Election 2020

Who Should Libertarians Vote For in 2020? A Soho Forum Debate

Ilya Somin, Angela McArdle, and Francis Menton debate whether libertarians should vote for Joe Biden, Jo Jorgensen, or Donald Trump.


Should libertarians vote for Biden, Jorgensen, or Trump in the next presidential election?

That was the topic of an online Soho Forum debate held on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. It featured George Mason University law professor Ilya SominAngela McArdle, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County; and Francis Menton, a retired attorney who blogs at Manhattan Contrarian. The debate was moderated by Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein.

Arguing that libertarians should vote for Joe Biden was Somin, whose books include Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter and Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom.

In support of Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen was Angela McArdle, author of The Communist Cookbook: Delicious Dining for the Modern Marxist.

Francis Menton made the case that libertarians should help to re-elect Donald Trump. Menton is a retired partner in the Litigation Department and co-chair of the Business Litigation Practice Group of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in New York.

Voting for this online debate was exclusive to the live Zoom audience. McArdle won by convincing 32.5 percent of the audience to change their minds and support Jo Jorgensen. Support for Trump increased by 3 percent, while Biden lost 4.8 percent.

The Soho Forum, sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village.

Produced by John Osterhoudt.

NEXT: Jonathan Rauch on Cancel Culture and the 'Unending Battle' for Free Speech

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  1. Don’t vote, it only encourages them.

    I’m offering myself as a write in candidate if you simply must vote.

    1. Sorry Zeb. My cat gets dibs over voting for you.

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  2. Of course Ilya Somin is endorsing Biden.

    Somewhat surprising, but fitting, is a communist cookbook author endorsing Jo “#BLM” Jorgenson.

    Only a well-off retired guy can publicly endorse Trump. He’s “cancel-proof”.

    1. Don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Marxist Party.

      1. OR ELSE!!!

      1. It was probably Jussie Smollett’s attackers… the real ones… in MAGA hats… with white skin, whomever it was that he alleged really attacked him.

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  3. Why is this posted twice?

    1. Well, you’re voting twice by mail, aren’t you?

  4. Vote for Trump – because Rand has influence over him.

  5. whether libertarians should vote for Joe Biden, Jo Jorgensen, or Donald Trump.</i?

    What are John McAfee and Vermin Supreme, chopped liver?

    1. Oops.

      *** gets coffee ***

    2. “What are John McAfee and Vermin Supreme, chopped liver?”

      No, chopped liver is actually useful. 🙂

  6. People ask me why Trump. I didn’t vote for him in 2016 although my vote would not have mattered anyway. One day I realized that republicans put up milquetoast McCain and Romney, and they were both called nazis and the WORST possible candidates. As was GW Bush before them. So when a guy like Trump punches back and says fuck off lefties, you cannot help think here’s a guy who gets it. He’s not the best candidate, he’s just the guy who likes to kick marxist faggots in the nuts. So maybe he’s hitler or maybe he’s not but as long as jackass buttfucker socialists are around I want the guy in office who’s not afraid to sent his enforcers to gas the mayor of Portland (a worthless sack of shit)

    1. Open wider, Art Kumquat.

      Your betters in the liberal-libertarian mainstream have plenty more progress to shove down your bigoted, disaffected, whining, right-wing throat.

      You get to whimper about it all you want, but you will continue to comply with the preferences of better Americans.

      1. You really need to ease off of the rape analogies. Not a great look.

  7. You should vote your conscience.
    If your conscience tells you to vote for Trump, then vote for Trump.
    If your conscience tells you to vote for Biden, then vote for Biden.
    If your conscience tells you to vote for JoJo, then vote for JoJo.
    If your conscience tells you to not vote, then don’t vote.
    You are the only person on the planet who has to live with your conscience. Not Trump, not Biden, not JoJo, not anyone else. You must be able to live with your vote. If you cannot, then you truly wasted your vote.

    1. My conscience tells me the drama and manipulation over the election is something straight out of Gulliver’s Travels. It’s like asking me to take seriously someone who claims they are Jesus.

      My sensibility is that I would like more freedoms as the end goal in this charade, and since I don’t have a crystal ball, who can really say if and what will best serve that goal?

      1. Then vote your conscience.
        If that means not voting at all, then that’s fine too.

    2. Well Jeff, I know who I’m not voting for so I’m sure I’ll have no problem getting a good night’s sleep.

  8. Libertarians who care about the runaway size of government should vote Biden and punish the profligate spending of the GOP harshly.

    The Bushpigs took federal spending from $1.8 trillion to $3.5 trillion annualy, Obama scarcely moved it to $4 trillion in eight years and the Dotard is setting records in % increase, real increase, and deficit increase with what will be over $8 trillion – double Obama’s last year.

    Only when there is a Dem in the White House do Republicans care about spending.

    Besides that nearly all the freedom-hating Aborto-Freaks. Bible Beaters and War Mongers reside in the GOP.

    Religion is a form on bondage and conservatives will leave someone tied up for life.

    1. Libertarians who care about the runaway size of government should vote Biden and punish the profligate spending of the GOP harshly.

      Wait, wat? Libertarians who are concerned about the runaway size of government should most definitely vote for Jo. There’s other issues but if that is a big one for you it’s not even close.

      This is the direct quote from her ‘government spending’ issues page:

      “As President, I will use my Constitutional authority to block any new borrowing. I will veto any spending bill that would lead to a deficit, and veto any debt ceiling increase. I will give every Cabinet secretary a specific spending reduction target to meet and hold them accountable. There is simply no excuse for sticking our children and grandchildren with the bill for these bipartisan bloated budgets.”

      Neither Biden nor Trump come anywhere close to such a strong stance on spending.


      1. Hear hear. Libertarians ought to vote for JoJo.

        1. With that being said, I live in a district that is competitive for the House. I am voting out that son of a bitch Democrat Andy Kim (NJ-3) because of his lunatic support for POTUS Trump’s impeachment, the fact that he never met a tax he didn’t want to impose (or increase), and the stupid son of bitch supports Phailing Phil Murphy (Progtard governor of the People’s Republic of NJ).

          Andy Kim….can’t wait for November 3rd to vote your ass out. The race is within 3%, and the numbers will not get better for you. I almost always vote third-party, but for you, I will make an exception. I will vote Team R for the House seat.

          David Richter gets my vote for NJ-3 —> https://richter2020.com/

      2. Trump isn’t fighting the spending because he knows it’s a battle against Congress (all the Democrats and the RINOs which are a majority of the GOP in Congress) he can’t win, and that will hurt his re-election chances.
        Consider how he handled the Democrats holding the US hostage for any virus relief (something I’m against) in demanding funds for many of their socialist desires unconnected to the pandemic. He didn’t cave (like RINOs would) and instead issues a bunch of EOs to a) suspend payroll taxes, b) suspend student loan payments until the end of the year c) extend protections from evictions d) extend unemployment payments.

        Now the Democrats have to explain to their voters, why they want to stop Trump doing these things. And it’s possible none of them will be achieved, but the optics exposes the Democrats for who they really are, contrary to their rhetoric. I’d say Trump just made a fiscally conservative play, especially compared to the RINOs – the exception being the unemployment extension.

        Trump continues to show his power to get his opponents to expose who they really are.

    2. I’ve never understood what a libertarian is, other than a pendulum that swings opposite of whoever is in the White House. Not much use for that.

      1. “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” — Herbert Spencer

      2. For convenience, a libertarian is someone who wants smaller government. Smaller in terms of less spending, and smaller in terms of less power.

        A libertarian is someone who would endorze zero new government programs, and would vote against any spending increases in any category.

        Libertarians have no use for any new laws at all.

    3. I am 40 years old, and I’ve been hearing about the dangers of profligate government spending ever since I can remember. I used to believe in it hardcore, as in I was waiting for the inevitable economic doomsday and managing my money accordingly. After 20 years of that bullshit, I’ve stopped waiting. I’ve concluded that there are no adverse consequences to overspending by the U.S. government, at least not on a timescale that is relevant to human life.

      Now of course, the large majority of this money is spent to actively make my life more difficult than it already is. So there is that. But that’s a whole different issue than the enormous outlay being a problem in and of itself.

      1. There are adverse consequences. You’ve just gotten used to them, like the depressed economic growth rates.

    4. The GOP should be punished on spending, but a vote for Biden in now way makes the GOP think, “Hey, maybe we should spend less!”

      If that’s the goal, a vote for Jo would send a better signal. But then you get covid and die for your country.

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  11. It’s like the choose your Destructor game. Jo has the best message, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t vote at all except I really want to see leftist punished for what they’ve done to this country this year. So Terrible Trump it is. 100% schadenfreude driven.

    1. You might vote Trump, but you were thinking Stay Puft!

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  15. Hindi-Shayari – Why like this is this posted twice?

  16. On ISideWith, I find that I agree with Trump and Jorgensen each on about 90% of the issues. That means that Trump and Jorgensen must themselves be largely interchangeable in terms of political positions.

    1. That’s not even possible.

  17. I think that Francis Menton is purely for Trump and has no interest in libertarian philosophy. I was especially taken by his suggestion that in blue states libertarians vote for Trump so he can get a better score on the popular vote. If your state is not in play you should take the opportunity to give Jo Jorgenson a better popular score not Trump or Biden. I do believe that more states will be in play this time around and this will present challenges to libertarians who feel they want their votes to count.

    1. That’s as may be, but if you’re advocating voting for Biden at this point, claiming that you’re actually in favor of libertarianism rings pretty hollow.

  18. Your individual vote will never matter. Any attempt to vote strategically, for someone you think has a chance to win, is pointless, in any of the 50 states.

    If you’re going to stand in line and risk COVID-19 to make your opinion known to the vote counters and (in aggregate) to the public, the only way to vote that makes sense is to vote for the candidate you believe is best suited to be President, even if only 1 or 2 percent of other voters are likely to support her.

  19. If you had Biden anywhere other than last on the list, you aren’t libertarianing properly.

    Heck, some of Trump’s most libertarian moments have come undoing some of Biden’s greatest achievements. You cannot possibly believe that Biden is better for liberty than Trump. And that goes without factoring in those who would be calling the shots if Biden is not actually capable of running the show for his 4 years.

    In a Giant Douche vs Turd Sandwich election, choices are tough. But in this case we have a Giant Douche who is embarassing and often ludicrous but who actually gets some things right, whether by accident or intent, VS a Turd Sandwich who gets everything wrong, is revealed to be financially corrupted by foreign interests (so just imagine the domestic corruption), who is feeble of mind and is entirely backed by people who want to – in their own words – destroy the system and replace it… meaning communism.

    Jo is the only real alternative to Trump, and she has proven to be entirely squishy when it comes to libertarian principles in the face of woke culture.

    This truly is the ugliest of ugly elections.

    But if you really think that Biden is the best choice for office after what they did during the 2016 campaign and during the transition, you really shouldn’t vote. I don’t care what policies they mouth, corrupting the very foundation of the government like that should never be tolerated or rewarded…. lest we lose the democracy we claim to value.

    1. It’s only the ugliest of ugly elections until 2024. Then you can look back on this one and wish you had it so good.

  20. Two libertarians and a Republican clinger — who thought that lineup would be a good idea?

    1. I have to agree with you here, Menton is nowhere near a libertarian. He was primarily supporting Trump on conservative populist principles. Soho was able to come up a with libertarian supporting the Libertarian candidate, a libertarian supporting the Democrat, but not a libertarian supporting the Republican. I cannot help but wonder why this is the case?

      1. It’s not as though there was a shortage of libertarians supporting Trump. Perhaps they didn’t try very hard for some reason.

  21. Kanye in a landslide!!
    Anybody at all?
    Is this thing on?

  22. Im voting TRUMP.

    The most Libertarian-ish president in over 80 years.

    1. You need to go back to libertarian kindergarten.

      He is outspending Obama
      He has made restricting gun laws
      He has attacked Civil liberties of Gay rights and Gays in the Military
      He has increased military spending, has not withdrew troops from middle east as promised
      It is debatable if he is for “free market” with his tax war with China
      He is in no way inclusive. If you feel the libertarian party isn’t inclusive you aren’t a libertarian at heart.

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  24. A vote for sock puppet Biden is a vote for a cabal of Globalists and Marxists competing to see whether the first can sell out more of the country than the second can destroy.

    You can vote for Jorgensen if you’re ready to cozy up to racist Marxists. I was heartened that Jo’s twitter followers did not seem so eager. Most of them tore her a new one for her tweet in support of BLM:
    It is not enough to be passively not racist, we must be actively anti-racist.
    #BlackLivesMatter #VoteGold

    It’s racist Marxism or Trump. Choose wisely.

    1. I love how people peg maybe the most central member of the democratic party as a Marxist. Essentially he is a flip-flop candidate. People who call everything they feel is negative as Socialism/Communism/Marxist sound unintelligent.

      Would I vote for Biden, no, I don’t believe in the Democratic platform, but he is the most central leaning candidate of the democratic party.

      As for Trump, he is such a polarizing figure, not for what he has done economically for this nation (he has continued to move the country in the right direction, and staunch Trump fans will disagree, and say it was all his doing), but his rhetoric and his speaking ability, his use of social media, his war on Journalists, make him an unfit leader in my eyes (I am a libertarian leaning republican). Another reason I can’t back Trump is, he promised to cut spending, lower taxes to cut deficit spending. He lowered some taxes, but is spending at rates which exceed Obama. I want a well spoken leader, who is inclusive (even against his/her detractors), who will do what needs to be done to stop spending this country into default.

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  26. After listening to this debate (along with observing the general trend of politics over the last twenty years), I have decided to write-in myself for president. At least it assures me that I can say, once again: “Hey, don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for that ass.”

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  28. What boggles my mind, that the republicans and democrats have produced such subpar candidates the past elections, yet have the voting majority believing that if you do not vote for the Republican or Democrat candidates you are “Throwing your vote away.”

    Think of it like this:
    1. Who controls who joins the debate floor every election cycle? The CPD, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties
    2. I know a number of people who tell me, “Well I’d rather vote for the lesser of two evils then throw my vote away” – I have spoken to hundred of people who say this, I am willing to bet everyone else knows lots of people who say this same or similar line as well.
    3. Reality, the Democrat and Republican parties are very similar today. You may have each party saying some different things, but both parties have been on a spending spree, inflating the deficit. It just depends what each party spends the budget on.

    I am not telling you who to vote for, but this is an attack on the current duopoly which has controlled our country since Abraham Lincoln (check it, All presidents since Lincoln have been a Republican or Democrat). The duopoly has failed the people, and they have dug their talons in to control who’s voice is heard, and to engrain people into thinking that ONLY a republican or democratic president is the only way to move forward.

  29. Wow, a lot of posts were deleted here. This is just as bad as AOL.

  30. Vote for Donald Trump in 2020. I think the Libertarian Party is beginning to lose its way. Jacob Hornberger should have been the Libertarian Party presidential nominee, but they picked Jo Jorgensen for some bizarre reason. I do not like Jorgensen, and Joe Biden is even worse. Trump is the best option.

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