GOP Ovecomes Libertarian Plot

In 2013, Democrat Terry McAuliffe won the governor's race in Virginia with 47.8% of the vote against Republican Ken Cuccinelli who took 45.2%. Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis captured 6.5%, enough to make the difference on the safe assumption that the limited government, tax cutting platform of the LP took more votes from the GOP than from the big government, high taxing McAuliffe.

Virginia is a swing state and the Democrats wanted to split the opposition vote. The largest independent contribution to Sarvis came from the Libertarian Booster Pac (LBP), a group whose largest financial supporter was Texas software billionaire Joe Liemandt who is also a major backer of President Barack Obama. Liemandt gave LBP $150,000. Wes Benedict, co-founder of LBP, told Breitbart News that without Liemandt's money, the group would not have financed Sarvis.

Success of this kind seems to have inspired the LP to pick races in 2014 that would damage the GOP campaign to win control of the Senate. Libertarian candidates ran for Senate seats in 20 states. Of these, 15 were in States either with GOP incumbents or were on the list of potential GOP gains. The other five were States where the Democratic incumbent was considered safe.         

The Libertarian Party claims it decided three Senate races, North Carolina, Alaska, and Virginia, because its candidate got more votes than the margin of victory for the winner. This is sheer bravado without much logic except in the care of Virginia where Republican Ed Gillespie trailed incumbent Democrat Mark Warner by only a few thousand votes. Sarvis was again the spoiler LP candidate, with over 53,000 votes. In North Carolina and Alaska, Republicans won narrow victories despite the LP's effort. The LP threat in other close races in Georgia, Kansas, and Colorado were also overcome by strong Republican showings; though Cory Gardner was held to less than 50% of the vote.

To what end do the libertarians target the GOP? The LP claims it is for "leverage", that an LP "vote may well have 100 times the impact of each vote cast for a Democratic or Republican candidate." Historically, the role of third parties is to pull one of the two major parties in its direction. The Tea Party movement did this by running (or threatening to) in Republican primaries. But no one believes libertarians have the strength to win nominations. They have to act as spoilers in the general election where their handful of votes can make a difference in a tight race.

It is doubtful that the GOP could ever move far enough in the direction of anarchy to appease the LP. Nor should it try. With over two-thirds of the public saying that the country is moving in the wrong direction, a great deal of effort will be required to turn things around. Laissez-faire will not get the job done. As one voter complained, "we used to control events, now events control us." The GOP is expected to offer national leadership, and the party will be judged on the success of its policies. Whether it is economic recover, national security, or traditional values, the party must be active, not passive.

As the great conservative sage Russell Kirk argued in a famous lecture at the Heritage Foundation in 1988, which I was privileged to hear,

The Constitution of the United States distinctly is not an exercise of libertarianism. It was drawn up by an aristocratic body of men who sought "a more perfect union." The delegates to the Constitutional Convention had a wholesome dread of the libertarians of 1786-1787, as represented by the rebels who followed Daniel Shays in Massachusetts. What the Constitution established was a higher degree of order and prosperity, not an anarchists' paradise.

One cannot fault the LP for trying to maximize its influence any way it can. Or blame the Democrats for trying to benefit by splitting the anti-socialist vote. However, the people who fall for the LP plot and throw their votes away--- or into the enemy camp--- can be blamed for being fools. There weren't enough fools casting votes this time to prevent the GOP from winning control of the Senate. The 2016 elections could be another story if the libertarian threat isn't quashed.

In 2013, Democrat Terry McAuliffe won the governor's race in Virginia with 47.8% of the vote against Republican Ken Cuccinelli who took 45.2%. Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis captured 6.5%, enough to make the difference on the safe assumption that the limited government, tax cutting platform of the LP took more votes from the GOP than from the big government, high taxing McAuliffe.

Virginia is a swing state and the Democrats wanted to split the opposition vote. The largest independent contribution to Sarvis came from the Libertarian Booster Pac (LBP), a group whose largest financial supporter was Texas software billionaire Joe Liemandt who is also a major backer of President Barack Obama. Liemandt gave LBP $150,000. Wes Benedict, co-founder of LBP, told Breitbart News that without Liemandt's money, the group would not have financed Sarvis.

Success of this kind seems to have inspired the LP to pick races in 2014 that would damage the GOP campaign to win control of the Senate. Libertarian candidates ran for Senate seats in 20 states. Of these, 15 were in States either with GOP incumbents or were on the list of potential GOP gains. The other five were States where the Democratic incumbent was considered safe.         

The Libertarian Party claims it decided three Senate races, North Carolina, Alaska, and Virginia, because its candidate got more votes than the margin of victory for the winner. This is sheer bravado without much logic except in the care of Virginia where Republican Ed Gillespie trailed incumbent Democrat Mark Warner by only a few thousand votes. Sarvis was again the spoiler LP candidate, with over 53,000 votes. In North Carolina and Alaska, Republicans won narrow victories despite the LP's effort. The LP threat in other close races in Georgia, Kansas, and Colorado were also overcome by strong Republican showings; though Cory Gardner was held to less than 50% of the vote.

To what end do the libertarians target the GOP? The LP claims it is for "leverage", that an LP "vote may well have 100 times the impact of each vote cast for a Democratic or Republican candidate." Historically, the role of third parties is to pull one of the two major parties in its direction. The Tea Party movement did this by running (or threatening to) in Republican primaries. But no one believes libertarians have the strength to win nominations. They have to act as spoilers in the general election where their handful of votes can make a difference in a tight race.

It is doubtful that the GOP could ever move far enough in the direction of anarchy to appease the LP. Nor should it try. With over two-thirds of the public saying that the country is moving in the wrong direction, a great deal of effort will be required to turn things around. Laissez-faire will not get the job done. As one voter complained, "we used to control events, now events control us." The GOP is expected to offer national leadership, and the party will be judged on the success of its policies. Whether it is economic recover, national security, or traditional values, the party must be active, not passive.

As the great conservative sage Russell Kirk argued in a famous lecture at the Heritage Foundation in 1988, which I was privileged to hear,

The Constitution of the United States distinctly is not an exercise of libertarianism. It was drawn up by an aristocratic body of men who sought "a more perfect union." The delegates to the Constitutional Convention had a wholesome dread of the libertarians of 1786-1787, as represented by the rebels who followed Daniel Shays in Massachusetts. What the Constitution established was a higher degree of order and prosperity, not an anarchists' paradise.

One cannot fault the LP for trying to maximize its influence any way it can. Or blame the Democrats for trying to benefit by splitting the anti-socialist vote. However, the people who fall for the LP plot and throw their votes away--- or into the enemy camp--- can be blamed for being fools. There weren't enough fools casting votes this time to prevent the GOP from winning control of the Senate. The 2016 elections could be another story if the libertarian threat isn't quashed.