Vote Libertarian to Stop the Next 'Bipartisan' Disaster

The failed drug war? Mass surveillance? $17 trillion debt? All that and more, thanks to Republicans and Democrats working together.


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.

Pick a problem. Any problem. There's a pretty good chance both major parties—Republicans and Democrats—share responsibility for it.

The $17 trillion national debt? Thank bipartisan over-spending. Republicans love to highlight the explosion of the debt under Democrat Barack Obama, but they conveniently forget about the doubling of the debt under Republican George W. Bush.

The mass surveillance state? Thank bipartisanship. The so-called "Patriot" Act infamously sailed through the U.S. Senate in 2001 with only one dissenting vote. As Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid (NV) bragged about "killing" the bill in a speech to party activists in 2005, though all he really did was temporarily delay reauthorization. Just six years later, with his party in control of the White House and the Senate, Reid let his true colors show when he accused Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) of endangering national security for seeking to have a debate about the bill.

Our unconstitutional, interventionist foreign policy? Thank both parties. Barack Obama is now the fourth consecutive president—two from each party—to initiate new bombing campaigns in Iraq. Back when Republicans were in power, then-Senator Barack Obama said, "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." His bombing campaigns against Libya and ISIS tell a different story.

The failed drug war? The highest incarceration rate in the world? Militarized police? Abusive asset-forfeiture regimes? Republicans and Democrats have staunchly supported all of it.

Rampant corporate welfare? In 2008, when Republicans were the ones supporting the Export-Import Bank, candidate Barack Obama called it little more than corporate cronyism, but in 2014, it was Democrats lining up to support it. Virginia's Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine introduced the reauthorization bill, and President Obama signed it. That's just one issue among many. Cronyism is rampant in both parties, and its choking off our economic vitality.

Even the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask Don't Tell were bipartisan schemes when passed.

George Carlin was right: "Bipartisanship usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out."

The two-party system isn't working because both major parties are working against freedom and the public interest. Bipartisanship gets us nowhere when both major parties are part of the problem.

Luckily, there is a different option that is gaining more and more support every year. The Libertarian Party has been on the right side of issue after issue for forty years, and that's for one simple reason—a principled commitment to America's greatest political value: freedom. Candidates for elected office under the Libertarian Party banner are running for simple reason: We believe both major parties are broken, neither will protect ALL your liberties, and voters deserve a better option.

That's especially true for nearly a quarter of the American public that leans libertarian. That's one-fourth of the population without a natural home in either major party. They can find a home in the Libertarian Party.

The simplest reason, then, for a libertarian to vote Libertarian is to vote according to their conscience. People like Adrian Wyllie (Governor in Florida), Sean Haugh (U.S. Senate in North Carolina), John Buckley (U.S. Senate in West Virginia), Andrew Hunt (Governor in Georgia), and the late Douglas Butzier decided to run as Libertarians for the right reasons—not for self-aggrandizement or personal gain but to spread our message of personal and economic liberty and to give voters something to be proud of voting FOR.

This time of year, Republican and Democratic candidates and their media apologists will court the libertarian vote—which, make no mistake, is a swing vote—by trying to get libertarians to vote against their conscience. They spread myths like "You must vote for the lesser of the two evils" or "Voting Libertarian is a wasted vote." Perhaps the most pervasive, and most duplicitous, is the notion that Libertarians "spoil" elections and "steal" votes from the other candidates.

I've had to fight that argument for over a year, first in my history-making campaign for Governor of Virginia last year, and now in my campaign for U.S. Senate. Though I've heard it from both sides on the campaign trail, it's more common in Virginia to hear it from Republicans, who continue to lose statewide elections and refuse to admit they've made themselves unpalatable to the electorate through hypocrisy on economic matters and stridently illiberal social policies.

But it's not true—we aren't "spoilers," even if you buy into the concept. Even conservative analysts who have actually looked at the results concluded that I did not "spoil" last year's race. A recent University of Mary Washington poll found that the "second choice" for Virginians who support me this year splits very evenly between those who support Democrat Mark Warner, those who support Republican Ed Gillespie, and and those who wouldn't vote at all. Libertarians like me actually increase turnout among independents and libertarians, and we provide an outlet for both disaffected progressives and conservatives. Even if we did "spoil" elections, those votes are not "stolen." Any Republican or Democrat who loses simply did not earn enough votes.

Oddly enough, it goes both ways. Just one state south of Virginia, Democrats are the ones worried the Libertarian will "spoil" the race, in part because of independent expenditures highlighting his positions on marijuana legalization and foreign policy.

Republicans and Democrats will cynically trot out whatever argument suits them best in any particular election. Vote Libertarian to reject their cynical, partisan games—and vote for both sides of the libertarian equation.

Voting Libertarian will also help grow our party and movement. The media will take notice if Libertarians pull in record-breaking numbers. Pundits already believe our country is having a "libertarian moment." The two major parties will only seek to take advantage of that moment for short-term political gain. Neither can be trusted to rein in the debt, the surveillance state, or America's foreign policy adventurism.

But even without winning, we are changing the dialogue and putting issues into the forefront that were previously ignored. In both my statewide campaigns, I've talked extensively about asset forfeiture reform. I'm pleased to see a Republican in the Virginia General Assembly intends to introduce reform legislation. By volunteering, contributing to, and voting for Libertarians on November 4, you will help bring attention to more issues like this.

Depending on your state, a vote for the Libertarian is also an investment in improving state and local politics via more open and competitive elections. If I break 10 percent, the Libertarian Party of Virginia will gain major-party status here. That means Libertarian candidates in upcoming cycles won't have to face huge obstacles and unequal treatment just to get on the ballot.

That's important because Virginia elections are notoriously uncompetitive. Every two years, nearly half of Virginia House of Delegates races go unopposed. Libertarians could shake up the state in two-way races. Both establishment parties in the Old Dominion participate in a cronyist political culture. In recent months, both have been caught offering a state senator competing enticements to convince him to resign or stay in his post and affect the partisan balance. Voting Libertarian sends a message against this politics-as-usual corruption that plagues both parties.

Our success at the ballot box will also spread the libertarian message to those looking for something different, especially younger voters. Reason-Rupe's July poll found that a majority of millennial voters are willing to support a candidate who is both socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

My campaigns have helped demonstrate, despite having limited resources and being excluded from the debates, that we can start winning them over. After my success with millennials last year, both my Democrat and Republican opponents have scrambled for college students' votes, with varying degrees of success. A just-published Christopher Newport University poll of voters between the ages of 18 and 35 found that 24 percent support me versus only 11 percent for Ed Gillespie, the Bush-era Republican operative and corporate lobbyist.

47 percent in the Christopher Newport University poll said they support Democrat Mark Warner, but the Reason-Rupe poll also strongly suggests that younger voters are reflexively leaning Democrat not out of any real partisan or ideological commitment, but simply because they dislike Republicans more. Imagine what would happen if Warner had actually accepted the University of Mary Washington invitation for a three-candidate debate, and I could have exposed to college students his disastrous record in support of the surveillance state and against reforms to better protect our civil liberties.

Besides libertarians and millennials, there are independents and moderates who simply believe Washington is broken, and there are those who are so jaded by politics they don't pay much attention anymore. We want to give all of them a better option. By voting Libertarian, YOU can help show them that they have a better option.

The two major parties got us into the messes we face. Libertarians can get us out of it. Wherever you are, vote Libertarian.

NEXT: British Authorities Drop 'Extreme Pornography' Charge When They Realize the Tiger Is Actually a Man in a Tiger Suit

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  1. "Go ahead, throw your vote away"

    1. "Fuck, at this point, why not?"

      1. To waste your vote on a hopeless candidate - someone like Sarvis - is worse that illogical. It hands defeat to one of the two major parties, the one you are LEAST affiliated with, since you will vote for a third party candidate only if he is aligned with your political ideology. It is CLEAR that there are differences among Democrats and the GOP. Pretending there aren't is the talking point of (1) libertarians like Sarvis and (2) Democrats who are facing a backlas, to split the GOP vote

        1. Is Gillespie not hopeless? How is voting for him, or Warner for that matter, any more of a "waste" than voting for Sarvis? The chance that a vote for any candidate actually swings the outcome of the election is astronomically low.

          There is a tangible victory for Sarvis and in fact all future third party candidates if he hits the 10% mark, which would grant automatic ballot access to other Libertarian candidates. Furthermore, by voting for a third party candidate you are sending a message to politicians and your fellow citizens that you are no longer tolerating politics as usual, the two party monopoly, and the failed policies of the major parties. If you want to take a step away from politics as usual, vote for Sarvis. If you'd rather confine yourself to the major party candidates, even in an election that is already a virtual lock, go right ahead but it is you that is wasting your vote.

        2. Many elections, including those in DC and probably even Virginia, are not close. Voting for the person who polls show is going to win is a waste; voting for the person polls say will lose is a wasted vote.

          Voting Libertarian grows a new party.

    2. Not to worry, I've done so already.

    3. +1 I don't understand why we have to build a ray gun to aim at a planet I never even heard of

      1. If we don't, who will!?

        For teh childrenz!

      2. simple. If we don't, that planet will send aliens across the mexican border. So we need the ray gun and a wall.

    4. That's John's line.

    5. The late Douglas Butzier will still get my vote instead of the others.

  2. Why should I care what Ricky Gervais says?

    1. Because he's a comedian like Jon Stewart, which means he's, like, an authority and stuff.

  3. Just one state south of Virginia

    One state south of Virginia is SC or Georgia. As far as I know, neither one happens to be North Carolina.

  4. It doesn't matter who you vote for, your vote is statistically insignificant. That's why people use their votes for social signaling instead; they're actually vastly more valuable for that than for actually getting the policies you want enacted.

    1. ; they're actually vastly more valuable for that than for actually getting the policies you want enacted.

      That's a fucking fact, if only because the policies I want enacted are basically a pipe dream.

    2. For those who want to vote against the two parties but don't have an LP option, I suggest writing in "Warty Hugeman." Or, if you want a real name, one of the staffers here. Maybe Elizabeth Nolan Brown, since she deigns to mix with the common commenters?

      1. Sorry, ProL, if I write in anyone it's going to be me, just because ENB won't fuck any of us anyways.

        1. At least, not willingly.

          1. She is a real person you know and can see that. And people may be able to figure out who you are.

        2. Um, okay, I'm not sure that was in what I wrote. Write in Warty, then.

          1. " Or, if you want a real name, one of the staffers here. Maybe Elizabeth Nolan Brown, since she deigns to mix with the common commenters?

            See!? You wrote it right there. Mixing = rape.

            1. You're the reason there are no libertarian women.

              1. If that's true, what are the rest of you assholes doing here!?

                1. We're just not comfortable around women. We don't actively repel them.

      2. "I voted for Warty Hugeman because he promised not to travel back in time and rape my ancestors to death. But like most politicians, he promised more than he could deliver."

        1. Well, if you're here, probably no pre-conception death for G-G-whatever-dad and no pre-delivery death for G-G-whatever-mom. Though, of course, who your G-G-whatever-dad is may be in question.

          1. Joking aside, time-traveling rape-death should be outlawed.

            1. i saw that movie about future crime. Tom Cruise sucked.

              1. Yeah, Warty isn't that short.

              2. He's referring to Time Cop, you ignorant wretch.

    3. Actually voting Libertarian is much more significant aince minimum numbers of votes are needed to obtain or maintain ballot status and save each state LP tens of thousands of dollars in ballot drive expenses.

  5. Vote against the people who have done everything they can to fuck things up. Vote Libertarian.

  6. And so down goes the narrative about the gridlock between the two parties that allows freedom to reign. And the lesser of two evils meme is pretty much dead.

    We are screwed, but good. Anyone who has cared to read the Financial Report of the United States Government the last 10 years knows it.

    1. I think that narrative was down for a while. I remember Reason running an article about how, in time of gridlock in congress, the President tends to run more unchecked, which has been bad for liberty.

    2. Anyone who has read Lord of the Flies knows we're screwed.

  7. One of the puzzles of recent elections is why do Chinese vote for Democrats. About 75% do. No one has an answer for that. Chinese are smarter than Europeans, consistently scoring 6 to 7 points higher on standardized IQ tests. This measurement even pings in remote villages. They are the primary victims of multiculturalism. Having an engineering college almost fully populated by Chinese students is a bad news for advocates vibrant diversity.

    Take a stab at this. Trust me, you won't say anything more outrageous than has already been said.

    1. I'll give you a hint: It starts with "C" and isn't "Cunt."

      1. Canadian bacon?

        1. Chopsticks?

    2. Anything to the right of authentic, full-blown, out in the open communism would appear to be freedom loving. (The line being defined as to the left, it ends at complete totalitarianism, to the right and you end at complete anarchy.)

      The Miami Cubans have usually been big Republicans. But if/when the Castro gang is gone, I'll bet that support quickly goes to Democrats.

    3. My guess, from what I've seen, is that party affiliation is more about social positioning than anything else. Because the Republicans (and especially anyone who aligns themselves with splinter groups such as the SoCons and the "Tea Party", boundaries which at this point I can't really even define) are viewed as a big joke in pop culture and establishment media, it is hard for anybody (not just Asians) to think about political positions intuitively.

      1. Yeah, I think 'go with the winners' is part of it but when the winners are opposed to your self-interest some explaining is left undone.

        It a big thing among Chinese to have their kids grow up to be professionals. MDs and engineers are first tier. Tradesmen are second tier. Lawyers, accountants, and money managers are third tier. You gotta love that. Aside from the MDs they're the opposite of Jews.

        1. Social positioning is far more powerful than you think, IMO. This would not be a politically correct example in a place like, say, the Huffington boards, but I will say it here: a good example of this in my personal environment is the growing number of middle-to-lower income Americans of Nigerian, Kenyan, Ethiopian, and Ghanaian descent. These groups are generally far less welfare dependent on average than other population groups, and would probably just as strongly benefit from more pro-free market policies as Chinese/Korean-Americans would, but they too are mostly Democrat-leaning voters as well if eligible. Clearly I need to look more into it, but I do wonder about how powerful a vote for a Democrat is to show the "right" colors to your peers.

    4. "One of the puzzles of recent elections is why do Chinese vote for Democrats."

      I'd have to say that the answer, although not complete, is:

      1. In recent decades, Democrats have been more slanted toward tolerance and diversity as well as women's rights (LOTS of Asian women in business)....as opposed to the GOP statements of women being better off home preggy and barefoot (Santorum, Former VA Gov, etc.).

      2. Chinese recognize the danger of TOO MUCH Authoritarianism, and - no matter what this site and these commenters claim - the GOP and the American Right is more Authoritarian than the left.

      Examples in the real world include the GOP and their "Christian Nation" BS, when many Chinese may base their world view on more common sense such as taosim.

      American's of Asian decent are also, IMHO, much less likely to be gun-toting Rednecks, so they aren't likely to be in that "2nd Amendment over ALL of our other liberties" crowd either.

      Does any of that make sense?

      1. Does any of that make sense?

        No, you fucking moron.

      2. How does the 2nd amendment, in any manner practiced by any American, in any way "crowd out" any of our other liberties? Do you think you have the right not to be scared by armed people minding their own business? A related question: do you think you have the right to not be scared by [fill-in-sexual-orientation-here] people minding their own business?

        Cognitive dissonance must hurt.

      3. It's very sad the Christian Authoritarians beheaded you. But impressive that you can still type.

      4. *raises hand* I'm Asian and I'm a gun toting redneck. I'm also a Satanist so I may be an anomaly.

    5. Just because a lot of engineers are Chinese doesn't mean that a lot of Chinese are engineers.

      But the reason Asians vote Democratic is the same reason African Americans do: the Republican party isn't even trying to get their votes.

      If Republicans are smart, they'll figure out how to get rid of the social conservatives (shove those social engineers and big government nannies over to the Democrats) and attract Chinese and Indians.

    6. Robert Sarvis, incidentally, is half Chinese.

  8. Bipartisan; any measure or movement sufficiently stupid to attract support from both parties.

    Seriously; if you want your vote to count, vote in the primaries. Better yet, be involved in the whole process. Nominees for the party ballot come from those who are active all year, not those who only vote every two years.

    1. You would be exactly right if you actively register for one party, but most primaries are not open ones. A movement that I will actively try to get into in the future is to call for all the primaries in my home state (NC) to become open to all parties and affiliations. That may go a long way towards recruiting candidates that appeal to the growing number of libertarian-leaning independents.

      1. Well. You can pck one party and try to subvert its existing culture, or you cantry to come in with a third party and build strength until you have a place at the table. Not sure which one is the right way to go, but I AM sure that lots of people will have strong opinions.

  9. "trying to get libertarians to vote against their conscience"

    Voting isn't about your conscience. It's not a goddamn sacrament. It's not a pity-prize or an expression of deep personal affection. That's sentimental magical-thinking claptrap.

    You vote to choose representatives who will advance your agenda, interfere with an opposing agenda. Someone who will not be elected can never do those things. Unless the Libertarian candidate serves this purpose for you, you should not vote for them.

    1. You vote to choose representatives who will advance your agenda,

      I see a TEAM PLAYER.

      1. What Sarvis is asking for is TEAM politics. Libertarians are a TEAM, just not a winning one. If they ever do become a winning side it will be because they have developed a base of TEAM voters large enough. Libertarians only appear pure because they have no power to lose byby compromise.

        Though reason seems to be quite willing to compromise the integrity of free speech to give Dem TEAM player a voice in this blog.

        1. "What Sarvis is asking for is TEAM politics. Libertarians are a TEAM, just not a winning one."

          So, if a Libertarian is elected and their record is anything less than 100% perfection, we should then blame all the troubles in the country and world on them and vote in whatever other new party comes along and makes empty promises?

          1. Well, blame people for the problems they cause. I can see how that's confusing to you...

  10. Don't blame me -- I voted for Kodos.

  11. Robert Sarvis is an asshole fraud. He kept a genuine constitutionalist from getting elected Governor last year and he's not even a real libertarian. He spoken in favor of Medicaid expansion and a mileage tax of sorts which would not only take more out of your pocket, but also invade your privacy at the same time since it would take some kind of monitor. Sorry but no thank you. I won't support you. I don't even live in Virginia. I live in Oklahoma. And I may vote for the libertarian candidate for Governor cause Mary Fallin isn't my type. Not sure I'll vote for James Lankford either, but I'll be voting for Jim Inhofe my other Senator and Jim Bridenstine my congressman.

    1. He kept a genuine constitutionalist from getting elected Governor last year

      What massive voter fraud/suppression did Sarvis do to keep this constitutionalist from getting elected?

    2. Jonathan,

      What attracted you to this article? What prompted you to comment?

      Your paragraph here highly resembles many, many, other ones I've read in the past by other individuals who wrote out against Libertarian/libertarian-leaning candidates. It seems as if you are working from a script, as I suspected they were.

      If I'm wrong I apologize for my misperception.

    3. And I betcha this gen-u-ine constitutionialst was a 100 percent libertarian too, unlike that fraud Sarvis!

    4. "'but I'll be voting for Jim Inhofe"

      Pretty much classifies you as a far-right zealot.

      Do you believe in evolution?

    5. These conservative smear merchant talking points are false http://www.varight.com/news/mu.....-election/

  12. And after the election, team red and team blue will be running things despite the feelz of libertarians.

    The way to advance political principles under this system is get one or the other of the teams to adopt them. It worked pretty well for the progressives and socons.

    1. Let us know how that works out for you Hom-y.

    2. Therefore, keep sucking Republican cock even though they hit you every time they get the chance. Political Battered Wife Syndrome at its finest.

      1. Better than the other party, who picks your pocket when you are done blowing them.

        1. Implying that Team Red doesn't pick your pocket every chance it gets?

    3. I feel that some here think that the goal in voting libertarian is just about principle and nothing else. IMO, I think that there is a bigger factor in play: relevance. To me, my vote as a libertarian is far more impactful to the voting figures than any vote for one of the two major parties because if I can personally contribute to an increase in their votes, their platforms and ideas will become more relevant to both of the mainstream parties. If either party is able to support candidates with more libertarian principles because our ideas become more relevant, I think it's a huge win in favor of voting for the third party.

  13. I actually had about four or five Libertarian candidates available on the Georgia ballot, including insurance commissioner and a seat on the Public Service Commission.

  14. Why not take a more real world example - the "Free State Project", although it has not panned out fully, has had many thousands move to a particular small state, giving it - in theory - a vastly larger voting block than any other "Libertarian" would have.

    Free Staters have been elected to NH political positions.

    But, overall, has the political situation in this small and low population state been changed? From here (close by), I don't see it. Republicans controlled the state until the 90's, but now it is split down the middle with a +1 toward Democrat from political reporters.

    Based on this - a fairly politically astute state - I'd say the idea of electing Libertarians elsewhere is about like the reform MN saw from Jesse Ventura (that is, nothing).

  15. "They can find a home in the Libertarian Party."

    Can we? It seems that there are a lot of "100% pure or GTFO" in this movement.

  16. why vote for a bunch of loonies like the libertarians?

  17. I'm voting for Sarvis, same as last time. I done with that "lesser of two evils" bullshit.

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  19. 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

  20. Vote for whoever produces the most gridlock. The more gridlock, the less damage.

  21. Sarvis the Spoiler is back at it again. It is sheer insanity to vote for a candidate who cannot win. If there was a charismatic and intelligent enough third party candidate with a shot at winning, then it would make sense to vote for them. But to waste your vote on a hopeless candidate - someone like Sarvis - is worse that illogical. It hands defeat to one of the two major parties, the one you are LEAST affiliated with, since you will vote for a third party candidate only if he is aligned with your political ideology. It is CLEAR that there are differences among Democrats and the GOP. Pretending there aren't is the talking point of (1) libertarians like Sarvis and (2) Democrats who are facing a backlas, to split the GOP vote

    1. I'm least affiliated with both major parties. That's why I'm registered as a Libertarian.

  22. Fine, if you want to stand no chance of arresting the growth of big government whatsoever, vote for the Libertarian candidates who stand zero chance of being elected. There is only one party out there whose members at least express the desire to rein in big government and, my friends, it sure as hell isn't the Democrats.

    1. I think you're confusing desire with rhetoric. It's all about freedom and liberty until a few seconds after inauguration. After that it's just more midnight no-knock raids, foreign interventions every few months, and all the social authoritarianism you could ever dream of. And let's not pretend Republicans and Libertarians actually agree on economics. Despite Republican beliefs to the contrary, corporate subsidies and protectionist regulation aren't pro-market.

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