Why I won't vote Libertarian this year

I originally posted this as an update to this post, but I wanted to move it up top.

I am sympathetic to a number of other libertarian writers out there -- I too am disgusted with the fiscal irresponsibility and trade protectionism of the combination of Bush and a Republican Congress, but have little hope that the Kerry alternative would be any better. There is probably a pretty good argument for divided government here, voting for Kerry and hoping that a Republican Congress will oppose everything he asks for, but its a risky strategy.

Many elections in the past, I have voted for the libertarian candidate as a protest vote, and, in some cases, because I even liked the candidate. This year, I think the guy is a total loony. To some extent, I consider my refusal to vote for the libertarian candidate this year as a protest vote to my usual protest vote. Never has there been a better time for libertarians to get their message out and find traction in the electorate, given a choice between a big government Republican and a big government Democrat, and they nominate this guy?

Libertarians' greatest strength - that they like real diversity, not just of skin color, but of outlook and interests and decision-making - is their greatest weakness as a political party. Political parties are brands, and the power of brands is that they bring predictability, they tell people what to expect. The libertarian brand can mean anything and is entirely unpredictable, from small government South Park Republicans to marijuana-legalization-obsessed sixties holdovers to adult film makers to unrepentant moonbat anarchists. If you ever doubt it, go to a Cato Institute donors reception some time. Its fantastic, the range of personalities you get, but it makes consistent political messaging difficult.

What we need in this country is a new "liberal" party, by which I mean a return to the classical liberalism of free markets and small government (also here)

  • jackson zed

    I voted Libertarian (again) because I don't know if the current two-party nut is crackable. Thus by voting for the Libertarians I'm voting for ideas more than candidates; if the Libs get enough votes, the two major parties will waste no time stealing the ideas they think they need to resecure those votes.

    However, after 20 years, I'm seriously considering leaving the LP. They have systemic issues which inhibit their growth as a party and I've been extremely disappointed with their anti-war stance.

    :jackson

  • jackson zed

    I voted Libertarian (again) because I don't know if the current two-party nut is crackable. Thus by voting for the Libertarians I'm voting for ideas more than candidates; if the Libs get enough votes, the two major parties will waste no time stealing the ideas they think they need to resecure those votes.

    However, after 20 years, I'm seriously considering leaving the LP. They have systemic issues which inhibit their growth as a party and I've been extremely disappointed with their anti-war stance.

    :jackson