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Libertarian Party in Montana:

Did anyone else notice that the Libertarian Party in Montana (Stan Jones, who received 3%) provided far more than the margin of victory between Tester and Burns? Assuming that the LP candidate drew more from Burns than Tester, this means that the LP essentially played a kingmaker role in creating a Democratic Senate.

As a related matter, I thought that the comments by David Boaz leading up to the election were quite provocative and challenging, especially to the Republicans. I'll be interested to see if the MSM makes anything more of this going forward.

Dick King:
How clear is it that the libertarians would have voted republican if no libertarian candidate were available? I resent that personally.

-dk
11.8.2006 5:22pm
Steve:
Assuming that the LP candidate drew more from Burns than Tester

That's an awfully big assumption. It was Tester, after all, who called for the repeal of the Patriot Act, a position (symbolic though it may be) much more in line with Montana's libertarian values.

The fact that many libertarians no longer feel comfortable with the Republican Party is a political reality, not just a quixotic side effect of having a third-party candidate on the ballot. Consider that the Libertarian candidate for President in 2004 received about one-sixth as many votes as this candidate did.
11.8.2006 5:24pm
Enoch:
Libertarians fantasize endlessly about being kingmakers, but that doesn't alter the reality that they are marginalized and irrelevant.
11.8.2006 5:36pm
j..:
There are a lot of queen/kingmakers. For example, the delta in KC more than provided the margin of victory for McCaskill. For that matter, St. Louis can lay the same claim.
11.8.2006 5:40pm
Anyglen:
In that case, if Allen had gotten a few more from his base to the polls in Virginia, would we be talking about the role of the Green Party as kingmaker?

As Steve said, the existence of these smaller parties is a reflection of the dissatisfaction of parts of the electorate with the current structure. The point is that this election was about the strategic choices (and perhaps errors) of the existing major parties, not the power of political tendencies which some might prefer to gain greater prominence.
11.8.2006 5:41pm
Hans Bader (mail):
This isn't the first time the Libertarians have cost the GOP control of the Senate.

They did it in 2000, when they robbed Slade Gorton, the tolerant, sensible, fiscally responsible Washington State Republican incumbent Senator of reelection.

Sad to say, some of the most libertarian-leaning Republicans were bumped off by Democrats due to Libertarian spoilers.

If the Libertarian Party had any sense, it would confine its candidacies to the worst Republicans, or to races where there's a run-off, in which the Libertarian can endorse the lesser of two evils in the run off (as Jim Turney did in endorsing Paul Coverdell in his successful unseating of Wyche Fowler).

But it seems like Big "L" Libertarian candidates are so dumb that they run against not just bad Republican officeholders but also relatively good ones.

That's just narcissism.

Many of them are just foolish left-wing tools.
11.8.2006 5:45pm
thatgirltasha (mail) (www):
I voted for the blueman (Stan Jones.) I have always voted libertarian where I can, and republican when I can't. But this time around I was so disgusted (with both sides),that I just left it blank where there were only two choices. I know of other libertarians who would have voted for Burns this time around had he not run horrific ads in support of his leader (pro-patriot act and such).
11.8.2006 5:53pm
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (mail):
The Libertarians have more in common with the far left than the GOP these days. They are against the war on terror and american military action, which is a central plank of the GOP.
11.8.2006 6:04pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
King-maker or spoiler, I guess it depends on where you stand....
11.8.2006 6:07pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
I can't imagine a libertarian draws from the Republicans in this election. If anything, it gives the anti-Republican something to vote other than Democrat. Or than writing in a family member. I'd guess it made virtually no difference.
11.8.2006 6:21pm
CLS (www):
To say libertarians "robbed" or stole vote is just bad English or a distortion. You can only steal something if it is not yours. If libertarians cast their vote for the man in the moon it is their vote to cast. My vote does not belong to a Democrat or a Republican unless I want to give it to them. And the Republicans are particularly unworthy this time. Any libertarian who voted his or her conscience did the right thing and no one was robbed. They might have been denied power but then power is not a right. And if I lived in Montana I would have voted Tester. First, he was good on the Patriot (sic) Act. Second, he is not a Republican. I would not vote for Jones after seeing his bizarre remarks about the 9/11 government conspiracy and tin-foil hate nonsense like that.
11.8.2006 6:31pm
Pendulum (mail):
I'm also highly suspicious that a significant majority of Libertarian votes would otherwise have gone to Republicans. This may well have been true until about 2004; I think it's highly doubtful today.

Many Libertarians would have voted Democrat, write-in, or stayed home.

Personally, I vote either Democrat or Libertarian depending on the usual factors: how tolerable the Democrat is or how malignant his GOP opponent is; how bizarre the Libertarian is; how close the race is; whether there's any hope of 3rd party incentive (ie major party status).

In theory, I'd be open to voting for a Republican too - I just can't find a worthwhile one.
11.8.2006 6:32pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
In addition to the GOP's lack of fiscal restraint in recent years, I also have to believe that many libertarians were turned off by the GOP's legislative activism on social issues of personal liberty. Most libetarians don't want the Christian Coalition dictating government policy on such issues as medical marijuana, partial birth abortion, or a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage any more than they want the AFL-CIO dictating government policy on the WTO or free trade agreements, or the Social Democrats/Greens writing national tax policies.
11.8.2006 6:37pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
on the other hand, who wants to vote for the party of corruption, clowns, and wannabe funny uncles?

I'm a republican, and the party got just exactly what it deserved.
11.8.2006 6:38pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
I had noticed and blogged about it earlier today.
It's not that we should assume L votes detract from candidate A or B. The assumption in parent post is an assumption arguendo, one that is just required to make the argument work - he isn't claiming L votes would always go R.
The point I raise is that the mainstream candidates can cooperate with a spoiler candidate. Candidate A can fund mail to likely B voters about candidate L, if that's more productive than trying to talk B's voters into voting for A or staying home. (I used to be involved in nuts and bolts Libertarian strategizing - these days I just do a little election litigating
11.8.2006 6:46pm
Gene Vilensky (mail) (www):
It is indeed rather interesting that there was a libertarian candidate running against Chris Chocola, one of the most libertarian, pro-growth members of the House.

What does it say about the Republican party that one of its standard-bearers in the Senate, Rick Santorum, was out there saying that the libertarians aren't welcome in the movement, that conservatism isn't about small government?

While it is true that the big-L libertarians are probably still a minor force, small-l libertarians (socially liberal, fiscally conservative) make up a fairly substantial voting block in the suburbs. There are a lot of people who, while not hardcore David Freedman followers, are willing to accept some minimal government programs like having an NIH (provided they aren't corrupted by the ruling party... ahem), but are generally hostile to big government boondoggles. I think this makes up a fairly large portion of the electorate, and I think that they probably voted Dem in this election.

Sure, they're not on the streets demanding the legalization of heroin. But, when the rubber hits the road, they have more in common with David Boaz and Milton Freedman than they do with either Rick Santorum or Nancy Pelosi.
11.8.2006 6:49pm
Rex:
But it seems like Big "L" Libertarian candidates are so dumb that they run against not just bad Republican officeholders but also relatively good ones.

You mean like Conrad Burns?
11.8.2006 6:49pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
First, it's not just Montana; it's Missouri also.

I'm also highly suspicious that a significant majority of Libertarian votes would otherwise have gone to Republicans. This may well have been true until about 2004; I think it's highly doubtful today.
I think people are missing the point. The claim isn't that if the Libertarian candidate hadn't run in these two states, that the Republican candidate would have gotten his votes and won.

The claim is that if the Republican party had been more libertarian-friendly in recent years, that the Republican candidate would have gotten the Libertarian candidate's votes and won.
11.8.2006 7:20pm
Jane Galt (mail) (www):
The Economist's blog picked this up this morning.
11.8.2006 7:22pm
orson23 (mail):
The Libertarian in Wyoming for the sole US House (3.7%) seat is also a lot more then the difference between the Dem and the Pubbie.
11.8.2006 7:23pm
fishbane (mail):
I love how so many Republicans think they own the libertarian vote and become outraged when those kooky, fringey people stray, due to silly little details like out of control spending, absurdly destructive foreign policy, the rollback of the Magna Carta, and increased moralistic panty sniffing ("no sex until you're married, or 30!").

They seem to think they don't have to earn my vote. Here's to hoping that this election is an educational moment.
11.8.2006 7:27pm
TomU (mail):
Many of the Libertarians of today do not remember what it was like with the Democrats in charge. With Bush as a willing accomplice and the Democrats in charge of Congress, I think many of the Libertarians will change their tune. Being a reformed Libertarian from the 80s, I cannot remember any self-respecting Libertarian even thinking of voting Democrat. At least the Republicans have a kernel of the limited government philosophy. The Democrats don't even know what limited government is! Hell they wanted to change the electoral college after 2000 and still think the distribution of Senators is unfair. At least the Republicans acknowledge that Limited Government is a legitimate position. Democrats think you are nuts.
11.8.2006 7:48pm
Aleks:
Re: At least the Republicans have a kernel of the limited government philosophy.

You definitely need to change that to past tense "had". That "kernel" of small government philosophy is more dessicated than the grain offerings they dig up with Egyptian mummies.
11.8.2006 8:11pm
Anonymous Jim (mail):
The libertarians have nothing on the king of kingmakers, namely Nader from 2000.
11.8.2006 8:15pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
Being a reformed Libertarian from the 80s, I cannot remember any self-respecting Libertarian even thinking of voting Democrat
I was going to say that, as a self-respecting L, I voted for a Democrat for county clerk. I have issues with her, but we discuss them civilly. Her opponent was a tyrant.
But then I remembered the Republicans refused to let me vote.
I was given a provisional ballot which they will throw away.
11.8.2006 8:16pm
PersonFromPorlock:
I think if the Libertarian Party were going to accomplish anything, it already would have: thirty six years is long enough.

The LP seems to be beset with incurable amateurism, being just organized enough to resist change. If they're anything like they were when I had a brief dalliance with them back in the early 90s, what they need isn't candidates and issues, it's envelope stuffers and someone to make sure the meeting hall's unlocked, lit and heated.
11.8.2006 8:22pm
Steve:
The claim is that if the Republican party had been more libertarian-friendly in recent years, that the Republican candidate would have gotten the Libertarian candidate's votes and won.

No, that's not the claim of the original post, although it might be a more interesting claim. The claim is that the Libertarian Party played a "kingmaker" role, suggesting that the election would have turned out differently if the Libertarian Party hadn't run a candidate.

If you want to argue that there are enough small-l libertarians in Montana to swing an election this close, that probably goes without saying. But then we get into all sorts of definitional issues.
11.8.2006 8:37pm
theo (mail):
In the House, California Libertarians also defeated Richard Pombo.

SF Chronicle article with returns

And while he's not a silver-gray color, 5% libertarian candidate Dan Warren did support Sonoluminescence technology and Bubble Fusion!
11.8.2006 8:41pm
George B (mail):
Former Majority Leader Armey had more than just a kernel of limited government philosophy in him. He was a true believer that actively worked to trim back the reach of government in bills when he could. I miss him.
11.8.2006 8:53pm
Al Maviva (www):
The Montana Libertarian Party... you mean the Blue Man Group? Or am I thinking about somebody else?

Yeah, there's nothing like punishing the Republicans for being too statist, by helping throw the election to the party that is outraged that the Republicans are radically insufficiently statist. That'll show 'em.

I was actually thinking about voting for my local Libertarian Party candidate, strictly on the basis of his position on global warming, which is that we "need to start using cooler running engines." Um, okay. That says it all, really. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to feed the cows some Gas-X, either.
11.8.2006 8:57pm
pete (mail) (www):
I think it depends on the race. In my district (TX-20) the Libertarian got 13% of the vote, including mine. Considering that my only other choice was the spendthrift Democrat Charlie Gonzalez I suspect the vast majority of those Libertarian votes would have gone to a Republican if one had run. (I think this is his official site. You should look at it just for the entertainment value, to see how not to design a webpage, and reflect that this person still got 13% of the vote for congress)
11.8.2006 9:03pm
JerryW (mail):
In sticking to my principles I voted Libertarian here in NY in the Senate race hoping that we could beat Hillary. I haven't seen the final results but I think she will probably still win after the recount.
11.8.2006 9:09pm
jk:
If we libertarians could have given the Republicans a loss without giving the Democrats a gain, don't you think we would have?
11.8.2006 9:15pm
Mho (mail):
My post from an earlier VC thread today...
____

I think the big story is that the Senate will have been lost by the margin of votes gained by the LP in Missouri and Montana, most of it libertarians who would have voted for a Republican that at showed at least some concern for their issues, instead of the crazy RoveBots presented to them there and in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

11.8.2006 1:12pm
____

Yes, I am that good.
11.8.2006 9:22pm
(Third) Party Hard!:
What about instant run-offs? If the Republicans were sure that they would be Libertarians' second choice, they could have instituted instant run-offs allowing the Libertarian 3% to have their votes go the Republican. This, however, would strengthen third parties by allowing people to vote their conscience rather than worry about wasting their vote. This becomes a double-edged sword. If they don't, the 3%s can cost elections; if they do, third parties can become viable. Of course, Montana Democrats have no incentive now if Libertarians will continue to drain from Republicans (which I think is a shaky assumption this year).

In Illinois, the Green Party candidate for Governor received around 10% of the vote, but a Democrat still won. Although Illinois is now a blue state, it has recently had a lot of Republicans in power. I think before Blagojevich, Republicans held Governor for over 20 years. The ruling Democrats might have the proper incentives now to institute instant run-offs so that the Green Party won't cost them election next time it's close.
11.8.2006 9:40pm
lucia (mail) (www):
I live in Illinois. I know Democrats who voted Green for Governor. Their votes had nothing to do with supporting the Green candidate -- they didn't want to vote for Blagojevich and also didn't want to vote for Topinka!
11.8.2006 10:07pm
Truth Seeker:
Porlock: I think if the Libertarian Party were going to accomplish anything, it already would have: thirty six years is long enough.

The Prohibition Party ran its first presidential candidates in 1972 and prohibition was not the law until 1920, 48 years later. So the Libertarian Party should have at least 12 more years to see what it can do.

You'd think libertarianism would be easier to sell than prohibition, but maybe we need to wait a couple hundred more years. A lot of Americans seem to like rules and laws,
11.8.2006 10:08pm
CNS (www):
I would have voted L but for three reasons:
1--L candidates in MT are, largely, fringe types, as is the "party". Just IMO...
2--I never heard of Stan Jones til I saw him on the ballot. Hell, I didn't even know the name until I checked the returns this morning.
3--I couldn't vote for Tester no matter how much I dislike Burns. I'm too afraid he'll toe the Dem party line and I don't trust him to handle the matters I care about. And he raises taxes. (OK cheap shot)
Frankly, in an automated phone survey I participated in 3 days before the election, I said I'd be voting *against* Tester, not *for* Burns. I'm sorry, but I'm just too afraid of Dem control to do otherwise...er, WAS afraid. Now I just sit ans wait...
11.8.2006 10:51pm
(Third) Party Hard!:
Lucia, Protest votes for third-party candidates can hurt major-party candidates just as much as sincere votes for third-party candidates. The Green Party will have easier ballot access in future elections and will probably get at least a few percent in the next governor's race. In a close race, they may draw more than the margin of victory. Instant run-off elections can prevent the whining that "they (whether Green, Libertarian, or Perot) cost us (whether Democrat or Republican) the election."

As an (almost) unrelated aside, I wonder who would have won the Texas governorship with instant run-offs.
11.8.2006 10:57pm
Eric Anondson (mail):
I don't mean to be harsh, but it looks like the libertarians of Montana voted for a clown who didn't know what he was running for. He's running for a Senate seat, but reading the page he says,
I'm running for Governor to drastically reduce state government.
... and ...
I won't hesitate to veto laws that favor special interests and/or increase taxes. I won't hesitate to issue blanket pardons when the legislature passes unnecessary laws over my veto (or fails to repeal bad laws). For example, if I'm elected governor, I will issue a blanket pardon for everyone caught hunting or fishing without a license, until the law requiring your social security number on the application, is repealed.
What the hell? Did this guy run for governor in the past and just rename an old webpage, changing "Governor" for "US Senate", but not review the [b]content of the page[/b]!?
11.8.2006 11:49pm
Robert Jackson (mail):
The reason Libertarians (and Greens) are marginal is that the two-parties bar them from accessing the ballots by imposing higher signature requirements and bar them from public debates because they have less than 5% support (even though they often end up, altogether, with around 3%-5%, and can decide the election!). Both Libertarians and Greens each have a few issues that enjoy majority support.

I voted Libertarian for the first time the other day. Not because I'm a fringe-weirdo, but because I wanted the Republicans to get the message and there's no way I was voting for a Democrat. If Republicans were more friendly to Libertarian values (and, frankly, adopted one or two Green positions, too, e.g., drop-off proportional voting, or whatever it is called, and energy independence), they would almost always win narrow elections by eliminating spoilers from the right (limited government/ballot access) and peeling off potential Democrat voters from the left (energy independence/proportional voting).
11.9.2006 5:01am
Captain Holly (mail):
Hope always springs eternal for Libertarians. While they did well this recent election, in reality most of the votes they received were from disaffected libertarian-leaning Republicans who were looking to punish their party for its excesses.

Kinda like how the nerdy computer geek temporarily becomes the beautiful cheerleader's object of affection in order to make her quarterback boyfriend jealous. There's no real attachment there; when they patch things up, she'll go back to him.

I'm a perfect example of this: I voted for the Libertarian presidential candidate in 2000. And the depth of my committment to the Libertarian Party is exemplified by the fact that I can't even remember his name to this very day.
11.9.2006 7:41am
PersonFromPorlock:
Truth Seeker:

You'd think libertarianism would be easier to sell than prohibition, but maybe we need to wait a couple hundred more years. A lot of Americans seem to like rules and laws,

My problem isn't with libertarianism, which I largely agree with and which I think reflects many Americans' beliefs, but with the LP itself. After thirty six years, a party which has a childish accident whenever one of its candidates wins even the most minor office (and that's all any of them has yet done) still isn't ready for Prime Time. I doubt it ever will be.
11.9.2006 7:44am
Thomas Allen (mail):
All this talk of Libertarians "deciding" or "stealing" or "kingmaking" is ridiculous. The voters decide. If the voters didn't want an LP candidate on the ballot, the candidate would not get the signatures. Burns did not lose because the LP "stole" 3% of the vote from him --he lost because he did not get enough votes to beat Tester. It's as simple as that.

Looking at the exit polls for Montana, I would actually say that, had Jones not been on the ballot, the LP voters (if they still chose to vote) would probably have broken more for Tester than for Burns.
11.9.2006 9:32am
JRL:
Just to make a broad generalization, I would imagine many of the Montana "Libertarians" would be of the dope-smoking variety, and may very well have voted for Democrats in the alternative.
11.9.2006 10:23am
lucia (mail) (www):
(Third) Party Hard!> Protest votes for third-party candidates can hurt major-party candidates just as much as sincere votes for third-party candidates.

Of course. Thanks for clarifying my point: hurting a major party candicate is sometimes precisely the intention of those who vote third party!

It's also why it's somewhat simplistic to assume the third party robbed a major party of votes. Many Democrats a Green vote in Illinois intended to hurt, or at least not help, Blagojevich (D). The Green party didn't "rob" Blagojevich. If anything, they helped him. They gave diehard Democrats and alternative to voting Republican-- which would be even worse for Blagojevich.

If Montanans are in anyway similar to Illini, many small 'l' libertarians voting in Montana intended to hurt, or at least not help, the Republican chances at re-election.

Yes, voting third party makees it easier for Green's or Libertarians to get on future ballots. Likely those casting protest votes are aware of this and think it's a good thing. It might scare the major parties into not nominating some really, really bad politicians!
11.9.2006 10:54am
whit:
"Libertarians fantasize endlessly about being kingmakers, but that doesn't alter the reality that they are marginalized and irrelevant."

as a LOWERCASE libertarian (kind of a right moderate with strong libertarian tendencies), i find this silly.

Green party voters basically gave bush an election (see: nader) and now it appears libertarian voters may have given dems the senate. it is far from an assumption that libertarian votes = republicans in the absence of a libertarian candidate, but third parties retain their "spoiler" potential in numerous races.

many dems still seethe over nader, instead of considering that many of their policies drove those people from their party.

i hope strong libertarian showings (as well as their complete trouncing in this last election) will move repubs back towards their libertarian roots, as opposed to their tendency to play the same nannystate games as dems do.
11.9.2006 11:37am
thatgirltasha (mail) (www):

Just to make a broad generalization, I would imagine many of the Montana "Libertarians" would be of the dope-smoking variety, and may very well have voted for Democrats in the alternative.

As a non-dope-smoking Montana libertarian I can say that most of the other libertarians I know are of the gun owning, god-fearing, leave me alone variety. (I'm of the gun-owning, homeschooling variety but,alas,am quite godless)They have voted republican in the past but know that as gun owners and homeschoolers; they will be the enemy combatants when Hilary gets in and she(or whoever) will have a nice new toolbox thanks to the currant crew. But rant aside, all the ones I know here were once republicans.
(the dope-smoking variety are all at school in
Missoula)
11.9.2006 1:21pm
Porkchop (mail):
As a Montana native who now lives in Virginia, I felt really engaged by the late-night election coverage this year.

Now that that's out of the way, let me address "election-stealing" and "kingmaking." As a sometime voter for Libertaran candidates (I would characterize myself as a "Goldwater Republican" if there were still any Republicans like that), I object to what I see as the underlying premise of the entire discussion. The fact that we have two dominant political parties does not place a duty on anyone to choose between them. I may decide to hold my nose and vote for the lesser of two evils, which is, unfortunately, the choice I see all too frequently. But I don't have a duty to do so -- I may find them equally repugnant and choose to vote for a third-party (or independent)candidate simply to show my distaste for the major party candidates.

To be sure, the major parties are unlikely to care why I voted as I did or to change their policies as a result, but I still have the right to cast my ballot and mutter "A pox on both your houses" as I do it.

Both parties want to be the engineer on the train of government. If you think that a trainwreck is imminent, however, it really doesn't matter which engineer is in charge -- you need brakemen. I suspect that most Libertarian or Green (or Socialist Worker or Reform or independent) voters are utterly indifferent as to which of the major party candidates actually wins. If they weren't indifferent, they would vote for the one they deem less harmful out of rational self-interest.

To some extent, I think that it is likely that in the absence of a Green Party candidate, a Green voter who shows up at the polls is more likely to vote for a Democrat than a Republican through general affinity of positions on issues. But in the absence of a Green Party candidate, can we assume the voter would have showed up at all? I don't think so.

The same argument can be made with respect to Libertarian voters and Republican candidates, but for the reasons discussed above, I suspect that the affinity may be weaker than the Green-Democrat affinity.
11.9.2006 1:22pm
Porkchop (mail):
thatgirltasha wrote:


But rant aside, all the ones I know here were once republicans.
(the dope-smoking variety are all at school in
Missoula)


That pretty much sums it up -- and Go Grizzlies! :-)
11.9.2006 1:25pm
Mark F. (mail):
This isn't the first time the Libertarians have cost the GOP control of the Senate

Right, there is a divine right for political offices to go to the GOP. How dare we not vote for them?
11.9.2006 4:09pm
catnapping (www):
Your ignorance concerning Montana politics is astounding. If you had any idea what an idiot he is, you wouldn't be wondering why such so many Montanans voted against Burns.

And p.s. Libertarians aren't any more pleased with repubs than they are with dems. Both parties favor government intrusion/intervention. The dems favor fiscal intervention, and the repubs favor social intrusion.
11.10.2006 2:09am
Mac (mail):
In addition to the GOP's lack of fiscal restraint in recent years, I also have to believe that many libertarians were turned off by the GOP's legislative activism on social issues of personal liberty. Most libetarians don't want the Christian Coalition dictating government policy on such issues as medical marijuana, partial birth abortion, or a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage any more than they want the AFL-...

Unless I am very much mistaken, it was the Liberals on the Supreme Court who overturned California's medical marijuana law and the Conservatives went with States Rights and voted that the the people of Calif. should have the right to make up their own minds. And, the Liberals went for extending Emminent Domain Laws making the taking of private property much easer. Hardly Libertarian positions, I would think and hardly demonstrating that Liberals will protect anyone's rights or keep their noses out of your business.
11.10.2006 3:15pm
partisanmoderate (mail) (www):
Liberal blogger Matthew Ygelsias is correct regarding the overestimation of Libertarians (especially of the CATO variety). As I have pointed out on my blog, many self-describe themselves as Libertarians but really mean that they are fiscally conservative but more liberal on social issues (more Rockefeller Republican which in many ways is the antithesis of Libertarian) but are not pro-gun, anti-inverventionist on foreign policy, or adamantly opposed to McCain Feingold as the CATO Institute defines Libertarianism.

Furthermore, you seem to discount the fact that many people vote for the Libertarians not because they share their convictions (the Libertarian party is a little out there) but because they are not happy with either of the two candidates. I voted for the Libertarian candidate in the New York Senate who I know nothing about reluctantly just because I had no interest in giving Hilary Clinton an even wider majority of victory in New York nor do I particularly like her policies (plus I still think it was wrong that she just cherrypicked a state to run in) although she is quite competent and although I am Republican could stomach voting for John Spencer who always struck me as low-class and who I always questioned his motives for running. I am not sure if people in Montana felt any differently as the Libertarian Stan Jones was crazy and spoke of a world conspiracy http://www.infowars.com/articles/us/video

Many people like Ayn Rand devotee Mark Cuban voted for Ralph Nader just as a protest vote and in his case he has also spoken of a need for a third party, but were not trying to influence the Democrats to move to the left.

I would hate (if I had to do it again I would do a write-in) to think that the Libertarian Party candidate any others would see my vote as any more than a protest against the two candidates in the New York Senate race.
11.10.2006 11:49pm
Jack Sprat Fat (mail):
I voted for the Libertarian candidate in the New York Senate who I know nothing about reluctantly just because I had no interest in giving Hilary Clinton an even wider majority of victory in New York nor do I particularly like her policies (plus I still think it was wrong that she just cherrypicked a state to run in) although she is quite competent and although I am Republican could stomach voting for John Spencer who always struck me as low-class and who I always questioned his motives for running.

So it wasn't just me.
11.11.2006 5:55am