Libertarians emerge as a force
In two of the seats where control looks likely to switch, Missouri and Montana, the Libertarian party pulled more votes than the Democratic margin of victory. Considerably more, in Montana. If the Libertarian party hadn't been on the ballot, and the three percent of voters who pulled the "Libertarian" lever had broken only moderately Republican, Mr Burns would now be in office.
Does this mean that the libertarians are becoming a force in national elections, much as Ralph Nader managed to cost Al Gore a victory in 2000? Hope springs eternal among third-party afficionadoes, but the nature of the American electoral system, which directly elects representatives in a first-past-the-post system, makes it nearly impossible for third parties to gain traction. The last time it happened was in the 1850's, when the Whig party dissolved over internal disputes about slavery, opening the way for the emerging Republican party to put Abraham Lincoln in office. And acting as a spoiler is dubiously effective at achieving one's goals. In theory, it could pull the Repubicans towards the Libertarians, but in practice, it may just elect Democrats, pushing the nation's economic policy leftwards.
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Libertarians emerge as a forceAn Election Not Won But Lost from Josh's Weblog
The GOP abandoned its libertarian wing and we sat it out, voted for gridlock, or just plain voted “L.” The Libertarian Party website has a long list of candidates that drew more than 1% of the vote, and I'm not... Read More …
Tracked: November 8, 2006 8:19 PM
Good election news from rgcombs.blog-city.comA
s regular reades no doubt could guess, I'm not exactly cheerful about spending the next two years hearing about Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ways and Means Chair Charles Rangel, and Judiciary Chair John Conyers. And I'm disappointed by the departure of ... Read More …
Tracked: November 9, 2006 12:09 AM
One Small Political Observation from Knowledge ProblemLynne Kiesling Notwithstanding the potentially pivotal role that the libertarian candidate in a Montana race played in creating a Democrat-controlled Senate (thanks to Todd Zywicki), I'm still not convinced that what the Economist observed yesterday is... Read More …
Tracked: November 9, 2006 3:35 PM
Hugh Hewitt put it best
In the closing weeks of the campaign season, I felt like I was a lawyer who hada
bad client while writing this blog. That client was the Republican Party
whichhad broken its Contract with America from 1994 and had become unmoored from
itsconservative principles. As its advocate, I couldn’t make a more compelling
casefor Republicans staying in power than the fact that the Democrats would
beworse. I believed in that case, but when that’s all the party gave its
advocatesto work with, you can honestly conclude that Republicans got this
drubbing theold fashioned way – we earned it.
This election was a grand display of how out of touch the Republican leadership really is.
The Libertarian’s have always been the “red headed stepchild” of the Republican Party, a small but committed group dedicated to the principles of individual responsibility, pro capitalism, states rights, and a small federal government. Of that list how many of those things apply to our current administration, zilch. Granted these are Libertarian values but in practice these values were the core platform of the Republican Party and that was what separated them from the Democrats.
It’s a sad day when Libertarians can be said to be carrying the flame of the old Republican order. A Democrat can make a dozen or more reasons they won this election but ultimately it comes down to this, In practice what real difference is there between Republicans and Democrats anymore (except their stance on religious matters, where Republicans have taken a decidedly pro-religious stance) voters are not as dumb as people would like to believe. Voting numbers rarely reach more than 30-40% of the population so I like to think at least a third of that number actually know what is going on and are not fooled into thinking that this is the Republican party of Regan or even George Bush Sr.
Simply put the Democrats won because the Republicans have abandoned their traditional platform of smaller government, less government spending, and strong national security, not to mention that have sold the party to the fringe elements of the Christian Coalition. Where has all this gotten them, it elected Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House ewwwwwwwww, the public on the whole has lost faith in George W Bush, so what harm was there in voting for a Democrat it’s basically the same person only with a more flashy tie.
Democrats have claim a mandate but look at all the races they one, almost everyone of the ended with a slim margin of victory of less than 5 thousand votes and many of them were hovering around the 2 thousand mark. Hardly an overwhelming show of support basically they won by a thread but that thread was just enough in every important race for them to win. The people still believe and want these old school Republican values they just couldn’t find them anywhere.
I seriously doubt the Republicans will see this as a moment of truth, there are no Newt Gingrich’s in Congress anymore. There is a monumental leadership void across the board in Congress on both sides of the isle. Now is the time for Republicans to go back their roots but they won’t. They much like their Democratic brotherin have found out there are riches to be had in manipulating the government to their own needs, plus it’s easier to be a populist as opposed to making a stance on a issue. Currently practically all politicians in America are populists both parties a littered with them. The public wants someone of substance someone who actually stands for something and isn’t out for themselves.
The Libertarian party is in the great position of being able to capitalize on this, if they start running a strong PR campaign emphasizing their core values and how the Republicans have abandoned them they stand in the unique position of obtaining some political clout. Look at Ross Perot, in the 1992 election, he received 18.9% of the popular vote. The people will support a third party if they know who they are voting for, Perot used his massive fortune to buy airtime and the people responded.
The key here is for the Libertarian party to win just 5 seats in the House, that is all it’ll take to reshape Washington. Why 5 seats, because I’m realistic enough to realize they stand no chance of winning the Presidency or taking over Congress, they are just to small and unknown. However all politics is local in theory and it is very possible to run a strong local campaign if the funding is there. If a qualified Libertarian candidate fundraised a million dollars and ran a great local race they stand a decent chance of winning in our current political climate, also you have to be very particular about the district can’t be to conservative or liberal has to be just right. Picking the right district is probably the hardest part truthfully.
If the Libertarian party was to win 5 seats in the House it would offer them great political power, all be it no committee power but tremendous influence in roll call votes. To do so would the Republicans and Democrats to compromise on some issues in favor of Libertarian positions if they wanted Libertarian support on a bill, 5 votes can sway many many votes especially those along party lines.The hope would be that they could force some Congressional oversight on spending and reactionary votes that a designed simply to attack the opposing party. Plus it would offer another much needed view point that is by and large being overlooked.
Do I think it will happen, no, would I love to see a third party movement, hell ya!!!