Election 2014

Do Libertarian Party Candidates Always Pull From Republicans?


Do Libertarian Party candidates always pull votes from Republicans? That's the widespread perception among media elites. And it matters in at least a handful of races in which the LP candidate is more than covering the spread between the Dem and the Rep.

Here's Chuck Todd talking about this on yesterday's Meet The Press:

[P]izza deliveryman turned libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina, Sean Haugh [has] got 7% of the vote in a recent poll. Enough to possibly swing the election, siphoning votes from Republican Thom Tillis and helping the incumbent here, Democrat Kay Hagan. It's actually the same story right now in Florida, that gubernatorial race with the Libertarian Adrian Wyllie, who's suddenly getting double-digit support in recent polls because people are so fed up with the negativity.

And if that happens, look at what it does to this race if this guy stays in double digits. It really hurts the incumbent Republican here, Rick Scott. Here's the bottom line, folks. This is what we're learning. It's an angry electorate out there, they're mad at both parties.

More here.

It's easy to understand why observers presume the LP pulls from the GOP: For a long time, both parties talked a lot about reducing government spending and lowering taxes (not that Republicans did that once in power). The rhetoric was similar.

But that was then and this is now. In the 2013 race for governor of Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe beat Republican Ken Cuccinelli by 2 percentage points, 48 percent to 46 percent. Libertarian Robert Sarvis pulled almost 7 percent. Exit polls showed that Sarvis actually gave Cuccinelli a fighting chance: "An exit poll of Sarvis voters showed that they would have voted for McAuliffe by a two-to-one margin over Cucinelli."

In the special election held in Florida's 13th congressional district, Republican David Jolly squeaked by Democrat Alex Sink by 2 percentage points. Libertarian Lucas Overby pulled almost 5 percent and while there are no exit polls to turn to, there are good reasons to think that Overby helped put the kibosh on Sink:

When you look at Lucas Overby's positions, it's easy to see him pulling as many or more votes from a Democrat. He is fully supportive of cutting spending and for gun rights, but he is equally outspoken in terms of non-interventionist foreign policy, in favor of gay marriage, and, as mentioned, drug legalization. There's every reason to believe that he may well have "taken" more votes from Sink than from Jolly.

In the 2012 presidential race, Republican muckety-mucks were worried that Libertarian Gary Johnson could be the spoiler. They needn't to have worried for two reasons. First, Mitt Romney was no damn good. And second, however you want to apportion Johnson 1 million votes between Obama and Mittens, they don't change the outcome.

As Matt Welch wrote about the 2012 election cycle, out of "482 electoral outcomes only one [Republican loss] can be plausibly argued to have been affected by an LP candidate." That was "Democrat John Tierney's 48.2%-47.2% win over Republican Rich Tisei in a Massachusetts 6th district race where Libertarian Daniel Fishman received 4.6% of the vote."

So as we slide toward the midterms and pundits start yapping about how Libertarian spoilers are always taking votes from Republicans, it's worth asking for some hard evidence.

Because it wasn't true in 2012 or 2013. And it's probably less true now than ever. Republicans and Democrats have totally stacked elections so they always win. They can at least take responsibility for when they lose.

NEXT: Hypocrisy Alert: John McCain Wants An Ebola Czar

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  1. Here come the Hit and Runpublicans, to argue that I should eat the infinitesimally smaller giant turd.

    1. Crist is the one candidate that might drive me to not vote LP, which I’ve pretty consistently done in the past. I so loathe him and all that he doesn’t stand for.

      I suspect he’s on a mission to make Morgan & Morgan richer than ever. In fact, I think that’s his sole purpose for running.

      1. I like the anti-Scott commercials. He grew business while cutting teachers. Damn, I might have to vote for Scott again.

        1. Will he cut more teachers while growing business? That’s a great platform!

          1. We can only hope.

        2. I need to look into Wyllie. It would send a thrill up my leg to vote for a woman. But I agree with hating chuck.

            1. What?! Then I’m staying home.

              1. He might be willing to switch if it will get enough votes. Maybe.

          1. Wyllie is awesome, though a dude. I mean, back in August his state tour was holding meet-and-greets at craft breweries. What’s not to like?

            Back in 2010 with nobody worth voting for on the ballot I wrote in Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck for Gov/Lt. Gov. I’m not sure who I’d have written in this year without Wyllie on the ballot.

            1. You voted for the Mouse? Holy cow, don’t you know that counts? It already exerts too much influence in Florida as it is.

      2. Down here in Broward/Palm Beach, I cannot abide your ridiculous Tampaxian views.

        Medicare Fraudster Rick (Dick) Scott is willing to let sick people suffer just so slimy, orange-tanned Charlie Crist can’t reclaim the elective thrown in America’s least-sane state? Well fuck YOU, good sir. Some things are more important than your electoral fortunes.

        Vote for Adrian Wylie, the candidate of Floridia’s Libertaratarienne Party, and retain a clean conscience (if not your ability to spell).

        1. I’m not going to tell you to kill yourself.

          I’m just going to hope it happens.

    2. All posters here are closet republicans except for the one true libertarian.

      1. Shreek?

  2. And if the Republicans had more foresight, they’d have made ballot access even easier, so that left-wing third parties would be in a position to drain even more votes from Democrats.

    But the impulse to protect the duopoly from third-party competition is so strong, it’s usually just the Libertarians who are able to break the ballot-access barriers their opponents set up.

    So cry me a river.

    1. The Republicans could have mitigated the damage this does to them in the polls by throwing the libertarians a few bones. Instead, it has engaged in repeated attempts to purge libertarians from the party. Bad idea, especially in Florida, where the state party went out of its way to screw the RLC.

      1. The Republicans tried intimidation, disenfranchisement, mockery, and insults, maybe it’s time they tried conciliation to woo the libertarian voters.

        I don’t mean having SoCons walk the plank and telling the libertarians “you’re my new boyfriend and I’ll totally not betray you like I betrayed the last one.” I mean things like easier ballot access (for libertarians and lefty “spoiler” parties), spending cuts, education reform, tackling the debt, etc.

        You can’t get them to take their coats off by acting like the winter storm – libertarians will only hold their coats tighter. The Reps need to be warm and friendly like Mr. Sun, so the libertarians take off their coats voluntarily.

        1. The party could certainly emphasize limited government and free market aspects of the platform without having to shitcan everything the SoCons care about.

  3. I suspect libertarian votes are siphoned from whoever’s ahead in the polls.

    Sarvis lost half his votes on election day, and most of the people who did vote for him said they’d have supported McAuliffe otherwise.

    This is entirely consistent with the more republican half of his base holding their noses and voting for Cuccinelli, while the Dem-leaning half had nothing to lose from voting for him.

    If I’m correct on this then the best showing for libertarians will be in races where one major party is significantly ahead of the other, and libertarians will be less likely to even try to vote strategically.

    1. I can understand not voting for Cuccinelli, but deliberately, on purpose, voting for a creature like McAuliffe does not compute.

  4. They always do, I’m sure. But that doesn’t mean that they only do.

    I, for example, had never voted for a Republican when I started voting for Libertarians.

  5. I think the LP can pick up votes from the lefty types whose main issues involve protecting themselves from drug laws, supporting sexual “freedom,” and supporting people who are culturally sympatico.

    They are basically non-Republicans. They might be willing to vote for a non-Democrat, unless of course their priorities include free stuff and sticking it to the SoCons.

    1. I’m still shocked that Crist got the Democratic nomination. Really? That’s the best they can do? A totally unpopular ex-governor that people already widely despise as an unprincipled twat?

      1. You assume the primary process is a rational process aimed at finding winning candidates, rather than it being the very same broken process as general elections, just on a smaller scale.

        1. I assume nothing except that Crist is a total piece of shit.

  6. Ya know, maybe sometimes its not the Libertarians fault for being a spoiler, maybe its the Republicans fault for being a statist hack. Nah, that’s crazy talk.

    1. Yep, that’s totally it. Drop the statist, spendaholic madness and maybe more libertarians will vote for you.

  7. Still confused about who Orman (Kansas) will caucus with if he wins? This might help. Fundraiser — October 16 host Jonathan Soros, Karen and John Petry. October 22 – hostliberal former Mass. Senator Chester Atkins.

    1. Orman is a Dem. Like all soi-disant Independents, he’ll caucus with the Dems.

      Unless the Repubs have a majority without him, then he’ll caucus with the Repubs.

  8. Ideally the Libertarians should draw voters from both parties in order to pull both of them their way. Really, this should be the golden age of the Democratic voter who votes Libertarian. We have had six years of Obama breaking every single promise on transparency, civil liberties and the drug war. And maybe it is. Time will tell. If it is not, then that is a problem because I don’t see how you fix things without fixing both parties.

    1. Too many Democrats are longing for the total state to make the pain go away for that to happen. They are less interested in freedom for themselves than in taking away freedoms from those they disapprove of.

      Different story for the less state-loving Democrats, but if they’re only just now getting it, they may not be much help, either.

      1. The Dems seem to have gone full fascist. The Republicans sadly make good bumbling and corrupt foils for them. The Dems are the Bolsheviks and the Republicans are the constitutional Duma.

        The Democrats going full fascist is a huge problem. i don’t know what you do. It sounds great to beat up on the Republicans for being so shitty. But do that enough and let the Democrats get enough power and it will be too late to stop them no matter how much the Republicans improve or big the L party gets.

        1. Yes, but the GOP is practically applauding all the way. When they take the Senate, if it’s business as usual again, I may never vote for a Republican again. I mean, what’s the point if total state is happening either way?

  9. I can’t imagine any issue that should matter less in deciding who to vote for, frankly.

    The “OMG, spoiler!” line is pure TEAM BE RULED suppressing challenges to their crony monopoly. If you’re discussing this for any reason other than to dismiss it, you are supporting the current duopoly of Big State cronyism. Its like saying that, since your choices from the duopoly are be limited to (a) a 20 gauge shotgun to the chest or (b) a .45 ACP double-tap, you should put a lot of thought into that choice, and not even raise the issue that perhaps a little due process is in order.

    1. Explain to me what your end game is. Lets say the Libertarian party exploeds and gets 30$ of the vote nationally. When that happens chances are the Democrats, since we have a winner take all system, end up winning everywhere even in the most red of states.

      Now that is happened and the entire country looks like California. What then? Meanwhile the Democrats use the courts or Constitutional Amendment to disarm the populace and make all forms of political speech under government control.

      So now the Republicans have been properly punished and they either transform into the party you want them to be or they die and the Libertarian party becomes the opposition party. Okay, once the Democrats get the kind of control they would have at the point, what the hell difference will it make? There won’t be a first amendment or fair elections for the opposition party to win.

      Please explain how you plan to avoid this?

      1. Simple. Tell the GOP to support libertarian candidates and stop fucking around with decrepit morons like Pat Roberts. If you or the rest of the GOP honestly believed in the scenario you outlined, you wouldn’t disagree. But they don’t, they’ll just say anything if it gets them some modicum of power.

        1. Welcome the RLC with open arms and stop trying to purge and stop the very noisy and active libertarian minority. That alone would make the party a more viable avenue for fighting the libertarian fight. One front, anyway.

        2. Because life sucks and you can’t get your pony. Who says the world owes you a good choice? Maybe the choices are a lousy government run by morons like Roberts muddling through or a fascist nightmare.

          That really sucks but there is nothing to say those are not the only choices available. You guys’ problem is that you think that there is always going to be a good option. Sorry but life doesn’t work like that.

          1. We’re not going to get off the path to totalitarian government unless something changes. The GOP has firmly avoided making those changes to date. Will it do so in 2015 with control of both houses? I will completely give up on the party as even a possible vehicle for change if it doesn’t. And I won’t be alone. There’s one other guy, too.

            1. I don’t know. The problem is that letting the Democrats take over gets us to a full totalitarian government pretty quick. Maybe we are doomed and the Republicans just delay things for a bit.

              At this point the only option seems to be stop the Democrats and hope for the best because if you don’t don’t do that you know it results in the worst case scenario.

              1. “I don’t know. The problem is that letting the Democrats take over gets us to a full totalitarian government pretty quick. ”

                John, were you unconscious during the most recent period the GOP controlled Congress and the WH? Increased spending, imitation if two wars/nation building follies, Patriot Act, creation of DHS..,

            2. The GOP, unless Rand Paul and Justin Amash can somehow force them to take up the right issues, are not going to do shit with a majority. They’ll fuss over the same old wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion, try to get us into more wars, and notch up the drug war and police state a few notches.

              1. Then we’re doomed. It’s that simple. Forget about the government power that’s increasingly unchecked. Forget about the wars and the shit foreign policy. The spending alone will wreck our economy in the relative near term. How long we have depends on how much parasitism our economic health can stand and on how long the relative weakness of our economic competitors continues.

                1. Here is a thought Pro. Maybe if the Demcorats suffered a no kidding soul crushign defeat and were left in the wilderness after Obama, they would turn on the Progs and become less insane? When that happened, the threat would be much less and you could hold the Republicans too some standards of behavior because voting Democrat wouldn’t be so harmful.

                  Why do you guys assume that only the Republicans can reform and get better from losing? Seems to me the Democrats could do the same. And since they are the most insane right now, they would have the most improvement to make.

                  1. The GOP has had its moments. 1994 was one, briefly. It has a chance to prove it’s serious in 2015. But this time, it had better be for real.

                  2. I don’t think so, John. The proggies are in full control of the Dems. The takeover is complete. I don’t see there being any turning back at this point.

                  3. Um…no…no. Voting against the bad TEAM and for the somewhat less bad TEAM is how we got into this mess. I don’t have to live your false dichotomy. We have little control over the Dems-maybe a crushing will empower their worst. You are trying to justify TEAM RED votes with an excessively ‘clever’ strategy. 2010 was the ‘red down the ballot’ year and it’s not 2010 anymore.

                    If the GOP wants my votes, nominate decent candidates. I am not asking for pure libertarian and if the opponent is especially rank I might just vote GOP anyway. But not by default. I’d vote for Tillis and probably Scott of Florida.

                    1. There’s no reason they can’t nominate even better candidates like Paul. There’s nothing particularly libertarian about Kentucky that would make Paul unelectable in other places.

                    2. One problem with “they might get better if they lose” as a strategy is that the GOP took over Congress back in the 90s, slapping the Democrats hard, then some years later took over the whole government for a decent number of years. Not to mention the steady growth of the party in the states.

                      How did the Democrats respond? By going full metal fascist.

      2. I think that in your scenario, the Libertarians basically become the new Republicans. If the Republicans are only getting 20% of the vote, then all of the people who think strategically about their votes will switch to the more successful party that more closely matches their politics. And the Libertarian party becomes somewhat less libertarian.

        Also, if a third party starts to get real traction, young and idealistic Democrats might see more hope for another party of the left.

        1. That is exactly it Zeb. The problem is that a majority of the country is not Libertarian. So Libertarians are going to have to work with people they don’t like if they ever expect to have any influence on things.

          1. Libertarians have been perfectly willing to work with the GOP. So what has the GOP done? Made it a priority to purge libertarians from their ranks.

            1. Yes, this is my problem with the Liberty through the GOP strategy. They’re actively fighting the libertarian elements. That’s not going to win them any libertarian friends, and I’m willing to lay odds that at least ten percent of GOP voters are more libertarian than not. That number may be even higher.

              1. It’s higher, I’m sure. Probably more like 15-20% and even more are libertarian leaning.

                I still agree with the take over the GOP strategy, but we can’t put all of our eggs in that basket.

                1. It’s a front in the war for liberty. We shouldn’t give it up, but we shouldn’t rely on it alone.

            2. The SOCONS would say the same thing. They see the GOP as selling out to the libertarians. Who is to say you are not both right?

              1. The SoCons are a dying breed, while libertarians are on the rise.

              2. The SoCons are servile peons and they are dying out. They’ll be dust underneath our grinding treads.

                1. There’s no need to be absolute in condemning so cons, a significant number of them are currently willing to entertain much of what we support (thanks to Obama scaring them about big federal government).

                  1. There’s some truth to this. I think a decent number of SoCons know the culture war isn’t really going to be settled in a good way by government, so the next best alternative is to at least stop the government from imposing alien views on them. Which means a weakened government.

            3. Well, here’s one libertarian who the GOP has again nominated for NY assembly. Their leadership authorized me (a non-enrollee in their party) to run on their line, and then enough of their rank & file signed a petition to nominate me.

              1. No, that’s not possible. The GOP is hostile to libertarians, purging them from their midst–as is so often stated.

                Strangely, the only libertarians in Congress ARE Republicans, but hey, why believe facts when you can believe TEaM Orange bleating?



    2. I agree. So long as the GOP remains 85% the same as the Democrats, there’s really no long-term advantage to voting straight party ticket. The path off the cliff may be a little longer with the GOP, but the edge is looming either way.

      1. This.

        And especially since the GOP establishment will do nothing to stop the Dems from moving the goalpost farther to the left and and then apologizing and trying to work with the Dems who say everyone right of that line are extremists.

      2. The GOP also has to stop being insane about immigration. The Texas state GOP stopped being nutty and they’ve been rewarded.

      3. Who is suggesting voting ‘straight party ticket’? People are suggesting voting well, and voting strategically–so you get people in office that support ever more of your beliefs while keeping those who would destroy your beliefs away from power.

        The reason this always appears to be TEAM RED cheerleading is that while it is possible for a Dem candidate to look good, to appear to be for liberty, it is a sadly all too common thing for them, once elected, to march in lockstep with the party.

        So you vote for libertarians when they can win, for Republicans when you need to keep a worse statist out of office, and for the Libertarian Party when they can either win, or when it doesn’t matter.

  10. Actually, although I’m a registered Republican, I’ve thrown the alternative framing in some of my partymates’ faces on occasion – Why is the damned Republican siphoning off votes from the Libertarian? As you can guess, that doesn’t make me hugely popular at party meetings. 🙂

    The bottom line, though, is that even if the accusation were true, it wouldn’t really matter. No candidate is “entitled” to anyone’s vote. And if the Republican party doesn’t see fit to field a candidate that libertarians can stomach, then they have no one to blame but themselves. Hell, I’d go as far as to argue that the best thing independent libertarians can do for libertarian Republicans is not to vote Republican when the party offers up a shitty candidate.

    1. You go to party meetings?

      1. I’m a member of the local Republican club. I go to their 1st Thursdays. Sometimes.

        1. The Republicans at work annoy me even more than the lefties. Probably because the Rs feel comfortable for some reason going on with their war mongering and WOD cheerleading around me, even knowing that I’m libertarian.

          The lefties just won’t talk about politics around me anymore, so that’s a relief, because there is no reasoning with those people.

          1. I’m in NYC. So, generally, I find the opposite phenomenon.

            1. Just call Obama some names like Captain Murderdrone and see how fast they stop talking to you, or even around you about politics. It works every time.

            2. Mr. Mayor, is that you?

              1. No. No way. No how.

                I did suggest the Republicans run me as the Libertarian, though. I’d loved to have seen the exploding heads when I siphoned off enough LIVs to give it to Lhota.

    2. Hell, I’d go as far as to argue that the best thing independent libertarians can do for libertarian Republicans is not to vote Republican when the party offers up a shitty candidate.

      It’s exactly the right strategy. If you have a GOP candidate that is half way decent on libertarian issues, then I will vote for them. Otherwise, I’ll vote L.

      1. The problem with this is that it’s not just Libertarians and Republicans.

        There’s another party that will do horrific things if they have power–their collective mask has already slipped enough to reveal the horror beneath to any who is not already a fellow traveller–because they’re feeling safer and safer.

    3. The answer like many answers is somewhere in the middle. When the REpublicans do things like put up Pat Roberts again, fuck them. Make them pay. When they just put up an ordinary lousy candidate and their opponent is the usual full fascist Dem, then no take the less of two evils.

      The trick is to get the Republican party to improve while also limiting the damage the Democrats can do. And that is a pretty hard trick truth be told.

      1. Except, honestly, John, I’ve heard all my life how “This is the most important election, EVER!!!”. And, really, once the election is over, it’s right back to screwing the public over in the name of bipartisanship.

        I guess it all comes down to what do you define as a lousy candidate? I’m pretty lenient in the name of building bridges. But, when I see a Marco Rubio signing off on Claire McCaskill’s campus sexual assault bill, I have to wonder why I should put much faith in my party as the bulwark against Democratic fascism.

        1. I will ask you the same thing I asked Pro. Why do you think only the Republicans can be improved by losing? Who is to say sending the Democrats out into the wilderness for a few years wouldn’t make them a little less crazy? It did in the 1980s. Why couldn’t it now?

          1. Rewarding the GOP for running candidates who are antithetical to libertarian values won’t work–the GOP will just run more like that.

            I view voting Republican as if we were a multiparty system with coalition voting. There are plenty of times–more in state and local elections–where the GOP candidate is, I dunno, 60% right from my point of view. Which is helped by the Democratic candidate often being perfectly awful. In those situations, I’ll vote for the Republican.

            When that doesn’t happen, well, it’s more likely I’ll vote LP.

            1. Sure, that sucks. But the alternative is rewarding the Democrats for 8 years of Obama and going full fascist with complete control of the government. Wouldn’t it be better to punish the Democrats and send the message you can be a crap weasel but don’t go full fascist?

              If you want to be an effective swing vote and an effective third party, you to influence both parties. Not to go all Libraltarian here, but you guys seem to have forgotten that. You can’t just write off the Dems. In fact, the Dems are the ones who need the most fixing and would benefit most from losing.

              1. Wouldn’t it be better to punish the Democrats and send the message you can be a crap weasel but don’t go full fascist?

                No. It isn’t. I’d rather have influence in the GOP than a ‘message’ to the Dems who probably won’t listen. Besides, we did this already it was 2010. We’ll punish Dems AFTER we take over the GOP. Cart, horse.

                1. Besides, we did this already it was 2010. We’ll punish Dems AFTER we take over the GOP.

                  How? By alienating the rest of the GOP and getting 35% of the vote and handing power to the Dems?

                  You want to punish the Dems by handing the government over to them. I have never seen a single person on here interested in punishing the Dems. Never. And even if there are, the only plan to do so seems to be ensure the Dems become a one party dictatorship.

              2. In fact, the Dems are the ones who need the most fixing and would benefit most from losing.

                Except, I see little if any evidence that the Democrats will ever move to a position that is anything other than hostile to individual liberty. Crazy isn’t just something they’re going through. It’s something they’ve made a commitment to. And I don’t see much evidence they’ll learn much by being banished to the wilderness beyond doubling down on crazy, which will appeal to a substantial portion of the electorate.

                At least the Republicans, libertarians can hope to reason with.

                1. Again Bill. The Democrats have gone nuts. And you guys’ plan to counter that seems to be do everything you can to ensure their opposition is divided and they get complete power.

                  I am not following the logic here other than “we hate the GOP”.

                  1. No, John, I don’t hate the GOP.

                    But, I realize that until it saves itself, there’s no way the GOP will be able to take on the Democrats. If the Democrats are crazy and half the GOP is willing to go along with them once in office in the name of bipartisanship, why is the public to take anything away from that other than “maybe crazy isn’t so bad”?

                2. E. German pols got elected 1 (more) term by promising to abolish their country, and they succeeded. If they can do it, I think the Democrats can.

          2. Well, personally, I would rather the Democrats stay crazy and lose. I am, after all, a Republican. I am partial to my party.

            As to the Republicans? Well, quite frankly, losing has improved the Republican party, or at least helped the cause of libertarianism within the Republican party (not that you would tell from some of the comments here). Libertarians have more of a voice in Republican politics than they have in the last 20 or so years.

            And I’m not saying I want Republicans to lose. I’m saying I want the to lose when they run candidates indifferent or hostile to liberty. Hell, my preference would be to see the Libertarian party whither away because the Republicans have co-opted them.

            1. I’m saying I want the to lose when they run candidates indifferent or hostile to liberty.

              In an ideal world sure. But if the Democrat is even worse, maybe it is more important for the Democrat to lose.

              1. But if the Democrat is even worse, maybe it is more important for the Democrat to lose.

                I’m not under any delusions that the Democrat won’t be. But, that doesn’t mean that a strategic retreat won’t be the long term best strategy. If accepting a somewhat worse Democrat means we can get a significantly more libertarian Republican the next go-round, it may well be a good investment.

        2. what do you define as a lousy candidate?

          Compare to avg., for one.

      2. Your ‘strategy’ is largely why we’re fucked. No thanks.

        1. How so? I’m not sure I follow.

  11. Lucas Overby pulled almost 5 percent

    Wait, what? I was just told recently on this site that the only time in the history of da whole murl, that a libertarian candidate running for a major office received more than 1% of the vote (Sarvis) and that was some super odd anomaly that will never ever in all eternity ever happen again.

    So what happens when it becomes common for libertarian candidates to get more than 5%, even more than 10% of the vote? Then the GOP have to start wanting more libertarians in the party, or they are seriously fucked.

    I see this as a good trend.

    1. It is a great trend right up until they move Libertarian and lose 10% off the other side as the Socons go third party saying exactly what you are saying.

      In both cases the Dems win, take over the courts and put an end to free speech or fair elections before anyone can get together to stop them.

      1. I don’t doubt the dangers of any type of Dem super majority. We’ve already seen that they will go batshit crazy if given the chance.

        The problem is, that the GOP in it’s current form, will not save us from that. The only value the GOP has right now in helping save the country is wrapped up in a few congress members, maybe 3. The only thing keeping the GOP from going as full on tyrant as the Dems is the fear of the tea party and libertarians.

        Do you really believe that a GOP majority made up of McCain and Boehner clones is going to save us?

        1. I don’t know. They won’t save us. But they will at least delay things a bit. There is no good option here. The best we can do is hold off the Dems for as long as possible and hope that people come to their senses before things get too horrible.

          I am convinced we are living in an age where about 40% of the population has lost their minds. It won’t last forever. But all we can do is try to limit the damage until they come to their senses.

          1. Except we know from experience they don’t delay things they boldly set off initiating new areas of government expansion and intervention like creating democracy in the Middle East, the DHS, the Patriot Act and similar things. I guess we did get a tax cut out of them last time, so there’s that.

            1. The only reason the GOP is marginally better than the Dems is that, as I already said, they have some healthy fear of their constituents in the tea party and libertarians.

              The Dems have nothing to fear from their constituents. All they have to do is not be a Republican and their group think voter base will elect them. I am really convinced now that no matter how crazy the Dems get, they cannot lose their voter base. They could preach free shit and say that all their voters have to sacrifice kitties and puppies to Gaia to stop global warming and that wouldn’t make them lose one vote.

  12. My LP votes are generally pulled from the “none of the above” party. Because, for instance, there is no fucking way I would do anything to support competing megalomaniacs Hickenlooper or Beauprez; I would rather set the voting booth on fire with me in it.

  13. If the GoP really thinks we are taking votes from them, then pass IRV laws and collect the “second place” votes.

    1. Then how could they scare up (literally) enough R votes?

    2. Of course, the opportune moment to do this would have been after the 2000 elections. They’re not called “the stupid party” for nothing…

  14. In 2000, California held a blanket presidential primary and kept track of the primary vote, according to the partisan affiliation of the voters. The presidential primary ballot had 23 candidates from each of seven parties. Out of that blanket presidential primary, three-tenths of all the registered Democrats voted for Harry Browne, the main Libertarian running for president that year. But only two-tenths of 1% of the registered Republicans voted for Harry Browne. The data is available on the Cal. Sec. of State’s web page. Find the March 2000 Statement of Votes.

  15. There is a simple polling calculation that can determine this prior to the election. It is described below. Perhaps Reason should conduct such a poll before the election where there are plans for an exit poll on election day.

    Ask the respondent what they consider their party affiliation to be. Then ask which of all ballot listed candidates is their first choice. Cross-tabulate party with candidate choice. Do this both by % and raw numbers.

    The latter recommendation is because when I ran a similar study from an actual ballot image tape many years ago I found that a greater % of Democrats were willing to cross party lines and vote for the Libertarian, but more Republicans voted and thus the LP candidate got more raw votes from Republicans. In other words the real determining factor was party turnout.

    I was able to do this study because a special election was consolidated with the primaries so the ballot image contained the party of the voter as well as who that person voted for. The registrar later decided they wouldn’t let me have a ballot image tape again because some precincts had such small turnout, potentially as low as 1 voter, that a particular image could be associated with a specific voter in the polling place sign in book.

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