Election 2016

Rejoice: Independent Socialist Bernie Sanders & Fake Republican Donald Trump Have Incredible Showings in Iowa

The biggest victory in the 2016 race for president is also one of the least appreciated.

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Sure, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz won in yesterday's Iowa caucuses, the first actual votes cast in Election 2016. Each candidate has problems within their parties but each is unmistakably part and parcel of the Democratic and Republican operations (Clinton, at the very least, may be even more "establishment" than Jeb Bush, the son and brother of former presidents).

Which makes it easy to forget something that's truly amazing about last night's tallies, regardless of how you feel about either party or any of the individual candidates: The second-place finishers aren't even real members of the parties for whose nominations they are running.

Bernie Sanders, an avowed "democratic socialist," won his Senate seat as an independent. Sure, he caucuses with the Democrats and many of this policy positions fit easily within the Donkey Party's tent, but it's nothing short of amazing that he's the one given Clinton the scare of her lifetime.

Similarly, Donald Trump, who has registered to vote with both Dems and Reps in the past and is a proud supporter of universal healthcare, is nobody's idea of a rock-ribbed Republican. Just ask the bully boys at the party organ National Review, who burned an entire issue explicating the case "Against Trump" (for starters, they noted, he is a "menace to American conservativism" who inherited his money!).

If you ever wondered whether the wheels were coming off the traditional parties, take a second to survey the wreckage in Iowa, where two interlopers won silver medals and are leading handily in next week's New Hampshire primary. This may all change, but the damage has been done. Not only are these guys forcing party folks to break a sweat in the primaries, they are chiefly responsible for record and near-record turnouts. Last night, the number of GOP voters increased by 50 percent over 2012 and the Democrats will come close to equaling the outcome seen in 2008 when Clinton, powerhouse herself, faced two rock stars, Barack Obama and John Edwards. About 45 percent of each party's voters last night were attending their first caucuses.

This is all to the good. As Matt Welch and I argued in The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, the two major parties are pretty much played out. In just the 21st century alone, each has wielded power and wielded it poorly, often delivering something very different than what their rhetoric suggests they believe in. Republicans delivered massive deficits and nation-building after carping about the value of limited government forever. Democrats brushed aside civil liberties concerns here and abroad while also prosecuting wars without even a fig leaf of constitutional approval. Obamacare is the only major entitlement that had essentially zero votes from the opposition party, undercutting any pretense to centrism and compromise.

As Matthew J. Dowd, a political consultant and analyst who has worked both sides of the aisle, writes in The Wall Street Journal:

A majority of Americans are frustrated at our current political system and the duopoly of our parties, and the fastest-growing segment of voters is people registering as independents. Yet many commentators still argue that all voters predominantly choose between the two parties and that there is no room for independent candidates. The much-discussed anger among voters–of all stripes–stems in part from feeling made to choose between two unsatisfactory options, with no real alternatives. For years, with each election, voters seem to throw one party out to try the other and see if it works differently. So far, nothing has really changed….

Two independents are not just doing extremely well. They are major players creating havoc for the establishment in the nomination process. This shows the broken nature of the two political parties and the depth of the desire for change from the status quo. It is an incredible development that Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump, men who have very little party allegiance, are creating the most energy in their respective campaigns for party leader.

Dowd likes what he sees: "The power of independents across the United States, outside the electoral college, cannot be underestimated…. This cycle is likely to be an accelerator for the success of independents locally and at the state level–developments that can only be good for our democracy."

Read the whole thing (including discussion of a possible third-party run by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg) here.

The Democrats and Republicans were parties before the Civil War. While America's first-past-the-post system essentially guarantees there will always only be two major parties, the respective ideologies of those parties have changed many times. In the late 19th century, for instance, "Grover Cleveland Democrats" were very much like today's libertarian-leaning Republicans. Currently, neither party is truly a national party in that it has broad support among voters. As Dowd notes, the fastest-growing designation in politics is independent and even when you strip away voters who lean R or D, there's a growing number of people who just can't be bothered to affiliate with one tribe or another.

The nation is, as a whole, socially liberal and fiscally conservative. We want a government that's out of the bedroom and the boardroom, one that spends less and does less. And until we get a party—or two!—that speaks to that great and growing group of crypto-libertarians who just want to get on with a life that will mostly be lived beyong politics, you can expect more independent candidates at all levels making life difficult for traditional party types.

CNN has been tracking what it calls an index of libertarianism that is keyed to two questions:

Back in 1992, only about 50 percent agreed that "government was doing too much." In 2014, that figure was at 58 percent (down slightly from a 2011 peak of 63 percent). In 1993 (the first year the question was asked), only 42 percent said that government should not favor one set of values. In 2014, that figure was 55 percent, an all-time high.

So in the early 1990s, the composite score for libertarian beliefs was around 92 points. It's currently at 113 points.

As Trump's unmasked xenophobia and Sanders' idiotic economics show, those independents will likely speak to the fears and anxieties of voters rather than their aspirations. All the more reason for Democrats and Republicans to start recalibrating their party's identities so they are more fully in touch with the plurality, if not majority, of Americans.

NEXT: Bernie Sanders Has a Superdelegate Problem

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  1. The power of independents across the United States, outside the electoral college, cannot be underestimated…. This cycle is likely to be an accelerator for the success of independents locally and at the state level?developments that can only be good for our democracy

    Yep, so far the results been great — a genuine socialist and a banana republic-style cult of personality nationalist. One hell of a libertarian moment you’ve got there, when a libertarian magazine has taken to celebrating the victory of these two schmucks while condemning everything about candidates who are objectively much, much better than either Trump or Bernie.

    1. You aren’t seeing the big picture here.

      If either Trump or Sanders win, the entire US government will implode.

      After that, between fighting various motorcycle-riding warlords and searching for water in the post apocalyptic wasteland, we can then start to build a new, limited-scope small-scale government!!

      1. Will I get a cool car? Tell me I’ll get a cool car in the post-apocalypse. I’m tired of driving a Hyundai.

        1. If you vote for me you will!

        2. You get a Hyundai that runs on nitro methane and spit!

        3. It’s the post-apocalypse, man.

          EVERYONE gets a cool car, absurd armored pauldrons, and enough hair gel and vibrant hair dye to ensure the most ridiculous of hairstyles from sea to shining sea.

        4. Will I get a cool car? Tell me I’ll get a cool car in the post-apocalypse. I’m tired of driving a Hyundai.

          I promise it I have to eat you, you will be properly brined and grilled. You will be a meal fit for a king, King of the swamps that is.

        5. You’ll get a cool car, but you gotta pay a good wage to the dude with the flamethrower guitar who rides around on the front of it. Spoiler alert: that dude is me.

        6. Even in the Apocalypse it seems people want be given free shit.

      2. It’ll be like Somalia, but the roadz are already built.

      3. No evidence that it won’t implode if somebody else gets elected. Don’t see how the US government imploding would help anybody, much less libertarians.

    2. Nick is really digging deep to find some kind of diamond in the steaming pile of shit that is the elecrion.

      1. Mad Max and the Diamond Elecrion

        1. Happy Sam and the Golden Erection

  2. I predict a thoughtful and productive discussion in this comment thread.

    1. Hugh Akston|2.2.16 @ 10:50AM|#

      I predict a thoughtful and productive discussion in this comment thread.

      reply to this
      american socialist|2.2.16 @ 10:50AM|#

      Nono, Nick, the real reason for celebration is that the Republican fall back candidate for liberty won. It’s time we all get behind him– or Rubio or whatever– warts and all.

      Hehe.

      1. Hey.., I want to be friends is all. I’m just glad you guys got what you want. Mabel tof!

        1. Actually Jewish or just cultural appropriator?

          /derp

          1. Hard to tell. A lot of jews are socialists. But even it is cultural appropriation, it’s OK when a slimy leftist shitstain does it.

            1. A lot of jews are also great free market economists.

              1. Seriously. Apparently, a lot of non-Jews are socialists too. Oh, and fuck off, Loki.

    2. Well then let’s get this party started! Which of the Wheel of Time series novels would you say is the best, Hugh? Come on, I know you’ve read them all!

      1. The one with the sword?

        1. Or is it the one where they take a long journey?

          1. This is the winner.

          2. Nope, its the rapey one.

        2. What about the one with that magic thing, er, you know – object in it?

        3. No, you nincompoop. The one with the bowl!

          1. What about the one where part of the traveling group gets separated from the others?

            1. Is that the one where one of the girls pulls her own hair?

              1. Her braid! She tugs her braid, don’t you know anything?!?

        4. I’ll take swords for 400, Alex.

      2. Wasn’t there one that was 1000 pages about the day leading up to a battle and ended before the battle started? That was cool.

        1. lol I remember something like that. I’m pretty sure I burned my copy of that book.

          1. Was that the one where Perrin spent half the book trying to buy some corn for his troops. I hear that book was a favorite in Iowa.

      3. How can you tell the difference?

      4. The one where they drink this new coffee thing, but spell it a different way?

      5. Thank God I was smart enough to quit reading that series halfway through the first book.

      6. I embarrassingly admit to having read all the WOT books. I guess that makes me a masochist that doesn’t understand the concept of sunk cost.

        1. Eh. Sanderson did a nice enough job finishing it up that it paid off. I don’t regret having finished it, but the middle 8 books in which nothing happens ensures that it’s not re-readable.

        2. Eh. Sanderson did a nice enough job finishing it up that it paid off. I don’t regret having finished it, but the middle 8 books in which nothing happens ensures that it’s not re-readable.

        3. Eh. Sanderson did a nice enough job finishing it up that it paid off. I don’t regret having finished it, but the middle 8 books in which nothing happens ensures that it’s not re-readable.

          1. this is why i don’t comment.

            1. No worries. We have all been victims of the squirrels.

  3. Nono, Nick, the real reason for celebration is that the Republican fall back candidate for liberty won. It’s time we all get behind him– or Rubio or whatever– warts and all.

    1. Says the proud voter for Ms. Yes, Bomb and the shouting senile lifetime leech.

      1. That senile leech opposed the irAq war, championed the right to have an abortion, and didn’t want to bail out banks in 2008. Looks pretty smart to me.

        1. Yeah, nothing says ‘smart’ like the imbecilic rantings of a senile old geriatric communist promising free shit for everyone.

        2. Looks pretty smart to me.

          QED.

          1. Very low bar.

        3. didn’t want to bail out banks

          Instead, he wants to appoint “farmers” and “urban residents” to the Federal Reserve Board. He’s a danger of a whole different stripe; the sort of person who is right only occasionally but because it’s for all the wrong reasons, is disastrously wrong most of the time.

        4. Yes, Bernie is right about some of the problems with government. Unfortunately he is dangerously, ridiculously wrong about the solutions. And lots of other things.

        5. While Bernie is right about foreign policy and holding Wall Street accountable, his policies would lead to Venezuelan-style shortages of toilet paper and deodorants.

          1. Exactly. He correctly identifies several big problems. But his solutions would make everything worse.

      2. I’m not voting for her. If she’s the nominee I’m joining Peace and Freedom Party to vote accordingly.

        1. Since your ideology is diametrically opposed to both of those things, that’ll be hilarious.

        2. “I’m not voting for her! I’m voting for the old screaming guy!”

          Fuck off, joe.

          1. Just keep saying it… CRUZ/RUBIO FOR LIBERTY, PEACE, and FREEDOM.

            1. Aren’t two of those redundant?

              And how’s that peace in the Middle East and North Africa working out?

              1. Not good. It’s because the previous Republican war criminal launched a ridiculous war against a country that never attacked or threatened us– thereby destabilizing the region. Should I vote in another Republican wannabe war criminal to recompense? Thanks, I’ll pass.

                1. Yeah, the US support of “rebels” in Syria had nothing to do with its current situation.

                  And do you even know where North Africa is? Do Libya and Mali border Iraq?

                  Did an army cross the Arabian desert and “destabilize” Yemen?

                  1. It’s still 2008 in its head.

                    1. It’s still 2008 in its head.

                      That is giving him too much credit. Apparently, everything bad that has happened since 2008 is Bush’s fault, and everything good that has happened since 2008 is Obama’s doing. Even when the evidence plainly paints a different picture.

                      Never mind that Bush generally had legislative backing for what he did, whereas Obama generally hasn’t.

                2. Nonsense, Obama pulled out of Iraq in 2009, right after he closed Gitmo. Ooops.

                3. How about Afghanistan? Obama said, during his 2008 campaign, that Bush had done too little there. Upon winning the WH, Obama set out to escalate the conflict sending tens of thousands more troops in, extending the war at least eight more years, and killing hundreds more Americans and countless Afghans.

                  But continue telling yourself that Bush did it all with his great influence over a democratic president. Keep making excuses for yourself and you party. That way you never have to take responsibility and you’ll never solve any problems.

                4. In fact, after Iraq, Quaddafi (was that how he spelled his name right before he was killed?) was more cooperative in regards to dismantling his attempts at a WMD program.

                  1. Didn’t he have “duck” in there somewhere? QuaddafiDuck or something? I forget. Must be old age.

              2. i think only one of them would be redundant

            2. Crubioz! …like a Mexican breakfast cereal.

              1. Crubioz! Made with real gypsum!
                Munch all you want. We’ll borrow to make more.

        3. Peace and freedom? I thought you were a socialist. You have a change of heart?

          1. Peace and freedom for foreigners*. Always read the fine print.

            * = If you believe even this is true, I’ve got a bridge to sell you…

      1. I dunno, Playa. Plenty of dumbth, but there’s a notable lack of sophistry in commie-kids posts. Hardly any misdirection, for instance, just flat out lies and stupid statements.

        1. What is wrong with you?

          1. You have to admit, Bo was a better breed of troll than commie douche.

            1. Bo was in the bigs. Amsoc isn’t even short-season.

  4. What has surprised me the most is the corruption of the news media (with the exception of FOX to some degree maybe) – particularly the decision by the NY Times to actually endorse Clinton when they could simply have chosen no one.

    1. She’s going to be the Democratic candidate, and the NYT is determined to drag her dessicated old carcass across the finish line.

      1. Lol, that would be a great movie: Weekend At Bernie’s. Hillary dies from natural causes and Bernie keeps animating the corpse so that people keep voting for him out of their hate for Hillary.

    2. “Endorse no one”?!?! Look, we are definitely going to have a next president. Probably several more presidents at least. And the NY Times wants to be on the winning side. If they endorse somebody, they might be on the winning side, or they might not. But they were definitely on a side, and that side will probably be in power sooner or later, at which point they will hopefully remember their old friends at the NY Times who stood by them. The only thing worse, for the Times, than being wrong, is being irrelevant.

      “Choose no one”…geez, what you think the Times is, a bunch of principled libertarians or something?

      1. Don’t be so sure. Trump might declare himself dictator for life.

        1. I thought that’s what Obama was supposed to do before Romney won in a landslide?

          1. No, no get your conspiracies straight. George Bush will declare martial law and cancel the 2008 election. B

            http://www.commondreams.org/vi…..8-election

            CommonDreams: Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

            1. Goodness, with how often our presidents cancel elections and declare themselves dictators, it’s a miracle we ever elect new ones.

  5. There is no evidence whatsoever that the voting public is turning its backs on the duopoly. Every candidate that was an actual out-of-the-party-mainstream has gotten crushed. Like, oh, Rand Paul. Jim Webb.

    1. Theye were never mentioned as viable/possible choices by any of the news media regardless of what coverage they got.

      1. The news media knows their customer base.

    2. Yeah.

      This is all to the good. As Matt Welch and I argued in The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America, the two major parties are pretty much played out.

      How is it all to the good that more people are getting involved in this bullshit and continuing to legitimate the two major parties?

      1. Kind of like increasing production on a product that loses money in search of that elusive profit, innit?

        1. Indeed.

          1. Lose money on each sale but make it up in volume.

    3. Rand Paul and Jim Webb weren’t mainstream candidates? My choice wasn’t a member of either party until 2015.

      1. Your choice is retarded, as always.

      2. Rand Paul and Jim Webb weren’t mainstream candidates?

        They ran under mainstream parties, but they never broke single digits. So they had a small fraction of less than half of the voters.

      3. Your choice is a ne’re do well malcontent who’s spent his whole life complaining and none of it solving problems.

        How many bills has Bernie sponsored? I think is was three during his eighteen-year stint in the HoR. Don’t know if he sponsored any in the Senate. Now I won’t say that sponsoring legislation is a good indicator of progress, but Bernie’s constantly complaining while doing nothing about it. He won’t and can’t do most of the things he’s said he will do. Why support someone like that? Unless you’re just a wishful hoper.

        1. “How many bills has Bernie sponsored? ”

          If we wanted someone out of the mainstream, wouldn’t an indicator of this be someone that did not pass many laws?

        2. i think his lack of legislation is one of the very, very few good parts about him. whether it was by choice or because his ideas werent popular doesnt matter too too much as long as it keeps up.

  6. Not only are these guys forcing party folks to break a sweat in the primaries, they are chiefly responsible for record and near-record turnouts.

    Especially if you take into account how many people apparently showed up to stop Trump.

    1. You should be sweating a bit- Hillary has certainly challenged YOUR title.

      1. Hillary is more than the worst. She’s like the Platonic form of the Bad.

  7. nothing short of amazing that he’s the one given Clinton the scare of her lifetime.

    Wait….losing the nomination to Teh Lightworker wasn’t as scary as this Iowa caucus?!

  8. Has Nick lost his mind? These two are some of the worst examples of ‘top Men’ on the ballot in a long time.I also restate my belief that all socialist are evil.

  9. We’re number 11 in the economic freedom rankings, a socialist is doing well in the Democratic primaries a merchantilist nationalist is doing well in the Republican primaries and you’re still holding on to a libertarian moment. I know you guys stated that politics is a laging indicator but this is rediculous. Put a fork in it the Libertarian moment is done. Long live the socialist moment.

    1. Long live the socialist moment.

      The National Socialist moment only lasted about 12 years.

      You know. The OPM problem.

      1. Also the carpet bombing problem IIRC. Venezuela is going on 14 years now although that nightmare may be coming to a close.

        1. Just need to get that right Top Men in charge, that’s all.

          Then they’ll do it all over again. And the rest of the world will be doing much the same.

          1. I believe there is a theory of politics that people form mental models of the world and this informs their politics. You can easily see a simplistic mental model of the world that believes in socialism and planning, or redistribution. It also comes out of our intrinsic human liking for “fairness” that works better maybe in a small tribal group. This is why socialism will keep cropping up.

            You literally have to be standing in a long line to get TP to fight against that mental model.

            1. “simplistic mental model of the world that believes in socialism and planning”

              Is there a simplistic model of the world where a virtuous capitalistic elite will lead us to prosperity and the promised land? Or is that a complex model?

              1. “a virtuous capitalistic elite will lead us”

                … no, the whole point of capitalism is to not depend on elites for everything

                1. The whole point is there are no elites, at least not for long. Unlike you, AmSoc, we don’t believe in leaders.

                  Power corrupts, dude. Or haven’t you heard?

              2. I don’t know anything more complicated than 7 billion humans chosing how to allocate their own resources for their own preferred goals. If that sounds simple compared to a handful of top men deciding for everyone what is good for them, I don’t know what else to tell you.

              3. Evolution whether in the natural world or as a outcome of self-interested trading is a simple notion that can create complex patterns.

              4. Is there a simplistic model of the world where a virtuous capitalistic elite will lead us to prosperity and the promised land? Or is that a complex model?

                Hes got the strawman on the rope folks! Oh, the humanity! What carnage! Someone stop the fight, for the love of God, stop the fight!

                And down goes the strawman! He’s done it folks! Commie shithead has defeated yet another in a long line of ridiculous strawman challengers!

              5. Again, you’re confusing socialism and statism with markets, choice, and freedom. That seems to be a huge mental stumbling block for you. “But, who’s going to tell me what choices to make!?”

    2. Socially liberal and fiscally convenient. It’s almost like there is a need for the anti-tribe to be a tribe…

    3. At the state level, there is absolutely a libertarian moment. At the federal level…uh…’loading’. I guess.

      1. At which state? It’s not Maryland, I can tell you that for sure.

      2. No, No. You have to realize that the State Level is just the farm team for the Federal Level. Contrary to popular belief there is nothing in the water in D. C. They are Lying Scum Politicians? when they get there and they all learned their craft at the state and local levels. Like prison*, they may learn how to lie, cheat and steal better from the older pros but they are criminals well before they get to the federal level.

        Try getting involved in your local zoning board decisions before you tout the libertarian moment at the local level.

    4. Put a fork in it the Libertarian moment is done.

      There never was a “libertarian moment,” just the ramblings of naive, pointy headed optimists.

      1. The legalization of MJ and various other reforms says otherwise-at the state level.

        1. I suppose beimg able to legally get high enough to no longer give a shit about our vanishing 1st, 2nd, and 4th amendment rights, ballooning debt, unaccountable police, presidents ruling by executive order, continuing dumb fuckery in foreign policy, and our slide down the world economic freedom index would be a plus.

          1. Yeah, but gay marriage, so…whee! Libertarian moment!

          2. if you wanna get all big picture about it almost everybody on the planet is better off than they were half a century ago. some small portion of the population being able to legally get high is not my ideal world but its better than nobody being able to, and the fact that weed is a major political issue for us is a sign of how good we have it. i wouldnt call this a “libertarian moment” by any stretch, but the past has pretty much only been worse.

      2. I like a little optimism. Why the fuck not? It’s not as if correctly predicting DOOM is going to make anything better.

        Prepare for the bad, but hope for something decent.

    5. And those millennials voting for Bernie — libertarians all.

  10. Maybe Trump doesn’t care for car bombs or suicide vests.

  11. Trump is trying to grab up the Blue-Collar voters who fell out of favor with the DNC as they have moved on to new victims.

    1. The DNC has been importing more dependent and reliable voters. Trump might actually get them.

  12. Sometimes I wonder if all I can see is the war. Everything seems to be getting MORE polarized, not less. Instead of gravitating more towards socially liberal and fiscally conservative positions, I see Democrats opting for social liberalism and fiscal recklessness and Republicans opting for total xenophobia without regard for any coherent fiscal policy at all.

    Maybe that’s just because I consume political commentary 5 days a week. To the average voter, maybe fiscal conservatism and social liberalism are attractive. Maybe I just don’t see this average voter represented within the bowels of the internet. Maybe all I can see is the war.

  13. “This is all to the good.”

    He said, with no evidence to back him.

    Breaking the duopoly is not an end in itself and there is really not much evidence that it will improve American politics as far as libertarianism is concerned. The elections America is going through demonstrate that maybe it is not.

    1. Breaking the duopoly is not an end in itself and there is really not much evidence that it will improve American politics as far as libertarianism is concerned.

      Who are you and what have you done with the real Cytotoxic?

      You are quite correct; “destroy the system” or similar sounds great until you get to the part where you’re not in control of what happens after.

      1. Uh….I am the real Cytotoxic. I don’t see this as very different from what I’ve been posting before. Reason and logic then, reason and logic now.

        1. Ah, there’s the smug complacency and self-righteousness. Phew.

          1. All earned.

            1. [citation needed]

              1. I don’t know how to cite all of posts. I would if I could.

                1. Cite your open borders retar…er I mean reason and logic.

          2. Cyto has been shitting out his ”thoughts” on other forums recently. I believe The Federalist carries his stench in a few places. He pretty much gets abused as an idiot everywhere he/she/cis posts.

      2. Destroying the system is fantastic, and is ultimately how you get to a voluntary society. The problem is that what typically happens is the system is just fine, but the furniture gets rearranged, so to speak. Besides which, when you’ve only got a small minority of people involved in destroying the system the remainder tend to look at the rubble and rebuild what they remember.

        1. Destroying the system is fantastic, and is ultimately how you get to a voluntary society.

          Yeah, I guess the easiest way to get to a “voluntary society” is to just get rid of the people who aren’t “volunteers”.

          When you destroy the system, you get the French Revolution. When you recognize that the system has strengths as well as weaknesses, you get the American Revolution.

          Besides which, when you’ve only got a small minority of people involved in destroying the system the remainder tend to look at the rubble and rebuild what they remember.

          False consciousness, I’m sure.

      3. see: all of europe

    2. If you’re going to build a new house, you first have to get rid of the old house. Hey! Look at all these arsonists showing up to help get rid the old house. You can tell by how enthusiastic they are they’ll be real handy at building a new house.

  14. How many rpms is Gillespie pulling to spin the success of Sanders and Trump into evidence of a crypto-libertarian dissatisfaction with the major parties?

    1. How dare a libertarian publication try and to see some sort of bright side amid this carnival of morons.

      1. try and to see some sort of bright side

        Do or do not, there is no try.

        The point of the criticism is that this alleged bright side is not actually manifesting.

      2. TEAM ORANGE shows up to suck Gillespie’s cock. Cripes you people are more pathetic than Nickelback defenders. Okay maybe not that pathetic, but the whiny defensiveness and meager shadow of an excuse of an argument is really pathetic.

      3. Because it seems contrary to the available evidence? In other words, delusional?

      4. “How dare a libertarian publication try and to see some sort of bright side amid this carnival of morons.”

        This goes beyond seeing the bright side. This is seeing something that doesn’t exist.

        If you ever wondered whether the wheels were coming off the traditional parties, take a second to survey the wreckage in Iowa, where two interlopers won silver medals and are leading handily in next week’s New Hampshire primary.

        First, they won silver metals and second, both of them were actually running under the banner of the traditional parties. I think you can make a good case that there is pressure on the traditional parties to change. However I see no evidence that the wheels are coming off of the parties.

      5. You don’t need to look for the bright side if you up the dosage enough when reality gets too real. And then if you’re real lucky, you die in your sleep choking on your own vomit. It’s the best any of us can hope for.

      6. Morons are capable of identifying other morons. But choosing not to associate with the other morons doesn’t necessarily make any of the morons less moronic.

  15. “Rejoice: Independent Socialist Bernie Sanders & Fake Republican Donald Trump Have Incredible Showings in Iowa”

    God bless Gillespie and his all-American ability to find good news in anything.

    We’re goin’ to hell in a hand basket, sure, but think of all the money we’ll be saving on our heating bill!

    1. Believe me, if by some chance Hillary should actually lose the general election, Gillespie will be utterly miserable.

  16. Wow I think Nick gets this completely wrong. Sander’s appeal is as a socialist and Trump’s as a fascist/nationalist. Neither is any good, and in fact they are 2 sides of the same coin. E.g. wartime Germany – the fascists fought the war while the socialists built the weapons in the factories (and eventually went on strike, hastening the defeat). The country just dodged a bullet, though more are coming. And unlike a caucus where you can see the bullies and wackos in person, the remaining primaries are closed-curtain. The Libertarian has nothing to celebrate in this result, other than that both lost. There will be more bullets to dodge. I for one won’t be walking down Fifth Avenue any time soon.

    1. Trump isn’t a fascist. Have you ever heard that Trump wants to outlaw other parties? Or remove the Bill of Rights? Or advocate totalitarianism?

      Clinton is closer to a fascist than Trump.

      1. ” Or remove the Bill of Rights? ”

        It was the Dems going after the 1st amendment a couple of years ago.

        As for Trump, who the hell knows what he thinks, but he is at least running as a nationalist populist.

  17. The nation is, as a whole, socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

    Bullshit. People are only “fiscally conservative” so long as you don’t cut anything they like, or are directly impacted by, and only socially liberal so long as their favorite victim groups aren’t the ones being crushed by the State. Something about “stated vs. revealed preferences.”

    1. I totally agree with you on the “fiscally conservative”. While I know there are some of us out there that would say hey lets start with 10% across the board cut to EVERYTHING, too many want their particular freebies (look at Iowa and corn subsidies for ethanol).

      And I have never like the “socially liberal” line anyway. I am not “liberal” (in the modern American sense) on gun control. I am moderately pro-life (or could be called moderately pro-choice) as a majority of Americans are. I am against the ridiculous SJW various fights. I am against the overwhelming regulatory state.

      But because I AM against the WOD and criminalizing consenting behavior between adults, and I am not a member of any branch of the majority religion does that make me “socially liberal”?

      1. Odin’s son agrees with Loki? This is interesting, especially because the subject of toxic substances & weapons “control” (heh) has been raised.

        1. Let’s get Heimdal in for a 2nd opinion.

      2. and I am not a member of any branch of the majority religion does that make me “socially liberal”?

        Some branches of protestantism are very liberal–in the modern, American flavor of liberalism. Many Unitarian Universalists would make Bernie Sanders look a bit conservative.

  18. This primary proved one thing for sure: Ron Paul’s 2012 ‘movement’ was a fraud. Those people were there because they didn’t like pols and wanted to feel like they were a ‘part of something’. The didn’t really give a shit about freedom. It’s increasingly difficult to find a way in which Ron Paul was ever a positive for libertarianism.

    1. Was Ron Paul for president 2008 genuine?

  19. Wow, Nick. I’m considered an optimist myself, but you take optimism to a whole new level.

    I look at the current field of candidates in both major parties and I see the Libertarian Moment rapidly receding. Just the fact that it seems that Cruz’s total abandonment of the 1 or 2 libertarian-ish ideas he had coincides with his pulling ahead of Trump is scary enough.

    It seems like libertarian principles have about as much appeal as Rand’s numbers reflect — single digits.

    I truly wish I live to see myself proven wrong about this.

    1. You’re not wrong. Nick is an annoying, bobble headed optimist who goes around vomiting sunshine. There’s no bight side to Sanders and Trump doing well in this election from a libertarian perspective. We’re well and truly fucked.

      1. I’m investing in K-Y Jelly and Preparation H.

        1. because a vermont socialist being president would embolden the gays, or because either of them would fuck us?

  20. Ah yes, the ol’ “Libertarians really represent America” idea.

    The problem is, and has been, that despite how much “Libertarians really represent America”, they can’t actually *convince* America of that.

    And here’s the kicker… what Trump and Sanders *really* show is that you *can* upset the primaries/caucuses. So, if Trump and Sanders can convince enough people to vote for them to get solid 2nd place… why can’t any libertarians/Libertarians? It’s obvious at this point that there’s enough alternative media and networking out there that you don’t have to rely on traditional channels to build excitement and support. You don’t have to run a traditional campaign. So if an authoritarian nativist and a socialist can do that, why can’t a libertarian/Libertarian?

    1. Because America is basically an authoritarian nation. We were kept relatively free by a very small percentage of the population. That part has no influence any more. In terms of economic freedom, we fell from number 2 to number 6 under the abominable G W Bush whom Republicans still praise. Under His Malevolence, Lord Obama the 1st, we’ve fallen to number 11. Obama will go down as America’s greatest president after FDR because statists write history.

      No one gets elected by promising to leave you alone. Ask Barry Goldwater to whom I gave my only political donation ($2, my whole week’s expense money at the age of 15) of the 20th century. He got a little over 30% of the vote. Today, he couldn’t get 5%.

      The libertarian moment won’t come in America, just as it didn’t come to the Roman Empire or the British Empire. Once you’re an empire you’re finished.

      1. the abominable G W Bush whom Republicans still praise

        Not so much. Aren’t you paying attention? If this were true, then the Weigelian Journolist scum would have been right and his smarter brother would be cruising to the nomination, instead of a dead money sinkhole walking.

        The only people left who still praise G W Bush and Bushism are some Wall Street billionaires and the die-hard National Review neocon bunch. Combined, they amount to about a whopping four to five percent of the current republican electorate.

        1. Eh, rewind to last summer. While Jeb Bush was the “smarter” brother, he was doing pretty okay. Then he started talking and, well…

          “Better to remain silent and thought a fool then open one’s mouth and remove all doubt” or, more charitably, “Proverbs 17:28 – Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”

          Face it, Jeb might be the “smarter” brother (and I think that’s in question now), but Bush was the more charismatic and charming.

          1. either way being the smartest bush is being the tallest midget, or least obnoxious red sox fan. im not sure intelligence is the most important quality in a president though.

            1. Sure, but my point was mostly that last summer he *was* favored. It wasn’t till he started actually campaigning that his campaign tanked. So while sure, the GOP distanced itself from Bush after 2008 for a while, it’s far enough in the past now that people aren’t afraid of being tarnished by association with him anymore.

      2. “. Obama will go down as America’s greatest president after FDR because statists write history.”

        Saved us from the 2nd Great Depression, and provided national health insurance.

        Yep. That will be the story.

        1. All Hail the LightBringer!

  21. What website did I stumble onto? But seriously, I can’t stand this holier-than-thou attitude libertarians can have over conservatives. Yea, we disagree, but they’re still the closest ally to dismantling the overgrown beast of government.

    1. Sorry.

      The Cosmotarians have to give Conservatives the business to keep up their street cred with the Proggies. Getting invited to hipster Proggy cocktail parties is what Reason is all about, after all.

  22. “The nation is, as a whole, socially liberal and fiscally conservative. ”

    Myth of myths!

    Completely true about surveys but nothing else. People overwhelmingly vote for the welfare/warfare state which is what most Americans really want.

    Cruz won on God, Trump placed second on ethanol and Rubio placed third on both. Rand Paul finished 5th and is finished politically. Hillary and Sanders both ran on ethanol and freebies.

    Libertarians still cannot get rid of the Rothbardian-nihilist sentiment that anything that hurts the establishment is good. The triumph of a communist and a corporatist does not bode well for any of us. Once you adopt the idea “that which is, is bad” you’re doomed to suffer tyranny.

    1. I know a lot of people who will call themselves socially liberal and fiscally conservative. But their actual politics rarely seem to actually support that notion.

      1. Ding ding ding

        1. Bingo

  23. This is all to the good. As Matt Welch and I argued in The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America, the two major parties are pretty much played out.

    Which is getting us Sanders and Trump.

    1. And in turn switches the speed-limit loss of liberty into overdrive.

    2. Winston Churchill once said that Americans could always be counted on to do the right thing…after they’ve tried everything else.

      Welcome to “everything else”.

      1. There seems to be no peak supply of “everything else”.

  24. CNN Reporting, Clinton wins Iowa.

  25. Tell me if you’ve heard this one:

    A corporatist and a communist walk into an Iowa caucus…

    1. You know, one of the good things coming out of this election cycle is people have been relatively good about not mixing up communist, socialist and fascist. Heck, we’ve even gotten additions to the list, nativist and corporatist!

      So I hope you understand my disappointment with you.

  26. This is all to the good.

    This word “good” — I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    Trump? Sanders? Yes, they are independents — an independent fascist and an independent socialist.

    1. With another fascist (Bloomberg) waiting in the wings to run as an actual independent candidate if Trump and Sanders win the nominations…. An independent trifecta! Libertarian moment cubed!

  27. The Missing Middle

    In round numbers, roughly 30% of the electorate identify as Democrats, 25% as Republicans, and 45% as Independents. These Independent voters represent a significant plurality of the electorate. Their votes will largely determine who wins the Presidency, yet they have almost no say in who runs for President ? with the exception of 14 relatively small states, they can’t vote in either party’s primaries. Further, Independents tend to be more moderate and centrist than voters who identify with either major party. As a result, the general election tends to pit far right candidates against far left candidates, with Independents forced to select between the lesser of two evils.

    This is not real Democracy, but a power duopoly where the major parties force the rest of us to accept their candidates, like them or not. And it’s not just the Presidency; this same duopoly controls candidate selection for all major offices. It’s qualitatively similar to the monopoly on candidate selection forced on Iranian voters by the Ayatollahs. Is it any wonder, then, that people are growing increasingly frustrated with the political process, and that fewer and fewer people are voting with each passing year?

    1. The only valid instance of for e is the influence the two major parties have state rules to get on the ballot. Everything else is not force. It is the same co.pliant that Microsoft has a monopoly. There are other options available and if enough people getting behind one that candidate might win. The problem is, these independent voters have no unifying ideolgy beyond dissatisfaction. They are not a coherent political faction.

    2. If “independents” want to vote in primaries, all they have to do is register with a party. Costs them nothing (other then being able to honestly say “I’m an independent” which, lets be honest, probably wasn’t that honest to begin with as most “independents” reliably vote in one direction anyway), and lets them vote in the primary they want to vote in. Heck, they can even swap their registration every year to vote in whichever primary is more interesting to them.

      I mean, I’m not *against* open primaries, but let’s be real here: the parties are so partisan and far-[left/right/unicorn] because that’s how the people *want* them to be. And if independents can’t be arsed to register with a party so they can vote for their preferred candidate in a primary, I’m not sure removing one step from that process (the “register with a party” part) is going to actually get them out to vote.

      Further, we *aren’t* a democracy, “real” or otherwise. And the the primaries aren’t elections. If you have a good candidate that can attract attention, you don’t need to win a primary at all. You can appeal directly to voters and just win the general election while skipping the whole primary thing. Heck, one of our presidential candidates has done that for years!

      so yeah. Open primaries? I have no beef with them. But I don’t have a beef with a party that has closed primaries either. Not all political parties should be obligated to organize themselves in the same way.

  28. As Trump’s unmasked xenophobia and Sanders’ idiotic economics show, those independents will likely speak to the fears and anxieties of voters rather than their aspirations.

    Definition of xenophobia: intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries. So being against illegal immigration is the same as xenophobia? I expect this kind of dishonest name-calling from the left but I’ve been seeing this a lot here at Reason and it’s really disappointing.

    Open borders is great when there’s no welfare state but you can’t have both. If the goal is to have a smaller government then it’s probably not that wise to open up your borders to those who prefer a bigger government. The U.S. changed it’s immigration policy in the ’60s to allow more immigrants from Mexico and third world countries and the government has expanded enormously since then.

    1. “I expect this kind of dishonest name-calling from the left but I’ve been seeing this a lot here at Reason and it’s really disappointing.”

      The more Proggy they go in ideology, the more Proggy they go in tactics.

  29. just before I saw the bank draft 4 $9950 , I didn’t believe that…my… brothers friend had been actualey bringing home money in their spare time on their apple labtop. . there friend brother has been doing this 4 only about and recently cleared the dept on there place and bourt a new Jaguar XJ . linked here

    Clik This Link inYour Browser??….

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  30. somehow, this doesn’t comfort me at all……

  31. “Obamacare is the only major entitlement that had essentially zero votes from the opposition party, undercutting any pretense to centrism and compromise.”

    Sure, but be honest. The last entirely new major entitlement was enacted in the 1960s, when there were plenty of Dixiecrats and Northeastern Republicans. Sentences like the above are on the same level in intellectual honesty with those saying “record numbers of people” are whatever, without mentioning that with a non-declining phenomenon in a growing population, “record numbers” is inevitable.

  32. Nick, you need to get back on the wagon.

    1. He is. But his volkswagen has borkin down and he can’t find the parts for it.

  33. “but it’s nothing short of amazing that he’s the one given Clinton the scare of her lifetime.”

    I believe Obama already holds this record.

  34. Jeez, the guys are just looking on the bright side. I can’t understand your disappointment as it never really looked like there was a viable alternative candidate who understood both basic economics and constitutional law. The bad choices dumb americans make are the weedy harvest of decades and decades of the seeds planted by well intended but ignorant educators and people of influence.
    If I see it in my lifetime I will be pleasantly surprised.
    The road is long with many a winding turn. We are just starting down the road and shouts of “are we there yet” make me want to reprogram the self driving car to pull over and explain the situation to the passengers. My elders, leaders, teachers, mis-educated me and most other people. The information of the better informed, less ignorant is out there, and my children know it and they tell their teachers and friends and then something different starts to grow. It will take a while until they overgrow the garden and takeover but they may be unstoppable.
    Sure Nick and Matt found a lining you don’t think is silver, but they have to rearrange letters and string them together every day to eat, so what if they don’t think “life’s a piece of shit when you look at it”
    I see change for the better, tiny incremental change yes, but change that is at least not always headed in the wrong direction.
    Apologies to; Rand Paul, weed, gardeners and farmers, Graham Nash, and smart Americans

  35. John Edwards was a “rock star”? Knocking up a groupie is not the same thing as being a rock star.

    1. Good point. Bound to be hotter groupies in the rock and roll world or on liberal arts college campuses. Don’t think Johnny could have gotten any coed tail even if he used better hair products and spent more time in the gym.

  36. Hey does anyone remember that dude H. Ross Perot? I can’t remember what party nomination he won. He we are, mebbe 6 or so presidential elections later, and there isn’t another independent making the major party nominees quake in their boots. Still, the nominee presumptive of each party isn’t quite there yet…and after one caucus is already over!!! Interesting times indeed. Wake me up when it’s over.

    1. Trump and Sanders are basically independents trying to *take over* the major parties.

      I’d say Trump is a Perot/Buchanan descendant who may realign the Republican party.

  37. The two major parties are not played out; they are just transforming. The Democrats are now old-fashioned socialist. The Republicans nationalist or “state capitalist”.

    If Sanders and Trump are “independents”, I am not an independent.

  38. How exactly do expect capitalism to work when there’s no longer much need for human labor? Any economist who answers with the luddite fallacy does not understand what’s happening with technology. Jobs and the need for humans in jobs is declining at a faster rate than new jobs can be created and that imbalance is going to worsen exponentially.

    Already great productivity gains resulting from automation are exacerbating the ridiculous wealth inequality that results where the rate of return on capital is greater than the growth rate. That too is likely to worsen at an exponential rate. Couple that with ever increasing corruption is the American oligarchy and the future hardly looks bright.

    Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a deep understanding of all this. None of the candidates do. Even so, his economics are hardly idiotic. They are exactly what this country needs right now.

    I was a registered Libertarian for decades by the way but liberal economics just don’t make sense any more — not with what’s happening with rapid advances in artificial intelligence. If you’d like a better understanding of why this country needs to move toward socialism or fail, I’d be more than happy to fill you in.

    Better wake up folks.

    1. Please forgive the typos. I should have proofread before submitting. Oops.

  39. just before I saw the receipt that said $7527 , I accept that my mom in-law woz like actualey making money in there spare time from there pretty old laptop. . there aunt had bean doing this for less than twentey months and at present cleared the depts on there appartment and bourt a great new Citro?n 2CV . look here…….
    Clik This Link inYour Browser.
    ???????? http://www.Wage90.com

  40. I hope it does turn out to be Trump vs Sanders. It would serve both wings of the Democratic Republican party right!

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