Election 2016

Can Ted Cruz Win Over Libertarians?

Probably not, but he's going to have to if he wants to win in New Hampshire - and in November.

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Can Texas Sen. Ted Cruz win over libertarian-minded voters? He's currently leading polls of Republican voters in Iowa but is stuck in third place behind Donald Trump and Marco Rubio in New Hampshire. Nationally, he trails Trump by 20 percentage points.

A Tea Party favorite, Cruz is also sometimes called libertarian or libertarian leaning. But is he really in favor of "Free Minds and Free Markets" in the same way that the modal Reason.com reader is? Not all all.

In my latest Daily Beast column, I talk about the distance between Cruz's brand of conservatism and libertarianism and suggest what he—and Republicans more generally—will need to do in order to win over libertarians. And let's be clear: Republicans can't win the White House without the "Libertarian Vote" (more on that below). From the col:

On a recent episode of Red Eye with Tom Shillue, guest Alan Dershowitz opined that Ted Cruz, whom he taught at Harvard Law back in the day, was very "libertarian." That's news to me and it's news to Rand Paul, the most libertarian-leaning contender for the GOP presidential nod, who tweeted the following New Year's resolution: "I resolve to give @TedCruz more lead time before I announce my policy positions, so he can replicate them faster."

Indeed, to most libertarians I know, Cruz comes across as a conservative pretty much straight out of Central Casting—the retro-wet-look hair even invokes the late, unlamented Sen. Joe McCarthy. Sure, he peppers his conversations with references to Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, two "Austrian School" economists important to libertarians, and he genuflects regularly in the direction of cutting the size, scope, and spending of government (one loose definition of libertarian politics). That is, unless you're talking about defense spending, which can always be jacked up even without paying for any increases….

David Boaz of The Cato Institute argues that Cruz is a federalist, though not a particularly consistent one.

The state's rights positions Cruz typically takes are not libertarian, David Boaztold me in a recent interview. "A firm federalist would push for the repeal of federal drug laws," said Boaz, the executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of last year's The Libertarian Mind. "Cruz doesn't do that." Cruz also believes the federal government should govern abortion, which makes you wonder why he thinks gay marriage should be left up to the states.

That said, there's overlap on some issues that might provide common ground between Cruz and libertarians. Cruz has recently "evolved" on marijuana and, after attacking President Obama for failing to enforce federal law in Colorado and Washington, now says he's open to the states experimenting with legalized pot.

Boaz rightly observed to me that Cruz turns off libertarians "with his heavy emphasis on evangelical issues" such as gay marriage and abortion. The apocalyptic extremity of his rhetoric is off-putting even beyond its content and there's a strong case that Cruz has blown up any possible of rapprochment with libertarian voters.

And yet Cruz and Republicans will need libertarian voters in November if they want to take the White House. Work by Boaz and his Cato colleague David Kirby shows that at least 15 percent of the electorate is reliably libertarian (that is, it trends fiscally conservative and socially liberal). That's enough to swing any national election, but Republicans have alienated libertarians because of their social conservatism and their inability to rein in spending even when they controlled the government.

The Republicans have only won a majority of the popular vote once since 1988. If Cruz and other Republicans think they can take the White House by appealing to a shrinking number of social conservatives, they will yet again lose in 2016. The question is whether they will jettison or moderate their culture-warrior issues and actually (finally!) make good on their oft-repeated promises to cut the size, scope, and spending of government.

Read the full article here.

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184 responses to “Can Ted Cruz Win Over Libertarians?

  1. Meh. I don’t completely hate him.

    1. that’s good, because Cruz is in fact a strong federalist, a strong constitutionalist and the ONLY candidate who not only favors but works for a smaller federal government .

      1. Well, said, except that you maybe forgot about Rand Paul when you say the only?

        1. * The only one who has a realistic chance of securing the nomination.

          And libertarians will vote Cruz because Hillary is scary and LP voters haven’t forgotten about Bob Barr.

  2. Yah, right, I’m convinced. The polls in NH are showing Trump has a YUGE lead. And the Free State project says that it’s goals are at 90% completion. You know, 90% of a libertarian takeover in NH and the only libertarian running, Rand Paul, is polling at 3% or so there.

    To me, that doesn’t equate to Ted Cruz needs libertarian support to win NH.

    Now as far as Cruz being able to win over libertarians, I would say it’s possible, but it’s not going to help his election chances more than a few percentage points if every libertarian in the country turns out to vote for him.

    1. Especially if getting that libertarian vote means turning off a bunch of the GOP base.

      This is the problem with Big Tent, Two Party politics. At some point the factions in your tent have mutually exclusive ideals. The hope is that their shared goals are higher on their list of priorities than the areas where they disagree. 5 years ago, it was more like that. However today with the Middle East weighing on people’s minds, the non-interventionist preferences of libertarians will continue to wedge between them and the rest of the GOP base.

      1. I do believe that the GOP will become increasingly infiltrated by libertarians. To that extent there is at least some debate going on in the GOP. That’s not the case in the Democratic party, which has already been completely taken over by the far left progressives. In effect though, there is still a package deal you get from both parties. With the GOP you get lower taxes along with the drug war and perpetual foreign wars. With the Dems you get more centralized control along with free stuff for everyone and higher taxes. Most people just take the package deal and go with it. Thinking is hard.

        1. I think you’re too pessimistic about the Dems. They have their share of cut-rate Wilsons, but most of them are young and/or stupid, and there are plenty of corrupt machine goons like the Clintons who just want kickbacks and power and are willing to negotiate with the GOP, which is more than you can say for BHO (ref. cut-rate Wilsons). There is something to be said for having a corrupt executive who will bend with the political wind for the sake of political survival than a true believer who will see the world burn to implement some utopian scheme.

          Anyway, the establishment GOP is basically the Democratic Party with more God-talk and bigger wars, so the only thing distinguishing the two is the nascent libertarian instinct that occasionally creeps up accidentally among Republicans, as with guns or religious freedom (aka freedom of association).

  3. Republicans can’t win the White House without the “Libertarian Vote” (more on that below). From the col:

    What’s especially important here, and an interesting development in the politics of modern America, is the Democrats can absolutely win without the “libertarian vote”.

    1. If I was to make a guesstimate, I’d put the total number of people in the USA that lean libertarian at around 15%. The total number of people who actually identify as libertarian I am quite certain is in the single digits percentage wise and probably the low single digits, that is below 5%. Libertarians do not decide elections. The vast majority of Americans are total statists, it’s just a question of what they want the government to force you to do, or not do.

      1. And of the 15% that lean libertarian, how many of those will actually vote?

        1. What’s the percentage of eligible voters who show up to vote in the average presidential election? There’s your likely answer.

      2. I sometimes feel the same way. But, I try to keep in mind, that I could restate that and say the majority of Americans want to be left alone, but most have a few pet issues that aren’t consistent with this feeling.

        I guess it depends on whether or not one feels that there is any hope to move the needle in the direction of liberty. I am not sure if I have alot of hope. But I will be damned if I am not going to at least try.

        1. Sure they want to be left alone. But they don’t want YOU to be left alone. You’re doing something they don’t like and the government needs to do something.

          1. I know what you are saying. It just depends on how I am feeling that day, or how many nut punches the Reason editors feel kind enough to dish out on any given day.

      3. The vast majority of Americans are total statists

        Compared to people where? What yardstick are you using to determine “total” statist?

        1. I in no way made any attempt to compare the people of the USA with any other place in that post. So that’s a moot point.

          And I don’t need a yardstick. I know people, I’ve known people all my life. The big majority of them want the government to NOT leave you alone. Where do you live, in some magical libertopia? Please give me the directions, I’m packing now.

          1. What makes them total statists, then? Do they want the state to control everything? I bet not. I bet they’re interested only in legal controls on certain things they’re interested in.

            1. Do they want the state to control everything?

              Plenty of people do, with the sole exception of what they, personally, want to do.

        2. Another four years of watching public television and they will be.

  4. He is more libertarian than Hillary

    1. “Baby steps!”

    2. You know who else was more libertarian than Hillary?

      1. Everyone?

  5. Anyone who can be won over at all isn’t a true libertarian!

    1. Ted’s the most libertarian candidate besides Rand. How to rate him on a libertarian scale, I’m not sure, but he’s better than most.

      1. Ted’s the most libertarian candidate besides Rand. How to rate him on a libertarian scale, I’m not sure, but he’s better than most.

        Rand.

        Ted.

        Close enough.

        1. I think that area on the left is an anomaly. Should be replaced with totalitarian.

          1. Meh, it’s a model that allows for the existence of the two parties (at least what the parties were a decade or more ago) with respect to liberty.

            Totalitarian is at the bottom. But I see the Democrats sliding down and, to a lesser extent, Republicans moving up-ish.

    2. Or a true Scotsman.

    3. Anyone who votes isn’t a true libertarian!

  6. the retro-wet-look hair even invokes the late, unlamented Sen. Joe McCarthy.

    Lame.

  7. “Hey, girl. You like Trump? I’ll Trump you all night. I’ll Trump you good.”

    1. It’s YUUUUUUUUUGE!

      1. I’m gonna Trump you in the morning
        I’m gonna Trump you in the night
        I’m gonna Trump you up, baby…
        I’ll Trump you right.

    2. The proper phrase is “I’ll Schlong you all night”

  8. You NEED us! You really do!

    Libertarians have a knack for sounding desperate.

    1. Nick does. A lot of us don’t bark like this every time an election comes around.

      1. The cosmos seem to really come down on anyone they think is a conservative, a lot more so than they do with progressives. I don’t really get this so much as it has always seemed a lot easier to me to at least partially convince a conservative about libertarian ideals as it is to do so with a prog. I even know several libertarians who were conservatives before deciding that they’re really libertarian. I think this is due to the fact that you can actually have a polite and rational political conversation with most conservatives, whereas your typical prog will stick their fingers in their ears and shriek like a banshee before they will willingly hear any opposing viewpoint.

        I really don’t know what is up with the Cruz bashing around here.

        1. Now that the SCOTUS took gay marriage off the table, name a single issue Libertarians can work with Progs on? I honestly can’t think of one. Meanwhile, you have people like Cruz out there talking about doing something about the NSA and actually trying to educate people about Austrian economics and Nick wants nothing to do with him.

          I will leave it to you to figure that one out.

          1. The problem with working with the progs on anything, John, as I’m sure you already know, is that they won’t. Even if a prog completely agrees with a libertarian on an issue, they’d rather change their minds about the issue than to work with us on it. They hate libertarians a lot more than they do conservatives. And that hate is more important to them than the issues.

            1. Or to the extent they will, they will turn what should be an advancement in freedom and turn it into a weapon to restrict freedom like they did with gay marriage.

          2. Immigration and Drug War. Both of those have plenty of Progs who are willing to work with Libertarians. And by “Work With” I mean, use Libertarian ideals to push ridiculous legal overreach that increases the scope and power of government.

            1. Progs really just love the Drug War. They pretend to be against it because admitting they support it would turn off some of their core constituencies. I have heard from some true-blue proggies tell me that “jail helps drug addicts turn their lives around” and that “cities are safe now thanks to the Drug War.”

              1. Cities are safe now? News to me. Watch the evening news for a few weeks.

        2. I think this is due to the fact that you can actually have a polite and rational political conversation with most conservatives, whereas your typical prog will stick their fingers in their ears and shriek like a banshee before they will willingly hear any opposing viewpoint.

          I think it has just as much to do with the phrase “We don’t have the money.” or “It’s not fiscally feasible/sensible to…”.

          All but the most zealous fundamentalist religious conservatives see or concede your point whereas the majority of proggies would weave together unicorn farts and math to prove that you’re wrong.

      2. That’s the odd thing. As little as ~5 yrs. ago (I forgot when I started to notice the change) he was among my favorites here, & seemed a very level-headed & cool analyst. Now he reads as obviously warped in his perspective. Was it the leather or the facial hair doing the thinking?

    2. “Libertarians have a knack for sounding desperate.”

      But enough about Crusty…..

  9. Can Ted Cruz Win Over Libertarians?

    Yes; and over LaRouchies.

  10. meh. He’s like one of the least shitty options available from a purely political standpoint, and he has no chance of winning as he’s got a face only a mother could love.

    1. he’s also been quite successfully painted as an extremist.

      1. Everyone right of Mao have been painted as extremists.

    2. Even his voice just doesn’t come across as “presidential.”

    3. Looks don’t seem to matter this round. Have you seen the other top candidates ?

      1. Does Rubio count as a “top candidate”? Because, let’s be honest, he’s rather good looking.

        1. Yeah, but I don’t think he’s doing as well is he? I know Cruz is doing really well in Iowa, for instance.

  11. I assume REASON is talking about those libertarians that normally vote libertarian/LP.
    Probably not. Cruz is simply too conservative to do that UNLESS it is a per-planned thing where it is understood libertarians will vote that way.

    Otherwise most if not all libertarians understand that changing their vote is most likely NOT going to change the outcome of the election particularly since it only matters in their state.

    1. They aren’t as the LP isn’t anywhere near 15% of the electorate.

  12. “””modal Reason.com reader “””

    Who is the modal Reason.com reader?

        1. I prefer “family tradition” but I’ll take it.

  13. “That’s news to me and it’s news to Rand Paul, the most libertarian-leaning contender for the GOP presidential nod, who tweeted the following New Year’s resolution: “I resolve to give @TedCruz more lead time before I announce my policy positions, so he can replicate them faster.””

    If Paul is a libertarian and Cruz is replicating Paul’s positions wouldn’t that ipso facto make Cruz a libertarian? Are Replicant libertarians not libertarians too?

    1. Depends if you watch the original version or the Director’s Cut.

  14. He has no chance of winning over hardcore libertarians, the kind who have posters of Rothbard on their walls.

    1. No, but there are people who are sort of halfway between libertarians and conservatives on the issues. Cruz could get their vote.

      Glenn Beck has been touting Cruz with all his might lately.

    2. He shouldn’t hae to win oer hardcore Libertarians.

      Unless they prefer one of the alternaties.

      Hilliary Bernie Trump or the true establishment conserative Rubio all Libertarians should turn out for Cruz.

      Cruz is the most libertatian candidate who has a chance to win.

      I reccomend everyone google cruz’s time at the FTC in a leadership role.

      Exactly the opposite leadership style of Obama.

    1. It’s about as creepy as the standard Bernie Sanders photo.

    2. The photo was selected for that reason.

  15. Indeed, to most libertarians I know, Cruz comes across as a conservative pretty much straight out of Central Casting?the retro-wet-look hair even invokes the late, unlamented Sen. Joe McCarthy

    If libertarianism is about anything, it’s about a fervent opposition to parting your hair down the middle.

    Boaz rightly observed to me that Cruz turns off libertarians “with his heavy emphasis on evangelical issues” such as gay marriage and abortion. The apocalyptic extremity of his rhetoric is off-putting even beyond its content and there’s a strong case that Cruz has blown up any possible of rapprochment with libertarian voters

    I’m sure an example or two won’t be difficult to scrounge up, eh?

    Of course, considering the rest of Nick’s content on Cruz this article is hardly surprising, but I wouldn’t mind finding out exactly what Nick’s problem with the guy is.

    1. Cruz turns off libertarians “with his heavy emphasis on evangelical issues” such as gay marriage and abortion.

      I can’t recall a single thing he’s said on either topic.

      The apocalyptic extremity of his rhetoric

      Oh, fer fuck’s sake. Compared to who?

      1. That 2nd line is fucking hilariously over the top.

      2. He hasn’t that I have ever heard. But the fact that people on here assume he does and think his position on it is more important than his positions on things like the NSA, gun rights, economic policy and about a dozen other issues shows that for many Libertarians it really is about ass sex, pot and Mexicans.

        Seriously, how is gay marriage even in the conversation with things like indefinite detention and NSA spying?

        1. It makes sensense if you think of libertarians as progressives with better vocabularies.

    2. Cruz accidentally donned the Jacket at a cocktail party…and wore it well.

  16. So he has to protect his flank from social conservatives during the primaries. Being a guy who stresses his Constitutional conservative roots, I think there is probably a lot of overlap with him and libertarian positions.

    I recently read an NRO article complaining that Cruz was too federalist on abortion and was comfortable with 50 different sets of rules.

    1. Eh, I think Cruz legitimately holds those views, and would at least support them if he were in office. The problem is I think the same is true for Paul, who holds similar evangelical positions. Nick can’t use the socon positions as the major libertarian objection against Cruz while still pining for Paul.

      1. Oh, heck, in a world where Dave Boaz is going on about how Reagan was the culmination of a pro-freedom movement, while Boaz was much less sanguine (to say the least) about Reagan in 1980….

  17. G refuses to give up in believing in this fucking creamy goodness. I’ll never stop loving him so it’s probably fucking OK. But, still, goddamn this powerful desire to be left the FUCK ALONE, WORLD!!!!

  18. Can Ted Cruz Win Over Libertarians?

    Hmm, do you mean by billcrosbying us?

    What? Too soon?

    1. “The libertarian voters were not unresponsive.”

      1. Then the dosage needed to be upped….what?!

  19. FWIW, since Paul isn’t going to win, Cruz is the only other R who I would pretty enthusiastically vote for in the general election. I would probably vote for Rubio or Fiorina. Anybody else, I doubt it. I will never vote for Jeb Bush (even if for no other reason than no more Bushes or Clintons) or Christie (other than a handful of issues, just as bad as Hillary and worse on others). Carson won’t win. I am praying every day to the Aesir and Vanir (and anyone else who may be listening) that Trump doesn’t get the nomination.

    1. Cover your bases w the landvettir while you’re at it. Come to think of it, you may need the help of giants or a deal w some dwarfs to stop Trump.

      1. The funny thing is that the Asatruars I know are overwhelmingly pro-Trump, among those I’ve gotten an opinion from.

      2. I’m reminded of a story Fred Cookinham tells of having wandered into a Jerry Brown rally during the 1976 presidential campaign & seeing a West Indian guy doing what looked like a ritual. Fred asked, “Is this voodoo?” Response, “Sure it voodoo, man. How you think he going to win?”

  20. Indeed, to most libertarians I know, Cruz comes across as a conservative pretty much straight out of Central Casting?the retro-wet-look hair even invokes the late, unlamented Sen. Joe McCarthy. Sure, he peppers his conversations with references to Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, two “Austrian School” economists important to libertarians, and he genuflects regularly in the direction of cutting the size, scope, and spending of government (one loose definition of libertarian politics). That is, unless you’re talking about defense spending, which can always be jacked up even without paying for any increases….

    First, since when does a person’s looks have anything to do with who they are? And in what universe is the free market economics of Hayek and von Misses and cutting the scope of government “one lose definition of libertarian politics”?

    As far as Cruz and defense spending, he was one of two Senators, along with Rand Paul, who voted against the NDAA and is committed to ending indefinite detention and NSA spying on Americans. Are those issues also “one lose definition of libertarian politics”? Cruz being a huge spender on defense will come as one hell of a surprise to Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, National Review and pretty much the entire beltway Republican establishment all of whom have spent all fall painting him as someone who is left of Obama on defense spending.

  21. Cruz also believes the federal government should govern abortion, which makes you wonder why he thinks gay marriage should be left up to the states.

    Abortion isn’t gay marriage. If some states wanted to legalize infanticide up to the age of five would Nick be down with just leaving it up to the states? I doubt it but it wouldn’t shock me. Meanwhile Nick engages in the usual bullshit question begging about abortion and assumes anyone who objects to it must do so because they don’t respect personal privacy and not because they have a different assumption about when life begins than Nick does.

    Perhaps there are good reasons not to like Cruz. Too bad Nick is unable to come up with any.

    1. Abortion really should be at the state level. It’s too nuanced for a one size fits all solution.

      1. It also would allow the country to have SC nominations be about more than Roe v Wade, but that would be too much to ask.

    2. I doubt if Gillespie would be any happier with the idea that the states govern abortion rather than the federal courts.

  22. It seems like Republican primary voters want anyone but the mainstream-approved candidate, and that bodes well for Cruz.

  23. This country is so far down the road to statism already. What is the point?

  24. I’ll put it this way, Cruz isn’t my first choice. But, if Cruz is the Republican nominee, I’ll probably vote for him. As far as I can tell, he’s the most libertarian major-party candidate running whose name isn’t Rand Paul. If the GOP foists pretty much anyone else on me, I’ll vote for the Libertarian.

    1. Wouldn’t Cruz be the most Libertarian major candidate since Goldwater? If Libertarians won’t vote for Cruz, then they really don’t care that much about many of the things they claim to care about or they have no interest in ever actually accomplishing anything if they do.

      1. Cruz seems to be more libertarian than Bob Barr and he was the LP’s candidate.

        1. Cruz isn’t perfect, but no candidate is. The question is which issues are important to you. And Cruz seems to be right on a lot of pretty important things.

          1. He seems to be the best candidate for libertarians and Reason.com, not sure why there’s such a backlash. Maybe he has too much of a chance to win.

            1. Nick G hates winners. /Charlie Sheen

            2. He seems to be the best candidate for libertarians and Reason.com, not sure why there’s such a backlash.

              Because he isn’t on board with Reason’s cultural crusades, that’s why. Which, as we have suspected, sure seem to outweigh such issues as “spending” and “surveillance state” and other peripheral fripperies.

      2. I was talking about the entire field right now. And, no, there are other guys running (Rand) who have him beat. On the other hand, if he got the nomination, he’d either be the most libertarian major party nominee since Reagan or Goldwater, yeah.

        I really wish Nick would show us on the doll where it was that Ted Cruz touched him. As far as I can tell, the guy could personally, simultaneously find a cure for cancer, bring peace to the Middle East and perfect cold fusion and Nick would respond by accusing him of grandstanding.

        1. But just look at Ted’s hair!

      3. I should add, I don’t think the Cruz-hatred is really uniform among libertarians. I think there’s a segment of libertarians who tend to be a little more left-leaning who see him as “square”. Personally, a square running the government would be just fine with me. Calvin Coolidge was a square.

    2. Same here. Cruz is the only GOP candidate who can get my vote other than Rand.

  25. Short Nick: I couldn’t hang with Ted.

  26. “Can Ted Cruz Win Over Libertarians?”

    Maybe some of the bible beaters. I find all the Jesus talk really off putting.

    1. So if the election comes down to Cruz versus Hillary, you wouldn’t vote for Cruz because of the “Jesus talk”? This even though Cruz has consistently been on the right side of the NSA and indefinite detention debate?

      So what you are saying is not having a President who talks about Jesus is more important to you than having a President who pledges to put a stop to the NSA spying on Americans and the feds having the power to hold American Citizens indefinitely?

      Good thing you have your priorities straight.

      1. If Hillary’s elected, you’ll hear a lot of Jesus talk, as in, “Jesus, they elected her?!”

      2. Can he win over Libertarians and would I vote for him if the other option is Hillary are two very different questions. Lesser of two evils and all that. If it’s Hillary vs Cruz, yeah, I’d vote for Cruz but part of me would die inside.

        Of course, I live in California so I could vote for my dog and it won’t make any difference.

        1. If you vote for him over Hillary, he has “won you over” to the extent he needs to. He just needs your vote, not your love.

          1. That’s a low bar, but I’ll allow it because Hillary.

            1. Blame the Democrats. If they had not gone insane and insisted on running Hillary, the bar would be higher. All of this “fuck the Republicans” stuff was all fun and games back when there was still such a thing as a sane Democrat. Sometime in the 00s the Democrats went insane and made the price of holding the Republicans to any standard of behavior incredibly high.

    2. Yeah, me too. But I’m not so concerned about what a candidate says as I am about what they actually do. And Cruz’s voting record in congress looks good if you’re a libertarian. He can talk about Jesus all he wants as long as he continues to do what he’s been doing.

      1. Amen.

        1. er…. “so say we all”

      2. Didn’t he also defend 2nd amendment rights before the Supreme Court–and win?

    3. So any candidate who is a strong Christian is off-putting to you?

        1. Why? Explain your prejudice please.

          1. The next one that doesn’t want to impose their theology on me in some way will be the first.

            1. Compared to which other candidates, who want to leave you totally alone?

    4. Maybe some of the bible beaters. I find all the Jesus talk really off putting.

      I’m not particularly religious, but I can’t see why a person would really care. You know, I remember a time when a lot of libertarians said “I’m fine with a guy who’s a bible thumper, as long as he doesn’t try to impose his views on the rest of us.” I have yet to see much in the way of evidence that Cruz has shown much of an appetite to have the government really do much in the way of enforcing religion. The goalposts seem to have moved to, “Well, he’s just too evangelically”.

      1. I have yet to see much in the way of evidence that Cruz has shown much of an appetite to have the government really do much in the way of enforcing religion.

        Power corrupts.

        1. That seems like weak sauce. Based on that, you can pretty much indict anyone of any viewpoint.

          1. Can and do.

            This is why I make a special point of never voting for anyone who has any chance of winning an election.

      2. It is tribal signaling.

        To associate oneself with those icky Bible thumpers means you aren’t a part of the hip, cool crowd.

        Plus, those evangelicals have Jesus cooties.

        1. It’s also signalling in the other direction. Candidates signalling to the religious people that they are part of the pious and godly crowd.

          1. True. But, honestly, if you’re concerned with preserving liberty, one would hope you’d try to see past the tribal signaling. I’ll vote for an evangelical who supports limited government and individual liberty, an atheist who supports limited government and individual liberty, a Buddhist who supports limited government and individual liberty, a Muslim who supports limited government and individual liberty, or a Satan Worshiper who supports limited government and individual liberty.

          2. Obama himself isn’t exactly quiet on the Jesus front – when it suits his needs.

            I used to believe as the OP, but these days… meh. Life’s too short any more.

      3. My goal posts were always in the same spot with respect to overtly religious candidates.

  27. Cruz says a couple of words now and then that, if you squint just right, you might think of as kinda-sorta libertarian.

  28. What kind of fucking moron would support that sleazy psychopath or believe anything that comes out of its mouth.

    1. That settles it.

      1. Yep. Always nice to get confirmation.

        1. I wasn’t excited about Ted before, but now I’m going to give him a serious look.

        2. I think you meant projection.

    2. I agree with you on Hillary 100%.

    3. Tony, the Obama thread is that way:

      —–

    4. If Tony disagrees with Cruz about anything, then surely Cruz is right about it.

      1. There’s nothing to disagree with. He doesn’t believe a word he says, which is easy because he doesn’t believe in anything.

        1. Accusations of nihilism from the guy who thinks rights are a thing government grants you.

    5. Tony|1.4.16 @ 12:34PM|#

      What kind of fucking moron would support that sleazy psychopath or believe anything that comes out of its mouth.

      We aren’t talking about Hilliary doofus.

      Do try and keep up.

  29. I’d rather have Rand, but he looks like he’d have zero aptitude for being able to govern even if by some amazing fluke he were ever elected. So, who’s the least worse option? Cruz. Better Cruz than Hillary any day. Hold your nose and vote.

  30. Cruz, I’ve read, is unpopular among his fellow Senators. And he really got Feinstein’s goat in a meeting on her proposed gun regs (too lazy to link; it’s on youtube). Good enough to get my vote.

    1. Cruz is despised by Republican leadership. He made an hour-long speech on the Senate floor calling them out by name and explaining in detail how they are the problem, not the solution. Brutal stuff – and never a glance at notes or teleprompter. Instantly made me a fan and my 2nd choice after Paul.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aimgwzV-77U

      1. I honestly can’t understand why Reason has so much butt hurt over Cruz. He has done more to pull the GOP towards Libertarian positions than anyone other than maybe Rand Paul.

        1. They think that somebody is going to win the GOP nomination while riding at the front of gay pride parades. Reason seems to care far more about gay marriage than the size and scope of the Federal Government.

        2. I honestly can’t understand why Reason has so much butt hurt over Cruz.

          Because they have a very narrow and odd vision of libertarianism, which consists mostly of transient cultural issues and consumer choice, and discounts to ignores vast swathes of government and human activity.

          As our federal government has exploded by any measure whatsoever, Reason has retreated more and more into cultural/social issues. Hard to say why, but there it is.

          1. As our federal government has exploded by any measure whatsoever, Reason has retreated more and more into cultural/social issues. Hard to say why, but there it is.

            I guess they are looking for the libertarian moment wherever they can find it, but sometimes it just comes across as sad and kind of nutty. Like a concentration camp victim enjoying a sunset on their way to the gas chamber.

        3. I honestly can’t understand why Reason has so much butt hurt over Cruz.

          Open borderz! (and butt sex)

  31. So if Trump is the nominee, we libertarians are supposed to fall in line and vote for him, right? Come to think of it, there has never been a remotely libertarian presidential candidate from either party. The best we can hope for is a strong LIBERATRIAN candidate who can get 3 to 5% of the vote. The major parties will then take notice.

    1. I don’t think it’s quite that easy. If a libertarian would get 10+% of the vote, they would definitely take notice. Both parties would then go all out to paint a picture of the ‘growing extemism problem’ in America, and start painting all libertarians as dangerous extremists. The media would run with that like they’ve never ran with anything before. All of the sudden libertarian would be the new scary drug craze sweeping the nation and killing the children.

      1. “The media would run with that like they’ve never ran with anything before. All of the sudden libertarian would be the new scary drug craze sweeping the nation and killing the children.”

        They already have run with it Hyperion, for a long time. The good thing is that few people take the media that seriously anymore, so I think there is an opportunity now.

        1. And they’ve already taken note of it. Which is why we’ll learn soon enough that a ‘vast majority’ of Americans want sensible gun internet control.

          1. Yep, and I bet if a libertarian candidate were to emerge who really appealed to millennials, you would see the voting age raised back to 21.

  32. What Nick wants is a President who will be first on the gay pride float, not one who will be first to cut taxes or the size of government.

    To which I say: fine and dandy. The Presidential election is a popularity contest first and foremost; it might very well be fantasy to pretend that there even exists the capacity for rational debates and preferences in Presidential elections at a standard that libertarians find acceptable. But that being the case, Nick should stop pretending that his political aesthetics are a libertarian concern: he is part of the problem, if the problem is a vapid culture which holds a person’s hairpiece against him and never holds a person’s overall record in office in their favor.

    1. First gay Muslim pride float.

      1. That is so 2015 man. 2016 is is the Transgendered Muslim Pride float.

    2. I have held my nose too many times and voted for who I thought would be more in favor of smaller government and lower taxes. Lately, this has not been for anyone would ride on a gay pride parade float. I could vote for Cruz, but the problem is I am outnumbered by those for whom abortion and gay pride are more important and will never vote for him.

      1. don’t forget trans gendered.

  33. A Tea Party favorite, Cruz is also sometimes called libertarian or libertarian leaning. But is he really in favor of “Free Minds and Free Markets” in the same way that the modal Reason.com reader is?

    And yet Cruz and Republicans will need libertarian voters in November if they want to take the White House. Work by Boaz and his Cato colleague David Kirby shows that at least 15 percent of the electorate is reliably libertarian (that is, it trends fiscally conservative and socially liberal).

    Don’t conflate these different measuring sticks. He doen’t have to be much like the modal reason.com reader to be like that 15%.

  34. I like Cruz just because his trolling of progressives is absolutely masterful. Which other serious presidential candidate can run a campaign ad featuring “How Obamacare Stole Christmas” and still pull off those kind of poll numbers?

    Nobody, that’s who.

  35. Is Cruz a libertarian? Obviously not. You pointed out why.

    Can he win libertarian votes? Yes, absolutely. Maybe not the votes of those who regularly vote LP instead of Republican. But those of idiots like me who still maintain some GOP ties. Some honestly just want small government in the abstract without putting too much thought into line-item positions, and I think Cruz is the candidate of those guys.

    Sometimes the least worst option turns into the best option by accident. I will almost definitely go for Cruz over Rand in the primary if it tips the balance against Trump a little. I honestly might even throw in with Rubio’s crappy foreign policy if he’s the main foil to Trump, because at least he’s not imposing religious tests to cross the border.

    1. I still favor Ron Paul’s idea of libertarians taking over the GOP. It’s actually working, slowly, slowly, but surely. The way I typically vote is, if there’s an acceptably libertarian GOP candidate, vote for that candidate, if not, vote L if there is an L candidate. If not any of those things, sit it out.

      1. That being said, I would probably consider Cruz ‘acceptably’ Libertarian. If nothing other than being a staunch advocate of the Constitution and being a small government type conservative, that’s enough in this case. Also, not being a ‘lesser of 2 evils’ voter, between Hillary and Cruz, Cruz is so much smaller of an evil, that I would probably need to make an exception.

        1. We would be extremely lucky if it was between Hillary and Cruz. Unfortunately, it will probably be Hillary vs Trump.

        2. Agreed – although the extent to which libertarians actually matter in the GOP has been reduced a lot as the focus shifts from the economy, where our views are at least somewhat widespread, to foreign policy, where there is widespread fear that the last two administrations didn’t even do enough intervention, much less did too much.

          It’s a bad year for a Rand Paul, but that doesn’t mean a semi-libertarian Team Red is impossible.

        3. Exactly right. Conservatives are not nearly as big a threat to liberty at the moment.

          But if you don’t want to vote for a lesser evil in 2016, consider pulling the lever for Cthulhu this November.

  36. Cosmotarian Cocktail Party 2016
    Ted: Hey Nick, how’s life?
    Nick: Fuck off Teabagger
    Ted: Woah! Hold up a minute. Why all the hate?
    Nick: You are not Libertarian enough.
    Ted: So who is that has a chance to get the nomination?
    Nick: Not you.
    Ted: Who then?
    Nick: Fuck off you slimy Republican.
    Ted: Hmmm. Nick, do you have to wear that Jacket inside here? It’s 80 degrees.
    Nick: You’re not the boss of me.
    Hat/coat checker: Sir, I must’ve missed you on the way in. Would you like me to take your Jacket?
    Nick: No!!!!!!
    Checker: OoooooooK…
    Ted: It’s the Jacket Nick, it has corrupted you. All of your progressive thoughts has turned the Jacket from a force for Libertarianism to a evil doppelganger that only wants to do one thing- be contrarian. Take it off Nick, you can do it.
    Nick: You will all die if Ted gets elected!
    Ted: Nick, you’re not yourself, please take off the Jacket.
    Nick: *takes off Jacket. There. I did it. *blinks like he is just waking up
    Ted: You alright?
    Nick: Sure. Now all of you can fuck off and die in a blazing homo hell fire you shit bags!!!
    Ted: So….the Jacket was just holding it in. Put it back on Douchebag.

    1. Can you show us on the doll what the cosmotarian did to you?

  37. Early on, Ayn Rand acolyte, Yaron Brook, said he would vote for Ted Cruz. An atheist would vote for a born-again Christian?

    Intersectionality!

  38. don’t know of any ethnic Libertarians (including myself) who are considering voting for a republican.

    1. What’s an ethnic libertarian? A person whose ancestors evolved in the relative isolation of Liberia?

      1. the demographic that is not considered “white/anglo”.

        1. So I don’t have an ethnicity? Are white people space aliens or something?

          1. be proud of your ethnicity. celebrate it. embrace your party and it’s core beliefs whatever they (party/beliefs) may be.

            i apologize if i touched a nerve.

            1. Nah. You just outed yourself as a collectivist, not a libertarian. Nobody was confused; you were being mocked.

  39. But is he really in favor of “Free Minds and Free Markets” in the same way that the modal Reason.com reader is? Not all all.

    Some all, then? Which all?

  40. Can Ted Cruz Win Over Libertarians?

    Does it matter?

  41. We’d all love to be able to make Rand Paul the President, but doesn’t seem to be happening this year.

    Cruz is conservative, no question about it. Terrible on drugs, not good on gay marriage (though he’s said it’s not a top 3 priority).

    But we have to choose between Trump or Cruz or Rubio. And then between that person and Hillary or Sanders. Cruz is the best libertarian choice in both cases, it’s not even close.

    Notably, Cruz is for expanding H1-Bs, who do assimilate. I have argued to my friends on the right that this is a good policy.

    Cruz is brilliant and has taken enormous heat from his own party for sticking to principle on a few occasions. He’s far from a perfect candidate but the best libertarians are likely to get.

  42. [On a recent episode of Red Eye with Tom Shillue, guest Alan Dershowitz opined that Ted Cruz, whom he taught at Harvard Law back in the day, was very “libertarian.”]

    Is it not possible that Dershowitz is merely being sleazy and trying to stir the pot to discredit Cruz? The way Progressives think, claiming that Cruz is a committed Libertarian is an insult to Libertarians. Don’t you get that?

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