Robert Sarvis

This One Goes Out to All Those Folks Still Blaming Ralph Nader for Al Gore's Loss in 2000

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I'm still seeing conservatives and Republicans bitching and moaning that the Libertarian Party candidate in the Virginia governor's race, Robert Sarvis, somehow threw the election to the awful Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe. Fact is that exit polls from both CNN and ABC News confirm that Sarvis took votes from McAuliffe and put the race within reach of the Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli.

But more to the point, trying to fix blame on minor parties when major-party candidates lose is a category error. Dems and Reps don't "own" votes that are somehow stolen by third-party types. And as I wrote earlier this week at Time.com there's this:

Americans have come to expect if not demand a wide range of increasingly diverse and personalized choices in every part of our lives, from coffee shops to clothing stores to bookstores. And yet in something as important as politics, we allow the two major parties to systematically rig the system to exclude a range of opinions extending beyond two parties that were founded before the Civil War. Is it any wonder that a record number of Americans now call themselves political independents?

Reflexively blaming third-party candidates when a Republican or Democratic candidate loses only adds insult to that injury. Despite having every advantage going in, Al Gore ended up losing in 2000 because, among other things, he wore bizarre orange makeup to one of the presidential debates and came across as an environmental zealot fundamentally at odds with modern industrial technology. Ken Cuccinelli lost because, among other things, he failed to assuage fears that he would bring back sodomy laws, alienated single women, and he had no connection with young voters.

The major parties already enjoy vast advantages in terms of money, brand recognition, ballot access, and get-out-the-vote operations. When their candidates lose elections, especially tight ones, they would do better to look at what they did wrong rather than off-loading responsibility or blame on third parties who give voters more options to express themselves.

Whole thing.

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  1. Dems and Reps don’t “own” votes that are somehow stolen by third-party types.

    Yeah, Nick. Tell that to Ann Coulter the next time you see her.

    1. Maybe she can tell the charming story again about how she wanted to run as an LP candidate to be a spoiler for some liberal-ish Connecticut Rep. She then decided to outright oppose marijuana legalization just because she was annoyed the LP dared question her libertarian-ness, having supposedly been apathetic on the issue before.

      1. And then, she griped about failing the ‘purity test’.

        1. I’d say that if there is a legitimate libertarian purity test, ending prohibition of drugs is it.

          1. Agreed, since it combines both a significant social and economic component.

            1. I’m insulted. While I want to end the drug war and dissolve the DEA (along with any geographically overlapping police departments) I am not a libertarian.

          2. I shoulda sarc – /sarc

          3. L. Neil Smith had it right, the one test that matters is gun freedom.

      2. It’s important for people to remember this story.

        1. It’s certainly worth keeping in mind next time we see some headline about her calling Libertarians some juvenile insult.

      3. “The LP dared question her libertarian-ness”

        There are probably very few people who would run on the LP ticket and could actually harm the LP name brand by doing so.

        She’s one of them.

        She should be offended, though. The LP ran a guy that railed against drivers’ licenses and argued against leaving convicted felons time to work out all day–because that only makes them stronger.

        The LP is willing to run candidates that are religiously devoted to derp, like that, but you won’t run her?

        Seriously, she would tarnish what’s left of the LP brand, and they should reject her.

        But, seriously, she should find that offensive.

        1. Let me just add Jesse Ventura, Alex Jones, and Wayne Root to this pile.

    2. Dems and Reps don’t “own” votes that are somehow stolen by third-party types.
      Yeah, Nick. Tell that to Ann Coulter the next time you see her.

      Whatever. If Sarvis hadn’t been running, I wouldn’t have bothered voting for either of the …candidates… put up by the major parties for VA governor.

    3. It’s not just that Dems & Reps don’t own votes, it’s that trying to predict voter preferences on the basis of policy stances is futile. But you don’t want to say that, because that would make everything you write and every comment that we make useless. It says ideas don’t have consequences electorally.

      1. I don’t feel like Reason has ever had much pretense to being particularly influential in, or much focused on, electoral politics.

        1. It’s not just Reason, it’s anybody’s pretense to understand what makes voters, or anybody else, tick. It’s a subject that fascinates me, but I understand that knowledge in that regard is still at a very preliminary stage.

          People vote for all sorts of reasons that may seem trivial to us. When I was active in LP, some thought Normal Segal had some magic when she got a much bigger than avg. vote for LPNY nominees when she ran for US senator from NY in 1992. However, that year saw an outpouring of support for 3rd party candidates nationwide, and in NY votes for her were heavily correlated with votes for Perot for president. Yes, the LP nominee in NY and probably other states rode on Perot’s coattails.

          And why did Perot do even that well? It wasn’t because of his ideas on policy, I think. Rather, it was because due to his money, it was considered non-futile that year to vote for 3rd choices. It didn’t matter what the 3rd choice was. If in the next presidential election year there’d been someone other than Perot who’d similarly gotten publicized as a contender, and maybe another such candidate the next time around, people would’ve gotten used to choice #3 and the votes would’ve settled into a division of approximately 1/3, 1/3, and 1/3. Doesn’t matter what the parties or their candidates stand for, just that they’re perceived as choices worthy of note.

          1. But there wasn’t such a figure in the next election BECAUSE OF Perot. The Republicans put up a pretty united front in ’96 precisely because of the perception that the division in ’92 got Clinton elected out of nowhere.

            When Nader did the same for Bush in 2000, the TEAM RED-TEAM BLUE mentality got really seriously galvanized and has governed everything since.

  2. I thought that Al Gore lost because Bush “stole” the election, or at least that was the theory among my peers

    1. It does seem a little odd to blame Al Gore’s poor campaigning and inability to connect with the voters without mentioning that he did, in fact, receive several hundred thousand more votes than Bush.

      1. Well, Gore lost his home state and the home state of the popular sitting president. If had carried either of those states, he would have won the election.

        1. There were several states more competitive than Tennessee and Arkansas, and at that point Al Gore had been removed from any TN office-holding by almost a decade. I think the “losing your home state is inexcusable” thing is overblown. Even if Romney had won, he was never going to win Massachusetts. And Bill Clinton- as a Governor- had a much stronger “personal” connection to Arkansas than Al Gore- as a Senator in DC- had to Tennessee. I don’t disagree Gore lost a race he could have won, but he didn’t lose it in Nashville and Memphis.

      2. It does seem a little odd to blame Al Gore’s poor campaigning and inability to connect with the voters without mentioning that he did, in fact, receive several hundred thousand more votes than Bush.

        Thank Christ we don’t live in a democracy, huh?

      3. Actually, I find the entire thing a masterful stroke by the press (for Gore, for Romney, what’s the difference?) to distract from the real issue.

        Would you like a giant douche or a turd sandwich?

        When it comes down to “which is the better campaigner”, what choice is it, really?

        The press would far rather keep the focus on the horse race, instead of on the two decrepit nags they help to ride a truck to the end of the track.

        Damn, they are really good at it, aren’t they?

        This crappy choice is exactly why I registered independent and now vote other, every time. I am fully aware it isn’t going to make a difference. Neither does voting for either of the two major party choices.

        If my vote is useless, it might as well be according to my conscience.

    2. Well, Nadar got more votes in Alachua county (UF area) than Gore lost by in the recount(s). So in a sense, Gore lost Florida from the left by being a pragmatist. However, I have no knowledge of whether he got more or fewer votes than Clinton in the previous election.

      1. I briefly concerned running for city commission in Gainesville (while a student) to get student representation so that we could drink all hours. That was my planned campaign. Would’ve worked, too, except that I found out that hardly any students were registered to vote in Alachua County. Decided it was too much work to get students registered.

    3. The Bush vs. Gore comparison is dumb. As someone else pointed out, Clinton-Bush-Perot is a better comparison.

      Gore “lost” by such a small margin that it is painfully obvious that if even 30% of the people who voted for Nader had voted for Gore, Gore would have won.

      What people ignore is that, as with Sarvis and Cuccinelli, “left wing” votes are not “owned” by the Democratic Party. Nader got so many votes because the left felt betrayed by the Clinton administration and the Democratic Party generally speaking.

      The fact that the result of that well-intended deflection of votes from the Ass-Wipe Gore was the unmitigated fiasco that was the Bush Jr. Administration galvanized the left behind the Democratic Party they way nothing else in the world could have.

  3. To be clear, the LP turned her away, which places her in such illustrious political company as Mike Gravel and that batshit crazy racist guy that was in Predator.

    1. Richie Incognito?

    2. Carl Weathers??

    3. Dave Johnson?

  4. I’d love to vote for a Republican.

    Nominate Rand Paul for president, and I’ll vote for a Republican.

  5. “Ken Cuccinelli…had no connection with young voters.”

    He won among voters 18-24.

    “According to exit poll data posted by CNN, Cuccinelli beat Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe 45-39 percent with [the 18-24] group, though the Democrat won voters ages 25-29 by a margin of 50-35 percent.

    “”The CRNC ran a 60-second ad exclusively online throughout the month of October opposing Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe,” the memo reads. “The ad targeted females 18-24 years old, with whom, as polls indicated, Cuccinelli had been underperforming.”

    “The ad in question, called “TerryFish,” drew on the MTV show “Catfish” to raise questions about McAuliffe, depicting a young woman who encounters the Democrat’s promises but finds that they fall flat. It was “the sole anti-McAuliffe effort running online to this demographic,” the memo said.

    “The group, which spent $25,000 on the online ad buy, targeted sites used heavily by young people including Hulu, YouTube and Pandora. That follows recommendations included in a report the organization put out earlier this year detailing how the Republican Party can be competitive among the youth vote, which overwhelmingly supported President Barack Obama in 2012.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/…..99568.html

    1. Has it occurred to you that linking to a Rock the Vote press release to support your thesis about the youth vote might not tell the whole story?

  6. You start allowing third, fourth and fifth parties and you run the risk of getting someone only 21% of voters pulled the lever for. Is that what you want? Lyndon LaRouche as president? Give me the stability of Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush or Michelle Obama or George P. Bush or Chelsea Clinton any day.

    1. Lyndon LaRouche as president?

      Preferable to Bush or The Lightbringer.

    2. Of greater concern is that a single party will cobble together the various teetsucklers and establish a permanent majority while the other various parties split the vote. Whether or not you share that fear, or feel that is already happening, it is the more compelling argument.

      1. I don’t think he’s making an argument as much as he’s pointing out a fact.

        Voters don’t seem to have many choices, these days. Picking between the Bush legacy or the Clinton legacy really isn’t much of a choice.

        Third parties offer voters more choices. Whatever the problems are in this country, the solutions don’t have anything to do with giving voters fewer choices.

      2. What if two parties cobble together the various teetsucklers and establish a permanent “alternating current” majority unchallenged by any serious contenders whatsoever?

      3. You mean compared to the current situation, where two “different” parties do the exact same thing?

    3. That the Democrats backed Hillary so big that she was able to leverage her way into becoming the Secretary of State is a disgrace to the Democratic Party.

      The only thing she’d done before that on her own was put together a real estate deal in which all the principal investors–except for herself and her husband–ended up in jail.

      That Benghazi was horribly mismanaged under her watch should have been entirely predictable. And according to Dick Morris, one of the scarier things about her is that she’s always completely sure of herself.

      Bubba Clinton would always turn to people he trusted and thought were competent for advice–always questioning his own judgement. Hillary’s never been short of confidence in her own judgement, ever, not even when her own judgement obviously stinks to everyone else around her.

      Whatever we think her stance on the issues would be, she would be a disastrous president. Obama may have some terrible advisers, but at least he seems to listen to them. He usually only screws up bad when he’s freelancing without them.

      “If you like it, you can keep it”

      Chemical weapons are a red line for Syria.

      “you didn’t build that”

      I don’t think that stuff came from Obama’s advisers. And Hillary’s gonna be freelancing like that 24/7 with all the confidence in the world.

      1. I think your description of Hillary is a description of women in general. You can give them all the advice in the world and they will listen but then do what they planned all along anyway.

        1. Yep. Men are totally not like that at all.

        2. I don’t think women are generally like that. If anything, women may have a tendency to be more likely to seek a consensus. If women in your life are acting that way, it may be because they don’t think you’re taking their opinion into consideration–and that makes your opinions suspect to them.

          I certainly don’t think anyone should hesitate to vote for a women because she’s a woman. But I do think we should vote against Hillary Clinton because she’s demonstrably incompetent. She’s screwed up doing just about everything she’s ever done.

          I’m not opposed to Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman. And I’m not saying she’s incompetent because she’s a woman. I am saying that she’s incompetent–and that’s why I oppose her.

          Of the best executives I’ve worked for, the overwhelming majority of them were women, and if we had a woman like Margaret Thatcher to vote for, I wouldn’t even hesitate to pull the lever for her if she were running for president.

          But Hillary Clinton ain’t no Margaret Thatcher.

      2. I had thought of a bunch of things to write, but realized it didn’t matter. I merely consider Hillary to be a competent criminal.

        Its a shame when there’s a disagreement over better to have a competent criminal in power, or an inept one, or which one is which.

    4. “You start allowing third, fourth and fifth parties and you run the risk of getting someone only 21% of voters pulled the lever for. Is that what you want?”

      There is a danger of that. Oakland, CA went to ‘ranked’ voting and ended up with some imbecilic ‘community activist’ as mayor!
      What a disaster!

      1. Is he better or worse than Jerry and/or Elihu?

      2. Oakland, CA went to ‘ranked’ voting and ended up with some imbecilic ‘community activist’ as mayor!

        Look on the bright side, at least there’s no way a “community organizer” could get elected presid… Wait a second… SHIT!

    5. Lyndon LaRouche as president?

      Might be worth it just for the lulz. Besides, I doubt he could worse than the current clown.

      1. Oh, you say that about all of them.

    6. You start allowing third, fourth and fifth parties and you run the risk of getting someone only 21% of voters pulled the lever for.

      Forty to forty five percent, the idea of a mandate becomes laughable. Less than forty, absurd to the point of being the negative of a mandate, and that curtails ambitious agendas. That’s exactly what I want.

      1. We’re seeing that in NYC right now – DeBlasio is jubilant over his “landslide”, but only about 25% of registered voters bothered to vote. So DeBlasio’s “mandate” consists of 3/4 of 24% of registered voters, or about 18% of registered voters, or somewhat less than one out of five New Yorkers, considering that not everyone is registered.

  7. I’m not sure the exit polls tell the whole story here. I think a lot of Libertarians and small government Republicans were upset with the Republican party and their candidate. If that were true, we would expect them to say they would not have voted at all had Sarvis not been on the ballot.

    Even if that isn’t true, people idealize themselves in polls. A good number of people who like to think they would have stayed home would have begrundgingly pulled the lever for one of the two candidates.

    I mention this because the media is trying to spin this race as proof the Republican party is reeling from the shutdown, Tea Party opposition and extremism within the party generally. I think this election shows the opposite.

    1. How was the difference between the total down-ballot vote and the governor vote, compared to the difference most of the time? If people were really turned off by the candidates for governor, you’d expect there to be a considerable number who abstained from voting for them but voted in contests for lower offices.

      1. Except that Sarvis was available as a protest vote. See my post below. We will never know how many of those people would have voted in a two person race versus leaving it blank or staying home.

        1. Well, no, we do know one of those things. The exit poll asked Sarvis voters what they’d’ve done otherwise, and abstention in that race was one of the choices that apparently about half of them gave. What we don’t know is the complement of that: the people who did not show up at the polls, or did show up but not to vote for governor, who would’ve voted in that race had Sarvis not been running. Yeah, funny to think that some people would’ve made a choice had there been fewer choices, but people are funny, and I think there was at least one psychologic study that shows there is such an effect of surfeit of choices.

  8. A better comparison is the person who blames Perot for costing Bush 41 the 1992 election although he probably took more votes from Clinton. (Perot did hurt Bush by not allowing him to run on bullsh*t like he did in 1988).

  9. When their candidates lose elections, especially tight ones, they would do better to look at what they did wrong rather than off-loading responsibility or blame on third parties who give voters more options to express themselves.

    Yeah, I’m absolutely certain that will be the approach of the RNC when they conduct their next round of focus groups.

  10. Maybe we should just go with the right wing meme that Sarvis cost Cuch the election? Tell them straight out, “Libertarians will no longer be the GOP’s tame lap dogs. We are not going to play the role played by African-Americans in the Democrat party. You can’t crap all over us (e.g. refusing to announce Ron Paul delegate votes at the National Convention) and then count on our vote. You can’t piss on our foot (e.g. tell us your candidate is a libertarian at heart) and tell us it is raining. There are plenty more like Robt. Sarvis out there so learn to deal with it.”

    1. I think the poll may show that already. Pardon my bellicosity, but libertarians who have not yet given up on the Republican Party just have their heads too deep in the sand to have any hope for them anymore.

      Democrats are still in process. I wouldn’t be at all surprised that if Sarvis got anyone from off of a fence, it was Democrats. The rest who were voting Sarvis weren’t even considering Cuccinelli.

  11. Gosh, I was kind of hoping that the LP candidate DID cost the loser Republican candidate the election. No love for Dems, but seriously, the statist warmongers of the GOP should just fuck off.

    I also have a fantasy that Al Gore DID win the 2000 election. Best of all possible outcomes: you won, now fuck off, the other guy gets to be in charge.

    Two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner. Isn’t that what Mencken called democracy?

    1. Shouldn’t it be more like two wolves and a sheep for dinner, and a hundred vultures promising the other sheep the leftovers, if they would only pick the right wolf?

  12. Has there not been more comment among conservatives / Republicans that the “GOP Establishment” did not support the “Tea Party” candidate thus costing the race, than any thought given to the LP candidate?

    If in some quirk of alt-history, Sarvis (with broadly the same set of policy goals) had been the GOP nominee (or the Democratic nominee) could he gotten more than 30% in Viginia?

    1. The national party pretty much abandoned Cucninilli. They gave him almost no money. And he still almost won.

      The Dems managed to make Cuccinilli into another Akin in a state that is much more liberal than Missouri and with a candidate who was no worse than McAskill. And they only won by a single point.

  13. The problem with the “they would have voted for us” is that you don’t know that they would have voted at all. Just because a candidate is a voters second choice, doesn’t mean the voter likes them enough to come out in vote if only that choice is available. Maybe they stay home. You will never know.

    The flip side to third parties is that the guy who won doesn’t have to give a shit about them. Who cares what the guy who lost thinks? He lost. The guy who won just won without you so he concludes he either doesn’t need you or your existence hurts the other side. So the third party’s influence with the person who matters is going to zilch. It is an interesting bit of logic to somehow conclude that having influence over the losing party is significant.

    1. That’s true. Why should the 2nd place finisher turn to someone who comes in 3rd as a model for improvement? You’d think they’d be much more likely to figure out what #1 did that was so good. And possibly to look at #3 and try to do the opposite to avoid that one’s mistakes.

  14. “It’s not me, it’s you.”

  15. Ralph Nader got (IMO) demoniated last night on Crossfire debating the merits of nuclear power. Although a lot of the back and forth was based on the premise of man-made climate change being a foregone conclusion, his ridiculous arguments were shown for what they are.

    I can’t find a video of the cross fire episode from last night, but it proceeded the premier of the pro-nuclear documentary shown on CNN: “Pandora’s Promise”. Decent documentary, but again, based on the premise that man-made climate change is a foregone conclusion.

    Side note: I don’t know how people watch this show. The hosts are far too biased and their arguments are made with no foundation of fact (mostly). This is from both the “right” and the “left”.

    Here is the link to the CNN blog regarding last nights episode.

  16. Wow, spell check:
    Ralph Nadar got (IMO) dominated

    1. demoniated: a combo of dominated and demonized. Demoniated.

      1. I like it, it’s genius.

    2. You still got it wrong. The man’s name is Nader.

      1. Nadar, Nader. Meh. It’s moronic activists all the way down either way.

  17. Possible discrepancy in Fairfax absentee votes could affect count in AG race

    The Fairfax County Electoral Board is investigating a possible irregularity in the number of absentee ballots cast in Virginia’s largest jurisdiction that Democrats say could shift votes in the still-unresolved race for Virginia attorney general.

    As of Thursday evening, state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) led state Sen. Mark R. Herring (D-Loudoun) in the contest by 777 votes ? or .03 percent of the 2.2 million votes cast ? according to the State Board of Elections’ Web site. Local election boards are now counting provisional ballots, cast by people without ID or in the wrong polling place, and canvassing the returns looking for any possible errors. Both campaigns have said they will consider asking for a recount, depending on the results of the review.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

    GOP caught vote cheating in VA?

    1. Who cares?

      1. The VA GOP is notoriously corrupt and 4000 votes in the bluest precinct in the state get “lost”? With a 700 vote lead for the GOPer?

        And Cooch is the current AG?

        There is a better than 50/50 chance they lost those votes on purpose.

        1. Stuffing the ballot box is a great American tradition.

          It goes all the way back to the founding of this country.

        2. The VA GOP is notoriously corrupt

          Ok, sure. MAjor parties everywhere are corrupt.

          The question is, is the VA GOP unusually corrupt? And would even a corrupt TEAM RED reach into the bluest precinct in the State, where voting is presumably under tight TEAM BLUE supervision and control, and lose 4000 votes?

          1. There’s probably something to that – people are very quick to overlook shear incompetence as an explanation of things that go wrong with government, even though it seems like it should probably be the first assumption.

    2. I thought vote fraud wasn’t real?

      Oh wait, it’s only real when the GOP does it, when the Democraps do it it’s just an unsubstantiated rumor cooked up by redneck radio.

  18. The thing with Nader is that the vote came down to one excruciatingly narrow tally in one state, and in all likelihood the country would have been spared the repeated horrors of the Bush administration if he hadn’t been in the race. Which he wasn’t in to win, but just to talk about shit. Ever since, Democrats have been relatively united, understanding that their interests are best advanced when they actually win elections, not by shouting intellectual purity into the wind.

    1. AKA lie and sell your sole to get into office, fuck staying true to a philosophy (not that the dems/progs have any sort of consistent philosophy other than TOP MEN NEED MORE POWER).

      1. This is what progs do. Progs view politics as a death struggle to be won by any means. They are utterly detached from reality and competence when it comes to anything else. But they do get politics.

        1. Yeah throw those stones. You have every right considering the sparkling competence and intellectual coherence of the Republicans these last 20 years.

          1. Blah, blah, blah.

            Derp!

            Blah, blah.

          2. How that website and that Obamacare thing working out for you Tony?

          3. The difference between what we are saying and what you are saying is that we don’t lick the boot’s of these politicians simply because they are on our TEAM.

            1. There are other differences, too.

              For instance, what we say isn’t a regurgitated version of what we’ve been spoon fed.

              We’re also not invulnerable to logic.

              1. I assumed that went without saying! Har har

    2. Tony|11.8.13 @ 10:39AM|#
      …”in all likelihood the country would have been spared the repeated horrors of the Bush administration if he hadn’t been in the race”…

      Please tell us what could have prevented the continuing horrors of that lying piece of shit who currently resides in the WH.

    3. understanding that their interests are best advanced when they actually win elections,

      their interests…and should the progs’ interests coincide with those of the proles, it’s usually a mistake. But Top Men –

      1. Drink some coffee, come back, and speak English.

        1. Wow, we already knew you were objectively anti-Semitic and don’t think Rosa Parks had a right to sit in the front of a public bus.

          But I had no idea you were prejudiced against Spanish-speaking immigrants, too.

          You’re a real scumbag, Tony.

        2. That is right Tony because what matters is the Democrats’ interests. No one else has a right to their interests being advanced. They are just wreckers and terrorists to be steamrolled by the big Dem machine.

        3. was it too complicated for you to understand? Ad hominem isn’t substance, sparky, it just reveals a lack of it.

          1. If it weren’t for ad-homs and starwmen, he wouldn’t have anything left to say. He’d just be a drooling, sobbing mess, slowly rocking back and forth in a fetal position in a corner of his mom’s basement mumbling the words “But BOOOOOSHHHH” over and over again.

    4. “not by shouting intellectual purity into the wind.”

      Well, that makes sense, since they rarely have any.

      1. You would have to have a coherent ideology to have purity. The old Marxists were pure. They may have been evil, but they at least had an ideology with some internal consistency. The current progs don’t even have that.

    5. in all likelihood the country would have been spared the repeated horrors of the Bush administration

      Do you really think Gore wouldn’t have signed the PATRIOT Act after 9/11 if he had been president? Not invaded Afghanistan to go after Al-Quaeda? Not created the DHS or the TSA? Not signed the FISA Ammendments Act? Not signed TARP? Sarbanes-Oxley? Medicare Part D? No Child Left Behind? (The latter may have been called something different, since that was Bush’s name for his education proposal, IIRC, but I doubt very seriously there wouldn’t have been some kind of education “reform”)

      I’ll grant you that the Iraq War probably wouldn’t have happened, but in every other civil liberties crushing, government expanding way Gore would have probably been the same as Bush. And, in all likelyhood, after 8 years of Gore I doubt the chocolate Nixon Messiah dreamboat would have been able to get elected in ’08. Which means we may very well be in the 2nd term of… President McCain. How’s the counter-factual sound now?

      1. Iraq probably wouldn’t have happened, but we would probably have troops in Darfour, now . . .

  19. Davidp070 21 hours ago
    Another day, another dishonest LIEbertarian screed.

    This collection of Birchers and egotists really misses no chance to try to claim relevance and hide their past. Libertarians “stand for” the same sort of nonsense they’ve been “standing for” since the civil war too: old, racist canards dressed up in lipstick and paraded around as if they were something new.

    LIEbertarians claim they are for marriage equality, social equality. How do they claim they’ll get there? By eliminating antidiscrimination laws, claiming their “free market” – the same one responsible for all the problems that led to us creating anti-discrimination laws in the first place – will somehow fix itself.

    LIEbertarians claim they are for environmental stewardship and that the “free market” will provide it. The last time we let these lying toads have their way, their corporate overlords dumped so much factory waste into our environment that we had rivers catching fire and unbreathable city air.

    1. LIEbertarians argue against trade unions, workplace safety laws, wage discrimination laws… their “free market” being supposedly able to handle everything that it never did before in the days when they had their way and these toads, these economic liars who eventually became the John Birch Society before founding the Libertarian Party, ran us into the Great Depression and the Gilded Age.

      LIEbertarians are the worst sort of orwellian stooges, whose doublespeak knows no bounds and whose corruption knows no end.

      1. I forgot that the free market forced the government to legislate Jim Crow laws. How silly of me. Just another day as a LIEbertarian I guess!

        The free market seems to be to blame for all of our problems (never mind that we have never had an actual “free market”) according to your typical prog. Progs are absolutely frightened at the idea of people being able to voluntarily trade without government intervention. To them, someone who is pro-free market equals racist/sexist/in the pocket of the kochtopus/want to starve the poor/etc. etc.. They don’t even want to understand free-market economics. The word has taken on a meaning of “evil” to progs and that is all they need to know.

  20. Based on proggie letters I see in the newspaper, there are plenty of them frustrated with the Democrat’s policy of Fabianism (small, incremental reductions of freedom). Some have questioned why the minimum wage isn’t $15 or $20 per hour. Others advocate a cap on salaries at $1 mm or confiscation of all wealth beyond five times the poverty level. But, for the most part, the Dem candidates (is DeBlasio an exception?) don’t make such crazy statements when running for election. The purer socialists/fascists are kept off the Dem stage. Yet it isn’t very unlikely that some GOP candidate running for Town Council won’t spout off about abortion, rape, gay marriage or prayer in school and scare the crap out of everyone who isn’t a social conservative.

  21. Best comment in the TIME Comments section:

    lunchstealer

    Why did so many people throw their vote away on a clearly unelectable candidate?

    It was clear that Cuccinelli wasn’t going to win as far back as this summer. But these fringe Republicans were so delusional that they refused to throw their support behind Sarvis. Cuccinelli’s vote was more than McAuliffe’s margin of victory over Sarvis. But apparently these Republicans are so obsessed with their fringe positions like outlawing oral sex and gay marriage and maintaining their precious drug war that they couldn’t just get behind the electable candidate and beat those Democrats. If just 80% of Republicans had thrown their weight behind the mainstream Libertarian alternative to McAuliffe, they could’ve won.

    1. That is great.

      1. Why do I think lunchstealer posts here?

    2. Nice. Whoever that was, they just won the internet.

  22. As William Poundstone describes in his book Gaming the Vote, the voting system commonly used in US elections, Plurality Voting, puts many voters in a dilemma: vote for the candidate you prefer most, or vote for the candidate you prefer among the “popular” candidates. Even then, we still get wasted votes and split votes, and the US has only one viable party more than does China. Solutions to this have been known for over 200 years. The simplest solution is Approval Voting: vote for as many candidates as you like. AV eliminates the dilemma, and produces compromise winners.

    Kobayashi Maru–if the game has no solution, change the rules.

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