Skip to comments.HAS OUR TIME COME? (Blame CATO/Libertarians for this election result)
Posted on 11/08/2006 8:08:12 AM PST by Matchett-PI
Has Our Time Come? http://www.hereticalideas.com/
A **new study from the Cato Institute [see link below] suggests that libertarians might be the new swing vote.
The libertarian vote is in play. At some 13 percent of the electorate, it is sizable enough to swing elections. Pollsters, political strategists, candidates, and the media should take note of it.
After examining the relevant polling data, Cato concludes that libertarians and libertarian sympathizers constitute somewhere between 10 and 20% of the American population. Some explanations are offered as to why libertarians constitute such a bigger constituency than one might expect. First is that libertarians tend not to be as well-organized as other interest groups. Most groups that organize and try to exert political influence want some sort of government action: unions want favorable labor laws passed, the Christian Coalition wants abortion outlawed and anti-homosexual laws passed, environmentalists want pollution restricted and ecosystems protected, businesses want favorable tax and commercial laws. Libertarians generally dont want government to take action, and are therefore less likely to organize into a pressure group because of that. It also argues that the difficulty people have in breaking out of the left-right liberal-conservative paradigm of politics keeps populists (authoritarians) and libertarians underrepresented. While most political scholarship accepts the inadequacy of a simple one-dimensional view of politics, it hasnt sunk down into popular culture as strongly. Often talk shows and debate programs on television and radio will feature someone from the left and someone from the right, squeezing libertarians out of the picture.
An unexplored reason that might contribute is the higher prevalence of libertarianism among younger people than older people. The Cato paper notes this statistic but doesnt explore its relationship to voter turnout. It explains the phenomenon this way. Younger people were more influenced by 2 of the most significant individualist movements of the 20th century: the 60s counter culture and the 80s Reagan Revolution. As a result, younger generations have seen both the socially liberal and the economically conservative side of individualism and turn to libertarianism as a way to emulate both ideals. The downside is that since younger people in general are less likely to vote, libertarians wind up underrepresented at the polls.
But dont libertarian have to swing their votes to become a swing vote? Well, more and more frequently libertarian-minded people are losing the loyalty to the party they usually vote for (mostly the GOP), which puts their vote as a bloc in play.
Many commentators noted the high turnout in the 2004 election. Nationally, voter turnout increased 6.1 percent. That might help explain some of the swing in 2004. According to ANES data, libertarians reported turning out to vote at higher percentages than total respondents in 2000 and even higher in 2004.
This libertarian swing trend is particularly pronounced by age. Libertarians aged 1829 many of whom were new voters in 2004 voted 7142 for Kerry. Libertarians aged 3049 voted almost completely the reverse, 7221 for Bush.
Going back to the generational argument, I imagine that older individuals who can remember a time when the religious Right wasnt nearly as omnipresent of a force in the Republican Party and therefore dont automatically associate it with tirades about the moral dangers of homosexuality and feticide. So I can understand younger libertarians leaning more democratic than older ones who might remember the time of more Goldwater-like or even maybe Reagan-like Republicans.
What does all this mean in practical terms? What will we see coming out of the major political parties Conservatives resist cultural change and personal liberation; liberals resist economic dynamism and globalization. Libertarians embrace both. The political party that comes to terms with that can win the next generation.
It would really be great to see both political parties converge to a libertarian center. But as the article points out, the nature of libertarians makes them much harder to corral than other groups, which makes attracting us to their political parties a far more expensive and riskier proposition than going after churchgoers and soccer moms. Perhaps in time it will happen. But I doubt it will happen very soon.
Add in the fact that the DemocRAT base turned out in greater percentages than the Republican base in most of the races, it spelled the disasterous result we saw last night.
Watch the vocal Libs suddenly become very, very quiet on this site.
CATO and the Libertarians are here to stay. Get used to it or pack it in. No amount of handwringing will change those facts.
You said it. bttt
Oh, if only.
Neal Boortz must be smugly proud today that his call to spank the pubbies has been accomplished. One can only hope Neal is not in the area of the coming al qaeda slaughter. He needs the chance to apologize to those dolts he's manipulated and renounce his suicide urges.
Yes, but it would be helpful if they learned to compromise and didn't act so snippy when things don't go 100% their way.
I won't vote for a RINO. My vote has to be earned by the candidate NOT being a liberal. That isn't too much to ask.
Suicide urges like leaving our Borders open while pandering to teh illegal alien lobby?
We disagree....but, of course, they won't so the issue is purely academic and no amount of complaining by the GOP will change that.
How dare you think independently from the herd.
Yep. All over the place the margin of victory is smaller then the Libertarian canidates share of the vote.
Don't change the subject.
Libertarians have a genetic inability to see the big picture.
Sorry. Bad habit. Comes from actually using the grey matter holding my ears apart.
I think there was a significant Libertarian vote in the Cantwell race.
Nonsense, I'm getting tired of this unwarranted finger-pointing. Neither the religious right nor the libertarians were to blame for what happened yesterday. The blame should go to the politicians themselves, for failing to articulate anything to attract independents.
God I hope so. Isn't that what FreeRepublic is all about?
Yep, it was the Libertarians who were in bed with Jack Abramoff. It was the Libertarians who funnelled lobbying business to their daughter. It was the Libertarians who stuffed record numbers of earmarks into spending bills while borrowing money to finance the war in Iraq.
It would behoove the GOP to learn a lesson or two from the Libertarians when it comes to fiscal restraint. Might just get the GOP back closer to its roots.
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