Election 2020

Is There Hope for Libertarianism Within a Post-Election GOP?

This is not your older brother's "Libertarian Moment," caution Reason Roundtable podcasters.


So voters repudiate President Donald Trump yet refuse to embrace the Democratic Party, while also passing some freedom-friendly ballot initiatives. Meanwhile, the noisy center of American politics these past five years characteristically refuses to concede, and concocts increasingly implausible conspiracy theories attempting to explain away his loss. Where does that leave the modern GOP, and whatever vaguely libertarian muscle memory it may have buried somewhere?

That discussion takes up the second half of this week's Reason Roundtable. The front end is devoted to exploring the difference between Trump's and Joe Biden's COVID-19 policies, the wonderful news of another vaccine, and the less salutary news of widespread infection and hospitalization increases all around the country. The phrase "Gadsden Flag mankini" is invoked.

Speaking of which: Got questions for Roundtable podcasters Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, Matt Welch, and Katherine Mangu-Ward? Please email them to podcasts@reason.com before December 1, and we will try to get to each and every one of them during our annual Webathon, which begins at the end of this month. You'll be glad you did!

Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.

Music: "Day Bird" by Broke for Free

Relevant links from the show:

"Moderna's Preliminary Results Indicate That Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is 94.5% Effective," by Ronald Bailey

"Masks Are a Tool, Not a Panacea," by Ronald Bailey

"Trump Touts Operation Warp Speed's COVID-19 Successes," by Ronald Bailey

"Biden Has a Plan for a New National 'Supply Commander,'" by Max Gulker

"New York, Shamefully, on the Verge of Shuttering Public Schools," by Matt Welch

"Joe Biden's COVID-19 Death Forecast Looks Less Plausible Every Day," by Jacob Sullum

"Here Come the New Lockdowns," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Gov. Andrew Cuomo's New COVID-19 Restrictions on Private Home Gatherings Violate Personal Liberty," by Robby Soave

"Will Biden Use the Broad Pandemic-Fighting Powers Originally Claimed by Trump?" by Christian Britschgi

"Don't Buy the Debunked Dominion Voting Machine Conspiracy Theory," by Eric Boehm

"The Supreme Court Won't Save Trump," by Damon Root

"'I Won the Election,' Tweets Trump as Legal Losses Stack Up," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"No, Trump Did Not Concede the Election (Even Briefly)," by Jacob Sullum

"California Voters Rebuked Their Governor, Legislators at the Ballot Box," by Steven Greenhut

"Trump Lost in Part Because 2016 Third-Party Voters Heavily Preferred Biden," by Matt Welch

"Mike Pompeo Jokes, Hopefully, About 'a Smooth Transition To a Second Trump Administration,'" by Christian Britschgi

"Would a Less-Nativist Republican Have Won in 2020?" by Shikha Dalmia

"Before Drug Prohibition, There Was the War on Calico," by Virginia Postrel

NEXT: Shelby Steele: What Really Killed Michael Brown?

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  1. "Is There Hope for Libertarianism Within a Post-Election GOP?"

    NO! Full stop!

    The GOP has its panties in a doubled-down full-triple twist, and, in a self-righteous SNIT, will elect ALEX FUCKIN' JONES for the next POTUS! Do NOT say that I didn't WARN ye all!!!

    1. Between Alex Jones and Joe 'Supply Chain Czar' Biden, it would seem that the GOP can't help but fall ass backwards onto a more libertarian candidate.

      Considering Jones is likely to run hog wild, investigating every conspiracy theory and tossing people out at any irrational whim, he's arguably more libertarian than a lot of the 'Maverick' Republicans already elected.

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        1. MAGA 2020!!!
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    2. Joe Biden appeared to clinch a victory on Saturday morning to become 46th president of the United States, closing out an election cycle that was dominated in the final months by debates around COVID-19, the economy, and police reform.........MORE INFORMATION.

    3. That discussion takes up the second half of this week's Reason Roundtable. The front end is devoted to exploring the difference between Trump's and Joe Biden's COVID-19 policies.........MORE INFORMATION.

    4. President Alex Jones would be fucking awesome.

      1. "I'm ordering a first strike nuclear attack on Mars."
        "Mr. President... but why?"
        "Just do it. Nuke Mars! Before it's too late!"

        1. Nuke Mars: That is actually a great policy position.

          It would prevent future Reptilians like Hillary Clinton from illegally immigrating here and then running for President.

    5. Alex Jones for President? That never occurred to me but that would be a great idea.

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  2. More hope now than before. Republicans will discover fiscal conservatism to pay lip service to once again, and will be more welcoming to those with more free market views on trade and immigration with the Trumpists no longer in charge.

    1. So, back to being controlled opposition under the neocons?

      1. I'll take the neocons over the alt-right white nationalists any day. At least the neocons never did anything as barbaric as Drumpf's war on immigration.


        1. So are libertarians OK with Obama/Biden's Muslim ban now or no? I lost track.

          1. turns out North Korea and Cuba aren't Muslim nations. who knew?

            1. Trump's "war on immigration"? How about asking why the Democrats are for open borders? Because they have such big hearts? What an idiotic thought. They are for open borders because immigrants vote for big government to give big handouts.

              OpenbordersLibertarian is an oxymoron. He is also a moron for not seeing this obvious fact.

              1. "OpenbordersLibertarian"
                Look again, you got it all wrong.

        2. And they bombed the shit out of Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan and killed at least 100K innocent civilians. Are you seriously sure you want to defend that versus actually deporting illegals? Seriously? Is an Iraq life blown apart less worth than some "single mom" with 10 kids from some central american country being taken care of in a detention facility with three meals and warm clean bed paid by taxpayers?
          Neocons are just cultural marxists

        3. " At least the neocons never did anything as barbaric as Drumpf’s war on immigration."

          except the Iraq War , Afghan War , Lybia, Syria, - need I say more?

      2. Biden's election is essentially just a return to the pre-Trump status quo, so yeah, pretty much.

      3. Exactly this.
        Might as well work your gift for bigger paydays now that elections don't matter.

        1. Nadless, TRY HARD to grow the fuck up! Read and heed the below, if you have ANY non-ideological-idiot neurons left in your puny brain! Please!

          For all ideological hard-core warmongers everywhere…

          So ye lust after the utter, eternal destruction of the “D” team, and the eternal victory of the “R” team? (The inverse kind of ideological idiot exists also, but not so much, on these pages).

          “R” team likes to demonize “D” team? Biden is going to outlaw the internal combustion engine, tomorrow, to “Make American Green Again”? The NEW MAGA? Bullshit, demonizers!

          “D” team likes to say that the next “R” POTUS (Alex Jones maybe?) will outlaw ALL abortion, and birth control? And turn ALL women into enslaved baby-making machines, because every sperm is sacred? Bullshit, demonizers!

          All is for The Hive… The Tribe-Nation… Or, All is for the Individual, and you may NOT (of your own supposed “free will”) join a VOLUNTARY commune?! There can be NO compromise, traitors!!!

          The males must UTTERLY DEFEAT the females, who must NEVER speak again!

          Yin must smash Yang, till Yang exists no more!

          Creation must smash destruction! NO eggs make be broken, for making omelets!

          Life must rule over death, and NO ONE may die, to make room for the new living! No matter HOW old and decrepit they get! YOU MAY NOT DIE!!!

          Do you ideological idiots NOT see that “R” v/s “D” falls into the same category? You would destroy it ALL (multi-party democracy, “balance”) in the name of your POWER PIG FANTASIES!!!

          The ONLY way that ye will get your “ultimate victory” is in the DEATH OF IT ALL!!! The new POTUS, Alex Jones, will declare Nuclear War for the Ultimate Victory… And yin and yang, male and female, “D” and “R”, individual v/s tribe… they all ARE NO MORE!!!

          Are you HAPPY now, ideological idiots and power-lusters?!!?

            1. I just auto flag.
              Much cleaner thread that way.

    2. Thank you CE! I hope that you are correct! I don't know how long it will take to repair the damage that Trump has done to the GOP!

      1. Man you are fucking retarded. Yes. Let's go back to the pro war, DHS expanding days of the GOP when they pretended to care about limiting spending until the media got mad. Way better to let the authoritarian left continue to grow that give citizens tax breaks, deregulation, less wars, etc.

        Youre a god damn statist.

        1. Says JesseSPAZ, who wants to nationalize the internet, to make sure that web site owners are FORCED to publish the droolings and splatterings of JesseSPAZ!

          JesseSPAZ can’t be abidin’ with Biden, and settling for merely getting her hair smelled. JesseSPAZ wants to get back to having her pussy grabbed good and hard, by Der TrumpfenFuhrer!

        2. "the GOP when they pretended to care about limiting spending until the media got mad."

          Was there a time, including in the last 4 years where the GOP wasn't like this?

          1. Yes. The entirety of the last 4 years. Trump has been the biggest spending president since FDR. Nary a word from Rand or Mitch or any of the tea party patriots crew about the debt.

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  3. Maybe the GOP will go woke like the LP and start pandering to minorities based on the idea they aren't as capable as everyone else

  4. Probably not, until they actually start winning elections.

    Also siding with democrats makes you less popular.

  5. The only hope for American libertarianism is in the Democratic Party. That's why my favorite libertarian writer Shikha Dalmia (and several other Reason staff) endorsed Biden.

    For any doubters, this will become clear when Biden takes office and implements the following libertarian policies:
    Unlimited, unrestricted immigration
    Taxpayer-funded abortion access
    An expanded Supreme Court
    A nationwide mask mandate
    Comprehensive gun safety laws (and yes, this is in fact the libertarian position; just ask Michael Hihn)


    1. Who did Hihn vote for?

      1. He's dead, so, Sleepy Joe.

        1. Remember the halcyon days before the election when comments about dead people voting were lighthearted jokes, not depressing statements of fact?

      2. I am donning my freshly-recalibrated tinfoil hat as we speak...

        From the Beyond the Beyond, Ladies and Germs!

        Hihn says he voted for Alex Jones!!!! With the VEEP being Pepe the Stolen-IP-4Chan White-Power Frog!

        Left minus Right = Zorro the Gay Blade!

    2. I do really hate it when people just make up policy positions of politicians. Biden does not support any of those (except for maybe gun safety, which is could be not objectionable). If you want to dislike Biden's positions, fine, but at least oppose the real ones, not the made up ones.

      1. Joe Biden supports whatever his masters tell him to.

      2. 1) AZ mirror: "Biden in final debate vows an immigration overhaul in his first 100 days as president" "Biden said if he’s elected, within 100 days he’s going to direct Congress to craft a legislative pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. "

        2) CNN, June 2019: "Biden reverses long-held position on abortion funding amid criticism" "Former Vice President Joe Biden says he now wants to throw out the Hyde Amendment, dropping his long-held support for the measure that blocks federal funds from being used for most abortions amid criticism from his 2020 Democratic rivals."

        3) If Biden didn't support Court packing, he would have just come out and said so, instead of saying the voters weren't entitled to know where he stood on it before the election.

        4) NYT: "Biden’s Call for ‘National Mask Mandate’ Gains Traction in Public Health Circles" "A presidential order would almost certainly face a legal challenge. But if elected, Joseph R. Biden Jr. would have other levers at his disposal to make mask wearing a cultural norm."

        5) Biden's own website.

        Five for five, Molly.

  6. This is not your older brother's "Libertarian Moment," caution Reason Roundtable podcasters

    Libertarianism isn't what it used to be, although I'l admit it may have never been what it used to be.

    1. There were some babies in that Objectivist bathwater.

      1. Baby 1) The need for some basic philosophy.

        We can't be persuasive if we don't care about facts or the truth.

        Baby 2) The need for self-interest

        There are so many aspects to this.

        For one, each of us perusing our own self-interests is the stuff that invisible hands are mad of.

        It really is okay to care more about yourself, your family, and your money than the welfare of strangers.

        Yes, really!

        1. I disagree over #1. "We're like you" is very persuasive. So is, "That candidate reminds me of myself."

          The trouble is, you can't really be like most people and get a party's nomination, whether it's a major or a minor party. But if you can fake it, that's good enough.

      2. There were some babies in that Objectivist bathwater.

        Not babies, but a bunch of unneutered cats.

  7. If the GOP tries to court the Libertarian vote after this election, they're idiots.

    If Libertarians won't back Trump after he killed a $3.5 trillion stimulus package, negotiated a withdrawal agreement from Afghanistan, and opposed the Green New Deal, then why should the GOP bother trying to appeal to Libertarians?

    The lesson Libertarians taught the GOP with the results of this election is that the GOP might as well be warmongers and spend another $3.5 trillion. In fact, the open question now is whether we end up with Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and Biden's War on Guns--because of Libertarians. How embarrassing!

    1. Winning strategy, Ken. Keep dumping on people with your elitism because they didn't vote the way you deem correct. Worked well for Hillary. The RNC needed those voters to win but the RNC didn't reach out to them and the RNC lost so now the RNC is going blame those voters for being too stupid to know what was best for them. Hmmm...maybe you should learn something from Trump.

      1. I'm just pointing out the facts.

        The fact is that Libertarians effectively handed the election over to socialist Democrats--who are campaigning on Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and a $3.5 trillion stimulus bill.

        The fact is that they didn't vote for Trump--despite him killing that $3.5 trillion stimulus bill, opposing Medicare for All, opposing the Green New Deal, and negotiating a total withdrawal from Afghanistan deal with the Taliban.

        There are conclusions to draw from that, and the most obvious is that if Trump had conceded to Pelosi's $3.5 trillion stimulus deal, he might have won reelection. In the strict calculus of how to win elections, the Libertarians have showed the GOP that they should probably ignore the Libertarian vote--since the Libertarians won't support them even when the opposition is overtly socialist and the Republicans pursue policies that are nothing short of entirely libertarian.

        You fucked up. Don't expect me to pretend otherwise. I'm not delusional.

        1. They're fine with cheating on their wives. It's your fault for making them feel guilty by calling them adulterers. You neo-Victorian asshole.

        2. Most of the libertarian vote from 2016 went somewhere else.

          1. Right. What you were looking at this election was the residual libertarian vote that couldn't be persuaded by Ken's reasoning. And he's right, at this point there's no point in Republicans appealing to them.

            Gary Johnson hit 3.28%, Jorgenson a bit over 1%. Trump peeled off two thirds of their vote, the remainder is probably beyond reach.

      2. You preferred actual statism to a president who was largely decreasing the federal estate. You'd rather have steps towards authority because you don't get 100% of what you want instead of a few steps towards liberty.

        You aren't principled.

        1. "You aren’t principled."


          A thousand times this. Foreseeable consequences are not unintended consequences.

          Reason authors will try to pretend they really didn't want Biden and the hard leftism, and galloping statism. But we all know they are full of it.

    2. In fact, the open question now is whether we end up with Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and Biden’s War on Guns–because of Libertarians. How embarrassing!

      From the other side as well. Apparently, mostly peaceful protesting in the streets, thumbing your nose at legislators and then issuing them a list of demands wins lots of undecided voters to your side. Just imagine the change that could be achieved if you laid seige to an entire city or actually kidnapped a Governor. As long as you have the media/Twitter on your side, what's to stop you?

      Libertarians for mostly peacefully rioting your way to power.

    3. Seems like a good number of Libertarian voters did vote Trump. The LP prez vote dropped from 3% in 2016 to 1% in 2020. You can't expect to win them all when you don't govern as a libertarian.

      1. You'll never get closer than Trump

        1. Even if you don't like Trump personally. Objectively, Trump wasn't a 40-yr. member of either party or some up-and-coming Jr. Senator. Even if you thought somebody like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, or Carly Fiorina were the (wo)man for the job, the rebuke of Trump is a rebuke of career politicians filling the role. Nothing says inclusiveness, small-government, fiscal conservatism, and libertarianism like rejecting political outsiders and opting to be led by people who've been on the public dote for 5 decades.

          He was the most outsider candidate we've had since Perot and, I could be wrong, but he's likely the last for the foreseeable future.

          1. the rebuke of Trump is a rebuke of career politicians filling the role.

            Sorry, rebuke of political outsiders or non-career politicians. The return to the status quo is a return to the American political form of divine birthright/political succession.

          2. I think you're wrong. The GOP establishment think Trump was a one off, but I think in 4 years, the base will force them to accept another outsider.

            If anything, the base, that was about 93% behind Trump, are going to go for somebody the party establishment likes even less.

    4. Try running an adult next time...

      1. You reveal your own immaturity

      2. If you voted against someone who would withdraw from Afghanistan, kill a $3.5 trillion stimulus package, and opposed the Green New Deal--because of his tweets--then the person who needs to grow up is you.

        1. You can cherry pick the policies you like about Trump. I can rattle off a long list of actions he took that I believe were contrary to individual freedom, democracy, and free markets. I don't find "but Biden is worse" a very compelling argument. Given the realities of the current duopoly, about the best we can hope for is divided government and enough time/money to become an expat.

          1. become an expat

            Where the fuck would you go?

    5. The conservative base of the Republican party and true Libertarians should be natural allies.

  8. We appear to be destined to continue to suffer with both big parties being "Democratic Parties. The one actually named the Democratic Party and the Trumpy Dixiecrat and outer-borough union hall bar drunken loudmouth Democratic Party masquerading as the GOP are going to plague us for much too long.

    1. We "suffer" only in comparison to the ideal in our heads.

      Imagine a worst case scenario. Like a world in which you get to decide nothing for yourself, but everyone lines up in a circle and dictates every breath to the next one.

      Now imagine best case.

      We're a hell of a lot closer to best case than worst.

  9. Is There Hope for Libertarianism Within a Post-Election GOP?

    It depends on whether or not the GOP has learned their lesson about thinking outside the box and allowing "not our kind"-ers to take control of their party. Sure, you lost with Trump - but you also won with Trump. Do you really think Jeb Bush would have beaten Hillary if you had picked him instead? Are you insane? I think people want something different and not the same old shit. Are you going to go back to the same old shit after Trump showed you the way to win? That's not a rhetorical question, I really want to know: Is the GOP going to go back to the same old shit, will Jeb! be running again in 2024 instead of fucking right the hell off in shame and embarrassment?

    1. I keep pounding the table with Duverger's Law because it really is the only thing that matters.

      Biden will try to pass his agenda in his first 100 days in office--just like every other president--and the opposition to that agenda will manifest itself in the GOP over the next two years.

      If Biden passes the Green New Deal, the "public option" (AKA Medicare for All), and launches his war on guns, then the 2022 midterms will be a grass roots reaction to that--and the GOP will be all about opposing Biden's Green New Deal, opposing Medicare for All, and opposing Biden's War on Guns.

      Duverger's Law is the shape of the chess board and the way different pieces on the chess board can move. The GOP can't resist those rules and dictate terms--not over the next two years anyway. What the GOP becomes over the next two years is all a function of and a reaction to what Biden does in his first 100 days in the White House.

      1. Fuck it.
        Let's find a Pinochet and go with a military coup.
        Because voting is dead - the left will just invent whatever numbers they need to "win".

        1. Pinochet was forced to hold a referendum on his own rule and respect the results and step down when he lost that referendum.

          There are negative consequences of socialist and authoritarian policies, and the people in charge pay the price for them regardless of whether they legitimately won an election. Even Pinochet had to respect that.

          The reason Emperor Xi is concerned about what his people are saying to each other is because he's smart. He should fear the reaction of his people to his policies, and he doesn't even need to steal an election.

          It's the same thing with Biden and the socialists in the Democratic party. We'll suffer the negative consequences of their bad policies, but their legitimacy will suffer because of them, too. And it doesn't really matter what the news media says.

          The center of the Democratic party is far, far to the left of average Americans, and even IF IF IF they stole the election, they'll still suffer the negative consequences of inflicting terrible policies on the American people. They'll lose control of the House in 2022.

          It's just the pandemic, really. If it hadn't been for the pandemic, Trump would have sailed to reelection. He was spot on correct on so many policies. The American people didn't turn on Trump because of his policies, and to the extent that the Democrats try to change them is the extent of the backlash they'll suffer for being so far to the left of the average American.

          1. Pinochet wasn't forced to do shit. Pinochet consented to the referendum and obeyed the result because he stuck to the principles of a free Chilean republic.

            And it wasn't just the pandemic. If it weren't for this particular strain of coronavirus, the media would have latched on to something else to inflate into a crisis, perhaps even a different strain of coronavirus.

            1. I don't think there is anything special about this strain of coronavirus - I think they came up with a plan to scare up a pandemic and use it to initiate The Great Reset.
              Populism has been winning over the last 5, maybe 10, years. From Brexit to NATO failures in Syria and Ukraine to Orlando and Poland to Trump to yellow vests to even Hong Kong. The world economy was improving as fracking and Trump deregulated in the US. People were skeptical of globalism and growing uppity in the face of their rulers. Arab states were not just aligning with but officially recognizing Israel. Some measure of peace was settling in Mesopotamia.
              They had think tank exercises in the early fall of 2019 of a SARS-like pandemic setting up pretty much this exact scenario.
              I think covid19 is 'just the flu', and the mass media/politician/technocrat in unison constantly beating the contrary message into our heads makes me all the more suspicious.

              1. Oh boy, it wouldn't be a libertarian board without some dumbfucks praising Pinochet. Pinochet had his political opponents murdered, you idiots.

                1. Oh wait, I forgot, you like that about him, you fascists.

                2. Your life doesn't matter, eunuch.
                  And you know it.

        2. Let’s find a Pinochet and go with a military coup.

          I can tell how much that idea pains you. "I never wanted the Republic to turn into a murderous dictatorship. Alas, my hand was forced."

          Out of curiosity, is your post meant to be hyperbole? Someone here was telling me the other day that nobody actually thinks that a Biden presidency will usher in a totalitarian state, and that those people are just frustrated at the prospect of another 4-8 years of misguided and destructive Democratic policies. Is that so?

          1. I suspect he genuinely believes that the Democrats stole the election, and I suspect you genuinely believe that Biden won't really implement the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.

            If you genuinely believed that the Democrats stole this and could steal every election in the future, wouldn't the question boil down to something like, "Would you rather live under Pinochet or Stalin?"

            1. I don't know if Biden will implement the GND or MFA. We'll have to know the how the Senate races shake out in GA. But again, we should keep in mind that political parties are not monoliths, particularly in America, and that even control of the Presidency and both houses of Congress does not guarantee that your biggest policy goals will come to pass. For what it's worth, I think that MFA has a better chance than the GND, but that's neither here nor there.

              wouldn’t the question boil down to something like, “Would you rather live under Pinochet or Stalin?”
              If I believed the Democratic Party to be in the power of Stalinists, yes. Since that is not that case, I do not. And I say that as someone who has exclusively voted Republican and LP my entire life, for what it's worth.

              1. The Green Raw Deal won't pass unless it's so watered down it doesn't matter.

                VA care for all will probably pass in some form, since people are raised to be perpetual children now.

                1. and even with a sweep in the Georgia Senate runoffs, I can easily see 2 or more Republican Senators "compromising" on a blue state pension bailout, as part of a bigger stimulus package that waters their own particular money tree.

                2. Because they totes can't just use the EPA and other regulatory agencies to do everything the GND is supposed to do anyway...

                  The left controls media, tech, education, corporate America, and the federal bureaucracy. After the "pandemic" small business is devastated and the middle and working classes have less security than ever. They damn well might be a lot more powerful than the Soviets in the 20s and 30s were.
                  They've explicitly denied Americans civil rights going on a year now and haven't faced revolt. They unleashed months of violence and haven't faced revolt. Now they've blatantly stolen an election. If they don't face any real consequences after all of that, why would they hesitate to do anything? They won't be called on it by anybody important here or worldwide. They will have a de facto mandate to rule with absolute authority.

          2. Hey bignose- name one thing I've been wrong about in the last year

            1. "I think they came up with a plan to scare up a pandemic and use it to initiate The Great Reset."

              "They damn well might be a lot more powerful than the Soviets in the 20s and 30s were."

              "Now they’ve blatantly stolen an election."

              Gee, that didn't take long.

              1. In your opinion, which has no value.

          3. "I never wanted the Republic to turn into a murderous dictatorship...."

            If the election was stolen, in what sense are we still a republic?

        3. We don't need to go that far. All the GOP needs to do is copy the Democrats. After all, the Democrats implicitly legalized voter fraud in federal elections, precedent is now on the GOP's side.

      2. The GOP could post an ad. Wanted: Someone to run for POTUS. Libertarian leanings preferred. MUST be an ADULT.

        1. " MUST be an ADULT who doesn't mind being called Literal Hitler, having the Intelligence agencies, and the Department of Justice sicced on him, his family, and anyone he's ever worked with while being perpetually vilified in any not expressly right wing media."


    2. "Do you really think Jeb Bush would have beaten Hillary"

      I don't think Jeb would have gotten the nomination, even absent Trump. Like you say, voters didn't want the same old shit. A relative outsider like Cruz, Carson, or even Rand Paul probably would have gained momentum. The Republican machine just didn't have the same institutional control that the Democrats did to stop it (superdelegates). But even if Jeb or Kasich or some other establishmentarian were running against Hillary, I think the Republican would have won. Only once since the end of WWII has one of the two parties controlled the Executive for more than two terms (1980-1992). Also, Hillary was absolutely despised by even a large portion of her own voters. Trump won in 2016 mainly because the Dems ran the worst ticket possible. The Dems won in 2020 because they ran a slightly less terrible ticket (in terms of electability) than they did last election.

      1. A relative outsider like Cruz, Carson, or even Rand Paul probably would have gained momentum.

        I think Cruz and possibly Paul have positioned themselves as divergent enough from the GOP to still stand out as "Not the same-old GOP" in 2024 and the intervening years of Biden will only help.

        1. Paul is great, but he doesn't have 'it'.
          Cruz is capable, but easily vilified and too intellectual. Plus, we all see him break under the pressure from Trump.
          Rubio would've had the best chance, but he's a cardboard cutout and a wimp.

          1. And they're all senators - not good prep for the presidency.

            Leading contenders now are Pence, Noem, Scott, Haley, and DeSantis. I would not be happy with either of the South Carolinians, but I also don't think it will really matter anymore if they succeed in ousting Trump through fraud - electoral and everything else.

            1. I agree about Paul, Haley, and DeSantis. I don't think Cruz has to worry about anyone of Trump's caliber in 2024. However, I think the intervening 2-4 yrs. muddy the waters too much to make a call on any of the others and maybe even those as well.

  10. Why isn't Robby and his hair on this podcast?

    1. The Hair and The Jacket together in one space would set off the heat death of the universe.

  11. >>So voters repudiate President Donald Trump yet refuse to embrace the Democratic Party

    why aren't you asking how the statistics bear this?

    1. On the one hand, the Democrats losing seats in places like southern California and Florida was a total repudiation of socialism.

      On the other hand, the Democrats have lost so many moderate seats, I'm not sure the Democratic party that's left cares whether the moderates lose seats--if it means they need to stop being socialists.

      Pelosi has already stated that she will step down as Speaker in 2022.

      I maintain that Biden will be too old to crisscross the country in a non-pandemic national election in 2024. I don't expect him to finish his first term.

      What I'm trying to say is that I don't think they're being driven by political considerations or statistics anymore. If they don't really plan on running for office again, why should they care about popularity or statistics? They just want to make history.

      Their strategic considerations are those of a kamikaze pilot.

      1. If you're referring to that Orange Country seat, then I wouldn't put too much stock on that one, because it was Republican for a long time before it went blue in 2018.

        I think the greater repudiation of socialism in the state of California was in the form of voters rejecting that commie forced reclassification of Uber drivers and voting against rent control and corporate tax hikes.

        1. California also voted against rent control and raising property taxes on commercial real estate.

          1. Right, property taxes on commercial real estate. I thought it was corporate taxes. Either way, more to the point.

            I did mention the vote against rent control.

          2. New York, while it didn't turn red, still surged something like 10-15 pts. in Trump's direction. There are indications of this repudiation of socialism all over the electoral map (not that Reason would talk about it lest they detract from their Dear Leader's immaculate election).

            1. They'll be sure to fix that repudiation problem next time...

        2. Californians rejected Democratic ballot initiatives while voting to give Democrats a larger majority in the legislature.

      2. Their strategic considerations are those of a kamikaze pilot.

        Yeah, the harder you look at it, the more it looks like they sacrificed all relevancy to beat Trump. Like the plan for elections going forward is to rely on endless waves of pandemics, continuing to ignore Sanders while simultaneously hoping people still (don't) like Elizabeth Warren and AOC. IMO, this is where the real story is at. The GOP still has people like Cruz, Carson, and Paul who can run campaigns. If Biden's win was a repudiation of socialism, how do they imagine the GND and suggestions of a 'Supply Chain Czar' keeping the paty afloat?

  12. Suderman still reeling from his acute case of TDS. Yeah, yeah, "Trump incompetent", that's why virtually every blue-state governor has praised the federal government assistance when the stakes were high and equipment in short supply. And that's why the United States has managed to develop an efficient vaccine at the fastest pace in human history.

    But sure, fawn over your Biden, Peter! Fawn over the guy who, in all likeliness, will be taking over once half the population will be immune to this thing, then you're gonna hail him as a hero.

  13. Trump probably wins on his policies. He was done in by chicom-19 and the fact that suburbanites did not find him genteel. The GOP will do well to keep the policies, especially as to how they will contrast with Biden/Harris', and find someone genteel enough to please the suburban snobs.

    1. It won't matter because every republican is "worse than hitler" according to the constantly outraged self righteous no nothing democrats and their media bootlickers. Even minorities that voted for Trump were "white supremacists" or some such nonsense.

      1. Well a very substantial minority didn't buy the media bullshit, and the election was probably decided by a small slice of America who didn't believe the Hitler meme but still could see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears four years of stupid tweets, incoherent speeches, and uninformed opinion coming out of Trump's mouth.

        1. Trump is no different than he was in 2016. If anything what hurt him was covid and various democrat lockdowns. Hard to overcome that feeling. Dems knew what they were doing. They may sacrifice some statehouses and capitols to get that white house prize.

          1. It wasn't covid or the lockdowns that did him in, it was fraud.

  14. Biden is going to require us to wear masks as we cross state lines. I feel safer already. We already know that the virus can't enter a restaurant if you wear a mask through the door.

    1. You can either wear a mask OR a BLM shirt. Both are effective at preventing Covid.

      1. HA! excellent comment

  15. Trump was Obama's third term.

    "Were going to punish our enemies and were gonna reward our friends..." ~ Obama

    Whether, as I think, this was a a new and un-American political orientation or, as some think, an extension of old-fashioned boss politics to the national level; both Obama and Trump fully embraced it and Obama-Trump voters put them in our highest office for so doing.

    "We found that Trump is not an oddity in these Democratic communities. Although he ran as an outsider, he resembles some of the most beloved political insiders. In these places, the political culture has long been Trumpian. Their most beloved Democratic leaders are crass, thin-skinned, and nepotistic. They promise to take care of their people by cutting deals–and corners, if necessary. In these respects–and others–they continue to practice a forgotten tradition of boss politics in the Democratic Party."


    Obama-Trump politicians and voters see electoral power only as a tool of revenge and plunder, and they are all too ready and willing to wield that tool.

    1. The Bulwark? Seriously? You're using them as evidence of anything involving the GOP that has rejected them?

    2. This is just "Dems r da reel racists" with different skins.

    3. Obama was Bush's 4th term.

      1. It was 16 years of Libertopia and then Trump came in and ruined everything.

  16. The GOP spent the last four years kicking libertarianism to the curb and then stomping it on the head. The GOP has kicked out not only libertarians, but traditional conservatives. It's now a party that Reagan would not be welcome in.

    The Republican Party cannot survive the departure of Trump.

    The vileness of the Democrats does not excuse the sins of the Republicans. Ten years ago I thought the GOP had a chance. My heart quickened a bit when the Tea Party started. But everything since then has been a steaming turd.

    1. That GOP that Trump "ruined" was the one that strangled the TP.

      "Oh no, Republican Party ignores neocons who want to bomb and kill dark-skinned folks! WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!!"

  17. The parties are always in a bidding war for sections of the electorate. The question is, how much does either party get from appealing to some libertarian sentiment, and how much do they lose by doing so?

    It's hard to judge from this presidential election, because it seems few voters, especially among Democrats, were voting on any serious issues that a president could affect. They decided to choose sides — probably for all offices high on the ticket as well as president — based on what others in their circle think, having no connection to anything but sheer posture, not policy. They might as well be sports teams or scents of soap.

    Meanwhile, local elections are dominated by personal considerations of the candidate, nearly all the time.

    It's probably going to be a few elections before the electorate breaks out of team thinking and even starts to consider what they're voting about. Until then it really can't be said whether there's any hope for libertarianism, or not, here, there, or anywhere.

    1. Well said.

      You could switch the D and R platforms and probably less than 10% of voters would notice. (And if they did, they would learn the new talking points in two weeks.)

      1. The media would completely shift narrative. Most people would notice that, but would gradually shift their views to fit the narrative the media was feeding them.

  18. Libertarians were allowed to rent space in the GOP tent for the past decade, now it will be 100% owned by Trump. Unless you believe that Trump is/was the most libertarian POTUS ever, there will be no room for libs from now on.

    1. Not the most libertarian ever but the most in a very long time. And not from any ideologic thinking, but it just happened to shake out that way from his pragmatism.

  19. Is There Hope for Libertarianism Within a Post-Election GOP?

    Just why would a libertarian WANT to be within the GOP party? We see the havoc that Trump and the republican party has created over the last four years so what would the libertarian have to do with the GOP? If they want to do anything then they will want to be a party on their own and give the American people ideas that will resonate with them. But you know that might just do what some democrats have called for, the death of the republican party. It would also keep the two party system that the US has had for so long. But if it did not replace the GOP but become a third party it would at least give the voters another choice to vote fore. But the hope would still remain to destroy the GOP and those who are part of IT.

  20. Is There Hope for Libertarianism Within a Post-Election GOP?
    No, or for the GOP either, the fix is in, it is a Democratic dictatorship from here on out.

    1. GOP is going to hold the Senate this time and might gain the House in 2022. We're looking at 4+ years of gridlock. Then Trump is going to mix things up even more in 2024 than he did in 2016, either as a candidate or a king-maker. You can't have a dictatorship during glorious gridlock.

      1. GOP will lose the senate in January. CA residents are moving there in droves just so they can vote, then immediately move back. They are getting increasingly open with their electoral fraud now.

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  23. Like much of America, the Republican Party has been divided by Trump. Before Libertarian ideas can get more of a foothold that division need to be settled and that may be a long time in coming. Let me suggest as an alternative, why don't the we look for more Libertarian idea in the Democratic Party. Democrats are open to loosening drug laws, promoting criminal reform; oppose foreign military entanglements, and personal freedom to make reproductive decisions and to who you marry. Democrats will want more spending, but will likely pay for it with taxes. Republican spend more and then just borrow the money.
    My point here is that Libertarians are wrong to simple write off the Democrats. Instead I suggest engagement. Image a Green New Deal not driven by regulations but rather market principles.

    1. Since when do Democrats oppose foreign military entanglements? Social freedom issues are largely moot due to SCOTUS decisions.

      Criminal justice reform and the war on drug users are good issues where we could potentially pull some support away from both parties. Subsets of each side are fed up with the status quo. Neither party actually wants much change in this area, so it's a great issue for libertarians to work on them with.

      1. Since when do Democrats oppose foreign military entanglements?

        I would say that among rank and file Democrats there is little support for foreign military entanglements. That is not as true at higher levels, but that is not without consequences. It is worth noting that successful Presidential candidates in 2008 and 2016 had not voted for the Iraq war. That said neither President Obama nor President Trump did much to draw down forces once they assumed office. Lesson here is its easier to get into war than to get out. This is important now as Trump threaten an escalation in Iran before he leaves office.

        1. Trump has threatened a lot of things that he never did. It's part of his schtick. He's still the most peaceful president in my lifetime. (Obviously, not saying much.)

          1. Were you alive during Carter and Reagan? That was a relatively war-free period. Yeah, Grenada, but that was pretty limited.

            1. And only 400 hostages were taken that one time, and only 300 were killed in a bombing that other time

          2. Remember the "day he became the president" when he dropped the MOAB?

            He has no foreign policy record because he was simply too stupid to engage foreign policy. Except by fulfilling his campaign promise of bombing more civilian families than Obama. He did that. You didn't read about it, but he did. Bigger warmonger than Obama, I bet you didn't know that.

        2. "It is worth noting that successful Presidential candidates in 2008 and 2016 had not voted for the Iraq war."

          ....how about the 2020 candidate?

          1. The comment seems merely to be a statement about the fact that Trump was not in Congress at the time.

            Donald Trump at the time:

            "I'm no warmonger. But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don't, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us."

            "Am I being contradictory here, by presenting myself as a deal-maker and then recommending preemptive strikes? I don't think so. There's nothing really comparable to unleashing a squadron of bombers, but in the world of business sometimes you have to make quick, secret, decisive moves in order to gain a negotiating advantage."

            When radio host Howard Stern asked Trump in September 2002 if he is "for invading Iraq," Trump responded, "Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly."

      2. i wonder if , based on this , cindy sheehan voted for trump (not really)

    2. "promoting criminal reform"

      Yet they do not do so. Trump did.

      "oppose foreign military entanglements"

      This myth is based on...what? Trump put us into far fewer entanglements than any President in 40 years.

      "My point here is that Libertarians are wrong to simple write off the Democrats. Instead I suggest engagement. Image a Green New Deal not driven by regulations but rather market principles."

      So...NO GND? GOP already supports that.

    3. Democrats are open to loosening drug laws,

      A rather recent development.

      promoting criminal reform;

      In stupid SJW ways.

      oppose foreign military entanglements,


      and personal freedom to make reproductive decisions

      You got one.

      and to who you marry.

      Again, a recent development.

      Image a Green New Deal not driven by regulations but rather market principles.

      What would make it a "new deal"?

    4. The Democratic Party is the party of central planning, technocracy, nationalization, massive welfare state expansion, economic redistribution, and race based policies. Half the Democratic Party is outright socialist.

      The fact that you think you can find even a kernel of libertarianism in there because of free drugs and free sex just illustrated again how deluded and/or dishonest “Libertarians” have become.

  24. Political gridlock is the best libertarians can hope for and a GOP Senate is the only thing that can cause it. Of course, they'll still bend all of us over in February with a massive stimulus bill. Beyond that we'll be looking at 2 years of continuing resolutions, as has become normal.

    The big question for me is whether the GOP will go along with whatever international intervention Biden/Harris/Clinton cook up first. You know they've got something in mind.

    1. Actually I've no idea whether they're cooking up anything in terms of international intervention. They're a complete mystery to me, except insofar as whatever they get the USA into, it will be hard to see how it satisfies anything but some narrow interest.

    2. I disagree grid lock does not really address issues and often pushes them to executive or judicial branches were more authoritarian solutions are enacted. Congress should do its job and represent the people.

  25. Political gridlock is the best libertarians can hope for

    Meaning we can never advance, only lose as slowly as possible?

    I think if you look over state legislatures for the past 40 years, the more Republican, the better for liberty. Loggerheads is better than all Democrat, but all Republican is better still.

    1. Because Republican state legislatures are so libertarian? On what planet?

        1. Wow... that's an incredibly low bar for what qualifies as libertarian.

          1. Feel free to provide the Democrat alternative. Any Dem state.

            1. "The 2018 election flipped the Minnesota House of Representatives from Republican to Democrat (DFL), and the chamber came into 2019 with a clear anti-­firearm agenda. Fortunately, the [Republican] Senate stood up for the state’s gun owners and the [DFL gun-control] measures were ultimately defeated. So much for gun control not being a partisan issue." (source)

          2. Make sure to wash your mask while you're locked down, comrade.

      1. How does that compare to Democrat run, big government hell holes?

  26. "Is There Hope for Libertarianism Within a Post-Election GOP?"

    More pertinent questions and answers include:

    Is There Hope for Libertarianism Within a Post-Election Libertarian Party?

    No. Jo Jorgensen and the LP were/are/will be appropriately perceived and treated like anti-Trump spoilers whose votes only helped Democrats Biden and Harris. Just ask Ralph Nadar and the Green Party how things worked out with the Democrat Party after 2000, as Democrats now routinely sue to block Green candidates from getting on the ballot in many states.

    Is There Hope for Libertarianism Within a Post-Election Democrat White House?

    Only to the extent Biden/Harris and other Democrats realize that
    no libertarians will vote for a Democrat in the future if Democrats increase taxes to waste trillions more dollars to impose the energy industry destroying Green New Deal, give free housing, education and healthcare to everyone, send more troops to foreign countries, sabotage school choice, and increase illegal immigration.

  27. Is There Hope for Libertarianism Within a Post-Election GOP?

    Not for the 'Libertarianism' that boasts that it's spoiler effect allowed vehemently anti-libertarian people to take office.

    You do not further the cause of liberty if your only real effect in an election is to exhort voters to ignore the huge problem of leftists gaining power in favor of the smaller problem of better policy definition and thereby swing the vote so that the leftists gain power.

    No one owes anyone a vote. But those who seek to advise owe those they are advising counsel that weighs ALL the pros and cons.

  28. Given the pro war, govt. spending, regulation, and censorship positions of the writers here then no there is no place for liberaltatians on the GOP. I'm sure they'll feel right at home in the modern DNC they so often support though.

  29. Trump v. Biden is a false dichotomy. The "socialism is coming" is mostly twaddle. It's already here in two odious flavors: welfare state and crony capitalism. Libertarian ideas occasionally succeed, though usually in some mutated form. Same-sex marriage isn't as good as getting government out of the marriage business. Legalizing pot isn't as good as ending the war on drugs. Libertarianism has failed as a political party/movement. Saying a populist gasbag like Trump is the best we can do? Ugh.

    America is a nation of busybodies, NIMBY's and just plain old idiots and assholes. And libertarians haven't convinced people that 1) government can't solve every damn problem; 2) we are best served by pluralism, tolerance, and leaving one another well the fuck alone; 3) government exists to aggregate and wield collective power over individuals. There is no future for small "l" libertarians in either political party because neither party really gives a rat's ass about individual rights.

    1. Yea, there's totes no dichotomy between one candidate who was actively opposed by career politicians, career bureaucrats, Corporate America, MSM, Big Tech, and the academic establishment vs the other candidate who's spent his whole life (and made a fortune) as an elected official and was actively propped up by all those previously mentioned factions.
      Totes false dichotomy...

      1. Uh, no. There are lots of "career politicians" on the Trump train, e.g. Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, and pretty much every Senate Republican except for Mitt Romney. And there are sectors of corporate America on team Trump, notably those that benefit from the trade war with China, those who wanted lower environmental regulations, etc. Trump didn't drain the swamp... he just changed a few of the swamp denizens. What did Trump really change? Other than running the presidency like a carnival barker for four years, not much. The powerful interests that run the country benefit from the two-party duopoly no matter who the president is. And the people who want to live quietly and in peace get screwed by both sides. Paint the cell walls red or blue, it's still a prison. Totes.

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  31. Neocons are actually socialists; they believe in overseas military intervention to socially engineer other countries. The harmful consequences of domestic socialism pale in comparison to the damage done in other countries. Imagine a socialist initiative in your neighborhood that involved bombing the locale to get started, killing many of your neighbors.

  32. There’s room in the GOP for people who embrace free markets, classical liberal values, and the NAP.

    There is no room for “Libertarians”, people who pretend to embrace those values but keep demonstrating that they don’t. You have your own party and magazine, stay with it.

  33. Is There Hope for Libertarianism Within a Post-Election GOP?

    Neither of the Libertarians has hope of any kind.

    1. Maybe they can get a room.

  34. Get rid of Suderman, his contributions are invariably negative. He can brighten a room by leaving it.

    1. Replace Suderman with another Katherine Mangu-Ward. She's the only one with any sense on that show.

  35. Just had to drop by and thank Welch for the image of Gillespie in a Gadsden flag mankini... Not enough psychic bleach on the planet to get that horrific image out of my mind...

  36. part of me wishes that there were hope. a perceived spoiler in 2000 resulted in the democratic party effectively reshaping itself into the green party....

    sadly, the current heart of the republican party is dedicated to some very non-libertarian positions and attitudes. the shift they need to take will be slow after the influence of Trump. i think the elections will move the needle a bit on marijuana and the drug war, but that is probably about it. and we can't look to dems, because they still only see us as a threat to republicans.

    our hope comes when more significant numbers of people are fed up with the whole thing and vote gold. being a spoiler is a good start, but i think too many will ignore the lesson due to the irregularities of Trump and a pandemic this go around...... we need to spoil even harder in 4 years to get the lesson to sink in.

    1. "the republican party is dedicated to some very non-libertarian positions"

      Such as?

      1. really? immigrants in cages, border walls, trade wars, bloated military, rounding up protesters, transgender discrimination...... for starters.....

        1. Banning porn, ending same-sex marriages, injecting Christian theology into government, continuing the War on Drugs, turning a blind eye to police and prosecutorial misconduct in the name of "order," crony capitalism in the name of "economic development," the Import/Export bank, deficit spending, violating the 4th amendment, limiting Internet speech, unfunded mandates on state and local governments... it's a very long list.

  37. Maybe the twelve libertarians in a sea of right-wing authoritarians can find a home in the Democratic party. Just depends on whether you prioritize freedom or tax cuts for the Koch brother. Difficult, nay existential, question, I know.

    1. wtf "authoritarianism" are you talking about? How do you compare that to the leftists statists on the other side?

  38. On the face of it I would say "yes." But we are on Reason, where the definition of libertarian==socialist democrat. So given the radical leftist website we're on I'll have to say no.

  39. The GOP could nominate Rand Paul for President, with the Democrats running AOC, and the Reason staff would still find a tortured way to support the D ticket.

  40. It’s the same thing with Biden and the socialists in the Democratic party. We’ll suffer the negative consequences of their bad policies, but their legitimacy will suffer because of them, too. And it doesn’t really matter what the news media says.

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  42. There is more hope now than ever before. Republicans will rediscover fiscal conservatism and be more open to people with more free market ideas on trade and immigration now that the Trumpists are no longer in command.
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