Libertarian Party

Did Libertarians Cost The GOP a Montana Senate Seat?

Even a Ron Paul-endorsed Republican Senate candidate couldn't win the hearts of Libertarian Party voters in Montana. Danny Rehberg lost in a squeaker (not called til this morning) against incumbent Democrat Jon Tester, while Libertarian Dan Cox got 5 percent.


Even a Ron Paul-endorsed Republican Senate candidate couldn't win the hearts of Libertarian Party voters in Montana. Danny Rehberg lost in a squeaker (not called til this morning) against incumbent Democrat Jon Tester, while Libertarian Dan Cox got 5 percent.

This was after Tester supporters ran ads specifically trying to get Republicans to shave off for the Libertarian by stressing Rehberg's support of a law that would give Department of Homeland Security increased power of federal surveillance of federal land.

Nothing in this is meant to endorse the presumption that the Republicans, even one Ron Paul likes, "deserve" libertarian votes, or even that a libertarian leaner would clearly have gone for that Republican absent a Libertarian choice. But what that result, and Gary Johnson's national record in raw votes for a Libertarian presidential candidate (though less than half the number of Republican primary voters for Ron Paul in 2012), show is that the Republican Party will continue losing the votes of America's growing libertarian contingent unless it begins to live up on both the national and state level consistently to the small-government, fiscal-conservative part of their message.

NEXT: Presidents Usually Have Lousy Second Terms, They Also Don't Win With Unemployment This High

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.

  1. Good. Quit being authoritarian shitheels, TEAM RED.

    1. Yes. As a lifelong Republican*, I agree. Tough shit.

      * Technically a true statement.

      1. The best kind of true statement.

        1. I bet the party turns on the RLC like a bad dog.

          1. An African Painted Dog?

    2. There’s one party that likes Citizens United, and one that loathes it.

      I’ll take the authoritarian shitheels that want to give me the first amendment, school choice, and lower taxes over the other authoritarian shitheels. And I’ll try to make them both better.

  2. I’m curious as to how much overlap there is between the 1.1 million votes Johnson got and the ~2 million votes Paul got in the primaries.

    1. There is a 1:1 correlation in my household.

      1. Same here.

    2. I voted for both. Not at once, though.

  3. Well, here is the email I JUST sent Denny Rehberg:

    How about that? Apparently the Republican Party DOES need the libertarians if they want to stay in power.

    Let’s see?

    Tester 216,254
    Rehberg 197,991

    If my math is right, you got beat by 18,263 votes.

    How many votes did the Libertarian get? Let’s see?Cox..Oh there it is.

    Oh, 28,686.

    As you are packing up your desk in Washington, you might want to point this out to your Republican buddies. The libertarian vote can no longer be counted on when Republicans continue to push Social Conservative issues.

    1. It wasnt a SoCon issue that got him beat, it was a Homeland Security issue.

      1. Yeah, I regretted hitting send after the fact. What I should have said was “when Republicans continue to push big government initiatives.”

        But I think he may get the point regardless. No he won’t.

        1. The socons are the Jews of politics – they’re to blame for everything.

          1. That’s because the socons ARE to blame for everything. (At least everything bad within the Republican party.)

            1. Don’t forget the bicycle-riders:


              It is well known that the Jews and the social conservatives have a secret plan to surveil people on public lands in Montana.

              1. That better not be a link to that hipster bike shop in Portlandia someone posted the other day. I’m not clicking it just to be safe.

                1. hipster bike shop in Portlandia

                  WHAT! I missed that link. Can you find it again?

                2. Anti-semite blames everything on the Jews, Jewis person deflects blame onto the bicicle riders.

                  Anti-semite says, “why the bicycle-riders?”

                  Jewish person says, “why the Jews?”

              2. Why the socons?

                Gay bigotry
                Drug laws
                Wimminz rights
                Prostitution laws
                Blue lawz
                Kill a Muslim for Jesus policies
                Their willingness to trade liberty for safety (particularly the safety of the chilrenz)
                Fatherland Homeland security
                Patriot act…

                The difference between the Jews and the socons, is that the Jews don’t deserve their rap.

                1. drugs – I think WF Buckley qualified as a socon, but he wanted to legalize weed.

                  “Gay bigotry” describes social liberals, who want to force private parties (on penalty of fines) to agree with the party line on sexuality.

                  Abortion – Even H&R denizens are divided on this issue, so good luck trying to get a consensus against the socon position.

                  kill a Muslim for Jesus – As opposed to killing a Muslim for Kinetic Military Action? It’s easier to blame the Jews for Middle East wars than to blame the socons.

                  Trading liberty for safety for the children – As opposed to the risk-taking people on the social liberal side?

                  1. You’re a dead-ender Eduaard. Washed up. Done.

                    Social conservatism is dead. The GOP can either cut away your cancer or let it kill the host.

                    1. At this very time, the very same analysis is being done in some GOP strategy meeting, but re libertarians, not socons. They’re figuring how to cut themselves loose from the type of extremist libertarianism that lost Romney the election.


                    2. And just to be clear, in the aftermath of this election social conservatives are being blasted for their libertarian positions.

                      “You wouldn’t fund Planned Parenthood!”

                      “You wouldn’t support free birth control!”

                      You are strangled by the coils of your own logic.

                    3. Your attempt to cut yourselves loose from the socons won’t work with the kind of voters to whom Obama appealed. They’ll think *your’re* a socon for failing to provide free birth control, Planned Parenthood subsidies and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.

                  2. Eddy

                    Don’t try to argue that the other side is worse. No shit! I despise them too. But the right is just as guilty of forcing their belief’s on me as the left is. They both violate tenet #1:

                    A person can do as he wished, PROVIDED, in doing so he doesn’t violate the rights of others.

                    Both sides are equally unprincipled. One side wants to force me to support deadbeats and the other wants to tell me where I can stick my dick. The anti-dick stickers, are by and large, socons who have their interpretation of what Jebus tells them is morally correct. They want to ensure everyone else follows the same rules. Because!

                    If it wasn’t for them (and the war mongers) the Republican party wouldn’t be such a bad place to hang.

                    1. wisheds

                    2. Or this


                2. Their willingness to trade liberty for safety (particularly the safety of the chilrenz)
                  Fatherland Homeland security
                  Patriot act…

                  Social moderates in the GOP tend to support these things as well, even more so.

                  1. Precisely – what distinguishes the socons as uniquely evil in this respect?

                    Which side wants to regulate “dick sticking?” If you look at the actual socon positions which have proven controversial, just ask any voter with an Obama sticker on her Prius, or a “Forward” sticker on his backpack.

                    YOU: “I’m so glad you hate the socons – I do, too!”

                    OBAMA VOTER: “Yeah, I really hate the way they would let employers deny birth control to their employees. I assume you’re against that?”

                    YOU: “Well, I think employers should be free, subject to the terms of existing contracts, to decide whether birth control should be covered in employee health insurance policies…”

                    OBAMA VOTER: “Fascist! At least you want Congress to fund Planned Parenthood, right?”

                    YOU: “No, I am not in favor of that.”

                    OBAMA VOTER: “You said you weren’t a social conservative, you liar!”

  4. I was hoping Libertarians would cost the Republicans more losses that way Democrats would have an incentive to allow them in the next presidential debates.

    1. It’ll never happen. The whole purpose of the “presidential debate commission” is to make damned sure that no Ruling Party candidate ever has to face another Ross Perot.



    I heard that a lot.

    Also, that rat bastard Rehberg believes, for some reason or other, that property owners should be allowed to control access to their property.

    The real reason to hate Rehberg is his shameless fellation of Janet Napolitano.

    1. The real reason to hate Rehberg is his shameless fellation of Janet Napolitano.


      1. Wouldn’t that be cunnilingus? Nope, you’re right, fellatio.

  6. America’s growing libertarian contingent

    Jaybus Doherty, cut out the WA celebrations already.

  7. Did Libertarians Cost The GOP a Montana Senate Seat?

    God, I hope so.

  8. Despite anything you may have heard to the contrary, Montana is a Workers’ Collectivist Paradise.

    Capitalists and freedom enthusiasts need not apply.

    1. I believe you guys are the only ones who don’t have at-will employment.

      1. In law or in practice. California has at-will employment, but try firing some member of an identity group without cause and a lengthy paper trail and you’ll find out if it’s really at-will.

        Hint: it isn’t.

        1. Montana’s is, IIRC, in law. Which is still worse than California, because imagine if you had both the law and the practice. Yikes.

  9. on what planet does a libertarian offer “support of a law that would give Department of Homeland Security increased power of federal surveillance of federal land.”

    1. The Republican supported that. The Dem tried to convince republican/libertarian voters to abandon the R because of it.

  10. Also, Rehberg is a rich bazillionaire!

    not ONE OF US!



    1. Since these are politicians we’re talking about (and not anyone as human as a carny sideshow freak), shouldn’t it be




  11. GOP did fairly poorly in the Senate with lots of candidates. SoCons, yes, but also moderate establishment types (Rehberg, Berg, Thompson, Mack, whoever in Ohio who was terrible).

    Tempting to say “well, then run libertarians,” but even Flake managed to run behind Romney significantly in AZ.

    Tempting then to just say it was a bad night, but it wasn’t in governor’s officers, the House, or state legislators (lost some seats, but not many.)

    1. Didn’t Flake win the seat?

      1. Yeah. It’s difficult to parse what Thacker is trying to get at, here.

        1. That’s one good thing, though I wish the Republicans had taken a majority.

        2. He won the seat. He won by a much smaller margin than Romney won the state.

          I would have preferred it much if Romney had won AZ by 5 and Flake won by 12 than the other way around, which is what happened.

          It’s not just winning and losing, it’s also margin of victory. GOP Senate candidates generally did even worse than Romney did in the same state, regardless of their positions as moderates, movement conservatives, socons, or libertarianish Flake.

          1. If Flake had won by more than Romney, we could have easily pointed to him as evidence that a more libertarian candidate would have done better than Romney. But he didn’t, unfortunately.

            1. I fear that rational explanations will be defied by the irrational impulses that drove this election.

              Bush 3.0 was elected.

              1. I fear that rational explanations will be defied by the irrational impulses that drove this election.

                That can’t be said enough. This election should kill any idea that voters are in any way rational.

                1. Yup. Even though people felt they were worse off than four years ago, and thought the economy was the most important issue, and thought Romney would be better on the economy, they also thought Obama “cared more” about people like them, and that last is what determined their vote.

                  We are doomed.

                  1. Well, Romney definitely shouldn’t have said that stupid 47% comment. Republicans might not expect to win a majority of the poorest half, but they darn sure can’t think that they aren’t going to win any of them. Plenty of people on the bottom are asirpirational; Romney signaled he didn’t give a damn about them– which also signaled that he’d be on the side of Big Business against the free market any day.

                    The problem any guy like Romney– and any libertarian! (and really any politician)– faces is the suspicion that they don’t really think that their policies are good for the polity as a whole, just for themselves and their narrow group.

                    People who like the free market can’t be seen to say that it’s only good for people who have already made it. It has to be good for people at the bottom who want to play by the rules and get ahead, who want a fairer set of rules and a bigger pie. Growth and freedom for all.

                    And to the extent that Romney (and Republicans, and even libertarians) really believe that their policies wouldn’t actually help the poor, they deserve to lose. Because I think that freedom works for everyone, including those who are currently in the 47%.

                  2. No, Papaya, that wasn’t it. They wanted Obama for 2 reasons:

                    (1) To prove that Obama was not a failure as president. Had he been so, that would’ve reflected badly on the abilities of blacks in general. But if he won re-election then that proved he wasn’t a flop.

                    (2) To prove that they, i.e. white voters, “cared more”, by showing that they were not bigoted. Obama still got a decided minority of whites’ votes, but the fact that so many whites voted for him proved that the country was not as full of bigoted whites as it might’ve been.

                    Whoever the GOP nominated for president, and regardless of how that candidate campaigned, mattered not a bit in this result. The people who voted for the Republican, whoever he was (they didn’t care at that point), were voting against Obama because objectively he was a flop as president, to a degree that practically nobody else conceivably would be, so it didn’t matter who replaced him, because whoever it was would be better.

                    1. There is something to that. Liberals never want to admit their policies fail, so admitting that The One was a failure was too much to accept. I thought they might do it in the privacy of the voting booth, but it didn’t happen.

    2. Clearly its McConnell’s fault then.

      If all the senators run bad, blame the senate leader.

      Im all for a paulite primarying him in 2 years.

      1. Fair enough. Wouldn’t be surprising to see a challenge to McConnell or Cornyn (whip).

      2. IIRC Rand has already endorsed McConnell for 2014, so a challenger from the libertarian wing seems unlikely.

        Lindsay Graham on the other hand…

        1. Yeah, and Rand’s campaign manager is now McConnell’s campaign manager.

          But that still doesnt mean McConnell wouldnt be challenged. Not that he would, but what would Paul do if Massie ran in two years?

          Im guessing Massie will run for Paul’s seat in 2016 if Paul is running for President.

  12. Cox blocked?

    1. + 1 phallus

  13. Thanks, Doherty, for trying to cheer us up.

  14. Caption contest:

    How ’bout a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?


    You two donkey-dicks couldn’t get laid in a morgue.

    1. I’m gonna tell Mom and Dad everything. I’m even considering makin’ up some shit!

      1. Apparently we’re the only two with a decent sense of humor on this thread.

        What a bunch of humorless assmunches.

        1. Kelly LeBrock was incredibly hot in her day. I loved that movie.


          Can we keep this… between us? I’d hate to lose my teaching job…

  15. I believe you guys are the only ones who don’t have at-will employment.

    I believe that is correct. It seems taking on a new employee in the state of Montana is a lot like adopting a child. You’re pretty much stuck with them, through thick and thin.

    Definitely not a Right to Work state.

  16. try firing some member of an identity group without cause and a lengthy paper trail and you’ll find out if it’s really at-will.

    I have been told about this “paper trail” nonsense by people here, and it makes me wonder how many people have successfully accused an employer of plotting against them and using the paper trail as evidence of premeditation and malice aforethought.

  17. For shits and giggles, here’s a sampling of how much Republicans/NeoCons/SoCons are regretting their decision to fuck over and disregard libertarians in their party and at-large:
    (from freepertown)

    fu gary johnson you despicable jerk

    Liberaltarians showed what they were when they promoted that nutcase Paul. Paul in turn undermined and attacked conservatism and conservatives.

    Potheads are mostly liberals who want their free stuff and munchies, they are NOT lost GOP votes

    Libertarians are radical leftists, how do you think conservatives should win them over, succumb to to their radical left agenda?

    See post 55, libertarians are leftists. Conservatives are not.

    The reason we don’t participate in the sanctity of TEAM Red is because we’re drug-addicted libertines who hate America and want the terrorists to win.

    1. Alright let’s have the link.

    2. Made my day.

    3. But they still believe that the Republican is entitled to libertarian votes. If libertarians are leftists who would/should otherwise vote for Obama, then why do they care?

  18. I like the fact that Hawai’i continued its slide into total electoral irrelevance. If Linda Lingle can’t win out there, then I hope Hawai’i is happy with its One Party Junta.

    1. The status quo was more or less maintained — about 90% Democrats in office. A slide would be 100% Democrats in office.

    2. Randian, because I’m your friend, I think you should know that putting an apostrophe in “Hawaii” makes you look like a pretentious twat.

      The fact that the state gov does it only confirms its pretentious twattery.

      1. Don’t forget Hallowe’en.

        1. E’en I don’t write that. Or Darklady Theresa Reed’s “Polywe’en”.

  19. More importantly: Did Libertarians Cost Doherty an Alt-text?

  20. Please get a life with this argument. The libertarian didn’t cost anyone the seat. The whole premise is that somebody else owns my vote. The reality is I own my vote and you do something to earn it. The problem is the Republicans as a whole in this election avoided doing anything to earn votes. The evidence supports this highly. If they don’t like this tough! They need to start earning votes and not claiming that they own them. If they had this concept firmly in mind they wouldn’t sell America out in Trade Deals where they tax the Americans and give a pass to their foreign competition. (Trade War by the USA against its own citizens) If they did this they might actually provide some leadership towards a better America. It goes on and on.

  21. More like the GOP cost the LP a Montana Senate seat.

  22. Or this


  23. In Arizona, it looks like a Libertarian cost the Republicans a seat in CD-09, and perhaps also in CD-01. In both cases, the Libertarian got more votes than the Republican lost by. In CD-09, the Libertarian got more than 5X the votes that the Republican lost by.

  24. Thank Heavens the American People saw though Romneys LIES. I guess the peopel arent so naive afterall!

  25. No, Republicans cost the GOP a Montana Senate seat,

  26. Indeed, the Republicans cost the GOP a Montana Senate Seat and the Governorship. Both Rehberg and Hill were dreadful candidates so I voted Cox and Vandevender, the Libertarian candidates, which if you buy the BS reported up here was a vote for the Dems. I don’t believe it was a vote for the Dems, but rather a NO vote for the Republicans. The Republicans have lost their way. Yes, it’s true many of us voted Libertarian because of the Patriot Act, NDAA, and Homeland Security, but many of us also voted Libertarian because we oppose the socially conservative crap Rehberg and Hill were hyping.

    BTW, we are not a right-to-work state. A holdover from past Democrat entrenched policies that the Republicans haven’t bothered to tackle because they are too busy pushing anti-abortion, homophobic, anti-pot legislation. Yet another reason we couldn’t vote for them…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.