Election 2014

Midterm 2014 Guide: Third-Party Senate Candidates Give Establishment Republicans Conniptions

Liberty-minded small government views may be the missing ingredient.


To take control of the Senate this November, Republicans need a net gain of six Senate seats to take control of Congress, but third party candidates in North Carolina, Kansas, South Dakota, Georgia, (and sort of Louisiana) may undermine this goal.

In North Carolina, a libertarian pizza deliveryman could determine the race between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis. An independent in Kansas is leading the Republican incumbent Pat Roberts in many recent polls, also with a libertarian who could influence the outcome.  An independent in South Dakota has introduced uncertainty in what should have been considered an "in the bag" seat for Republicans. A libertarian and tea partier could force both Louisiana and Georgia into a run-off election. Strikingly in Virginia, the Libertarian candidate is capturing more votes than the Republican among young voters.

While it is true third-party candidates typically don't win, serious third party challengers can still identify the major parties' vulnerabilities based on which types of voters they peel away.

For instance, as Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) explained, "If people don't like their choices with the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate, then you're going to see a spurt in third-party candidates, so they can definitely affect outcomes."

Examining third-party influence across the country reveal the pivotal voters tend to exhibit similar patterns: Independents who lean right although sometimes left, often with a libertarian streak, were disillusioned during the GOP primary by establishment candidates earlier this year, and now are less enthusiastic about supporting the major party candidate.

Here are some of the races we examined:

North Carolina Senate

||| Gerry Broome AP
Gerry Broome AP

In North Carolina, incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan is in a bitter fight with Republican Thom Tillis, each pulling 44 percent of the vote. The tight race means that libertarian Sean Haugh garnering 5 percent of the vote among likely voters could impact which party wins the seat. Even if only a portion of his supporters show up, they could influence an election this close.

Recent shifts in public opinion combined with Hagan's support of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare had made the North Carolina incumbent vulnerable. Consequently, some observers view libertarian Sean Haugh as part of the reason Republican Thom Tillis isn't leading in the polls. Demonstrating the lopsided enthusiasm, an NBC/Marist poll finds 7 in 10 Kay Hagan supporters "strongly" support her, while only 54 percent of Tillis' can say the same. While a plurality of likely voters (48 percent) say they'd rather vote for a Republican than a Democrat (43 percent) for Congress, this hasn't translated into stronger support for Tillis.

There are several reasons Thom Tillis is scrambling in the final days of the election. First, many grassroots tea party groups and Republicans in the area remain disillusioned since the GOP primary earlier this year when tea party favorite Greg Bannon lost to Tillis. Bannon had appealed to independent-minded libertarian voters in the area, but Tillis has thus far failed to gin up their enthusiasm.

Tea party groups also remain unimpressed with Tillis' candidacy viewing him as not sufficiently fiscally conservative and a "corporatist" who uses government to give special favors to interest groups.  Insiders do tend to get this reputation.

Moreover, libertarian Sean Haugh had once registered as a Republican to vote for Ron Paul in 2008, which further bolsters his credentials among a small but very active group of Paul supporters.

Ethan Hyman News Observer

Although Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had previously endorsed Tillis' primary opponent, they have since teamed up on the campaign trail. The fact that Tillis sought out Paul's support provides further indication of what types of potential voters he's most concerned about losing: libertarian leaning, independent-minded voters.

Tea party groups are divided over whether to support Tillis for the hope of taking back the Senate—which they call "clothespin support"—or withholding their support for a RINO republican. By clothespin support, they mean holding their noses as they support a candidate whom they view as the better of two bad options.

Kansas Senate


In Kansas the Republican, veteran incumbent Pat Roberts, has found himself in an unexpected and unusual position of potentially losing to an independent. After Democratic candidate Chad Taylor dropped out of the race, Roberts found himself once again in two-way race but trailing or barely tying with independent candidate Greg Orman. SurveyUSA, which has a successful history of polling Kansas voters, finds Orman at 44 percent and Roberts at 42 percent. Further complicating the race, libertarian candidate Randal Batson is garnering 4 percent of the vote. In a close race like this, the libertarian could again influence who wins.

Similar to North Carolina, grassroots tea party groups and Republicans remain bitter over the GOP primary earlier this year when Roberts defeated their favored candidate Milton Wolf in a closer than expected outcome, 48 to 41 percent. In contrast, Republican Governor Sam Brownback garnered 63 percent of the primary vote.

A significant number of likely Republican voters simply aren't excited about 3-term Senator Pat Roberts for several reasons. Like Tillis, they view Roberts as a so-called establishment Republican who gives special favors to interest groups and compromised principles by voting to raise the debt ceiling. The primary also ginned up anger over Roberts not actually having a residence in Kansas, but rather being a full-time creature of Washington DC.

Interestingly, Politico reported Milton Wolf, who purportedly ran to the "right" of Roberts, considered endorsing independent Greg Orman, to the "left" of Roberts. This shows the issues that matter in this race are more than just right and left. However, since Orman would not promise to caucus with Republicans, Wolf did not endorse Orman. Instead, in a surprising turn, Wolf took one for the Red team and endorsed Roberts.


Shedding light on the types of voters Roberts is having trouble courting, Roberts has also enlisted the support of Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), another tea party backed candidate, as well as Sarah Palin. This further demonstrates Roberts' weakness among tea party conservatives.

While Greg Orman has been both a Republican and a Democrat, he refuses to promise which party he'd caucus with if elected. However, the fact that FEC records show he's sent 87 percent of his contributions to Democrats may explain why national tea party groups have formally shifted their support to Roberts. Both Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund and Tea Party Express are actively campaigning for Roberts and trying to mobilize disillusioned voters.

Georgia Senate

David Tulis/AP

In Georgia's open senate race, Republican David Purdue is essentially tied with Democrat Michelle Nunn. Real Clear Politics puts the averages at 45.8 for Perdue and 45.3 for Nunn. Consequently, libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford's 4 percent could prevent either major candidate from reaching Georgia's 50 percent threshold, forcing a run-off.

In July of this year, Election Lab forecasts gave Perdue a 98 percent chance of winning in July. Why isn't he doing better? The story is similar to Kansas and North Carolina, after a bruising GOP primary, David Perdue has struggled to regain support from grassroots conservatives he turned off during the primary.

Georgia's primary race was much messier than other states. In the initial five-way primary race, Grassroots tea Party support was split between former Georgia Sec of State Karen Handel (who received Sarah Palin's endorsement), Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), and Rep. Phil Gingry (R-GA). Business conservatives alternatively preferred political outsider and former CEO David Purdue, and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA). When only Purdue and Kingston proceeded to the run-off, grassroots conservatives threw their support toward Kingston. In fact, Kingston has been shifting more conservative in his voting record since the tea party emerged and emphasized his own personal thrift. However, grassroots conservatives lost again as Perdue defeated Kingston in the run-off.

One may have thought Perdue being a political outsider could have bridged the gap between the different Republican factions. However, he got into trouble with the grassroots when he supported both spending cuts and revenue increases, which tea partiers took to mean tax hikes. Perdue has since clarified he meant growing the economy rather than tax increases.

Jessica McGowan/AP

Once again, the establishment-favored candidate, Perdue, has sought the help of Sen. Rand Paul in efforts to build credibility with libertarian-leaning and tea party type voters while also holding onto his moderate base of support. Similar to Kansas, national tea party groups like Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund have since endorsed Perdue fearing Democratic control of the Senate.

Louisiana Senate

Louisiana uses a "jungle primary" to select their Senator requiring the winner to exceed a 50 percent threshold, like Georgia. However, the latest USA Today/Suffolk poll found Democrat Mary Landrieu with 36 percent, Republican Bill Cassidy with 35 and tea party-backed Rob Maness with 11 percent. While not a third party candidate, the presence of Maness prevents Cassidy from any hope of reaching a 50 percent threshold, almost guaranteeing a run-off with the top two candidates in December.

Brianna Paciorka

Cassidy cannot point to a bitter GOP primary fight to explain muted grassroots enthusiasm for his candidacy. Even though he joined the Congressional Tea party Caucus he has had trouble gaining traction among grassroots conservatives, and tea party express (a national affiliate) and Sarah Palin endorsed Maness. Part of his difficulties stem from the fact that grassroots don't view him as authentically fiscally conservative—for instance he vocally supported TARP and then changed his position 2010. On top of that Cassidy previously donated to Mary Landrieu in 2002 and criticized Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal. Maness is also carving out space further right on immigration. 

South Dakota Senate


In South Dakota, both independent leaning Democratic and Republican voters are upsetting what was expected to be a smooth election. The latest Rasmussen survey finds Rounds with 45 percent, his Democratic opponent Rick Weiland with 31 percent, and independent Larry Pressler with 21 percent.

When Democratic incumbent Tim Johnson retired this year, both Republicans and Democrats were hopeful to fill the seat. However, without strong Democratic candidates taking the initiative to run, observers expected former Gov. Mike Rounds to take the seat. However, Rounds became embroiled in an immigrant investment scandal that could potentially result in his indictment.

Now enters independent candidate Larry Pressler. This third-party candidate actually once held this very seat, but as a Republican. However, he refuses to sign a pledge not to raise additional taxes, supports the Affordable Care Act, and supported Barack Obama in 2008. Nevertheless, his reasoning might resonate with libertarians as well:

"Part of my reason for supporting Obama—it was for conservative reasons…It's been Republican presidents and Republican congresses who've added more to the deficit, and Democrats who've added less to the deficit."

As evidenced by the aforementioned quote, Pressler is also a fiscal hawk with an eye to reforming entitlements and raising the retirement age.

With this mixed bag approach to politics, it's little surprise he could pick off both independent-minded Democratic and Republican voters. In fact, Rick Weiland complained that outside groups attacking his Republican opponent were actually helping the independent Pressler over Weiland the Democrat.

Republican Mike Rounds has also created further problems for himself by failing to energize conservative grassroots support. Many likely Republican voters are turned off by the fact that he supported TARP, the stimulus, the Medicare Part D expansion, and proposing paying down the state deficit with reserves rather than actually cutting spending. Local tea party groups who would otherwise endorse candidates have refused to lend Rounds their support. President of the South Dakota Citizens for Liberty group explained at a local event, "[Mike Rounds] likes to build government and likes to spend money."


Across these key races, third party candidates undermine the traditional support enjoyed by the two major party candidates. They point out weakness and vulnerabilities, and tend to reveal a similar pattern. Independents, both left and right leaning, but particularly right leaning, libertarians, and tea partiers are at the highest risk of "defection" from casting a traditional partisan ballot.

The fact that the most vulnerable Republican candidates have enlisted the help of Sen. Rand Paul demonstrates the types of voters they are having the greatest difficulty connecting with—the liberty-minded, small government libertarians and conservatives.

So-called "Establishment Republicans" have had difficulty convincing their potential voters they are sufficiently fiscally conservative and principled such that they won't dole out special favors to Wall Street, K Street, or even Main Street once they are elected. It may be that Rand Paul's unique brand of liberty-minded small government conservatism is one of the missing ingredients.

NEXT: Ernst Takes 7-Point Lead Over Braley in Iowa

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  1. So John is an establishment Republican? Figures.

    1. Why do you think everybody calls him “Red Tony”?

      1. I always assumed it was because he’s an indian.

        I thought his full name was John-Who-Posts-On-Internet -And-Also-Hunts-Wolves-Or-Somesuch.

        1. Also, did any of you know that Reason has a 50 character limit for single words?


          1. I don’t know why it’s there, but it makes it hard to post many URLs.

    2. Well, at least you can agree with him about illegally bombing stuff/people right?

      1. “Illegally”-LOL

        1. If you’re fine with blatantly violating the provisions of ratified treaties (it is in the US and in your home country) like the Fourth Geneva Convention then what else would you call it?

          1. No one cares about your stupid treaties. They’re pieces of paper. Go use them to soak up your tears because that’s all they’re good for.

          2. Are you using different “names” in this comment section to offer divergent viewpoints (in the form of arguments) for the rest of the readership’s benefit/consideration?

            If not, why are you even addressing the individual/individuals “trolling” here?

            1. I suppose Cytotoxic struck a nerve with his advocacy for total war. It may be best if I ignore him from now on or at least engage him in a different manner. I’m not using different names though.

              Sorry if I’m making your experience here worse. I’ll my best to do better. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations (aside from not focusing on definitions haha)?

              1. Don’t change for my benefit or anyone else’s, Millenial.
                Actually, even when I disagree with you I find that you articulate your points and views quite well and generally provide me with alternate ideas to consider.
                The individual you were debating/arguing with is quite opposite of you (which is partly why I thought it might be you playing Devil’s Advocate). In my opinion, the only benefit I see from your ongoing discussions with him/her is what you write in response. I’m not sure it’s ultimately worth your efforts though, since it’s fairly well known that “trolls” generally have sadistic tendencies and get aroused by their vitriol and what they hope it does to others.


              2. Dude, everyone knows: total war=shortest war.

  2. Seems Rand Paul pointed out the GOP brand sucks; try putting the blame where it deserves to go, not on 3rd-party candidates.

    1. Exactly.

      “liberty-minded small government views may be the missing ingredient.”

      You mean the very thing republicans always promise to do to get elected and then don’t do? Suck it GOP!

  3. In North Carolina, a libertarian pizza deliveryman could determine the race between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis.

    The LP clown Haugh doesn’t deserve such power. This is the guy who thinks expanding medicare/aid is a great idea and if you oppose that expansion then you want to throw Grandma on the street no joke. Tillis deserves our support.

    1. Tillis is no libertarian. But you aren’t either.

      1. Never said he was, but he’s still at least 8% more libertarian than you.

    2. +1 – particularly after his ranting comment regarding yesterday’s Reason story.

      1. Link ?!?

          1. What a point-missing fool.

    3. You know what’s good about him, though?

      The idea that a pizza delivery guy can become a senator. Clown or no, if America is willing to accept that a random douche from your local Dominos can decide to run for office and make it, then there’s a huge change coming down the line for politics.

      1. But he’s not going to win. Besides, I want a change in policy. I am not of the school of thought that says everything would be okay if Average Joes could get into office. Average People suck. Average People think foreigners are taking their jobs and that outsourcing is bad. Keep it elitist.

        1. This is why everybody hates you.

          1. But I’m still right. I’m not the commenter you deserve, I’m a lot better AND I’m the one you need.

            1. Are you a troll?

              1. Wow, I’ve beaten you so badly you’re already trying to pin me as a troll? You really suck.

                1. Do you consider yourself a libertarian? I’m assuming yes, but if you don’t then it may change my thoughts about you a bit.

                  1. Do you consider yourself a libertarian? I’m assuming yes, but if you don’t then it may change my thoughts about you a bit.

                    Cyto’s an objectivist.

                    1. I suppose that’s why he suggested I check out work from the Ayn Rand Institute when trying to justify his aggressive foreign policy views.

                      Has anybody ever directed him to Huemer’s critiques or some of the critical pieces written by philosophy bloggers/professors like Jason Brennan (featured on here today) or Matt Zwolinski?

              2. Don’t, Millenial. You’re just as bad.

                Insane absolutes and bullshit semantic arguments. . .you two deserve each other.

                I sell auto parts for a living. I look forward tot he day I can run for a senate seat and nobody will bat an eye at my current vocation. There are plenty of average people with far more intellect and common sense than the average politician, not to mention moral fiber. Just because they happen to be a trucker or a waitress or a retired columbian drug lord doesn;t mean they should be treated like scum for wanting to make our country a better place.

                1. That makes a lot more sense than the “Top Men” bullshit of Cytotoxic

                  1. I just took a shit that makes more sense than Cyto.

                    But I might just be cranky because I’m tired.

                2. As bad a someone who advocates for total war and blatantly violating the law? Ouch.

                  What insane absolute(s) are you specifically referring to (or is this directed at Cytotoxic?)? We’ll agree to disagree about the “bullshit semantic arguments” though. However, I apologize if it was a major annoyance to you.

                  1. Communist.

                    Oh, wait, no. Another word.

                    Bullshit artist.

                    1. A word that is more often than not used to demonize someone. It has essentially become synonymous with “totalitarianism” in modern discourse/parlance. I’m of the opinion that the vast majority of politicians of the United States (the developed world for that matter) don’t fit this description, so it isn’t particularly useful or revealing if not backed by specific evidence.

                      Again, I think that I understand why Bill and others use it. In the future, I will refrain from getting so caught up in these definitions, but I feel that the widespread use of loaded language doesn’t do our cause much good. We may be better at reaching others of a different persuasion by carefully dissecting their preferred policies and not giving them further reason to resort to emotional appeals. That’s a game these Democratic and Republican politicians love to play.

                    2. That’s. . .valid, I suppose.

                      Still think you’re Bo, though.

                    3. Did you bullshit last week?

                3. I understand where you’re coming from, but I have to disagree. If you think that someone’s background should be irrelevant, it should be irrelevant either way. That is to say, supporting him because he’s a Domino’s delivery guy is just as silly as opposing him because he’s a Domino’s delivery guy. It’s the quality of his arguments that should be important. And in this case the arguments are idiotic.

                  1. I agree that he’s a fool, no doubt.

                    But when I try and discuss him with people outside of this forum, all I ever hear is “He’s just a stupid fucking delivery guy!” or somesuch nonsense.

                    We’ve proven conclusively over the last 30 years that a harvard education, law degree, political connections, business experience, military service, bags of money or any of the other metrics by which we typically define a candidate as valid provide us with anything other than corrupt or stupid bastards that couldn’t properly run a country if their lives depended on it.

                    Eric the Asphalt guy or Vern the Greenhouse Manager might not be the worlds greatest thinkers, but they’re more likely to leave me the fuck alone than a career politician. That’s what counts.

                    1. DC is obsessed with credentials. Ivy leaguers have a huge advantage when trying to enter the “club”.

                4. ” bullshit semantic arguments”

                  Bo? Where?

                  1. Up there, under the name The_Millenial.

                  2. Bo? Where?

                    *Queue GILMORE blindly swinging a staff, inadvertently igniting BO’s jetpack, who falls into SAARLAC pit*

      2. *You know what’s good about him, though?

        The idea that a pizza delivery guy can become a senator. *

        I suppose you said the same thing about that Godfather’s Pizza dude who ran for Prez until his bimbo eruptions undid him, right?

    4. I believe there’s a libertarian running for governor in state this year (though I forget which one) who believes Newtown didn’t happen and is some sort of conspiracy.

      Anyone have a link to this? Because I recall hearing it, and if it’s true I feel like the LP should probably do a slightly better job vetting their candidates. It’s better to run no one in a race than run someone who engages in that sort of idiocy.

      1. The McDermmot fellow the LP has running for NY Governor doesn’t believe tracking has been proven to be safe. He wants ‘the people’ to run the tests. Remember, the LP is only useful as a club to bludgeon the other parties. Remember, if not for his stupid stupid LP run for the presidency Gary Johnson could be in the Senate.

        1. You mean “fracking” not “tracking”.

          I usually don’t correct spelling but that’s a big diff.

          1. Pretty much everybody in New York is running against fracking.

            They’re also all running for “equal pay for equal work”, although what this means is never defined. Presumably it means government deciding how much everybody should be paid or something.

            1. Rob Astorino’s running for fracking.

          2. Hey Merrill are you related to Barry?

    5. Cytotoxic, you apparently support waging total wars to deal with minor threats. That’s far more dangerous and laughable than medicaid expansion. You’re ok with the US military inflicting mass casualties among innocents in a region to accomplish their objectives.

      Keep in mind that war is the health of the state.

      1. “Minor threats”-well as long as they only kill a couple thousand people right? BTW medicaid is going to bankrupt America, not its wars. Glad to see you’re down to desperate deflection to prop up this shitty candidate.

        Keep in mind that war is the health of the state.

        People say this, but the historical record is pretty iffy. America had an endless low-level war in civilizing the plains indians for decades without a surge in government. America was freer after the Civil War than before. And the New Deal and all that came before WW2. After WW2, a lot of the ND tyranny was dismantled.

        1. So the possibility of a few thousand people dying means we should give the government the power to wage total war and kill hundreds of thousands or more in another region? I don’t care about Haugh, but you support government intervention of the worst sort.

          The US spends approximately $1 trillion a year on national security/defense-related expenditures. It goes beyond what’s included in our defense budget, so it definitely does contribute to our budget problems.

          I suggest you read Robert Higgs or Price Fishback. Of course, the New Deal played a major role in expanding the state’s role, but WWI and WWII played a major role as well.

          Here’s an interview with Fishback from a few years ago:

          “Bob Higgs, my thesis adviser, wrote a great book, Crisis and Leviathan. He argues that there was a real change in attitudes toward government associated with three major crises. World War I was the first big crisis, followed by the Great Depression of the 1930s, and then World War II. In each case people wanted [the government] to respond quickly…

          So when the next crisis hit, they brought back a lot of the same programs, and the government ratcheted up again, often to new heights.”


          “After the war, the federal government dropped back down but not to anywhere near what had been before.

          Question from Sniderman: So it’s a ratchet effect.

          Fishback: Yes, like those ratchet wrenches. It never came back down to the old level.”

  4. The GOP seems intent on losing for the third time in a row in 2016. And I can tell you I’m not voting for Jeb Bush. Hillary can have it because that is it if the GOP pulls this nonsense of pretending they aren’t just as treasonous. And I’m not the one who will be giving it away?the GOP will.

    This is what happens with the establishment in office. We continue to ramp up the almost unrecoverable debt. So we collapse as a nation. We continue to allow illegal invaders into our country and give them benefits. So we collapse as a nation.

    I’ve noted this in my fictional account of our collapse. I believe it to be based on reality. With a few exceptions to be noted like Cruz, the GOP is largely just as treasonous as the Democrats. They just don’t speak as loud. Then they quietly vote in treason anyway. And Jeb already spoke his treason on illegal aliens. So am I going to vote the “less of the two evils” or believe “well at least we have a chance with the GOP?” No, I’m sorry but the last election was the last of my voting for the “less of the two evils.” Put in a Patriot GOP or you will lose again. My time would be better spent securing my stronghold for the upcoming collapse that GOP is just as intent of inducing than voting for you pretending you’re not the traitors you really are.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

    1. 2016 may well be a contest within the GOP over who can lose it to Hillary hardest: establishment robots or the Border Boner Brigades.

      Brought to by the Committee to Lock Ourselves in the Basement and Self-Publish Apocalyptic Screeds

    3. I for one love the mic drops by Charles Hurst Author.

      1. BTW Charles Hurst Author, your website doesn’t work. THEY are on to you.


    4. I’ve noted this in my fictional account of our collapse.

      Hopefully it remains fictional.

    5. BUY MY BOOK!

      BUY MY BOOK!

      BUY MY BOOK!

      /Critic standee

    6. Found your book on Goodreads. Man, you’re really trying to cash in on that sweet, sweet Left Behind money aren’t you?

    7. So what have you been doing to help either party find better candidates?

    8. They don’t speak as loudLY. I’m not buying a book from an author who doesn’t know when to use an adverb as opposed to an adjective.

  5. Here is what you need to know

    If you like gun control laws Obamacare and lawlessness in the Executive Branch,
    don’t vote Republican. While it is nice to vote libertarian, a vote for anyone but a Republican Senator is a vote that aids the Democrats. The Democrats are the common enemy of Conservatives and Libertarians.

    1. a vote for anyone but a Republican Senator is a vote that aids the Democrats.


    2. What if I was going to vote democrat and voted LP instead? How does that help republicans?


      2. If you were going to vote Democrat, it would take a seriously intense conversion experience to make you want to vote LP instead. Democrats and LP have almost nothing in common. Please share your story, it will probably be thrilling.

        1. Maybe he lives in Polis’s district or Rhode Island.

      3. Democrats who are debating voting LP should by all means switch over. I think everyone would be ecstatic about that, except for Democrats. Too bad it never happens.

    3. It is true that Democrats are the common enemy of conservatives and libertarians, just like Republicans are the common enemy of liberals and libertarians. The only saving grace for the Republicans is that the stuff they suck worse than the democrats on, they will never see implemented. On the other hand Republicans giving lip service to limited government while increasing the scope of the state undermines liberty by making it look like “market fundamentalism” somehow failed. Fuck both parties, vote for a third party or don’t vote.

    4. I intend to vote for Republicans in this election for one reason only – because if Democrats fuck up as badly as they did this last time and somehow manage to emerge intact, there will be no stopping the insanity they will engage in over the next two years.

      That said, if I had the opportunity in any election to vote against Santorum, Huckabee, or Lindsay Graham, I’d do so. Bad Republicans are actually frequently worse than bad Democrats, if only because they claim to care about the market, then undermine it, and then give Democrats the opportunity to claim that the idiocy of Republican autocrats is actually evidence of market failure.

      In that regard, Republicans have done more damage to the cause of actual liberty than the Democrats have.

      1. and then give Democrats the opportunity

        The Dems are going to claim the GOP is for “law of the jungle” free market economics and Social Darwinism regardless of what they say or do. Bush never even said he was in favor of free markets or deregulation, but to hear the Dems talk he was the reincarnation of Lysander Spooner.

    5. And Republicans are the common enemy of Democrats and Libertarians.

    6. Conservatives are not too friendly toward libertarians either. Most conservatives (whatever the fuck that means) are statists of a different stripe.
      Answer this:
      1. So how does voting for people who love a police state help the liberty minded?
      2. How does voting for people who bend over for the chamber of commerce and its mercantilism help the liberty minded?

      because TEAM RED does not thrill me. Yes, TEAM blue thrills me even less. But so what?

      Face it, heating the frog at low simmer instead of a hard boil still cooks the frog. With those two choices, I will stay home. IF one candidate is clearly better, and is truly liberty minded, then I will vote for him.

      1. I won’t pretend to argue for Jeffrey, but I will offer my own responses.

        1. It’s taken a while. But, conservatives are waking up to the dangers of the police state. Consider “Three Crimes a Day”, the fact that lots of conservative outlets are raising concerns about militarized policing, or Right On Crime.
        2. Don’t confuse Republicans and conservatives. Lots of conservatives have been in an uproar over the Chamber of Commerce.

    7. Stop treating libertarians as morons, Jeffrey.

      First of all, Republicans =/= conservatives. There’s no shortage of Republicans more than happy and eager to throw conservative principles at the drop of a hat. And voting for any such Republican is more of a vote in support of the administration than voting libertarians.

      Secondly, a vote for the Libertarian is more akin to staying home (while signaling your dissatisfaction). That is not a vote for the Democrats. If anything, in some cases, it’s a direct vote for more libertarian Republicans.

      Many of us believe and support a rapprochement between libertarians and conservatives. Spamming the board with “Just blindly vote Republican or the end is neigh!!” is unhelpful.

  6. Vote for gridlock like I do. The damage the GOP did 2002-2007 while they owned all branches of government was almost fatal.

    Luckily, Obama turned TARP into a profit for taxpayers and halved the $1 trillion plus deficits Bush left to him. And we are out of Iraq. But he sucks on the surveillance state and droning.

    1. Lies, with a side of more lies.

      1. No, those are all facts. “Fatal” is somewhat subjective though.

        1. Nope just lies. Not even 8% truth.

        2. TARP was passed under Bush and the SOFA under which we withdrew from Iraq was also negotiated and signed under Bush. So he gets “credit” for that, right?

          Barry gave us the biggest expansion of the welfare state in decades and the highest marginal tax rates also in decades. He pissed away $800BB in 2 years stimulating and has the worst spending record of any post-war president. Not to mention his EPA is out of control.

          But since you believe in gridlock you’re going to vote for the elephant for GA Senate, aren’t you? Uh huh.

          You don’t know shit about facts.

        3. To add to your pile of steaming lies…

          Pretending Obama ‘cut the deficit’ suggests this was an actual intended goal, despite zero actual statements in the budgeting process to achieve any specific targeted ‘deficit reduction measures’…

          How did that magic happen?

          Simple = make the huge federal budget from the first year of a recession *your baseline*

          Assume that ‘the enormous bailouts’ of 2008-2009 were what we should measure as “Normalcy”

          The deficits by definition would be huge – taxable income had plummeted, corporate earnings were in the toilet, etc.

          Well, if you just maintain that ridiculously elevated spending in perpetuity, sooner or later the GDP #s will start to come back, and all that Fed-generated money supply will work its way back into tax-coffers…

          ..and voila! the denominator rises, making the ‘deficit’ shrink, all while doing *absolutely nothing about Federal Spending*, and still maintaining higher cumulative deficits than any president in history. we’re being told that spending $500bn a year MORE than we actually take in is somehow the achievement of a *great manager*

          again – Obama has added $4t+ to the national debt in only 6 years, compared to $2T over 8 years by a president who *was fighting 2 wars*.

          By contrast, Obama has blown more money *just fucking around* doing nothing.

          And we’re being told he’s a fiscal rockstar.

    2. If you do something, then that thing is, by default, wrong.

    3. “Obama…halved the $1 trillion plus deficits Bush left to him”


      He “inherited” a one-year deficit…which he then prolonged and enlarged for 3 years!.. before bringing the number down to…

      ..$5-600bn or so now?

      still between 2X and 3X higher than the average deficit between 2001 and 2007.

      Which means that obama has somehow accrued about an additional $4trillion in federal debt, versus ~$2T under bush


  7. Am I the only one who thinks that picture ended without either of the establishment fucks shaking hands with Haugh?

    1. No, you’re not.

      I haven’t been able to find that debate on Youtube. Do you have a suggestion?

  8. I saw Ekins in the byline and I expected that the assertion “Liberty-minded small government views may be the missing ingredient” was going to be backed up by polling data rather than wishful thinking. Alas Emily disappointed me once again.

    Look people, liberty may be popular in theory, but free shit is even more popular. If you think a candidate could win opposing SS or Medica__ you’re in a dream world.

  9. OT: This is the dumbest fucking thing I have ever seen.

    Peter Hitchens is on some random British talk show at a college. They’re talking about rape culture, as always seems to happen at such events. Hitchens mentions what a bad idea it is to undermine the rule of law, that it is absolutely idiotic to lower the standard of proof, and that the presumption of innocence ought to be sacrosanct.

    He is immediately called a rape apologist, is told that he’s introducing rape culture to Britain, and then gets assured that Britain is the most sexist country on Earth because a random UN study supposedly said so.

    These people are fucking idiots.

    ‘We should provide the accused with certain rights and should not immediately assume his guilt.’

    ‘OMG, why do you want all the women to be raped?!?!’

    1. “Anybody can do five years in prison, but a rape victim has to live with it forever!”

      1. It seems to me that being kidnapped by the state and forcefully imprisoned for a crime you did not commit is much worse than being raped.

        Feminists are actually arguing that we should commit crimes worse than rape in order to prevent rape…and their proposed solutions wouldn’t even prevent rape in the first place.

        It’s insanity.

        1. Depends on whether you believe rape accusations can ever be false.

            1. I was really hoping that you had linked to this.

              1. I thought it was going to be this.

        2. and their proposed solutions wouldn’t even prevent rape in the first place.

          You underestimate the power of rape-free zones and hashtag campaigns.

          1. Rape free zones.

            I see a line of “No-Rape” underwear in my mind, that could be the next million dollar idea.

            It’s MINE, assholes! Back off!

    2. That fat cunt wants to rape our legal system.

      1. And *that* is RAPE-rape. 8-(

    3. “mongavage
      3 months ago

      All men are rapists. Even the ones that claim they’re women. You don’t get excused just because you have a mental illness, rape scum.?”

      I think there has been a longstanding practice for liberal trolls to create accounts pretending to be ‘REAL AMERICAN1776’ and spew hateful, racist and sexist things on every comment board, helping to create the very straw-men that they need for their crappy arguments to knock down.

      I’m now seeing more stuff like the above, which seems to be dissonance-creating libertarian-ish people mocking the libtards by going FULL DWORKIN on issues like teh ‘Rape Kultures’

      Its *()@#&$ hilarious, and I fully endorse it. The RadFems deserve nothing but heaps of scorn for their constant attacks on Western Society, all while ignoring millions of women around the world who still live in pre-suffrage conditions where they are effectively chattel.

    4. That was painful to listen to, but Hitchens kept his eye on the ball.

    5. Always with the goddamn applause.

      There is no assertion, no matter how trivial, no matter how poorly supported, no matter how terribly argued, that progs will not applaud if it fits their paradigm at all.

  10. Liberty-minded small government views may be the missing ingredient.

    Right! And since Nader’s vote total was bigger than the difference between Bush and Gore in FL, that means Gore would have won if he’d adopted Nader’s positions!

    1. That’s a lame deflection. We didn’t have the disenchantment then as we do now.

      1. Which has what, exactly, to do with anything?

        1. That more people are growing restless with what the parties offer. Nader’s supporters may have been intractable, but the people splitting off today may include a lot of people who aren’t.

          1. The people splitting off today want the government’s hands off their Medicare.

            1. Do you have a link to their brain stem? Even if so, there are other issues libertarians are concerned about that the splitters can help us achieve.

      2. We didn’t have the disenchantment then as we do now.

        Who is this “we”, you scumfucking Canadian chickenhawk?

        Did that gerbil in your ass cross the border?

      3. That’s a lame deflection. We didn’t have the disenchantment then as we do now.

        What? There wasn’t disenchantment in the 200 election? Don’t you remember the theme of that one? The two candidates are the same. There’s no difference. It’s all bullshit. We’ve got no real choice in this election.

        1. *2000 obviously

  11. CA produces more crude oil than oil-happy Alaska.



    Amazing stupidity by you fucking Peanuts.

    1. So you admit that all your harping on Texas’s oil was a pointless red herring. Thanks for playing.

      1. No, the high growth action is in shale. See North Dakota and Texas.

        Georgia, which is Deep Red has no oil/gas and has the nation’s highest UE rate. Likewise TN, MS, and KY are pretty shitty too. Kansas is about to boot Brownfinger.

        THEREFORE – it is not Red State policy driving economic growth. It is the lucky draw of hydrocarbon deposits.

        1. More lies. TN and KY are doing fine. Oil has plenty of ‘high growth action’. NY also has plenty of shale but just doesn’t want to exploit it. Irish already explained why Georgia doesn’t count. Red states are leaving the shitty blue states behind.

          1. Irish already explained why Georgia doesn’t count.

            I didn’t say Georgia doesn’t count, I just pointed out that Georgia is one state with the lowest minimum wage, and that you’re cherry picking if you use it as your only example while ignoring Texas/South Dakota.

            I don’t disagree that Georgia’s a pretty shitty state, I just think it’s shittyness goes back decades and it sucked when it was run by Democrats too. The primary issue is that the Republican states that suck also sucked back when they were run by New Deal Democrats, whereas the Democrat states that are declining used to be tremendously successful, and have only seen relative declines since Democrats started imposing their programs.

            My argument is just that you have to look at trendlines, and those trends do not favor the idea that Democrats have any clue what the hell they are doing.

            1. You’re dancing around the fact that ND and Texas are growing due to shale deposits and not economic policy.

              Next you will tell us that federal regulations are stifling growth but somehow not in Texas and North Dakota.


              1. You’re dancing around the fact that ND and Texas are growing due to shale deposits and not economic policy.

                No, stupid, they’re not it’s economic policy. CA has those resources and it’s failing.

                Next you will tell us that federal regulations are stifling growth but somehow not in Texas and North Dakota.

                I am sure they are stifling growth there too and they’d be even more successful without those regulations. Also, the federal government is refusing to increase drilling on federal lands. I’d guess Texas and ND aren’t so heavy with federal lands.

              2. You’re dancing around the fact that ND and Texas are growing due to shale deposits and not economic policy.

                Next you will tell us that federal regulations are stifling growth but somehow not in Texas and North Dakota.


                You’re an idiot. I have not danced around that at all. I have answered this argument, you’re just too dumb to acknowledge my answers.

                1. Texas is absolutely benefiting from an oil boom, but that oil boom is the result of active state policy which causes lots of oil production. California has tremendous amounts of oil and other natural resources, but fails to exploit them due to pressure from environmentalists and because regulation and taxation make exploiting these resources pay less than when it’s done in Texas.

                2. As I said in the other thread (which you apparently ignored) South Dakota and North Dakota both have unemployment rates lower than the national average going back to 1990.

                Shale boom has helped them, but their success pre-dates the oil boom and was not caused by it.

                1. Furthermore, California has a tremendous advantage no other state possesses: Its natural beauty and climate. This results in TONS of hyper-rich people who no longer care about taxes because they’re so crazy wealthy moving to California and helping to buoy up the state’s finances.

                  Southern California has the entertainment industry which is only there because early film makers went to California in order to A) be able to shoot outside at all times of the year and b) avoid copywrite laws by running away from Eastern lawmen. Silicon Valley is there essentially because of how nice and beautiful the area is.

                  California therefore benefits from these obvious advantages and is still an increasingly destitute basket case. If a state without California’s natural advantages and captive industries attempted to implement the same laws, they would be bankrupt in under a decade.

                  1. “Captive industries” is a knee-slapper.

                    Like Oil & Gas in Texas?

              3. You’re dancing around the fact that ND and Texas are growing due to shale deposits and not economic policy.

                That is no fact. You are suggesting that a single commodity–shale oil–is the sole determinate in a state’s economic health.

                Either you are really stupid, or you’re grasping at air in your democratic apologetics. Toyota is moving their North American headquarters from California to the Legacy business park nearby, and they’re not doing it because Texas has lots of oil trapped in shale.


              4. Palin’s Buttplug|11.2.14 @ 3:45PM|#
                “You’re dancing around the fact that ND and Texas are growing due to shale deposits and not economic policy.”

                Hey, turd!
                “California could be next oil boom state”
                Oh, and fuck off.

            2. Fair enough. I just thought Georgia didn’t count because it was always terrible.

        2. it is not Red State policy driving economic growth. It is the lucky draw of hydrocarbon deposits.

          Sort of like economies in the Middle East.

          I don’t think King Barry is a Muslim, but he sure is turning our economic system into a feast or famine deal like they have over there.

        3. Georgia, which is Deep Red has no oil/gas and has the nation’s highest UE rate. Likewise TN, MS, and KY are pretty shitty too. Kansas is about to boot Brownfinger.

          Kansas has an unemployment rate 3% lower than the national average. Kentucky and Tennessee, despite having less educated populations, have lower unemployment rates than Rhode Island. This is despite the fact that Rhode Island has one of the best educated populations. Rhode Island is also royally fucked due to unfunded pension liabilities and a wave of entitlements that will destroy their budget.

          What you have to understand is this: Shitty Republican states tend to be badly educated states. Nonetheless, several of them are outperforming better educated Democrat run states, particularly places like Rhode Island, Massachusetts and California.

          Anyone can have a crappy state with a badly educated population. In order to have 8% unemployment with a well-educated population, it pretty much requires Democratic governance.

          Also, once again you ignore the fact that California has massive amounts of shale oil and natural resources, but is seriously under performing Texas. Texas and California are actually good case studies since they have very similar demographic makeups, high populations, and lots of natural resources. Given the far greater success of Texas, it really doesn’t seem to be much of a contest.

          1. CA has a per capita income of $44,980 vs Texas with $41,471. (2013)


            Tell me how Texans earn more? Or are more productive?

            You keep not saying that part.

            1. The cost of living in CA is roughly 30% higher than TX. Therefore–for math challenged butplugs–the effective per capita income would look more like this: CA=$45K; TX=$56K.

          2. And CT and Mass are #1 and #2 in per capita earnings – by a lot.

            $58,908 in Connecticut.

            Deep Red Mississippi is dead last.

  12. One of the commentariat provided suggestions about the House the other day, one of which would have any congresscreature cast as many votes on a measure as it (critter) received in the election. Any thoughts on something analogous for the Senate?

    1. That would be an incredibly terrible idea. It would make voter fraud profitable in every precinct in the country, for starters.

      1. And if you thought gerrymandering’s bad *now*, ….

        1. I don’t know what the effect on gerrymandering would be. There would be tension between trying to get your own party’s voters all into the same districts, and trying to get the other party’s voters all into districts where they’ll lose. It would be hard to do both at the same time.

    2. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer would run the country. What could go wrong?

      1. How about each Senator casts (# votes received)/(state population) of a vote?

        1. No, then you’re rewarding more extremism (and more voter fraud).

          The mechanics of the House and Senate voting are fine now. The problems lie elsewhere (ballot access, gerrymandering, etc).

          1. The problems lie with the goddamn politicians themselves.

            1. They lie with the people who vote for them and the people who silently consent by not voting.

              1. Another suggestion was that every ballot list a housepet and a potted plant.

                1. I would vote for Bushy Fern.

                  1. IIRC, a Mexican toothpaste once won via write-in.

                    1. So fluoridation is a plot after all.

    3. You get one term, and then a member of law enforcement blows your head clean off of your shoulders.

      No exceptions.

      1. Now *that’s* a “dedicated civil servant”.

  13. ” An independent in Kansas is leading the Republican incumbent Pat Roberts in many recent polls”

    Reason, please stop with this notion that Greg Orman isn’t a Democrat.

    1. +1 – Orman is far from an independent…


  14. I’m from Virginia, so let me just take a minute to say that Robert Sarvis stinks. I’ll take Ed Gillespie any day of the week.

    If you can’t figure out why I don’t like Sarvis, just take a look at my profile name and get back to me. When it comes to protecting life, I’m a single-issue voter.

    1. And like I mentioned before, from a libertarian standpoint, Republicans Democrats. They at least get the economics right, minus the bailouts and subsidies. All Democrats are interested in doing is kowtowing before anything and everything that Obama does.

      1. exactly.

  15. regarding kansas: not that pat roberts is great, but conservatives and libertarians should check out greg orman’s ‘issues,’ page on his campaign website (especially his views on the supreme court). this guy is at best a blue dog democrat trying to sneak into office on a wave of anti-incumbency. there’s hardly anything here for libertarians or conservatives. certainly not a liberty candidate, and not one to repeal obamacare. not a strong defender of the 2nd amendment, and applies band-aid solutions to public education without seeming to realize that publik “education,” is the problem.

    voting issues/principles voting party designation, and that includes ‘independent.’

    1. *voting issues/principles trumps voting party designation, and that includes ‘independent.’

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  17. Somewhat OT:

    My brother, the two-time Obama voter, has shown somewhat of a change in his political views. We had a discussion last night and he admitted that while he hates the Republicans, it’s true that “the Democrats suck on so many other things.” I pointed out that there are more than two options, and after discussing the mechanics of 3rd party voting, he said, “yea, the 3rd party thing is a real catch-22…” This is a change from 2008, when his view on 3rd parties was “Ron Paul is a nutcase who wants to dismantle the federal government.”

    It’s a small change, and I’m still not sure if he’ll stray from TEAM BLUE, but it’s nice to see that the progressive brainwashing isn’t permanent.

    I’ve been mentioning libertarian issues to him nonchalantly the past few years, saying things like “did you hear about the new regulations on such-and-such? That’s bad for poor people; isn’t that bullshit?” while being very careful not to mention that I read it on Reason. There were probably a lot of factors in him altering his viewpoint, but I like to think I had something to do with it.

  18. Awesome. I hope they blow as many races as possible. Republicans are not Libertarians or libertarians. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

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