How Democrats and Republicans Can Win Libertarian Votes!

In just about every poll and survey taken over the last few weeks, the presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is getting tighter and tighter. For either candidate and his party to win in November, they're going to need every stray vote they can muster.

By some measures, about 10 to 15 percent of the electorate reliably votes from an essentially libertarian perspective (for more on this and related issues, go to the homepage for the Reason-Rupe Poll). These people want to reduce the size, scope, and spending of government when it comes to economic activity and social issues. There are more than enough libertarian voters out there to swing the election in either direction, but for Obama or Romney to win them over, each will need to stress different things.

Here are two videos from Reason TV that lay out what the president and the challenger might do to woo libertarians - and win the White House.

Produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie, who also hosts. Each video is about 2 minutes long. For downloadable versions, full text, and supporting links, go to Reason TV's archive now.

How Obama and Democrats Can Appeal to Libertarian Voters: Get  transparent fast, end the drug war, and cut military spending.

How Romney and Republicans Can Appeal to Libertarian Voters: Get serious about cutting spending, bringing the troops home, and butting out of people's personal lives.

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 Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Paul.||

    Oh thank god.

  • DK||

    They'll have to do more than that to win my vote.

  • Paul.||

    By some measures, about 10 to 15 percent of the electorate reliably votes from an essentially libertarian perspective (for more on this and related issues, go to the homepage for the Reason-Rupe Poll). These people want to reduce the size, scope, and spending of government when it comes to economic activity and social issues

    And they reliably don't vote for libertarian candidates, then like a groggy boxer waking up after a knockout, sit around wondering what happened.

  • Tonio||

    But how many races actually have a libertarian option?

  • DemosTheKnees||

    This bad joke is like a bad nightmare after eating bad oysters. Will nobody put an end to the madness?

  • DemosTheKnees||

    I thought libertarians didn't vote, but when they do, they vote libertarian, which is the same thing as not voting. Correct me if I am mistaken. Coach?

  • Hugh Akston||

    No you idiot. Everybody knows that real libertarians vote Republican. Every election, every race. No matter how vile or antithetical to our beliefs the Team Red candidate is.

    That's the only way to get them to respect our agenda.

  • DemosTheKnees||

    Put me in, Coach. I'll kick Team Red's ass with Team Blue's ass, and fuck both teams' cheerleaders! I just need funding. Won't you help? Please send your tax-deductible contributions to Demos@CrackpotsForJohnson.org

  • Paul.||

    A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson!

  • ant1sthenes||

    It's a little fucking late now. They can start thinking about how to win libertarian votes in 4 years. Of course, for them to care, we have to withhold them right now.

  • shamalam||

    Yep.

  • Agreenweed||

    Not a chance in hell I would vote for either of these dickweeds.

  • sarcasmic||

    Cue John accusing Reason of shilling for Democrats in 3... 2...

  • ||

    I would consider settling for explicit promises to end Kill lists and indefinite detention (including statements saying that these are impeachable offenses), aand a promise to cut spending (NOT spending growth, but spending) and to see those cuts enacted BEFORE any tax changes.

    I'm sorta presuming they can't do the second one without moving on a couple of other uissues like reducing corporate welfare, reducing our military footprint, entitlement reform, etc. So I'm keeping it simple. See? I'm nice like that.

  • ||

    They could die. I'd vote for a dead TEAM presidential candidate. I think that's the only case.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They'd lose way more votes than they'd gain with these strategies. And they still wouldn't get the hardcore libertarians, for whom even Ron Paul represented an unacceptable compromise.

  • Tonio||

    Yeah, but so what, Tulpster? My sense is that your hardcore libertarians are at most 1% of the electorate, so insignificant. I'd say the majority of that 10-15% are libertarian-leaning as opposed to try libertarian.

  • GILMORE||

    How Democrats and Republicans Can Win Libertarian Votes!

    This is confusing.

    I always thought 'libertarians' were politically irrelevant and ineffectual, naive ideologues who are out of touch with reality, whom no one takes seriously and who have no impact on modern politics at all?

    ...that is, when they're not secretly controlling the planet through via their evil, scheming, Koch-controlled empire, manipulating and corrupting politics and gang-raping the environment, greedily draining resources and exploiting 3rd world minorities

    oh, and racists. Why do they want racist-votes?

  • The_Choctaw||

    "I always thought 'libertarians' were politically irrelevant and ineffectual, naive ideologues who are out of touch with reality, whom no one takes seriously and who have no impact on modern politics at all?" Mhmm.

    Oh, you typed some other stuff. Neat.

  • PapayaSF||

    I would be thrilled if Obama brought up Romneycare as the model for Obamacare and Romney replied along the lines of: "Under the Constitution, there are many things that state governments are allowed to do that the federal government is not. It's called federalism. You used to teach Constitutional law, so I'm sure you're familiar with the idea."

  • FD||

    Heh, that was quite excellent.
    Only in a dream, but what a zinger it would have been.

  • dinkster||

    Give us free shit! Like, a sovereign nation independent from the US.

  • hardloopschoen||

    Nike Air Max 24-7 schoenen in bijna alle aanpassingsvermogen, joggen Nike air max 2010 vrouwen zwart blauw heeft stijgende hoog met deze ontwikkeling als het langzaam krijgen. Van eenvoudig eigenlijk, is joggen, samen met de oprichting van een eenheid van het lichaam en Phylon flywired kant air Max, Nike air max onbetwistbaar de verkoopwaarde van de 2009 model ook belangrijk, waardig van vertrouwen.

  • PapayaSF||

    Dutch spam! Thank heavens for the internet.

  • Suellington||

    Ik houw van de fiets. Mijn noos heb gevallen en d' boter.

  • BoxyBoxyBoxyBoxy||

    I don't see why any libertarian would *believe* Obama, were he to do something like renew his broken promise for a transparent government.

  • Bill||

    Why wold anyone believe anything either one of them says? If they changed a major policy at the last minute just to get votes, I don't think they would follow through on it once elected. They rarely follow through on any promises.

    I guess I would come closest to believing Obama if he had started months or years ago saying he was going to change the drug war as well as gay marriage, since those are both progressive ideas that they say they have supported for a long time.

    Romney flip-flops every few minutes.

    But I would have a hard time voting for Obama on a last minute change of heart. I started to say based on a few issues, but if I thought he would really get rid of the war on drugs I would vote for him in a heart beat as it would be truly transformative in many ways. And would show how a free market, and a libertarian view were correct so could be something to build on.

  • ZacJ||

    Well, these changes would help if they could both go back in time and change their actual records and policies so that they would have some credibility on these changed positions. If either candidate started talking a good libertarian talk, even if only on a few subjects, they wouldn't ever be trusted this late in the game. And the game here is not just this general election but the whole of their political careers.

  • Agreenweed||

    Democrats and Republicans could win Libertarian votes by not acting like Democrats and Republicans.

  • Agreenweed||

    Not to mention nearly everything in those videos for either party would be a pipe dream.

  • Crimson Alliance||

    I don't see any senario on this plane of existence or any alternate timeline, parallel universe or diverged dimensional reality where the democratic party follows any of these suggestions. I've argued with conservatives and liberals. Conservatives will at least do the courtesy of listening. Liberals simply insert fingers into ears and call you racist or other choice term. Truly, the dark side is strong with them. At this point the democrats are too far gone, IMO.

  • RoninX||

    What we really need is an article about How Libertarians Can Get the Republicans to Pay Attention by Depriving Romney of a Win.

    Seriously, neither party will take libertarian concerns seriously until it's clear that they will lose without us.

  • pradaguccioutlet@gmail.co||

    Very nice
    these changes would help if they could both go back in time and change their actual records and policies so that they would have some credibility on these changed NFL positions. If either candidate started talking a good libertarian talk, even if only on a few subjects, they wouldn't ever be trusted this late in the game. And the game here is not just this general election but the whole of their political careers.

  • Tucci78||

    Sorry, but nothing short of the entire Obama Administration (and all its appointees) gathering for a Jonestown Kool-Aid party to leave the White House lawns covered with corpses is going to satisfy my desire for the beginning of remediation.

    Now, if the Etch-A-Sketch were to promise that his administration would pursue the full, open investigation and prosecution of our Fraudulence in Chief and all his little ACORN elves, with the prospect of re-opening the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in order to incarcerate these people in full sight of California's 8th Congressional District (the constituents in which keep sending la Pelosi back to Mordor-on-the-Potomac), I might unbend a little and vote Red Faction.

    As it stands, I'd rather write in Jerry Sandusky.

    He's got a proven track record on defense, and I understand he's willing to present his birth certificate anytime it might be requested.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

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

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement