Thursday, 7 November 2013

Those annoying third-party libertarians

Republicans in Virginian are spitting tacks that their candidate for governor, Ken Cuccinelli, was narrowly beaten by Democrat Terry McAuliffe—beaten by a margin less than the votes received by the Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis.

“Thanks, Libertarians, for giving us Terry McAuliffe as governor.” That was a fairly standard response from Virginia Republicans—assuming without question that Libertarian votes somehow “belong” to Republicans. Libertarian-voting Scott Shackford at Reason tells them to get a life:

In the spirit of reconciliation, here are some tips from a typical third-party voter to major party movers and shakers who are trying to figure out how to approach us…
    We don’t like your candidate. Really, this should go without saying. We are not voting for your candidate because we don’t like your candidate and what he or she stands for. At least, he or she stands for enough things we don’t like to want to see your candidate lose… That the outcome was McAuliffe’s victory is also unfortunate, but don’t assume that Sarvis voters actually saw Cuccinelli as the lesser of two evils.
    You need to make an actual case for your candidate. Once you wade out of the red team versus blue team fight, you have to set aside the mentality that comes with it. Too many folks were still making the argument that Cuccinelli was better than McAuliffe when they needed to be making the argument that Cuccinelli was better than Sarvis…
     Respect that voters determine their own political priorities. I criticized Carney’s column because it felt to me like he was saying that those libertarians who were voting against Cuccinelli because of his social conservatism should deprioritise these concerns. He argued that “identity politics” was helping sink Cuccinelli. As frustrating as “identity politics” can be, it’s important not to confuse the term with the idea that voters have different priorities than you have. Voting against a candidate because you believe he will try to implement policies that will harm you or people you care about is not identity politics, even if the policies are connected to your identity. I have read a number of folks lamenting that voters turned against Cuccinelli on these “social issues.” The outcome of such a complaint is giving the voter the impression that you don’t care about or don’t respect their personal priorities when choosing a candidate. If that’s the case, how can you ever expect them to vote for yours?

There’s more, much more at:


  1. The GOP national committee wanted to lose. They were annoyed the party members didn't pick an approved candidate. They spent 1/3 of what they spent on the previous Virginia Governors race, didn't get him any media for the last 2 weeks of the campaign, didn't bring in any high profile republicans in to campaign for him and didn't convince the chamber of commerce to support the GOP candidate. In total the Republican candidate was out spent by over 10 to 1.

  2. The Republican party has taken for granted libertarian voters and fiscal conservatives or worse snubbed their noses at them. Until these groups feel they are being represented, Republicans will continue to lose races. The less of two evils arguments will continue to fall on deaf ears.


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