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Free Minds & Free Markets

The New Future of Libertarian Politics

Can the Libertarian Party make good on Robert Sarvis' surprising showing in the Virginia governor's race?

Robert Sarvis, a former tech entrepreneur and lawyer involved with the free-market think tank Mercatus, won a surprising amount of the vote as the Libertarian Party’s candidate in last week’s Virginia governor’s race—6.6 percent, or around 145,000 votes.

That was the third largest vote percentage any Libertarian has ever won for any governor’s race. The two who did better, Dick Randolph in Alaska in 1982 and Ed Thompson in Wisconsin in 2002, had, unlike Sarvis, held elective office in their states before. Sarvis copped the best third party result for any party in the South for a gubernatorial candidate in 40 years.

Many Republicans reacted to Sarvis’ strong showing, combined with Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s narrow defeat by Democrat Terry McAuliffe, with accusations that Sarvis caused Cuccinelli’s loss.

The resulting bad feelings have caused schisms within the roughly conceived “liberty movement” in the Virginia area. The Republican Liberty Caucus and both Ron and Rand Paul supported Cuccinelli, and consequently many of the people associated with the Paul campaigns and Paulite groups such as Campaign for Liberty are heating up social networks and real relationships. “There’s a lot of friction between libertarian Republicans and the Libertarian Party,” says Virginia state LP chair Chuck Moulton. “A few friendships were lost. People are very angry at each other.”

Said bad feelings—the Sarvis campaign and the national LP both report a heavy wave of hate calls and emails in the past week—are based on some misunderstandings.

The first is blaming Sarvis for Cuccinelli losing, presuming that naturally Republicans rightfully own the votes of all believers in liberty and smaller government (despite Cuccinelli’s social conservatism). The Federalist website has the most thorough summation of the data that proves that notion totally wrong in this case, noting:

Sarvis received only 6.5 percent of total votes cast, he received 15 percent support from 18 to 29-year-olds, not an age group that traditionally supports Republicans….Sarvis received only 3 percent of votes from self-described conservatives, but he garnered the support of 7 percent of liberals (McAuliffe won this demographic by 85 points) and 10 percent of moderates….(McAuliffe won this group by 22 percent). Liberals were more than twice as likely as conservatives to support Sarvis.

Most of Sarvis’ supporters came from ideological groups — liberals and moderates — that overwhelmingly supported McAuliffe…..

Exit polls show that if Sarvis were not in the race, McAuliffe would almost certainly have won by a larger margin than he did.

A second reason many “liberty movement” types hate Sarvis is a story that broke the morning of the election in The Blaze which claimed Sarvis was a deliberate Democratic Party plant meant to help McAuliffe win the election. The state LP chair suspects the accusation was coordinated with the Cuccinelli campaign. Moulton says he heard reports from various precincts across the state that Republicans around the polling places were armed with the story just as it broke. See above for how silly that would make the Democrats look if the accusation were true: Sarvis' presence in the race hurt McAuliffe, by all available evidence, more than it hurt Cuccinelli.

This conspiracy theory is extremely unlikely not just because it would've been a counterproductive strategy for Democrats. The idea that Sarvis was a Democrat plant is based entirely on the fact that the Libertarian Booster PAC, run by longtime Texas LP man Wes Benedict (who currently serves as executive director of the national LP), gave a bit over $11,000 toward getting Sarvis on the ballot. And that PAC, in turn, received $150,000 from Texas software entrepreneur Joe Liemandt. Liemandt and his wife, in turn, have both also donated six-figure amounts to the Obama campaigns. But Liemandt was no carpetbagger swooping onto the LP; he has also given high five figures to the Libertarian National Committee since 2009, and $100,000 to the Libertarian Action PAC in April 2012. I was unable to reach Liemandt, but sources close to the LP say that the Democratic Party is far more his wife’s interest than his. Besides, as others close to the campaign point out, wealthy businessmen often think big political giving to big political players is a necessary fact of life.

Benedict and Sarvis both deny that Liemandt played any part in either Sarvis’s decision to run or the PAC’s decision to fund him. If Sarvis was intended to help ensure a Cuccinelli defeat, it’s curious that the PAC Liemandt funded and supposedly manipulated gave such a petty amount to the hugely outspent Sarvis, and that they didn’t pick a candidate who would appeal more to likely Cuccinelli voters rather than one who stressed a civil liberties and tolerance message designed to appeal more to Democrats disaffected by McAuliffe’s sleazy reputation.

Chris Stearns, a 26-year-old liberty movement member of the state Republican Party's central committee, worked briefly for Cuccinelli’s campaign, and considered him a worthy liberty candidate even though he disagreed with Cuccinelli on things such as sodomy laws and gay marriage (neither of which a governor would have unilateral power to change anyway, as libertarians for Cuccinelli would point out). But Stearns understands and respects those who feel they need to pursue liberty activism through the LP, and thinks Cuccinelli should have been open to letting Sarvis in the debates. “I think we can easily survive some bitterness and bad blood among a few of us” in the larger liberty movement, Stearns says. He doesn’t think the Sarvis vs. Cuccinelli brouhaha will affect the progress of Ron Paul types in the Virginia GOP; “the vast majority of those supporting Sarvis never operated within the infrastructure of the Republican Party anyway.”

Sarvis came to the LP not through the machinations of the Democratic Party, but by being a disaffected former GOP candidate for state Senate in 2011. Moulton remembers attending meetings of the state’s Republican Liberty Caucus back then and “my impression was that they are misnamed; they are more like the Republican Fiscally Conservative Caucus, because they didn’t seem to care so much about social issues. I asked each candidate in a Q and A about those issues and Sarvis stood out as the only truly libertarian candidate there.”

Moulton tried and failed to talk Sarvis into a 2012 LP run for Congress, but when the LP and the Libertarian Booster PAC were both looking for a candidate for governor who could afford to help finance his own ballot access and race—the state Party was down to only around $5,000 in the leadup to getting a candidate on the ballot—Sarvis stepped up.

His surprising vote total followed even more surprising and overly optimistic polling that occasionally had him above 10 percent. His team ran a professional media contact operation and managed to get more earned media than almost any other state-level libertarian candidate ever, winning genuine respect for his seriousness from many local papers and TV stations. Being so close to D.C. national media, he got big national play as well.

That national media led to his third big problem with liberty movement types: an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC where the very cool and cerebral Sarvis answered questions about health care reform and taxes not with ringing calls to end Medicaid and cut all taxes, but with measured and wonky responses about the market interventions that make medical care more expensive, and about the importance of cutting spending rather than only talking tax cuts.

This led National Review to declare misleadingly that Sarvis wanted to expand Medicaid and did not want to cut taxes, although his website lists various taxes he wants to cut, including the Car Tax, the Machine & Tools tax, Merchants' Capital tax, and other business taxes. He wrote on his website of “[e]liminating, or dramatically reducing, the income tax…Reforming property taxes by excluding, or lowering the rate applied to, improvements to land."

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  • crazyfingers||

    Let's be serious, there is no "future" of Libertarian politics, although I'm sure the establishment would love libertarians to spend another 4 decades staying on the sidelines and irrelevant.

  • Bruce Majors||

    2016 - Campaign for Liberty lawyers work to keep Libertarian candidates off the ballot in states rich with Electoral College votes in order to protect the Christie-Rand ticket.

  • bassjoe||

    The reaction from the Republican establishment was... unsurprising.

    What will be surprising is if people who are inclined to support Libertarians (or other third parties) say "STFU" to these accusations from the party establishments and continue to vote for whomever they want.

    But let's be honest: the American political system is institutionally designed to screw third parties and keep in place the duopoly that's been in power since the 1860s (an amazingly long time when you think about it). Anything -- anything -- that could even the playing field even a little bit is fought tooth and nail by the duopoly.

  • Bruce Majors||

    The Libertarian Party is irrelevant, with their growing percentage of the vote. They should not be so rude and stop forcing me to talk about them. I'm busy working to get Rand Paul elected Vice President, so he will finally have a vote I. The Senate!

  • DarrenM||

    Look again in 5 years. Sarvis used the LP to get his face out front. Now with the recognition he can claim a place in the Democratic Party and learn to toe the line like a good soldier.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Hey Rand Paul (On Hannity radio) just said he wanted more Medicaid for people with really expensive illnesses, in conjunction with expanded health savings accounts, as a replacement for Obamacare.

    I thought the Rand and Ron Paul people claimed Sarvis did that and that it was bad?

    I guess I need to re-read my Orwell to figure this out.

  • Redmanfms||

    I thought the Rand and Ron Paul people claimed Sarvis did that and that it was bad?

    More, "Hey, look over there!!"

    I guess I need to re-read my Orwell to figure this out.

    No, you need to put the tu quoque bullshit to bed and stop acting like every critic of the asshats in the LP are fucking Paultards.

  • optimusratiostultum||

    Biggest problem libertarians have is low/no info voters going into the polls to hit D or R for their "team" so that they will "win".

  • Tony||

    Damn that Pavlovian practical thinking.

  • JeremyR||

    And that's the same problem Libertarians have - they will vote for a L just to feel good about voting for their "team", as opposed to trying to get libertarian leaning candidates in the other parties.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Lots of LP people do both.

  • Outside the Box||

    Why do libertarians here keep talking about libertarians and "office", when libertarianism is incompatible with Statism altogether?

  • PaulW||

    Libertarianism isn't opposed to Senators, Congressmen, or Governors, bro. It is about severely limiting their power on the basis of liberty and our Constitution, which is one of the most powerful libertarian documents ever created (If you "interpret" it in it's spirit).

    Libertarianism isn't anarchy. People who think such irritate me.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Grow up. Many Libertarians and libertarians are anarchists. Get over it. We will work with you minarchists if you want, based on principle, but we do not concede your moral or practical high ground.

    Fuck the state. Fuck it hard and repeatedly, with vigor and enthusiasm, frequently and at length. Fuck the state, and the central bank it rode in on.

  • Redmanfms||

    Why do libertarians here keep talking about libertarians and "office", when libertarianism is incompatible with Statism altogether?

    Not all libertarians are anarchists.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Being underfunded is a bigger problem. Those voters switch to Libertarian when they know its an option. Sarvis spent $3 a vote, Cucinelli spent $14, McAwful $21.

  • JeremyR||

    You mean being bankrolled by Democratic bundlers so as to serve as spoilers in close races? That's a great future there...aim high!

  • Christophe||

    It's like you didn't read the article at all. Did you?

  • Bruce Majors||

    GOPsters including Paulistas showed themselves to be amoral and idiotic in this race. And impotent.

  • cavalier973||

    What the LP needs is a socially conservative candidate who can explain why the government is harmful to social conservatism.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    So basically Ron/Rand Paul?

  • Thomas O.||

    As long as they can keep a "live and let live" attitude and not harp on video games, pop music, gays and pore-no, I'll be happy with that.

  • cavalier973||

    They might harp on it, but reject government "solutions".

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Wait, you think Virginia is still in "The South"?

  • wwhorton||

    I thought the same thing. I live in central Maryland, and it wasn't too long ago that my city was considered a "Southern" city. If we lost it, damn sure Alexandria and Fairfax don't count anymore, either.

  • Bruce Majors||

    They kept then non-white candidate with the black wife out of the debates, didn't they?

  • Christophe||

    The LP's thankless job is to add signal to protest votes. As much as I'd like it to actually have a shot at taking office, it's not in the cards for the near future.

    What it does wonderfully is give the 2 big parties evidence that there are votes to be had by courting the libertarian position. That may or may not actually result in them becoming more libertarian, but it's certainly sending them a clearer message than the 1/2 of the country that doesn't vote (Who knows what those guys want?).

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Sorry, if the Tea Party movement wasn't liberty-oriented enough for you guys to vote Republican, you're unobtainable. As is obvious at this point, there are very powerful elements in the GOP that are spitting mad about the TP having any power at all, and are about to bring their anger to bear in the most forceful way imaginable. You've already seen as much courtship as you're going to get.

    Good luck getting the Dems to "court libertarian positions" and piss off the labor unions, trial lawyers, welfare dependents, and federal bureaucrats that make up their base.

    The only message you're sending is that your vote is unobtainable. So you will logically be ignored.

  • Christophe||

    The TP isn't some united front, we both know just how much what it stands for varies by region/candidate. I certainly wouldn't call Cuccinelli liberty oriented. If you actually think he's the best the GOP can do, we're all fucked anyway.

    I wasn't taking potshots at the Repubs. The point is that winning over the libertarians (beyond the ones that actually held their noses and voted for them) in Virginia, could have sealed the victory for them. Maybe they'll try harder next time, maybe not. Depends how much they'd alienate their other supporters. But it's entirely a good thing that they know this vote is there for the taking..

  • Bruce Majors||

    They seem to be too stupid to learn.

  • Bruce Majors||

    There are lots of jurisdictions, like DC and northern Virginia, where voters will never vote for the tea party, Ron Paul or Rand Paul. In fact, Paulistas working the polls for Cuccinelli in northern Virginia have reported to me that they were so rudely verbally abused by voters that the Democratic local candidates and poll watchers actually apologized to them for how rude the voters were. LP candidates do not have as much baggage to worry about in these jurisdictions.

  • NCFisher||

    Yes, we're aware of the coming apocalypse and welcome it. The problem is, The GOP isn't running a surplus of voting support. If being slightly preferable to Democrats is their best, we can burn their little fiefdom down by simply staying home if necessary. We'll see if their scary, implacable anger gets them over the hump.

    Gentlemen, place your bets.

  • BLEEDINELL||

    Until candidates with real libertarian values can rise to the top of our two party system, running as a libertarian is a fools errand, and as recent facts illustrate, subject the libertarian candidates to being pawns for the other two parties to play with.
    The future of libertarianism lies not in the political spectrum, but with people. When the common sentiment can be swayed to accept decent values, only then can libertarian policies be successful.

  • Outside the Box||

    "Libertarian policies" is an oxymoron, since libertarianism is incompatible with Statism.

  • wwhorton||

    Libertarianism is not anarchism. The official LP platform is probably best described as minarchist. There'd still be government, ergo there'd still be policies.

  • Thomas O.||

    "Libertarianism is incompatible with Statism" =/= "Libertarianism is anarchy". The way I see it, anyway.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    The official LP platform and Statement of Principles are ambiguous as to anarchy vs minarchy, by design. This allows both ideologies to coexist in the same party.

  • wwhorton||

    I've felt this to be the case for some time, but it doesn't stop me from voting LP when there's a candidate. People in this forum bitching about LP being a protest vote and handing government over to the Dems a.) do so in the face of evidence to the contrary, and b.) assume we're playing a single-round game. If you look at each election in isolation, then yeah, it doesn't make sense to vote LP. If you look at politics over decades, any time you don't vote LP you're setting the process back.

    Part of the way you change the culture is through talking to people, getting people to engage in some political/economic analysis, changing minds, that sort of stuff. But part of that is also keeping the LP visible, and that happens by getting LP candidates on ballots and voting for them. Sometimes that means getting a Libertarian elected Chief Assistant Dogcatcher and calling it a big win. But this isn't about one big hail Mary like the Reps in the forum seem to think. This is all about building on small successes over the long term.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Individual votes for ANY party have no effect. It's all the phenomena around a campaign that make some voters discuss ideas of which they otherwise would remain unaware. And the established parties have almost no ideas.

  • JidaKida||

    So who comes up weith all that crazy stuff man.

    www.Privacy-Road.tk

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Ha ha. Leaving aside Sarvis' support of higher taxes and opposition to spending cuts, Reason is cherry picking data again.

    For the ideological breakdown, they go by the NYT's numbers which list "self-described ideology". 20% self-identify as "liberal" in a state where 37% of voters are registered as Democrats, so clearly a lot of those supposed "moderates" are Democrats ashamed of the L-word.

    Of course, if you look at the CNN exit polls where they go by party, it's clear that Cucinelli smacked McAuliffe among independents 47-38 with 11% going to Sarvis. That's where Sarvis' biggest support came from -- he only got 3% among Dems -- and it's unclear where the independent Sarvis voters would have gone for Cucinelli or McAuliffe.

    The 50-43 margin that Doherty cites without Sarvis in the race is in fact on CNN's article on the exit polls, but is unsupported by the poll data itself -- not to mention fairly hard to believe, as that would imply that if Sarvis wasn't in the race, 7% of the vote would still have gone to someone other than McAuliffe or Cucinnelli. The poll PDF puts the margin at 48-46 without Sarvis in the race.

  • Calidissident||

    Not sure where the support for higher taxes is here.

    http://www.robertsarvis.com/issues/jobs

  • Bruce Majors||

    And as we all know, lies, name calling, and screaming No! always motivate libertarians to obey your orders that they do it your way.

  • Drake||

    If Sarvis is the future of the Libertarian Party, I'll be looking for a 4th party.

  • Locris||

    I would be interested to know where the Libertarian in a race has resulted in the defeat of the Democrat.
    I don't have the answer, but that would be the biggest stat.

  • Outside the Box||

    "after years when the LP seemed the least significant part of the larger libertarian movement."

    As it should be and will hopefully go back to being.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Yes!!! Our Liberties will not be reclaimed at the ballot box! If they show any sign of doing so, it shall be immediately made illegal. We shall win according to our strengths: the market place, not "an advance auction of stolen goods."

  • DenverJay||

    Whoa...6.6%! Watch out White House, here we come! What a bunch of bull. I love the LP, and all the cranky, nerdy, reference-filled commentariat at Reason, but come on. If you really want to make a difference instead of just bitching, then you need to join one of the major parties and get active at a local level. Being involved at a precinct level, you can actually influence which candidate one of the big parties selects to run. Here is where you can help steer elections to a choice between two liberty candidates, rather than one between a Turd Sandwich and a Giant Douche.

  • wwhorton||

    If you really want to change things, you've got to become part of the problem, eh? Although I do agree that it starts at the local level, where a Libertarian would have the best shot at winning. Build from small victories, that's the way.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Yea. Precinct captains pick presidential nominees. Delusional.

  • PaulW||

    Eh, what we really need to do is convince conservatives our side of the argument based on liberty. Point out the ideological inconsistencies, while still being cordial, and eventually we can get enough of them to come around so that we can take over the Republican Party.

    The Libertarian Party is nice, but it is not conducive to our goals unless we can really push for run off elections.

    Kind of running off on a tangent here, but I don't understand why Libertarians or more specifically the Libertarian Party do not push for a run off election system, anyone have any thoughts on this?

  • Thomas O.||

    I think the way to the socons' hearts is: You can run your churches and local communities as you see fit, and we'll give you the legal protection to do so without worry. All we ask is that you don't push for federal bans on things like drugs or gay marriage. Let the liberals have their enclaves, let their cities/counties set their own laws, and you can have your laws, and no one has to uproot their livelihoods and families to move 200 miles away to a community that they feel comfortable with.

  • DenverJay||

    Ok Great. Now all the socons will stop voting Republican and start voting for the LP? Of course not. This is, and will continue to be, a two party system. The way to support freedom is to support freedom minded candidates in at least one of the major parties. IMHO the Republicans are the best chance. Take over the existing party, and make your deal with the socons to keep them in the tent. But don't fool yourself that they are going to vote for the LP.
    Incidentally, at PaulW, if you want to change it from a two party system, a runoff may help, but what really sets the tone is the Electoral College. Without it, we would have a Parliamentary System like most of Europe. We would also have weaker States, and an agenda set by the more populous parts of the country, like those freedom loving New Yorkers and Californians, for example.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Actually Electors are free to vote for Libertarians.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Why nor argue that a legal network to investigate and indict incumbents is the most cost effective project?

  • Diogenes||

    Well, the closest thing this article came to offering a legitimate explanation was, "He was also helped by the fact that McAuliffe and Cuccinelli were both assholes.”

    Cooch's running mate, "Bishop" E.W. Jackson, was even worse than both put together.

    They were all crooks.

    So one out of 14 voters voted for the "He may not be a crook" candidate.

    I'm reminded of the vote for the congressional seat across the river in D.C., when wanker Bruce Majors claimed his one out of 16 voter percentage showed the viability of the Libertarian party there. He studiously neglected to mention that there was no Republican in the race and the Green/DC Statehood party candidate, well to the left of Eleanor Holmes Norton, damn near beat him as well.

    He didn't even nearly get the vote of every gay Washingtonian.

  • Redmanfms||

    I'm reminded of the vote for the congressional seat across the river in D.C., when wanker Bruce Majors claimed his one out of 16 voter percentage showed the viability of the Libertarian party there.

    Ha. Majors comments here from time to time and whenever the facts you laid out are posted in a thread about the viability of the Libertarian Party he vanishes like a fart in the wind.

    Sarvis wasn't even terribly little "l"ibertarian. Cooch's most anti-liberty position was on sodomy and it was something he wouldn't have the power to affect in the first place. But no, we should support the guy who wanted to supplant taxes with even more onerous and necessarily privacy-violating taxes because KULTUR WAR!!!11!1!1!

  • Redmanfms||

    he *would* have had

  • Bruce Majors||

    And by the way Miss Redmanfms, why hide behind a screen name?

  • Redmanfms||

    And by the way Miss Redmanfms, why hide behind a screen name?

    Why don't you ask the same of the overwhelming majority of the commentariat that does...

  • Bruce Majors||

    Well, you are obviously rather deficient when it comes to reading comprehension.

    By the way the LP may run more candidates in DC next year than the GOP does.

    A Libertarian running for delegate in Arlington Virginia got 22% of the vote! the same percentage the last Republican running for city council in DC got earlier this year In a special election.

    As for my being a wanker, wipe that jizz off your chin before you come out in public.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Well, you are obviously rather deficient when it comes to reading comprehension.

    By the way the LP may run more candidates in DC next year than the GOP does.

    A Libertarian running for delegate in Arlington Virginia got 22% of the vote! the same percentage the last Republican running for city council in DC got earlier this year In a special election.

    As for my being a wanker, wipe that jizz off your chin before you come out in public.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Why do you idiot pussies hide behind screen names?

    Coo hire spent way over $15 a vote and Sarvis spent under $3. You welfare queen GOPsters just aren't cost effective, spending millions and only getting 5 out of 14 votes. Too dumb to pick a marketable candidate, too lazy to get the RNC to fund him on the same level as the Democrats, too pussy to accept the blame for your bad job and instead blaming Sarvis. Sounds beyond wankerish to me. Maybe you should stay out of politics and just stay home with your laptop and a bottle of lotion.

  • Redmanfms||

    Why do you idiot pussies hide behind screen names?

    Nice, you fit in with the Libertarian Party well.

    Coo hire spent way over $15 a vote and Sarvis spent under $3. You welfare queen GOPsters just aren't cost effective, spending millions and only getting 5 out of 14 votes. Too dumb to pick a marketable candidate, too lazy to get the RNC to fund him on the same level as the Democrats, too pussy to accept the blame for your bad job and instead blaming Sarvis. Sounds beyond wankerish to me. Maybe you should stay out of politics and just stay home with your laptop and a bottle of lotion.

    Translation:

    "Hey, look over there!!!"

  • Diogenes||

    Phill Kline, the Kansas A.G. who was heavily supported by the supposedly big and small "L" libertarian Koch brothers, was hooked up with the "Christian" Taliban in his state and took Limon to the Supreme Court.

    He was the worst A.G. in the country when it came to enforcing and exercising control over "lady parts."

    The Kochs also supported the creationists who took over the state school board, twice, and tried to take evolution out of school textbooks, appointing the unqualified long-time Koch hireling Bob Corkins as the Commissioner of Education. In illegal meetings, Kline offered to back them if they chose to put anti-evolution stickers in school texts.

    The Supreme Court has twice declined to hear the overturning of the Oklahoma laws written by legislators they supported that forbade doctors from prescribing medication to terminate very early pregnancies and forced them to precede surgery with transvaginal wanding. Women were spared because the Kochbots were not able to meet en banc to decide whether to hear appeals of those cases.

    The Kochs, of course, are prime funders of Reason, David sits on the board, and the Kochs and Reason for over a decade have heavily supported the for-profit prison industry (which also contributes to Reason) that has had a major role in increasing our jails and prisons with millions of non-violent offenders, especially through the agency of the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council.

  • DarrenM||

    "Illegal meetings"? So now people have to have the permission of the government to meet?

  • Bruce Majors||

    So in your hodgepodge neonazi rant against the Kochs what were we supposed to conclude? They support Reason, which seems to like Sarvis. But they give money to Republicans, including Cuccinelli, not Libertarians.

    You remind me of the Paultard, and I do mean Paultard (because one thing we learned In the Virginia election is that some Paulistas are in fact Paultards) on the Daily Paul complaining about how the Kochs funded Sarvis. Though they donated $70,000 to Cuccinelli.

  • Redmanfms||

    So in your hodgepodge neonazi rant against the Kochs what were we supposed to conclude?

    Uhhh, what?

    I don't agree with the guy, but what did he post that could possible be construed as Neo-Nazi?

  • SteveC||

    These occasional small and dubious spoiler blips are the best that the Libertarian Party can hope for, "influence", our redefinition of success. Until they face the reality of Duverger's Law and prioritize changing the voting system (e.g. to Approval Voting), they will continue to delude themselves that "the American people are ready for a third party" and "sucess is around the corner". It was after more such false hopes, in the wake of the 2000 presidential election (where Harry Browne got 0.36%, and Ralph Nader played spoiler) that we frustrated LP supporters created the Free State Project. Since then, small-L libertarians have been getting elected to the New Hampshire legislature in large numbers, mostly as Republicans, but also as Democrats, and never as Libertarians. You've got three choices: change the voting system, work through a major party, or suffer eternal irrelevance.

  • Bruce Majors||

    The only real test will be when we have a Libertarian run in a jurisdiction that already had LP ballot status and they have roughly equal funding to the Republicrats.

  • Redmanfms||

    The only real test will be when we have a Libertarian run in a jurisdiction that already had LP ballot status and they have roughly equal funding to the Republicrats.

    Jesus, the LP has been saying that for 30 fucking years.

    It's the fusion of the politics world.

    The fact that the party has put guys like you on the ballot who start hurling petty, juvenile insults at people who would otherwise be inclined to support the LP doesn't bode well for the party's viability.

  • Yerkov Markakis||

    "I was unable to reach (Joe) Liemandt, but sources close to the LP say that the Democratic Party is far more his wife’s interest than his."

    Really?! Then why is it the name of Joe Liemandt, not his wife, who is listed here next to the likes of big time liberals Harvey Weinstein and Anna Wintour as one of Barack Hussein Obama's biggest campaign donation bundlers?

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/po.....er-guests/

    Get your facts right, Brian Doherty, before you presume such innocence and attempt the trite "conspiracy theory" discrediting technique.

    Any "libertarian" worth their weight in salt wouldn't be caught dead being one of the biggest fundraisers for the Statist in Chief.

    That's common sense, right?

    Is it not also common sense that one of the biggest campaign cash bundlers for BHO would have an interest in picking votes away from small government Republicans?

    More common sense.

  • Yerkov Markakis||

    I've got a little fact for all you libertarian third-party-or-no-party purists out there...

    The Democratic Party does not in any way see you as a threat.

    BUT, you are useful to them...

    You help them out with their social agendas and you help them keep conservative Republicans from office.

    It's true. You are nothing but useful idiots in their eyes.

  • Yerkov Markakis||

    To my conservative friends...

    There is a third party out there that is worth fighting for and is actually achievable. It's called the Tea Party.

    The Tea Party is that 'third party' subset that lies within the Republican Party.

    Focus on expanding the Tea Party until it finally takes over the Republican Party, making the establishment GOP as we know it today (Boehner, McCain, McConnell, yada) an irrelevant part of history.

    The Libertarian Party is a worthless endeavor. The LP's can't get their minds off of pot, gay marriage, sodomy and prostitution long enough to amount any form of credible threat to the progressives.

    TEA PARTY! Focus on getting electable small government conservatives like Cruz, Lee, Paul and, yes, Cuccinelli into positions of power in the Republican Party and let's kiss the Establishment goodbye once and forever.

    But keep a couple of your libertarian friends around just in case you need to score some pot some Saturday night.

  • Richard Winger||

    This is an excellent article. Near the very end, though, it implies that Ed Clark got under 1% for president in 1980; actually Clark got 1.06% for President in 1980.

  • Chen Kuan Tai||

    I love how Reason calls Sarvis "wonky" because his disastrous interview demonstrated he is about as libertarian as Terry McAuliffe.

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