repeal the entire thing or we'll all starve and die.

  • mfc||

    I had the honor of attending one of the first few Tea Party events where David Nolan spoke. At that time, it was truly a grassroots effort by like minded people concerned over the debt/deficit and gub'mint growth. I couldn't tell you if any SoCons were there, just regular people concerned about their children's future.

    Contrast that picture with what the fascisti leftists described them as for a sad chuckle. It was a good run but like others here have stated, when the SoCons took over they seemed to become just another branch of the GOP. I still hold out hope, they haven't shunned me yet with my tireless Mises view and my Philosophy of Liberty.

    I'm proud to say our local Tea Party remained mostly in favor of Dr. Paul and I've had a chance to show quite a few former Republicans my favorite little Liberty video:

    Maybe there's hope yet.

  • Cool Story, Bro||

    Evangelical asshat Christians are the reason that this statist autocrat is still president. One day, these twits will stop caring about what others do with their own bodies and we will have economic and civil liberties restored. Christians are almost as cunty as Muslims. ALMOST.

  • CE||

    The constitutionalist caucus may be small, but unlike the broader Tea Party movement it has some momentum on its side.

    And the leading Republican presidential contender for 2016, Rand Paul.

  • Sevo||

    "• Obama won anyway."
    Uh, the GOP practically designed Obozo's re-election. 'Anyway' has nothing to do with it.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    "• Obama won anyway."
    Uh, the GOP practically designed Obozo's re-election. 'Anyway' has nothing to do with it.

    Just so. I was coming here to say, "Excellent article, except for the line which should have read • Obama won because of it.

    The GOP once again snatched Defeat from the jaws of Victory. It's comforting to know some things never change.

  • Lisa||

    Yeah, the GOP just needs to be libertarian. That will really get them votes, because libertarians are so great at getting votes for their own party. WTF

  • Epicdelusion||

    Yeah, but people vote democrat and republican. Democrats need to be more libertarian fiscally, Republicans need to be more libertarian socially. Two party system. Be a one party system if the GOP don't catch up with the times.

  • Cyto||

    It already is a one party system. Two lines at the buffet, but you still spoon up the same stuff from either side.

    What were the "significant differences" in this election? Whether to raise taxes on the top 5 or 10% of income earners? Maybe, but it certainly wasn't front and center. And 35% vs 39% is not what I'd call a raging fight over the direction of the country.

    On foreign policy both want to keep being world police. On domestic policy both want to keep spying on americans, continue the TSA mess, continue the war on drugs, continue asset forfeiture... Ok, maybe Obama wants to put in more regulations to help his cronies keep their dominant position. Maybe he'll force a few more bank mergers and corporate takeovers than Romney would. But that was never an issue in the election.

    Let's face it, both parties and all of their supporters are enthusiastically in favor of the same giant shit sandwich - they are just arguing over poppy seeds vs. sesame seeds on the bun.

  • Epicdelusion||

    Yeah, I guess you're right.

  • Emily West||

    Couldn't have said it better myself. Ever.

  • BigT||

    You may note that various ballot issues legalizing MJ and gay marriage did quite well. People are libertarian about issues, but are damned afraid of liberty.

  • Brandon Magoon||

    Here we go again. Libertarians suck. Never mind that we don't have free elections in this country. Never mind that the whole system is rigged with crazy ballot access laws, crazy campaign finance laws, a court system that rules in favor of the 2 party system and a media that refuses to do it's job. No, it's all the Libertarian Parties fault. Besides there's another point that is always over looked. The percentage of the vote doesn't mean that much unless you know what percent of the voting population knows the candidate. For example if some body get .5% well that sucks if you look at the whole population. But a lot of 3rd party candidates aren't known by the whole population. If I get 500,000 votes out of 1,000,000 voters who know me, suddenly the low percentage of the total population takes on a new meaning.

  • Bob in Boston||

    That's exactly right - if the GOP wasn't so viscous about marginalizing anyone other than their chosen puppet (Romney, McCain, etc) and the Media allowed the good candidates to get into the debates instead of just the two worst ones (Obama & Romney) then you would definitely see alot more votes for Libertarian leaning candidates. Hell, just look at the rhetoric right before the election - according to 90% of the idiots out there a vote for anyone but Romney was a vote for Obama!

  • Epicdelusion||

    Need more punk rockers in the Tea Party

  • BarryD||

    Dude, our mohawks are turning gray and moshing hurts.

  • Epicdelusion||

    For a punk that's around age 30 right? hahah

  • amagi1776||

    I am really trying to stay optimistic. It's difficult. So many people I know are either Obamabots, hate the GOP Establishment, or are economically ignorant and want "Free Stuff". This lead to their votes for an authoritarian, arrogant President with a dismal and unimpressive four years in the white house.

    The fact that Ron Paul ranks are growing in the GOP from the ground up is helpful, but I still can't forget how they screwed themselves over when they acted the way they did at the convention.

    Hopefully 2014's midterm will yield some decent results and we'll see the Senate fall into the hands of the Republican Party with more Pauluite Seats get picked up. At least this will stop Obama from pulling an FDR with the Supreme Court.

  • Nick Griffin||

    What is being overlooked in the comments about the Tea Party is they, as group, were not fiscal conservatives in reality. They did not advocate cutting the military budget, ending the wars, or cutting the two biggest entitlements, social security and medicare. If you are against cutting from ANY of these expenditures, you are not a fiscal conservative. Stupidly and laughably, the new 2010 TP House reps tried to slash meaningless programs like Planned Parenthood as an anti-abortion crusade. The TP organizations and members were orgasmic over Ryan's selection. Anyone who knows his record knows he is a big spending, pro war, social conservative. Big gov't all the way, with no redeeming libertarian positions.

  • Willis||

    I'm not going to defend Paul Ryan's record, but he did at least try to do something about medicare, even though what he proposed didn't exactly solve anything till 15 years or so later. He at least seemed like he actually knew a little bit about how government is spending itself into a cliff.
    Name me anybody in congress who doesn't have the last name Paul who would have done something like that.

  • Cyto||

    That's the saddest observation of all. 535 representatives up there, plus a president and a vice president and there's probably not more than 5 that would even entertain the thought of scaling back the true size of government in those 3 areas.

  • Graphite||

    Guys like Paul Ryan who take military spending cuts off the table in a budget proposal aren't doing the entitlement reform cause any favors. When they're willing to leave obvious bloat like that untouched, it makes claims about the importance of cutting the deficit and its unsustainable nature seem hollow and dishonest. I think he's actually setting back the cause of fiscal responsibility in the process.

  • ||

    I can't really disagree with this. Most people want the government to cut spending, but they are unwilling to lose their personal gravy train.

    And now witness how the 2010 House set itself up for a complete defeat by agreeing to the "fiscal cliff". That was the best they could get out of the debt ceiling negotiations. And now they aren;t even willing to go through with it.

    People who honeslty believe in limited government need to grow a backbone, cause there are always going to be people screaming about "devastating" cuts whenever you cut anything.
    If we were serious about the debt, there would be A LOT MORE people screaming bloody murder, but just the military.

  • Bob in Boston||

    I'm actually looking forward to the sequestration cuts - I hope they happen. I know there will be some "false flag"-equivalent "emergencies", like the threats during the debt ceiling negotiations that social security recipients weren't going to get their checks. Call me cynical, but I wouldn't even be surprised by a false-flag military attack to prove how we can't afford to cut the military. But... we'll get by. Despite all the doom and gloom, if we cut 5% across the board, we'll survive and most people won't even notice unless the big government folks go WAY out of their way to make it look apocalyptic.

  • Tina Trent||

    This is pretty hilarious coming from a magazine at which half the writers either didn't vote or threw away their votes on fringe candidates, some of whom received support from literally hundreds of people.

    You guys didn't even show up at your own movement. We answered the damn phones while you penned thoughtful essays about voting for fringe candidates, some of whom received support from literally hundreds of people.

  • An0nB0t||

    Who can forget all those fringe candidates about whom we wiled away our summer evenings? Fringe, fringe, fringe--the word was overflowing from every page of the Reason commentariat.

    For your benefit and that of every other statistically illiterate at large: Single votes don't matter, at least to anyone with a basic understanding of mathematics and probability. Ideology does matter, and libertarians are the vanguard of moral, reasonable ideology in this nation. Neither you nor your socialist counterparts have any capacity for establishing a moral or sustainable model. Organic libertarianism does.

    Now get your head out of your ass or fuck off.

  • Rhino||

    The problem was that the Republican establishment blocked candidates that excited the base and told everyone that a Massachusetts moderate was the only one who could beat Obama, strangely enough, because he was the most like Obama. Guess they thought he's pull more independents or something. But he did it at the expense of convincing the base to show up.

    Voter turnout was horrible. Usually midterms only get 30% participation and the Presidential election brings 50%. There were 13.5 million fewer voters than in 2008. 10 million fewer voted for Obama. If the top of the ticket would have brought enough enthusiasm rather than being a play-it-safe moderate, it would have been another 2010-style win for Liberty minded Republicans.

  • Kroneborge||

    Rand Paul 2016

  • Emily West||

    Yes please

  • Amagi1||

    Thank you for this article. I am a Ron Paul republican. He was not a valid write-in in my state, so I chose Gary Johnson/Judge Gray. I have not voted for a republican or democratic presidential candidate for 4 consecutive presidential elections and considering the candidates they push on us, I expect the trend to continue. There are few differences between the parties really. I would have wholeheartedly supported Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012 and had we done so, we would be well on our way back to our Republic.

  • toxic||

    I hate to burst your bubble, but the libertarian showing was probably more about people who didn't want to vote for Romney but couldn't make themselves vote for Obama.

    If you look at the numbers of the Todd Akin election, Akin's libertarian opponent picked up a 100,000 extra votes over the rest of the libertarian ticket in MO.

    Being the right wing protest vote option was a good place to be in this election, but I don't think it's proof the libertarian party is in for a long term boom.

  • Bucky||

    and it was decided on fewer than 3 million votes.

    you mean to tell me that holding your nose was worse than having this half-wit at the wheel.

    dope much and power to the pontificators!

  • nikea||

    The GOP will have an internal battle for direction — and possibly a civil war: Screenplay formula requires that late in every story, protagonists hit their lowest points, and then spend a few minutes in what’s known as a “long dark night of the soul,” where the protagonist ponders what he’s learned and comes to grip with who he really is. After its second successive presidential loss, the Republican party is likely to perform a similar public soul searching, perhaps with a long-simmering public battle.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties