Election 2014

Vote Democrat in 2014: An Election About Nothing

If you don't, the terrorists win and the Ebola warriors lose.


This article is part of a series on the libertarian vote in the 2014 midterm election. Read the alternative perspectives from other parties here and here.

Vote for inertia. Vote Democrat November 4.

As a libertarian Democrat (maybe six of us) I would be expected to counsel balloting for the party to which I have a nearly religious attachment. Wearing my "Madly for Adlai button," as a 9-year-old I rode shotgun in our Model T Ford (I am not making that up) with my mother and grandmother, taking neighbors to the polls in 1956.

The precinct committeeman in our little southern Illinois town paid Mom and Grandma $10 to haul Depression era aging ladies, their pregnant daughters, their unemployed husbands, and their World War II veteran sons to the polls, to vote a straight Democratic ticket. It was much needed cash. We were on county-run welfare, and party functionaries were still dispensing a lot of it. It was a time before the big public benefits programs of Johnson (Medicare and Medicaid) and Nixon (indexing Social Security to inflation.) Republican welfare was doled out to tax revenue rent-seekers in the highway construction business and the Cold War defense industrial complex, the former of which Eisenhower assisted and the latter he warned us about in his 1961 Farewell Address.

But back to my premise. Vote Democratic November 4, to keep bad public policy from getting worse. Because, like Seinfeld, made-for-cable Decision 2014 is a political show about nothing.

Short of a coup d'etat assault on The Homeland (über alles!) by The Terrorists or collapse of Western Civilization from failure to fully fund the "we're all gonna die" Ebola Fighters at the CDC/CNN (same thing), we will have a Democratic president and a Republican House of Representatives from January 3, 2015 until the next presidential inauguration day, January 20, 2017. All the smart congressional election prognosticators at the Cook Political Report, Rothenberg Political Report, and the University of Virginia Sabato's Crystal Ball agree with that midterm forecast.

The only question is the U.S. Senate. I would argue that believers in free markets and free minds would be served best by keeping the upper house under modest Democratic control. Republican majorities in both chambers would produce little public policy heartening to libertarians, given the veto power of a Democratic president and the continued intra-party blood-letting in a divided GOP. (See my analysis of the state of our two parties, Democratic Political Mush Vs. GOP's Three Branches and a Twig.)

Democrats won the culture policy war in the first decades of the 21st Century. True, "the future is widely misunderstood" (Ray Kurzweil, "The Singularity is Near"), but recent warp-speed change in support of gay marriage and marijuana legalization suggest the clock won't be turned back on questions of individual choice.

Republicans won the economic policy war in the 1980s and 1990s, with deregulation of some business activity and marginal tax rates far lower than when I helped shuttle Democrats to the polls in the 1950s. It was something of a pyrrhic victory for free market libertarian Republicans, given the GOP's crony capitalist friends at Big Pharma, Big Banking, and Big Defense.

Both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill can claim victory, at least for their corporate and labor union campaign donors, in the interventionist foreign policy war, waged by George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama. In that regard, non-interventionist libertarians will gain little voting Democratic and less supporting Republicans for Congress.

Eisenhower's military-industrial complex owns both parties on Capitol Hill. Republicans support our troops as welfare to war profiteers. Democrats see defense spending as a jobs program.

But there is a caveat, with which I can make a plausible libertarian argument for continuing Democratic control of the Senate. And I include even the four Democratic candidates in the militaristic Deep South, whose contests comprise over a third of the toss-up races that will decide party control of the upper body: Kay Hagan in North Carolina, Michelle Nunn in Georgia, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and Mark Pryor in Arkansas.

A much bigger anti-war faction exists among Democrats in the electorate, which was proved in 2006 when Iraq War-weary Democrat left-liberals and many Democratic-leaning independents turned out to throw out Republicans in the House, which led to more disengagement in Iraq. That is not to say a Democratic Senate could be counted on to thwart allowing more war power to either President Obama or his successor. But the Senate votes against the Bush-Cheney Iraq adventure and Obama's second war in Afghanistan were cast by Democrats.

Of course, I would be foolish to argue strongly for voting Democratic on the basis of foreign policy, because lots of lefties have turned a blind eye to Barack Obama's failure to deliver as a 2008 "anti-war" candidate. And the saber-rattling Hillary Clinton enjoys the same cognitive dissonance from Hollywood and campus liberals, who swoon over the warrior princess, despite her "America as indispensable nation" Neo-Con Lite "liberal internationalism."

I would fault no libertarian for refusing to "just encourage them" by showing up at the polls, unless you have a marijuana legalization initiative on your state ballot, in which case it would be nearly criminal to stay at home on November 4.

For the more pragmatic rest of us, it comes down to what it almost always does. Which is the least bad option? For this aging former 9-year-old political junkie, it's a vote for the Democrats. But, hey. I'm a glass-half-full, D-Reaming believer that things can only get better.

NEXT: "Asset forfeiture, drug legalization, and the mainstreaming of libertarian ideas"

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  1. Change is only good when you’re out of power. Once you’re in power, the most important thing is stability.

  2. Way to go Team Blue.


  3. In other news, today Reason decided to declare war on John’s blood pressure.

    Seriously, though, if you want to be accused of being nothing but a bunch of closet lefties, well then mission accomplished.

    1. Nah. It just makes me laugh now. I don’t know if they are leftists or what. But for whatever reason they can’t seem to admit that the election is about the unpopularity of Obama and his policies.

      I leave it to you to explain why that is. I don’t understand who they think they are fooling. I am pretty sure even Tony and Shreek admit that the election is about Obama. Hell, Obama even said as much.

      1. Do you even realize that you sound like a generic pro-Republican panelist on a cable news show?

        Why is the election about the president? Because he’s unpopular and Republicans have nothing to offer, so they want it to be about the president? Why, other than that?

        1. You know, John was being charitable to you, and here you go and show that even presuming you to have half a brain and a semblance of honesty is going too far.

          1. How is it being charitable to me to assume that I buy into the empty bullshit Republican talking point du jour? You can’t get this crap past me, I pay attention. Why is the election about the president? Aren’t there issues and individual candidates running? Why is the only issue the president? Are we going to sit here and pretend that it’s not because the Republicans have no ideas that appeal to people and they want to coast to a majority on his poll numbers? Are we all fucking morons here?

            1. Recently the president has implicitly and explicitly (when trying to appeal to black voters) said that this election is about him. In other words you are more out of touch than those Japanese soldiers they used to find on remote islands still holding out unaware that the war was over. They had the excuse of not knowing better.

              1. Sorry I can only talk about nothing for so long.

                1. Tony|10.28.14 @ 1:14PM|#
                  “Sorry I can only talk about nothing for so long.”

                  But you can lie about it forever, shitstain.

            2. But the president is responsible for the many unpopular policies. Just like Bush was. And many Dems supported those policies.

              If voters concentrated solely on the merits, then Obama isn’t president right now. The guy was some junior senator who achieved nothing of importance (outside of academia) in his life and reneged on a few promises he made to the black community in Chicago.

              Who are you trying to kid? Obama rode a wave of anti Bush sentiment and personal charisma to the white house. The people who thought this guy was going to save us from evil are the same folk who think OJ was innocent and that Michael Brown was executed by surrendring. It’s ALL identity politics in America. For both sides.

    2. Nah, this is only the view of one writer. Not all of the Reason staff.

      1. True, and they might just be preempting criticism before a long stream of articles making the opposite case.

        Still, it does seem kind of funny to read an article saying “preserve the political status quo” after spending years criticizing it.

        The Reason staff didn’t even write it, but they did decide to run it.

        1. It reminds me of their “to vaccinate or not to vaccinate” debate from the magazine several months ago…allowing all sides to have an actual discussion on the topic.

        2. You know, I usually don’t read the articles either, but they do kind of give away the whole plan right at the top of the page:

          This article is part of a series on the libertarian vote in the 2014 midterm election. Read the alternative perspectives from other parties here and here.

    3. Meh, look at who wrote it…

      Terry Michael, a former Democratic National Committee press secretary, is director of the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism.

      And that is the best they could come up with for GO TEAM BLUE?

      1. There is no reason whatsoever to vote for the Democrats right now. Even if the GOP is totally hopeless, the only chance for anything different at all happening in DC is for the Congress to be in the hands of the opposition party.

        There might be a different argument in 2016, but the truth is that the Democrats look like they’re going to throw crap against the wall and hope it sticks as a candidate, which makes a GOP takeover of the whole government seem very likely.

        1. War on women! Teathuglicans! Koch brothers!

          *audience laughter*

          1. Unfortunately, those idiotic catch phrases work on the low information voter pool that dems seem intent on cultivating.

        2. I think I’d vote for Cory Brooker, Polis, and Bellows of Rhode Island. Maybe one other Dem. Other than that, they are a wasteland.

      2. And Nick Gillespie was on here two days ago writing the exact same thing. Nick is parroting the Democratic talking points that the election is about nothing and couldn’t possibly be a rejection of Obama. Worse, since Obama has been anything but Libertarian, why the hell would the editor of a Libertarian publication not want to spin the election as a rejection of Obama?

        And you guys wonder why I think Nick is a lefty pretending to be a Libertarian to get a pay check. How else do you explain that?

        1. What evidence would settle the question, one way or another, of what the election is “about”, if anything?

          If anything, it’s “about” different things to different people regarding different candidates, and I’m reluctant to even grant that.

        2. I’m going to have to read the article again now. But I could have sworn that Nick’s article was about what the major parties want the election to be about, not what he thought it was about.

          1. OK, I’ve no w mostly read the article. And it does seem indeed to be about what the major parties are doing, not Nick;s view of the election. The point is that both parties are campaigning on stupid bullshit that doesn’t matter. And that point seems pretty valid. Yes, of course the election is largely about Obama. Midterms always are largely about the president.
            I think that the Democrats win the stupid bullshit contest with the war on women crap and the obsession with the Koch brothers, but I don’t see Republicans making any bold stands or promises to undo the bad that the administration has done. I mostly see them trying to marginalize any of their members who want to do anything that might really help.

            Nick is really not my favorite writer at Reason by far, but I think he did a pretty good job reporting on the pointless and stupid stuff that most of the campaigns in this election are focusing on.

    4. Er, this is one writer, who worked for the Democratic party for a long time in a series intended to show differing points of view. It doesn’t have anything to do with what the Reason staff thinks about the election. How hard is it to look at who wrote the article?

  4. He’s got a point. Most of the Republicans in Congress aren’t very libertarian. Where I’ll end up voting Republican is the presidential primaries. Although on a state and local level (I’m in Ohio) I’ll likely vote anti-incumbent. Our governor is horrible. He’s kept gay marriage and medicinal marijuana off the ballot despite plenty of signatures being collected for them. And now the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate got kicked off the ballot just because of three people who collected signatures (about one apiece) were not registered Libertarians. Ugh. I may write him in lol

    1. He’s got a point. Most of the Republicans in Congress aren’t very libertarian.

      Of course, neither are most of the Democrats, and in fact it would be safe to say that presently the Democrats in Congress have fewer libertarians among their ranks than the Republicans right now.

      But of course we’re talking about electing people who aren’t in Congress right now, so evaluating them really ought to be done case-by-case rather than by extrapolation from the people who are sitting in Congress.

  5. I am pretty sure it is an election about how much people hate President Obama. That may not be something Reason likes, but it is something and definitely not nothing.

    It wasn’t about nothing in 2006 when people voted to reject George Bush. And the same is true here. I really don’t understand why Reason has such a problem admitting that.

  6. More Hairy Reed? More of the last six years? That’s like advocating for more of the Jon Boner led House of Rep. No thank you. All these people are complete failures when the subject of Liberty comes up.

  7. Here we go again. There can be no alliance with total statists. Period. Even what little fellow-traveling we do with Republicans is driven by only two things: (1) They’re a quasi-minority power and willing to sound more rhetorically opposed to “Big Government” for the moment, and (2) there is a significant minority of people who could be classified as libertarians within the GOP. That’s really not very satisfying, but at least some of those idiots don’t want complete state control over everything.

    1. I can see working with Amash and Massie, but damned few other Elephants. I can’t think of a single Donkey that isn’t statist more than 50% of the time and would have Pelosi and Reid running the show for O!

      1. Yes, it’s a bleak and arid desert when it comes to looking for anti-statists in either major party. And, just like in the desert, many you think you see are merely mirages.

      2. In my experience, republican people tend to be much more open to libertarian arguments than democrats. Just one man’s experience, but that’s why i have more faith in repubicans than i do democrats. It is true that Republican politicians are nearly all terrible.

        1. My experience as well. They have blindspots, but they seem more receptive to the idea that government should stay out of some things.

        2. It’s true that politicians are nearly all terrible.

    2. They want exactly as much state control as Democrats, they just pay lip service to the non-concept of small government. Good god you people are such fucking dupes.

      1. Their function in the current election is in opposition to the Democratic president who is not up for election. You are either (as always) too stupid or too mendacious to admit that we have a political system slightly more complicated than “the President controls the government”.

        1. Was this a response to me because I don’t even know what you’re talking about.

          1. So, too stupid, then?

          2. Tony|10.28.14 @ 1:04PM|#
            “Was this a response to me because I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

            Yeah, shitstain, we’re very familiar with your lack of reading comprehension.

  8. “As a libertarian Democrat”

    Well, ’nuff said.

    1. Oxymoron seems too tepid a term.

      1. Usefulidiotarian is a little clunky, though.

        1. Is there a wordsmith here? Anyone?

          1. is this guys writing gets into print, I’m cancelling my subscription

          2. SF or HM probably could give us a term.

          3. Say, any of you boys wordsmithies? Or, if not wordsmithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the linguistic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin’?

  9. I don’t know about the campaigns in your states, but in VA it has become a complete joke. This commercial ran while I was watching monday night football.

    1. It is a good position. It is just pathetic that it would even be an issue in the first place much less an important enough one some politician thought taking a stand on it would do him good.

    2. Hey, can’t let important matters be settled by, oh, the market!

      1. Yeah, the market was doing just fine for 60-odd years. Suddenly there’s been a collective butthurting on behalf of the PC crowd, and so far the guys in charge of the Redskins are telling them to go fuck themselves. So the whinybutts have to turn to Big Brother Government for help.

        Come to think of it, this Redskins scuffle is playing out to be a microcosm of the KULTUR WAR? overall, isn’t it…

  10. He’s still doing this? That’s adorable!

  11. To paraphrase the South Park guys, I don’t like Republicans but I really fucking hate Democrats.

    Want to know a surefire way to ensure that I will never, ever, EVER vote for a member of your party? Vote to gut the First Amendment, which every single worthless sack of shit Dem senator did. Fuck you until the end of time. I will vote for an LP candidate if possible, a halfway decent Republican if not, or I’ll stay home.

    1. ^This. I still won’t vote for any R that voted for McCain-Feingold.

      1. That is an excellent stance. Piss on all those bastards (oh and Booosh – “Derp, it is unconstitutional, but imma gonna sign anyway!”)

        1. Yeah, Swiss, that was especially enraging.

      2. Presumably, you won’t vote for any Democrat who voted for it either?

        1. Correct.

    2. I will stay home if possible, or if not, I’ll set the ballot on fire, or if not, I’ll poop in the ballot box. They still have those, right?

      1. Hmm. I hadn’t thought of involving poop in my voting.
        I’ve been seriously considering unregistering so people stop calling me and sending me stupid flyers, but I might have to go and poop in the ballot box instead.
        “Sorry, I’m voting for a write-in candidate whose name can only be spelled using human shit”

    1. Do your supervisors flog the Bangladeshi and Indonesian employees if they do not clean up to standard?

  12. Democrat hack says vote Dem. This is news?

    recent warp-speed change in support of gay marriage and marijuana legalization suggest the clock won’t be turned back on questions of individual choice.

    As nice an appeal to cosmotarian tunnel-vision as you will ever see.

    Our government successfully waging a war on individual choice across a very broad spectrum. Handwaving about gay marriage and pot legalization is good way to distract from that.

    1. Because the Democratic Party is totally leading the way on marijuana legalization…

      1. If you are a single issue pot voter the best bet is to support the Democrats for sure. And I say that we someone who finds liberaltarian fusionism a complete joke.

        1. Maybe nationally. In my state we would have decriminalization and a non-useless medical pot law if it weren’t for Democrat governors trying to be all serious and centrist.

    2. recent warp-speed change in support of gay marriage and marijuana legalization suggest the clock won’t be turned back on questions of individual choice.

      The real reason this is hilarious is that it just makes voting Dem make less sense. If those issues are settled why would you care about them when you vote?

  13. I must have missed the part of this article where he argues why the Democrats are actually better. This was really the best they could come up with? Hey, maybe we’ll be sorta kinda anti-war again the next time there’s a Republican in the White House?

    Embarrassing, but points for trying, I suppose.

  14. This is absurd. Is this a sophisticated satire that I’m failing to get? If not, I’m embarrassed for reason that they published this.

    1. I suppose it is useful in showing how completely useless the Democrats are at this point.

      To me at this point the only thing that Democrats are at all better on is abortion. And they have become so obsessed with making other people pay for stuff that they have completely turned me off.

  15. I never argue that electing Republicans would be purposeful in solving any problem in the known universe. But to my horror I’m almost considering the idea that a full Republican Congress would be a good thing for the country long-term. They won’t be able hide behind the dastardly Harry Reid any longer. They’d have to pass bills that would expose their radicalism, and they might even do impeachment (for the high crime of Obama-ing). God knows without a Dem majority in both houses no real progress on anything is getting done. Might as well give Mitch McConnell his lifelong wish and make them attempt to govern. Of course Justice Ginsburg would be obligated to stay alive for at least two years.

    1. Lol.

    2. Shut up, shitstain. You won’t look so stupid.

    3. Good. Vote Republican and put your theory to the test. Then go fuck yourself.

  16. The DemocratS in the Senate chose to try and remove the “Congress shall make no law” langauge from the 1st Amendment. The Dems stand against the most basic of civil liberties and this hack dares argue for them? What unbelievable gall to pitch this nonsense here.

  17. Yeah no. Voting Democrat is voting for totalitarianism further. IRS, NSA, EPA etc. It will remain if the Dems remain in control of the Senate. For as much as I loathe the GOP, it’s better than the Dems. Better to have dry wheat McConnell as Senate Leader than Dipshit Harry remaining there for two more years.

  18. So, basically, the best a loyal Democratic apparatchik can come up with is “Well, we’re not really Satan incarnate. And we probably won’t be able to screw things up a whole lot more. But, I really can’t blame you for not being willing to vote for us.”

    Pretty much confirms what I thought.

    At this point, with the Kultur Wawr won and over, there’s really not much of a libertarian case that can be made for Team Blue. Even on the social issues where they purport to be in alignment with libertarianism, they’re essentially pushing not a reduction in social control, but a different flavor of social control. For the life of me, I can’t think of a single issue that I see the Democrats as closer to libertarianism than the Republicans. Maybe this is a function of the fact that they’re in power and the Republicans are out of power. But, I can’t even think of a single prominent Democrat who I’d say is even modestly-libertarian leaning.

  19. What’s the basic difference between a “libertarian democrat” and a “libertarian republican”? Are libertarian democrats in favor of the NSA allowing people to smoke marijuana while they’re surveilling them? Are libertarian republicans in favor of allowing people politely criticize Rick Warren?

  20. libertarian democrat? probably the dumbest thing i’ll hear today…

  21. Supreme Court. It’s that simple. We need a Republican Senate to prevent Obama from cementing in place for “progressive” justices, or worse, adding one or two “progressives,” to the Court. As libertarian law professor David Bernstein has written:

    “‘Libertarians have been heavily involved in some of the most important constitutional Supreme Court litigation of the last two decades, either in terms of bringing the case, being among the most important advocates of one side’s constitutional theory, or both. Among the cases in this category are Lopez, Morrison, Boy Scouts v. Dale, U.S. Term Limits, Grutter, Gratz, Kelo, Raich, Heller, and probably a few more that I’m not thinking of offhand. With the minor exception of Justice Breyers’ vote in Gratz, in each of these cases, the ONLY votes the libertarian side received were from Republican appointees, and all of the Democratic appointees, plus the more liberal Republican appointees, ALWAYS voted against the libertarian side. The latter did so even in cases in which their political preferences were either largely irrelevant (Term Limits), or should have led them to sympathize with the plaintiff (Lopez, Kelo, Raich).’

    “To those examples we can add McDonald, Citizens United, American Tradition Partnership, NFIB v. Sebelius, and, I’m sure, a few others that I’m forgetting.”

    I’ll add to that Hobby Lobby, McCutcheon v. FEC, NLRB v. Noel Canning, and again, probably others that we’re forgetting.

    1. Yep. Once they get five proggie votes on the court they’re going throw down decisions which will allow for the govt to burn the first and second amendments to the ground.

  22. Maybe democrat libertarians will let us pick which uniform we wear when we’re assigned to our government mandated re-education and indoctrination unit.

  23. While I voted to force as many runoffs as possible with all the available Libertarian candidates, the truth about the biggest race in Georgia, that for the Senate, is that the winner will be a freshman senator, quickly falling in line with party leadership. Every “outsider” has to get with the program upon assuming office.

  24. Calling yourself a Libertarian is what all the cool kids are doing…all Democrats are a big government liberals by default.

    I have many Democrat friends here in Minnesota (one of the few places where every Dem will be re-elected by the idiot voters) and they all call themselves Libertarians. They have never once voted for any candidate but a fat Democrat. Horrible, moronic Democrats like Mark “extra chromosome” Dayton and Al “97% voting with Obama” Franken.

    Please don’t lump your stupid big spending, big taxes, big government beliefs with small government, less spending, less taxes libertarianism.

  25. No,no,no. I’ve never voted for a republican for anything. Yet I will never vote for another democrat since they’ve gone all in on Moar Free Shit. The mask has slipped and they are out to stay in power by buying votes, to me it’s as simple as that.

  26. Sorry, Democrats are so intellectually bankrupt, there is no way that voting for them could be a better for libertarians than Repubs. You are 10x more likely to find a Republican with a soft spot for gay marriage or pot legalization than you are to find a Democrat with a soft spot for Austrian Economics.

  27. For this aging former 9-year-old political junkie, it’s a vote for the Democrats.

    So you are saying your political ideas have not matured since you were 9? Yep, you are a Democrat alright.

  28. A “D” vote is a vote that says:
    I approve of Harry Reid, all he stands for, and all he does (or doesn’t do).

    1. It’s pretty amazing how you guys can turn the most milquetoast Mormon into a horned villain.

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  30. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail

    ———————- http://www.jobs700.com

  31. lol libertarians are morons. 300 million+ people, a rapidly aging population, the most complex economy on earth and you want to run it with a bunch of local yokel town halls. there’s not a single goddamn country on the face of the earth that bases its governance on anything close to your dumbass libertarian principles because we don’t live in the 18th century. the us comes closest right now and you pussies do nothing but whine and bitch. i can’t wait for rand paul to shit his diaper in the primaries after which hillary will kick whatever pussy ass bitch the republicans nominate in his empty nutsack.

    also, my sister’s mother-in-law’s brother’s cousin makes $97 an hour on the internet! click her to learn how: http://eatshitreason.com

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