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It is not just the UK…

The UK has Brexit, an event that Perry, Adriana, Brian, I and the rest of the Samizdata conspirators would have only dreamed of when this publication was founded all those years ago. To say it would have been a pipe dream back then is not far off and I am sure anyone suggesting it would happen any time soon would have been asked where they had managed to purchase such fine quality substances.

Brexit is not the end of the fun amongst the fed up electorates of the Anglosphere, it is only the prelude. The Libertarian Party in the USA will be a serious cat amongst dumb flocking birds this year. Gary Johnson is still rising in the polls. He has been at levels we have never seen before almost from the day he was nominated and has gone up from 10% to 11% and now 12%. Should he reach 15% by the end of the summer, he will be invited to the Presidential Debates. No matter what else happens, that would be enough to warm the cockles o’ me Libertarian Laissez-Faire heart.

But wait! There is more! If Gary makes it into the debates, he will almost certainly garner a substantial popular vote in the election. The American electorate, by and large, loath both Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee this year.

Now if I were smoking something really good right now, something which Gary has sworn to see legalized, I might even say that a tight three way race could make 34% the plurality in the popular (not Electoral) vote. That level for a Libertarian candidate in the USA is about as imaginable as, well… the UK voting to leave the EU. Inconceivable.

This year is going to be a lot of fun. We are turning the world upside down… and we are enjoying every second of it everywhere in the Anglosphere.

70 comments to It is not just the UK…

  • Mr Ed

    If decent people can vote for the least bad candidate’s electors, then having a decent third candidate will tend to hand the College to the vilest candidate.

    Rinse and repeat.

  • Brian Swisher

    Speaking as one who would vote for Johnston in the general, the best one could hope for is that the election would be thrown to the House of Representatives, and there ain’t no way they would vote for the Libertarian.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    Any day soon, I expect Tasmania to declare itself an independent nation! It might survive by exporting huon wood. Very hard wood. And when will those dam-Yankees let the South go free?

  • williatw

    Speaking as one who would vote for Johnston in the general, the best one could hope for is that the election would be thrown to the House of Representatives, and there ain’t no way they would vote for the Libertarian.

    Well if enough people voted for Gary Johnson to make sure that neither Trump nor Hillary get the magic no. of majority electoral votes then it is thrown into the House of Representatives. They have to by law decide by majority from the candidates who receive the top three electoral votes. Since many in Republican party don’t like Trump (at least among the elites), hard to see how that would play out. They might even conceivably elect Gary Johnson though Johnson would have to have electoral wins to be eligible maybe seeing him a better choice than Trump or Hillary. After all he (Johnson) is a former Republican before he joined the Libertarian Party. There are also other interesting possibilities; suppose it is thrown into the House of Representatives and after multiple votes the House is “deadlocked” no candidate gets a majority. note: The Senate would have to also “deadlock” on electing a vice-president from the top VP electoral winners. According to the Constitution (via Wikipedia):

    If the House of Representatives has not chosen a president-elect in time for the inauguration (noon on January 20), then Section 3 of the Twentieth Amendment specifies that the vice president-elect becomes acting president until the House selects a president. If there is also no vice president-elect in time for the inauguration, then under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the sitting Speaker of the House would become acting president until either the House selects a president or the Senate selects a vice president. Neither of these situations has ever occurred.


    Then the speaker of the House Ryan (assuming the Republicans maintain control of the House) would be the next President until the House/Senate get their act together.

  • David

    Nicholas what a wonderful thought. However the chances of Tasmania wanting independence from the rest of us “down here” are 2/3rds of 3/5ths of “bugger all”. It would mean they would have to support themselves and I don’t think the mendicants of the Apple Isle would know how to.

    Any such move would have to be known as Taxit. A concept alien to most of them as they are net consumers of tax not contributors.

  • James Hargrave

    Alas, up here (and I spent over a decade down there) this is what too many of the population of North Britain seem to want, in echoes of a model that even Quebec has now outgrown: we want independence and all its supposed benefits without any of the responsibilities and obligations, and we want you to pay for it (and let’s share a currency and…). Infantile grudge mongers. The reason they like ‘Europe’ is perhaps because they recognise an affinity – always pressing for more power in more areas while proving completely inept at undertaking core functions.

  • I’m very doubtful.

    That Gary has mentioned by many in polls this summer does not surprise me. There would in any case be much likelihood of a diminution as polling day approaches. Recent events may compound that. Bill met Loretta, a deal was struck and Hillary is Hillary the Uninditable, and these facts have been put very explicitly in the public domain – which to me argues no small degree of crass ineptness on the Clintons’ part – but if anyone wishes to argue that it was smart to make the meeting and the (obvious) deal public now rather than let them come out before November then they may and I’ll listen.

    I thought (albeit nervously) that we would win brexit. I live in Britain. My opinion that Gary will not be a big deal in November is worth less (and was worth very very little in the first place; I mention it for that very very little that it is worth). My reasoning says that the most disaffected group now – the Bernie Bros – have the least to lose by voting 3rd party and electing a Trump they’ll love to mock over the next 4 years – but that libertarian is a poor fit for them. I’m not sure he’s that good a fit for some of the NeverTrump republicans either. (But maybe this shows I have a very poor feel for US politics.)

    Other opinions welcome – and Im sure there will be some anyway. 🙂

    Meanwhile, was it Boris who said he felt like he was watching the sadistic nurse drive the mental-home’s bus towards the cliff while the bound patients’ last hope that a man who looks and acts like a very poor caricature of him seizes the controls? 🙂

  • Mary Contrary

    Here’s a thought:

    Suppose that Johnson did make it into the national debates, where he couldn’t be simply ignored any longer.

    I reckon a lot of people would be asking, who is the real Republican candidate? A former Republican Governor who happens to be running on a third party ticket, or a long-standing Democrat backer with no coattails for other Republicans and whose populist policy offer has no ideological connection to the traditional Republican platform, who happens to have the Republican label this year?

    It’s not just the general public disgust with Trump and Hillary that would make getting Johnson on the debate a game-changer: there’s a lot of disgust and fear to be tapped amongst the Republican Party elites too.

    A big switch to back the Libertarian Party in all its glory ain’t never going to happen, but if they convince themselves the LP just a flag of convenience, who knows what might happen?

  • Snorri Godhi

    There are reasons to wonder whether Gary Johnson is a libertarian at all. In fact, he went as far as saying that Jewish bakers should be forced to bake cakes for Nazi weddings. (The author of those articles is no fan of Trump, either.) All the attention that Johnson will get, could actually tarnish the libertarian brand.

  • Alisa

    I am the last person to find Johnson appealing as a whole (just don’t like the guy), but there is no such thing as a perfect libertarian, especially for a politician. The Nazi-weddings remark is very disturbing, but should be taken from a realistic perspective, as it is hardly the most decisive issue on which to judge a candidate for a national office. Johnson has as solid a record of a fiscal conservative as they come from his two terms as Gov. of NM – and at least to me, that is the decisive issue in this context. Not that I think that he has a chance, but that is beside the point. FWIW, I voted for him in 2012 as a sort of “protest” vote, and will probably do so again this time.

  • Mr Ecks

    Johnson is a Republican entryist.

    He is a stooge for gun control and God knows what other state oppression. as Snorri shows above. He disgraces the very word Libertarian.

    Hopefully it is also likely that Johnson will get few votes and many of those from Killery’s side.

  • Mr Ed

    So, all the candidates are more unpleasant than a Balrog’s fart.

  • Alisa

    Well yeah, what else is new.

  • Mr Ed

    Given the ‘choice’ of a callous, unprincipled fool and a scheming, socialist fanatic, I would say always plump for the lesser evil of the potential outcomes.

    So Nick Clegg over Mr Corbyn, were that on offer. And it seems to me, Mr Trump over Mrs Clinton, Mrs Clinton over Mr Saunders and so on.

    Heck, even Theresa May over David Cameron, Mrs May may actually be honest and likely to keep her word. She may do ill in the meantime, but if WYSIWYG, that is a start of sorts.

  • HGS

    My tiny group of contacts in USA think no Republican who dislikes Trump would ever, ever, vote for a Johnson. Some one actually knows one who is going to vote Democrat, first time in their life.

    These informants of mine think it possible some disgruntled Democrats might go for Johnson, i.e. those who dislike the Clinton stench, and those, younger ones, who will listen to the chimes of freedom, although with muffled ears.

    So Johno’ may get a small increase in vote. Which means, according to my informants, that Trump may squeak in via a split third vote. But apparently Johnson is considered an anti charismatic campaigner.

    These friends of mine hope, with caution, that extra publicity for the libertarian cause will lead to greater acceptance of this view in the USA.

  • John Galt III

    Jill Stein

    The Enviro-Marxist candidate is pulling 3-5% – that offsets Johnson’s 5-7% to large degree. She will get a lot of the Sanders voters just as Johnson will get center/right/independents people who dislike Trump. So long as Stein is in there, Johnson doesn’t matter much as they simply offset each other.


  • Watchman

    I am still ill at ease with the concept of a libertarian party – surely that implies a level of coercion to function?

    Plus you get silly ideological disputes over minor things like gun control from a personal perspective, rather than proper dispute over what the function if any of the state is in relations to keeping dangerous weapons safe (i.e. don’t keep giving the police more dangerous ones…).

    If libertarian means anything it means freedom – so to be successful libertarians don’t become a party and part of the system, but instead, as with leaving the EU (I have a personal dislike of the neologism Brexit), work to break down the statist system. We (says someone who doesn’t self-describe as actually libertarian…) win when electoral candidates support our ideas and get elected, not when we produce a platform to manage the state. We win when a state apparatus is dismantled, not when someone who may or may not agree with us is elected under a label which means our views will be viewed through their actions.

    Mr Johnson might be a good president, seeing as he has at least some anti-statist views, but labelling himself as libertarian does not make him a candidate that is good for liberarians. Although he’d have to be very seriously mislabeled to be worse than Mr Trump or Ms Clinton…

  • I am still ill at ease with the concept of a libertarian party

    I tend to agree. Libertarianism works better as a guiding philosophy than a political party.

  • Alisa

    I agree, Watchman. But would someone like Johnson (or Cruz, for that matter – who, to me at least, is much more libertarian than Johnson) have any more-realistic chances running as independents?

  • Mr Ed


    Party membership is usually contractual, so it would be the antithesis of coercion in functioning. You accept the rules, seek to change them within the rules or ship out. When it comes to ‘whipping’ of legislators, ultimately it is the offer of benefitting from the ‘brand’ and the right to run or stand under it that is the glue that holds parties together.

    Unless you are a Commie, when it is the NKVD or the Rabkrin.

  • Alisa

    (…and, FWIW, I’d rather we didn’t have formal political parties at all, but here we are.)

  • Watchman

    I am coming to the conclusion I am a clone of Perry (I am assuming on no particular basis that I am the younger one) – we seem to be agreeing in every other thread on the board at the moment…

    Alisa – I’m not advocating running as an independent. I just think libertarian is the wrong title for a party – Freedom Party or whatever would be fine, and in some ways easier for libertarians to support since the Freedom Party saying something would not allow the followers of statist thoughts to argue that that meant all libertarians believed that (statists seemingly being incapable of understanding a philosophy which does not bind all its followers to a single line of thought). Plus from my point of view it is ideal that libertarianism can be expressed in any party, and if the Libertarian Party are placed on the ‘political spectrum’ it becomes a lot more difficult for people on the other side of the spectrum to express libertarian ideas. I do think parties have to exist outside of direct democracy, although the existence of parties should not be legislated for (the situation in the US with the Democrats and Republicans effectively being aspects of the state is not acceptable), for the reasons Mr Ed gives.

    Mr Ed. Contractual participation in parties is fine, and what I’d expect – contracts allow coercion though as a price for the brand, and the danger is switching from contractual loyalty to tribal loyalty, which results in people not leaving and signing up to things they do not really believe in.

  • Lee Moore

    Just on election mechanics, picking up on what Brian Swisher and williatw said (rather than anything particularly closely related to the real world.)

    1. We only get into the House if there’s no one with an Electoral College majority. At the moment it’s overwhelmingly likely that Hillary will have a majority, so noogies, but…
    2. If nobody has a majority then the House gets to pick from the top three Electoral Vote winners. There’s two ways to get a third person in there along with Hillary and The Donald. First – somebody else wins a State, or one of the loose Votes in Maine or Nebraska.
    3. I’d say the most likely way to get that is, given the special circumstances of the state, that Johnston could win Utah. Unlikely but just conceivable.
    4. btw and just for fun – if Romney decided to stand just in Utah I think he’d probably win it.
    5. The other possibility is a faithless Elector (or several faithless Electors.) In theory one is enough. Suppose both Hillary and The Donald win 269 Electoral Votes and one of The Donald’s faithlessly goes for, say, Dolly Parton. Then Dolly Parton is on the list for the House to consider, and she could be elected by the House even though she only got one Electoral Vote.
    6. When the House votes, it’s not a normal House vote where each Representative gets a vote. In a Presidential election thrown into the House, each State gets one Vote. So the 50 or so California Reps huddle and decide whether to go with Hillary, The Donald or Dolly. But when they’ve decided, California only gets one vote. Meanwhile the South Dakota Rep gets to decide how to cast South Dakota’s vote. So it’s a majority of State delegations you need, not a majority of Representatives.

    All good fun, never gonna happen etc. But I think 5. Is the funnest bit. You can in theory finish up with someone who didn’t stand at all – so long as they’re qualified under the Constitution – if a single faithless Elector votes for him (or her) and the Electoral College is deadlocked.

  • Speaking as an American, who knows several Americans, my opinion is this: most Americans love their personal freedom less than they love telling their neighbors what to do.

    Santa Claus will be elected on a platform of “free toys for everyone” long before any Libertarian sees the inside of the White House.

  • Lee Moore

    I might add that the Republicans currently control 33 State delegations in the House, the Dems control 14 and 3 are tied. But it would be the House elected in Nov 2016 that would get to vote in a Presidential election thrown into the House scenario. It is possible for the Republicans to do badly enough to lose control of their majority of State delegations, but this is only likely to happen if The Donald loses in a landslide, in which case we wouldn’t be worrying about the House electing the President.

  • Alisa

    Watchman, I agree with everything you wrote (and not because you are Perry’s clone 🙂 )

  • bobby b

    Perhaps Gary Johnson could select a unicorn as his vice president.

    In the USA, we seem to have settled on the idea that we all want to elect a government that will tell everyone else what to do. The only dividing line concerns exactly what instructions we want them to be given.

    In instances in which third-party candidates gained any traction here, they were people who merely had another set of instructions for us. Ralph Nader and Ross Perot – arguably the only two third-party sorts who influenced elections – each had devoted adherents of their own unique sets of social directives.

    Someone arguing that government should back off and do less has no message that compels our current mindset to action. There’s no visceral fight against the trolls of darkness in such a message. When a populace has no impulse to educate itself, it’s easier to join a fight against trolls of darkness than it is to learn WHY we need government to do less.

    Sometimes, in the absence of some compelling message or quest, a candidate with great individual charisma can act as a substitute. Gary Johnson ain’t that guy.

    Looking to what I know of the current American constituency, I think Gary Johnson works as the cement in Hillary’s victory. The hardcore anti-Trump conservatives will latch onto him as a way to vote conservative, but that group dwindles each day. The Butthurt Bernie Bros maybe won’t vote for Hilary – most will, but some will refuse – but the very last quest they’ll join will involve allowing their own particular trolls of darkness to enjoy less government.

    We’re stuck with Dumb and Dumber, and any effort to now bring in Less Dumb will only insure that Dumber wins.

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    It is just so much fun watching people fall over themselves to wallow in hopelessness. We (the Libertarian Party) have been around and building for over 40 years. We came from nothing, a small group of radicals who thought the US Constitution actually meant what it said, and we are now in the national consciousness. If we completely screw over the election by pulling enough to give one of the two a kick in the groin, then so be it. I will be saluting their discomfiture and taking great pleasure in their anger.

    Any political turn over, such as happened during the run up to the Civil War, takes decades. It requires that the political parties nail themselves to positions they cannot change and which increasingly become out of sync to what the electorate actually believes. I think we are at the beginning of that process. The end game will be a break up of the existing parties and a complete political re-alignment some decades hence. I would not be surprised if the end result is a new set of parties of which one is more Socialist and the other is Libertarian in nature. The GOP and the Democrats have had their run. They are increasingly out of step with reality. I look forward to them being buried in a history book in a dusty stack which only people like us ever visit.

    Until that time, we Libertarians are going to make a total hash out of the two party system. And Lord is that going to be fun.

  • damaged justice

    This reads like a parody of overly optimistic libertarians. “There’s gotta be a pony under here somewhere!”

  • bobby b

    Like Walter Duranty said, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, eh?

  • Alisa

    It is just so much fun watching people fall over themselves to wallow in hopelessness

    What hopelessness? Just because some here are not more ecstatic about the Libertarian party than they are about the Demopublican ones, does not make them hopeless. Maybe hopeless about organized parties – but there must be more to life than those.

  • Alisa

    Nah bobby, just rearranging them in different baskets.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I agree with Watchman, a philosophy that champions individual rights does not work well with one that promotes tribalism. It is an anathema for libertarians to be involved in any form of politics other than to oppose laws that seek to degrade personal freedoms, it isn’t new laws we need but existing laws to be repealed, rather a law-unmaker.

    It would be better that libertarianism manifested as a “movement”, in the same way as, for example, the NRA, but not as so single-issue.

    After all, you don’t want the wrong lizard to get in.

  • Thailover

    Those prone to vote on honorable principles, voting for Johnson (Libertarianism is more honorable than The Establishment in both isles, though I know little of Johnson), would take votes from the Trump side of the isle rather than from Nurse Ratched because Nurse Ratched is not pretending to be honorable, merely useful to the most disagreeable of people and those, good or bad, who engage in identity politics.

    I say as I’ve always said, vote principles in the Primary election, vote for a strategic win, even if you have to vote holding your nose, in the General election. “Symbolic” votes are sentimental…and danergous, and unwise. “Symbolic votes” are a way of feeling good about losing.

    Leftists are cynical. They don’t like ANYTHING, even big government, but they think it’s a necessary evil. They think all politicians are rich criminals who became rich by “exploiting” the poor and taking more than their fair share. They accept that Nurse Ratched is corrupt, but that goes with the territory in their minds, so they shrug their shoulders and vote for what they consider the most USEFUL corrupt and evil person.

    I also reitterate my opinion that the best strategy for republicans to follow isn’t to continue to harp on NR’s corrupt “soul”, but to drive home the point that is in fact IS NOT useful to women, blacks, gays and transgendered, etc. ‘Nor is she particularly helpful to leftists as a whole. She’s managed to accomplish nothing other than generate personal scandals and make herself mega-rich.

    No one likes Nurse Ratched. Reps should play on that rather than say “she’s mean”, “she lies”. They already know that. Reps should drive home the message that he’ll be BETTER for everyone, including women, blacks and the rest of the usual suspects.

  • Ellen

    We really need a revitalized Bull Moose party. Pity Teddy didn’t win that election — we might have a functional third party that way.

  • Thailover

    P.S. There is a REASON polls show that 63% of the American People think Nurse Ratched is guilty as hell and, in a just world, do prison time, BUT is still leading in many public presidential election polls.

    Those who wave the flag, worship the “founding fathers”, eat sunshine and fart rainbows are confused by this. The sunshine eaters are good of heart, the hobbits that can carry the rings of power. But the world is darker and more complex than hobbits can comprehend. Perhaps it takes someone who is in touch with the dark side as well as the side of light (like me for example) that can see and understand that many people are willing to vote for someone who is usefully evil than someone who is less useful to them and their agendas.

  • Thailover

    Most people are harshly down on libertarianism, not because they dislike freedom, but because they think the degree of “control-lessness” libertarians advocate is foolhardy. Opponents might be willing to entertain one libertarian argument in any greate while, but not a dozen. (And those that do, become libertarian…or even better, Objectivist.) 😉

  • BUT is still leading in many public presidential election polls.

    Yeah just like the last Israeli election, and the UK election, and Brexit were all called correctly by the polls… oh… hang on… 😀

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    I do vote strategically. My strategic goals are the destruction of the Republican and Democratic Parties as they now exist and their replacement with something that better matches the electorate.

    I’ve been in this almost from the beginning… I first registered LP in perhaps 1978. Might even have been earlier. I have watched our impact grow. We are immeasurably more powerful than back then. Our level of impact feels like it is on a rising exponential, changing noticeably even within a single election cycle. Still early days on the exponential, but our time is coming. When we hit that inflection point is unknowable. This year? Eight years from now? The only thing I am certain of is that we are changing the debate. I can feel it in the levels of pure hatred spewed upon me by SJW’s, some of whom I had known for years. Even a decade ago I was just a quaint believer in what they thought they had defeated. Now, I am a threat and I am deserving of their hatred.

    I say to them, “Bring it on”.

    PS: “I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Republican Party.”

  • Rich Rostrom

    Alisa @ July 15, 2016 at 11:35 am

    (…and, FWIW, I’d rather we didn’t have formal political parties at all, but here we are.)

    The Framers also hoped for an absence of “faction” in American politics. This lasted less than four years, AIUI.

    Here in Chicago, we have a “non-partisan” city council with no formal groupings. Granted that the Council are all Democrats, there could still be formal groupings representing different policy and reformist tendencies. But there aren’t. The result is that the council is nearly powerless. Voters have little basis on which to choose aldermen, as individual aldermen are not effectively connected to a policy list. Any individual alderman can criticize or object or offer proposals, but he’s just one of fifty and generally gets nowhere. The mayor gets whatever he wants.

  • Thailover

    Yup, I think polling is merely one tool of the warlocks who strive to shape our perception of reality for their own purposes. There are though a shocking great many people who consider Nurse Ratched a career criminal, a habitual liar, but who plan on voting for her anyway.

  • Alisa

    I know it is unrealistic, Rich.

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    Yes, those people are voting for Hillary for exactly the same reasons that people are voting for Trump.

    And those are exactly the reasons I am NOT voting against someone. I am voting FOR someone.

  • Rich Rostrom

    As to the effect of the Libertarian ticket on the election: unless there is an LP plurality in a state, the LP will get no electoral votes and the election will not go to the House of Representatives. (Minor exception: Nebraska and perhaps Maine award some electoral votes per Congressional district; the LP would need to carry only a district.)

    ISTM that the LP vote will depend on national and state-by-state tactical considerations. For this purpose, I’ll look only at those who don’t already want Clinton or Trump.

    There are people who really do fear Trump as President because his character is so bad: childish temper, open incivility, vanity, ignorance, corruption, authoritarianism. He should obviously not be commander-in-chief of the most powerful and dangerous armed forces in history. And visibly bad: his election would be a really bad precedent, worse even than the non-conviction of Bill Clinton. Some of these people may, reluctantly, vote for Clinton in swing states.

    There are others who have comparable reservations about Clinton, and may reluctantly vote for Trump.

    In states where the outcome is expected before the election, these voters will be free to reject both and cast protest votes for Johnson.

    That’s if the electoral vote outcome looks close. If the EV is a lock, even swing state voters may vote for Johnson.

    All this is looking at Johnson getting only “protest” votes. If Johnson has a chance to carry any states, then he may get more in those states – depending on who is otherwise likely to carry them, and what the national EV looks like. If (a huge if) Johnson looks likely to carry enough states to split the electoral college, he could draw even more votes. The problem is, the closer the EV looks (and the fewer EF Johnson would need for a split), the more fear there will be for never-X voters that Johnson voting could throw the election to X outright.

    If the EV is split, and the election goes to the House… the fact that Johnson is the only real Republican might be decisive. The Senate would choose the VP – but only from the top two candidates, i.e. the Libertarian might be excluded. The breakdown of the popular vote would be an important factor in legitimating the decisions of the House and Senate. One possibility – the House elects Johnson, the Senate elects Trump’s running mate, and Johnson then resigns immediately after taking office. This gives the Trumpkins something, but not Trump himself, and doesn’t put a third-place candidate in the Presidency. I haven’t examined House projections to see which states are likely to be controlled by which parties. There’s a strong possibility of the Senate going Democrat, unfortunately. In which case, the Republican House might elect Johnson, while the Democrat Senate elects Clinton’s running mate. (This might be an incentive for the Republicans to elect Johnson, because of the obvious chance that Trump would not finish his term.)

    Johnson winning a majority, plurality, or even 2nd place in EV seems impossible, unless there is a total collapse of one of the other two candidates.

    It would be interesting to see the results of a poll structured like the Australian ballot (STV): how many voters choose Trump to stop Clinton or vice versa.

  • shlomo maistre

    So many words in this thread analyzing how many angels dance on the heads of various pins.

    Lets cut to the chase, repeat after me: President Hillary Rodham Clinton. Any hope for an alternative outcome is just that, hope – and only that, which is futile.

    Dale Amon – Gary Johnson won’t get more than 5% of the popular vote.

    And it does not appear that Article 50 has been activated yet.

  • You say “Perry, Adriana, Brian, I and the rest of the Samizdata conspirators”, but you should really underline the writings of Natalija Radic, who in a handful of articles really opened some people’s minds to Euroscepticism on this site, way before the Overton window shifted.

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    Shlomo: Why is it you think I find that any worse than President Donald Trump? At least with Hillary a good friend of mine will be an a high post and some good will be done. With The Donald in charge, I’ll consider us lucky to get out of the next 4 years without a nuclear war.

    So what is difference? I really don’t care.

  • shlomo maistre

    Shlomo: Why is it you think I find that any worse than President Donald Trump?

    Why is it you think that I think that you find a President Hillary Rodham Clinton any worse than a President Donald Trump?

    Both would be terrible Presidents. After all, America is a democracy and democracy is where liberty goes to die.

    I reiterate: Gary Johnson won’t get more than 5% of the popular vote. And article 50 has not yet been activated.

  • long-lost cousin

    It is just so much fun watching people fall over themselves to wallow in hopelessness. We (the Libertarian Party) have been around and building for over 40 years.

    When do you plan on getting anybody elected to any office at any level? As you say, it’s been forty years.

  • shlomo maistre


    It is just so much fun watching people fall over themselves to wallow in hopelessness. We (the Libertarian Party) have been around and building for over 40 years. We came from nothing, a small group of radicals who thought the US Constitution actually meant what it said, and we are now in the national consciousness.

    Are an American who values liberty, individual rights, and personal freedoms?

    Are you upset that the US Constitution has been reinterpreted, ignored, and violated for statist & collectivist purposes for decades?

    Are you concerned about the mountains of debt, systematic violations of civil liberties, oppressive tax regime, and intrusive regulations?

    Do you want to be able to smoke pot legally?

    Do you want the US to have a lower per capita incarceration rate than a single other country on earth?

    Well, then you’re in luck! No need to worry about the views of those who are professors, judges, journalists, Governors, Senators, Congressmen, bureaucrats, or the President of the USA because the Libertarian Party is “in the national consciousness”!

    This shit writes itself. Beyond parody.

  • shlomo maistre

    Our level of impact feels like it is on a rising exponential.

    In all seriousness, Ron Paul did more to spread the libertarian message through his 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns than the Libertarian Party has done collectively throughout its entire existence.

  • shlomo maistre

    Until that time, we Libertarians are going to make a total hash out of the two party system. And Lord is that going to be fun.

    “Fun”. That’s what irrelevant parties do. The Republicans and Democrats are busy running the country.

  • doug galecawitz

    i have voted libertarian all my life. attended numerous county meetings of the LP. contributed when i could from my often meager income. i cannot vote this time for the LP. libertarians seem unwilling to grasp that if trump loses, hilary will open the borders up like Merkel in germany. the united states will be inundated with peoples to whom notions of limited government and rule of law are completely foreign. in it’s greatest hour of triumph the LP will also be helping close the book on a time when people could vote philosophically rather than ethnically. it isn’t just libertarianism that will be taken down, so will both conservatism and liberalism. multi ethnic societies that bother with elections ALWAYS trend towards ethnic voting blocks and eventually towards disenfranchisement and destruction of at least one of those minorities. i’m no fan of trump. his notions of the limitations on presidential power are unseemly at best. he refuses to acknowledge or simply doesn’t know that the immigration problem is creation of short sighted politicians try to plug budgetary gaps in popular but unsustainable social welfare programs, most notably social security. but he is politicking along the lines of maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

    the bet being made here by libertarians is that culture is malleable and by extension the people’s of a culture are malleable and thus susceptible to persuasive arguments. and that the underlying philosophy of libertarianism is so persuasive none could rationally oppose it. this ignores first the difficulty libertarians have had in persuading the average american at giving us a shot. it ignores second the whole reason separate cultures develop in the first place and pervade even when members of a culture are transplanted elsewhere. the early settlement of america as “the new world” should illustrate the falsity of that. people rarely vote because they are persuaded they vote because of their culture first and foremost and there is only a narrow window of political concepts within that culture to choose from. by thinking of people strictly as economic units and nothing more we are tempting the return of history and all of the illiberal-ness that it entails.

  • shlomo maistre

    When do you plan on getting anybody elected to any office at any level? As you say, it’s been forty years.

    It’s a fair question. Perhaps there’s a libertarian dog catcher who got elected once? That would certainly be a very strong indication of the libertarian party’s growing clout and influence.

  • long-lost cousin

    It’s a fair question. Perhaps there’s a libertarian dog catcher who got elected once? That would certainly be a very strong indication of the libertarian party’s growing clout and influence.

    Damn it, you’re right!

    San Miguel County, Colorado, home to the Telluride ski resort, elected a Libertarian sheriff in the 1990’s. One county-level office with (at the time) fewer than twenty employees in a county with fewer than ten thousand permanent residents…that’s a real wave right there!

    (Let’s ignore the facts that the CO GOP didn’t bother having a presence in what, at the time, was one of six or eight counties -out of 63 – that were Dem strongholds, and the Dems couldn’t find a candidate who could legally assume the office if he was elected. It’s a wave!)

  • but you should really underline the writings of Natalija Radic, who in a handful of articles really opened some people’s minds to Euroscepticism on this site, way before the Overton window shifted.

    And she lives still, even if she no longer writes, saw her a few months ago in fact 😉

  • Martin

    The US Libertarian Party nowadays is just a vehicle for has been Republican politicians to get the glory of running for president. People like Bob Barr, Gary Johnson and Bill Weld would get nowhere near the Republican presidential nomination, but the LP allows them to pretend they are important just for a tad longer.

  • Paul Marks

    I wish I could feel so positively about former Governor Gary Johnson as you do Dale.

    However, whenever I have seen him speak “idiot” is the first word that springs to mind.

    Although, if a U.S. Citizen, I would still vote for him – as the alternatives are Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump.

    It is not as if Mr Johnson has any chance of winning (he does not) so it is perfectly safe to vote for – as a gesture.

    His policies?

    Cutting the American military (already near collapse) – yuk. The military needs to be rebuilt – Sweden is not going to deter China in the Pacific and so on. And the threat of Islamist forces to the West is certainly not “overblown” (13 centuries of history show that).

    And forcing Jewish bakers to bake cakes for Nazi events – again yuk.

    Mr Johnson does not understand that Freedom of Association includes the freedom to NOT associate. And that a private business may be “open to the public” but that does NOT make it a “public space”.

    Too much pot smoking has left him unable to understand these simple points.

    Just as he does not understand that it is “the market” that has “decided against coal” it is the Federal government war-on-coal, part of their general war-on-industry.

    Still voting for Mr Johnson (as a gesture) would do no harm.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Except for your final sentence, Paul, you are absolutely right.


    (The harm is the Tiny Increment any non-Hair vote, and any sitting-out-the-vote, adds to the net vote for Sh*tlary. I despise Hair, but we have proof positive that Shrill actually is

    A thief — the WH furniture —

    Utterly irresponsible if not worse — the e-Mails —

    An enabler of our enemies — Islam, Benghazi, more —

    Traitorous — Benghazi, the e-mails, more —

    Pet Pals with that same Huma Abedin, daughter of the Muslim Brotherhood —

    Not going to*** replace for life *** J. Scalia, nor J. Ginsburg, nor any others who may remove themselves from SCOTUS, with nicely long-lived versions of Constitutionalist, judicial-engagement-oriented Justices, but rather with somebody whose political views aren’t at odds with her own, and who has likely supported her financially as well….

    Whereas Hair might do this last, even if only by mistake. And, as someone pointed out, at least Hair as far as I know has attempted to keep his shenanigans and theft within the letter of the law. No, I don’t expect him to suddenly Get Religion, figuratively speaking. –And certainly not literally!)

  • If Libertarians were suddenly to start believing in the existence of unicorns, it would actually be a major step towards accepting reality.

    Fact: as a socio-political philosophy, libertarianism is only ever going to appeal to a tiny minority of people.

    Fact: regardless of their philosophical attractions to said tiny minorities, legalization of drugs and prostitution is NEVER going to sit well with the vast majority of people, and the very minute that a Libertarian Party candidate espouses support for either (let alone both), he consigns himself to political irrelevance.

    Fact: the last time a large number of Republican voters said, “Neither of these assholes” and voted for Ross Perot, they handed the election to Bill Clinton 1992; the same happened in 2000 when a bunch of Democrat voters said the same and voted for Ralph Nader, and G.W. Bush won that election. (The third-party knife cuts both ways.)

    One last fact: we’ve already had eight years of neo-socialism under Obama. Another eight (or even four) years of the same under Hillary Clinton would be cataclysmic for the U.S.

    Julie’s points above are absolutely realistic, and correct. Under this scenario, voting for any Libertarian candidate would have the effect of handing the election to Hillary Clinton, the not-so-closet Trotskyist — who would be the worst anti-libertarian president ever.

    But hey… as long as ideological purity is preserved, right?

    What utter balls.

  • Laird

    “legalization of drugs and prostitution is NEVER going to sit well with the vast majority of people”

    Huh. Well, I would remind everyone that drug prohibition is less than a century old in the US. Somehow in the early 20th Century popular opinion changed to a puritanical, prohibitionist bent. We can debate just why that occurred. But whatever the reason, Kim apparently thinks that such a shift could NEVER (his capitals) happen again. A typical admixture of hyperbole, factual error, historical ignorance and hubris.

    And yes, the third party vote does cut both ways. The problem with Kim’s assertion is that polls show that in a three-way race the Libertarian candidate almost always takes more vote from the Democrat than from the Republican; witness the last gubernatorial election in Virginia. (NB: Ross Perot was no libertarian.) And then reflect on the last sentence in my previous paragraph.

  • Laird, July 20, 2016 at 3:45 am: “drug prohibition is less than a century old in the US.”

    And in the UK. The Sherlock Holmes stories are a rare glimpse into a world where a famous crime fighter could take cocaine to relax without breaking any law. Dr Watson warns Holmes against it, reasons with him: the stories argue against such drug abuse. But they do so in the same way as a later Dr Watson might argue with a Holmes who smoked cigarettes without ever imagining that doing so in public could become a crime.

    Old literature is a great resource against the tyranny of the present.

    That said, a Libertarian party candidate whose main focus is legalising drugs and prostitutes is of no interest to me. When he adds to this a desire to force Jewish bakers to put swastikas on cakes if the customer asks, my indifference turns to disgust.

  • Alisa

    Old literature is a great resource against the tyranny of the present.

    That cannot be repeated often enough.

  • Alisa

    Fact: as a socio-political philosophy, libertarianism is only ever going to appeal to a tiny minority of people.

    I have no problem with that, and if I am going to vote for Johnson, it will not be in the hope of him winning the election (quite the opposite, in fact – it is not as if he is much of a libertarian anyway).

    But hey… as long as ideological purity is preserved, right?

    What purity? Who, Johnson? You are joking, right?

  • Somehow in the early 20th Century popular opinion changed to a puritanical, prohibitionist bent. We can debate just why that occurred.

    There’s no debate to be had. Women got the vote. (I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; but it was one of the consequences. History shows us that when women get the vote, two thing happen: State power and expenditure/taxation increase; and security becomes a greater societal concern — the two are of course linked.)

    And while you’re waiting for the Great Wheel Of History to return us to the halcyon days of the late Victorian era or whatever, I’m more concerned with trying to stop the immediate turn of the Wheel whereby the U.S. becomes still more of a socialist when President Hillary Clinton mouths the words to the Oath of Office without intending to adhere to any of them.

    And Laird: considering that history has yet to show a working, functioning libertarian society of any length or consequence, I find it amusing that you accuse me of being ignorant of history. And as for my use of hyperbole: are you suggesting that my prediction of socio-political cataclysm caused by a Clinton presidency is completely unrealistic?

  • I’m more concerned with trying to stop the immediate turn of the Wheel whereby the U.S. becomes…

    Given who the choices are (essentially a choice between Juan Perón or Eva Perón), good luck with that 😉

  • …essentially a choice between Juan Perón or Eva Perón…

    Perry, you’re half right. The actual choice is between Silvio Berlusconi and Eva Perón.

  • Kim du Toit (July 20, 2016 at 2:12 pm): you may be seeing cause and effect where there is at most a coincidence of effects or even less. In the inter-war years, socialists like Wells and Shaw complained that the “relative barbarism of women” was a great hindrance to achieving socialism – i.e. they were less likely to vote for it. This remained true in the UK until recently. Even now, the Tories are on their 2nd female prime minister while the female candidate has just dropped out of the Labour race. In France, the Gaullists party had 50% female membership when General de Gaulle ran it. I’ll leave it to you on which side of the argument you wish to place Marine and Christine Le Pen.

    Perry de Havilland (London), July 20, 2016 at 4:40 pm: “Given who the choices are …”. I think the founding fathers did a passable job on the US constitution, making it reasonably able to contain Trump, a man viewed with much caution by both wings of his own party, much opposed by the other party, and one the 4th estate will delight to expose in real malfeasance if they find any. Expecting their founding fathers’ work to withstand equally well the Clinton machine, when Hillary has demonstrated the ability to avoid consequences of provable crimes in full public gaze, when the machine has strong corrupt control over its party, and when the 4th estate is her ally, is much less reasonable. As regards which you like less, you might make no choice. As regards who is the greater threat to the US, the choice seems clear.

  • “…you may be seeing cause and effect where there is at most a coincidence of effects or even less.”

    Niall, if you only consider the “national” franchise, you may be correct. But at least here in the U.S., there is ample historical evidence to support the hypothesis that “women voting = an enlarged State apparatus”. Among the states where women were granted the right to vote in local- and statewide elections long before they could vote in presidential elections, state spending (ergo government growth) increased for example in New Jersey by well over 25% in the years immediately following women voting in state elections, whereas no similar increase occurred in neighboring states where women still did not vote. (Feel free to fact-check me, but I don’t think I’m wrong.) The history is not even recent; as I recall, women got the right to vote in New Jersey back in the early 19th century.

    It is a fact that given the freedom:security continuum, women generally tend to vote for greater security at the expense of freedom — it’s a hard-wired condition in the female psyche. (Once again, I’m not saying it’s wrong or evil; but it is a fact nevertheless.) It stands to reason therefore that as women participate more in the political process, State power and control would increase. (More recently, Hitler understood this principle very well, which is why he welcomed women voting in Germany and tailored his speeches towards them, while continuing to denigrate their societal status.)

    I also refuse to include female politicians like Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meir, because they were exceptional leaders and their sex was irrelevant. We’ll see how Theresa May fares, but I don’t want to extend the same indulgence towards Hillary Clinton, because we all know exactly what kind of leader she would be.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Another hypothesis to explain the **alleged growth of government as a result of women’s suffrage in a given jurisdiction**:

    The women newly admitted to the electorate might have been less well-educated, net, than were voting men, in regard to the effects of various governmental initiatives and expenditures on their jurisdictions.

    Historically, just as today, quite a few women were interested in and knowledgeable about current politics, as well as the history of political actions and situations; but just as today, I imagine most were not. Also, if my impressions are correct (a very big “if”), men were more likely to be informed simply because it was a big discussion topic down at the pub (as it is today); although at least some women do talk politics at Starbucks, I suppose.

    Speaking of which, I have the impression that the Tea Party movement’s leadership included a lot of women, and that at least as many women as men showed up at the rallies.
    . . .

    There’s also a queston as to which the growth of government and women’s suffrage, as they actually occurred in the U.S., were both results of the Progressive movement, as opposed to suffrage’s being the cause of growth.

    That is, the logic of even the early Progressive Movement leads to the growth of the state (or whatever jurisdiction) regardless of female participation.

    I’m not so convinced we can really hang this one on the girls.