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Sarvis strongholds reflects this. The Libertarian won as high as 17% of the vote in affluent, socially moderate precincts in suburban Henrico County (the home base of the U.S. House GOP’s second-in-command, Rep. Eric Cantor.)
On the same day, in an area nearby with a sharply contrasting electoral history, Sarvis pulled in percentages that high in part of Richmond City, pushing Cuccinelli down to third place in some artsy, student-centric, “boho” precincts.
Exit polls demonstrate that Cuccinelli’s morality meddling so appalled most of those voters that they would back the Dem, or not vote at all, if Sarvis weren’t an option. A Libertarian on the ballot let them cast a vote for markets and small government, to complement their social tolerance, that they wouldn’t have cast otherwise.
Glenn Beck, and his muckracking bloggers had Tea Party types ablaze on Twitter with a supposed “scoop” of an “Obama bundler” who “secretly financed” Sarvis, and “pushed” the Libertarian into the race to “throw” the election to a Clinton crony.
Flooded with emails attacking us, we on the Sarvis campaign couldn’t help but muse: what if Cuccinelli was the real “leftist plant,” “pushed” into the most-followed, post-2012 statewide election, to stain free markets with unsalable extreme social conservativism for a generation? Wouldn’t a committed lefty blogger salivate at that prospect?
Because many of those true believers are getting desperate. Here’s WaPo’s wizened socialist columnist Harold Meyerson excoriating voters who back Dems, but don’t bash markets. This sort of voter, he complains, “believes in such socially liberal causes as gay marriage but is skeptical of unions and appalled at economic populism.”
It’s a Libertarian like Robert Sarvis, crafting a message that reminds us we need to be “open-minded” if we want to be “open for business,” who can win those voters when the Democrats “Tea Party” themselves in primaries, letting inflexible teachers unions, professorial populists like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Occupier fellow travelers scare them off.
Free markets are too important for us to permit them to remain shackled to one “tribe” that refuses to jettison a retrograde and demographically losing social agenda. Markets are more important than the future of the Republican Party or the health of the conservative movement.
If conservatives and Republicans truly care about free markets and limited government, they should give up their “tribal” habits and consider backing a forwarding-looking socially tolerant, market-oriented Libertarian (and libertarian) like Robert Sarvis instead.