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.
So maybe the silver lining of this is that the Republicans will realize that they need to reign in their big-government ideals and drunken-sailor spending spree, and stop pissing on the Bill of Rights, in order to win back those swing votes for the next election.
I just hope the Dims don't do too much damage in the meantime.
Why quiet? They have just as much right to their views as anyone else.
Okay, Ren, how has this election fixed that?
The Constitution IS the big picture. The GOP seems to have forgotten that. Or does doubling the size of government somehow now fit under the definition of "conservative"?
In theory I check out as being most of the way to being a libertarian, and I'll happily start voting for libertarian candidates the day after we have runoff elections in America and I am guaranteed that I'm not electing demokkkrats by voting for libertarians. As for now, I am voting against demokkkrats, i.e. for whoever has the statistically best shot at preventing a demokkkrat from holding the public office in question. Usually that's a republican.
Libertatrian, yet. Stiff-necked stupid, no.
And I suggested they didn't where, exactly?
Steempy! You EEDIOT! You just have to stop wizzing on the electric fence.
At one time I thought I could easily align myself with the Libertarians being that I agreed in the limited government concept. That was before I realized they were rabidly pro-abortion, for legalization of all drugs, which would be the ruin of so many and although the military is one of the branched that they do feel is necessarily part of the governent they apparantly don't believe it should EVER be used. That and of course that 95% of their candidates are total nutjobs.
yet = yes
If Bush had not done prescription drug entitlement, would he have lost the independent/libertarian vote last night? Not as many, I think. (Oooh, but just think of all the Democratic votes he picked up by creating a new entitlement).
Like it or not, there is a percentage of people in this country who don't want larger government. Period. They will vote against the party that expands government. Last night, at least some GOP (talking state house candidates here, especially, but, could probably apply to those verrrrry close Senate races) candidates lost b/c LP candidates took a few hundred votes. In a different era, those votes would have gone GOP.
Obviously there are many, many other factors at play in this country of 300 million people. But...in at least some races, the GOP lost b/c it was deemed by independent libertarians to be the party of big government.
The libertarians don't compromise when they get 80% of what they want.
It was obviously the fault of all those who voted...the pout and sit at home crowd can hardly be blamed...it's all about them.
Interesting point.... I find myself often agreeing with Libertarian ideology. This is like the elections in both '92 and '96, where Ross Perot took away votes from the Republican candidate and we ended up having 8 years of Clinton. If 20% of the electorate defines themselves as Libertarian, it seems they (the party) are filling a void where the Republicans have abandoned their core (read: Reaganesque) values.
"becoming quiet" means essentially swallowing one's opinions - which is NOT the point of having them in the first place.
Please remind me when they were offered 80% - my memory must be going Alzheimer, I'm afraid.