Skip to comments.Hot-Tub Libertarians
Posted on 05/16/2006 1:20:13 PM PDT by freepatriot32
As the Republican Party abandons its commitment to small government, how politically impotent are libertarians? Let me count the ballots.
Specifically, let me count the ballots from 2004. Exit polls (along with, well, all polls) tend to ignore libertarians as a group, so one has to approach such questions from the side, as opposed to head on. 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."
In other words, despite No Child Left Behind, campaign-finance regulation, steel tariffs, the Medicare prescription-drug bill and exploding government spending generally, libertarians stood by their man. (I should know. I did, too.)
That's no way for an organized voting bloc to behave. If no amount of sticking your finger in a constituency's eye will make them vote against you, you're going to poke through until you hit brain. But, of course, no one ever said that libertarians were organized -- or that, when it comes to politics, they have much in the way of brains.
But what if they did? How powerful a voting bloc could they be?
It's a tough question, and one libertarians have spent far too little time effort researching, but there's a quick and dirty answer: somewhere between 9 percent and 20 percent of the electorate.
The 20 percent figure comes from Gallup, which labels as libertarian voters who say they oppose the use of government either to "promote traditional values" or to "do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses." Gallup finds an equal number of populists (people who want more government intervention in both the economy and the culture). And it finds that 27 percent of Americans are conservative and 24 percent are liberal.
The 9 percent figure comes by way of a recent analysis done by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Last month, Pew released an analysis, based on a survey of 2,000 people, which was aimed at finding the ideologues among the American voting public -- those voters who held consistent ideological views on a sampling of subjects, such as health care, gay marriage and Social Security reform.
Libertarians were the smallest group, as defined by Pew, followed by conservatives (15 percent), populists (16 percent) and liberals (18 percent). A full 42 percent of voters held no identifiable ideology (these are presumably the people who vote for whomever's tallest).
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.
Given that libertarians' traditional home has been in the conservative base of the Republican Party for about five decades, as part of a strained partnership with social conservatives, their almost 50-50 split between the two parties today is big news.
According to Pew's "political typology," libertarians used to be one of three groups that made up the Republican Party, along with social conservatives and economic conservatives. But, since 1994, they've been replaced by a group of voters Pew has called Populists, but most recently renamed Pro-Government Conservatives. In essence, it would seem, these Pro-Government Conservatives -- about 10 percent of the electorate, largely female and southern, and equally at ease with universal health care and banning controversial books from libraries -- are squeezing libertarians further and further toward the fringes of the GOP.
Is there any way to reverse the tide?
That, of course, gets to the question of whether a bunch of individualists can ever be organized. A man who should know a little about that, the Cato Institute's executive vice president, David Boaz, tells two stories. In one, a man wouldn't come to a rally for 1980 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Ed Clark because he had to look at his sister-in-law's car. In another, a man skipped a rally at the 1984 Democratic convention in San Francisco because he had a more pressing engagement ... in a hot tub.
"I think libertarians are looking at their sister-in-law's car, instead of going to political meetings," Boaz says. "And there are also libertarians who are in hot tubs in Sausalito." These may seem like small things, Boaz argues, but the cumulative effect is that people who don't care much for government are the hardest to convince to care about changing it.
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).
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.
Step one, find a party that's actually conservative to make a coalition with. If not possible (as neither major party is conservative or believes in classical liberalism), work locally to convince others the wisdom of voting for a third party. It's nice to see, I suppose, the Libertarian party offer a Presidential candidate but when the establishment media (including Fox) doesn't report on it, it's sort of a moot point. Step two, vote in the elections that are of importance to you (local elections), leave the other ones blank. Who cares who wins the national elections right now? Neither one of the parties will limit government.
Get out of the hot tub, Andrew and Tony! Take your log cabin place in the Republican coalition!
There's a reason about half of libertarians vote Democrat -- because they're pro-abortion, pro-gay, and anti-religious.
Many good elements of conservatism are libertarian, but it doesn't follow that everything libertarian is good.
Based on Judge Appointments alone the Losetarians have reason to be happy with Bush. Squealing for 100%erism will get you one thing. 100% Political irrelevancy. Adults understand the need to compromise, spoiled children throw tempetantrums about it.
Those are constraining and misleading labels, all of which are subsumed within the much larger mantra of "Get your big government nose out of my business."
To paraphrase Dickens, "Then sir, the Pew survey is a ass."
Anyone who identifies as both a libertarian and a Democrat is either lying or miscategorized. You cannot categorize someone as libertarian simply because they are pro-choice and especially if they favor special rights for homosexuals. The fascist and national socialist tendencies of the Democrats would far overshadow any appeal of social liberalism for libertarians. Their results are further made suspect by the number indicating that only 9 percent of libertarians are either unaffiliated or associated with a third party (the Libertarian Party maybe?!)
The sad fact is that very many actual libertarians don't vote at all, choosing to withold their permission to be governed. That idea is inconceivable to the pubbies as well as those from the party of asses. Mr. Sager seems to have missed that in his polemic, but it shouldn't be all that surprising.
But we aren't doing that, Jim. The last six years have seen us slide toward socialism at a rate unheard-of before. Yes, there are still a few good Republican conservatives, but they are very few and they have no voice. The Republicans have discovered they too can vote themselves wealth and they are going at it full throttle.
The gains on the bench are too few and too far between, and we have seen that it practically takes open revolt to get those in office to pay attention enough to actually nominate real originalists. By the time we fill the bench with originalists, there will be nothing left of the Constitution to defend. Meanwhile we'll have roads and bridges to nowhere, nationalized health care, and redistributionism everywhere we look.
As these can be found on either side of the aisle (although I don't know about 'Marxists' as that particular ideology doesn't exist for the most part), how would you suggest we do that? If one votes for the most conservative candidate, be it Democrat or Republican, that may or may not enable a party, depending on if it reaches majority status, to foward its agenda. The Framers intended that we elect candidates to office that would represent our locality's or state's views. If the most conservative candidate happens to be Democrat, by the Framers intent, I should vote for that candidate because he represents my views, not what one party or the other will do based on the count in Congress. Note, this has happened in NC politics in my lifetime. By your argument however, I should desire to vote for the liberal candidate because he has the right letter by his name on the hopes that the national party will get its agenda through.
Now let's say that overall agenda does not limit government but expands it (i.e. NCLB, Medicare Act, healthcare, faith-based initiatives (here I may agree with the principal but it is still an expansion of government)). Am I to continue to vote for that party even knowing the leadership will not listen to its constituency? On the possible hope that one day they may?
If we want smaller government, our first job is to elect people who will appoint constitutionalists to the bench
A Constitutionalist is not someone that gainsays the national government's positions if the 'right' party is in charge. A Constitutionalist would be willing to stand up even to the party that nominated them. Something that can't be said necessarily about the majority of all judges, be they Republican or Democrat.
We must remove the liberal activist judges who make it possible for the liberals to advance their evil unconstitutional causes.
But yet I have seen cheering on this very board when conservative activist judges stick their noses into issues that are none of the federal government's concern. It seems Republicans don't want Constitutionalists, they want activist judges who agree with their views. Don't take this wrong, but that is no better than a liberal activist judge. Justice Thomas, for the most part, is a Constitutionalist. Janice Rogers Brown is as well. Justice Scalia is not (i.e. the Raich decision) Thomas' dissent stated
If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything," including "quilting bees, clothes drives and potluck suppers." Thus "the federal government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers."If we elect 'Constitutionalists' that refuse to recognize the federalist system that was intended to be in place, how is that different from having a liberal judge in charge? 'Our' views are nationwide instead of 'theirs'? That's better how? It still destroys the limitation of the federal government upon the states. Although I haven't seen everything on these last two Justices nominated to SCOTUS, as Bush nominated them, I have a feeling they're going to lean towards Scalia rather than Thomas.
Libertarian leaning voters should vote to keep or expand the current majority in congress to block the liberals.
'Win back the Senate'? 'Keep the House'? No offense but at the rate they are passing spending bills, I don't seriously think Democrats could do much worse. In fact, the nation's budget on a whole historically usually grows at a lesser rate when opposing parties occupy the two main branches of government.
Just my two cents...
Since when is that the definition of a "liberaltarian?" I don't see smoking pot, isolationism or losing elections anywhere in that platform.
Being "conservative" means wanting less government spending. The fact that a handful of rabidly moderate RINO's (including George Bush) currently have a chokehold on Congress right now doesn't change any of that.
If liberaltarians are evenly split right now between Republicans and Democrats, it's not because they think Democrats are the most frugal. It's because every individual liberaltarian has a different tripping point issue he's single-mindedly devoted to.
The solution to the problem is a little thing called "primary politics." Liberaltarians can band together to ward off the black helicopters if they want to. Conservatives need to band together to get more conservative candidates for general elections. And trying to appease a self-marginalizing voting block isn't just a waste of time -- it's a step backwards.
Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, has been the Libertarian candidate for President, and he is staunchly pro-life...
Between 2000 and 2004, the vote for the Constitution Party presidential candidate increased by 83%, but the vote for the libertarian presidential candidate decreased.
Yep. Libertarians need to build from the ground up. When they start eating up 5-20% of the seats in state legislatures, people will start paying attention!
Then why are you here? This website exits to take back our Republic by keeping the Marxists out of power. If you intend to work against us, I prefer you do it somewhere else.
I'm a libertarian (small L). I tried infiltrating my county Republican party and was even a county and state delegate for several years.
I gave up. Jeb Bradley and Charlie Bass are RINOs and they are going to keep winning. If I mount a successful attempt to curtail their votes, a Democrat will win. Dick Swett was our Senator the last time we tried that. Big mistake.
We (small L libertarians) are a small minority. When we stray from the more conservative of the two parties, we simply guarantee the liberals will win.
It's a Hobson's choice... Democrats or RINOs?
Never give up.
I wonder how many here that think the road to paradise can be paved by the devil can imagine the worst the libs have.
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