Election 2016

Will the Libertarian Party Turn the Trump-Hillary Race Into More Than 1%?

These questions and more debated on the new episode of The Fifth Column

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Get a job, hippie! ||| Reason
Reason

Six months from today the United States will hold a presidential election that we now know will be between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (barring some unforeseen miracle from Bernie Sanders and/or the Department of Justice). The Libertarian Party candidate is still TK, despite the media treating 2012 nominee Gary Johnson as the presumptive nominee, but the major-party stage is set for a half-year.

How long is six months during this unfathomable presidential campaign? To get a sense, look backward six months at these blasto-from-el-pasto headlines:

* Yes, Donald Trump Is Still Ahead in the Polls, But It's Not Time to Panic Yet

* Trump Calls for Complete End to Muslim Immigration

* Rand Paul Introduces Bill Banning Refugees From "High-Risk Countries"

* Ted Cruz Joins Rand Paul in Bashing Marco Rubio's Reckless Foreign Policy

It was a more innocent time, really.

John Kasich was averaging just 2 percent in national GOP polls last December, well behind Marco Rubio (12%), Ben Carson (11%), Jeb Bush, Chris Christie (both 4%), and even laggardly ol' Rand Paul 3%). Go six months before that and your consistent front-runner is Jeb!, with Scott Walker not far behind. What I am saying here is that six months is an awful long time in this presidential campaign.

No wonder people are lunging around desperately for a third-party candidate to ease the next half-year of abject pain, while also bringing out the long knives for those who let themselves believe that there was some limited-government upside in the Tea Party generation of Republican politicians.

These topics and more–including the N-word, obviously–are chewed on in the shiny new episode of The Fifth Column, the newish weekly podcast featuring Kmele Foster, Michael C. Moynihan and myself. Due to the miracle of podcast lead times, it was taped before the Indiana results were in, yet eerily prescient, or something. Listen right here:

Also mentioned within: Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Andrew Sullivan, Penn Jillette, Nick Gillespie, George Will, Michael Brendan Dougherty, and Moynihan's questionable career management. You can listen to last week's episode, in which I was replaced by TV's Andy Levy, here. And head over to the podcast website for info on how to subscribe, and also listen using iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.

NEXT: April 2016 Is Fourth Warmest Month In Satellite Record: Global Temperature Trend Update

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    1. Less than 2% anyways

      1. 2% or bust!

  1. LIBERTARIANS STEAL VOTES FROM REPUBLICANS! IF HILLARY WINS IT WILL BE THEIR FAULT! DAMN LIBERTARIANS! THEY WILL GIVE THE ELECTION TO HILLARY! IT’S ALL THEIR FAULT AND IT HASN’T EVEN HAPPENED YET! AAAUUUGGGHHH!

    /Ann Coulter’s Adam’s apple

    1. Ann Coulter’s Adam’s apple

      Which public bathroom does she use?

      1. She doesn’t, she just takes a dump on the nearest Democrat.

        1. She doesn’t, she just takes a dump on the nearest Democrat Mexican.

          1. Same diff’?

            /sarc

    2. You can only blame the Republican Party and their voters. Come on, you just voted Trump as your nominee. Did you think that through. I use to be a Republican but I just left the party and not looking back.

  2. Chris Christie has been wallowing around with Trump lately. He could be sucking up to The Donald to become his VP pick.

    Charlie Sheen is a better fit though.

    1. Don’t you owe somebody money, Shrike?

      1. No. Matt Welch got my donation.

        Good cause.

    2. Christie is angling for Attorney General. Sarah Palin is going to get VP.

    1. At least our self-delusion is cool.

      1. I’ll never understand how an uber-liberal feminist Joss Whedon could create such a great libertarian themed series. He’s not the only Hollywood type to do this. It’s like they know the truth yet say, “…but fuck that, it’s just fantasy!”

        1. If you talk to most really good writers, they often talk about how their characters tend to take on a life of their own so that they feel they’re not really in control of their own creations.

          1. Joss has commented on how all his heroes end up being libertarians.

        2. I think there are two explanations for this.

          One, a truly good writer can write anything that even diverges from their own persona preferences, thoughts or feelings– ie, detach himself from his characters and yet they’re still believable.

          Two, there’s some noise that all the Glibertarian themes in Firefly were largely the influence of a one Tim Minear.

          1. 1) I have no idea what “glibertarian” is. A quick search didn’t give me a very clear picture as it relates to your response. But, if I’m getting the context of your post correct, you’re suggesting that the libertarian themes aren’t exactly fleshed out or just superficial. If that’s what you mean, I’ll take it. Anything that paints the government as the bad guys (and does so convincingly and for good reasons) is alright in my book. And I love that series.

            2) Even if Minear was the driver behind the theme, Whedon still allowed it. I get that it’s artistic and all that, but the fact that it rings so true makes me wonder how guys like Whedon still don’t get it.

            1. 1) I have no idea what “glibertarian” is.

              Welcome to hit & run. After you’ve been here for six to seven years, these snarky terms will begin to means something. “Glibertarian” is our tongue-in-cheek term for ‘libertarian’ who thrives mostly on making ‘glib’ remarks.

              But, if I’m getting the context of your post correct, you’re suggesting that the libertarian themes aren’t exactly fleshed out or just superficial.

              No, I’m saying that a good writer can write characters who are entirely unlike himself, and those characters are believable in the world and framework in which they operate. For instance, if I were a good writer, I could write a sympathetic and believable politically progressive character that wasn’t an insufferable blowhard.

              2) Even if Minear was the driver behind the theme, Whedon still allowed it.

              True. It’s largely just chatter in them internets. I don’t have any feelings either way because as our friend Hugh sometimes says, it’s tricky when we peer into the hearts of men. It’s just something that’s been repeatedly offered up as an explanation because it’s apparently “known” that Minear has “tendencies” on the libertarian front.

              1. For instance, if I were a good writer, I could write a sympathetic and believable politically progressive character that wasn’t an insufferable blowhard.

                I hear you. I guess I’d just wonder two things: 1) Why would they do this? Why make the heroes libertarianish if they didn’t have to? (the rest of Hollywood has no problem shitting all over the corporations for being evil and the government can do no wrong) and 2) How can they make this series and not see some element of truth in what they’ve created. After all, isn’t art meant to be a reflection of the world (Truth)?

                Oh well.

        3. Joss has commented with respect to Firefly that the more interesting characters are the ones who lost the war. There is more interesting conflict as they try to integrate into or continue the losing fight against the victorious side.

          Just because that’s where the most interesting plots lie doesn’t mean that that is where his politics lie. I’ve been known to enjoy the occasional movie about “a cop that plays by his own rules”. Of course in real life, I really don’t want to see cops behaving that way, and my politics would be for more restrictions on police being able to initiate conflict rather than less.

    2. Nice. [sobs]

    3. HEY, THAT’S NOT HOW I YELL AT A WALL

  3. I wonder what’d have happened if Rand had stayed in?

    1. Is there a rule that says you can’t jump back in once you jump out?

      1. He’s only suspended his campaign

      2. You can, but if you do you have to shake it all about

    2. Rand would have won 5 to 10 percent of the vote in most states, and had a few more delegates than he had after Iowa.

  4. I listened to last weeks episode. Best political podcast going. Period.

    Good news: Matt, I was disappointed you weren’t part of the last one.
    Bad News: It was still an excellent podcast without you.

    1. It really is very enjoyably. I was going to listen to the last episode on my way to/from court this morning but I left my ipod in my wife’s car.

    2. I finished listening to the first one last night. Great show! I’ve already recommended the podcast to one person and plant to continue. Keep it up! Good combo of personalities on the show.

  5. These topics and more?including the N-word, obviously

    NeverTrump?

  6. So would President Gillespie Jacket wear the Jacket Gillespie to formal events?

  7. “, while also bringing out the long knives for those who let themselves believe that there was some limited-government upside in the Tea Party generation of Republican politicians.”

    Yeah, you guys who actually believed that horseshit were idiots. What more can be said? Matt, do you even know what your boss is up to? One wonders.

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry…..36722.html

    1. But this must make you happy. I mean now that the The Tea Party candidates turned out to be more simpatico with you.

      1. I mean, how do I respond to this? I’m opposed to wars of all sorts and don’t think the government should play the role of nanny. Has anyone in the Tea Party ever supported this?

        Can we at least stop with this ingratiating Teathugulan thing? I think Dick Armey and his associates suck balls. You?

        1. Ron Paul, widely considered a “tea party” candidate opposed our military adventurism in the Middle East (and elsewhere).

          1. I would say an honest appraisal of the Tea Party’s reaction to Ron Paul was distinctly ambivalent. They just ate up Paul Ryan though. He’s awesome on abortion, acid, and bombing the shit out of everyone.

        2. Socialism is the government being everyone’s nanny. It also requires war to distract from the failings of the Party and to loot from other nations what their failed economic policies cannot provide at home. Take your failed, murderous ideology and go to hell.

        3. This statement is rather ironic considering your moniker but something tells me you don’t, or can’t, see it.

    2. It’s funny when a socialist calls other people idiots. Particularly a socialist as tiresome and mendacious as amsoc here.

      Shouldn’t you be telling some Cuban political prisoners how much better off they are than Americans?

      1. Dude, he ran the blockade! Where do you get off questioning him?

    3. Re: American Stultified,

      Yeah, you guys who actually believed that horseshit were idiots.

      Marxian speaks in collectivist terms. Will wonders never cease.

    4. Or, there’s upside. It’s just upside in federal spending and privacy invasions and boots on the ground.

  8. Whoa, Matt, you’re all fired up.

  9. I enjoy this podcast thank you, the best part is Kmele Foster.

  10. I’m having a lot of fun listening to the podcast. Thank you!

  11. All the angry Ds and Rs who are screaming “I’m not gonna take it any more!!!” are gonna chicken out and vote their fears in November. It’s the nature of the beast of the electorate.

    1. Except the “I’m not gonna take it any more!!!” crowd on the GOP side has won. It’s their candidate.

    2. Hahaha, of course they are. The best will be watching the hardcore Sanders people, who are also terrified of Trump while hating Hillary, twist themselves into knots to justify it.

  12. I think this could be a big year for GOP “refugees” in the Libertarian Party. A lot of Republicans have gone along with the GOP program because the leadership was willing to hold out just enough limited government promises and argument to keep them interested. With Trump, though, the handwriting really is on the wall. The base would rather go with an authoritarian nationalist who’d been a loyal Democrat right up until he decided he wanted to run for President as a Republican than support the issues they care about. If you’re at all a “conservatarian” or a “libertarian persuadable”, the GOP has pretty much told you to get to the back of the bus.

    Now add another factor. This goes beyond politics. To some extent, it’s personal. Trump and his supporters are just atrocious people. From the persistent insults to the lack of interest in any discussion to the ridiculous bravado, Donald and the Trumpelos are just not very nice people. And the more visible they make themselves, the less sympathy even otherwise sympathetic Republicans have for them.

    Honestly, if Libertarians can convince these people that they’re not wild-eyed fanatics, they’d stand a pretty good chance at outreach.

    1. “willing to hold out just enough limited government promises and argument to keep them interested. ”

      Yeah, they played you for suckers while they lined their pockets and started imperialist wars. When the fuck are you going to wake up?

      1. We don’t have any common cause with socialists either, dickweed.

        1. Chavez wasn’t authoritarian enough.

      2. That’s rich coming from a socialist. I don’t see what your problem is with their behavior. It’s straight out of your playbook.

    2. It’s the political equivalent of Californians moving to Texas. They’re just going to do the same things they did in the GOP until the LP is in the same state.

      1. So, what the LP ought to get more selective in its appeal?

        Look, there are probably more libertarians in the Republican party than there are in the Libertarian party. If they have the good sense to abandon a GOP that is now actively hostile to both them and their principles (okay, okay, big if) 1% goes from a ceiling to a floor.

        Sure, a lot of them are going to need education. A lot of them are going to have to be challenged to stick with their first principles. But, if now isn’t a “teachable moment”, I don’t know what is.

        1. This probably isn’t the place for this discussion, but I find that libertarians each have their own beliefs about how to realize the “first principles” in the real world. Are we willing to agree to disagree about abortion? About national defense issues (I’m not talking about bombing the shit out of other countries needlessly, I’m talking about the exact size and scope of our military might, which only the true anarchists deny we need)?

          The major parties dominate because they can be inclusive of disparate ideas. We all seem to bitch about the 1% of things we disagree about rather than all agreeing on the basics, that whenever and wherever possible, we should bend toward liberty.

        2. This probably isn’t the place for this discussion, but I find that libertarians each have their own beliefs about how to realize the “first principles” in the real world. Are we willing to agree to disagree about how much we tax rich people? About gun control issues (I’m not talking about mass confiscation, I’m talking about the exact size and scope of our local government’s ability to respond to its constituents when they vote in an election)

          1. That wasn’t a question for you, commie fuck.

          2. Please stop encouraging the troll.

            1. Not directed at you, Shippy.

          3. And since they have their own beliefs, they should be herded into train cars and sent to the gulag, right comrade?

          4. Re: american stultified,

            This probably isn’t the place for this discussion,

            Which automatically means: it IS the right place. And only because you said it.

            but I find that libertarians each have their own beliefs about how to realize the “first principles” in the real world.

            And you find the lack of that goose-stepping ideological discipline you find in Marxians, disturbing?

            *I* realize first principles by acting according to those principles. Me, myself, I. I don’t sit around waiting for everybody else to become pure or wish to use the power of the state to compel purity like the Marxians wish on the rest on us – their version of purity, of course.

            Are we willing to agree to disagree about how much we tax rich people?

            No. Taxing is morally disagreeable regardless of the gradations of it. Such a discussion is as meaningless and creepy as a debate on how many inches of penetration is proper rape.

            About gun control issues […]

            There’s no such thing as gun control, you mendacious bastard. What you are really talking about is people control. Violation of property rights.

    3. Liberty-minded Republican voters have to recognize that Trump is to GOP Presidential ticket what Bloomberg was to the NYC Republican mayoral ticket, a big-government Democrat in Republican clothing.

      They ought to finally realize that neither the neo-cons who run the GOP establishment or the faux-con Trump is at all aligned with their interests.

      They ought to vote Libertarian.

      Unfortunately, due to awesome political indoctrination in K-12 and the ineptness of the LP in selling their alternative, many will either hold their nose and vote for Trump or Clinton (depending upon who they hate more) or just sit 2016 out.

      If you think the charge of ineptness is too harsh, go to lp.org. The site is potentially the #1 medium to communicate with those curious about the alternatives to the extraordinarily horrible choices on offer by the major parties, but it is uninspiring to put it mildly. Its design is tailored to the interests of the party faithful. For example, the graphic that immediately catches the viewer’s attention when the home page displays is an ad that announces that LP gear is being marked down. Pathetic.

      1. I still see far too much liberaltarianism. Fiscal conservatism beyond fighter jetz is the first thing they jettison in the name of equality. I don’t see any truly fiscally conservative candidate/party to vote for.

  13. No, because whoever is chosen by the Libertarian Party will be attacked by many of those who calls themselves Libertarian because the candidate is not pure enough or has different ideas about what being a libertarian is

    1. Yeah, ideas like banning the Burqa.

      Trump is probably more libertarian than Johnson.

  14. The more I listen to Kmele, the more I agree with his broad perception of the American political zeitgeist.

    1. Man, I’m so glad Kmele is finally saying it. This morning on NPR, everyone kept talking about how Trump was uniquely caustic in his rhetoric. Sanders is every bit as caustic as Trump. Every. Bit.

    2. Kmele is the best thing since sliced bread.

  15. Elections are about choices. Why choose to vote for a sure loser? Either Trump or HiLIARy. Pick your poison.

    1. Because if either Trump or Hillary get elected, it’s the American people who are going to be the losers.

    2. Elections are about choices. Why choose to vote for a sure loser? Either Trump or HiLIARy. Pick your poison.

      I’ve said this many times before, but it’s worth repeating: The two party system only succeeds because people keep voting for the only the two parties. There’s no law about having to vote for one or the other. What we have now is self-perpetuating. People only vote for (R) or (D), then complain about their options, only (R)s and (D)s get nominated/elected, and people think their only choices are (R) and (D) [and repeat]. If people stopped thinking in this binary fashion, other parties would succeed. Just because the system has become de facto two party, does not mean it must remain that way forever (it is not de jure)

  16. Michael/Matt: Re the “post-fact” America. All of those choices that individuals can make which is often credit as evidence of the “libertarian moment” is what drives this “post-fact American” atmosphere.

    1. *gasp* It cannot be!

  17. I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012. I was willing to take the chance that my so called “throw-away vote” may elect Romney. I was ok with Romney possibly running because I felt that Romney is a closet-case moderate.

    I’m afraid I’m voting for Hilary. I can’t take the chance with Trump.

    As Crappy as hillary is, she’ll make a better president than Trump; given a choice between the two.

  18. People keep saying that Libertarians keep stopping the Republicans from winning. That is as ignorant a statement anyone can make. Libertarian Party is a legitimate party just as the Constitution Party, Republican Party and Democratic Parties are. Maybe it is the Republican candidate that people do not want and the next popular party happens to be the Democratic Party. I believe it isn’t the fact that the Libertarian Party divided the votes or the Democrat Party is more popular I believe it is the Republican voters always going with the establishment candidate. Anyone that thinks Trump isn’t the establishment then I just proved my point of how and why Republicans will never win on a national stage. Go to this website and learn something about our history and maybe just maybe will the Republican voters begin to realize why they cannot win. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du_GfHlqZXg

    By no means am I promoting Hillsdale College but if you watch the series and actually open your mind you will see how much the Republican and Democratic Parties are the same today and why they fight to keep other parties out.

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