Shorter "Who's Getting Your Vote"

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Peter Mork at Economics With a Face broke down the numbers in our recent survey of libertarian (and libertarian-ish) public figures' past and intended presidential votes, and noted an apparent trend away from the LP and Nader and toward Dems—presumably not even counting my hypothetical Kerry vote in a state where it would actually mean something:

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  1. My guess is that this has a lot to do with a greater appreciation of the divided government setup that existed in the Clinton years. Hell, this nostalgia was almost enough to even make me abandon my “a pox on both your gilded houses” stance and root for Kerry. Almost.

    But this obviously can’t fully explain the falloff from Badnarik to Browne, particularly since Bush has a slight uptick. Is it possible that some members of the LP hierarchy will get the message this year that an anarchist-isolationist agenda doesn’t sell? One can dream.

  2. “Is it possible that some members of the LP hierarchy will get the message this year that an anarchist-isolationist agenda doesn’t sell?”

    Even if they get the message, it won’t matter. They aren’t interested in selling, they are just interested in preaching the one truth.

  3. I’d blame some of Badnarik’s well publicized unconventional views on drivers licenses, etc. for some of his dip, but the real story is Nader.

    …It’s a shut out! By this little poll, he’s a lot smaller than the Green Party. If Nader loses big, maybe we won’t see his mug on television so often.

    That’s probably just wishful thinking.

  4. Also, not everyone who answered the survey is a libertarian.

  5. Just some quantitative evidence of the GOP sellout of libertarians we’ve all been blathering about for so long. The Bush uptick is insignificant compared to Kerry’s jump.

    or I guess you could write it off as Kerry not being a flaming liberal like Gore was

  6. Julian,

    I’ll email you the excel file so you can see how I counted the votes. Some of it was a little subjective as people didn’t always come out and declare who they were going to vote for outright. I checked and I had you for Kerry in 2004 and a NV in 2000.

    I also agree with Ken above. Badnarik has something to do with it.

  7. Also, both the survey & the interpretation are nice to look at, but statistically insignficant from fatally small sample size. Though it’d be fun if someone went through the comments of previous posts on this subject, and tallied up the Hit&Run commenters’ declared voting….

  8. I was curious when I read the original article, and I’m even more curious now that I see the stats… what’s the deal with Libertarians for Nader?

  9. It’s still interesting.

    A poll of the chattering class is indicative of what it’s indicative of. It may be something of a leading indicator of something or other, like a calculation of intermediate goods relative to GDP but different.

  10. I’d blame some of Badnarik’s well publicized unconventional views on drivers licenses, etc. for some of his dip, but the real story is Nader.

    Ironically, the guy that brought those things to light [in Liberty Magazine / Liberty Unbound] endorsed Badnarik yesterday.

    Strange how these things work — you bash, then endorse.

  11. Pseudo wrote: “or I guess you could write it off as Kerry not being a flaming liberal like Gore was”

    I think that many libertarians out there, myself included, only care about how much of a liberal Kerry is when weighing it against what they fear is an outright fascist streak in the Bush administration. Modest welfare-statism is better than outright fascism any day.

  12. Andy D — Shortish explanation of my Nader vote: For years, maybe a decade, I thought campaign finance corruption was the single most important issue in American politics. I no longer do (it’s the one major thing I’ve changed my mind about). Also, during Clinton/Gore (to say nothing of Gray Davis) I was appalled by the Democrats’ civil liberties record, especially as regards the Fourth and First Amendments, and also the Drug War. I liked the New Democrats’ comparatively reasonable economic policies, but I also despised Gore’s transparently pandering anti-trade lurch in the campaign. Finally, I have a long-standing weakness for Third Parties and whack-job candidates.

    I disagreed with Nader about a hell of a lot, and thought he would make the worst president of the lot, but the other factors listed above won out. For a full, ranting, and incoherent explanation of my mindset on Nov. 6, 2000, click here.

  13. Yeah. Politicians and their transparently pandering lurches.

    That’s a good libertarian theme, eh?

  14. Don’t you think the large uptick for Kerry is because of a possible ABB mindset? In the 2000 election, a libertarian who was voting ‘practically’ (ie, for a candidate that had a chance to win) might have went for Bush, hoping that he would live up to some of his campaign promises, like small(er) government, less foreign intervention, etc. This election, it’s apparent that Bush absolutely sucks from a libertarian perspective (Patriot Act, Healthcare ‘reform’, etc)…I think you can see where I’m going. Then you have the reason Eric II mentions that could go right along with what I’ve just said.

  15. An extension to what Dean mentioned. As time goes on the number of things that are sneered at and called “liberal” grows. One time “conservatives” are now being called RINO’s. Slowly but surely a liberal has become anyone with moderate to far left views. And, slowly but surely it has started to include anybody who is concerned about personal liberties.

    Kerry’s not a solution for my issues, but divided government might be simply as a means to give the Republicans a bit of space to think about who belongs in their tent and who doesn’t.

    The implications for the Democrats is that they need to evolve. I figure Kerry will be forced to the middle so often that the left wing will migrate to the Greens.

    These could be interesting times for party politics.

  16. That seems about right. This year, it’s less about what’s wrong with Kerry than it is about what is drastically, reprehensibly wrong with Bush. Bush and Gore in 2000 may have looked like TweedleDee and TweedleDum, but in 2004, Bush is way past TweedleDumness. Some divided government is just what we need.

  17. “This election, it’s apparent that Bush absolutely sucks from a libertarian perspective (Patriot Act…”

    “I think that many libertarians out there, myself included, only care about how much of a liberal Kerry is when weighing it against what they fear is an outright fascist streak in the Bush administration. Modest welfare-statism is better than outright fascism any day.”

    How does “outright fascism” compare with “modest welfare-statism” PLUS “95%” of outright fascism?

    From Kerry’s website:
    “Kerry Wants to Keep 95% of the Patriot Act and Strengthen the Rest”

    http://www.johnkerry.com/pdf/pr_2004_0525b_a.pdf

  18. Chad…I don’t endorse Kerry, I’ll probably vote Badnarik. I was just giving a possible explanation. However, at least with Kerry we would have the divided government which would hopefully lead to neither side being able to pass a damn thing.

  19. I understand the divided gov’t thing… But I don’t think it will work quite the same as it did in the late 90s. At that time, government was frozen on a course of paying down the deficit- a good thing. If things were frozen on our current course, it’s $500 billion annual deficits as far as the eye can see.

  20. isI understand the divided government argument, but I was struck by how all these libertarianish great thinkers are cancelling out each others votes, by straining to divine rationals of why one of the two is the lesser of the two evils, even on some tiny degree, that they must vote for them. I guess it all depends on which one scares you the most. Pretty depressing. And, of course, for me, it was a great revelation in the way it so clearly demonstrated the fact that we are going to continue to be stuck with such terrible choices as long as Liberty minded individuals, such as those in the survey, continue to rationalize their support of one of the two majors, even between two such lousy choices as this time. I think recent history has pretty well shown that for those who love liberty, whichever of the two wins, the results are a crapshoot regarding what will happen to the government. And no one will take us seriously as a political force of point of view that needs to be listed to if we keep cancelling out each other’s votes this way arguing about which of the two will cause less harm. It’s time we make a statement, and put our true feelings on record by actually voting our belief’s for God’s sake.

    Darren Woods
    former (20 years) settling-for-the-lesser-of-the-two-evils
    -or-so-I-thought-Republican-Party-activist
    -now-firmly-supporting-the-LP-where-my
    -heart-has-been-all-alomg

  21. I ‘calculate‘ a net gain of 190k votes for Kerry vs. Bush among voters similar to those surveyed. Take with a monster grain of salt.

  22. The deadlock argument is very persuasive. First, the Patriot Act and Tax Cuts are scheduled to expire. If Kerry advocates Patriot, the GOP Congress will block it (rediscovering their Big Gov’t skepticism), and if GOP wants to make tax cuts permanent, they will have to do some budget cutting. Second, anytime a single party controls Congress and Executive, the earmarks (aka Pork) bloom like red algae. Sheer contentiousness and animosity reduces the give and take that breeds budget earmarks.

    My person feeling as that, in my political lifetime, the greatest periods of governance occured under Reagan with a Dem congress, and Clinton’s last 6 years (Oh Newt! I miss you).

    I’m voting Bednarik though, because I’m in California.

  23. If we get a split government I predict that the Republican congress won’t fight for tax cuts, but will fight to cut spending on the premise that it will a Kerry presidency worse. They’ve already learned the lesson that if you fight for tax cuts, and the (opposing) president signs, he’ll successfully coopt them.

  24. what’s the deal with Libertarians for Nader?

    I’ll take the bait. A Nader administration plus a Republican congress could lead to some libertarian outcomes. Nader’s worst economic excesses would certainly be blocked by Congress. Meanwhile, he could form an alliance with them to make a serious dent in corporate welfare. The administration would have the power to implement a more noninterventionist foreign policy, and they could use the bully pulpit to keep drug prohibition alive in the national debate.

    On the other hand, a Nader-appointed Attorney General would make Elliot Spitzer look like a Care Bear….

  25. For all those casting strategic divided-govt votes for Kerry: can we be so sure that the Republicans will retain control of Congress indefinitely? I mean, if the Dems regain Congress in in 2006 (a definite possibility, esp if Bush loses), a govt entirely controlled by Dems will be a nightmare for libertarians. You just know that they’ll be back with a vengeance, having been out for 12 years.

  26. Crimethink,

    Indefinitely? Certainly not.

    However, for now, the Texas legislature appears to have stacked the deck in favor of the Republicans, has it not?

  27. Digamma,

    Ok, that works alright, but why favor Nader of the Libertarain? I mean, any decent Libertarian would do those same things you credit Nader for, but would want to do a lot more good stuff we like… right? Only thing I can come up with is that Nader might be *more serious* about ending corporate welfare… and maybe more serious on the war on drugs… but I don’t know if this would be true.

  28. Badanarak embarrassed us libertarians because he doesn’t have a driver license? But Kerry, Bush, Nader, et al are not embarrassing?

    That is pretty got dam pathetic.

    No hope for the republic regards, TWC

  29. Yes, I don’t get the “I’m not voting Libertarian because Badnarik is a flake”-thing either. As I posted here a couple weeks ago, James Inhoffe, Republican Senator from Oklahoma, said on the floor of the US Senate that it was imperative that the US support Israel’s claim to the Occupied Territories because God promised Moses that the land would belong to the Children of Israel. Unless you seriously believe in a literally Bible-based foreign policy, that’s easily as flaky as refusing to carry a driver’s license.

  30. “As I posted here a couple weeks ago, James Inhoffe, Republican Senator from Oklahoma, said on the floor of the US Senate that it was imperative that the US support Israel’s claim to the Occupied Territories because God promised Moses that the land would belong to the Children of Israel.”

    So? Don’t vote for that fruitcake either. Or for any other Republican who holds such a belief, or any other belief both so theocratic and inane. Abstinence isn’t a sin when you’re dealing with the 12-ring circus known as American democracy.

    Also, Badnarik’s driver’s-license obsession is just the first of his “peculiarities”. Remember that this is also the guy who refuses to pay income taxes, and who believes the Oklahoma City bombing was a federal conspiracy.

    Unless the LP puts up a candidate that rates at least a few notches lower on the fruitcake meter (Jim Gray at least comes close), my advice on this matter is similar to the advice others give for dealing with trolls: Don’t vote LP, it only encourages them.

  31. Voted Brown in 2000. Will vote Kerry in 04. Bush’s idea of less government is a tax cut based on massive deficits. I dont like tax and spend, but I would rather have that than borrow and spend.

    For all the talk about principles, Bush is basically governing without an ideology (besides populism). Everyone likes tax cuts. If you want to win votes by cutting taxes, you should be prepared to lose some by cutting spending.

    There are plenty of other reasons to not vote for him: the war, religious conservatism, the patriot act, assault on free speech by the FCC, corruption, abuse of power by the one party state, and his personal arrogance.

  32. Is it possible that some members of the LP hierarchy will get the message this year that an anarchist-isolationist agenda doesn’t sell?

    Yeah, I can’t wait until the LP gets the message that it needs to adopt a big-government-interventionist agenda.

    Oh, wait, the Republicans beat them to it.

    IDL

  33. Yeah, I can’t wait until the LP gets the message that it needs to adopt a big-government-interventionist agenda.

    I can’t imagine that you seriously view that as the only alternative. Of course, I’m working under the assumption that you have more than two working brain cells.

    An agenda that includes a balanced-budget amendment, a flat tax, reductions in entitlement spending, cutbacks in federal regulatory powers, the legalization of soft drugs, a general respect for civil liberties, and a moderate foreign policy would be a hell of a lot different from what either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering, but would still be a far cry from the anarchism and isolationism that marks the LP’s current platform.

    And if pushed by a respectable candidate with popular appeal, I think it could nab 10-15% of the popular vote, with an outside chance at grabbing libertarian-leaning mountain states such as Nevada and Alaska. Which, of course, provides a base for further gains to be made in the future. But the true believers are seeing to it that the party remains little more than a punchline for late-night comics and Simpsons episodes.

  34. Unfortunately for us all, the anarchist/isolationist agenda is correct. (how simple life would be if it weren’t!)

  35. I will have to look for another label for myself if libertarians are known to be nazis supporting people like Kerry or clinton. Your “survey” has convinced me that my leaving the “LP” was a good thing.

  36. Ilah has it exactly right. I’ll jump ship from the LP as soon as there is a party which adopts the agenda described. I say jump ship because I doubt, sadly, that the LP will ever adopt such a moderate platform.

  37. Many people, myself included, became extremely wary of the LP after a guy like Badnarik was nominated over 2 wealthier and more qualified candidates.

    Sure I voted for him, but I didn’t like him, and I shouldn’t feel like voting for the LP is like voting for the lesser of 3 evils.

  38. I was at the Libertarian National Convention as a delegate, and I voted for Michael Badnarik in all three rounds of voting. He effectively won by only five votes, the number of votes he was ahead of Gary Nolan in the second round. Had he five votes less, then Gary Nolan would have been our nominee, and he was my second choice out of the three.

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