Why the GOP Should Be Nicer to the LP

by | Oct 25, 2022

Why the GOP Should Be Nicer to the LP

by | Oct 25, 2022

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Full disclosure: I have been a member of the Libertarian Party ever since 1969 when I ran for New York State Assembly, two years before the creation of the national party in 1971. But I hold no office with them and cannot speak for them.

Marc Victor is not going to win the 2022 senatorial campaign in Arizona. The best prognostications are that he’ll only garner some 15% of the vote! So why write about him? Simple: he is neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but a third party Libertarian candidate poised to “ruin” yet another election, at least from the perspective of the latter.

Needless to say, every single election for senator this coming November is crucial. Each and every one of them without exception. The entire U.S. Senate is now on a razor’s edge, with our vice president, whose name escapes me for the moment, breaking tie votes. The next allocation between the elephants and the donkeys might well be just as close. The election in Arizona is particularly important, since without Mr. Victor, a former Marine, in the race, it would be almost a dead heat between Republican Blake Masters (backed by The Donald) and Mark Kelly, the Democratic incumbent.

Last week the three of them went head to head to head in a debate. You read that right; typically, the two major parties are able—who says cooperation across the aisle is a dead letter in today’s hyper nasty times?—to prevent any such occurrence, but this time Mr. Victor snuck in amongst his supposed betters. This Libertarian candidate must have done well, at least in the eyes of the voters, since before the debate he was polling at 6% of the electorate but has recently moved up to 15%.

There is now much wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst Republicans. It is much exacerbated since Shane Hazel (another former member of the U.S. Marine Corps—is something going on here that we don’t know about?) pulled off a similar feat in the election of 2020 which vaulted Democrat Jon Ossoff into that august body instead of Republican David Perdue, who almost certainly would have otherwise won.

Then there is the fact that Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president in 2020, reaped more votes than separated Biden’s and Trump’s totals in several very competitive states.

In the view of conservative commentator Edward Ring, the LP should disband. He states, “Siphoning off voters from the side that’s fighting the hardest to preserve individual liberty and economic freedom is not principled. It is nihilism.”

All in all, the Republicans in Arizona are not very happy campers at present. Very perturbing to them is that left-liberals-progressives (it’s hard to know how to characterize them nowadays) have been contributing financially to Marc Victor’s campaign.

This vote “siphoning” is especially galling to them in that they maintain that Libertarians are much closer to the Elephant party in overall philosophy then they are to the party of the Donkeys. And there is some truth to this claim. Exhibit A in this regard might well be the Federalist Society, in which libertarians and conservatives make not only common but also friendly cause. Nor can it be denied that on free trade, taxation, minimum wages, rent controls, business regulation, welfare and dozens of economic issues Libertarians are indeed closer to the Republicans than to the Democrats. However, it is equally true that Libertarians align more closely to Democrats on matters of personal liberty: sex, drugs, gay marriage, prostitution, gambling, etc.

If the Republicans are really exercised about this gadfly Libertarian Party too often messing things up for them, I’ve got some advice for them. Instead of forcing the LP to spend significant proportions of their limited funds on ballet access, cease and desist from these dead weight loss inefficiencies. Instead of denigrating them as “lazy fairies” (a take off on their support for laissez faire capitalism), and in many other ways undermining them, work with them. Libertarians can stop “siphoning” in major elections and Republicans can eschew contests for minor offices.

There is precedent for this sort of thing in numerous countries with more than two parties, where coalitions are common. For example, the United Kingdom, Germany, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, and Turkey. Nor are we limited to foreign cases. For many years, the Republican and Conservative parties of New York State, and also the Democrat and Liberal parties, made common cause with each other.

Can’t we all just get along?

About Walter E. Block

Dr. Walter Block is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at Loyola University and a senior fellow at the Mises Institute.

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