Reason Roundup

You Are Not Entitled to Libertarian Votes

Plus: protests, the Senate race, and more...


As the results of the 2020 presidential election remain unknown, partisans on both sides have begun casting about desperately for folks to blame. Latino voters for Trump have been getting a special amount of guff from Democrats. And both liberals and conservatives agree that third-party voters are a problem, which each side somehow convinced that those who cast their ballots for Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen are traitors who owed votes to either former Vice President Joe Biden or President Donald Trump.

As of yesterday morning, Jorgensen was pulling nearly 1.6 million votes, with her vote total beating the spread between Biden and Trump in several vital states.

In Georgia, Jorgensen has received nearly 60,400 votes, or 1.2 percent of the state's total. Currently, Trump is beating Biden in Georgia by fewer than 19,000 votes.

In Nevada—where Biden is currently beating Trump by less than one percent—Jorgensen has drawn about 1.4 percent of the vote.

In Wisconsin, Jorgensen has received more than 38,400 votes, or 1.2 percent. That's also more than the margin of votes by which Trump is losing Wisconsin to Biden.

And Jorgensen hovers around 1 percent in Michigan, where Biden is beating Trump by just about one percent.

Earning about 1.14 percent of the total U.S. vote, Jorgensen's total "marks a steep drop-off from Gary Johnson's 3.28 percent in 2016," notes Reason's Matt Welch. But she still earned the second-highest number of presidential votes in Libertarian history, beating "every other third-party and independent candidate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia" and "quintupling Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins' current total of 0.23 percent."

"Jorgensen has already easily bested Bob Barr's 523,713 votes in 2008 and Ron Paul's 431,750 in 1988," points out the Washington Examiner.

Alas, the fact that there are Libertarian voters who can't be persuaded to support either Democrats or Republicans seems wholly lost on a lot of people, who insist on imagining them solely as swing voters for one or the other of the ruling parties.

Republicans have been especially indignant about Jorgensen voters, as if it goes without saying that these people would have otherwise chosen Donald Trump.

"Libertarian voters could have swung the Electoral College by at least 22 votes by supporting Trump in battleground states Wisconsin, Michigan and Nevada," complained GOP strategist Ryan Cassin on Fox News yesterday. "By throwing away their votes, they've likely become spoilers for the Trump reelection effort."

It's a complaint that Libertarians are sadly used to—and, as always, it's a hollow one. The Trump administration and its allies have spent years growing the government, turning against free speech and free trade, and in some cases mocking the idea that libertarian-minded constituents are a part of their coalition. Yet come election time, they act baffled that Libertarians wouldn't want to lend this administration their support.

"If they're going to cry about the libertarian vote playing spoiler when they lose, then they either have an incentive to attract it with better candidates & policies, or they need to keep our names out of their mouths," suggests the libertarian journalist Hannah Cox. "They don't get to have it both ways."

Analyst Dennis Santiago told Fox News that "there very much is a note of irony" that Libertarian voters could help Biden and his "agenda of opposition to gun control, taxes, and socialized health care." Like many in the GOP, he seems to be harboring the delusion that Trump's terrible big government agenda should somehow be preferable to libertarians than Biden's terrible big government agenda. Libertarians are showing, once again, that we can and will reject both.

Here's how Libertarians have been reacting to the blame:

"Want Libertarians to vote for you? Try nominating someone who doesn't add trillions to the national debt, will actually end our foreign wars and bring the troops home, and believes the rights of all people are to be protected," tweeted the Libertarian Party on Wednesday evening. "Until then—as always—your tears are delicious."



• Biden needs only a few more electoral votes for the presidential race to be called in his favor.

• It looks like the Senate will stay controlled by Republicans, which has the benefit of hindering a potential President Biden's ability to get things done.

• The Trump campaign is trying desperately to still turn this in their favor, saying yesterday "that it would launch a legal blitz to try to halt vote-counting in Pennsylvania and Michigan, would seek a recount in Wisconsin," and would challenge "the handling of ballots in Georgia," The Washington Post reports.

• A lack of final results to protest hasn't stopped protesters in such spots as Portland and New York City:

• A Chris Hayes thread reminds Democrats that no one owes them or anyone else votes; start here: