Election 2020

'This Election Is a Joke,' Insists Libertarian-Leaning Congressman Andy Biggs

Post-election conspiracy-mongering demonstrates the limits of "libertarian populism."


There's a parlor trick that libertarians who interact with Capitol Hill sometimes play among themselves, and it usually goes something like this:

Besides the usual suspects—usually understood to be Reps. Justin Amash (L–Mich.) and Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) and Sens. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) and Mike Lee (R–Utah)—are there any good ones left?

"Let me give you a name of somebody who's come to Congress and really surprised us," Massie told me two years ago. "Andy Biggs from Arizona. If you see two No's on a bill; it's 428 to 2, the two No's will be most often me and Justin Amash. If you see three, it's now Andy Biggs. He's doing it on a constitutional basis. He recognizes when the Republicans are voting for bigger government, and he doesn't fall for it."

Biggs, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, has a 100 percent rating from the limited-government outfit FreedomWorks. He's a reliable vote against federal spending increases, against warrantless surveillance, and in favor of bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. He recently became the first GOP member of Congress to support declaring a formal end to the Korean War.

So how is Biggs taking President-elect Joe Biden's victory? By calling Republicans who acknowledge it "Neville Chamberlain's" (sic) who keep "feeding the totalitarian monster, hoping to be eaten last." Such florid language was not an outlier. Here's the top of Biggs's post-election piece for Townhall:

The fierce beast of the Left, the omnivorous viper of the Democrats, has been let loose. Every tyrant needs quislings. Unfortunately, there are appeasers even among Republicans. The 'useful idiots' of the Left are being eaten already; the appeasers will be next.

Those who demand grace from Trump supporters as we watch the nation stolen from us, deny the peril from a ravenous beast that will consume our freedoms and chain the American people.

The passage of days, and the repeated disintegration of the president's conspiracy theories upon contact with the legal system, did nothing to dull Biggs's Trumpian fervor. "This election is a joke," he declared in a video with Rep. Paul Gosar (R–Ariz.). Watch:

"FACT CHECK: Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar still touting baseless election-fraud claims," went the Arizona Republic headline (and please do click on the links therein before pre-emptively waving that conclusion away).

In a Washington Times piece Monday, Biggs made the improbable assertion that, "The foundation for the future that Mr. Trump laid appears to be so strong that the only way to defeat it is to lay waste to any vestige of Americanism and our institutions. And that includes resorting to cheating to try and disenfranchise more than 70 million voters."

Hyperbolic overselling of my-team Potency and their-team Evil is of course not uncommon in politics, even if it's a bit amusing coming from someone fond of using "Derangement Syndrome" as an insult. But Biggs's post-election performance can be read as a cautionary tale about the limits of what might be called "Libertarian Populism" within a Trumpified GOP.

Faced with a crude, big-government nationalist, some office-holding libertarian-leaners of a more temperate disposition—namely, Amash and former Sen. Jeff Flake—chose exit rather than continuing to lose arguments within and face voter hostility from without. Those who remained—Massie, Paul, Biggs—tend to derive visceral enjoyment from slinging the political bull and coloring outside the lines.

Paul and Massie are considerably more likely to ape Trump's language and selectively amplify his complaints about the Deep State, Fake News Media, and Swamp. And the House Freedom Caucus—co-founded by Amash!—has long since abandoned its original purpose as a check on executive power in favor of running Trump-protection, even to the distraction of holding the line on spending.

To the extent that there will be any libertarian values in a post-Trump GOP, they will be transmitted via Twitter-firehose from populists like Biggs: anti-war and anti-mask ("Seeing Fauci & Birx at the White House podium yet again brings back months of memories of their work to destroy American freedom and our society as we knew it," he tweeted this week), pro-border wall and pro-Section 230-rewrite.

The congressman's career arc in the age of Trump has drawn some negative reviews. "The descent of U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs into becoming just another partisan brawler has been painful, and disappointing, to watch," concluded Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb. "Biggs has the talent, and had the opportunity, to be more than that." More from Robb:

As president of the Arizona Senate, Biggs was the most influential state legislator since Burton Barr, the House majority leader for two decades, from 1966 to 1986….

In Congress, he became a public thought leader for conservatives….His commentary was forceful and sometimes biting. But it had some intellectual depth and focused mostly on substantive policy issues. It was generally more ideological than partisan, serving as much to influence the Republican position as to skewer the Democrats.

But: "With the defeat of Trump in the presidential election, Biggs has gone around the bend."

Biggs, obviously, has a different interpretation: that Trumpism is just getting started, bay-bee. From his Washington Times column:

While the left-wing media apparatus is giddy because to them the election looks like a smackdown of Mr. Trump, they are missing the fact that the president has remodeled the Republican Party and built an infrastructure that can be quite enduring. In fact, it is ironic that the Trump Party is emerging as the most potent force in American politics. It overcame seemingly endless amounts of money for its opponents, a cacophony of hateful media coverage and censorship of its message, and ultimately, what appears to be systemic cheating.

I wish Biggs all the success in the world in persuading the GOP to be more anti-war, anti-surveillance, and anti-spending. And I hope those values are not discredited by their association with partisan conspiracy-mongering.

NEXT: As Trump's Election Conspiracy Theories Get Crazier, Some Republicans Are Finally Backing Away

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

    1. I am now making more than 350 dollars per day by working online from home without investing any money.Join this link posting job now and start earning without investing or selling anything.

      Follow Instructions Here……… Home Profit System

      1. [ PART TIME JOB FOR USA ] Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are much better than regularA office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
        on this page…….CLICK DOLLER 666

  1. >>I wish Biggs all the success in the world in persuading the GOP to be more anti-war, anti-surveillance, and anti-spending.

    which GOP? the elected people and the voting people are not the same party.

    1. (Because the Democrats are a lost cause. Not that Welch is ever going to show the same sort of ‘concern’ over that party’s behaviors.)

      1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new after 5 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier So i try use.
        Here’s what I do……. WORK24HERE

  2. TDS is real and strikes both sides. The refusal by some Reason writers to acknowledge that Trump did good in some things (judges, Title IX, minor anti-regulations, not starting wars) and to constantly whine about his rude crude manners is telling. The funny thing about the manners complaints is that anyone with half a brain can see that personality is the only possible way to judge any candidate, because no one candidate ticks all the right policy boxes; yet these writers pretend their hatred of Trump is because of his policies while all they really whine about is his manners.

    One of the Volokh Conspirators actually complained that Trump’s spending is worse than Biden’s, presumably because Biden hasn’t had four years to spend anything yet. TDS is a real thing.

    1. Sure, Trump has done some good, but he’s trying to set himself up as a dictator who’s above the law. Incompetently, it’s true, because he really needed Bannon around for guidance on how best to do that.

    2. You #DATS are amazing, appointing judges? Several of his appointees were determined to be totally unqualified, but who cares. After all of #MoscowMitch’s obstruction during the previous admin, there was always going to be a plethora spots to fill. Regulations, like allowing non-fiduciary investment brokers & paying the extra 1/4 pt to the MIP co’s, more dumping in rivers, awesome! The list of failures for the impeached #POUTINGpotus is endless; the most successful thing this #CRIMINALinCHIEF did was pad his own pockets.

      1. Did it occur to you in your rambling, incoherent paragraph that nobody gives a shit about the points you raised?

  3. I see the pro-war pro-tax and pro-lockdown left authoritarian libertarians are out in force today. See you in the reeducation camp Welch, and no you won’t be one of the cool kids there either.

  4.  “partisan conspiracy-mongering.”

    Democrats are well represented among the hundreds of witnesses who have signed affidavits for the ongoing and impending voter fraud lawsuits. But you would know that if your TDS didn’t override whatever journalistic integrity you have left.

    1. Posted a link erier where even 30% of democrats think something fraudulent happened. This election fails almost all sniff tests and statistical tests.

      1. Gee, this is the same rhetoric that the #POUTINGpotus used to describe his “popular vote loss” to Hillary. The #POUTINGpotus established a voting fraud commission to prove he won the popular vote and then secretly disbanded it after Kobach couldn’t find any fraud. for the last 3 yrs, #MoscowMitch has blocked every “Election Security” measure, saying that it was the state’s responsibility and that there was no need to spend the money, but now your all crying just like our #POUTINGpotus – you #DATS (#DumbAssTrumpSupporters) really are a special breed of intellectually inept Americans.

  5. “FACT CHECK: Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar still touting baseless election-fraud claims,” went the Arizona Republic headline (and please do click on the links therein before pre-emptively waving that conclusion away).

    You actually expect people to click on a link, read that article, then click on a bunch of other links and read them before forming an opinion?

    What a fag…

  6. Another looney to add to the pile. Never in short supply from the Rs. Fox News viewership down 40% from election night because all the nuts are moving to even further right BS that just lets them live in an alternate reality where they don’t have to admit people hate their POS orange king.

    1. try sunlight.

    2. Duh, whose viewership doesn’t go down from an election night?!

    3. Yes indeed. Ain’t America great? I think diehard Trumpistas grossly underestimate just how deep and widespread (and ideologically diverse) anti-Trump feeling is, and that they’re just not going to get to keep Mad King Don.

      1. Try getting out of your Democrat-controlled hellhole. It will look like a whole different country.

        1. Huh. I live in a beautiful close-in suburb in a beautiful state, and my grandfather was a homesteader in MT, where my cousins continue to thrive (and then some). Got family all over this great land in both rural and urban areas. Don’t need to go anywhere (and ain’t going anyway).

          1. “Don’t need to go anywhere”

            Exactly the kind of closed minded attitude I’ve come to expect from the left.

  7. Detroit, Philly, Milwaukee, and Atlanta are all models of government conducted with openness and integrity that the rest of the country should aspire to.

    Thus its impossible that they did anything to cook the ballots

    1. Would Twitter flag this as misleading? Does their software include a sarcasm detector?

    2. Nothing says fair and free elections like threatening to sue for any audits.

      Again, any and every libertarian should be asking for auditable elections. Those that aren’t are just happy with the election results. Keep denying actual laws were violated such as Pa discarding mail in envelopes when required to keep them for 2 years. Ignore the huge rejection rate changes from 3% to almost 0 even though hundreds of thousands of new people voted by mail for the first time, and the same primary elections had rates in the 20s. Ignore the huge leaps in 95% pro biden batches that make most dictators blush.

      1. Well, that’s what happens when you have the following conditions: i) a months-long disinformation campaign by Trump to set up The Big Lie concerning “ballots”; ii) a deliberate effort by Trump to disable and dismantle the USPS; iii) a deliberate effort by the state Legislature to create chaos by not permitting the millions of mail-in ballots cast (including mine) to be processed in any way until Election Day; and iv) a continuing disinformation campaign concerning The Big Lie of a “stolen election” by Trump, unethical members of Congress, as well as our disgusting state Legislature.

        Source: Me, a Libertarian, state certified poll monitor.

        1. “Source: Me, a Libertarian, state certified poll monitor.”

          THIS ladies and gentleman, is what’s wrong with this country. How many times did YOU vote?

    3. Selma, Albuquerque, Youngstown, Poughkeepsie, Gary…all models of government.

      1. “Chicago here, Kronstadt there,
        Arrogant government everywhere!
        They all meet at Tienanmen Square,
        Too well, we know!” — Leslie Fish

    4. I don’t think you know all that much about those individual municipal governments.

      So what ever could you be referring to?

    5. Ahhhh. You don’t like it when black people vote. Understood.

    6. Blah, blah, blah. When is any government a model of “openness and integrity”? That’s not what governments are. If you want to play a round of “find the corruption” I can give you ample examples from “red” and “blue” jurisdictions. Oh, and as already noted on another thread… there are plenty of corruption convictions, few regarding voter fraud or election tampering anywhere. But, hey, don’t let me stop you from re-inking the rubber stamp.

  8. We are literally on the precipice and reason is just telling us to go along to get along, fight another day. What if there is no other day, and within 2 years democrats having consolidated their majority go on to enact their plans. Is reason believing they will give up that power and that some party of republicans or libertarians will be able to roll it back?

    History says otherwise. But if you want to give up and hope for some future person or party to stand against the bulwark of collectivism that is rising in this country, well you may be disappointed there.

    1. 4 years of Russian collusion here. Not even 2 weeks of asking to validate the election.

      1. Get ready for 4 more years.

      2. And now that GA’s Republican Sec of State has certified the results, you’ll just insist that he is in on “the scam” too. Then after Trump asks for yet another recount of the newly-certified results and loses again, you’ll call that a fraud too. Then when that doesn’t work you’ll advocate for the night-before-the-EC-vote replacement of the electors to ones who are willing to vote Trump despite the certified results. This will NEVER end.

      3. HOnestly if all Trump asked for was that, this whole discussion would be different. Screaming at the top of one’s lungs for literally years that EVERYTHING is “fake/scam/fraud/rigged/lyin/cheatin” and filing dozens of lawsuits that can’t even make it past the first stage of review is not the same as “he just wants to make sure the elction is conducted fairly.” It’s more like ” he will never stop screaming that everything is fraud and his supporters have been conditioned to believe it.” PLEASE for the sake of sanity stop pretending you are just “patiently asking for a normal verification process” because it’s not, he’s not and you’re not.

        1. It all has been.
          Literally all you’ve done for years is make fraudulent claims and otherwise lie.
          May you receive just retribution.

          1. Who is the “you” in that assertion?

      4. I’m totally in favor of “validating” the election. So far 30 or so litigation bites at the apple have produced evidence of zero, zip, bupkus, fraud. Listen to Rudy’s rambling “argument” in federal court last week where he was forced to admit to the judge that he wasn’t alleging fraud. SAD!

  9. ‘This Election Is a Joke,’ Insists Libertarian-Leaning Congressman Andy Biggs

    I don’t hear anybody laughing.

    (OK, Tony, the chess piece, and the Rev; but they laugh at everything)

  10. This is some funny stuff. I can’t remember any election giving me as much entertainment value as this one. I’ve been old enough to vote in 11 elections and have never seen such a thing as trump is doing now. Those on the left are on the edge of their seats for Biden and those on the right for Trump. But I must admit. I’ve never in my life seen any president act a fool like trump has. Either he just has far more intelligence and masculinity that most presidents, or he is the biggest embarrassment of an excuse for a man that the world has ever seen. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. Ha!!!

    1. It’s the latter, and that’s why those of us who might have voted for a libertarian candidate in another election cycle voted for Biden as the least bad alternative in this cycle. The libertarian “swing vote” in PA, for example, swung for Biden (depriving Jo Jorgensen of about half the votes that went libertarian in 2016) and kept the Mad King out. I can’t share your view that this is “funny” unless you mean grotesque and dangerous ….

    2. spot on

  11. Post Editor: “Look, Bernstein, I want you and Woodward to stop investigating these BASELESS CLAIMS that President Nixon had anything at all to do with a couple of crooks breaking into the DNC office in the Watergate. The claims are UNSUBSTANTIATED and I don’t want you to waste another minute on this CRAZY CONSPIRACY.”

  12. They’re not going to certify the election. They have to prepare the Arizonians.

    1. Funny stuff. Maricopa has certified and the rest of the state will too. The moral of the story I think? Don’t crap on American heroes like John McCain.

      1. Don’t crap on American heroes like John McCain.

        You forgot to update your shill talking points for the libertarian message board. He’s not all that popular around these parts.

      2. McCain got a lot of innocent people killed over the years. Fuck that warmonger.

        Doing something heroic in Vietnam (not disputing that) does not make him immune to criticism over his decades of evil as a politician.

  13. Reason needs to get their editors out of large cities and live in real america. They need to understand libertarianism is a stout defense of our natural rights but that means a strong nation state and sorry abortion isn’t a federal right to decide. Matt rarely talks of what brought so many to the cause..monetary policy, fiscal policy, war and the even growing big tech/wall street/academic elites at war with salt of the earth Americans. I”m sure Matt like your so called “science editor” has nothing but contempt for Tom Massie..look up his bio..or Rand Pauls..they actually have critical reasoning skills. Reason is becoming just a place liberal “wokes” who can’t get a gig at NYT or WAPO go to earn a living.. Supply and demand push pros into pretending to be real libertarians..sad Matt very very sad…

    1. Large cities are “Real America” and their taxes fund your so-called “salt of the earth Americans” who actually suck up massive subsidies and “socialism” they like if it goes to white people (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, etc). One way of looking at this is that big cities are actually far more libertarian, and would be totally self-sufficient if they didn’t have to make welfare/pork barrel payments to the so-called “salt of the earth.” Personally, I think it’s time for these subsidies to end, and for residents of big cities to stop paying federal taxes.

      1. “big cities are actually far more libertarian”

        You…are…insane. And I’ll bet you vote more than once, too. SMH

    2. First, fuck the entire notion of a “strong nation.” That’s just a bullshit line of argument for a strong government… and the stronger the government, the greater the erosion of personal liberty. Second, fuck “salt of the earth Americans.” As noted by Enness, America is one big transfer payment system from wealthy coastal areas to welfare-tit-sucking flyover states. Eliminate the vast system of ag subsidies, wait five years, and tell me about the backbone of America. Third, fuck Rand Paul. Just because he has a couple of libertarian impulses doesn’t make him worth a shit. That’s a fair criticism of Reason. They have kissed Rand Paul’s ass because he’s less odious than most politicians.

  14. The “Left Libertarians” that populate Reason magazine will happily get aboard the cattle cars as long as you promise them that they can spoke pot on the way to the re-education camps.

  15. Trump cultists have a terrible time sticking to the argument that the election was illegally stolen. This “ravenous beast” language is awfully peculiar considering the claim is a vast, but specific, crime.

    Often when they try to explain why they need to delegitimize this election, they start mentioning a bunch of supposed qualities and policy positions of Democrats.

    Obviously that’s irrelevant. If Democrats won fairly, then they get the consequent power to enact what they want to enact, blood sucking and all.

    If the objection is mainly to losing the election, and not to any crime someone committed, then how about you fuck off and stop trying to overturn democracy because it didn’t give you what you wanted.

    1. Stop fucking gaslighting, nobody is doing that except the voices in your head.

      1. Methinks thou knowest not the meaning of “gaslighting.”

  16. Do you want to earn cash online from your living room, easily work with a laptop for a few hours a day, earn 550-650 euros a day and get paid every week by deciding on your working hours? it is all true and completely changed my life. Then try this Here is More information.

  17. After 4 years of physiological warfare against Trump, which started with “impeach him” even before he was sworn in. After four years of libel and slander, threats of harm and death, lies, and an ill considered, fake and illegal attempt to remove a sitting president, the Democrats, who orchestrated it all, wonder why said President would be a bit paranoid about “election irregularities”. I am not.

    1. Oh, poor, poor Trumpy. The same Trumpy who screamed “birtherism” against Obama. His widdle feewings are hurt?

    2. Physiological warfare? So it was a liberal death ray that turned him orange?

  18. I have found it very helpful to wait until judges and lawyers has over the evidence and then publish conclusions in the form of court decisions. Allowing the press to conduct Stalinist show trials on critical issues like the allegations of voter fraud distracts from the real issues at hand. Arizona Republic ceased to be a credible source when Jack Casserly left a few decades ago.

  19. Cults have likely existed throughout history and in my time I remember, Rev. Moon, Jim Jones, Scientology to name a few. I suspect most people start in a cult looking for something and some point give over control to an individual. So I understand people’s feelings in looking for a new direct in the 2016 election. What I find harder to understand is the change that now takes place and fidelity to a leader. It is one thing to vote for person and other to challenge the results of the election based on little other that leaders claim of fraud. So where and why has the change taken place? It is as if a person ideas and views are less important that their support of Trump. That we are less concern about our local leaderships commitment to our city, county or state and more concerned about their support of the President. I do not see this ending well.

  20. It’s doing to fun, in about two months, watching the Reason crew start to whine about the Biden administration they did everything they could to elect.

    1. The astrology page of the local newspaper has more influence in deciding elections than Reason. Seriously, it kind of a libertarian thing to bitch about all politicians.

  21. Why are so many people opposed to making sure every legal vote is counted?
    Americans, overall, are just a bunch of lazy welfare rats.

  22. Voting for people who will have the authority to initiate violence is self-sacrifice, self-enslavement, surrender to collectivism, e.g., socialism. I thank the elected who restrain themselves from violating rights, e.g., Ron Paul, aka, Dr. No, a man of principle among lost souls.
    Is the election result important? No! The fact the majority believe in the politics of force over reason is potentially life threatening, “The Most Dangerous Superstition”. Don’t forget it, voluntarists.

  23. In the past four years, Trump, Biggs and many other Republicans have been more libertarian than the writers and editors at Reason, who trashed Trump daily, rarely criticized Biden, and joined with Twitter and Facebook to censor important info about the Biden family corruption with China and other countries, including Hunter’s laptop.

    Such a shame.

    1. I wish we could upvote comments. Yours would be at the top.

  24. It is very frustrating to see how many libertarians are referring to Joe Biden as “President Elect”. He is the presumptive winner and I can’t imagine Trump with “find” the votes needed to overturn the result. But the election has not been certified and the term “President elect” has a specific legal definition in Constitutional law. You cannot rightfully call yourself or others president elect until the electoral college convenes in December.

  25. This comment is silly. We have for all my lifetime referred to the presumed winner as the President Elect. To stand on technicalities at this point is being vindictive. As you noted in your comments there is little to suggest the results will be different on December 14th when EC meets or on January 8th when Congress ratifies the results. So calling Joe Biden President Elect is appropriate.

  26. He is the presumptive winner and I can’t believe Trump with “find” the votes had to overturn the result. But the election has not been certified and the term “President elect” has a selected felony definition in Constitutional law.


  27. Amash and Flake both major Libertarian disappointments. Amash voted for impeachment based on abuse of power, violation of 4th Amendment rights to members of the Trump campaign. Where was he on defending the constitution? As for Flake he was nothing but a phony Libertarian, self serving, thought he was more important than he was, he did not resign because he wanted to resign. He did because the voters had enough of his BS and he had zero chance of reelection.

  28. I think you bashing trump every single time is silly, never seen you talk about Biden corruptions.

    Well, I’m out here listening to my highlife jams from https://www.justhighlife.com getting nostalgic because I’m too old for this shii

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.