Why Can't They Both Lose?

They say if you don't vote you can't complain. They're wrong.


They say if you don't vote you can't complain. They're wrong. Complaining is prior to voting. It is deeper and more powerful than voting. It is the original act of politics. Before there was democracy, there was sitting around the campfire complaining about the way the headman allocated the shares of mastodon meat. Bellyaching about the boss is more than a political right. It is a human right.

And so, in Reason's 2020 election issue, we are here to complain. The candidates from the major parties are subpar. They display troubling authoritarian tendencies. Their records in office—one long, one short—are underwhelming and frequently self-contradictory. Their actions consistently fail to match their rhetoric. If they agree on one thing, it is that they have the right, and perhaps even the obligation, to tell you what to do in the bedroom and in the boardroom, in the streets and in the sheets. If they agree on a second thing, it is the necessity of spending ever-larger sums of taxed and borrowed money in pursuit of ever-vaguer goals. They helm parties that are similarly compromised and hypocritical.

Even if, by some miracle, you fully agreed with a set of principles and plans as articulated by one of the candidates in a particular campaign speech or policy paper, you could not reasonably have a shred of confidence that those principles would be carried through into consistent governance—something President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have repeatedly demonstrated.

The fact that many voters in 2020 believe they must nonetheless actively support one of these two deeply flawed characters is a testament to the brokenness of the system that produced them. The fact that those voters feel like they only have two choices in the first place is a criminal failing in a country with such blooming, buzzing diversity in our commercial, social, and cultural lives.

Every presidential election of my lifetime so far has been "the most important election of my lifetime." If you squint, that might even be true this time around. The executive grows more powerful with each passing term, and there's no denying that 2020 has asked a lot of the occupant of the Oval Office. But it doesn't follow logically that, because an election is important, you must hold your nose and go out of your way to vote for the candidate you merely hate the least.

Replacing your toilet is an important choice, and you'd be absolutely furious if your plumber told you that, despite the existence of numerous makes and models, due to the way the toilet selection system works you must pick right now between one that leaks and another that has a broken seat. The more fundamental something is, the angrier and more vocal you should be at being asked to choose between bad options. You do not have a moral obligation to talk yourself into the idea that a damp bathroom floor is OK, no matter what people are saying in your social media feeds or on your family phone calls.

We understand that many of our readers will be voting for one of the two major-party candidates, and may even feel some connection or loyalty to that candidate or the party he represents. We understand that those readers may find the notion of giving equal airtime to the failures of each candidate an abhorrent exercise in false equivalency and whataboutism. We disagree. We think the records of these two candidates are troubling enough that both deserve to be laid out in the weeks before the election. Reason is not here to attack your tribe or shame you for the way you choose to vote (or not vote). But we hope you agree that it would be preferable to live in a world where the stakes of any given election are lower and where there are more electorally viable tribes.

Here are a few things we are not saying in this issue of Reason:

We are not saying the outcome of this election doesn't matter. Elections matter. The next four years will be different in important ways for many, many people depending on who is president. Different wars will be waged. Different taxes will be levied. Different laws will be passed. Different judges will be appointed. Different bureaucracies will be empowered. Different research will be funded. Elections matter. That's why we're so disappointed at the low quality of the available options.

We are not telling you how to vote. As we do every four years, we will ask Reason staffers to share who they're voting for in the presidential contest and post the results online in October. We do this because we think it's important for people who subscribe to our magazine and read our website and watch our videos and listen to our podcasts to know where our writers and editors and producers are coming from. More publications should consider this form of disclosure, especially those who claim to primarily be purveyors of fact and not opinion or analysis. But telling you how we vote is a very different thing from telling you how you should vote.

We are not telling you whether to vote third-party. In this issue, we tackled the candidacies of the two people who could plausibly win the presidency. We know Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen exists. We have covered her campaign and will continue to do so. But the vast majority of the country views this as a choice between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. There are many structural reasons that it's hard for Jorgensen (or Kanye West or the Green Party's Howie Hawkins, for that matter) to get purchase in American politics, from the difficulty of ballot access in the 50 states to collusion between the two parties that keeps Libertarians and others off the debate stage. Those barriers should be removed, but acknowledging that they exist is not an attack on third parties.

Changing the American political system is hard and depends on many variables outside of your control. Reason can and will come back to the technical questions of reforms that might mean American voters someday have more and better choices. But as a chaser to the rap sheets of the major-party candidates, we wanted to offer you something more immediately useful in this issue: a case for changing your relationship to politics instead. Philosopher Christopher Freiman argues that simply choosing not to engage as much with politics would be better not only for you but for society as a whole. Freiman describes the ways in which our partisan identities are swallowing the rest of our identities, a doubly bad sign when partisan identities are increasingly built around cults of personality and the personalities are neither principled nor predictable.

At the beginning of 2021, barring one last wildcard from 2020, one of the major-party candidates will be inaugurated as president. They can't both lose. Your choices at the ballot box are limited and limiting. But the world outside of politics—even in the constrained circumstances of 2020—remains varied, interesting, and worthy of your attention.

So complain about your choices, think about ways to get better ones next time, recognize that you owe nothing to the two men at the top of the tickets or the parties that put them there, and then seriously consider turning it all off and doing something pleasant and useful instead.

NEXT: Brickbat: He Don't Like the Young Folks Hanging Around

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  1. Given the weirdness for this year, a suitable cap off would be both candidates dying prior to the election and the populace still electing a corpse (bonus points if there is a discrepancy between the popular vote and the electoral college… I can see the news media invoking spiritualist as a part of the coverage).

    Pence would refrain from acting as interim and we could have Pelosi sworn in in vaguely reminiscence Nazi regalia drag to the tune of California Uber Alles.

    We could make blood sacrifices to appease the gods over Covid, and start Jan. 1 2021 as if the proceeding year never happened.

    1. The year of the zombie?

      1. Well, yea, but the politically correct term is “peaceful protesters”

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        2. “Reanimated Americans.”

    2. If there’s any prospect more nauseating than hearing Trump blather on for four more years about how awesome he is while the far left takes to the streets, or a Biden administration produced and directed by Kamala Harris, it’s a deer-in-the-headlights Pelosi lunatic regime.

    3. Repeal the 12th amendment. Then let them go mano-a-mano. Two men enter the oval office, only one comes out.

      {to save some the trouble of googling, this would mean the candidate with the lower electoral count would become VP for the candidate with the greater electoral votes. The election outcome would become Trump/Biden, or Biden/Trump}

    4. KMW and unreason staff just want Trump to lose in any manner.

      They are slowing coming to the reality that Trump will win reelection, so they say stuff like they hope “Democrats could lose too”.

      Its typical bullshit from unreason.

      1. And yet you read and post everyday on a libertarian website how much you love to suck Trump’s cock and secretly pray for pelosi to except your wedding proposal.

        What a pitiful little person you are, get your meds adjusted.

        You are nothing more than a progressive loving statist, lovescock!

        1. Wow, projection much. Lovcon’s no statist, and you’re an asshole.

      2. I read the article about how the Reason staff is voting this year. I wasn’t shocked to see that ALOT of them are voting for Biden. Its just completely laughable that Reason still even claims to be libertarian. Trump is awful but anyone with a pulse and a brain can CLEARLY see that Biden is far worse with a 40 year senate record and a vice presidency to prove it. I was happy to see that many of the staff are voting for Jo Jorgensen, however. Reason is steadily and consistently lurching to the left and should just admit it.

  2. Elections general require a majority or at least a large plurality to win. That generally means that for any single office, there are likely only going to be two viable candidates. That is inherent in elections, and not something that is easily subject to reform. In politics, you have to build a widespread coalition to win. Partis that are too tightly focused will not be successful except perhaps in anomalous districts, but not in nationwide races.

    1. And yet, other jurisdictions around the world seem to have successful political systems with more than just “two viable candidates”. Evidence outside the US contradicts your conclusion.

      In politics, you should need a widespread coalition to win. What you actually need is a mere plurality of the subset of people who are not to disgusted to vote.

      1. I’m not a fan of two-party rule, but I also don’t want to hitch my wagon to other political systems, many of which still hold a monarch as the titular head of state (I’m lookin’ at you, Australia).

        1. The thing is that the head of state in the Commonwealth countries is a figurehead with no real power. We’ve elevated POTUS into an elected monarch. I’d take a neutered head of state with a weak PM over our God-King at this point.

          1. Oh, there’s no doubt that the presidency has been expanded far beyond its scope (I blame Teddy Roosevelt and more recently George W. Bush), but figurehead or not, their systems are shackled by the monarchy.

            1. Both are pikers compared to Woodrow Wilson.

              1. Polk and Andy Jackson deserve some blame, also.

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          2. Theoretically the monarch in the British Commonwealth has plenary power, but she’d be beheaded if she ever tried to exercise it.

            1. Are you sure about that? What about the life or death COVID-19 perma-crisis?

          3. Yea, Australia is awesome for freedom…

      2. “And yet, other jurisdictions around the world seem to have successful political systems with more than just “two viable candidates”. Evidence outside the US contradicts your conclusion.”

        Example? Other countries that I can think of with more parties are largely parlimentary and the prime minister comes from a consensus of parties. But for the PM, it’s only realistically 2 parties that play. I really can’t think of a major country that does not have 2 dominant parties.

        1. People don’t like too many choices. It’s confusing.

          1. There are already other parties on the ballot. Citizens aren’t too confused to practice strategic voting. Some idiotic judges have claimed “more than two choices is confusing” to deny third parties ballot access, but frankly, if seeing a Libertarian or Green or independent option gives you political vertigo, then you probably aren’t of sound mind and should abstain from voting. Let the people endowed with rudimentary critical thinking skills decide.

            1. The populous vote does not elect the President. The Constitution has nothing about the vote of the citizens deciding who is President. We may feel better if the candidate with the most votes wins but it is the Electors from the states that elect the President. We are protected from the tyranny of the majority in highly populated states by the Electoral College. It has worked well and kept the US from declining to the level of California and New York. The left is adamant about the changes they would like to make to the Constitution and bring the country more inline with their failing policies and rule and now feel comfortable espousing what their agenda is because they believe they have indoctrinated enough of our young to accept it. They have brainwashed a large number of Americans to believe they are not responsible for their lives and believe the government should take care of them. If the US was a democracy it would have failed long ago. Our Republic gives us a chance to correct the direction if we want. If we let it all slip away it will be much harder to get it back.

              1. “Praises the electoral college, claims the left is brainwashing people, ‘Actually the United States is a republic.'”

                Hi. You must be a Republican.

        2. The PM is not elected by the people under the Westminster system of parliamentary government. Voting method aren’t the only issue. There’s also the problem of gerrymandered districts. Legislative coalitions in a multi-party democracy might well result in two major wings of government, but they’re still far superior to the U.S. system of political domination by the Democratic and Republican national committees.

          1. Gerrymandering is less of a problem with proportional representation. That means giving up the idea that your congresscritter is some local yokel who made good, but we have a national legislature peppered with carpetbaggers who have moved house to where they are likelier to get elected (Sen Romney of UT, not MA? Sen Clinton of NY, not IL or AR? Sanders of VT, not B’K’LYN?) already. FPTP with single-member districts is biased towards 2 parties, unless runoffs are part of the process. Ranked voting or IVR can deal with more than 2 parties. We are nearing 150 years with the party duopoly, though their have been several realignments. I’d welcome a GOP debacle if it resulted in a realignment that purged the opposng party to the Democrats of statism. We always seem to get Statism A v Statism B, though.

      3. Except countries with large numbers of parties do form, especially in a parliamentary system. They tend to be endlessly forming “coalition” governments that fall apart rapidly. It’s functional.

        The fact that we have a single president that is elected by majority vote in each state makes multiple parties unstable situation. The stable equilibrium is two, powerful parties. Smaller parties that form either quickly supersede one of the two or are absorbed into one of the larger parties. Having multiple small parties simply guarantees that the largest party will have the executive, so unless there is an insurmountable barrier (such as the issue of slavery in the 1840s), the small parties will quickly join together.

      4. You are ignoring the effects of Duverger’s Law (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger%27s_law). Remember, in most other democracies, citizens cast their votes for both a candidate and a party in a parliamentary form of government. We selected to go a different path.

        The instant a two party system developed in the US, no sustainable third party has emerged except when one of the two main parties faded from existence. For example, the demise of the Federalist Party allowed the Whigs to emerge. Later, after the Whig Party ceased to exist, the Republican Party formed. In US elections between candidates from the two major party, third party challengers typically play the roll of spoilers at most.

    2. One simple fix: require a majority of eligible voters, not just of those mad enough about something that become the motivation for ever more partisan candidates.

      1. No, not eligible; that is way too ill-defined a population to be accurately tabulated. Registered is better, but still subject to a lot of fraud. The safest is by those who actually get off their butts and vote.

        1. I disagree. We now see the results of decades of “motivate the base” electioneering, with a deliberate design to appeal only to fringe partisans–and by inference, discourage less extreme voters. Yes, some voters participate to vote against a candidate, but this seems also like an expression of extremism.

          Think about this, we have heard all the shouting about 2016 and who really was the “choice of the people”. The truth is neither:
          Trump 26.4% of eligible voters
          Clinton 26.5% of eligible voters
          non-voters 42%

          1. You didn’t answer the question of how you actually count “eligible” voters. If it can’t be counted, it is worthless. You may as well only count voters who say “tuna fish”.

      2. At the presidential level, the system is rigged to prevent a no winner situation.

        If there is no majority in the EC, then the House of Representatives elects the President.

        1. With each state getting one vote, to be cast for one of the top 3 contenders.

          Which would give the LP a chance as a compromise candidate, if they could pick up a state or two and prevent the D and R candidates from winning outright.

    3. Any plurality (first past the post) voting system in a single-member district, in this case the presidency, will inevitably end up with two monster parties. See Duverger’s law. If third parties are going to stand a chance, we have to ditch the undemocratic garbage system that is plurality, FPTP voting.

  3. Why Can’t They Both Lose?

    Because Trump and non-establishment Republicans are the only thing left standing in the way of an oligarchy by the Davos crowd.

    Jojo’s unfortunately has proven willing to pander to their extremist stalking horses like BLM.

    This article in Tablet provides documentary evidence of how Warren Buffett, George Soros and Rockefeller have poured millions into BLM and Antifa. It also shows corporations like Square, Ubisoft, Google, Spanx, Tom’s Shoes, Lululemon, Nike, and Anastasia Beauty all making six- and seven-figure organizational pledges.


    America is in the bizarro-world situation whereby the aristocracy and lumpenproles are mounting a Marxist revolution against the working class, and only a shady real estate developer can stop it.

    1. This is just biggest load of bullshit it’s a shame that you wasted bytes on it.

      1. Which part was bullshit?

      2. How so shill?
        That’s BLM’S own documentation.

        1. Facts and coherent rebuttals are anathema to it, apparently.

      3. That’s how Tucker Carlson-type populists see the world. And funniest thing is, they believe Trump is actually a break from “establishment Republicans” rather than a continuation of them on most issues.

        1. Dude24 says, with no hint of explanation or alternative

        2. So what? If you would’ve lread BLM’s own reports provided in the article, you would’ve seen it’s major pre-riot backers were, and are, Berkshire and Soros, plus the Rockefeller foundation.

          Looks like the populists were right.

          1. Right about what? Every group or movement under the sun has its backers. That’s nothing new. People with money give to their favorite causes; goes for BLM, goes for the NRA.

            1. Not every group or movement is responsible for burning down cities, and those that are should face scrutiny.

              Looting a Target and giving fifty bucks a month to your sponsored child aren’t the same thing.

        3. Dude, Trump is the only president in the last 100 years who was not picked by our ruling elite. They picked the Bush family for us, even had them move to Texas so the clueless would not know that their grandfather was the lifelong DEMOCRAT senator from Connecticut. Some choice.

          “America is in the bizarro-world situation whereby the aristocracy and lumpenproles are mounting a Marxist revolution against the working class, and only a shady real estate developer can stop it.”

          Maybe you should watch more of Tucker, you could not be more wrong, so what have you got to lose, but a closed mind!

          Do you realize Trump will be the only president in USA history to leave office with less money than when he went in?

          You are definitely making the ruling elite and all their supporters happy with your attacks on Trump.

          Voting on personality rather than policy is also very bad.

    2. Anyone who’s convinced himself that Jorgensen harbors Marxist sympathies or panders to violent revolutionary leftists isn’t worth her time.

      1. Lol
        So you’re just as partisan as anybody else.
        Or are you actively anti-partisan…

      2. Jo Jorgensen

        Last night, I attended the #BLM candlelight vigil to honor victims of police brutality.
        I did not speak, for they are not my stories to tell.
        Now is the time to listen, to remember and honor these victims.

        1. Jo Jorgensen

          It is not enough to be passively not racist, we must be actively anti-racist.


  4. Well, if ranked choice voting catches on (a few states are voting on it, and Maine is voting *using* it) then you might get your wish one day. But very clearly Republicans at the least are very much against it, so take that as you will.

    1. Your assertion proves nothing, certainly not that Democrats are for ranked choice voting., except in a few states.

      1. There’s not a lot of data so far, but it is true that in Maine, the Republicans have been fighting ranked choice tooth and claw.

        1. It will be a failure.

          1. The only way it will be a failure is if Maine voters are too dumb to understand what 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice mean. Give them some credit.

            1. Gavin vetoed ranked choice because he admitted that sophisticated Californicans are too dumb to figure it out. What chance do bumpkins from Maine have?

        2. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’d imagine Maine Democrats would be the ones opposing ranked voting. The left-wing Greens have more of a presence in ME than the right-wing Constitution Party, and the data suggest Libertarians pull pretty equally from both sides. The only thing I can figure is that the GOP is fiercely resistant to change and doesn’t care much for democracy or voter preference anyway.

          1. It’s because LePage, the last gop governor there won with a plurality due to an independent candidate taking a good chunk (Maine actually has a history of independents winning. One senator now is). So team blue of course thinks ranked choice will help them and team red is opposed. Even though there is nothing inherent about it helping one side or the other. If anything, over time, it increases the likelihood of independents or 3rd parties winning.

    2. I’d like to have a house of representatives where each district elects the top 3 candidates, and each representative casts as many votes in the house as they received in the election instead of just one. Further, all voters could submit their name as a volunteer, and one would be chosen at random to be a fourth representative who would cast all remaining votes.

      Aside from breaking the strangle hold of our two party system, those damned volunteers would be real wild cards and scare party loyalists.

      I like to imagine that in some districts, the major party candidates would stink so badly that the volunteer would get more votes than the top three.

      And in a further disruptive fantasy, I would require all district votes to include “none of the above” as a viable choice, meaning that one of the three seats could be left vacant; further, if 10% of districts actually choose that, the entire legislature is evicted, a new election is held, and no previous candidate can ever again be a candidate; a paper revolution of sorts.

    3. You got the next best thing in California and Louisiana (Washington too, unless they rescinded it) with runoffs of the top 2 from a transpartisan “primary” (really first round general election), and everybody complains about that too.

  5. I want to cast a positive vote where I’m voting for something, instead of casting a negative vote. Having to choose the lesser of two seriously flawed candidates.

    Casting a negative vote is tricky because I detest the very essence of both Trump and Biden. If I was forced to choose, I would probably keep Trump over Biden. My reasoning is that the media would attempt to keep Trump in check, but with Biden the media would become sycophants.

    Luckily, there is a good choice available so I will be voting for Jo Jorgensen.

    1. The media is now (and perhaps always was) the fourth branch of government. They are powerful enough to check Trump (and even, probably, defeat him). President Harris will have free rein, and a cheering section composed of the media, and any opposition – say a more energized and aggressive Tea Party – will be branded as evil, horrible, white supremacist Nazis. Yet America has survived twenty years of Bush, Obama and Trump, so one is hopeful it will survive the coming decade too.

    2. I have to agree. Remember how much we heard about the Secret Service and Navy actively keeping female personnel and families out of Biden’s groping range from 2008-2016? Remember how much we heard about Biden’s family becoming rich off shady deals taking advantage of his position?

      Just a smidgeon more than nothing at all.

      Now, they do go the other way so much with Trump that it’s created a huge amount of alarm fatigue, but at least they are keeping eyes on him. I trust that we will know if Trump does something significantly bad.

  6. Nobody likes a whiner.

  7. Well of course if you didn’t vote you have the right to complain, you didn’t vote for this shit. It’s if you did vote that you have no right to complain, that’s part of the bargain in voting, that you’re agreeing to abide by the decision of the majority. Just because your side or your candidate didn’t win, don’t be discouraged, you just have to work harder to convince more people of which choice is the right choice.

    That’s why, despite millions of people voting against him, you didn’t see riots and demonstrations and “not my President” protests and people throwing a fit when Barack Obama was elected – people knew that they had agreed to abide by the will of the majority. I’m quite confident you won’t see riots and demonstrations and “not my President” protests and people throwing a fit if and when Donald Trump is elected President, either, I’m pretty sure people are more reasonable and mature than that.

  8. With ranked voting they’d still still get a false majority.

    1. Everyone’s second or third choice wins.
      Hurrah for President Adequate, at least he’s not X.

      1. Even if RCV doesn’t ensure the Condorcet winner comes out on top, people are a lot more likely to end up with an elected official they don’t despise.

        1. I like it when the left despise a politician. It usually means that they’re not evil.

  9. “Replacing your toilet is an important choice, and you’d be absolutely furious if your plumber told you that, despite the existence of numerous makes and models, due to the way the toilet selection system works you must pick right now between one that leaks and another that has a broken seat.”

    It’s even worse when the choice is between the contents of the toilet.

  10. Could we PLEASE come up with a mechanism to allow people to share the same geography but belong to different nations? Can such a system provide some basic universal values and laws (don’t murder, honor contracts) and then allow self-proclaimed tribes to get as whacky as they wish–but only towards other tribal members?

    1. Because no one wants the state to exercise authority against themselves. It’s always about what the state is going to do to those people over there. The dirty ones that We hate.

    2. Could we PLEASE come up with a mechanism to allow people to share the same geography but belong to different nations?

      GTFO of here with your federated republic bullshit. This is a democracy!

    3. I have thought along the same lines. I think there are some anarchy theories which are similar.

    4. I believe it is entirely workable and practical, except that the entrenched system will never allow evolving into any such thing. Bureaucracies tend to expend, held in check in business only by competitors running them out of business if they aren’t careful; but government has no such checks.

      Yes, you should be able to choose your association government, as I think of them. Contracts would do the trick, and I would require them to expire yearly to prevent lifelong slavery.

      What I think would be especially valuable would be the wide variety of contracts. Some would be basically insurance consortiums, some would mandate charity donations, some would be full-blown socialist where membership requires signing over control of your property and income, but all would be bound by the fiscal reality of voluntary contracts.

      Socialism is a fad now because so few people have experience with it, so it’s easy to be infatuated with a theoretical ideal when compared to a messy reality. If there were socialist regimes, even if only by contract, their trouble would be enlightening examples to everyone else.

      Of course there would be people claiming these socialist contract associations were not true socialism, but their calls for explicit coercive confiscation would be too raw and crude for most people.

      Individualism can simulate socialism by contract, but socialism cannot even tolerate individualism, much less simulate it.

  11. Well that’s too bad. I’m pumped about Biden. Can’t wait to vote. And should he win things are going to change, bigly.

    1. And should he win things are going to change, bigly

      I don’t often agree with Stroozele, but he’s definitely right here.

      1. Yeah, we’ll be slightly more like Canada. You have literally nothing at stake.

        1. You don’t know much about Canada, do you? As for change should Biden win, yes, his nearly 5 decades in office demonstrate that graft, asset forfeiture, war, ineptitude, willful ignorance, and being wrong on every issue, will certainly be a change for DC /sarc.

        2. Yeah, we’ll be slightly more like Canada

          You’ll have a FASD baby as Prime Minister stealing money from charities and making trannies a sacrament?
          Better than Biden (President Harris) I guess.

      2. Legal bud and 10k off my student loans. It’s Christmas if Biden wins.

        1. embrace that delusional dream, because that’s all it will ever be.

        2. Good to know you aren’t just thinking about yourself.

        3. “…10k off my student loans…”

          Scumbag parasites unite! The hell with personal responsibilities and growing up!
          Remain a fucking infantile ego for your entire life.

  12. Their actions consistently fail to match their rhetoric.

    Agreed. Still a disappointing lack of cattle cars full of people.

    1. You’ll have to wait till President Harris makes things right.

  13. If a small enough number of people voted in an election, it would lose all legitimacy. That would be impactful.

    1. Really because that never happens in the local tax elections.

    2. A third of the people don’t bother to vote. Hillary lost because not enough registered Democrats bothered to show and and vote for her. But not once in the past four years has any Democrat pointed to that problem. They know it subconsciously though, as they’re big on getting out the vote projects. But they won’t publicly admit that their base loathed Hillary so much they didn’t bother to show up.

      Democrats do as they are told, and vote who they are told to vote for. But only if they show up.

      I think this is why Trump is making such a stink about the mail-in election. Democrats aren’t very excited by Biden, but are much more likely to fill out a ballot and mail it in, than to bother to take the time to drive out to the polling place.

  14. This column articulates much of how I feel. When it comes to the toilet, though, I can either fix the leak or replace the toilet seat. I’d take the one with the broken seat, which would be easier and cheaper to fix.

    Which candidate is the broken toilet seat in 2020?

    1. Trump, clearly.

      The broken seat is uncomfortable, and possibly mildly dangerous from sharp edges, but realistically is just an inconvenience.

      A leak, like Biden, may not appear to be very dangerous at first and relatively mild. But, then, slowly over time, will cause pervasive rot and mold destroying the underlying structure to the point that the toilet drops through the floor along with whoever is using it at the time.

      1. More metaphors:

        The D toilet has pre-determined hours based on imagined health benefits, and sharing the downstream infrastructure (along with environmental protection emergencies), requires everyone to sit to pee (for Equality), evaluates and scolds your diet, and plays political propaganda that can’t be silenced.

        The R toilet has a coin slot.

  15. “Even if, by some miracle, you fully agreed with a set of principles and plans as articulated by one of the candidates in a particular campaign speech or policy paper, you could not reasonably have a shred of confidence that those principles would be carried through into consistent governance”

    This is gaslighting bs. Right or wrong, Trump has done exactly what he campaigned on doing. One can be very unhappy with the policy/plans, but it is utterly disingenuous to state that Trump didn’t follow-trough on his campaign promises. SCOTUS nominees from the list provided, NAFTA renegotiation, China trade, NATO funding browbeating, immigration crackdown. All of these were campaigned on in 2016 and all of them followed through.
    No prior president in my lifetime, D or R, has been as consistent to platform.

    1. He has done no such thing “exactly”. He promised to reduce the deficit and cut spending. He promised to get out of foreign wars. He promised to repeal and replace Obamacare. I’m sure there are other unkept promises, but those are what I remember right now.

      1. focus on the actual campaign promises. Not what you think you heard. Even the BBC gives him a good report card, and the ‘partials’ are very arguable, particularly as many of those were blocked by court injunctions and congressional action.

  16. “If they agree on one thing, it is that they have the right, and perhaps even the obligation, to tell you what to do in the bedroom…”

    Please explain. Who is stopping anyone from doing anything in their bedroom? What are you talking about?

    1. Trump hasn’t been telling me what not to do in the bedroom. The old lady is the big problem.

      1. How big are talking here?

    2. Some libertarians’ view of the GOP is still stuck in the 1980s.

      1. You’re wrong. The lunatics in the GOP are currently playing defense…that’s all. They’ll get back to building “God’s Kingdom on Earth” once the Left has gone too far and the pendulum starts swinging right again.

        1. Please, the Republicans have had majority power nationally several times since then, and are having a governing trifecta right now in many states. And yet aren’t doing any of that.

          What’s Florida’s Republican trifecta is doing right now, for example, is things like loosening licensing regulations, try to deregulate housing, school choice, tougher police response to rioting, that kind of thing. That, along with restrictions on abortion, is what Republicans are mostly about these days.

          And the reason they’re not regulating sex this much is because most people don’t want that anymore, including most of the Republican base.

          The only “bedroom regulation” thing I could think of is prostitution. But outlawing prostitution is a bipartisan thing. And the only counties where some form of it is legal are Republican.

          1. You’re cherry picking. Now address personhood initiatives, abstinence only education, immigrant suppression, draconian drug laws, and deference to the police state.
            Face it: If the Republicans were libertarians there wouldn’t be a need for a libertarian party and articles like this wouldn’t be needed.

            1. “personhood initiatives” he addressed that one with his comment on abortion restrictions. “Abstinence only education”, I almost never see this one talked about on the national level, maybe the early 2000s, but not these days.

              “Immigrant suppression”, is this really a “God’s Kingdom on Earth”/Religious Right issue? George W. Bush the last example of a “Socially Conservative” Republican President/National Figure was pro-immigration reform.

              “Draconian Drug Laws”, Credit where credit is due, the Left and at least some state-level Democrats (and a few national ones) have moved away from their prior “Pro-Drug War” stances. But if you recall it was President Trump who signed criminal justice reform into law, moreover he’s done little to interfere in states where Marijuana is legal. And while some Democrats have begun to distance themselves from their “Pro-Drug War” past, they yet to call for general legalization or a repeal of the federal drug laws. Neither Party looks great on that particular issue. “Deference to the police state”, Criminal Justice Reform has received bipartisan support and many Republicans support getting rid of things like “no-knock raids”, supporting reform would be hell of a lot easier if Left-wing extremists weren’t rioting and destroying cities.

        2. I think he meant the rosy picture of the GOP as holding onto some form of Reaganism that at least paid lipservice to libertarianism. Democrats still cringe when they hear the word “libertarian”, but regardless, the fusionist project has been a failure. Even libertarian-minded conservatives have very little leverage within the national GOP, and Republicans don’t believe in free trade anymore. The ’80s are over.

          1. Really? What are gun rights, lower taxes, breaking the public schools monopoly, and rollback of the regulatory state if not libertarian policies?

            The Republican Party never claimed to be a fully libertarian one. As you said, it’s a “fusion”: it gives the libertarians what they want on certain issues, and the nativists, the religious folks, and (previously) the foreign-policy hawks what they want on others. This fusion is how the GOP could cobble enough of majority to become relevant again in national politics after decades of either bland, principle-less centrists (Nixon, Eisenhower) or Democratic dominance.

            1. I wouldn’t’ve had to write my comment below had this one shown up in time. Still, we’re not saying it exactly the same way.

              Trump has performed better on these things than almost all Republican leaders would have. We could’ve wound up with a neo-con like Rubio, if you want to look at the down side — but even he showed some positive promise.

          2. Actually “conservatism” as has existed here at least since the middle of the last century already is a fusion of interests: opposition to redistribution by economic class, resistance to social change, support for most forms of entrepreneurship, support for totems of violence (guns and military forces). These broad goals overlap with those of libertarians, and lately since social change has become a mostly authoritarian force, resistance to social change has gone from mostly anti-liberty to mostly pro-liberty.

            1. I think that this is really well said. It reinforces that any alliance with the Republicans or Democrats is temporary. Both sides betray issues of liberty because many on both sides don’t respect or understand the concepts of negative vs positive rights. Democrats that are pro drug legalization only know how to frame their arguments in the context of “what the government allows us to do” as opposed to “what we allow the government to do to us”. Likewise a pro-gun Republican will religiously advocate the 2A while happily ignoring the 4A. This transactional approach by both sides is why it is critical for libertarians to resist the urge to join a tribe.

              1. Most Duopoly supporters of “drug decriminalization” still want to sanction those who make and sell the drugs, and send users to rehab, rather than jail or prison. Pot sales, as authorized by the states, are only to be by state-licensed dealers, on the alcohol model, but you aren’t supposed to be able to buy pot for all your relations and friends, the way you’d supply the beer for a summer barbecue. {Remember those?} It is all to be “mother, may I?”

          3. “ I think he meant the rosy picture of the GOP as holding onto some form of Reaganism that at least paid lipservice to libertarianism.”

            Republicans will become quite libertarian again if Biden wins. And the Republicans-cum-Libertarians here can again complain about spending when their party is no longer in power.

            1. I’m not sure about that. If Biden or Harris’s attorney general moves cannabis out of schedule 1, they may decry that. If they move toward freer trade, they may complain they’re giving away the store.

              1. I guess it really depends on what the Republican Party looks like post Trump. They’ve captured the blue-collar Democrats but that creates a very uneasy marriage between populists and libertarians/classical liberals. The party apparatus is still kicking towards small government. But four more years of Trump should be enough to kill them off.
                It certainly isn’t outside the realm of possibility that we could see a party shift in the following decades. Especially if blacks and Hispanics start feeling more at home with their populist brethren on the right and elitist Republicans move towards the Democrats.

        3. “You’re wrong…”

          You’re full of shit.

  17. Vermin Supreme is a better candidate than either of the two, and better than Jo, in my opinion, because, ponies. There’s also SMOD, or any of the Elder Gods. And a vote for Skynet is a vote for actual equality, erm equity.

    1. SMOD isn’t on the ballot this year

    2. I saw they nabbed McAffee. Too bad.

      I think he tried to get on the ticket as running mate with Vermin.

  18. With this article, especially the brilliant analogy of two defective toilets, Reason has just earned my subscription renewal. I refuse to play the game the duopoly has set up, and it doesn’t matter if the candidate I vote for won’t win. If enough people step up and declare, “Homie don’t play that,” like the clown from that old TV show, the broken toilet system will collapse.

  19. I’m noticing quite a lot of videos on Duverger’s Law pop up. THe problem with our system is, as Duverger’s Law points out, the winner takes all model and single seat districts leads to the two party system that becomes psychologically unbreakable.

    Contrast that with a parliamentary system, where the two major parties win seats based on the number of people who vote for them. Even third parties gets a few seats. Now of course, that demands a party system and as such excludes true independents and adhoc parties. But there are systems that can produce similar results without formal party recognition.

    Consider multi-seat districts. We already have that in most cities. It’s called the city council. And it’s why you can see third party people on city councils. Because not only are councils non-partisan, they are multi seat elections where you vote for the three or four open seats. I used to live in an extremely blue city in a blue region of blue California. We had a conservative mayor in the past twenty years. Registered as independent, because party affiliation still matters, but he won and served two years. The same city had a Libertarian Party member seated.

    It can work. We can help mend the national elections with ranked voting. It’s not perfect, but better than the current system where winner get to punch those who voted for the losers.

    1. That’s not a parliamentary system, that’s proportional representation. They don’t have to coexist.

  20. The American system is a two-party system on the surface; but in reality, it’s about a 15-party system. Why? Primaries! We have some of the most diverse and prominent primaries in the world, with an array of candidates in each party. And so voters have actually plenty to choose from in the qualifying rounds. Nov. 3 is just the final game.

    You don’t like the final candidates? Blame the voters. And since the out-and-out libertarian one (Rand Paul) didn’t win, then that means across-the-board libertarianism has nowhere near a majority to make the cut in America. And so it needs to “latch on” to other issues to reach a majority or plurality. It’s not the system, it’s the voters!

    What our primaries mean is that, even if we had a multiparty parliamentary system, the Libertarian Party would still be unlikely to get more than a fifth or fourth of the vote, and so would have to form coalitions with the party that got the plurality in order to get anywhere near the seat of power.

    1. Rand Paul is only “libertarianish,” which I suspect is due to his need to win a Republican primary. Even his Dad was out-of-step with most Libertarians on a few issues. Some of his goldbug followers believed in ridiculous conspiracy theories. I say this as someone who ran a successful drive to get his name on a state ballot back in `88, voted for him in the general election and was a delegate who voted for him at the Seattle convention. He let some of that insanity into his newsletter, sent out under his name. Either really bad management of his brand, or sympathy for sick ideas.

  21. “We know Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen exists. We have covered her campaign and will continue to do so.”

    I think the word ‘barely’ is missing in that second sentence. There has been shockingly little coverage of Jo’s campaign.

    1. Can’t have too much press on Jo when Reason staffers are preparing to make the case to vote for Joe. I can see it coming already. “Joe is just awful. But TRUMP… migawd.”

      Not that it matters one iota. Biden is going to win, with or without Reason’s help. And unless I’m missing something he’s going to acquiesce to the lunatic Marxist wing of the Democratic party. The only silver lining I see is maybe the rioting will stop, at least for a little while, before the entire government collapses under colossal debt obligation.

      1. In the last election, pollsters came to the conclusion that many respondents who intended to vote for Trump were too embarrassed to admit it, so they never said “Trump” in the polls but voted that way anyway.

        That’ll be the case here. They won’t say Trump, but they’d all have to admit he does more for them And their ideology than any candidate recently. Guns, tax breaks for the wealthy, climate change hoax, masks are bad…and more. He’s clearly their guy…any criticism of him is usually masked with both sides do it.

        They’ll vote for him…they won’t tell you they will.

        1. Hey, jackass! Would you please tell us how the magic prayer ‘fight climate change!’ makes those nasty wildfires go away?
          We all want to make those fires go away, and you claim your religion is the key!

        2. This is true, but I’m afraid it might be more than made up for by Biden voters for whom mail balloting lowers the cost of voting to make up the difference.

          When Ken Schwartz wrote back in early February that the only thing that might derail Trump would be this novel coronavirus, I — and probably he — didn’t know how it would do so!

          1. You may be right. I was actually referring to the writers here. That when the Reason poll comes out, they too won’t say Trump. But that’s who they’ll vote for. Many of them, anyway.

            1. Do you sense as I do that they’ve been following orders and writing against Trump and/or Republicans insincerely much of the time?

              1. Well, I don’t think their complaints about Trump were too full-throated anyway. And really if you think about it, at Reason there are some real core issues…guns, taxes, protection of energy companies and downplay of any climate change problem, and now over regulation due to Covid. On all those things Trump is clearly their man. Are there some things Trump doesn’t agree with them on? Sure. But they’re less important I think than al the things he does they like.

                I’m amazed that no one here really went after Trump for saying he asked his AG to indict and prosecute the person he is running against and the last President. There isn’t anything more unconstitutional than looking to jail your political rivals When they haven’t been charged with anything. When Obama said “You didn’t build that,” this site went ballistic. What Trump wants to do is the stuff the Putins of the world do.

                Crickets here.

                1. So Obama gets a free pass for inventing charges against Trump?

                  1. He did that when he was President? Nope. Try again.

  22. It’s not the most important election in your lifetime? They’re both equally bad?

    Our current sitting President has asked the Attorney General to indict and prosecute his current rival as well as the last President because he whimsically wants it done. He doesn’t like them. Neither have had any charges filed against them, but Trump wants it…he just knows they’re guilty of something. Anything.

    Think about that. That’s the stuff of banana republics. Now it’s the stuff of mom and apple pie republics. Are you absolutely sure that won’t happen if Trump wins? Are you, as a libertarian who has complained about government constantly, absolutely sure our institutions can hold?

    I’ll quote a Republican, Stuart Stevens:

    “I’ll never question 1938 in Germany again.”

    Amazing. You can count on at least some Republicans to recognize a true authoritarian threat before you can count on Libertarians.

    1. The “Trump is Mussolini” panic has been going on since he announced his candidacy in 2015 and started talking about Muslims and Mexicans. I didn’t take it seriously then, and I’m certainly not taking it seriously now after 4 years of none of that happening!

      1. Like I said, more Republicans than Libertarians recognize a true authoritarian threat.

        1. Republicans are the ones who elected Trump and have been backing him for the last 4 years. I worry more about authoritarianism from the party that wants to get the federal government involved into every area of economic life.

          1. Well, we’re all making the best decision we can. And at the end of the day, in this country, we always get what we deserve. Enjoy the rest of your day, Dude!

              1. It boils own to “banana republic” v “people’s republic.”
                Are there enough old-fashioned “Main Street” Republicans, Goldwater/Reagan types and/or neocon Never Trumpers left in the Grand Awful Party to take it back from what will be left of the Buchananites, Perotistas and other restrictionists and protectionists who became Trumpistas and their SoCon accessories? Arguably, even if his Cheez Doodliness gets re-elected, the descendants of the Moral Majority will have gotten what they have craved: a Supreme Court they can rely on in abortion cases. At that point Trump will have served his purpose, and he and any of his crony capitalist cabal can be jettisoned in favor of one of their own. Besides the SoCons’ kids, where is the feedstock for rebuilding a post-Trump Republican party? It won’t be pro-enterprise black, Latino and Asian strivers and entrepreneurs. Jack Kemp died a decade ago. I suppose they could try to run Tim Scott.

                Meanwhile, will the Bernie Bros and the AOCettes push the Prius-driving Professionals out of the driver’s seat of the Democrats and take, if not a hard left turn, the exit to European-style social democracy? Are there enough “moderate” Dems left to keep that from happening.

                As always, a plague on both their houses.

        2. What do you, JackAce, know about “totalitarian threats”? Have you ever even lived outside the US? Do you know anybody in totalitarian regimes? Are you simply ignorant of history or are you trying to gaslight the American people?

          The fact is that the proto-fascists in the US are clearly the Democrats; their party program is getting closer and closer to that of the NSDAP every year, as anybody who puts the Democratic party program next to the NSDAP program can easily see. This is nothing new: the progressive movement has been in love with authoritarianism and fascism for more than a century.

          1. JackandAce is probably Shreek. This handle shows up every now and then when PBP posts lest frequently.

            As such he is either a troll or an authoritarian hoping to wear some jackboots while he is stomping on faces forever.

    2. Trump has been doing that all of his life. He is constantly involved in lawsuits and investigations. It is how he bullied his way in the business world. To him this is entirely normal behavior.

    3. It’s always 1938 in Germany.
      What is the worrisome thing is how quickly people have forgotten what happened. They watch the consolidation of power and loss of liberty as if nothing was going on. Indifference is the opposite of the good.

      1. What is the worrisome thing is how quickly people have forgotten what happened. They watch the consolidation of power and loss of liberty as if nothing was going on. Indifference is the opposite of the good.

        The NSDAP became a powerful force in Germany by promising massive increases in social spending, massive tax increases in taxes on the wealthy, and ending “Jewish supremacy” (replace “Jews” with “straight white males” and you have the Democratic party program). Hindenburg installed Hitler as chancellor in 1933 as the compromise candidate, and the same year, parliament granted dictatorial powers to Hitler “for the good of the nation” with strong majority support.

        The idea that fascism arose through a “consolidation of power and loss of liberty as if nothing was going on” or “indifference” is bullshit. I think these misconceptions are based on Niemoller’s poem “First they came”. Niemoller was an opportunist and Nazi supporter until he ran afoul of the regime; after the war, he became a communist sympathizer.

        1. I think you missed the point I was making. One should always think as if 1938 Germany is just around the corner. The last sentence is a paraphrase from Elie Wiesel.

          Wait you think I use sock puppets. I do not play such childish games. Go find someone else to play with.

          1. I think you missed the point I was making. One should always think as if 1938 Germany [Kristallnacht] is just around the corner. The last sentence is a paraphrase from Elie Wiesel.

            Eli Wiesel was a good man, but he misdiagnoses the problem, as do you. Germans were not at all indifferent to the rise of the NSDAP. But all that ended when Germany turned into a totalitarian state through the Enabling Act in 1933, passed after heated debate in parliament. After that, it wasn’t “indifference” to the Nazis that cause Germans to acquiesce, it was naked fear. Once the Enabling Act had been passed, Kristallnacht was inevitable.

            Wait you think I use sock puppets.

            No. Should I think that? You’re simply repeating the usual nonsense about the rise of Nazis as being some sort of quiet evil that creeps up on a society from within.

            In reality, the NSDAP was in many ways similar to the Squad, BLM, and Antifa: they made social justice and racial justice demands, they had a strong minority representation in parliament, and they created violence and chaos in the streets and promised a return to law and order if put in charge.

    4. Trump says a lot of crap on Twitter, but none of that bark has had any bite. Biden and Harris, on the other hand, actually participated in massive abuses of power, corruption, and police state behavior.

      The proto-fascists in US politics today are the same proto-fascists in US politics in the 1920’s and 1930’s, namely the progressives. Progressives today have largely the same party program as the NSDAP in the 1920’s, and they have the same approach to gaining power: undermine democracy from within and create chaos in the streets. Progressives exist predominantly in the Democratic party, but there have always been progressives in the Republican party. It’s no surprise that progressives and neocons in the Republican party are trying to gaslight the American people the same way Democrats are.

      Go read some history, JackAce, and stop making a fool of yourself.

    5. Except we have pretty much uncontrovertible evidence that Obama, Biden, and Clinton were all involved in the genesis of the Russia investigation, which we now know to be without merit. Trump is very much justified in being angry that his predecessor didn’t just use harsh language, but appears to have actively given the order to publicize and investigate him for crimes that were essentially created out of thin air. Multiple FBI agents committed FISA abuse in the course of this.

      Again, this is Trump using rhetoric in public while his opponents are actually using prosecution as a political weapon.

  23. The candidates from the major parties are subpar.

    No, they’re actually each better than the average vocal member of their party.

    And the major parties are about as good as the average independent.

    Face it: Everybody is bad except us. And they think the same thing.

    1. In golf, sub-par is better than average. Not sure why it means bad in common parlance.

      1. Because most people don’t think about golf enough to realize this.

        Hell, they don’t think about what “double down” means in blackjack, or they’d say “double up”, the way they used to. If you double down that means you double your bet but will go no farther. If you double up, it’s open ended and does not specifically invoke blackjack. Only place I still hear “double up” is Jerry Hickey on his infomercials for Invite.

    2. “We have met the enemy, and he is…us.”


  24. Too bad the LP didn’t float a plausibly qualified candidate then. I’ll vote for her anyway, but in 2016 the LP had arguably the most qualified candidate.

  25. My question is why can’t they both win? Let people who vote for Trump live under Republican rule, and people who vote for Biden live under Democrat rule. If you want to pay higher tariffs on imported goods, vote for Trump. If you want to pay higher income taxes, vote for Biden. We don’t all need to vote to pick one insurance company, or one bank, or one credit card. We should be able to have multiple governments mixed geographically. The technology was lacking in the past but is here now.

    1. If I write in myself, can I live under my own rule?

    2. Because leftism is totalitarian, thus cannot accept “live and let live”

    3. Can I just vote for Jo and live in virtual libertopia?

    4. No, that really really doesn’t work. Take minimum wage. Either your job can fire/not hire you for having too high a minimum wage compared to other people (which defeats the purpose of a high minimum wage), or they can’t (which defeats the purpose of a low/no minimum wage.) And of course, either way your boss knows how you voted because it effects how you’re paid.

      Take traffic laws. One party decides that a right turn on red takes priority over someone making a U-turn at an intersection, and the other says it’s the other way around. In an accident between people of different parties, how do you decide who was at fault? Without one side having physical jurisdiction, how do you even decide which court decides?

      Take national defense. One party wants to spend more than another. That’s all fine and dandy while it’s funding expeditionary forces, but what if we have an actual invasion? Heck, even without a war, how do we decide which party gets to use the USS Nimitz? Draw straws? Majority vote of those onboard?

      Or take drugs. If one side wants to declare them contraband and seize them at the border, I guess they’re out of luck, because the mules can just decide they’re entering the *other* country.

      Laws regarding juveniles who can’t vote. Laws regarding hunting endangered species. Laws regarding pollution. Public utilities. I could go on. The entire point of laws is that our actions affect those around us.

      (And yes, *some* of the above could be solved using some libertarian principles, but now you’re imposing libertarian principles on those who disagree with them, which is another reason why this won’t work.)

      1. I could give some of that a go.

        Liberty is not anarchy. Small government is not no government.

        So minimum wage does not need to exist. Libertarians believe that free markets will result in greater prosperity with minimal interference. That includes free movement of goods, services and labor.

        Traffic laws involve the commons. We all need the stop lights and enforcement on Elm and rt. 8, laws against drunk driving and so on. So long as those are reasonable I think there is no objection to that.

        Defense. Jo has talked about Switzerland which is not an in depth response but a start. So a robust defense force is not at all what we have. The budget is as much as the next five combined or something like that. Defense is more political than anything else. Some old general had much to say about that.

        Drugs, by that we mean the stuff people use to get high, not medical which is another topic. Those should be decriminalized. Law enforcement has made things worse. Fentanyl is not weed, I agree.
        There are better approaches.

        Children’s rights are not an easy topic. Everyone wants to prevent child abuse.

        Pollution. If you are dumping poison into the river of course you are violating my rights downstream.

        Libertarianism is not libertine “ do what you want” it is forward looking. It does impose obligations.

        Nice short essay by David Boaz here.


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  28. Still waiting for Trump to do something that is authoritarian. yet that is what most people claim they don’t like about him besides Racism but i’m sill waiting to see any of that also. OH also the pussy grabbing thing which is irrelevant to the presidency bet they would be okay if he was a dick grabber though

  29. Since I’m a libertarian, I’ll be voting for JoJo. I don’t agree with everything she stands for, but I agree with a lot more than both Joe and Donald combined. But it looks like many here will be voting for Joe or Donald.

    1. but I agree with a lot more than both Joe and Donald combined

      Really? Like what? On actual policies, JoJo and Trump are very close.

      And do you seriously think that JoJo would survive the media attacks, abuse, and lies that Trump had to deal with? Do you think she’d be able to stand up to European or Chinese leaders in negotiations? How would she deal with being impeached or being branded for the white supremacist she so clearly is? How would she deal with the congressional mafia that has been in power for decades?

      Do you seriously think that JoJo is actually capable of being president? I don’t. She’d either be a puppet, or she’d be removed from office within less than a year.

      1. Biden will win in a walk in my state, so why shouldn’t I vote LP?”

        1. Why would you vote for someone for president who is utterly incapable of being president?

    2. A lot who comment here all day will try and persuade libertarians to do otherwise.

      Jo Jorgensen is the libertarian candidate for president. She has solid libertarian principles. She holds the high ground. I would rather be there.

  30. “you must pick right now between one that leaks and another that has a broken seat” – In this case it’s more like buying a TV. You can choose one that has a broken screen or one that only gets one channel (and you don’t get to choose the channel). In the end when (if) your friends come over they’ll be wondering – “why are you watching that…?”

  31. Why Can’t They Both Lose?

    Because Pelosi or Harris would destroy the country even faster than Biden.

  32. And so, in Reason’s 2020 election issue, we are here to complain. The candidates from the major parties are subpar.

    Subpar compared to what? Most American presidents have been awful.

    You know who had good leaders? Europe. Educated, sophisticated, smart, diplomatic, rational, well-dressed leaders, well-spoken leaders. Leaders who read American academics and learned from them about social Darwinism, eugenics, Keynesianism, behaviorism, propaganda, mass communications and really wanted to put those ideas into practice, ideas that American leaders were just too unsophisticated to put into full practice. And the fruit of that European sophistication was perpetual wars, fascism, communism, dictatorships, world wars, and poverty, something that only ended when Europe was essentially put under US military occupation for half a century.

    That’s how subpar American presidents were.

    But you know what really is subpar by historical standards? Reason journalism.

  33. I have to wonder if it is possible in a country as large and diverse as the US for there to be a candidate who is a majority’s first choice. I am guessing that almost any candidate will have a plurality in their party with the rest getting behind them. It may not be our system it may simply be the reality of the situation. We have to pick the best choice and not our first choice.

    1. I have to wonder if it is possible in a country as large and diverse as the US for there to be a candidate who is a majority’s first choice.

      It’s not, and it isn’t supposed to be. The US political system is supposed to produce a least common denominator compromise candidate and to eliminate extremists. That’s quite unlike the European system, which lets extremists come to power regularly.

  34. I submit that, since the nation is so polarized, have BOTH be in office: any law or decisions are only approved if BOTH of them approve it. Better yet, go through every federal law in the book and only those which BOTH of them approve stay in the book, the rest is discarded. That way, only the essential stuff that both camps can agree with will remain law, all the other partisan stuff get scrapped. Each camp won’t get all they want, but are guaranteed to not have forced unto them anything they don’t want.

  35. People who do stupid things should not be complaining about the result of their stupidity.
    You can’t eradicate cannibalism by eating the cannibals; there is no better analog for what voting is.
    The voting booth should reconfigure the ballot lever to a dildo and require the Helots to use their mouths to make the selection of their next master, it also provides a keen preview of things to come for the voter.
    “A ballot is just a substitute for a bullet. If your vote isn’t backed by a bullet, it is meaningless. Without the bullet, people could ignore the election outcome. Voting would be pointless. Democracy has violence at its very core!” ~Muir Matteson, “The Nonviolent Zone”
    “Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves.” Herbert Marcuse
    “Working within the system means to become a part of the system. When you go into the voting booth, the only meaningful significance that your action will have is to show that one more person supports the state”. ~Mark Davis
    “Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.” ~ Oscar Ameringer
    “An election is a moral horror, as bad as a battle except for blood; a mud bath for every soul concerned in it.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
    “If the right to vote were expanded to seven year olds … its policies would most definitely reflect the ‘legitimate concerns’ of children to have ‘adequate’ and ‘equal’ access to ‘free’ french fries, lemonade and videos.” ~ Hans-Hermann Hoppe

  36. At one time there was a proposal that all elections include none of the above as a selection. If none of the above won, all the candidates would be disqualified from running in the succeeding election. I cannot imagine career politicians supporting such a law

  37. I have been trying to get the Republican and Democratic candidate for President to both lose for 46 years. I have not been successful, because to many others buy into the two party system.
    I just don’t bother now.
    “The lesser of two evils, is still evil.”

  38. “Why Can’t They Both Lose?”

    I’m in the back of the class jumping up and down! Teacher calls on me. “Little JRayV, I see your hand is up. Go ahead and answer the title of this article.”

    To which I respond. “It won’t matter. Whichever one of those old farts win, ALL of us continue to lose.”

  39. Need to get rid of the Libertarian purity test. It is only good for an academic discussion. Need to elect more Libertarian leaning candidates from the state level up to congress and senate. Maybe then we can get Libertarian presidential candidates into the Presidential debates. Get some of the swing voters to really consider a more Libertarian society.

  40. “ you’d be absolutely furious if… you must pick right now between [a toilet] that leaks and another that has a broken seat” — flawed analogy: a toilet you pick just for yourself; choice of president is inherently collective. A toilet only you want can do the job; a president only you want can’t.

  41. This may explain away many of the conundrums about the origins, behavior, and bizarre Russia deference and love affair of Trump and his troop of supporters.

    “Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was born in the town of Shchigry, Kursk gubernia, Russia. He graduated from the Kharkov University in 1896 and became a full professor in 1907. He worked as a researcher in the Askania-Nova natural reserve, also for the State Experimental Veterinary Institute (1917–1921, 1924–1930), for the Central Experimental Station for Researching Reproduction of Domestic Animals (1921-1924), and for the Moscow Higher Zootechnic Institute (1928–1930).

    Ivanov carried out a series of experiments to create a human/nonhuman ape hybrid. Three female chimpanzees were inseminated with human sperm,”


    We should have paid more attention to those in the 2016 primary who called Trump and his troop Trumpanzees.

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  43. Deciding to not vote does absolutely nothing. Voting for a third party send a message to the two major parties.

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