Election 2020

'Don't Declare a Mandate. Because You Don't Have One.'

And other free advice to the next president of these United States.


It probably won't happen today, but eventually we'll know the identity of the next president of the United States. Here's some free advice to the winner.

Don't declare a mandate. Because you don't have one. However the popular and electoral votes shake out, don't let it go to your head. In 2016, Donald Trump lost the popular vote by millions and won the electoral vote by a 306-to-232 margin, good only for 46th out of 58 presidential elections. Trump's average approval rating (41 percent, according to Gallup) is fully a dozen points below the historical average. If he somehow manages to win a second term, he will do so by again eking out a slim victory, probably under 50 percent of the popular vote.

If Joe Biden wins, he should take seriously the fact that he is nobody's favorite. Over the summer, polls showed that 56 percent of Biden supporters agreed they were voting for him "because he is not Trump." The next closest reasons straggled in at 19 percent (leadership/performance) and 13 percent (personality/temperament), respectively. These are not numbers that should cause anybody to start acting like they have the unconditional love of their own families, much less the country at large.

Build consensus rather than resentment. Despite barely squeaking into office, President Trump repeatedly claimed he'd won in a "landslide" and governed as if he had. The main result? Those sad approval ratings for himself and electoral sharting for his party. In 2018, the Republicans got curb-stomped in the midterm elections, losing 41 seats and control of the House; there's a 75 percent chance they will give back control of the Senate this time around. Back in 2008, Barack Obama won in an actual landslide, becoming "the first president-elect in 32 years to receive a Congress under the firm control of his party." The president and Democrats muscled through an ambitious, extremely ideological legislative wish list, including a massive stimulus bill, health-care reform, and Dodd-Frank. They lost the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and the White House in 2016.

Stanford political scientist Morris P. Fiorina told me last week (podcast here) that we've been in a historically rare, prolonged period of "electoral chaos" in which control of various parts of the federal government keeps flipping from one party to another. The reason, he says, is because the two parties have sorted almost completely into conservative and liberal parties that are far more extreme and less representative of the persistent plurality of Americans who identify as politically independent (38 percent in the most recent Gallup poll, compared to 31 percent who say they are Democrats and 29 percent who say they are Republican). The minute they get into power, observes Fiorina, they overreach, alienate voters, and lose upcoming elections. It's well past time to break that cycle.

Win nationally, let states and cities govern locally. In a country in which COVID-19 is the overriding issue of the day and political polarization is already at a fever pitch, it's scant comfort to insist that things aren't as bad as they were in the run-up to the Civil War. You don't have to buy the latest sob story du jour about a son disowning his mother over the election to acknowledge that kumbaya spirit is as tough to find as a roll of toilet paper was in mid-March. In a rare show of unity, both Biden and Trump are willing to mislead us about the coronavirus even as their basic plans to combat it have "much in common."

The best way to deal with COVID-19 is to devolve power and resources to state and municipal governments who can make decisions based on local knowledge. Colorado, for instance, has generally gotten good marks for balancing the need to protect the vulnerable while opening up things. Amid rising case loads, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis recently told The Denver Post's Alex Burness "that he prefers regional COVID restrictions over a statewide shutdown," and that "it wouldn't shock me if there were stronger restrictions put in in some areas with the highest spread of the virus."

That sort of flexible, on-the-ground approach should be the order of the day not simply for COVID-19 but for almost all issues. Under the best of circumstances, America is vast and contains multitudes who have very different needs and visions of the good life, and who resent being told what to do by relative strangers. And these are not the best of circumstances.

Ditch the royal "we" and ask for the country's permission. For the entire 21st century, national politics has been a dumpster fire, largely because the two parties who run the federal government in alternating elections increasingly don't represent us even as they cram their agendas down our throats along stark party lines. When Obama took office in 2009, he notoriously declared to then-House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R–Va.), "Look at the polls. The polls are pretty good for me right now….Elections have consequences and Eric, I won." That sort of smugness didn't work out so well for Obama, whose party quickly lost power and whose legacy included a record-slow economic recovery, expensive and partial health-care "reform" that barely survived his tenure, historic losses for Democrats at all levels of government, and a host of other failures.

In a country that is fighting over its mythological birth year and riven with political violence, economic meltdown, pandemic panic, and record levels of anxiety and depression, the last thing we need is a figurative grandfather speaking for us and at us. We need someone who will build consensus from the ground up rather than shout a false version of it from the top down. Doing so will indeed limit your ability to force things through regardless of popular opinion, but it will be better for the country you say you care about so much.

NEXT: Today's Gubernatorial, Statehouse Races Will Set the Table for Redistricting Fights

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  1. Trump never declared an unconstitutional mask mandate and he wont after he wins reelection.

    1. Biden won’t either. He knows it’ll get shot down in court. He’s going to focus his efforts on policies that will cause much more severe and long-lasting damage.

      1. You’re correct, thank God Trump only ruled by executive order.

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        2. As will any successor he has. It’s become de rigueur now.

          But, it’s our fault; the voters.

          We keep seeking a benevolent dictator and bestowing all sorts of mystical powers on the POTUS while ignoring the legislative branches. We get what we deserve. The president as a celebrity.

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      2. He’s going to focus his efforts on policies that will cause much more severe and long-lasting damage.

        Including exercising the 25th and abdicating to Harris.

    2. Biden’s TV ads blame Trump’s lack of leadership for 200,000 COVID-19 deaths.

      But if Clinton had won in 2016, her ads would be claiming she saved 1.8 million lives with her strong leadership (because 2 million deaths were projected, and the same 200,000 would have died).

      1. Would we have had an article in Reason bitching about Clinton’s claim to have saved 1.8 million lives in that alternate timeline?

        1. I’d bet yes. But unless you have access to that alternative timeline, I’m afraid we can’t settle this one.

          1. I prefer this timeline that doesn’t have 4 yrs. of Shikha fawning over Clinton.

            Go ahead, try and tell me the other timeline doesn’t have that.

      2. Also, I suspect that 200k death figure has much more to do with the actual contagiousness and virulence of Covid 19 compared to the worst case scenarios than anything any government official did or did not do. Covid is not nothing, but it is not the Black Death or Spanish Flu.

        1. “but it is not the Black Death or Spanish Flu”

          Don’t tell that to anyone I know. They’ll call you a Trumpster!

    3. Whatever happens tonight, it’s going to be time to take the commies down, either from the inside, or the outside.

      No more marxists.

    4. Uh oh. Someone please put loveconstitution1789 on suicide watch.

      1. Because I am watching Lefties.

        Trump won.

        poor Lefties. I have tear barrels ready for ya.

  2. T did not declare a mandate, did build consensus just not w/the Establishment, and did let states and cities govern locally.

    1. I have A LOT of issues with Trump, believe me. I do not rate him as a particularly effective President in his ability to get things done that required participation of others. Some of that was the insane leftism and some of that was RINO’s, but at the end of the day he has to own the Obamacare failure and some of the national gun reciprocity measures we should have passed.

      That said, one thing I will always praise Trump for, and he really never makes this case…but should: He could have easily become a Boris Johnson style authoritarian re: COVID, and our lives could have been dramatically more controlled by the government- and he resisted that urge, much to his electorial peril.

      I would have gone farther than he would by telling states that if they abused the rights of citizens, that I would see them ALL in court. But he did at least let federalism work. He allowed Idaho to be Idaho, Texas to be Texas, and for California to be the USSR.

      And at a time where other world leaders (and many Governors) are running around like little dictators, that’s saying a hell of a lot.

      I would have done more. A libertarian President would have been even more effective about it, but I’m always going to remember and thank Trump for that.

      Especially because it may cost him his job in about 12 hours.

      1. we’ll see. I’m more of a landslide the other way type.

        >>own the Obamacare failure

        was the (R) House & Senate.

        1. And just so that we’re on the same page Dillinger, when I say Obamacare failure I mean the Obamacare REPEAL failure. I can tell by your comments you probably understood that, but just generally for anyone who is insane enough to read my ramblings during an election….I just want that clear!

          (If id did stupid emoji’s this is where I’d put the smiley faced one)

          1. ya ya the People knew who was responsible. drain the swamp.

        2. MCCAIN failure.

      2. He got plenty of done with people not committed to the resistance. See the Abraham accords.

        You can’t blame him for the pettiness of liberals.

        1. He got as much done as he could do unilaterally, I wasn’t denying that. His issue (and again, blame resides all over, but Presidents are supposed to cut through the clutter) was that he couldn’t accomplish much legislatively.

          All the stuff he did via the executive, or most of it, Biden can undo on day 1.

          That’s the problem with all this stuff. Same thing happened with Obama vis a vis Trump. Pens and phones work both ways.

          1. >>was that he couldn’t accomplish much legislatively

            bipartisan undermining.

            >>Biden can undo on day 1

            lucky he won’t get the chance.

      3. “and for California to be the USSR”

        Thanks. From the bottom of my heart in CA.

        The fallout has not yet been fully realized. I imagine the next two years are going to be quite telling.

  3. “Don’t declare a mandate. Because you don’t have one.”

    If Trump wins, prevailing against the media, social media, bureaucratic deep state, and fraud from the Dems, I think it is fair for to declare that he has a “mandate”.

    1. This. Trump winning by any margin will be an indication that he has widespread, deep rooted support. Like him or not, no president has ever faced the kind of opposition from all corners that Trump has- basically ALL he has is the support of the people.

    2. If Trump wins it will not be a result of the voters but rather because he has convinced some court to throw away votes.

      1. Those damn courts throwing away perfectly good votes from the graveyard.

        1. #zombielivesmatter

          1. #zombievotesmatter

        2. #Utilityclosetvotesuppression

        3. The dead are rising from the grave to give Moderation4ever a hand. Heaven can wait, they need to save the would with their votes.

          1. *world*

      2. And the votes the courts order thrown away will be those that are not valid under the existing state law when they were cast.

        1. Problem for Trump is that he needs to throw out more vote than that to win. He need to stop the count when and if he is ahead. Like a baseball game, if your ahead and after the 6th you want the rain to start.

          1. Save some of the stupid for your other friends. You’ll run out too quickly.

    3. I don’t know. I think the “mandate” thing is always bullshit. Something like 1/6th of the country votes for a winning presidential candidate. The large majority either doesn’t like you or doesn’t give a fuck. How is that a mandate?

      1. tacit approvals

      2. Silence is violence.
        All that violence for Trump has to have a meaning.

      3. Are we counting intelligible voters to get to that 1/6th?

        1. Probably. Let’s say 1/4th of eligible voters. There probably aren’t 300 million.

      4. Exactly

        He who governs least, governs best.

    4. Not a single person on the Trump campaign believes he’ll win the popular vote.

      1. “the popular vote”

        Which isn’t actually a thing.

        1. It doesn’t determine the president for some psychotic reason, but it is still a thing. You’re talking about a popular mandate after all.

          1. “It doesn’t determine the president”


          2. No it’s still not a thing.

            1. You people need to work on having actual thoughts and not just random word associations with a tenuous link to a Republican talking point.

              1. Maybe, but it’s still not a thing.

              2. Republican representative democracy, not direct democracy. Constitution has electoral college by design, and I think it’s a good one. We shouldn’t have absolute majority rule. If you don’t like it, try to amend the constitution.

                1. Or move to 2nd grade Democracy Land.

                2. That’s pretty funny, you know; the gay guy being in favor of majority rule. That would have gotten him arrested at one time. A little further back, he might have been exiled or executed. Funny that Tony would cheerlead for that.

              3. Tony, in a shocker, gaining more yards than your opponent does not mean you won the football game. Getting more hits does not mean you won the baseball game.

          3. No. It isnt a thing. People would vote different if it was.

          4. Dumbfuck, the founders didn’t want the country controlled by a handful of population centers. This is why we have the electoral college. This has been explained to you many times, but you are an idiotic commie that hates things like the electoral college, and the constitution. You want your Marxist friends to rule with impunity.

            That isn’t going to happen.

          5. Geez Tony. At least look up the reasons the electoral college was set up before you call it “psychotic”.

            If you want psychotic, go for majority (mob) rule. We’ve seen plenty of examples this summer.

      2. It’s a good thing then that the popular vote is utterly meaningless to our system of government.

      3. I should matter too!

      4. Winning the popular vote is like scoring the most total runs in the world series. An interesting number, but meaningless.

        1. Not in the context of a popular mandate. Why am I asking you people to keep up in a conversation you people starred?

          1. It still only adds up to 1/6 of the population, or so, voting for the winner. So even winning the popular vote isn’t much of a popular mandate. Most of the country isn’t that into whoever wins.

            1. I’m glad we agree that we should make voting as simple as possible so that our government has more democratic legitimacy.

              1. There’s no such thing as democratic legitimacy. Mob rule is not legitimate.

                1. Mob rule is when somebody besides your favorite wins.

                2. You’d think an annoying gay guy would know that better than most. Mob rule would’ve been REALLY bad for people like Tony.

              2. You should read a history book some time. We have examples of direct democracy. The founders wrote on it.

              3. I see that despite being insane and useless, you know what’s coming.

                Good luck with that popular vote talking point.

              4. No we don’t agree, since some of us prefer a system that preserves a federation of states, in which people can tune their preferred approach to governance. You know, (real) diversity.

                But you can keep wishing for your one-world government.

                1. I love you big brother!

          2. “starred”

            lol genius

          3. Tony, it just depends on what you value. Having a mandate that spans different regions of the county can be, and was seen, as being even more valuable than a mandate from the most individuals in nation. And the reasoning makes sense:

            If, hypothetically, all your food comes from the midwest, you simply can’t argue that this region is less valuable than, say, New York simply because maybe there’s a few million more people there. I won’t get into the WHOLE reason why this is relevant outside to say it actually helps make sure there is systemic stability. One can argue, now a days, modernity made some of those concerns less relevant….and they’d have a point. However, it is by no means an overwhelmingly convincing argument which is why we haven’t had an amendment regarding it.

            My gut tells me we very well might one day.

            1. Well said!

      5. The states elect a president Tony. Not individuals.
        You’re selecting your states representatives to the electoral college. Trump had more states vote for him than Shillary.

        1. Maybe one day you idiots will graduate from 8th grade civics so we can talk about something else. Wait till you find out about vaginas.

          1. We don’t even like those!

            1. And what if I HAVE a vagina but I identify it as a 1974 Chevy Nova surrounded by pubic hair!!??

              Then what Tony?


              2. You could have chosen a more respectable substitution for something as sacred as a vagina than a ’74 Nova for crying out loud!

          2. Even 5th grade civics agrees with him dummy

          3. I have more experience dealing with vaginas than a swishbuckler like you.

            1. That would only be true if you had one.

      6. A bad argument against the Electoral College is that because it is sometimes out of step with the “popular vote,” the “real winner” sometimes ends up “losing.” This is a bad argument for many reasons, but especially because presidential elections are not fought for the “popular vote” total, so it is extremely silly to draw any meaningful conclusions from it.

        The largest ten states in America are California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and Michigan. Of these, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and Michigan are competitive in presidential elections; Texas is sort of competitive (increasingly so, especially this year); and California, New York, and Illinois are not only forgone conclusions, but effectively one-party states. In practice, this means that Republicans voters in three of the six largest states have little incentive to vote, while Democrats in seven of the ten have a real incentive to vote. The “popular vote” reflects this.

        A good argument against the Electoral College is that this varied incentive structure is itself a problem. I don’t agree with this — or, rather, I do, but I don’t find it persuasive enough to turn me against the Electoral College on balance — but I think it’s an argument worth reckoning with. “If you change the rules and assume a game that wasn’t actually played, my candidate won” is not.


        1. I think I’m right about where you’re at Bubba. Had I been at the convention I would have been skeptical about it in practice, I would have probably been on board with the theory of what it tries to accomplish, and I probably would have signed onto it given what I understand the alternatives to be at that time.

          I mean, it has been pretty damn durable given how different our country is from that time in history.

  4. It probably won’t happen today, but eventually we’ll know the identity of the next president of the United States.

    Yeah, it’ll happen four years from today.

    1. Early voting?

      1. And often!

      2. Well, I mailed back all the ballots delivered to my current address.

    2. She already has a three letter acronym: AOC

    3. That will be when Trump pulls off his mask and reveals that he’s actually Bob Dole.


  5. Over the summer, polls showed that 56 percent of Biden supporters agreed they were voting for him “because he is not Trump.”

    Nuh uh! The experts on the comments have declared that everyone voting for Biden is voting for Harris! Nobody votes against anyone! They vote for the person, for the party platform, and they support every single bit of it! You’re wrong, Jacket! Wrooooooong!

    1. So you lost another argument I take it.

        1. It’s the only reason he does that.

    2. You try so hard.

    3. Dude, you are not edgy. Now go and change your pants.

    4. Dude, I generally agree with you about shit, and even I think this schtick is getting old.

      1. Most of his comments for years have been 2-3 line one-offs. His screenname is “sarcasmic,” not “lengthynuanceddiscoursemic.”

        1. No that’s me.

          1. fucking lol dude.

        2. Eh, I’ve lurked for enough years to see him make intelligent points before. And I think he’s right that many of the commenters here view anyone to their left as almost cartoonishly evil, which is childish. But so is posting several times a day every day to complain about it.

          1. But the left really is cartoonishly evil.

            1. Something tells me there’s more to that story, but let’s assume that the professor is 100% sincere in his belief in cannibalism as environmental policy. How many of the tens of millions of people on “the left” do you think agree with him?

              1. Depends on his credentials. People on the left (and far right) judge the person, not their ideas. If they are an “expert” and they say stupid shit, who are you to disagree you uneducated rube?

              2. How many agree with lockdowns?
                How many agree with mask mandates?
                How many agree with confiscation of property and redistribution?
                How many agree with packing the court?
                How many agree with thoughtcrime?

                Those who do not agree will go along.

                1. If you think any significant number of Americans will “go along” with state-mandated cannibalism, you might not exactly have your finger on the pulse. Or maybe you just need to get less cannibal-adjacent friends and family.

                  1. You draw the line at………………………….

                    1. Fair question. Certainly not where I would have drawn it prior to Covid, which is disheartening but perhaps not that surprising.

                      I draw the line at cannibalism certainly. The fact that people are actually questioning that kinda proves my whole point, though.

              3. How many of the tens of millions of people on “the left” do you think agree with him?

                97%, near-consensus, the rest is immaterial details.

                1. Nearly 97% of the general public is pro-cannibal? Do you even understand how insane you sound?

        3. That was too funny, thanks for the laugh!

    5. Who is the red herring you are arguing against? Everyone knows that it’s Trump-hate that is increasing turnout. Liberals accept that too.

  6. Another day, another Reason article that fails to properly understand the clear difference between Trump and Biden.

    “In a rare show of unity, both Biden and Trump are willing to mislead us about the coronavirus even as their basic plans to combat it have “much in common.”

    Trump has clearly NOT forced an un-Constitutional mask mandate from the federal level. Both Harris and Biden have said they would have and that they intend to, if elected. (Despite Biden at least admitting he doesn’t have the authority, he’ll do it anyway!)

    You an also look at the Red states compared to the Blue states and see a rather stark difference in how liberty was respected during COVID. This isn’t even debatable! Nick, I’m disappointed in you man. You’re better than this. Seek help for your TDS. You’re becoming part of the new Reason, aka Vox Light. That is NOT a compliment.

    1. What Breitbart article did you get that out of? There is no such thing as a federal mask mandate.

      1. And there wont be because Trump won.

  7. What’s the point of having power if you can’t use it to reward your allies and punish your enemies?

    1. To get chicks.

      1. For free?

        How about microwave ovens and refrigerators?

  8. How dare your deny Trump his mandate after he sweeps the coastal states and ushers in the Fourth Reich!

    1. Fourth Reich? Really?

      1. We’re on at least the Seventh Reich.

        1. I count five. I mean, W, McCain, and Romney were also all Literally Hitler, but only W was actually president, so I don’t think the other two count as actual Reichs. So that’d make 2000 – 2008 the Fourth Reich, followed by the Obamatopia, which fell to the 2016 Fifth Reich of Double Literally Hitler Trump.

          1. But Reagan was literally Hitler. Then he went senile, and the rest of the Republican Party was literally Hitler. Then we had HW, who was also literally Hitler. That gives us another three Reichs, which means we’ve had seven entering Trump’s presidency.

            So by now we’re up somewhere in the 50s or 60s, because every month of his campaign (OF TERROR) and presidency has at least another new Reich.

            1. But how many Reichs has Yellow Tony experienced in his timeline?

            2. Was HW a new reich or was he more a Donitz?

            3. But Reagan was literally Hitler.

              He did oppose the Soviets in Germany.

            4. That’s a lot of Hitler’s.

      2. The sarcasm meter. You must tap it.

    2. Someone does do this worse than sarc. Grats.

  9. Trump is at least willing to leave the citizens alone for the most part. Whereas Biden/Harris will shove amazing amounts of their gooey justice down your throat for your own good. Even if you choke on it.

    I guess libertarians only care about open borders immigration and free aka unfair trade and simply don’t give two shits about US citizens. Oh well.

    1. There is a lot of diversity of opinion among libertarians on the subjects of trade and immigration. Don’t convince yourself that the Reason staff encompasses all of libertarian thought.
      And I’d question your characterization of what libertarians give two shits about. Many US citizens would like to employ an immigrant or have stuff manufactured in China. There are always competing interests. Don’t act like there is an easy, obvious answer to these things, because there isn’t.

      1. I have an easy, obvious answer: FUCK YOU.

        BOOM, ROASTED.

      2. Agreed Zeb. I think the 2 main areas I would run afoul of libertarian orthodoxy is abortion and immigration. And actually on the immigration issue my concern is not even about the immigration, per se. My concern about it is that the left uses many people coming here to bolster their ranks in order to take all our freedoms away.

        So I guess I would say I’m generally FOR unlimited immigration if:

        A) We didn’t have a massive welfare state (spare me the posts about how much immigrants actually use, the number should be 0, and it isn’t 0)

        B) By a large margin the left was unable to use recent immigrants to vote for their shitty policies that are destroying America.

        If you could convince me that recent immigrants didn’t break for the DNC 80/20, and if we got rid of the welfare state as we know it…..I’d be totally fine with whatever.

        On abortion I just view the fetus as a person and think it has all the rights of any other human. I get why that isn’t libertarian orthodoxy.

        (I actually think in 50 years the Libertarian Party will reflect that abortion view as the science becomes more clear….but maybe im wishcasting)

        1. The party of science tells me that a fetus is just a clump of cells. Hard to argue with that type of settled science.

          1. Yeah I don’t know why I just don’t seem to get it!!! Heh

        2. So, let me see. Since a fetus is a person you would risk your life to run into a burning fertility clinic to save the zygotes?
          No?? If not, it’s not a person we can abort the bunch of cells by taking a pill.

          Next case.

          1. Of course, and Ill do you one better. If my wife were pregnant and shot dead in the street, the perp better be charged with 2 murders.

      3. Which is why we vote for people to make those unclear policy decisions that are complex and involve many pros and cons and why whoever wins should have the opportunity to pursue their reasonable policy ideas that they were voted on.

  10. “Back in 2008, Barack Obama won in an actual landslide…”

    Are you kidding me Nick? Obama’s electoral margin (365-173) pales in comparison to Johnson-Goldwater (486-52), Bush-Dukakis (426-111), and Reagan-Carter (489-49), and is dwarfed by Reagan-Mondale (525-13) and Nixon-McGovern (520-17). Those were landslides.

    In popular vote, Obama’s percentage margin of victory (7.2%) was lower than Bush 41 (7.8%), Reagan’s two elections (8.2% and 9.7%, respectively) and Nixon’s over McGovern and Johnson’s over Goldwater (22.5% in each case).

    Obama had a solid victory but it was not a landslide.

    1. Don’t harsh the narrative, man.

    2. But he supposed to be the Chosen One!

      Seriously, 60 / 40 of the popular MIGHT be considered a landslide by some, but that’s still only 1.5 to 1. Call me when someone wins the popular by a full 67/33, then we can start talking about the “L” word.

      1. Washington, Jefferson and Monroe are the only presidents to receive a super majority of the popular vote. There hasn’t been a president elected with even a 10 point margin since Reagan.

        1. Fine, so whoever the president is, he needs to remember that there was a very significant number who did not vote for him.

    3. Reagan’s reelection was 59-41.

    4. Goth Fonzie Wop can’t help but worship his Messiah.

      Nobody has ever made him feel as warm and tingly all over as Chocolate Jesus, and nobody ever will.

  11. I have no idea who will be elected President, when we will know the results, or which party will control the Senate but I am sure that about half of all all voters will choose the other guy.

    I think the broader point of the piece is important because it cannot be that the concerns of 50 million + citizens are irrelevant. It is my view that this is how President Obama and President Trump and, to a lesser extent, GW handled the office and it is both wrong and stupid.

    The piece points out that most Americans are more centrist than the parties which claim to represent us. That is certainly true and that should temper partisan zeal among the elite but it doesn’t. They act like they’ve got a mandate and do all they can to stir up enmity among our citizenry.

    It’s embarrassing and dangerous.

    I wish I could lay this blame just on elected officials but the truth is that we treat one another this way. We’ve become awful to our fellow citizens. Set aside the alarming violence and all and take a look at day-to-day interactions. It’s a mess and there’s no reason for it because, again, 50 million + of our fellow citizens can’t all be awful.

    We need to start putting out the fires rather than feeding them and it would really help if those elected to office showed some humility and understanding that they are not representatives of their party, they are representatives of broad constituencies.

    1. This!

      I wish “E Pluribus Unum” were still simply the semi-official motto of the US and that any other official motto had never been adopted. I am NOT taking pot-shots at religion, simply acknowledging that there are many who no long adhere to any, and who also need to be part of the “Unum”.

      We, on both sides, need to take a good hard look and return to that mindset, or as the Swiss put it “One for all and all for one!” (And they do it in four different languages! – And it still works!)

      1. (no other)…. I miss the preview feature!

      2. Well said. It sure seems to me that we regular citizens have more in common with each other than any of us do with the elite of our political parties.

        1. Leftism is totalitarian.
          Live in denial if it makes you feel better, but it is what it is.
          Live and let live is anathema to the left, and they will destroy your life without a second thought.

          1. Marxism is as you describe. We can’t make peace with those who are intent on destroying us and there are those who cannot be negotiated or reasoned with. Portland and Seattle demonstrate this perfectly.

            However, this is a small fraction of our citizenry. The vast, vast majority of Americans are Centrists, Center Left or Right but Centrist and we have more in common with each other than we do with the party elite who claim to represent us.

            We don’t have to be at each other’s throats and it is bad for us to be like that. Besides, it is no fun.

            I stood in line to vote for nearly an hour. During that time the seven of us talked about everthing except politics. I’m sure there was avoiding the topic and I certainly was but it wasn’t weird. We talked about hunting and Metallica, and roller coasters in Paris, and swimming in the Pacific.

            It was awesome and it affirms my belief that, if we can stop othering one another, we can find common ground.

    2. It is a zero sum game; I win, you lose, and I’m gonna make the most of it. Now open wide….or bend over. Your choice. And contrary to Moderation’s kum-bye-yahing [below] I do not see that changing.

      The problem with compromising: at what point do you forgo what you truly value [freedom, independence] in order to “get along?” I believe we are at, beyond, the point to take stands on what actually matters to us. I you want my whole arm, I’m not going to agree to let you cut it off at the elbow and call it compromise or “moderation.”

      1. The problem is you want freedom and independence for yourself, and you don’t give a crap if everyone else gets thrown in a paddy wagon.

        1. Ooof, the projection on here could shoot all the way to Pluto.

        2. Always interesting when the guy who wants to stick religious people in internment camps starts talking about freedom and independence.

          1. Which guy would that be?

            Trump’s actually putting people in internment camps. I suspect most of them are religious.

            1. Tony
              November.3.2020 at 3:37 pm
              Republicans have been trying to disenfranchise voters by the millions, spread Russian propaganda, slandered politicians and private citizens with no compunction, and, oh yeah, exposed millions of people to a deadly virus for the sole reason that their fat orange retard leader was too stupid to handle the problem. They can beg for compromise from prison.

              1. So… You plan to jail all 60 million of us or so in order to preserve liberty and democracy? You do realize that’s diabolical, don’t you?

              2. Why do they forget how the internet works and how it saves comments?

      2. I struggle with this because playing nice, especially in the zero-sum politics you describe is rewarded with evil. There is plenty of blame to go around and both parties are hypocritical in their blaming but this tit-for-tat is undermining the institutions of our republic. Since they are critical components to guaranteeing our liberty, we do so at our own peril.

        Only the victor can break the cycle. The loser has no credibility; of course the loser is going to call of collegiality and restoration of process but no one believes them. Why should they? No, it is the victor who has to take the high road.

        By the way, I agree that this is not likely to happen. Who in Washington, D.C. has the love for their country, the courage, and the political savvy to do so? McConnell? Pelosi? That doesn’t absolve us, the citizenry, from our responsibilities here though. We don’t have to participate in the meanness.

        In a sense, it is worse when we do it since we have no actual power or authority. It is one thing to be a bastard in order to get legislation passed but it is somehow much worse to give full vent to our pejudices and pridefully label political opponents unworthy of even the most basic courtesies.

        I can’t do anything about the Biden or Trump teams when one of them wins or their parties as they jockey for power but I can do something about myself.

        1. Well said.

      3. This is right Quo,

        While I disagree with both sides on what KIND of America we should have, the problem here is that the left doesn’t even agree that America should be anything we would recognize. So when you get conservatives, leftists, and libertarians in the same room….only 2 of them are even beginning to talk about the same country anymore. And that, really, is the problem.

        And you sum up well why you can’t even begin to compromise with that.

        1. Go on projecting what you think liberals are. Most people who are voting against Trump aren’t even liberals.

      4. There is also the fact that the figureheads are only chosen by a small fraction of the ever shrinking parties, often refereed to as “the base” which when translated to Arabic is “al-qaeda”. It should come as no surprise that a shift toward extremism is the result.

    3. David, I don’t even know if it is JUST that we are awful to eachother, as to why the parties are like this. I actually have a different view I think a Libertarian would probably understand and fear more than most.

      I think the reason the parties are evolving this way is because after FDR the people genuinely believe the government must, at all times, DO SOMETHING NOW!!!!!

      And I think that impulse for voters to reward, plans, schemes, ideas, policies, etc forces the implementation of those have an even higher value than they used to.

      Watch any debate and the moderater frames each question as thus:

      “Mr. Trump, health care….what’s your PLAN!!!!”

      And the very nature of the question forces or rewards a response that is almost opposite of what libertarians really hope is true. Which is, “Well Chris Wallace is the next new fangled government scheme im going to foist on to the American people to fix their problems”

      And I think because voters now expect government to solve their problems, the parties are now way way more incentivized to ram their plans home than ever before. And that process is by its very nature, divisive.

      So, not to blame the victim here, but I agree with you that most of the fault resides with US….but I blame us for wanting too much government, which makes government too important, which makes it too combative.

      If we want to put out the fires we need to take away the oxygen. And that oxygen in my view is America’s insatiable need for government schemes. If you don’t incentive the schemes you will get a less important government….and that gives them way less to fight about.

      1. I agree with everything you wrote, PTC.

        We see it at our local and state legislative bodies too: this insatiable need to make law: we fill gaps with specificity, folks find exceptions, we address them, and on and on until no one knows what the law is or can avoid violating it.

        Then? Well, we stop generally enforcing it and adopt a selective enforcement that creates a policing and justice problem to go along with our addiction to expanding law.

        I’d be SO behind someone who pledged to spend the entirety of their tenure consolidating and stripping away counter-productive rules.

    4. Do away with the party system?

      What did Hamilton and Madison amongst others, have to say about it?

  12. Building consensus is not a one way street. Politic has lately been marked not only by pushing your agenda but by completely opposing your opponent’s. Even if you opponent gives you what you want you have to turn it down. Senator Schumer offered wall money for DACA protections in December 2018, but was turned down. The ACA passed on 2010 was based on a conservative idea and yet Republican where not allowed to support the plan. Joe Biden will not have a mandate, if however Republican work with Biden allow him some success it will forestall his need to court Progressive.

    1. Pull the other one, it has bells.

    2. Do you really think M4E would do that? Just go on the internet and tell lies?

    3. “Senator Schumer offered wall money for DACA protections in December 2018, but was turned down. ”

      So… maybe Republicans prioritized no-DACA over yes-Wall?

      “ACA … based on a conservative idea.”


      We agree with Heritage that the differences between its original vision and the version enacted into law are not trivial, and are enough to undercut the president’s effort to secure a Heritage Foundation seal of approval for his bill. But the president helped his case by wording his statement with extreme care. Intentionally or not, he gave himself subtle linguistic running room by saying that “a lot of the ideas” for the exchange came from Heritage, including the concept of “just being able to pool and improve the purchasing power of individuals in the insurance market.”


      1. With regard to DACA, I believe that the Republican opposition to DACA has more to do with opposing the Democrats than their own opinion of these kids. It speaks to my point that you can not build consensus if the other side opposes you not out of conviction but as a matter of policy to oppose anything suggested by the other party.

        As for the ACA conservatives can wail all they want about how their ideas were different from the ACA, the paper trail is there to show core idea of the ACA started with conservatives.

        1. Moderation,

          I slightly disagree. I think most of the business class of the GOp actually doesn’t oppose DACA in effect. I think they are fine with unlimited immigration.

          I think the argument they are making, and YES it is one from hypocrisy, but it happens to be true, is that DACA was an illegitimate overreach by Obama. Presidents can’t simply have a pen and a phone. And libertarians should be scared shitless by that regardless of if we like the outcome.

          As for your point about the ACA, I need to see your paper trail and your receipts. Because, if you wanna say that the ACA has it’s roots in Romney care….ok fine. But I take HUGE issue with you trying to brand Mitt freaking Romney or Massachusetts as “Conservative”. Neither are conservative….in any way, shape, or form.

          I think we need to be careful using “Republican” and “Conservative” interchangeably.

          1. Well there is a lot of paper trail out there, but let us start with a 1989 Heritage paper by Stuart Butler, that included a mandate. I can remember reading conservative papers on healthcare mandate well before the ACA was written. And the idea of a mandate as they explain it is simple, you can not just go out and get health care coverage when you are sick. You would have trouble getting heath care coverage and if you got it the cost would be prohibitively expensive. The idea of a mandate is that you buy in when you are healthy at a low rate (lower than when you are sick) and you become vested in the program for when you need it.

            The idea of the market place is basic business theory. Create a place (now on the internet) where people can go to find policies and directly compare them for services, coverage and cost.

            The ACA has conservative roots, the most telling evidence is the fact that Republicans have not been able to come up with an alternative. That is because the ACA is founded on their ideas. The only real alternative is a national healthcare program like Medicare for All.

            1. “…The ACA has conservative roots..,”
              “When I say that a lot of people got spun about the similarity between the Affordable Are Act, I don’t mean it as a criticism; I got spun myself. What is striking, though, in both that thread and the follow-up, is how committed anti-ACA lefties are to the ridiculous argument that the ACA is a “Republican Plan” developed by the Heritage Foundation even after presented details that make the comparison unsustainable. Perhaps it would help to present the comparison in graph form. Here, first, is an exhaustive list of the similarities between the plans:
              (they both require insurance)

              “…the most telling evidence is the fact that Republicans have not been able to come up with an alternative…”
              The most telling evidence that you are full of shit is your inability to
              hear or read alternatives.

            2. Moderation,

              I’m sorry, but when you use Heritage to sneak this in, it is just not telling the whole story at all.

              1) The Heritage of that time was relatively moderate. The way you know this is that Stuart Butler LEFT Heritage as it moved rightward (read: in a conservative direction) and do you know where he ended up: The Brookings Institute. So what you have here is one guy, a singular figure, propegating a mostly liberal solution as PART of Heritage. To imply Heritage back this is wrong.

              2) When the ACA came out, do you know who spearheaded the fight against it? Heritage. So, again, if Butler spoke for that organization, ideologically, I find it very hard to believe Heritage would have come out against this plan.

              3) What the ACA does more closely resemble is some crap proposed by Sen. John Chafee, a RINO from Rhode Island, as an alternative to the Clinton plan in 1993-94. It didn’t go anywhere at the time, but did influence the Massachusetts health care law under then-Gov. Mitt Romney, which in turn influenced the ACA. Now, again, as I’ve said in other threads, if you are going to mix up “Republican” with “Conservative”, I don’t know where to go with that outside of saying….that’s BS.

              I guess I’ll leave you with this article which I think lays out the position of Heritage in 2010, related to their view of ACA-vs The Butler Plan. Here, I think, is the money quote:

              ” Our research in the ensuing two decades has led us to realize our initial idea was operationally ineffective and legally defective. Well before Obama was elected, we dropped it. In the spring 2008 edition of the Harvard Health Policy Review, I advanced far better alternatives to the individual mandate to expand coverage, relying on positive tax incentives and other mechanisms to facilitate enrollment in private health insurance. This is what researchers and fact-based policymakers do when they discover new facts or conduct deeper analysis.

              The president and his supporters invoke the Heritage Foundation to convince the American people that his health bill is somehow a middle-of-the-road approach. It isn’t. So please, Mr. President, stop it. “

          2. Ditto for “Democrat” and “Liberal”.

            It’s a start.

    4. “…The ACA passed on 2010 was based on a conservative idea…”

      “When I say that a lot of people got spun about the similarity between the Affordable Are Act, I don’t mean it as a criticism; I got spun myself. What is striking, though, in both that thread and the follow-up, is how committed anti-ACA lefties are to the ridiculous argument that the ACA is a “Republican Plan” developed by the Heritage Foundation even after presented details that make the comparison unsustainable. Perhaps it would help to present the comparison in graph form. Here, first, is an exhaustive list of the similarities between the plans:
      (they both require insurance)

  13. Liberals are the vanguard anti-White party who is trying to chase down the last White person before their genocidal program is exposed. Respectable conservatives are the catch up anti-White party and they always seem to oppose the Liberals anti-White program of White Genocide but they eventually adopt their agenda.

    1. Fuck off.

    2. Your “racist” astroturfing isn’t fooling anyone, Jeff.

      1. That’s another Pedo Jeffy sock? Just when you don’t think he can sink any lower, he finds a way.

  14. Republicans have been trying to disenfranchise voters by the millions, spread Russian propaganda, slandered politicians and private citizens with no compunction, and, oh yeah, exposed millions of people to a deadly virus for the sole reason that their fat orange retard leader was too stupid to handle the problem. They can beg for compromise from prison.

    1. Go back to your room; the adults are talking.

      1. Keep talking because it’s going to turn into crying soon enough.

        1. My office Tony. We’ve discussed this.

          1. Past me, you started seeing a psychiatrist?

            Good for you! I only started with my therapist last year, but I really wish I’d done it earlier. He’s really helped with my anxiety (although it’s spiking this week) and depression. Good job, past me!

        2. Crying like when it’s not your turn to wear the gimp suit?

        3. Sure Tony, we all know you’re preparing to throw the mother of all tantrums. Maybe we’ll get lucky and you’ll actually burst an aneurism this time.


      1. Be glad nobody told him that Hitler is totally owning him on body count, though it’s closer than even I thought it would be. Six figures. Impressive.

        1. You’ve been asked multiple times what it is that Trump could have done differently. You give empty platitudes but no real answer, because you have none. The fact is if Trump had a D after his name, as he did for a decent portion of his life, you would be defending his handling. Blaming deaths in him is so blatantly partisan it is just juvenile.

          1. He infected the whole White House and is throwing rallies with thousands of people.

            1. Tony, have you no concern for the 2-3 trucks who Biden has exposed to the China flu at his “rallies?”

            2. That’s how he killed 200k?


              1. Well, shitstain left out the part where Trump cooked up the WuFlu in the WH kitchen…

            3. Who died on the WH? And no Cain did not.

    2. If you think any other politician would be managing the coronavirus challenge differently enough to have moved the numbers down substantially, you are delusional. By the way – do some research on seroprevalence. The number of people already actually exposed to the virus is likely at least five times the number of “confirmed” cases. This is proving to be true in many countries as well as in many states here. As to disenfranchising voters – how do you explain record turnout for early voting, voting my mail, and – from what I heard on NPR this morning – major turnout today?

      1. Then why is most of the country turning against Trump specifically over his virus anti-response?

        1. “most of the country”

          A useful weathervane if ever there was one.

        2. Most of the country is suffering from mass hysteria.

          1. Not the 230,000 dead.

            1. Yeah, Coumo really fucked up.

            2. 230K dead due to the virus
              135K dead due to the lock downs…the lock down number is going to increase for the next 5-10 years, while the virus number will stop increasing (at what is now just a seasonal respiratory virus rate) in April/May.

            3. Tony I don’t know what you don’t get about this. Each level of government has a job, and that job is different.

              Feds are in the role essentially of material support. You need a hospital built, ok. You need 250,000 masks moved from point A to point B, ok. You need money for business to weather the storm, ok.

              The state governments are in the role of strategery and rule making. You want a mask mandate, ok? You want a business closed, ok?

              The local governments are in the role of battlefield tactics and implementation. Ok, we have a mask mandate from the Governor, and we just got 250,000 makes from the President- here is how we’re going to implement this plan and use these resources.

              Now, you do the “math”. Which level do you think broke down, that resulted in the deaths of old people in NY and NJ?

              Which layer do think had actual control over this?

              Spoiler (it wasn’t the federal level,)

              1. Tony doesn’t get most things.

          2. >>mass hysteria

            human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together

        3. most of the country = everyone at Tony’s favorite disco.

        4. Then why is most of the country turning against Trump specifically over his virus anti-response?

          Because most of the country is super smart, scientifically literate, and does its own research rather than being easily swayed by full-tilt propaganda assaults?

        5. They aren’t.

    3. Russian propaganda was mostly spread by Rachel Maddow, as it turns out.

      1. That’s something a Russian propaganda victim would say.

    4. Everything is so terrible and unfair, eh tony?


    5. I’m sorry this election is happening to you.

    6. You repeat a Lot of retarded, faggoty talking points from Media Matters.

      Is there a single original thought in that tiny mind of yours?

    7. Tony:

      Why do you expect the POTUS to “handle the problem” of a global pandemic?

      I think you’re in the wrong country dude.

    8. Again, we need a Lee Harvey Oswald now more than ever.

  15. Biden’s stated plans for the country if elected:

    A ban on firearms his administration defines as “assault weapons”, with a confiscatory policy to follow.
    Elimination of charter schools by starving them of federal funds.
    The total elimination of the fossil fuel industry vis a vis the Green New Deal.

    At least one of those things (probably two) to be eliminated has been previously championed by Reason as important institutions in the country.

    But it’s “unlibertarian” to vote for Trump.

    1. Oh yea, I forgot another bullet under Biden:

      Packing the Supreme Court.

  16. I was watching a straight news story from CBS Philly last night. Not a mashup created by Trump supporters, but an absolute straight-arrow news story where they showed Obama giving a stump speech for Joe Biden at a rally. The news talked about Obama getting the “crowd of 200 fired up”. I’m not joking. 200 people. Listening to the speech was embarassing. I actually felt bad for Obama. Not because of what he said, but the entire scene. He’s shouting about “my friend, Joe Biden” and there are scattered claps from a nearly empty space. It was like Alan Alda’s presidential speech to the factory he was shutting down in the movie Canadian Bacon. It was uncomfortably hard to watch.

    1. “It’s time to turn off the war machine and turn on our children… *silence* turn on our children!”

    2. Those rallies have been utterly pathetic–hell, towards the end half of them were made up of Trump voters who were just there to make fun of Biden. Obama’s energy and body language showed that he clearly would rather be anywhere else. There’s none of the fire or eloquence when he talked about issues he cared about during his presidency. He came in incredibly late in the game, and is obviously only doing this because to not do it would show just how fractured, frantic, and leaderless the party is right now.

      He actually looks physically worse now than he did when he left office; even Dubya looks basically the same as he did 12 years ago. Maybe he should have taken up painting bad watercolor creations, because the only time he looks relatively happy now is when he’s getting his ass kissed by Boomer talk show hosts like Letterman.

      1. Well he’s pushing 80. Most people really start to look old at some point in their 70s.

        1. Obama? He’s not even 60 yet.

      2. I think it’s because Obama was always good at selling himself.

        Obama looks like a leader. He sounds like a leader. He SEEMS presidential. It’s just that a majority of the voting public didn’t want to go where he was leading, which is why the Democrats lost so much down-ballot even as Obama was well-liked and had a fair amount of support. People liked Obama; they didn’t like his policies.

        And now Obama’s supposed to out there and stump for somebody who isn’t Obama, which I sense has never been something he wanted to do. I suspect he’s doing it because he doesn’t want his legacy tainted by talk of how he “deserted the country” after leaving office, not because he genuinely wants to, and it’s reflected in how he’s acting.

        Don’t know why he looks a lot older, though. Usually presidents get unhealthy in office and then get better after the stresses go away. Wonder why it hasn’t happened for him?

        1. Michelle’s draining his life force away now that the girls are in college and not there to occupy her attention anymore.

        2. Obama looks like a leader. He sounds like a leader. He SEEMS presidential.

          Yep, he even got a Nobel Prize for teleprompter reading.


          1. OK, that was good.
            I thought he got it for not being G.W. Bush.

      3. W has been banging Michelle.

        Keeps him young.

      4. Imagine you’re Obama. Your legacy is in complete tatters minus the GOP pathetically unable to repeal ACA. You’re foreign policy will be mocked for generations, you’re fiscal policy was a dumpster fire. All your big accomplishments were through executive order and most of that was undone on day 1.

        The party chose Hillary Clinton (still the worst candidate in history), to carry on your legacy at a time when it needed protection the most.

        The country thought so low of you Republicans had the most office holders in 100 years the day you left office.

        And the guy trying to reclaim your legacy back is Joe Biden!

        Yeah, I’d be fucking depressed too……

        1. I re-watched and interesting analisys based on a book called The Amateur which was an inside look at the Obama administration. According to insiders, sure, the Republicans tried to block his legilsation, but Obama was so aloof and detatched, he wouldn’t return calls from frustrated Democratic lawmakers with Valerie Jarrett running interference for him on every personal face-to-face.

      5. “he clearly would rather be anywhere else”

        Wouldn’t you as well if you’re eight years of servitude was up where no matter what you did was wrong and you found yourself suddenly rich beyond your wildest dreams so you could just say “fuck it” and go do whatever you wanted?

        Early retirement.

  17. Define the word mandate? Does it mean overwhelming support, or that enough voters decided you were better than the alternative and thus elected you to office? What is a mandate? If you win, are you supposed to give up on your campaign promises? Ask the other side what they want to get done? I am sorry, but to often consensus legislation is as bad, if not worse, than partisan legislation. Of course the answer is to involve government less in people’s lives, but there are only two parties even paying lip service to that idea and only one that has any chance of winning today. I wish the LP could do better, but it isn’t going to happen, especially as bad as the LP is at achieving any electoral success, hell even at campaigning. We whine because we don’t get in the debates, but we haven’t really done anything successfully enough to gain public attention. We rarely even run competitively at the state or local level.

  18. Garbage Nick, lots of garbage here.

    The problem with Reason, and the problem with so many in the libertarian movement, is one of understanding the battle lines and where we are as a nation.

    Currently, well meaning people like Nick think the role of Libertarians (and therefore Reason), is to stand amid the right and left and to act as a sort of check on the worst impulses of both by tut-tutting both sides on various issues like drugs, policing, etc. This is just a folly and a very stupid way to view the libertarian movement, and Reason as a whole. You can see the general logic in it from a particular perspective, but it really doesnt take into account the view at 30,000 feet, or it misunderstands the current climate we are in believing we are in a climate from the 1980’s when the threat the freedom was either more easily understood as coming from the right, or perhaps one could argue it was an equal threat. We don’t live in those times….

    What Nick, and Reason are trying to do is to act as a sort of umpire in a baseball game between the GOP and DNC. He calls balls and strikes, he generally tries to call out both sides, and he essentially takes a “pox-on-both-your-houses” approach.

    The problem is that we are not playing a baseball game between two teams that want to play baseball. We have one team that wants to play baseball with the rules we understand, the rule book we have played by for 200 years, and while they will cheat to win, they do it within the confines of the game. The other team, sadly, doesn’t even want the game to exist. They don’t believe in the rules, they don’t believe in the rule book, and “oh by the way”, if you oppose them then it’s off to the gulag you go…..”libertarians are just as much a thorn in their side as conservatives so you can all go rot together.”

    Pretending like we should call balls and strikes equally because one sides likes guns, and the other likes drugs, is such a foolish way to view this….I really have no words.

    The war here, the fight here, is multi layered and unfortunately for Reason, and Nick, those wars can not be fought simultaneously.

    The first war is simply a general Pro-freedom, pro-Constiution, pro social norm war that we MUST win in order for anything else we do to matter at all. And in that war we must ally with Conservatives to defeat the authoritarian leftists who want us wiped off the God damn map. Lose that battle, and these stupid articles about pot legalization are totally meaningless.

    Once we ally with conservatives and win that war….THEN we can have the sibling rivalry war about how that freedom is expressed, exactly how we balance societal cohesion with individuality, and the best way to manifest the Constitution in the daily lives of Americans.

    We must win that war too….no doubt. And we must take on the authoritarian nature of the right on issues like religion.

    But we will be much better positioned to do that once we have worked with them to defeat these lunatics on the left who want this whole conversation blown up and scorched in a death-fire.

    If Nick, and Reason, refuse to see this…..I have great fear for where we are heading. If Reason does not understand this state of play ( that things are not like they were in 1983), then Reason will actually aid in the tearing down of liberty because it can’t see the bigger picture and the larger war that simply must be won.

    And if that happens, Reason will be gone. And the Libertarian Party will evaporate. And the leftist authoritarians will march Nick right off the cliff with Rush, Mark Levin, Ted Cruz, you, and me. And there will be no distinction, and no brownie points given just because of a couple of stupid articles about legalizing heroin or making sure every city in every state has prostitutes plying their trade without fear or judgement.

    But by all means….keep pretending both sides are playing the same game of baseball and you can ump it.


    1. I kind of said this myself a while back. This election is different than even that of 2016. Even in 2016, elections were about details– raising or lowering taxes, having charter schools or not having charter schools, expanding welfare or shrinking it, cutting the military or growing it. But after 2016, the question has shifted: It’s about whether we’re going to have an America or not have an America.

      I don’t suggest that Biden is asking that question. He’s not… he’s just been placed on a horse and propped up on a stick. But the modern Democratic party has shifted so far left, so quickly, and the dominant voices are now of deoncstructionist critical theories camp. America is irredemably racist, sexist, homophobic, and all of it are byproducts of white hegemony and Capitalism. The dominant narrative is built on White Western Power structures which must be eliminated. The stated goal of many people on the left– the same people who are pushing Joe Biden is to tear it all down and rebuild an egalitarian Democratic Socialist state that puts “equity” above all else.

      Sorry, fuck that. Trump, for all his faults, wants to have an America. I’m perfectly happy to get back to discussing details once this argument is settled.

      1. This is exactly right Diane. I think, left to open honest debate, we can win the battle with Trumpers, never-trumpers, and Conservatives about how to exercise freedom. We can win the debate on just how free a society should be vs. the cohesion that comes from some level of societal controls.

        What we can’t win is a battle of ideas from the leftist gulag. We can’t win that battle because they won’t let our ideas even get onto the battlefield.

        It really annoys me that Reason and Nick don’t get this at all.

        And when he’s blocked on twitter, and Reason is shut down for being “racist”, and we’re all evaluated by our “social credit score”, Nick is gonna look back at the 10,000 article maligning conservatives and leftists as equal threats, and know it was an absolute disaster.

        1. I’m perfectly happy to discuss “tariffs” in 2024. Until then, I’m thinking big picture.

      2. You both are absolutely delusional and should stop consuming rightwing media.

        Democrats put up the most centrist possible milquetoast guy and you’re nevertheless convinced that this means the commies are even MORE powerful.

        You’re not talking about a constituency that actually exists.

        “We have one team that wants to play baseball with the rules we understand, the rule book we have played by for 200 years, and while they will cheat to win, they do it within the confines of the game.”

        Do you even listen to yourselves? Donald Trump is the keeper of American normalcy? The Republican Party just wants to maintain normal family values, with the help of the actual poster boy for infidelity and sleaze? You’re both in another goddamn resort. You’ll all have to be deprogrammed. I bet you’ll bitch about it too.

        1. I realize that I’m basically talking to the wall here for all the good it will do, but it’s truly ironic that in a comment where you mock the idea that the left is going all in on destroying liberty, you talk about sending people you disagree with for deprogramming.

          Your inability to engage in self reflection is absolutely epic. Bravo, Tony. No one could possibly make the point that the left must be defeated as well as you do by advocating for them.

          1. It always astonishes me how Tony screams for disobedient plebs sent to the gulag, and then immediately accuses others of hating personal freedoms.

        2. Tony, you really need to comprehend what you’re reading and you really need to understand the state of play. I’ll bullet point this for:

          1) What I’m advocating for has nothing to do with Trump at all because this battle for freedom extends WELL WELL WELL beyond Trump. The need to win the war against leftism is the starting point. The need to beat back the hard right can ONLY be taken on after that first war is won. None of that has anything to do with Trump. You’re the guy deluded by Trump hatred to see that not everything poliitcal revolves around this dude.

          2) If you believe Joe Biden will have ANY control over his administration you are beyond delusional He is a necromanced politician who will have NO power in his administration. In fact, if you look at what Pelosi said about reform related to removal of Presidents she said “this has nothing to do with Trump, it is for future Presidents”. Let me translate for you, pal, “When the time is right to firebomb the political career of Joe Biden, I want the House to be able to do it swiftly. It’s Kamala time.”

          3) I can tell you’re a leftist in the word choices you use and the way you focus your post on strange things that are irrelevant to libertarians….nevermind the pro-“deprogramming” language that would scare real libertarians to death. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a leftist being on Reason, but you don’t make that announcement up front so that your comment can be given the scrutiny it deserves.

          4) As to your quote of my comment. Yes, when you want to pack the Supreme Court (not against the Constitution, but against all political norms over over 100 years), when you want to blow up the Senate the Electoral College, and every other norm in order to destabilize the system- making it ripe for the big tear down- YES, that is the ideology of a people who want to destroy the rule book and get rid of the Constitution and we know it. You not seeing that only makes your post even more shrill and bizarre.

          At the end of the day Tony, your side needs to be defeated so that the libertarians and the Conservatives can actually have a real conversation about freedom.

          In the 80’s and 90’s your side was invited to the table during that conversation because your side had much to say and much to be listened to about. However, your side now is anti-democratic, anti-free speech, and post-Constitution. And so it is incumbent on the libertarians to ally with Conservatives to defeat you so soundly that your like are forced to slink back to the hole you crawled out of.

          That way, we can have a conversation with the right about how best to exercise our rights and freedoms…..which your side rejects whole cloth.

          Unfortunately, and what your post makes clear, is your side must be defeated before that can happen.

          I hope you change your mind. Peace

          1. Tony’s evil. It’s a better use of time to send for an exorcist or a ghostbuster, than continue to engage him in good faith arguments.

            1. He’s not evil, he merely subsists on a diet of Rachel Maddow and Hillary Clinton Reddit threads. He can’t think outside the DNC box, and it’s sad really. Watching the modern DNC is like watching an aging used-to-be-cool movie actor who’s way past his sell-by date, convinced that the “kids” still adore him as he hawks cheap goods on Home and Garden TV.

              1. You just described the banality of evil.

              2. HGTV is one of the highest rated channels on cable. Those used-to-be-cool actors are schilling away on ESPN late at night during infomercial time.

                1. I really meant the Home Shopping Network, but I couldn’t think of what it was called.

        3. Democrats put up the most centrist possible milquetoast guy and you’re nevertheless convinced that this means the commies are even MORE powerful.

          Dude, the Democrats stole the primary from Bernie Sanders and shoved Biden down America’s throat because they were scared shitless he wouldn’t fly in flyover country. The Democrats wanted Sanders. At least Sanders is honest about his intentions. But that’s what Democrats want. Remember, AOC is “the future of the party.” Or was that just nonsense talk?

          Do you even listen to yourselves? Donald Trump is the keeper of American normalcy?

          No, he’s very definitely a brick thrown through the upscale front window of DC swamp creatures. But he’s exactly what we need right now. Those DC swamp creatures with their unconsitutional memos and “dear colleague” letters are tearing this country apart.

    2. Sad PTC


      Because the only way for libertarians is to become Republican. So this is the only way for an independent political movement to survive.

      Surrender. Surrender.

      Cheap trick that is.

      1. That actually isn’t the argument I’m making, and it wouldn’t even practically have that effect, Echospinner.

        I guess I’d like it to WW2, if I could use a clunky metaphor.

        We allied with the USSR to confront the more aggressive and, at that time, dangerous force in the world. It was an uneasy truce, but we had a job to do to make the world safe for our viewpoint.

        After the war, we said, “Ok, it was nice as your ally, and now we have to defeat you too.”

        Using YOUR logic, we’d all be communist right now. But we aren’t. We kept our values, we kept our ideology, we simply dealt with the most pressing threat at the time.

        Now, granted, I think we’d have a friendlier relationship with conservatives than the US had with the USSR (like I said, it’s a clunky metaphor). But the point here is that we never abandoned our values simply by allying with someone who had different values in order to oppose the more pressing threat.

        Leftism is the more pressing threat for libertarians because they want our ideological extinction….this isn’t even debatable. The right will certainly try to defeat us when this is over, but they are much more likely to do it underneath the construct of our Constitution and our values……in other words, it’s a winnable fight.

        Your trying to say I’m asking we all become Republicans, is a strawman.

      2. Wow, echospinner.
        You constantly advise submission to the left, and decry all attempts to fight back against them.
        You whine about Trump “authoritarianism”, then say it’s no big deal that Cuomo (D) shuts down synagogues because “Orthodox Jews don’t need synagogues”.
        You’re a fucking joke.

  19. My advice: veto everything. If some new law or bailout is really needed to save the country, both sides will agree and overrule you. Otherwise it’s just partisan posturing.

    1. And not just veto everything, but roll it back. More laws create more criminals unnecessarily. Bailouts don’t allow prices to work, and the bubbles are felt for generations.

      It is NOT good enough to veto- someone somewhere has to pressure Republicans in power (Libertarians when they achieve those gains) to actually go about the unraveling of all this rubbish.

      We have to break the ratchet and the ratchet effect that benefits leftists, and will in perpetuity.

      1. Remember “for every one new regulation, two must be eliminated”
        Funny how that’s never mentioned here.

  20. After a campaign marked by rancour and fear, the United States on Tuesday will decide between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, selecting a leader to steer a nation battered by a surging pandemic that has killed more than 231,000 people, cost millions their jobs and reshaped daily life.

  21. Not a word about Kamala?
    No mention of the deep state?
    You do know this is an historic election, don’t you?

  22. If the Democrats win the White House and the senate, the question won’t be whether they have a mandate. The question will be–who can stop them?

    If no one can stop them from bailing out the states and implementing the Green New Deal, what difference does it make if they do or don’t have a mandate?

    1. What’s packing the Supreme Court, chopped liver?

      1. That’s phase one of the Green New Deal

    2. We learned it by watching Mitch.

      1. Bullshit you democrats were playing that game for decades. Take your blinders off.

        1. The game of using the power that you have to achieve what you want?

        2. Never forget Sometimes Bad is Bad, that this started with Bork.

          And by the way, I’m generally against not allowing a President to have their SCOTUS nominees, for the same reason I’m generally against not allowing Presidents to have the cabinet officials they want.

          In an ideal world I’m also against an escalation in the arms race between parties that tears the nation apart.

          However, for too long the lefists have decided to play scortched earth on these kinds of things, while the GOP (and really, all non-leftists) have been weak about upsetting the apple cart in fighting back. There was no head taken to payback Bork; there was no head taken to pay back what happened to Clarence Thomas, there was no head taken to pay back for Miguel Estrada.

          Finally, the GOP decided to levy some street justice towards the leftists with Garland. I’m wasn’t THRILLED about it, but I also wasn’t shedding any tears.

          Id like Tony to name me a time, related to SCOTUS, where it was the GOP breaking norms first. If I’m wrong, I’ll gladly admit it. I’m not ally of Mitch of McConnell….God knows he’s not anywhere near pro-freedom enough for me. But you’re going to have to do better than gutter-snipe at Mitch for playing the game that Democrats began in the 80’s and 90’s.

    3. The deduction of state taxes from one’s federal returns is a sneaky and extremely pernicious policy.

  23. Is there gonna be an election night open thread? Since I don’t know how the future’s gonna go anymore, I’d like to shitpost about the election with all the people here.

    Except Kirkland. Fuck that guy until his jaw breaks.

    1. At least Kirkland is honest about who he is unlike sarc, chipper, jeff, wk, brandy, etc.

  24. You know who else declared a hyper-ideological mandate after winning a fractious election?

    1. Woodrow Wilson, our WORST president despite all the competition?

      1. Wilson, LBJ, Buchanan, Obama in that order, starting from worst

        1. Obama/Bush.
          Fair to give them a tie for 4th, though I’d say Obama was slightly worse.

  25. So, apparently none of us noticed (not even Reason) that Trump forced the Patriot Act to expire. He kept vetoing renewals and the last one got stuck in committee past the renewal deadline.

    1. On March 15, 2020, Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act—a surveillance law with a rich history of government overreach and abuse—expired. Along with two other PATRIOT Act provisions, Section 215 lapsed after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a broader set of reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

      fuck me.

      1. I can see why nobody covered that. March 15 was also when everything got shot straight to hell COVID-wise.

        1. So then, Trump really did start the pandemic to keep the Deep State from organizing support for the Super Patriot Act.

    2. Oh, wonder why we hadn’t heard about this.

      Glad we had him while we did.

    3. Reason was too busy pretending to be some sort of arbiter between the sins of the GOP and the sins of the DNC, nevermind the fact that the DNC is creating a world where Reason wouldn’t even be allowed to f*c*king exist.

      When the right is that level of threat (this isn’t the 40s anymore), someone find me and I’ll grab my pitchfork and go after then too. Until then, Reason, be better!

      1. By the way, I’m doing alot of Reason bashing and it is not because I dislike this side or magazine. In fact I quite like it alot and think it can be a valuable part of the ongoing freedom conversation. And that’s why it is annoying to see the strategic role they seem to have for themselves on these matters.

        They THINK they are doing the smart thing splitting the difference and trying to appeal to a cross section of people who might be otherwise turned off if it looked too much like a GOP rag.

        The problem with that of course, is that it is not staring the existential threat in the eyes and seeing it for what it is. And that’s frustrating because if Harris wins (I’m not even talking about Biden anymore because he’s a pointless Trojan Horse), if Harris wins I think there is a very real shot that between her, facebook, and twitter….Reason will be effectively deplatformed.

      2. I’m not going to dunk on Reason for this. It got NO coverage in the media at all, and these guys are on Twitter 24/7, which is the only way the media at large ever finds out about anything.

        Hell, I’m absolutely shocked that Trump didn’t even tweet on it. One of the most intrusive, authoritarian laws of our time goes out, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

        1. I think that’s fair, Red. The skeptical part of me thinks it was not covered here because Reason has a clear narrative as Trump as authoritarian (not unjustified, mind you, but the scale of it I think is misjudged). The skeptical part of me says it was not covered because it doesn’t fit the narrative on an issue CRITICAL to libertarians.

          I could very very much be wrong here. It is just a sense.

        2. I’m not. Trump’s a Republican, and the PATRIOT Act was more popular among Republicans than Democrats. He doesn’t want to piss off part of his base by laying claim to get rid of something hugely destructive to civil liberties that they support, especially if he wants to run on law-and-order.

          1. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. I doubt many delusional Trump haters would be won over by it, regardless of how much they disliked the Patriot Act. But it could have tempered the enthusiasm of some of the law and order Republican base. So best to just keep quiet about it.

            1. Red Tony, am I missing what the debate is about?

              My part of the debate isn’t about why Trump did it or didn’t do it. I was the right thing to do so I don’t care much why he did it. My part of the debate on this topic was why Reason didn’t cover it in a major way and give the guy credit….again, regardless of why.

              The debate about why HE isn’t hyping it I would say you’re probably on to something. That, however, isn’t an excuse for Reason to go light on the coverage. (And maybe they didn’t, maybe I missed a whole big thing on it…..happy to wrong here).

              1. My reply was to Red Rocks, specifically about him being surprised Trump didn’t tweet about it; I was offering my opinion on why he didn’t say anything.

                If I were to opine on why Reason said nothing (which I did upthread), it’s because mid-March is when all the COVID shit went nuts. Twitter wasn’t going to talk about it because COVID, left-wing media wouldn’t talk about it because COVID and their viewers might see it as a good thing Trump did, right-wing median wouldn’t talk about it because the right supported it more than the left did and they don’t want to shake faith in Trump, and Reason didn’t cover it because it wasn’t being talked about by anyone at all; they might not even have somebody covering the PATRIOT Act beat anymore, especially for what amounted to a paragraph-long press release.

                (Yes, I know it’s the death of the PATRIOT Act, but nobody had an incentive to talk about it, so Reason probably never heard about it.)

                1. I can buy that Red Tony.

          2. Trump’s a Republican

            Maybe, but until and unless he delivers on his campaign promise to put Hillary behind bars, I’m reserving judgement on that claim.


          3. Initially it was popular, but I suspect a good deal of them would have been fine with it going away at this stage. If the media thought that ending it would have hurt Trump with Republicans, they’d have broadcast it more than they did.

    4. I did not know that. Huh. From the wiki: “After President Donald Trump threatened to veto the bill, the House of Representatives issued an indefinite postponement of the vote to pass the Senate version of the bill; as of June 2020, the Patriot Act remains expired.[259]”

      Good. Should I be surprised I didn’t read about it here?

      1. I am. Even for the new Reason it’s low.

        1. It really is

      2. F- for the entirety of Reason staff. Not ONE of these idiots found this worthy to write about? God forbid they give Trump credit for anything. Vox Light is really depressing.

        1. And frankly, Jason, they wouldn’t even have to change coverage ALL that much. Just come out and say it:

          “Look, we disagree with authoritariasim on all sides, always. But at this moment in time the left is so regressive it is an existential threat to free speech and freedom generally. So our tone is not going to seek “balance” between the wrongs of both parties, but instead will focus on the threat where it is greatest. We’ll still take on Donald Trump, but we’re done trying to frame this as 2 equal threats to liberty. There’s the Democrat Party, then about a million space bar presses, THEN Donald Trump. And we’re going to cover news in this way until such time as the threats have equalized.”

          All your articles criticizing Trump would remain, but rather than a batch of stupid articles trying to show how both sides are equally bad, you would take each party on singularly on the issues, which will naturally lead to an anti-authoritarian leftism slant. And that’s GOOD. The left needs to be brought back to sanity and trying to show why Trump and Bernie are equal authoritarians (which isn’t even remotely accurate) isn’t helping.

        2. To be perfectly fair, it’s probably more that they never even heard about it than they just didn’t want to write about it. That still speaks volumes about their priorities.

  26. Report from PA (yes a real person):
    “On Saturday in my small hometown north of Philadelphia, a group of mostly older female Biden supporters, including my parents, were gathering in the borough park for their own road rally. A large group of Trump supporters soon showed up, brandishing assault rifles, and surrounded the cars while yelling abuse at them. They then proceeded ahead of the road rally to nearby small towns to intercept the cars as they arrived, again yelling and throwing objects at the vehicles.”

    Who are the thugs and terrorists now?

    1. Did everybody clap at the end?

    2. You haven’t seen it, lester the pussy.
      Keep lying.
      We’ll make your fantasies come true.

  27. Excuse me, but I thought a libertarian, one of those people who actually believe the government is oppression incarnate, would be happy to see electoral chaos, a crumbling of general consensus and the overthrow of democracy in favor of capitalism. That way, when the Marxists decide to make a comeback, the US will be weak as a kitten and tiny enough to fit Grover Norquist’s bloated behind in it.

    1. I think you’re confusing libertarian with anarchists. SOMETIMES, you have libertarians who are anarchists, but I think most libertarians understand you do need a bare bones government who’s job it is to protect your rights specifically BECAUSE it allow capitalism and freedom to flourish.

      So I don’t know where you’re going with this.

  28. If a politician feels that he has a mandate, then we have to acknowledge that the politician actually does have a mandate.

    This exactly the same thing as a person feeling they are a different person. The feelings are not only primary for that individual, they MUST be acknowledged by everyone else as reality. To do otherwise is violence.

  29. Ayn Rand claimed that Hitler didn’t talk Germany into fascism, he merely took all the worst beliefs and reinforced them, building a grassroots consensus, a tremendously strong national unity. Lincoln would have been very proud. That was his fundamental focus. He killed about a million Americans to achieve it. He rounded up thousands who criticized his goal and imprisoned them without due process, destroying their newspapers. Like YT, FB, TW, and the MSM, he repressed ideas he disliked. And the mobs cheered.
    Long live our glorious sovereign and his nobility. Pass the beer and chips, the games on.

  30. No. Trump absolutely does have a mandate. The Republicans have had a mandate to push back against the left’s vile behavior and incredible overreaches since 2008, but they ran Mitt Romneycare and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Trump is the American peoples’ middle finger to the left, and the more they run this insane coup attempt against him, the more it pisses us off, and the greater mandate he has.

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  32. Morning after election day:
    A Democratic House Rep. was already on Fox News this morning claiming a mandate because the Democrats hung on to the House. LOL

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