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Libertarian Plays Spoiler in Close Pennsylvania Special Election

Democrat Conor Lamb declared victory this morning, but he leads Republican Rick Saccone by just 500 votes. Libertarian Drew Miller got more than 1,300.

Libertarian congressional candidate Drew Gray Miller may have played spoiler in Pennsylvania's down-to-the-wire special election last night.

Just after midnight, with all precincts reporting in the 18th district and some absentee ballots still being counted, Democratic candidate and former county prosecutor Conor Lamb had a 579-vote lead over the Republican, state Rep. Rick Saccone (R–Allegheny). Lamb declared victory early this morning, but Saccone has not yet conceded.

Meanwhile, Miller accumulated 1,372 votes—well more than the gap between the two major party candidates.

Source: PA Department of StateSource: PA Department of State

As the race tightened around 10 p.m., Miller took to Twitter to relish his newfound status as the guy who would be blamed for costing someone the election:

Needless to say, Miller's 0.6 percent of the vote is not an outstanding showing. For comparison, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson received 2.4 percent of the statewide vote in 2016 and garnered at least 1.8 percent in each of the four counties that make up the 18th congressional district. Johnson also covered the spread in the presidential election, as Trump carried Pennsylvania by 1.1 percent.

Still, margins matter in close races. And this race was as close as they come.

"No party is entitled to anybody's vote," Drew Bingman, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, told Reason on Tuesday night. "Maybe next time the Republican Party might consider somebody a little more libertarian."

Bingaman praised Lamb for running a smart campaign that at times eschewed the national Democratic Party's positions on issues like gun control. (Lamb's first campaign ad featured footage of him firing an AR-15 at a shooting range.) Bingaman was impressed that a candidate like Lamb can win in a district that, on paper at least, is stacked in the GOP's favor, and he took that as a welcoming sign for third-party candidates elsewhere.

It took until late in the evening for CNN and several other media outlets to add Miller's name to their list of results. (He was the only other candidate in the race.) This happened only after it became clear that the Libertarian could cover the spread between the top two. The typical narrative emerged, that Miller had somehow cost Saccone the race:

"It's a step forward as far as I'm concerned to be considered a spoiler," Bingaman said, noting that it brought increased visibility to the candidate and party after the media largely ignored Miller's campaign in the lead-up to the vote.

Regardless of the reason for the outcome, Tuesday's result is certainly a disaster for Republicans. Trump won the district by 19 points in 2016. Outgoing Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned after an affair with a staffer became public, did not even face a Democratic opponent two years ago. Republicans made a bad result worse when they publicly bailed on their candidate in the final hours of the race. National GOP leaders dumped on Saccone to Politico and tried to pin an seemingly inevitable loss on his poor fundraising skills—as if money is the most important factor in a post-Trump political landscape—only to have Saccone come within a few hundred votes of victory.

After Tuesday night, the top two candidates in the race will go their separate ways—literally.

The 18th district was dissolved by the state Supreme Court in January, when it ruled Pennsylvania's congressional districts are an unconstitutional gerrymander. But those old lines were used for yesterday's special election, because it had already been scheduled. The new map, imposed by the state's high court (and subject to a challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court), splits the old 18th district into two new districts. Saccone resides in the new 14th district, and could run again for that seat in November. Lamb resides in the new 17th district, but so does another House incumbent: Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny).

Photo Credit: Ben Von Klemperer/CrowdSpark/Newscom

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  • Mickey Rat||

    If Miller's candidacy resulted in giving someone like Lamb power, how is that a good thing?

  • Novichok||

    The Lord works in mysterious ways.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Reason is a bunch of liberal democrats pretending to be libertarians ("professional fake libertarians"), so they're ecstatic because they achieved what they failed to achieve in the presidential election.

    It's really not a big deal though. Lamb is only guaranteed his seat for eight and a half more months, and if the state Supreme Court is allowed to get away with it's blatant illegal usurpation of authority it doesn't have, his district won't even exist come January.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its a Blue Wave though. Stop disrupting the narrative!

    If the Pennsylvania Secretary of State certifies Lamb as the winner and if there is no recount that Saccone wins....

  • Jgalt1975||

    There's no reason at this point that the PA SoS won't certify the election and why would Saccone bother spending the time and money seeking a recount for a seat that will disappear in less than eight months, especially when he needs to get signatures collected and complete paperwork to run in one of the new districts?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Why do politicians do the things they do?

    One reason would to delay Lamb's certification by PA as the winner until the Nov 2018 election.

  • albo||

    Reason is a bunch of liberal democrats pretending to be libertarians
    *in Alec Guiness voice*
    Now that's a take I haven't heard in a long time.

  • ipsquire||

    The most libertarian outcome of a US election is a party split between executive and legislative branches.

    Tribalism (and maybe daddy issues) prevents the Libertarian party from being a real thing, and literally nothing a major party candidate is/says/does, however horrible, will change that (see Trump, Hillary, Roy Moore, etc.).

  • Hank Phillips||

    Hahahahahaha! Louder, please! You're killing me!

  • LynchPin1477||

    If Miller's candidacy resulted in giving someone like Lamb power, how is that a good thing?

    If Republicans keep winning with their current platform, whatever that is these days, they won't change it. If they lose, they will. If they lose because they aren't attracting libertarians, then it is likely that they will move towards more libertarian-friendly positions (or less liberterian-unfriendly), at least on the margins. It's not much, but it's something.

    Now, will this actually happen? Maybe not. It depends on the calculus that Republicans do in their strategy sessions. But, again, if they win with what they are doing now, they aren't going to change at all.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The problem with that is handing the reins of government to the unashamedly statist party. Punishing the GOP in '08 got the country stuvk with the ACA.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Republicans have relaxed on some social conservatism issues because they are losing voters.

    Marijuana is one. Criminal justice reform is another.

    Democrats have gone so far left, there is really only the Libertarians in the middle and Republicans more concerned with social conservatism than serious fiscal restraint.

  • Eidde||

    Generally, as Congressional Republicans abandoned social conservatism, they abandoned fiscal restraint too (except they make rhetorical concessions to both causes).

    At the state level, legislators who are into social conservatism are routinely lambasted for "hypocrisy" by the legacy media for "cutting social services" (therefore proving they Don't Care About the Poor).

    Here's an example ("...I am chilled by the thought that there are mothers who are too scared to go through with a pregnancy because governments choose cuts over compassion.")

  • Eidde||

  • ace_m82||

    The author claimed that "it's particularly jarring to see churches founded on the teachings of Jesus embracing the GOP's disapproval of public assistance for the poor".

    Apparently, the author has no idea the difference between "charity" and "taxation". After all "God loves a cheerful giver", and how cheerful I am every time I pay taxes!

    No, a careful look at the commandments (which Jesus not only endorsed, he claimed to be the Son of God, equal with God, and therefore WROTE), would show "thou shalt not covet", "thou shalt not steal", and "thou shalt not murder". Government, by its very nature, does all three.

    "If a man doesn't work, he shall not eat." - Paul

    Lastly, government (theft and subsequent) spending on the poor "crowds out" private giving. Also, Google "moral hazard". It's nothing but counterproductive.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It all works for the leftists because if the Democrats are for more statism and the GOP is statist itself or won't fight statism.

    If some of the LP are rooting for lefties to win, then where is that realistic alternative to the Nanny-State?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Both looter parties are losing votes and victims. Only the Libertarian Party is growing (visit LP.org). The GOP had to quit baiting queers in 2016, so La Suprema arranged it, just as La Suprema used the LP plank to force Dixiecrats and God's Own Prohibitionists to stop jailing doctors in 1973. Observe that the best Associate judge on the Second Amendment is the one who read Atlas Shrugged all the way through. Infiltrators, know that libertarians thrive on your tears and whining, and listen to everything you looters say about each other!

  • Mark22||

    The approximately 50% of people who voted for Lamb think it is.

    The point is: if the vote is pretty much split down the middle, it's foolish to talk about spoiler votes: apparently, both candidates were about equally awful.

  • albo||

    Oh, c'mon! I tell you what was more of a spoiler: It was a Tuesday in March.

  • albo||

    Saccone resides in the new 14th district, and could run again for that seat in November. Lamb resides in the new 17th district, but so does another House incumbent: Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny).

    This is the mitigating issue the national media will cheerfully ignore to push the "Democrats are on a comeback to win the House!" narrative. The talking points have been distributed already.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Bingaman praised Lamb for running a smart campaign...

    SO THEY PLANNED TO PLAY SPOILER FOR LAMB.

  • Thane Eichenauer||

    Both the Republicans and Democrats can be blamed for perpetuating a system (first past the post elections) that makes such a result possible. I look forward to ranked choice voting in the upcoming elections in Maine.

    "Voting Rights Roundup: In June primary, Maine to become the first state to use instant-runoff voting" at DailyKos

    http://bit.ly/2FIcVQI

  • Mark22||

    Both the Republicans and Democrats can be blamed for perpetuating a system (first past the post elections) that makes such a result possible.

    It's not a bad system: it forces both candidates to move towards the center.

    I look forward to ranked choice voting in the upcoming elections in Maine.

    Yeah, you can look at 20th century Europe to see how well such systems work.

  • PaulTheBeav||

    To be the spoiler implies that libertarian voters would have voted for the losing candidate if not for the Libertarian candidate. I don't vote for Republicans in the absence of a Libertarian candidate. If I believed for one second that either Republicans or Democrats would pay anything more than lip service to libertarian ideals I would support them, but I don't believe any such thing.

  • SQRLSY One||

    "Needless to say, Miller's 0.6 percent of the vote is not an outstanding showing."

    Yeah man... We as freedom-loving Libertarians have GOT to do, what? Learn to comb our hair more stylishly? Tell the people what they want to hear? "Yeah man, we can cut your taxes AND increase your bennies; just eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse!"

  • Thane Eichenauer||

    I think Miller could have doubled his vote total if he had more graphics on his web site. Plus his picture/face was barely visible on his web site. Plus he had no campaign slogan unless "Gary Johnson's campaign was the bees knees." is a slogan.
    Miller would have done much, much, MUCH better if he had paid some time reading Scott Adams blog.

    http://blog.dilbert.com/2016/0.....n-is-over/
    http://blog.dilbert.com/2018/0.....ated-1-18/

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    We need a candidate that promises everybody everything, then when he/she/it gets in there, they use the pen, the phone, the bully pulpit, the executive order, the bribe, the threat, to destroy every bit of government they can.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    The "spoiler" narrative is based on the premise that all of those voters would have 1) come out to vote at all, and 2) would have voted Republican. Seems to me that's speculative at best.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Why would Libertarians want to embrace that narrative as Miller seems to?

  • Stilgar||

    It is unlikely that those votes would have gone more than 60/40 either way, still not enough to make up the shortfall for the Elephant.

  • Rat on a train||

    To be a spoiler, they also have to allow plurality wins.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    No information on auto recount?

    I guess the media has its choice.

    Some day the media will realize that a district voting for a president is no the same as voting for a Congress critter.

  • albo||

    No auto recount in my state.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Pennsylvania?

  • albo||

    Yes. The Quaker State. The Keystone State. The Jewel of the Mid-Atlantic. God's Own Deer-Hunting Grounds.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The question is then whether Cassone will chose to pay for a recount.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If you were truly from PA, you'd know we're a commonwealth.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You're a different breed of American when your state declared itself a Commonwealth early on.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    One of six! Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, the Northern Marianas Islands, and [spits] Massachusetts.

  • Tony||

    Was hoping you weren't going to notice that.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    #BlueWave coming in November!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Blue wave is already here. #Bluewave

    It was 579 votes above the Republican around the former Democratic stronghold of Pittsburgh.

    Trump should be quaking (Quakers get it) in his shoes.

  • albo||

    The 18th District is Democratic. 2016 registration was 232,254 D, 193,977 R. It's not a 'former Democratic stronghold.' By registration it is one still

  • loveconstitution1789||

    My understanding was that quite a bit of PA is moving from Democrat voting to Republican voting.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    More that Republican have gained more Congressional seats and PA Legislature seats in past elections more than PA going Trump.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Drumpf will probably not finish a full term because of #TrumpRussia and #It'sMuellerTime. And he definitely will not win in 2020.

  • albo||

    You say that with the enthusiastic sureness of the terminally ill-informed.

  • Cy||

    I hate Trump. But, at least I can accept reality.

  • Hank Phillips||

    I would definitely fade that bet and lay odds, for the same reasons I would have bet on Hitler in 1937. Altruists control "both sides" of the Socialist aisle. Since neither side can bear to crimethink about the initiation of force, they have to interpret the libertarian vote hockey stick increase in socialist terms--by ignoring or lying about it. That was the way Republicans and Democrats thought in 1933--mindful of all opportunities to profit from "honest graft". Too bad religious dictatorships forbid gambling--especially the fleecing of suckers for cash. Drat! But hark! Paddypower is still in business. Line up, sockpuppets, and lobby Paypal for a change in the rules.

  • Mark22||

    I hope Democrats will continue to have that kind of confidence all the way up to November.

  • GILMORE™||

    I haven't followed this thing, because i tend to think "special elections" are wildly overhyped by political journos who have little to do in the off-season, and aren't actually ever a 'disaster', or hugely significant of anything really.

    However: this is funny Apparently the way you win as a Democrat in a Republican district is to gut a republican, and wear it as a skin suit.

    The Atlantic made a similar observation.

    ""Lamb has taken relatively conservative positions on a few key issues. After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, Lamb reiterated his stance that the best way to prevent mass shootings is to strengthen background checks and make mental-health treatment more accessible, rather than banning a particular kind of firearm. He also supports fracking, and believes that "life begins at conception,"""

    Contra the Atlantic, i don't think this is necessarily a "blueprint for how Democrats achieve victory in red states";

  • ThomasD||

    A blueprint for how Democrats achieve victory in red states?

    Run right, vote left.

    Not like this isn't already a thing.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Anyone who votes for Democrats gets what they deserve. The Democrats that lie and act right on a few key issues are clearly lying to get elected.

    You just don't see many Republicans running on being pro-socialism and then once elected in a blue stronghold change their party to Libertarian Party.

  • SKR||

    No you just have Republicans running as socialists and sticking with it.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Socialism involves the violent overthrow of a government to institute control the means of production.

    Republicans want to tell you how to live you life morally. Republicans tend not to be fiscally conservative. Republicans are fine with some war.

    Not good but don't see how that's socialism.

  • DiegoF||

    Contra the Atlantic, i don't think this is necessarily a "blueprint for how Democrats achieve victory in red states"

    Why not?

    By the way, that ain't no skin suit. For example, Conor Lamb thinks "life begins at conception" but apparently the government has no business banning the murder of such persons acknowledged by him; he is politically (the only thing anyone should give a shit about; he ain't teaching our kids Sunday school) exactly as "pro-life" as Nancy Pelosi. This is "moderate" only in today's Democratic Party, where personal demonstrations of extreme wokeness are now de rigueur. No more "safe, legal, and rare" or "all perspectives on marriage deserve equal respect; that's why I favor the more permissive for the state institution." That would be horribly bigoted.

    This is actually a very pro-Trump district, confident about the future in a time of peace and prosperity. If Democrats can just get their heads out of their asses enough to bring themselves to fire a rifle in an ad and refrain from tonguing Black Lives Matter in the middle of a cop suburb, they will destroy the Republicans this year without giving much of anything. Victory is in their grasp, as it always has been.

  • GILMORE™||

    If Democrats can just get their heads out of their asses enough to bring themselves to fire a rifle in an ad

    i don't share your sanguine belief that voters are so easily convinced by these sort of superficial shows, even if they may have had a small added boost to the "good looking young veteran with no political track record" in this PA district

    meaning: i don't think any/all challengers need only put on a show of being good 'ol boys, and will suddenly be embraced w/ open arms by the yokel masses.

    and i think that if they did, in many cases they'd lose more of their base than they gain in converts. things like "guns" are wedge issues, and you can't flip flop your posture on them without paying a political price

    in short; to repeat what i said before, i don't think this particular election says anything significant at all about the status quo - much less "providing a blueprint" for Democrats.

  • DiegoF||

    You're right; I overstated. I started to talk like early '10s Democrats instead of '04 Democrats. Voters are not so stupid you can just play gun-lovin' good ol' boy and hope to fool everyone, any more than they can talk about Jesus a lot and hope to win over SoCons. That was the "what's the matter with Kansas" delusion, and when it shattered and it turns out it was policy and not presentation, that's when they got mad and their condescension toward Kansas turned to open hatred.

    But I'm not so un-condescending myself that I'm not wary of overestimating the public. You cannot take people where they do not want to go with theater. But you can take them where they do. And, for example, Western PA is not Bible belt so they didn't want a candidate who rubbed abortion in their faces, as is now fashionable in Manhattan, but they appreciated the "pro-life" empty gesture and would be satisfied with it, looking for a bare minimum of respect from the Dems...

  • DiegoF||

    ...Guns are a little harder, because America really does still care about them. But like it or not, they are far more restrictionist than us. So a Dem in a district like this can say, "I believe in the 2A" and keep Bloomberg and Giffords at arm's length and not denounce the NRA, but must also refrain from shit like assault weapons bans. But he can favor NFNB, "gun show" and "boyfriend" "loophole" closings, due process erosion, etc., because Red America favors those things. Once he passes that threshold, the signal from a good rifle pose will indeed be all he needs.

    And so on for Black Lives Matter, or whatever. Beyond that, just go economic populist; again, like it or not, America wants that, not what we're selling. You are correct in that Nassau County soccer moms want essentially the inverse of the aforementioned "rural Dem" strategy. But there are probably only going to be only certain districts--mostly in the mid-Atlantic and Florida--where Dems will face a district blending the two types of swing voter and have to face one or the other.

    Again, I don't see why they couldn't pull this off, if they're willing.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "...because Red America favors those things. "

    That is an incorrect assumption. The media says that Red America favors those things.

    Big difference.

    Every Red American that I know has an opinion that any gun control is unconstitutional.

  • Jgalt1975||

    i tend to think "special elections" are wildly overhyped by political journos who have little to do in the off-season, and aren't actually ever a 'disaster', or hugely significant of anything really.

    Actual data on how prior special elections compared to general election results in the same cycle over the last 20 years says you're wrong with regard to their predictive value (see the table titled "Special elections have tended to predict midterm outcomes").

  • Jgalt1975||

    *sigh* The link didn't work. Remove the space: https://fivethirtyeight.com/ features/pennsylvania-18-district-lamb-results/

  • GILMORE™||

    ""data on how prior special elections compared""

    my opinion of electoral-contest data-analysis is somewhere between "low" and "complete contempt for"

    main reason being: the sample sizes you're talking about are often "a few dozen examples that provide any fair comparison". even if you go back 50-100 years, the underlying conditions often differ so wildly that they're simply incomparable.

    data on political contests are not like the weather. they simply don't adhere to any set of predictive behaviors or rules. even where patterns do exist (e.g. "majority-party presidents tend to lose seats in house in first term") the deviation is so wide (eg. the number of seats- anywhere from single digits, to 30) that it is useless as something to bank on.

    Of course, the people like five-thirty-eight have an interest in saying otherwise. its their entire schtick

    "One special election is not enough to draw midterm conclusions from, but when it fits so clearly into an existing pattern, it's safe to say something's going on."

    Oooooh *something*? The "something" amounts to a comparison to *6 previous special elections*, which don't really demonstrate any pattern at all.

    ""we're digging pretty deep into the numbers, a depth at which you can fall victim to the trap of overinterpreting the results of one special election. ""

    somehow despite this deep-number-digging, they don't bother showing any other comparisons.

  • GILMORE™||

    *another reason to be skeptical of anything people like FiveThirtyEight ever claim

    only a teeny fraction of their 'analysis' is ever disclosed. aka "black box" analysis.
    -
    eg. they might do some very basic illustration that says nothing significant... but then they assert, "we're doing far more detailed work in the background, which suggests _____".

    they never show the analytics that lead them to that conclusion: they just say, "we mix x + y data, plus our secret sauce, and we get z results'

    Why do they not show their work? because its 'proprietary'. which amounts to "Trust Us, We're Experts"

    The problem with black-box analysis is that its constantly changing to try and keep fitting the input data.

    e.g. they build a model which, when backtested, correctly predicts results of "most past elections"

    the problem is that no model ever fits them all. and every new election ends up 'breaking' the old model.

    If there were any real magic formulae for election-analysis? a machine would have identified the rough outline of it. You wouldn't need these guru-consultant forecasters. so every other election they pretend to rediscover the secret 'magic numbers' that make their (proprietary) analysis important to follow.

    its a con job that makes management consulting look far more scientific, by contrast.

  • Mark22||

    Contra the Atlantic, i don't think this is necessarily a "blueprint for how Democrats achieve victory in red states";

    Lying through their teeth during campaigns is absolutely a blueprint for winning for Democrats.

  • What's that smell?||

    This election is a prime example of what's wrong with the current political arena. The 18th district has been eliminated under PA's new congressional district map. So the winner will hold the seat only until November. Most likely they will never cast a vote nor will anyone bother to learn their name.
    Millions of dollars spent, uncounted uses of public resources, kids off of school, the massive carbon footprint of printing high-gloss flyers and signs, all to elect a place holder and for bragging rights and fundraising potential. nice.

  • Jgalt1975||

    Why would kids be off of school because of this?

  • NoVaNick||

    Don't know about PA, but in Virginia, schools are closed on election day-many of them are polling places.

  • albo||

    Don't blame the system in this case. Blame the guy who couldn't keep his dick in his pants.

  • What's that smell?||

    Or the courts who redrew the districts.

  • albo||

    This election is using the 2011 districts.

  • What's that smell?||

    Oh and Bill Clinton wasn't involved in THIS sexcapade.

  • Magnitogorsk||

    I live in the Burgh and would never have even heard of Miller if I didn't look up the election Wikipedia article to see who else was running. I'm pretty sure he's Just A Guy that thought it would be fun to run for Congress. I don't think he actually campaigned or even raised any money. He clearly didn't spend more than an hour putting his website together

  • Hank Phillips||

    Observe the Sour Grapes appeal. Spoiler votes are the baseball bats upside the head of the losing looter party. It gets their attention so that a learning experience can take place. In anime, Angel Dokuro-chan, the Bludgeoning Angel, is a good visual aid for understanding the effectiveness of spoiler votes for changing BOTH kleptocracy party platforms. Republicans no longer want to roll queers, and democrats are backing away from shooting our kids over plant leaves. This is because libertarian spoiler votes have made these practices into LOSING propositions. Search for "Spotting Fake Libertarians" and listen to LP Chairman Nicholas Sarwark explain it in clear simple language.

  • What's that smell?||

    The fallacy of the spoiler game is it assumes the 3rd party votes would have all or mostly gone to loser, in this case or the winner in the Bush/Gore election. There is no way to know if not given a 3rd option how the votes would fall.

  • What's that smell?||

    Ah, the pitfalls of multi-tasking. I took a detour on my own logic path, the assumption in Bush/Gore was the spoiler vote would have also gone to the loser. Apologies.

  • John||

    If all of those Libertarian voters would have voted for the Republican had it not been for the Libertarian candidate, then Libertarians need to stop claiming they are not just Republicans who like pot. Reason loves to pretend they are all about being above the two major parties. Well, if they are, then start acting like it.

  • John||

    When either party tells Libertarians not to vote for the libertarian candidate before an election so that they don't get the other party's candidate elected, Libertarians throw a stomping fit claiming that they don't owe anyone their vote and are never a spoiler or responsible for a person winning whom they didn't vote for.

    Okay, there is some truth to that. But, saying that then prevents you from being able to claim to be a spoiler after the election. Yet, Reason stands up and claims to be the spoiler every single time. Just pick a fucking narrative and live with it.

    Beyond that, why are Libertarians always spoilers for the Democrats? Who the fuck knows which way the people who voted Libertarian would have voted had there not been a Libertarian candidate. If the assumption is they would have all voted for the Republican, then Libertarians need to own that and admit they are just Republicans who like pot and stop playing the pox on both houses routine. If they want to claim they are above and different from the two major parties, then stop pretending your supporters would automatically vote for one or the other if not for your candidate.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    ^this

  • DiegoF||

    Well, perhaps the bigger question is why is everyone fixated on who wins this seat--on which way a couple hundred absentees will go, and who spoiled what? That was never supposed to be the point of following this race!

    The House is not close right now.
    The winner will only have his seat for a few months.
    The district will be destroyed, so no incumbency advantage.
    It doesn't matter much who wins the seat.

    We are supposed to be interested in this seat as a "bellweather," and since it's R+20 we should be looking at the spread, which is pretty much settled. If we don't care about whether the Republicans win, say, the Nebraska Senate seat by 30.15 or 30.16 points then why should we care who wins this seat?

  • Tony||

    If the R had won then it wouldn't be reported as a major embarrassment for Trump, because a win is a win.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Actually that is a lefty narrative point. The left is looking for any affirmation that its narrative that Trump is a poopy head is true.

    So far not so many of the special elections have gone Democrat. Even when they have won, it not the referendum on Trump that Democrats want.

    Thanks for being so blind lefties. Trump will win reelection in 2020 and election 2018 will be another big loss for Democrats.

  • Tony||

    I'll take that bet.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    What would you like to bet Tony?

    That you and your sock puppets will never return to Reason if Trump wins reelection and the Republicans keep the House and Senate?

  • Tony||

    How about $10,000.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    $10,000 huh? I have this feeling you won't pay.

    Butt is another lefty that refused to pay his bet.

    I am more inclined to get you to agree to never visit Reason again.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Observe how mystical (Christian & Mohammedan) looters cannot outthink their pagan comrades-in-altruism. This exchange-from-intimidation exemplifies why. It also reveals how much the looter kleptocracy has invested in subverting, conditioning, brainwashing or just plain silencing Reason and any other libertarian communications platform. I recommend Al Franken's "Giant of the Senate" for its insights in how parasites will stop at nothing to twist an election into a set of riveted come-alongs.

  • Jgalt1975||

    Since (a) Trump has been actively lying about the results of special elections ("5-0!"), and (b) Saccone and his supporters outspent the Democrat by a substantial margin, it's clearly not just a "lefty narrative point," it's a Trumpian/GOP narrative point too.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    As of 2/21/2018,
    Conor Lamb (D) raised: $3,869,247 spent: $3,031,838
    Rick Saccone (R) raised: $916,392 spent: $613,357
    Opensecrets.org special election PA 18
    Well, aren't you just a little liar.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Observe the rejection of principle in this appeal to looter partisanship. Small minds think about other people, usually as victims. Great minds, like David Nolan, think of freedom from coercion. Now that the hockey stick is forcing both looter parties to rewrite their platforms to imitate the LP, the hue and cry is music to my ears.

  • Tony||

    The libertarian probably spoils the Republican, but in this race of a Trump-backed Republican vs. a DINO, who can really say. What is a fact is that everyone voting for the libertarian either knew perfectly well that the actual winner would be an R or a D or is a moron.

  • Just Say'n||

    I like how the Democrat seemed to win the race by running in opposition to everything the national Democratic Party stands for. The national Democratic Party is a regional party and it makes sense that their candidates in the rest of the country need to run against the national brand

  • John||

    And if they vote against the national brand, who really cares if they win? I don't. But you know as well as I do, no matter what Lamm says, he is likely to vote exactly as the national leaders tell him.

  • DiegoF||

    Yep but if they do it they will win, and get shit they used to be solely focused on like protecting and expanding entitlements and so forth. Those things, we should not kid ourselves, are much more popular with the public than our free-market message--yes, even with the misleading poll language stripped away. The Democrats have backed themselves so far into a corner chasing the cultural issues that they now openly show contempt for middle America, their "why do they keep voting against their economic interest?" now hardened into an open hatred and disgust at them for doing so, as they have learned people really are not with them on these issues.

    But they can make it all go away whenever they want to, and be kings again. The ball is in their court, and always has been. They can have everything they used to want.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Wait I thought Reason heavily argued against the 3rd party spoiler myth? Let me see if I can do this:

    1) who's to say those 1300 votes wouldn't have all been dem instead?

    2) I forget the rest...

  • Just Say'n||

    Isn't this the purpose of the Libertarian Party at this point? Virtue-signaling support for the far left?

  • John||

    Let's say for the sake of argument that the Libertarian candidate really was the spoiler and had he not ran the Republican would have won. Okay, what do the Libertarians want the Republicans to do about it? Move more Libertarian? They could. But why should they unless the Libertarians agree to stop running a candidate and go all in with the Rs? And if they are willing to do that, what is the price? Reason never bothers to explain that. They never seem to have any kind of endgame whereby Libertarians actually accomplish something. The whole point seems to be virtue signaling and laughing about how they screwed the Republicans and got a leftist elected. Good for them if that is what they enjoy, but I don't see how it is advancing their cause very much.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Just read the LP platform and see how unLibertarian much of it is.

    LP platform
    (3) the right to property—accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.

    Sounds a lot like Anarchism than classical liberalism that worked under a democratic constitutional republic.

  • John||

    Eminent Domain is specifically authorized by the Constitution. Kelo was a bad case because it said that governments could use it for private purposes instead of strictly public purposes. The Libertarian rejection of Eminent Domain for building things like roads and airports and other government-owned facilities is one of the loopier Libertarian beliefs.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Agree. Clearly every American should be upset with abuses via eminent domain. It was deemed a necessary evil but has restrictions in its use. Roads are super important to improving the infrastructure for more business to thrive.

    The outright rejection of eminent domain just makes me think the LP has a bunch of anarchists in it. Anarchists would support zero government regulation of private property rather than very limited regulation under a classically liberal position. The flaw is that anarchists do not support a government at all to protect private property rights for all.

  • John||

    The ones who piss and moan about using it for pipelines are the ones that amaze me. Look, you still get full use of the surface of the land. And you are paid very well for allowing someone to put a pipe you will never see underneath your property. But somehow this is some sort of serious violation of freedom that deserves attention. Basically, they are just fucking leftists who like pot.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Roads are specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Pipelines not so much.

    Roads are our current technology to getting from point A to B. The USA doesn't need pipelines. With that being said, they are underground and how far down does a landowner own the rights to?

    The reality is that eminent domain should be as unintrusive as possible and reasonable compensation is required. If pipelines are deemed by our representatives in Congress to be required for the public good, then eminent domain kicks in.

    As you say, an underground pipeline is better than the government taking part of your property for a permanent road. You still get to keep the property with a pipeline under it.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The buying and selling of negro girls, boys, men and women as chattel slaves was explicitly authorized by the Constitution. Then along came that nasty new spoiler vote party with its 14th Amendment--the one the Libertarian Party used as the wedge to legalize individual rights for women. No wonder coercive mystical bigots recoil in horror from the law-changing clout of libertarian spoiler votes!

  • ace_m82||

    Just read the LP platform and see how unLibertarian much of it is.
    ...
    Sounds a lot like Anarchism than classical liberalism that worked under a democratic constitutional republic.

    Moving the goalposts much? Classical liberalism is NOT = to libertarianism. Democratic [fill-in-the-blanks] are also not = to libertarianism.

    Also, the right to property IS about as libertarian as one can get.

    Lastly, there's a term for An-Caps, "Logically consistent libertarians".

  • Hank Phillips||

    That (3) is what I vote for. Mystical DemoGOP conservatives use the word "abuses" as euphemism for "getting caught looting." The inference is that just the right amount of graft gets their sumbitch's hand in the till, and the "wrong, abusive" amount is associated with the sumbitch who divvies his take that other half of the Kleptocracy. The Democrat/Republican kleptocracy is spelled out in detail in Plunkitt of Tammanny Hall, online, free, right this minute. Slaveholding Democrats used "Love the Constitution" as their slogan--until it no longer meant you could buy, rape and sell girls. Welcome to the 3-body problem in politics and mathematics!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    For some faux Libertarians maybe.

    There is almost nothing that Democrats stand for that coincides with Libertarianism. Even the stuff that kind of does is so loaded down with Nanny and Police state tyranny, there is no Libertarianism left in the Democrat position.

  • esteve7||

    I get the impression Reason would have been much happier with a Hillary Presidency. Talk about fake libertarians... tell me what libertarian outcomes we would have had with that?

    Yeah there's a ton not to like about Trump, but with Hillary, there would be enough votes on the SC to gut the 1st and 2nd amendments, no tax cuts (probably more), no decrease in regulations (probably more), etc.

    Seriously, how deluded do you have to be to call yourself a libertarian and want Hillary over Trump?

  • Dadlobby||

    Neither party cares about issues (especially Libertarian issues) but holding "swing votes" and "costing elections" forces them to acknowledge the issues if they want the votes. Run, Libertarians, Run!

  • John||

    How does one run libertarians? Should both parties just cease to exist and support the L candidate whoever that is? If not that, then how much of a Libertarian must a candidate be for the Libertarian party to not run a candidate and support one of the major candidates? And if the libertarian party is not willing to do that under any circumstances, why should either party try and appease it? What do you want?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    No, it was my vote that decided the outcome!

    No, it was my vote!

    No, it was my vote!

    I'm Spartacus!

  • Robert||

    A rotten candidate for a rotten boro?

  • GregP||

    Drew Gray Miller could have made a much better showing if he hadn't been excluded from the polls, hadn't been excluded from the debates, and hadn't been excluded by the media. If you looked for information about the election on Wikipedia, he didn't even appear as a candidate except as a footnote down at the bottom - certainly not in the eye-catching infobox at the top of the page. The media are systematically dismissing any chance for a third party candidate to have an affect, and by doing so are creating the news.

  • Hank Phillips||

    This is exactly what Nixon's 1971 anti-libertarian law is paying the presstitutes to do. Search "Nixon's Anti-libertarian Law" for links to the text of the bill. This is misappropriation of public funds for criminal racketeering on an unprecedented scale. But when did you last hear it mentioned in the looter press?

  • NoVaNick||

    So why is nobody saying that Drew Miller deprived the dems of a more decisive victory here? I assume they are making the assumption that people who vote for the Lib candidate will default to the GOP because it better matches their ideology, but analysis of the 2013 Virginia governor's race showed that the libertarian candidate Rob Sarvis pulled in more potential dem voters than GOP by something like a 2:1 margin, same for the 2014 US Senate race. Both elections were supposed to be easy wins for the dems, yet they just squeaked by...

  • TESumner||

    Since we don't get to express our first and second preferences in voting, we can expect more "spoilers" to occur in future elections. While many methods of voting have been proposed that claim to "solve" the problem. Whether any of those alternative methods actually solve the spoiler problem, we need a discussion of voting in general, including preferential methods that would reveal whether people who are Libertarian generally would prefer a Democratic second choice or a Republican second choice, if their first choice fails to garner a majority.
    Unfortunately, Libertarians would rather come in a pitiful third or fourth place to "send a message" than try to get some of their agenda adopted by either Democrats or Republicans. In general Republicans have principles that Libertarians are closer to than Democrats, but Libertarians don't agree with all their principles.
    The fraction of a percent that a Libertarian can pull, therefore, comes mostly from Republicans. This is apparent since Democrats are always whining about gun control and welfare.
    Libertarians, much as we differ from Republicans, differ even more from Democrats. Alliances, such as the one Rand Paul forged with Republicans, are extremely important to gaining power. A "message" vote is a wasted vote.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The looter sockpuppet is describing the work-around for Australia's failed forced-at-gunpoint voting. The real solution is to vote with integrity, clear in the understanding that every libertarian vote defeats 6 to 6000 looter votes in its law-changing clout. This is exactly the way looter spoiler votes worked back when altruists believed communism and fascism surely had to be good things, with no death camps or war at all. Now that reality is part of the picture, the parasites want to change the rules. Econazi Australia has power blackouts, skyrocketing taxes and Kristallnacht gun bans--but is a model for fascist juntas in South America. The LP plank became Roe v. Wade. That sent a message to Canadian voters that freedom could be wrested from God's Own Prohibitionists.

  • epsilon given||

    I'm not at all happy that the Democrat won. I strongly detest Democrats at this point; Republicans are marginally better.

    But, there are a couple of things to observe:

    First: the polls going into this showed that the Republican was going to lose by 5 or 6 percentage points. It came out to be a squeaker. Thus, it sounds like the Republican did better than expected.

    Second: no third-party candidate ever spoils an election. They only get traction if the people who would normally have voted for the Democrat or the Republican had reason to be dissatisfied with that Democrat or Republican. Without the other candidate, who knows how such people would have voted? Would they have stayed home? Would they have, out of spite, voted for the candidate of the other party? Would they have voted for Mickey Mouse or Santa Claus?

    The thing is, it's up to the candidates to convince the voters to vote for them. If any particular voter doesn't vote for the candidate, it's not the fault of the voter, it's the fault of the candidate. Each vote is a person's own, and it's immoral to blame any one voter (or group of voters) for the loss of a given candidacy -- because, after all, it's the role of the voter to weigh the issues and the candidates, and to vote accordingly!

  • NoVaNick||

    I used to voted for GOP candidates because they were less bad than the Democrats at expanding government, raising taxes, and petty nanny state issues. Now I now can't vote for either since both parties equally suck IMHO. Maybe if there are enough other voters who feel this way, the LP will get some traction, but I am leaning towards not voting at all anymore, rather than going through the trouble of casting my ballot for a candidate who might get 3 or 4 % just to say I voted.

  • NoVaNick||

    I used to voted for GOP candidates because they were less bad than the Democrats at expanding government, raising taxes, and petty nanny state issues. Now I now can't vote for either since both parties equally suck IMHO. Maybe if there are enough other voters who feel this way, the LP will get some traction, but I am leaning towards not voting at all anymore, rather than going through the trouble of casting my ballot for a candidate who might get 3 or 4 % just to say I voted.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Quoth the stammering fifth-column looter infiltrator.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Thinking people vote for ideas.

  • June Genis||

    It is highly unlikely that Miller was a true spoiler as most of his votes likely came from people who probably wouldn't have voted if there had not been some one other than a D or R in the race. Without good exit polling that capture Miller voter we will never really know. However if Republicans really believe he could have spoiled things for them it might convince more of them to support Ranked Choice Voting.

    With RCV Miller would have been eliminated in the first round and if his votes came mostly from Rs then they would likely have transferred to Saccone. Unfortunately we'll never know the truth here.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Amazing how many truths "we" and mystical looter republicans will never know.

  • Hank Phillips||

    How reassuring to see Reason tumbling to the ONE thing that changes laws in These United States. And the nationalsocialist media is of course ignoring the LP spoiler platform, huffing instead that the Fabian Socialist winner seeks to jail hippies for plant leaves and is sympathetic to Dixiecrat coathanger abortion laws. Those were laws the Libertarian birth control plank extinguished when the Supreme Court renamed it "Roe v. Wade" in 1973. Liberal-hating Republican prohibitionists certainly don't want reminders that Pennsylvania was home to the American Liberal Party that, in 1931, came out for repeal of the Prohibition Amendment under the leadership of Samuel Hardin Church of the Carnegie Institute. Lamb's election is further proof of the law-changing clout of libertarian spoiler votes! Resistance is utile!

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