One Small Political Observation

Lynne 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 true:

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?

Rather than look for a strong third party to develop (although I remain willing to join a coalition to reinvigorate the Whig party (perhaps more of the British Whig party than the US Whig party), as I said back in 2004), I take a note from Virginia Postrel and look for signs of dynamism in the existing 2-party hegemony. Are there any such signs? One might be the WSJ oped that Charles Schumer co-authored last week about how important it is to keep a clear, transparent regulatory enviroment in financial markets in order to foster economic growth in New York. If he was not being disingenuous, then perhaps that could be a sign of some small-l-liberal dynamism. Nancy Pelosi actually said that she would propose that the Democratic Congress adopt a “pay-as-you-go government” policy, requiring direct spending offsets in budget proposals.

The longer run hope for dynamism should also include the introspection and re-evaluation that this election will prompt for Republicans. But (and for me this is a persistent but), in either party, the evolutionary process of introspection and re-invention can also involve moving in more populist, more control-oriented, and more interventionist directions. Perhaps as more people who do not self-identify as libertarian (or Libertarian, for that matter) shift their own personal beliefs toward less government control the “libertarians as a force” argument will hold. I’m not sure that this shift in beliefs is pervasive enough, either within individuals or across enough individuals, to discipline the political tendency toward populism, control, and intervention. Thus I stick with my usual mantra: we will be better off to the extent that we remove more and more important decisions from the political process.

Yesterday in the hallway a colleague asked me how I felt about the election results. I told him that I was never happy with election results and that this time was no different. I don’t see that changing, much.


6 thoughts on “One Small Political Observation

  1. Libertarians are now oddly enough the centrists of the Republican Party. Many people like myself feel betrayed by the new Republican Party who have abandoned their roots in favor of huge Congressional earmarks and resulting in “Bridges to nowhere”. Now is the time for the Libertarian party to separate themselves and create a third party movement, the base exists for them to capture a new seats in the House. They lack the universal support for the Presidency but there is no reason they can’t make themselves a strong but small unified front against Democratic Socialism and Republican Extremism.

    If they were to secure 5 seats in the House everything would change, it would force the radical elements in each party out. If you controlled 5 seats (granted you would have no committee power) but when it came to roll call votes both parties would need your support and the Libertarians could in effect barter their way into forcing Congressional oversight. The Republicans and Democrats have become so corrupt because there is no one to tell them otherwise. 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.

    Something has to be done to save the souls of both parties, I mean Nancy Pelosi is the new Speaker of the House, what the hell people this is bad for America. Anytime you give ideologues power your asking for trouble. The answer is a small but strong third party movement to counter the “culture of corruption” on both sides.

    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, 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 an 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.

    http://www.yeahpolitics.blogspot.com

  2. Libertarians are now oddly enough the centrists of the Republican Party. Many people like myself feel betrayed by the new Republican Party who have abandoned their roots in favor of huge Congressional earmarks and resulting in “Bridges to nowhere”. Now is the time for the Libertarian party to separate themselves and create a third party movement, the base exists for them to capture a new seats in the House. They lack the universal support for the Presidency but there is no reason they can’t make themselves a strong but small unified front against Democratic Socialism and Republican Extremism.

    If they were to secure 5 seats in the House everything would change, it would force the radical elements in each party out. If you controlled 5 seats (granted you would have no committee power) but when it came to roll call votes both parties would need your support and the Libertarians could in effect barter their way into forcing Congressional oversight. The Republicans and Democrats have become so corrupt because there is no one to tell them otherwise. 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.

    Something has to be done to save the souls of both parties, I mean Nancy Pelosi is the new Speaker of the House, what the hell people this is bad for America. Anytime you give ideologues power your asking for trouble. The answer is a small but strong third party movement to counter the “culture of corruption” on both sides.

    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, 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 an 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.

    http://www.yeahpolitics.blogspot.com

  3. Is there really any reason for a libertarian to vote for a democrat? The loss of freedom through taxation and regulation makes any losses due to anti-terrorism measures look pitifully small.

    The Republicans do need a major kick in the ass. Their supporters were very disappointed by their flabby ways. I agree with Rush – I feel liberated now that I do not need to justify them as the lesser of two evils. It is exhiliarting to return to principles and fight against the accumulated stupidity.

  4. Is there really any reason for a libertarian to vote for a democrat? The loss of freedom through taxation and regulation makes any losses due to anti-terrorism measures look pitifully small.

    The Republicans do need a major kick in the ass. Their supporters were very disappointed by their flabby ways. I agree with Rush – I feel liberated now that I do not need to justify them as the lesser of two evils. It is exhiliarting to return to principles and fight against the accumulated stupidity.

  5. Libertarians overlap with liberal Democrats on a whole host of issues (e.g., abortion rights, gay marriage, opposition to the death penalty, support for immigration, protection of civil liberties, lessening the penalties on victimless crimes like drug use, etc.), so actually there are quite a few reasons for Libertarians to vote Democrat. Libertarians do not oppose Republicans only on “anti-terrorism” measures.

Comments are closed.