Campaigns/Elections

If the GOP Ends Up Losing the Senate By One, Blame the LP….

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…that is, if you believe that almost all of the over 46 thousand voters in Missouri's Senate race who went for Libertarian Frank Gilmour, where incumbent Republican Jim Talent is losing to Democrat Claire McCaskill by 43 thousand or so votes, would have voted for Talent if they hadn't had the LP option. Then again, the GOP could also blame themselves, or Talent–quite frankly, I haven't been following the Missouri Senate race, so I don't know exactly what the informed opinion is on what it is about Talent that made him lose–though stem cell research seems to have been a big deal, in a potentially very complicated way. Conservatives were all het up that Talent made an about face on it earlier this year, removing his name from sponsorship of a bill that would ban a certain kind of a stem-cell research. However, he was against a Missouri state initiative that would have legalized certain types of it–an initiative Michael J. Fox was all for. That may have meant all is forgiven for that all-important "banning stem cell research is my highest political value" crowd. It's a bit late at night for me to get completely up to speed on all the complications of the soon to be former Senator's various stances on stem-cell research and how they might have influenced his loss. Here's an AP story from a couple of weeks ago on that matter. It is probably telling that the stem-cell initiative–which would legalize stem-cell research in Missouri consistent with federal law while banning human cloning–is winning by 45 thousand votes–equal to the Libertarians total, and more than the amount McCaskill is beating Talent by.

He did at least co-sponsor the Flag Desecration Amendment. Even that wasn't enough, alas. Here's Wikipedia's depressing list of what the senator from the Great State of Missouri stood for.

Whether it be general disquiet with the GOP or his own lameness I'm not quite sure, though I'd like to believe his loss has a little to do with this, from a Kansas City Star article: "Speaking to a gathering of more than 100 staffers and volunteers at a suburban St. Louis hotel, Talent highlighted two achievements of his four years in the Senate since winning a special election in 2002: Passage of a bill to fight methamphetamine and his support for a renewable fuel standard that requires more use of ethanol and biodiesel." Yes, I'd say the GOP would be being pretty goddamn nervy to blame Libertarians for this one, despite Gilmour's solid showing.

Shout out to commenter Joseph Majsterski for pointing my attention toward the LP's effect on this race.

NEXT: Smoke 'Em While You Still Got 'Em

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  1. Nice. That would mean that the LP got something productive done for once

  2. Let’s see, the last time we had a Bush in the White House and both houses of Congress were Democrat, what great libertarian works were accomplished?

    The Americans With Disabilities Act, reauthorizing the Clean Air Act, the savings and loan bailout, the 1990 tax increase, uncontrolled spending, and Gulf War I. I’m not really sure what everyone is getting so excited about.

  3. so Talent was for it before he was against it?

    or something…

  4. Man, I just hate politics. I heard two Democratic congressmen go on this morning about how the “American people” had spoken and how this was a vote solely on “the war”. I know that there are people who do vote on national issues, but I’m guessing that 90% of voters cast ballots for largely local issues, to the extent that they don’t just vote with their party, anyway.

    Looks like some serious gridlock to come. Good. And the GOP lost to a disorganized party that presented few clear alternative policies. Meaning, in other words, that the GOP beat itself by acting badly when in power. Big mistake. I hope that they suffer.

    I also hope that we have mass chaos in DC, impeachments, many vetoes, and dogs and cats sleeping together in the halls of Congress.

  5. “dogs and cats sleeping together in the halls of Congress.” – PL

    No, you won’t get that. But as always, Dems & Repubs will be found to be in bed together, sharing the ill-gotten gains of their corruption.

    Just once I’d like to be proven wrong and see some substantial anti-corruption legislation passed. Pelosi says she’s going to “drain the swamp” but I suspect that means that she’s gonig to pass some half-hearted nonsense while draining the taxpayers paychecks even further.

  6. Regardless if the Libertarian party actually acted as spoilers, we should strongly encourage the perception that they did.

    Fact is, if the Republican party thinks they lost elections because of Libertarians, it may provide incentive for them to rethink some positions.

    Loss of power is the only thing they understand.

  7. “Regardless if the Libertarian party actually acted as spoilers, we should strongly encourage the perception that they did.”

    Why? So they can tighten ballot access?

    “Fact is, if the Republican party thinks they lost elections because of Libertarians, it may provide incentive for them to rethink some positions.”

    Do their rethinking for them. What positions can they adopt that will get them votes that otherwise would’ve gone to an LP candidate, and will not lose them even more votes?

    In elections against both a Democrat and a Republican, the Libertarian nominee gets the votes only of voters pursuing highly marginalized issues, and of hard core libertarians. It would be foolish for a major nominee to adopt any of the far-out positions, and the votes of the hard core libertrarians are simply not in play.

    The lesson the Republican, or the Democrat, nominee who loses gets is, “At least I didn’t campaign like the Libertarian nominee, who only got a tiny percentage of the vote. At least I was a strong contender.”

  8. I renewed my Republican Liberty Caucus membership today. A symbolic move, I suppose. I keep wondering if I shouldn’t just bite the bullet and officially go independent or LP, but I’m not ready to give up access to the major party primaries just yet. At least there is an RLC with some small support in the Republican ranks. I agree that the GOP is no friend to small government folk and is an outright enemy to many libertarian ideals, but the fact remains that many libertarianesque people are still at least nominally Republican. Enough to maybe do something during the post-election soul searching. Probably no more good can be expected now than in the Democratic version of the same in past years, of course.

  9. Don’t forget that we also have the Democratic Freedom Caucus, although it’s much smaller.

  10. Maybe the libertarians in the major parties should take over the LP and rework it into a functional small government/civil liberties party. With many more members and some actual victories.

  11. Do you suppose the Group of Old People (GOP) will get the message, stop making lame jokes about “Losertarians,” and start listening – again – to the classical-liberal faction?

    Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…

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