Gary Johnson

The Presidential Race Is Still Not Close for Most Voters

At least three-fifths of the country is virtually uncontested.

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Dammit, Jim, she might be right! ||| Reason
Reason

"The presidential race has tightened," runs yesterday's headline over at Vox. "Clinton still leads. Democrats should still worry." And it's true—on a national level, Hillary Clinton's recently comfortable lead over Donald Trump has jerked backward in recent days to just 2.2 percentage points in RealClearPolitics' poll average, down from 5.6 a week ago and 7.1 the week before that. This morning saw the highly rated ABC/Washington Post poll with a one-point Trump lead—the first time he has topped Clinton since mid-May.

But as much as we consume and process information about the presidential election on a national basis, it is on the state level where the thing is won and lost. And the fact is, this presidential election, like the one before it, is just not close in most states.

FiveThirtyEight publishes constantly updated odds for which candidate is most likely to win each state. As of yesterday afternoon and evening, the data-crunching site had estimated that the race was 99 percent or more locked in 13 states plus Washington, D.C., which combine for 162 electoral votes. They are: California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Alabama, Oklahoma, and D.C. (at 99.9% each); New York, Kentucky, and West Virginia (99.8%), Louisiana (99.6%), Arkansas and Idaho (99.4%), Hawaii (99.2%), and Wyoming (99.1%).

I live in New York and hail from California, and I cannot tell you how many people from either state have told me a variation on, "Well, I'd like to vote for Gary Johnson, but I'm just afraid the election will be too close." No. It. Won't. California went for Barack Obama by 23 percentage points in 2012, and is poised to choose Clinton by about the same margin this year. New York went +28 for Obama last time, and is around +21 for Clinton now.

More than half the country (26 states plus D.C.), representing a tick over half the Electoral College vote (271), is in 95 percent certainty zone, according to FiveThirtyEight. Bring the odds down to 90 percent, and we're talking 33 states plus D.C., and 342 electoral votes.

Perhaps you don't trust oddsmakers, or have a hard time wrapping your head around what, say, Texas's 91.9 percent odds actually means. OK, well, consider that 29 states plus D.C. currently feature polling leads of at least double digits for the second straight cycle. Here's a list, compiled by combining the poll averages of FiveThirtyEight and RCP; parentheses will contain the 2012 major-party point spread:

74: District of Columbia (84)

36: Wyoming (41)

28: Maryland (26)

27: Massachusetts (23), West Virginia (41)

26: Hawaii (43), Vermont (36)

25: Oklahoma (34)

24: California (23)

22: Idaho (32)

21: New York (28), Alabama (22)

20: Arkansas (24), North Dakota (20), Nebraska (22)

19: Kentucky (23)

17: Louisiana (17)

15: Tennessee (20), South Dakota (18)

14: Illinois (17), New Jersey (18), Rhode Island (27)

13: Washington (15), Connecticut (17), Maine (15), Montana (14), Delaware (19)

12: Kansas (22)

11: Mississippi (12)

10: Oregon (12)

Keep in mind that in none of the above states is a third-party candidate polling in double digits.

As happens every presidential election, the non-Democrat/Republican presidential nominees are fading in the final days: Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are at a combined 6.7 percent in RealClearPolitics' current polling average, down from 8.2 percent a week ago and 10 percent less than a month ago. To the extent that that reflects a genuine preference for other candidates, or even a desire to decisively punish the hated opposition, that's all well and good. But on-the-fence voters who are succumbing to gun-to-your-head logic (as in, "if you had a gun to your head, who would you vote for?") are well advised to check state polling and recent history before letting the major parties off the hook.

NEXT: Make America Safe Again?

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  1. Nope – don’t take any chances. Vote for Hillary and don’t let your husband out of the house on election day. Even if he swears to vote for Hillary – he will be up to no good.

    1. “Pay attention to meee!” the troll explained.

      1. Weigel is freaking out because the demos are starting to form a circular firing squad as they try to fly away from the sick old lying criminal at warp speed. Jeff Zucker and the Clinton News Network have canned Donna Brazile, Michelle has deleted every tweet having anything to do with Hildog… going to be a very entertaining week ahead.

        1. The Hashtag Wookie has deleted her oh so insightful twits about Hillary? When did this happen?

          1. I’m guessing within the last 24 hours or so. Some underling has been busy indeed, because I just paid a visit to @FLOTUS to see if the internet rumors are true, and I went back a few months and indeed her page appears to be absolutely 100% Hildog free now, besides the “You may also like Hillary Clinton” link Twitter automatically puts on the side.

            1. Start working from home! Great job for students…Making more income $97 a hour from computer at home. My sisters friend has been earning 20k for a months and she works about 15 hour a working week. I make 12k last month, it is in real easy and meaningful , here you can checking..
              Go this web site… http://www.Trends88.Com

        2. That’s not Weigel, Mikey. Why do you think that’s Weigel?

        3. You say that as if it was unexpected?

    2. My wife already voted for Johnson.

      1. *bow chicka BOW wow*

  2. Comically, while my friends harangue me on the importance of voting on derpbook, there are only three people who aren’t members of the Democratic Party on my ballot. The non republicans are Johnson, Stein and Trump.

    That’s right, every position below that is uncontested.

    But, it’s very important that we vote!

    1. It’s your civic duty to vote, so vote, fucker. You could be the deciding vote against a truly horrible person!

      1. There is this, no matter who you vote for, you’re assured to vote against a truly horrible person.

        Make sure to write in Chthulu or SMOD in the uncontested races.

      2. Who can live with having let in the greater of two evils on their conscience? Of course it’s no better than 50/50 to happen whether I 100% vote or 100% not vote. And the difference, at this point, between greater and lesser evil is so tissue thin, it is irrelevant.

        So who’s up for Perquackey?

    2. Dude, without the magical 50.000001% of the vote, how can anyone have a mandate?

      1. I wonder what the non-voting proportion of the populace makes a “mandate” look like…something like 20% of the murrka pie?

        1. Obama got 65.9 million votes last time, officially 51.1 percent of the vote.
          US population in 2012 was 314.1 million, so he was actually voted for by 21.0 percent of the population.

          1. I heard last night that there are 200 million votes registered this time around. Makes math simpler

            1. *voters*

    3. But, it’s very important that we vote!

      Except it’s more important to vote against the other guy in order to prevent him/her from becoming President. In which case, lighting the voting booth on fire would be far more effective.

    4. That’s the way it is in all of my local races, so I have already looked up the registered write-in candidates running against them (write-in candidates must be registered with the elections office or they aren’t counted, so writing in SMOD is the same as no vote at all and isn’t reported in totals — in races with no registered write-in the space for doing so doesn’t even appear on the ballot.) One of the write-in candidates is an absolute wacko nutbar, but I can’t stand the incumbent, so wacko nutbar it is.

      1. If I right in “wacko nutbar” will they automatically direct my vote to the proper registered write-in?

        1. Write-in votes for “Wacko Nutbar” automatically go to “robc.”

    5. The Primary is where your vote counts. Smaller turnout. More contested elections.

    6. Mine is mostly the same in the opposite direction.

      Not sure if I have a D to vote for other than Clinton.

      1. Aren’t you around Bowling Green? There are Democrats aplenty on that ballot.

  3. “Hillary Clinton’s recently comfortable lead over Donald Trump has jerked backward in recent days to just 2.2 percentage points in RealClearPolitics’ poll average, down from 5.6 a week ago and 7.1 the week before that. This morning saw the highly rated ABC/Washington Post poll with a one-point Trump lead?the first time he has topped Clinton since mid-May.”

    -7.1 to -5.6 to +1.0.

    You know you want to say it, so go ahead and say it.

    Trump is trending.

    1. What is this +1.0? I can’t find him on the RCP Ave graph any better (since July) than -2.2 today.

      1. I was following it from the quote. It’s in the quote.

        http://abcnews.go.com/Politics…..d=43199459

        1. Oh, now I see what you did. You combined the RCP -7.1 and -5.6 with ABC’s +1.0 to get your trending. That’s playing it a smidge loose, but your “trending” comment is accurate, nonetheless.

  4. I hate to tell you this, but I have no fucking clue what that’s supposed to be telling me.

    On paper we already know who’s going to win the super bowl, but they play all those games anyway.

    1. Who’s going to win the Superbowl this season?

      1. A bunch of millionaires I don’t give a rat’s rear end about.

      2. Tom Brady

      3. Same as every year – not the Browns.

        1. And somewhere in the middle you will find the Chargers…Always the flower girl…

  5. I’m just afraid the election will be too close.” No. It. Won’t.

    I think you might have to do some “trying to think the way they think” action to understand that point.

    They may not mean they’re actually concerned that Trump would win in in NY or Cali. They’re concerned that the national margin of victory will be close…

    ….and that if they tell their friends they voted for Johnson, they would be looked at as “morally compromised”, “part of the problem” that helped Trump even be competitive , even if the reality is that their votes were utterly meaningless in terms of the electoral contest.

    Its the tribal-thinking. Its not the reality of their vote; its the symbolism of who they cast their lot with.

    1. A vote for Trump, Johnson, or Stein is a vote against Clinton, and deprives her of a scintilla of the legitimacy of her argument that she has a mandate.

      Whether one should vote for the losers Trump, Johnson, or Stein depends on the angle of the opposition to Hillary’s politics one wants to express. It doesn’t mean much, but a Stein vote is opposed to Hillary’s about 45 degrees to the left, a Trump vote is opposed to Hillary’s about 90 degrees to the right, and a Johnson vote is opposed to Hillary’s by about 175 degrees to the left.

      The biggest FU to the ruling elite, however, is a Trump vote.

      1. It is an odd election when one finds themselves in agreement with Michael Moore!

    2. its the symbolism of who they cast their lot with

      This, and more…

      The damn smug “I voted” stickers they wear all day. 80% of the lemmings vote once every four years, and are so proud that they “participate in American democracy”. I doubt they can name both of the options for US representative on the ballot they just completed, but since they are at the poll, they probably will have voted, just based on party, diluting my vote (and making me stand in a line while they can’t even figure out how to sign in and out).

      At least these fools don’t show up for the off year town, county and district votes and referenda. Most of them can’t think, and fewer still can count.

      Universal suffrage seems like a poorer idea every year, I’m thinking the model in “Starship Troopers” (only veterans with honorable discharge vote) looks better and better.

      1. I really want to make some “I didn’t vote” stickers.

        1. Yep, I’ve wanted those for a while. This button looks on the money.

          I have a SMOD hoodie ready for election day. Adding a button may be too much.

          1. The “Vote for Nobody” ones are pretty clever too.

            1. “Vote early and often!”

      2. I apologize if u end up behind me in line. I haven’t voted since perot and I wouldn’t be surprised if I can’t figure out the machine

    3. Well, as a vocal libertarian, all of my friends already hate me and consider me part of the problem. And thus, I am the only one amongst us who is truly free.

      1. join the club.

        *i wouldn’t say “hate me”; they sometimes ask me to explain certain issues/events/foreign policy thing them because they know i’m an “informed outside observer”. Beyond that they don’t want my broader perspective on anything political.

        **funny footnote: wife of one of my best friends was a huge Bernie activist this year. She got into a Q&A online with Mike Rowe which was documented for posterity. it was funny to me since they were almost verbatim debates we’d had ourselves, but which she dismissed because “nobody else thinks like crazy-gilmore”

      2. That’s why I stay in the closet, and just nod and keep quiet when politics come up. It’s not worth the aggravation.

        Score one for universalism: tactics of surviving in Communist East Europe are well suited to living in Canada in Current Year.

    4. They could just lie about their vote.

    5. The only way to be morally compromised this time is to vote for Trump or Clinton.

  6. Mathew,
    Write an article for people whose vote matters, like me. That’s right. Florida Men will decide the form of the destructor.

    1. How do they count votes in Florida anyway? Do they just set up a camera to record which car window you throw your empty can out of?

      1. I’ve been told somebody named Chad is involved.

        1. EXTERNALITIES!*

          *You have to love the classics.

        2. Hang him high! Or sober, whichever…

    2. Florida is shaped like that for a reason.

      1. Cuz we gonna fuck the rest of the country?

        1. With a flaccid dick hanging down?

          1. You said it, man. Florida is America’s floppy dong-at-repose, just casually dribbling piss all over the Caribbean.

            1. So, all those alleged coral reefs are really evidence of genital warts and other STDs?

          2. You don’t want to see it angry.

            1. “You wanna piece a’ me, fucker?” it says while taking its shirt off (without taking the unfiltered Marlboro from its mouth first).

              1. *chuckle*

                That one is close to home.

                1. Florida is a skinny dude in jean shorts, yellin’ in the street. Florida has been continuously drunk since last Thursday.

                  1. Florida regularly sleeps in its yard. Florida hasn’t seen its common-law wife since Christmas 2014. Florida knows more than two people who have died in sinkholes.

                    1. Florida could finally afford to get that Whitesnake tattoo it’d been saving up for in 2004.

  7. Hillary wants, needs, and DESERVES a mandate. Otherwise, the nation will be consumed by the fires of Hell.

    1. I’ll take the fires, please.

    2. Both W and Obuma claimed “a mandate” with margins so thin a sick puppy could break through them.

      Show me a 70 / 30 split, and then we can talk about mandates. Anything else needs to be called what it is, a statistical dead draw, effective only for deciding who gets to make the state of the Union speech.

      1. I mean, since voter turnout is around, what, 60% or so, someone would have to have a 85/15 split in order to even have any evidence based claim of having a majority of the nation.

      2. Mandates don’t matter because the politicians are still going to fuck all of over anyway.

      3. Well, there’s also the fact that a huge portion of the country doesn’t vote, which we should consider before anyone can claim any mandates.

    3. I thought she was lesbian? Why does she need a date with a dude suddenly?

  8. And again- there’s an ad running on Pandora (courtesy of Montana Democrats something-or-other) reminding people their *vote* might be secret, but they’ll know if you voted and, I suppose, treat you accordingly.

    Let the shunning and derision commence.

    1. People who listen to Pandora with ads deserve shunning and derision.

      1. People who pay for free stuff deserve to be scoffed at.

        1. $36 a year so my baby won’t be wakened by a loud ass GMC commercial between Chopin sonatas is worth every penny good sir

          1. Good grief, the commercials are the quietest part of my Pandora channel.

            1. Turn down that skunk rap and get off my lawn!

    2. My wife got one of those “so we see you didn’t vote” letters.

      1. and did it piss her off?
        Studies show that those letters are effective GOTV efforts, but they create a lot of angry phone calls too

        1. She decided not to vote because, fuck you. She is stubborn like that.

  9. I just happen to know the eight people in MA that will be voting for your boy Gary.

    1. Can I meet the other 7? It does get pretty lonely after a while.

      1. Sure. My parents are pretty nice and my father actually calls himself a libertarian but I think my friends are doing it as a prank.

    2. Can I meet the other 7? It does get pretty lonely after a while.

      1. The squirrels are busy lately. Another nut to add to the pile.

        Winter is coming.

    3. So, Gary carries MA with 8 votes then.

  10. Make sure to write in Chthulu or SMOD in the uncontested races.

    I told my girlfriend, in the presence of her children, my vote would be going to SATAN, because I refuse to settle for the lesser evil. She laughed. They probably ratted me out to the Thought Police.

    1. They probably thought you meant you were voting for Hillary?

  11. People who listen to Pandora with ads deserve shunning and derision.

    Listen, Snotty Mac Snotty Face, I might need to know where to find the best deal on a pickup truck one of these days.

  12. I live in New York and hail from California, and I cannot tell you how many people from either state have told me a variation on, “Well, I’d like to vote for Gary Johnson, but I’m just afraid the election will be too close.”

    Matt, has it occurred to you, since you are standing right there and putting them on the spot, that they are simply giving you the variation of, “He’s such a nice guy, but I just don’t Like Him-Like Him. I’m sure he’ll make some other girl very happy. I hope I let him down easy.” I have no doubt you have heard that speech many times before Mrs. Le Welch succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome and took pity on you accepted your proposal of marriage. (I keed!)

    Those oodles of people from two Left Coastal States, I’ll wager have a given you a lesson in stated v. revealed preference. What they are telling you is, “I’ll vote for Johnson with the explicit guarantee that Shrill-Bot or Troomp loses.” Then, as GILMORE points out, it’s socially and culturally acceptable for them to do so at that point. Even in politics, people want to back a winner and have The Guaranteed Favourable Outcome (it’s not just reserved for medical care, entitlements. education, housing, and employment).

    1. succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome and took pity on you

      HTML FAIL! Still kidding though.-)

    2. People want to vote for the winner.

      If the other guy wins, they actually will wish they had voted for him.

  13. Is that troll “LoveConstitution” or whatever still willing to predict Trump will carry NY state?

    1. Troll? Fuck you! You cannot even lead with a good round-tine joke.

      Yes, I am predicting NY going to Trump. You might not be old enough to remember the Reagan landslides. The pundits didn’t those coming either. There are common clues. Political insiders never see it coming. This is another Presidential race of Trump being underestimated at every turn and Hillary being so bad that most Democrats but die-hard Hillary supporters are considering not voting for her.

      electoral-college#1980

  14. Iowa is going to be close and will be important to picking the winner.

    So I am not certain that I like Johnson well enough to vote for him.

    With so much on the line, I am thinking I will write in the name of the lady that works at the coffee shop here at work.

    1. She’d probably do a pretty good job, relatively speaking.

    2. I will write in the name of the lady that works at the coffee shop here at work.

      +Mabel 2016
      Make America a Large w/ One Sugar & a Splash of Milk Again

      1. Sugar and milk in your coffee?

        I change my immigration stance, get the fuck out sir. Get right the fuck on out of this country.

    3. I going to write in the member of society who I think has the most integrity of anybody I’ve ever met; my dick.

    4. I going to write in the member of society who I think has the most integrity of anybody I’ve ever met; my dick.

      1. and I’m going to do it twice.

    5. Serious question – why vote at all in that case?

      1. To tell proggies I voted for a competent woman that I trust and admire.

    6. You’re in Iowa? Cool. Nice to see a fellow Iowan who hasn’t totally lost their mind.

  15. “I live in New York and hail from California, and I cannot tell you how many people from either state have told me a variation on, “Well, I’d like to vote for Gary Johnson, but I’m just afraid the election will be too close.” No. It. Won’t.”

    I think voters in California and New York might say the same thing about Trump.

    I’d like to vote for Gary Johnson, but because the election won’t be close, that means Johnson isn’t likely to cover the spread between Trump and Hillary. The Gary Johnson contingent in California will not make a difference in this election, so no progressive or establishment Republican is likely to look at California in the next election and think, “If only Trump had gone more libertarian, he would have won California–maybe we should go libertarian!”.

    If I’m only left with using my vote as a means of protest to express my contempt for the progressives and social justice warriors who run LA County and Sacramento, how can I best use my vote?

    Are the progressives contemptuous of Johnson and everything he represents? He’s on their side against freedom of association, generally against war, etc.

    Meanwhile, in progressive/social justice warrior world, signaling is more important than anything, and voting for Donald Trump signals total, complete, metaphysical contempt for everything social justice warriors stand for.

    1. What about hitting 5 percent for ballot access for all LP candidates in 2018 and 2020?

      1. That gives me pause.

        So does telling all my friends and family to support libertarians and then turning around and voting for Trump.

        I’m probably going to vote for Johnson.

        My intellectual reaction was to Welch’s suggestion that people should vote for Johnson in deep blue states because it isn’t going to be close.

        My emotional reaction is driven by a deep seated compulsion to stick the biggest middle finger possible into the faces of both the authoritarian socialists who run California and the faces of those who vote for our insect overlords.

        For goodness’ sake, they’re only letting us choose between two Democrats for U.S. Senate. There isn’t even a Republican to vote for on the ballot–never mind a libertarian. Being a progressive is all about using the coercive power of government to force people to make sacrifices for the common good, and forcing people to make sacrifices is often about limiting their choices. The two Democrats on the ballot for U.S. Senate is emblematic of that to me. Here are your choices–it’s for your own good.

        When how to express your contempt is the only choice you have left, there’s a temptation to express it in the strongest terms possible.

        1. There was a Republican on the primary ballot and he finished THIRD. Give me a break. The two Dems split the fcking vote and he still couldn’t claw his way to second.

          There’s no reason for there to be a Republican on the November ballot in California. At least this way the Senator is chosen by the larger electorate and not the Dem true believers.

          The more I think about this system, the more I kind of like it.

          1. There isn’t anything good about having fewer choices.

          2. There were something like 5 Republicans on the ballot, not 1. The total number of votes for Republicans was more than the second-place Democrat had, so if there had been only one Republican, or if Republican voters had coalesced around a single candidate, that candidate would’ve won second place and thus been on the general election ballot.

            It’s an utterly retarded system but it will probably take a few election cycles before people wise up to how it works. The Republican voters treated it like an actual primary when it was in effect the general election, just 6 months early and with a guaranteed runoff in November.

      2. There is no nation-wide 5% vote threshold that will give the LP or any party ballot access for all states. Ballot access laws are unique and different in each state. The LP will gain or at least a have a lot easier process if Gary gets 2% in Iowa, 2% in Kentucky, 2.5% in Oklahoma, 3% in Arkansas, Massachusetts or Ohio. In some states it is not the presidential vote that is the determining factor for ballot access. For example in New York it is 50k votes for governor, in New Hampshire it is 4% for either the governor or US Senate candidate and in Hawaii it is 10% of the vote for the legislature. In DC it is at least 7,500 votes (not a percentage) for any district-wide candidate.

        1. I was thinking about the 5% threshold for campaign matching funds eligibility, too.

    2. Voting for Johnson serves a few purposes.

      Makes me feel smarter than the other morons who are voting.

      Helps me teach my children that they are not confined to the choices presented by other people. (I know, Johnson is technically one of the approved choices on the ballot, but work with me…)

      This won’t happen in my state, but my hope is that while he won’t cover the spread nationwide, he might cover the spread in one or more swing states in such a way as to give the losing candidate a whole lot to think about in the “what if” category.

      1. Yeah, I’m all for that “what if” scenario.

        I just don’t live in one of those states.

  16. If I were in a state where the voting was close, voting for Johnson would make a lot more sense. I should add, too, that I supported Johnson’s position on association rights for pragmatic reasons–the important work of making libertarianism more acceptable as a name brand for the next election is more important than where a losing politician stands on one principle. And that’s about winning hearts and minds.

    We’re in a different ballgame in deep blue states when it comes to the ballot. Winning hearts and minds is unrelated to what I do about the candidates on the ballot when Obama won last time by 23 percentage points. What I do on the ballot is about expressing contempt for the authoritarian socialists and social justice warriors who are running California, and I’m not convinced I can express that contempt in any better way with my vote than to vote for Donald Trump.

    1. the important work of making libertarianism more acceptable as a name brand for the next election is more important than where a losing politician stands on one principle

      There is literally nothing you can’t accomplish with flexible principles.

      1. I don’t know about that, but I know that at that crucial moment several weeks back, when it was really close and Hillary was concerned that Johnson was pulling more votes away from her in swing states than he was pulling from Trump, she would have gone after Johnson specifically and libertarians generally for being a bunch of racists and homophobes if she could have.

        In 2004, Obama campaigned heavily on the campaign theme that “Marriage is between a man and a woman”. All the gay rights organizations kept supporting him, donating to his campaign, and volunteering for his campaign anyway–and they were right to do so. Getting elected isn’t only about reason, logic, and winning an intellectual argument. It’s about pandering, too.

        If that’s what we have to do to get a President that’s 85%, 75%, or even 50% libertarian, then we should do that. Hell, at this point, I’d settle for a Presidential contender who’s pro-free trade, pro-First Amendment, and unapologetically Pro-Second Amendment, but apparently that’s too much to ask for.

        1. Because having politicians who are willing to say or do anything for votes isn’t how the country got to this point.

          1. I actually don’t think that is how we got to this point. I suspect politicians have always been willing to say and do anything for votes. What’s changed is what people want to hear and what people have done.

          2. Yeah, don’t put the cart before the horse.

            George Wallace famously said, “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”

            A few election cycles later, he completely repudiated segregation and became a champion of integration.

            Politicians change because voters change. Our politicians can only be so libertarian so long as their constituencies only remain so libertarian.

            You don’t dictate to the market what you want them to buy. You give the people what they want.

            We have to change what people want over the long term. In the meantime, if we can get a nice chunk of what we want given current voter market conditions, we should take that. We certainly shouldn’t throw away half of what we want just because we can’t get the rest of it.

            1. Do whatever you like for whatever reason makes you happy. Eventually you’ll realize you’re just like everyone else. You have no principled leg to stand on if you’re willing to compromise your principles to win an election.

              1. I don’t see it as compromising my principles. Rather, it’s a realization that there is a difference between moral libertarianism and political or policy libertarianism.

                1. In that case, why vote? If the libertarian politician you’re voting for doesn’t follow libertarian ethics then what makes him different from the others? If libertarian politics just boils down to the right man being in charge, how is it inherently better than any other party politics? In the end, you just want someone with preferences at least pretty close to your own to be in charge. Just like everyone else.

                  1. In the end, you just want someone with preferences at least pretty close to your own to be in charge. Just like everyone else.

                    Yes, and?

                    1. I have no need to be different just for the sake of being different.

                    2. Yes, and?

                      And what? It’s already been proven quite handily time and again that a huge majority of people don’t want libertarianism. In response to Ken, my question is ultimately who cares why you’re choosing to vote libertarian. From his commentary, it appears that he doesn’t care whether or not his chosen politician is actually a libertarian as long as he has at least one libertarianish value. And he has, in my opinion, a mistaken belief that if people accept one libertarianish value this time they’ll accept two next time.

                  2. If the libertarian politician you’re voting for doesn’t follow libertarian ethics then what makes him different from the others?

                    Someone who follows “libertarian ethics” in 90% of situations is very different than someone who follows them in 50% or 10% or 0%.

                    In the end, you just want someone with preferences at least pretty close to your own to be in charge. Just like everyone else.

                    That’s not *all* I want. But it’s one of the things I want, sure. I mean, isn’t that true of pretty much anyone outside of the “burn it all down” crowd?

                  3. “In that case, why vote?”

                    Because the more libertarians win, the more libertarian your government will be and the more libertarian your world will be.

                    1. Jesus, just because we can’t make the world 100% libertarian right away doesn’t mean we can’t make it more libertarian than it is now.

                      Gary Johnson isn’t big on association rights, but if we ever get a President who’s as libertarian as Gary Johnson, it’ll be such a huge victory for libertarianism, it’s hard to imagine.

              2. “You have no principled leg to stand on if you’re willing to compromise your principles to win an election.”

                My principles haven’t changed. I still want the same things I always wanted.

                But winning elections simply isn’t about that. That’s one of the best reasons why the power of politicians should be very limited.

                They can’t be trusted to stand on principle. So we have the rule of law, the Constitution, and the courts for that.

                In the meantime, we can’t have a majority of libertarian politicians in power without appealing to the popular vote. It’s representative democracy. That’s the way elections work.

                Elections are not about winning an intellectual argument. Those people at the bottom 12% of the IQ bell curve–they’re the ones who ultimately choose our politicians. That’s the world we live in, but that’s okay! We can still get what we want anyway. We just can’t get all of it at the same time right away without compromising with the voters.

                Taking what you can get and keep fighting for the rest of it isn’t selling out anything. Selling out is refusing to take what the market will give you because it won’t give you everything you want right now.

              3. You have no principled leg to stand on if you’re willing to compromise your principles to win an election.

                A.) Ken’s not running. He can neither win nor lose the election.

                B.) Some people would call a politician who changes his or her position in order to better reflect the wishes of his/her constituents a good thing.

  17. If Hillary wins an amnesty for illegal immigrants will take place soon after, along with voting rights. Paul Ryan will be on board with this as will many other GOP house members. Texas will turn blue in the 2020 election and it will be numerically impossible for a Republican president to ever win another presidential election. FOREVER, practically speaking.

    1. I don’t really have much of an issue with actual amnesty if it comes with other immigration reform.

      1. It won’t come with other immigration reform.

    2. I don’t give a rat’s ass about you feel about amnesty. I’m just telling you that an amnesty for illegal immigrants will turn Texas blue.

      1. That’s probably true but it wasn’t inevitable. In many ways immigrants should have been good allies for Republicans.

        1. No, they weren’t. Jason Richwine explained the problem in rigorous detail and Republicans defenestrated him.

          1. I don’t know who that is. Can you summarize?

            1. Mexicans all carry the socialist gene. Duh.

              1. Stop it. It’s fellow whites, the progressives, I ‘hate’ most in this cold civil war.

                1. OK. But if it’s true that no amount of cajoling by Republicans has led Latino voters to the right in any significant way, there’s some reason for it.

                  I tend to think that it’s largely down to Republicans mostly being hostile to poorer immigrants and not really trying very hard to appeal to them. So the fact that they have failed just means they’ve done a lousy job of it. If you reject that, then what is it if not some innate leftism? My comment was a bit flippant and unfair, but some people come pretty close to making that argument.

                  1. Many people come from openly socialist countries. They are just supposed to see the light overnight?

                    These people think government force works to make things better even though they came from shitholes.

                    Billions of people around the World get free shit from their governments and expect it. Then they move here and Democrats say they will give them free shit and Republicans sometimes say no to free shit and Libertarians almost always say no to free shit.

                    De-programming these nitwits takes years.

          2. Richwine wrote an academic piece for the Heritage Foundation where he was found observing that no amount of cajoling by Republicans and conservatives led the latino voter block to the right. He was also found guilty of making the same observation in his Harvard thesis.

            1. I was speaking about a hypothetical past where Republicans didn’t alienate latino immigrants to begin with. It is certainly possible that that ship has now sailed.

              1. It’s not unprecedented for a party to flip a voting bloc. Look at the Dems and the black vote.

                1. No, it’s not impossible, but it would take a special effort from Republicans that I don’t see them being in a position to make in the near future.

                2. Republicans can’t even flip the Asian vote in California when the Democratic party’s agenda is to lower their admission rate UC schools.

                3. The Dems blocked Civil Rights for decades and then when it became inevitable they took credit for it.

                  I am not sure how to replicate that particular playbook.

                4. It’s not unprecedented for a party to flip a voting bloc. Look at the Dems and the black vote

                  That required a Depression, though–I’m not so sure we want to go down that road again.

                  For all the pretenses that the NR crowd has about “natural conservatives,” that’s mostly fantasy. Latinos tend to be extremely tribal and ethnically chauvinist–that works in the favor of Dems, not Republicans.

              2. Richwine explained the real past and the present. George W. Bush hit the zenith of Republic votes from latinos by carry 45 percent in his race for governor of Texas.

                If Republicans could only get more…

                There is no evidence to support this.

    3. Well, then that’s what’s going to happen.

      I say the same thing to people I know who think that Trump is literally Hitler and will make everything horrible. If this election is all that stands between us and certain doom, then we’re just fucked already. If elections are that important, then that’s it. Society has already ceded that power to government. It’s too late.

      Republicans have definitely shot themselves in the dick on immigration. Lots of family oriented, Catholic immigrants and the supposed family values, pro-life party can’t get any traction.

      1. Entrepreneurs and small business owners, too.

      2. Shortly after the Democrats lock themselves into power, the blacks and browns will turn on each other. Gays will get jettisoned into a third party.

        This is probably the most likely scenario for a multi-polar electorate.

  18. This popped up in my FB feed: Is Trump your fault? Takes this quiz to find out!

    I was something like 30% responsible for Trump because I respected my family’s ability to choose and didn’t harangue them aboutvoting for Trump every chance I got.

    Oddly enough, if you indicate that you are a Democrat there is not question that asks “Have you used identity politics for the last 30 years as a cudgel against your political opponents and labeled anyone that complained a racist?” I’m shocked.

    1. That would require self-awareness rather than smug virtue signalling.

    2. I got 73%. Somehow that seems disappointingly low.

    3. Hmm, maybe that website inserts a virus on anyone who is more than x% responsible for Trump.

      1. Something tells me the people who made that website 1) already are convinced that Trump supporters have some sort of virus and 2) don’t actually know any Trump supporters and were more concerned with signaling to their friends.

      2. They wouldn’t dare: I got 92% by saying I was Vladimir Putin. They’re probably afraid I put a virus on THEIR computer.

  19. And it’s true?on a national level, Hillary Clinton’s recently comfortable lead over Donald Trump has jerked backward in recent days to just 2.2 percentage points in RealClearPolitics’ poll average, down from 5.6 a week ago and 7.1 the week before that.

    Hillary Clinton. Jerking. Backwards.

    *must scrub brain eyeballs*

    1. Probably NSFW.

      Apologies in advance for stepping in HM’s turf. Emergencies, needing a quick fix, and all that.

    2. Well, at least she understands what she’s selling.

  20. The only way to try to narrow the margin in the ‘safe seats’ is for people opposed to the groupthink to vote even more! Your efforts at suppressing turnout will not work on me.

  21. I’d like to see someone conduct a poll one day.

    It would ask:
    Assuming there was no other option, would you prefer the Republican Candidate, or the Democratic Candidate.
    Assuming there was no other option, would you prefer the Republican Candidate, or the Libertarian Candidate.
    Assuming there was no other option, would you prefer the Republican Candidate, or the Green Candidate.
    Assuming there was no other option, would you prefer the Republican Candidate, or the Constitution Candidate.
    Assuming there was no other option, would you prefer the Democratic Candidate, or the Libertarian Candidate.
    Assuming there was no other option, would you prefer the Democratic Candidate, or the Green Candidate.
    Assuming there was no other option, would you prefer the Democratic Candidate, or the Constitution Candidate.
    Assuming there was no other option, would you prefer the Libertarian Candidate, or the Green Candidate.
    Assuming there was no other option, would you prefer the Libertarian Candidate, or the Constitution Candidate.
    Assuming there was no other option, would you prefer the Green Candidate, or the Constitution Candidate.

    My guess?? It would show Democrat and Republican loss in every single matchup but the first.

    1. On my ballot, I do not believe there is a ‘Constitution Candidate’ running.

      I’d never vote Green, I don’t think there’s even one policy issue we agree on.

      1. What, you hate trees? 🙂

        1. Trees are meant to be cut down and made into wood and paper products. If the lumber company wants to plant new tress after cutting the crop down, that’s their perogative as farmers.

          The Greens would prevent every part of that cycle.

      2. Yup. The Greens are the Watermelon Party – green on the outside, commie-red on the inside

    2. The fact that Johnson has consistently polled five times Stein’s numbers speaks to that.

      And if Hillary is pulling support away from Stein despite Hillary having virtually nothing to offer Green voters in terms of principles, then that speaks to the relative appeal of our ideologies, as well.

      Libertarians kicked the Greens asses this election cycle.

      1. …”As they shuffled their respective places on the short bus”

    3. Good one. Thanks. But these lifeboat fake dilemmas all begin with: let’s pretend reality ain’t what it is…

  22. I am thinking I will write in the name of the lady that works at the coffee shop here at work.

    The guy who delivers my propane would be a better President than either of the homunculi on the ballot.

    1. Hank Hill? I would vote for him.

        1. Propane and propane accessories!

    2. Especially if he keeps the propane job too.

  23. I’m new here; what is the generally accepted libertarian position on voting systems; i.e., what would be the improvement to make over our current system?

      1. After looking up what that means…..

        Huh. I need more info. Is there a good article that describes it in more detail?

        1. Not that I know of. It’s the “any random person is a better pick” method.

          1. It seems like a pretty tongue in cheek proposition xD

    1. I don’t think you will find a very uniform response to that. It’s not really something that libertarian principle addresses very well.

      1. Interesting. The tone of the article seemed to suggest that there was some obvious reform to make, but that could be me just reading in to it too much.

        The electoral college is a very muddled problem. On the face of it it’s a terrible system, but without it, people who live in rural areas (and entire states) would find themselves with a lot less influence at the national level. Further, if current demographic trends continue, we could find ourselves in a situation where politicians cater to a few coastal cities and pay little mind to other areas. This is exactly the situation that the electoral college is theoretically preventing.

        1. Strip the Feds of all power and then it doesn’t make much difference how you elect them…

          1. I think that sort of encapsulates the essential libertarian view of government. Government shouldn’t be powerful or influential enough that elections matter very much.

            1. Ideally that’s true but I think it ignores feedback loops and the dynamics of the system. It’s one thing to set up a system of limited government but it’s quite another to perpetuate it.

              Our current system is a mixed bag on that front (it’s definitely not all bad, despite the doom and gloom). But Madison and the other framers seemed at least aware of the challenge and really did try to design a system that would have the right incentives to preserve liberty as they saw it. They got some things right and they failed to anticipate some others. I’d like to think that after 225 years we’ve learned a thing or two that could improve their initial design, but that’s a tough egg to crack.

              Unfortunately I don’t see many libertarians (or anyone else for that matter) really grappling with the dynamic nature of government systems and how best to design them for the long-term. But as I’ve said elsewhere, I think that is less important than what the larger society values.

              1. Having said that, one of the feedback loops in place is that the style of government and the degree to which it is respected does influence the values of a society at large. It’s one of many influences, and many of those influences are actually more emergent cultural trends than anything that comes from the top down, but there is influence from many sources and coming from many directions.

              2. I’m afraid that the only way to have a minimal government that lasts is to change people’s minds about the proper role of government. And I’m not too hopeful on that front. Laws, including constitutions, only really work when most people will willingly follow them and agree that they are right and proper. You aren’t going to have constitutional government unless most people agree with the role of government defined in the constitution.

                1. I’ve been thinking about these sorts of things a bit over last several months. It’s all armchair philosophy, of course, but I do find myself going back to Jonathan Haidt’s work in The Righteous Mind, and I think that to design a system of government that will be relatively stable and long-lived in fact and not just in name, it has to satisfy the various moral virtues that people value. That, of course, can also change with time, but probably much more slowly than attitudes on any particular policy or political ideology. Libertarians are outliers in that analysis so it’s unlikely we’ll *ever* get a truly minarchist state, but I wonder if we could get something that most of us could make peace with.

        2. Some humorous rules about libertarianism that are popular around here:

          1. Everyone agrees with libertarians about something
          2. No two libertarians agree about anything

        3. We should return to voting for electors, not candidates. Vote for whoever from your state you think would be the best at picking a President and let them pick. No popular vote for particular candidates, no parties, no candidates standing for election. Of course, we threw that idea out two hundred years ago so we could degenerate into the partisan clusterfuck we have today.

          And, while I’m being anti-democracy, screw the popular election of Senators, too. There were good reasons these systems were set up as they were, and we’d be better off if we’d stuck to them.

          (And to anyone who thinks unfettered democracy is a good thing, let me remind you either Trump or Hillary will soon be President.).

      2. Agree with Zeb. I don’t think it’s really a question of principle to begin with. It’s a question of what you are trying to accomplish with a voting system and a realization that no system is perfect. Some people reject voting all together, of course, which can be a principled stance. It’s not one I subscribe to.

      3. Yeah, it wouldn’t really matter if we got our way and eliminated about 90% of what the government does.

        1. I’m not sure I understand your comment. Is that the consequence of a particular voting system?

    2. Make political office exactly like jury duty. “Aww crap, i got called for Congress this week! Dammit, how do i get out of this?”

      1. I think that’s my favorite option. Just make it random. The only real value I see in democracy is that it makes things unpredictable enough that no one can get too much power or screw things up too much. At least that’s the idea.

        1. Democracy does a few things for you

          1) It leverages distributed knowledge in a way that dictatorships can’t (now whether that distributed knowledge is put to good use or is conducive to liberty is a separate question)
          2) It forces politicians to do things that benefit enough people that they can continue to get elected (again, whether that is conducive to liberty is a separate question)
          3) It adds an air of legitimacy to government actions (and again, whether that is conducive to liberty is a separate question)

          As a process I think democracy is better than any other system. But whether libertarians will like the results of the process depends on the inputs (i.e., the values of electorate), and the inputs right now are mixed at best.

          I do think there are improvements that we can make to our system (e.g. proportional representation) but they come with trade offs.

          I don’t like your idea because even in my ideal libertarian/classically liberal state, government is going to have to do some things, and I’d like that they do them well. That requires some skill and knowledge that the average person isn’t likely to have. And whether you are personally a fan of the legitimacy argument or not, it certainly helps to stabilize society when most people buy into the legitimacy of the process. I think randomly chosen legislators would undermine that.

          1. I may be unreasonably cynical about it all at this point. The main idea behind the “jury duty” scheme is to make the accumulation of political power and influence much more difficult. But it has all kinds of problems and almost no chance of happening.

            And if you do somehow manage to create a stable, minarchist state, there isn’t much that the legislature needs to do outside of emergency situations besides make a budget every few years. If you aren’t trying to manage every aspect of society, there isn’t much you need once you have a basic set of laws, established courts and whatever other government functions might be necessary.

            1. make the accumulation of political power and influence much more difficult

              Maybe, maybe not. It could shift where power is entrenched away from individuals and into the institutions and system as a whole. I’d argue that our own system has a lot of this.

            2. I’d settle for term limits on all electable offices.

              1. Yeah, that would be a more realistic option. Seems to be pretty popular across different ideologies. But of course, legislatures are going to be reluctant to limit their own power that way.

                1. Supermajorities on votes within the legislature are the surest way to reduce the vote trading (logrolling) that leads to excessive spending. The standard example is a legislature of say 5 members. If you have projects where the benefits go to one voter’s district, and benefits are say +5 to that district, but costs are -2 each to the other four districts, for a net -3 = +5 – 2 -2 -2 -2, then by simple majority rule you can get any three members voting for a combined bill that gives three districts a project, where the three winners get +1 = +5 – 2 – 2, and the two losers get -6 each. But if you force these to pass with a supermajority, say four of five votes, you cannot get any four to do this, since the benefits to the winning coalition, were one to form, are now -1 = +5 – 2 – 2 -2. This is one reason why the Senate has always used a 60 votes minimum, which dirty Harry Reid got rid of last time he was in charge. It is the single rule change that I would advocate if I wanted smaller government.

              2. I’m not sure term limits would be an improvement. Hasn’t the revolving door gotten even worse in CA since term limits were imposed? So a legislator can’t stay in their office; they get their consulting job and stay entrenched in the process anyway.

    3. IRV would be an improvement.

      Random selection might be the best.

  24. But on-the-fence voters who are succumbing to gun-to-your-head logic…

    VOTE OR DIE

    1. “Your mind or your life”….. Ayn Rand

  25. what would be the improvement to make over our current system?

    A lottery, with paid entry tickets. No limit to how many tickets you can buy (or may be purchased on your behalf). All proceeds go directly to U S Treasury.

    1. I have a mail-in California voter’s ballot in my hand. My name and address are posted on the return envelope. So this is NOT an anonymous vote, if I mail it in.

      So how would a truly private, anonymous, and authenticated voter ballot work these days were I not available to vote in person?

      1. It’s a union election, but the PEF ballots are a dual enevelope. You fill in the ballot card, place it in one envelope. Then you put that envelope in another that has your name on it and sign that. They authenticate the outer envelopes, remove the inner, drop the inner envelopes in a box to be opened and counted in bulk.

        To top it off they had a third party doing he counting that gets paid regardless of which candidates win, and members can watch the whole process in person should they opt to.

      2. Do you have a right to an anonymous election ballot? You don’t. Are you scared to let people know who you vote for? Own that M-Fing ballot!

        Even election date voting is not anonymous as they have to check you in to make sure you are registered.

        I would be okay with anonymous voting where everyone voted on a single day and your nose was dipped in a 7 day ink. We have people that think it is okay to cheat on voting. If we cannot even have fair voting, what is the point of a Republic Democracy?

    2. And then we throw rocks at the winner?

  26. http://arstechnica.com/tech-po…..followers/

    (OH PLEASE LET IT BE TRUMP PLEASE LET IT BE TRUMP PLEASE LET IT BE TRUMP PLEASE LET IT BE TRUMP PLEASE LET IT BE TRUMP PLEASE LET IT BE TRUMP PLEASE LET IT BE TRUMP PLEASE LET IT BE TRUMP)

    1. Damn… that might make Twitter worthwhile after all.

    2. Would Twitter ban him? Or would that actually be banning the office of the presidency?

      1. Twitter is bleeding in the gutter.

        To recover, they’d have to start respecting free speech because their current censorious processes are sending the advertising eyeballs elsewhere.

        It may also be too late to save, but I’m not going to commit to that.

        1. no they are going to go hard left to hold on to whatever remaining users they have. IE the tumblr model

          1. I thought Tumblr was for home made porn.

  27. Polls can be manipulated by oversampling, or assuming the demographics of the upcoming election will replicate the 2012 election. Odds can also be manipulated as well. Most people wagered on a Brexit victory, but because there were a few extremely large bets on Bremain (likely manipulations), the oddsmakers had Bremain winning. The markets are now starting to factor in a Trump victory–my broker told me that a Trump victory would be bullish for precious metals, and these have risen in the last 2 days. A Hillary loss would be bearish for the market as Trump would likely end the manipulation of interest rates & gold, and stop easy money and the easy buying of stocks by central banks. Trump has all of the momentum, and the country really doesn’t need or want another Watergate or another impeachment (Gary Johnson recently stated this obvious consequence of a Hillary win).

  28. This reminds me of a couple of the stoners in high school that were at one time bright, but who eventually pulverized their brains with weed. They would occasionally brighten or have flashes of insight, but in the end, they remained stoners whose every thought and expression was about the weed.

    1. Oh yea –

      That reminds me of a couple of the beeries in high school that were at one time bright, but who eventually pulverized their brains with beer. They would occasionally brighten or have flashes of insight, but in the end, they remained beeries whose every thought and expression was about the beer.

      1. The beeries are even worse.

  29. Sorry VOX – I won’t hold my nose and vote for Hillary Clinton, who is a bigger war monger than Dick Cheney and supports the racist an un Constitutional war on drugs.

    Once again VOX – I won’t hold my nose and vote for the racist warmonger and enemy of individual liberty, Hillary Clinton

  30. Matt, you got he more important half of the argument, but left off the final half.

    If you are in one of these states, your vote simply doesn’t matter tot he outcome. Yes, it’s expected not to matter because the state is a virtual lock to go one way or the other. But in the unlikely case that the state actually ends up in play, it surely means the other candidate has swept the nation, and the electoral college.

    e.g.,I’m in NY, which is a lock to go for Hillary. And if it were even close for Trump, then that would surely mean a Reaganesque sweep a la 1984 (the last time NY went for a Republican). There’s simply no scenario in which my vote could possibly make a difference — even if my single vote would have changed the outcome in NY!

    The same is true for every Democratic lock state, and the converse is true for every GOP lock state.

    1. NY is going for Trump. So, it will be a 1980 or 1984 sweep for Trump.

      If Hillary makes it to election day next week, she can probably win Taxifornia, Oregon, Illinois, Hawaii and maybe a few New England states, except NY and NH. I would even give her Minnesota.

  31. You guys are delusional. Same story every four years. Conquer the world in July, afterthought in November. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.”

  32. “If you had a gun to your head, who what would you vote for?”
    I’d vote for the gun to backfire… I’d vote libertarian. The whole idea of holding a gun to someone’s head is the ideal of looter altruists. We who value our lives value the freedom from coercion and death threats that keeps us alive. “Lifeboat ethics” assumes that reality is not what it is, then demands that the victim surrender freedom because of some conundrum that is not what they wish it were.
    Very good article.

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