“Another Libertarian For Kerry”

Over at Liberty and Power, Steven Horwitz writes that

I’m a “conscientious abstainer,” and that if I were to vote, I would still vote Libertarian. However, if I was coerced into voting and could only vote for one of the two major party candidates, I think at this point I would, in fact, vote for Kerry. Or perhaps more accurately, as of now, I’ll be rooting for the Democrats to win come November.[…]Bush has governed as a social conservative and a fiscal liberal – precisely the opposite of what a libertarian would like to see[…] In the end, I think a world with Kerry as president and a GOP-controlled Congress is the least of all evils. Gridlock rules!!![…]Consider this an argument for just how bad the Bush administration has been. I so cannot stand both Kerry and Edwards on a personal level – the thought of a smarmy, elitist, faux-child of the 60s paired with a greasy, blow-dried, trial lawyer is making me reach for a bucket – that the idea of even verbally supporting their victory fills me with immense psychic trauma. (Only Al Gore would be worse.) However, my analytical side tells me that little could be any worse than the incumbents and that the 90s showed the power of gridlock. So I swallow hard and silently root for a split decision. For now.

In comments, his co-blogger Sheldon Richman agrees. Steven also stresses the importance of trade, saying that if Kerry-Edwards “run as protectionists, my earlier calculus is upset… I would have a hard time even verbally supporting a presidential ticket that was willing to keep the third world immiserated for the sake of a few votes in swing states.” Me, too.

Speaking of both trade and split decisions, I’m starting to look for Congressional races where there’s a clear difference on trade, which of course is likely (not certain) to mean a Republican moral advantage. Anti-trade Senators are a real problem regardless of who sits in the White House; and anti-trade Senators from the Carolinas (of both parties) have been particular problems. So I’m taking a special interest in the South Carolina race between Republican Jim DeMint, who seems to have a surprisingly good record on both trade and spending, and Democrat Inez Tenenbaum, who is making traditional Carolina protectionism her central issue. DeMint is, unsurprisingly, on the wrong side of a lot of social-cultural issues; but a Senator can’t do as much harm on those topics as on trade, especially if the Presidency is socio-culturally liberal. In worrying about the precise shape of the gridlock I’m rooting for, I may end up supporting DeMint as well as Kerry.

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