In the last election, in 2022, there were squeakers in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia. There was a run-off in the latter case.
What do all three have in common besides being state voting Johnny-come-latelies? Members of the Libertarian Party played a role in all three.
Election results: Arizona Senate
Last updated Nov. 9, 2022, 7:07 p.m. CST
Kelly* (D) 51.3%
Masters (R) 46.5%
Victor (Libertarian Party)2.2%
67% of the votes are now in
Election results: Nevada Senate
Last updated Nov. 9, 2022, 6:57 p.m. CST
Laxalt (R) 49.9%
Cortez Masto* (D) 47.2%
None of these candidates 1.1%
77% of the votes are now in
Election results: Georgia Senate
Last updated Nov. 9, 2022, 6:51 p.m. CST
Warnock (D)* 49.4%
Walker (R) 48.5%
Oliver (Libertarian Party) 2.1%
98% of the votes are now in
Let me explain, since there are some complications in this statement. First, Marc Victor is indeed a libertarian, and ran as such. He was polling at no less than 15% for a while. However, he officially dropped out of the race several weeks ago. He did so in favor of the Republican Blake Masters. Despite that fact, he still took in some 2.2% of the vote.
There is no formal Libertarian Party candidate listed on the Nevada results. However, “none of the above” reeks of libertarianism. That party is the only one to feature this option for its internal votes. Chase Oliver is indeed a member of the LP and was certainly heavily involved in the Georgia results. He is the sole reason for the December run-off.
If there were no libertarian presence in either of these three races, the majority of the votes garnered by the libertarians would have gone, heavily, to the Republicans, not the Democrats. My estimate is a 90% – 10% split in favor of the former. If true, Walker would now very likely be the declared winner of the Senate seat in Georgia. Something similar occurred in the last election in that state between Perdue (R), Ossoff (D) and Shane Hazel (LP). As well, without the Libertarian Party participation the Republican candidates in Arizona and Nevada would have been given a small but significant boost
Needless to say, the Republicans are more than just a little bit miffed (that is putting it pretty mildly) with the Libertarian Party. Stated Dov Fischer (not a spokesman for the GOP, but certainly a conservative in good standing):
“P.S. And thank you, Libertarian Party of Georgia, for once again denying the Republican conservative the 50.01 percent majority that could have secured a win for smaller government and less government interference in our lives, instead forcing a runoff to save the Democrat ‘progressives’ plans.”
I have some advice for them; it may not help at all this time around, but there are other elections coming up. I have been a member of the LP since 1969 and have run for office twice (you’ll never guess? No, I didn’t win either time); nonetheless I cannot speak officially for the LP. But I can certainly have my say. Free speech and all that.
Right now the Republicans give the back of their hands to the LP. They challenge their right to be on the ballot in the first place, and this costs the latter time, money and effort they would rather spend on getting out their message of free enterprise, private property rights, very limited government. Why not be nicer? Stop this harassment. Allow the LP to run unopposed in heavily Democratic districts, or for mayor of Duckberg, USA, population 300. In return, the LP would stop being the spoiler in races such as the three mentioned above (there are dozens more examples out there).
There is indeed precedent for this sort of thing in the US. For example, in New York State, the Democrats engaged with the Liberal Party as their junior partners, as did the Republicans, for the Conservative Party. I don’t say a deal of this sort can be consummated, but at least it bears thinking about. This sort of thing occurs in many other countries (Israel, Italy come to mind); why not here? Doesn’t a party that reliably garners 1% of the vote and sometimes double and triple that deserve some respect? The Libertarian Party is the Rodney Dangerfield of politics.
To be fair, I must say that the LP is not always closer to the Rs than the Ds. During the VietNam war, the very opposite occurred. It takes place, also, nowadays, when issues such as the legalization (not necessarily support) of drugs or sex for consenting adults arises. But in the present circumstances, with wokeism, cancel culture, socialism, etc., libertarians are much closer to Rs than Ds.
It behooves the GOP to at least think of doing something about this problem, rather than confining itself to regretting the situation, while exacerbating it with its enmity toward the LP.
Walter Block is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics at Loyola University, New Orleans.
Featured: “Stump Speaking,” by George Caleb Bingham; painted in 1853.