Shifting the Libertarian Voting Bloc

The article begins:

As the Republican Party abandons its commitment to small government, how politically impotent are libertarians? Let me count the ballots.

Ryan Sager wrote a halfway good article on what libertarians need to do to actually win elections. Here’s his assessment of the Bush race:

But here’s one measure of how libertarian-leaning voters voted in the last presidential election: While George W. Bush gained 10 points between 2000 and 2004 among voters who thought government should “do more,” he stayed essentially even among voters who felt government should not do more or should “do less.”

The writer seems to be suffering from some distortions about what the word libertarian means beyond this point. To begin, he seems to miss the point that libertarians are fiscally conservative while being socially liberal.

Perhaps the most interesting fact in the Pew survey, however, was that less than 6 in 10 libertarians voted for Bush in 2004. While few libertarians seem to have deserted the president between 2000 and 2004, they are split roughly evenly between the two parties. The Pew survey finds 50 percent of libertarians identifying as Republicans, 41 percent as Democrats.

Further proof of his conservative bias comes here:

The challenge, then — for those who don’t want to see the Republican Party succumb once and for all to big-government conservatism and who don’t want to see it become overrun with populists lacking in respect for taxpayers’ money and individuals’ right to be left alone — is either to organize existing libertarians more effectively to vote and contribute time and money as a bloc or to identify new constituencies with an overriding interest in remaking the time bomb we call the New Deal (everyone under 40 comes to mind).

Other than playing lip service to the Second Amendment, when has the GOP been sensitive to individual rights? Is big-government conservatism the economic equivalent of the compassionate conservatism practiced by the GOP on homosexuals?

There is but one natural home for libertarians: the Libertarian Party. However, it’s understandable that many libertarians avoid the LP because of frequently embarrassing election results.

Sager concluded:

So, libertarians: It’s time to get out of that hot tub! Put down that wrench! And start thinking about how you’re going to reclaim your rightful place in the conservative coalition.

He’s half right. It is time to reclaim our libertarian roots, but the GOP is clearly not the answer. The time is now to form effective third-party and independent coalitions to get liberty-minded people elected to public office.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Commenter john had a request for us to use the word LIBERTY more. Here it is:

libertarian ad
Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. LOL. Join the conservative coalition. Typical dumb conservative. He’s worried that we might not run Bush’s flagpole up our rectums unconditionally and this might not bode well for Republicans in the future. So we should just keep voting Republican, because otherwise we wouldn’t be voting Republican anymore! Makes good conservative sense to me!

    Conservatives will NEVER abandon the GOP. Furthermore, they want libertarians to shut up and suck them off unconditionally as if they were the only game in town and we should consider it a priveledge. Then they also want to retain the right to bash us and say nasty things about how “impractical” we are and how we like to snort coke off of hookers bodies. But, now come election time, we need to do our patriotic duty and stop criticizing Republicans and vote for them and even send them money and be grateful for the good job they do in repressing us! Fuck the GOP. Fuck conservatism.

  2. Nigel, one particular quote does seem a bit odd…

    “I see both Democrats and Republicans as big government and us in the middle,” Drew said.

    If you’re “in the middle” between two groups favoring big government, doesn’t that sound like you also favor big government? He could have worded that better.

  3. Rolf — I’ll preface this by saying that I’m turning 25 in less than a month;

    In my lifetime, especially the shortened period of my “political conciousness” as it were, history has shown that the Democratic Party, when in power, lead to smaller, more fiscally responsible, government than the Republican.

    In terms of the twin parties, it all boils down to this: Which in my lifetime has operated — *EVER* — at a surplus budget? Mind you, I’m a registered/card-carrying LP’er for a reason. Not as active as I’d like to be, but that’s for other reasons.

    But it is with this thought in mind that the original article to which this post was about is erronneous en toto. After all; a “libertarian under 40” would want to vote Democrat, not Republican — ’cause that’s the only “sitch” in which his money would still be his when he hit 65.

    ‘Course, “if only” the LP were able to break in edgewise, throw off the duopoly… a great deal could change. Choice + Reason = Freedom.

  4. This is one of the reasons we need to bring libertariansism back to the root word: LIBERTY. Big government, small government, government that paints themselves purple and has weekly wankfests. who cares? Libertarians should first and foremost be pushing for an increase in personal liberty in everything they do. Voting republicrat is not the way to do it, nor is demmican. Somebody that does not pay attention to increasing personal liberty should in no way be allowed to successfully call themselves libertarian, they should be shouted down every time they attempt to, regardless if it makes our political lives easier. People who break out of their liberal/conservative shell long enough to increase personal liberties should be praised to the highest peaks by libertarians as well.

  5. Actually #6 (Ian C), the budget was balanced when Republicans in Congress wrote the budget–between 1994-98.

  6. Anon,

    Interesting how republicans can write a balanced budget when a democrat is president, but are unable to do so when we have a republican president.

  7. Rolf, Anon — the vast majority of the alterations to the budget written by congress at that time were done at the behest of the then President; a very large number of them had to do with reducing funding to the “military-industrial complex.”

    Rolf — I actually see the Libertarian Party as the “Upper” Party. (Think about it; it’s actually quite amusing); You have the left wingers, the right wingers, the up-wingers, and the down-wingers. Up = libertarian, Down = statist.

    There’s all sorts of euphemisms and double-entendre’s embedded in the statement, though, so it’s not likely to be used much.

  8. The GOP has never been about small government or limited government. It is merely rhetoric. The modern conservatives are morphing into real fascists and the modern liberals continue to embrace socialism with a fascist edge.

    I’ll rot in hell before I ever vote for a Republican or
    Democrat. If these Republicans want small government, let
    them vote Libertarian. Say what you will about libertarians – we may be dreamers or fools – but the current crop of “conservatives” are truly delusional.