The Effect of Libertarian Voters

The Economist partially attributes the Republican’s losses to the Libertarian vote:

GLUM Republicans might turn their attention to the Libertarian Party to vent their anger. Libertarians are a generally Republican-leaning constituency, but over the last few years, their discontent has grown plain. It isn’t just the war, which some libertarians supported, but the corruption and insider dealing, and particularly the massive expansion of spending. Mr Bush’s much-vaunted prescription drug benefit for seniors, they fume, has opened up another gaping hole in America’s fiscal situation, while the only issue that really seemed to energise congress was passing special laws to keep a brain-damaged woman on life support.

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.

The fallacy in their argument is the assumption that without the Libertarian Party on the ballot the majority of these votes would have been won by the Republicans. This misses the point of why the Republicans were repudiated. The Republicans have become the party of big government. Even worse than the “tax and spend” Democrats they attack, the Republicans have been far more harmful in increasing the deficit to feed their addiction to pork. Republican corporate welfare is hardly capitalism, and their merger with the religious right has made them the party of increased government intrusion in individual’s lives. The issues of the Iraq War and corruption, which appear to have motivated voters nation wide, also provide reasons for libertarians to vote against Republicans. While the Republicans have becoming more authoritarian, there has been an increased number of socially liberal and fiscally conservative Democrats who, while certainly not libertarians, are far more libertarian than the Republicans who where thrown out of office.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    janet says:

    I do not think the Libertarian vote made any difference in Montana. Frankly, many of them simply would not have voted had there not been an “L” candidate on the ballot. Some of these folks are really out there. Yesterday, I talked to my 21 year old son who is in college in Montana and we were actually talking about this very thing.

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