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Despite Historic Success, Gary Johnson Struggles To Qualify For Presidential Debates

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson is doing better right now than any Libertarian Party nominee has ever done since the party ran its first Presidential candidate, philosophy professor John Hospers, in 1972. He and his running mate former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld are getting regular media attention and have appeared frequently on all three cable news networks on a regular basis. The Libertarian ticket has officially qualified for the ballot in all fifty states, an accomplishment that isn’t exactly easy for non-establishment political parties. The ticket is also polling better far better than any Libertarian nominee ever has, hitting an average of 9,2% according to RealClearPolitics and according to Pollster. Among younger voters, the Johnson/Weld ticket has been consistently polling competitively, with a new Quinnipiac poll showing them just two points behind Clinton/Kaine among voters aged 18 to 34. The two former Governors have also picked up endorsements from newspapers such as the traditionally Republican Richmond Times Dispatch, the Winston-Salem Journal, and, just dropping overnight, the New Hampshire Union-Leader

Despite this success, Johnson and Weld are finding it hard to qualify for the upcoming Presidential debates:

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has set a “mid-September” deadline for Johnson and the other third-party candidates to meet three criteria to qualify for the first debate later this month: “evidence of constitutional eligibility,” “evidence of ballot access” and “indicators of electoral support.”

Johnson clearly meets the first two qualifications: A two-term former governor of New Mexico, Johnson is a citizen and older than 35 years of age. And the Johnson campaign said Wednesday that he’ll be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, meaning he’s eligible to win all 538 electoral votes at stake on November 8.

But on the third qualification, Johnson falls short, and it isn’t particularly close. The commission says he must be polling at 15 percent in five major, national polls, “using the average of those organizations’ most recent publicly-reported results at the time of the determination.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Johnson is at only 9 percent, according to a POLITICO estimate.

The commission on Wednesday didn’t return a telephone message and an email seeking to clarify when, exactly, in “mid-September” the criteria would be applied. But with the midpoint of the month a day away, and only 12 days until the first debate, Johnson’s hopes of earning an invitation are all but extinguished.

The Libertarian nominee concedes that he will almost certainly fail to meet the mark, asking for a special dispensation that would allow him to participate. And Johnson realizes the stakes: He admitted last month that failing to make the debate stage would be “game over” for his hopes of becoming president.

If Johnson isn’t invited, it doesn’t mean he won’t be a factor in the presidential race, especially in battleground states with a history of supporting third-party candidates. But the only impact Johnson is likely to make will be at the margins.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Johnson is at 9 percent in an average of the most recent qualifying polls from ABC News/Washington Post (9 percent), CBS News/New York Times (10 percent), CNN/ORC International (7 percent), Fox News (9 percent) and NBC News/Wall Street Journal (10 percent).

And there’s little indication that Johnson is gaining ground. To the contrary: His two best polls among the five included in the average are also the two oldest. The CBS News/New York Times and NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls were conducted in late July and early August, in the immediate wake of the two major parties’ national conventions.

The two most-recent polls that will be included, from ABC News/Washington Post and CNN/ORC, took measures of likely voters, which were included in the above analysis — and generally show decreasing support for third-party candidates. But even if the results for all registered voters were factored in, Johnson would only be at 9.8 percent in the average — still more than 5 points shy of the threshold. (The commission hasn’t replied to numerous questions — including two posed again on Wednesday — about which measure, registered or likely voters, it will use to determine Johnson’s eligibility.)

Johnson’s pending disqualification comes even as his campaign and its allies are making their case for his inclusion. Johnson and his running mate — former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld — took out a full-page advertisement in Wednesday’s New York Times, acknowledging that they won’t reach 15 percent in the polls. But they are pleading with the commission to allow them to participate in the first debate despite their low standing in the polls.

“We’ve done the work required to appear on the ballot in all 50 states and because we are polling in double digits in the majority of those states, we respectfully propose the following: Put a third podium on stage for the debate scheduled on September 26th,” the letter read. “Allow us to make our case to the American people. If, in the polls that follow, we fail to meet that 15 [percent] standard, we’ll make no further efforts for inclusion in subsequent debates.”

(…)

Public opinion is on Johnson’s side. According to the new Quinnipiac poll, the majority of likely voters, 57 percent, think Johnson should be included in the debate, while only 37 percent say he shouldn’t be invited.

And Johnson does have high-profile allies to help him make the case. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, tweeted last week that he hopes “voters get to see former GOP Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld on the debate stages this fall.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told NBC News last week he thought the 15-percent standard was too high.

As a preliminary matter, calling the Commission on Presidential Debates “nonpartisan” is a completely inaccurate representation of the organization in that, in reality, the commission is an organization controlled equally by the Republican and Democratic parties. Its two co-Chairman are Frank Farenkopf, a top Republican who once served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Mike McCurry, a top Democratic Party alumnus who once served as Press Secretary for former President Bill Clinton. The Board Of Directors includes top GOP officials such as former Senators John Danforth and Alan Simpson and top Democrats such as Caroline Kennedy and Kennedy ally and former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Newton Minor. In other words, the CPD is purely a creature of the two major political parties that has controlled every Presidential and Vice-Presidential debate since 1988. Prior to then, the Presidential debates that had been held in 1976, 1980 and 1984 had been sponsored by the League of Women Voters and had often been a source of controversy for the campaigns, particularly in 1980 when the Carter campaign refused to participate in a debate that included independent John Anderson,. From its beginning, the Commission has taken the position that third-party participation in the debates should be as limited as possible and, with the exception of the 1992 debates that included H. Ross Perot, no CPD sponsored debate has included a third-party candidate. Indeed, even though he had been in the debates four years earlier, Ross Perot was not included in the debates in 1996. Beginning in 2000, it established the ‘rule’ that only candidates who are garnering 15% or more in select national polls will be invited to participate in the debates, and that rule has stood ever since.

As the quoted text notes, Johnson does not meet the criteria for the debate as of this point, and this remains true if you look at the wider universe of polls that encompass the averages at RealClearPolitics and Pollster. Despite this, it’s worth noting that a candidate polling at 9% can still have a major impact on the outcome of an election so it’s not clear why, assuming it is was acting objectively, the Commission would not consider such a candidate to be a relevant enough factor in the election that they ought to be among the voices that the tens of millions of people likely to tune into these debates should be able to hear from. Of course, that assumes that the Commission is indeed acting objectively and not as a creature of the two major parties, both of whom obviously have an interest in preventing third-parties from being heard. This is why it would be preferable that the debates be run by a truly non-partisan organization such as the League of Women Voters, or at least that the rules regarding access to the debates should be liberalized.

Outside of the issue of the partisanship of the CPD, the issue of third-party participation in national Presidential debates could be solved by changing the criteria to something of a sliding scale that gives candidates who are performing above the traditional 1% in the polls. The most obvious criteria ought to be that only candidates who have qualified for ballot access in enough states to at least theoretically make it possible for them to win 270 Electoral Votes would be considered for invitations. This would deal with the issue of gadfly or ‘favorite son’ candidates only qualified in a handful of states. Beyond that, to get into the first debate a candidate would have to get at least five percent (5%) in an agreed upon list of national polls that arguably ought to consist of more than just the polling run by the major news networks. To qualify for the second debate and the Vice-Presidential debate, candidates would have to meet a slightly higher threshold at, say, ten percent (10 %) in those same polls and, to qualify for the final debate candidates would have to hit at least 15% in the polls, In each case, there should be some discretion given to the sponsoring organization to invite a third-party candidate who,, while falling short of the polling criteria nationally, is having an impact at the state level such as the one Gary Johnson is in states such as Colorado, where he is averaging 14 .3% in the polls, and Utah, where he is averaging roughly 13%. This isn’t an original idea of mine, but rather one that several pundits have suggested in the past for honestly dealing with debate access in a way that doesn’t unfairly advantage the two major parties.

Even if Johnson doesn’t make the first debate, it’s possible, of course, that he’ll rise far enough in the polls to qualify for future debates, although that seems unlikely. Four years ago when he was excluded from the debates, Johnson decided to utilize social media in a unique way by posting his own responses to each of the questions that was asked in the first debate. Doing something like that again this year, when he’s getting far more media attention than he did four years ago, could end up helping the campaign in the long run. Additionally, even if he doesn’t qualify for any of these debates, though, Johnson’s 2016 campaign is helping to point out how arbitrary the qualification rules are. Perhaps that will lead to changes in the future that will inure to the benefit of the American people and the process as a whole. That would be a real accomplishment.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Davebo says:

    The Libertarian candidate always polls much higher than they actually garnish in votes during the elections.

    I’d be amazed if Johnson got 4% of the popular vote even in this crazy election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  2. Franklin says:

    Put a third podium on stage for the debate scheduled on September 26th … Allow us to make our case to the American people. If, in the polls that follow, we fail to meet that 15 [percent] standard, we’ll make no further efforts for inclusion in subsequent debates.

    If I had any say in the matter, this sounds like a reasonable course of action.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. Franklin says:

    @Davebo: While I’d agree with all that, when was the last time they were allowed to represent themselves during a debate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Tyrell says:

    The media virtually ignores them. How can they be expected to show up in the polls ? It is somewhat surprising they are at 10%. It seems to get the media attention you have to make weird, outrageous statements, be involved in some sort of scandal, or not know where Alleppo is.
    Over 60 % of the people are dissatisfied, fed up, and nauseated at Trump and Clinton. So they are just waiting and chomping at the bit for a sensible, middle of the road, average American candidate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  5. MarkedMan says:

    The reality is that exceptional candidates (for good or bad) can break through. Ross Perot, Bernie, The Donald all did it. Gary Johnson is not an exceptional candidate. He doesn’t fire people up, he doesn’t bring new voters. The reason the Libertarians are polling better than normal is that they are one of the Not Trump / Not Clinton parties, not because Johnson is personally popular or that the Libertarian philosophy has caught fire.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  6. Pch101 says:

    Johnson would win a lot more votes on election day if he were to change his name to None of the Above.

    I doubt that most of those who claim to be voting for Johnson in this year’s polls either (a) know much about him or (b) intend to actually do it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  7. berferd says:

    Despite the proliferation of alternative media, especially via the internet, it seems people still heavily rely on two particular old-line media for “confirmation” — the major news radio stations (while we’re getting ready for work or commuting) and the major TV news stations and their evening news (after work, during dinner, before bed). Each of those outlets gives virtually zero coverage to the Libertarians (in any and every election) or this time to the Johnson-Weld campaign. People still seem to rely on these two old media as a filter or as a useful heuristic, and seem to conclude that if these media do not cover them, then there is no need to look further. That is indeed a shame. I do wonder why these major media so consistently and so thoroughly exclude and ignore these alternatives. One would think this year they could get some mileage and some fresh ad revenue if they expanded their coverage. The third party candidacies are big news this time. I can attest that people who hear for the first time that there is an alternative to Clinton and Trump are elated — they consider it valuable information. Why is that not worth at least balanced coverage on TV and radio news? Why must they be so hidebound?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. gVOR08 says:

    Despite this success, Johnson and Weld are finding it hard to qualify for the upcoming Presidential debates:

    You say that as though it were a bad thing.

    RCP shows Clinton up 1.8 in a two way, 1.1 in a four way. It’s nice that Gary Johnson has a hobby, but I really don’t think a potential Ralph Nader is helpful this year. All he can accomplish is to allow some voters to evade facing up to their responsibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

  9. Slugger says:

    In my view, it is a mistake for us citizens to identify with a political party. The parties should be viewed as vendors selling a service, and each election should be treated as you would treat a visit to a car dealer. However, the parties have managed to get peoples’ loyalty rather than rational evaluation. Thus we are now faced with a nearly unacceptable choice. It will take a long time for me to forgive the GOP for making me vote for HRC.
    Third parties are part of the solution to the duopoly problem, but they typically rely on emotion and passion rather than an appeal to good governance. It’s hard for me to vote for a libertarian because that is a philosophy I left when I matured from a sophomore to a junior. Utopianistic faith in 19th century economic thought does not work for me. And, yes, this means playing by the rules and getting to 15% instead of complaining about the process.
    We need better politics and better politicians, but let’s not flail about for straws. Let’s insist on something real.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  10. MarkedMan says:

    The Libertarians would fare a lot better if they had any concrete accomplishments to point to. They could do this by focusing on the local level and demostrating accomplishments there. In reality there are no libertarian controlled local or state governments, and the state that has implemented the most libertarian-like policies, Kansas, is a disaster.

    The L’s are like baseball players that talk endlessly how great they would perform in the big leagues and it would just be a waste of time to prove themselves in the minors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: Time to haul out that old goodie….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  12. SenyorDave says:

    Johnsons has said repeatedly that government should foster the free market by allowing businesses freedom to compete without restrictions. That’s all I need to know, I wouldn’t vote for him on a bet. He also believes that more coal fired plants should be built. Another real winning point. Just a free market conservative who likes to smoke pot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  13. MBunge says:

    Considering that Johnson (and Stein) are really hurting Clinton with young voters, this might not be a great time to worry about fairness toward third parties.

    Hmm. If only we had known Hillary would be unpopular with young people. But it’s not like some other candidate running in the primary already demonstrated that it was going to be a problem.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

  14. gVOR08 says:

    Jesus, Gandhi, and George Washington have chosen not to run this year. Grow up, research, think through the consequences, and vote for the better of the two real candidates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  15. Kylopod says:

    Ross Perot polled as high as 39% at certain points in 1992. Both John Anderson and George Wallace broke 20%. Johnson’s ~10% he’s been hovering around is impressive for a third-party candidate, but it isn’t in any way, shape, or form “historic.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  16. Electroman says:

    @Kylopod: Wasn’t the figure you quote for Wallace from ’72? He was a Democrat then, so not a third-party candidate. Neither Anderson nor Perot (in ’92) was a third-party candidate, either; they were both independents.

    I believe that the word “historic” is accurate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  17. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    The results are historic for the Libertarian party (which has been praying for a moment like this.)

    For US electoral history generally, not so much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. Kylopod says:

    @Electroman:

    Wasn’t the figure you quote for Wallace from ’72?

    No, ’68.

    Neither Anderson nor Perot (in ’92) was a third-party candidate, either; they were both independents.

    That’s a valid distinction, but it’s standard convention to use “third party” as a general term for any candidate who isn’t a Republican or Democrat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  19. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    The results are historic for the Libertarian party

    Yeah, I realize that. I still think the headline is misleading.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    I was agreeing with you. My point was that Libertarians are very excited about this, so they tend to think that this is some watershed moment when it really isn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  21. michael reynolds says:

    Johnson is a clown. The Libertarian Party is a party of weirdos, misfits, woman-haters, basement-dwelling Reddit thugs and straight-up creeps. The libertarian ideology is transparent nonsense that shouldn’t fool a teen-ager, despite being aimed squarely at the teen-age male mind.

    There is no good reason why Johnson or that ridiculous woman, Stein, should be in this debate. We’ve got the clown demographic covered with Trump.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 12

  22. rachel says:

    @MarkedMan: And the same goes for the Greens which is why I don’t vote third party for Prez. Even if a third-party candidate got in, he or she would have no backing to achieve their goals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  23. JeffTech says:

    I wasn’t going to vote at all this election, can’t stand Clinton or Trump and their greedy attitudes but I’m going to show up to vote for Johnson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  24. Dave D says:

    @MBunge: As a youngish person, I’ve seen a lot of my friends in the Bern it down camp openly talk about Johnson. Which is funny to me because when pressed about what policies they liked about Bernie are all the antithesis to libertarian ideals. These are the independents that didn’t know how to register to vote in the primaries. Never voted before. Don’t vote in midterms. Won’t vote in this election. They found interest in politics early this year and lost interest when Bernie lost. Young people don’t really vote it’s why their concerns are never taken seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  25. Kylopod says:

    @Dave D: I was recently talking to a young Bernie fan who was thinking of voting for Johnson. I reminded him that Johnson’s economic views were largely the antithesis of Bernie’s, and that although there was some overlap in their social and foreign-policy positions, those were never front and center to Sanders’ campaign.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  26. Thor thormussen says:

    LOL Colin Powell on Dick Cheney and daughter Liz: “They are idiots”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  27. Grewgills says:

    Shorter; libertarians, despite historic popularity, still unpopular.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  28. Gromitt Gunn says:

    If Johnson had been the Libertarian Governor of New Mexico and Weld had been the Libertarian Governor of Massachusetts, I would be much more inclined to take them seriously as candidates. If Stein had been even a Green State Senator or Mayor of a small city, I’d be more inclined to take her seriously .

    None of these third parties have any history of building a political coalition that demonstrates a serious commitment to governance. Is there a single Green or Libertarian candidate for any office that knows what a CAFR is? Or a Yellow Book audit? Or has assembled a budget that passes muster under the applicable codes?

    Until any third party can demonstrate to me that they can run a school district or a water commission or a small city or a county jail, they have no business trying to run a state, never mind a country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    I’d like a Libertarian to point me to a single real-world example of a successful country run on libertarian principles. Spoiler: no such animal exists.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 8

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @Electroman: John B. Anderson was my congressman in Rockford IL. By ’72 I’d moved out of town, but still had some interest. He wrote a book about his political life in which he said he’d resigned his seat and become independent because he couldn’t deal anymore with having to agree with the nut case conservatives in Rockford. For some reason it was a hotbed of conservatism, including a large nest of John Birchers. Not much better now.

    As with many current Republicans, should I have respected Anderson for having come around, or held him in contempt for having supported those people for so long? I tended toward the latter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: Oh, there’s those city halls that were run in Iceland back in the 14th century….(or whatever it is libertarians drag out as their Best Efforts.)

    Fact is, a country run on libertarian lines would probably end up dead last in comparison with any country where the government actually put money into infrastructure and STEM stuff. For all their whooping it up about high-tech and moon shots, most libertarians continually (and conspicuously) ignore the fact that the basis for all the technology they love was pushed 99% by the government.

    (I actually know what is going on here, because I saw it happening in Japan. As soon as you get close enough to applied STEM stuff with potentially sellable products in the works, YES companies will jump in and put the investment cash in. At that point stop trying to have them involved in research consortia because they’ll hide the good stuff from each other. It’s only at the basic science level that corporations will play more or less nicely with each other. But you also have to have the government nagging them on at that point, because otherwise they’ll never do it.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: You are a very creative writer. You managed to use “Libertarian” and “real-world” in the same sentence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  33. susan day says:

    Instead of grasping at straws play by the rules? Based on the three polls conducted that 52%, 62% and 76% of the American public polled wants to hear Gary Johnson in the Presidential Debates, then how logically and mathematically can Gary Johnson be polling below 10% and anyone still believe it? You do also know that the first polling question asked is only for the two major party choices and then only then are the neither or undecided voters asked about the four presidential candidates not giving everyone all four choices is extremely biased and is that playing by the rules? You also know that voter demographics are changed to slant the responses to favor the two major candidates depending on who the pollsters prefer another case of not playing by the rules? You also know that the Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted shown an increase of 21% to 25% of people polled refused to vote for Hillary or Trump but are voting. Is that playing by the rules, with-holding information to further the manipulation being done to mislead the public into believing there are only two choices? And to the commenter who stated young people are not voting or are confused, CNN deleted the millennial voter from their poll results because this age group (18-34) favors Gary Johnson 38% to Clinton’s 15% and Trump’s 12% in their own poll, have they played by the rules? I guess their vote will not count right? Wrong their vote and the NEVERHILLARYOR TRUMP voters will still count on November 8 but you still think Gary Johnson should have to play by the rules of obtaining 15% when the deck is stacked against him with biased polls and the outright manipulation that is being done that a third party doesn’t have a chance when you are now aware of the true facts?. Instead why don’t you google Gary Johnson for President to find out what he actually stands for instead of generalizing what Libertarian stands, voting for our next President is not the party but the candidate you personally feel represents you and hopefully the rest of America the best. http://balancedrebellion.com
    62% of @Slugger: S@Slugger:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’d like a Libertarian to point me to a single real-world example of a successful country run on libertarian principles.

    I would settle for a demonstration of significant improvement in people’s lives for any government entity of greater than a million people. The libertarian principles have been trumpeted for, what, 70 years? 80? At what point does it get filed into the same category as unicorns, perpetual motion machinse and Yetis?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  35. Tony W says:

    @susan day: TLDR: Unskew the polls!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  36. the Q says:

    Wow, some of you talking down to young people and reminding them how foolish it would be to throw away their vote…sounds somewhat familiar to me.

    Maybe you should heed the same advice you so readily give out…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  37. Davebo says:

    @MBunge:

    Hmm. If only we had known Hillary would be unpopular with young people.

    If only Hillary was unpopular with young people. Sadly for you, that just isn’t the case.

    If only you weren’t such a pathetic tool.

    WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is consolidating the support of the Millennials who fueled Bernie Sanders’ challenge during the primaries, a new USA TODAY/Rock the Vote Poll finds, as Republican Donald Trump heads toward the worst showing among younger voters in modern American history.

    The survey shows Clinton trouncing Trump 56%-20% among those under 35

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  38. @gVOR08:

    All he can accomplish is to allow some voters to evade facing up to their responsibility.

    If you are not convinced to vote for Dear Leader, it is not because The Party has failed to convince you, it is because you have failed The Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  39. michael reynolds says:

    @the Q:

    Yes, it does sound familiar. You remember when you lefty morons who voted Nader and elected George W. Bush who started a couple wars and crashed the economy?

    See, it’s that memory failure that forces us to remind you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  40. Thor thormussen says:

    Gary Johnson is the candidate for people who want HRC to win, but don’t have the stones to stand up to their friends, or maybe admit it to themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  41. Thor thormussen says:

    I do wonder why these major media so consistently and so thoroughly exclude and ignore these alternatives.

    Duverger’s Law

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  42. Jc says:

    @Thor thormussen: Exactly. It’s a cop out vote. Hence Doug’s support. They will say it is a protest vote because they don’t like either major party candidate, but it is really just being afraid to vote for the most qualified major party candidate, which is the responsibility of all on the fence, not tied to any party, moderates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  43. Electroman says:

    @gVOR08: Ah, another former Rockfordian, I see. Yes, it’s one of the less pleasant places I’ve lived. It all started with the city fathers rejecting Northern Illinois University back in the day, not wanting any of those nasty college kids. Yep, it could have been a University town. Oh well, back on topic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. Electroman says:

    @susan day:

    Based on the three polls conducted that 52%, 62% and 76% of the American public polled wants to hear Gary Johnson in the Presidential Debates, then how logically and mathematically can Gary Johnson be polling below 10% and anyone still believe it?

    It’s really pretty simple. No matter how much people want something, what they want (Johnson in the debates, in this case) won’t happen unless they actually do something (like actually vote for him, or tell a pollster that you’re going to). If that action doesn’t take place, then nothing happens because the wish and the actuality aren’t connected at all.

    That *is* why this is the case, regardless of whather you want to hear it or not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    If you are not convinced to vote for Dear Leader, it is not because The Party has failed to convince you, it is because you have failed The Party.

    Yes. You have, as a voter, an affirmative duty to seek the truth and think through consequences. To take the most obvious example, if you refuse to believe AGW is real, it’s not the fault of the climate scientists for failing to convince you.

    I didn’t state which “Party” you should come around to. However, I admit I like to think I have enough of a reputation in these precincts that you know my preference. But I am confident that in an honest “market place of ideas”, with thoughtful buyers, my side will win out. To carry on with my AGW example, it should by now be obvious that thermometers are party to the great socialist conspiracy, along with reality, per Colbert, and arithmetic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Kansas… Oh you want successful

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  47. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @michael reynolds: I am a government worker. I worked for two years for one of Texas’s regional state research university, three years for one of the State executive agencies in Austin, and am starting my fourth year as a professor at a Texas community college. Additionally, I taught Governmental & Not-for-Profit Accounting to Masters students when I lived in Austin.

    So my interest in governance is a practical interest, and not a guiding principles interest. If a Party wants me to vote for them, they need to demonstrate that they have the capacity to make a budget, calculate a mill rate, run an appraisal district, pave the roads, keep the lights on, maintain the parks, keep the water clean, maintain public order, staff the courts, etc.

    Despite what Reagan convinced half the country of in the early 1980s, governing is hard work. For every unhelpful clerk at the DMV, there is at least a dozen teachers working late into the night, a city planner holding public meetings after hours, a dozen people in the Capitol building trying to figure out how to best allocate the revenue of a state with 25 million people in it, a civil engineer waking up in the middle of the night who finally figured out how to make that bridge work, a social worker willing to walk into a potentially volatile domestic situation armed with a clipboard to extract an abused child if necessary, etc.

    If Johnson or Stein want me to vote for them in 2024 or beyond, they have that chance. They need to build a party at the local and state level that is able to demonstrate that it govern. And if they can do that, then I’ll consider whether I can vote for them.

    But I doubt it well ever happen. People interested in governance join one of the coalitions that are actually doing it already. People interested in pushing an ideological agenda and leaving the hard work to other people join third parties.

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  48. Tyrell says:

    These polls have gone crazy. ABC has Trump at 70 %.

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  49. DrDaveT says:

    @JeffTech:

    I wasn’t going to vote at all this election, can’t stand Clinton or Trump and their greedy attitudes but I’m going to show up to vote for Johnson.

    LOL! Voting libertarian because the alternatives are too greedy has to be a new low in self-defeating stupid. Not to mention cognitive dissonance.

    (Incidentally, if you care to look at the actual facts, there is no comparison between how much of her life Hillary has devoted to making life better for people not named “Hillary” and how much The Donald has not.)

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  50. Pch101 says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that quite a few “libertarians” are simply Republicans who want to reserve the right to whine about the GOP when it suits them.

    When you drill down on issues, you find that they aren’t particularly libertarian. Someone who opposes gay marriage rights, drug legalization, abortion rights and church-state separation has no business referring to himself as a libertarian, yet many of these supposed libertarians do just that.

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  51. gVOR08 says:

    @Pch101: There was a big rush to self identify as “Libertarian” around ’07 and ’08 as people realized W had made it uncool to call yourself a Republican.

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  52. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Wow, I need an editor, stat.

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  53. Kylopod says:

    @Tyrell:

    These polls have gone crazy. ABC has Trump at 70 %.

    Is this what you’re referring to? You’re more gullible than I ever imagined.

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  54. Davebo says:

    @Pch101:

    Don’t forget accepting “enhanced interrogation techniques” and a general loosening of search warrant requirements.

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  55. Tillman says:

    @Davebo: In the future, don’t call someone a fool until you’ve been apprised of the latest polling, or mainstream reaction to it as epitomized by Kevin Drum and his boss there. Maybe citing a month-old poll should’ve been a clue.

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  56. stonetools says:

    The folks who are Gary Johnson curious are just looking for an excuse not to make the rational choice. Right now, they’re saying “I’m not feeling Clinton or Trump, let’s give Johnson a look”.
    Once they actually look, they’ll see the Libertarian Party wants to abolish the IRS and all “unconstitutional ” agencies, including , presumably the EPA, the SEC, and all the banking regulators and that this is just the tip of the iceberg that is Libertarian Party crazy.

    Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that quite a few “libertarians” are simply Republicans who want to reserve the right to whine about the GOP when it suits them.

    Just like Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, who are former Republicans who don’t like the current GOP.

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  57. grumpy realist says:

    @stonetools: As has been pointed over and over again, why is not Somalia considered a Libertarian Utopia? No (or little) government, no gun control, and every man for himself. Tut tut. Why Martin Shkreli and Peter Theil haven’t bounded over there five months ago to create perfection is beyond me.

    (Mike, we know damn well what a “libertarian society/economy” looks like. It’s just that libertarian devotees refuse to admit that’s where their ideals end up.)

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  58. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    Considering that Johnson (and Stein) are really hurting Clinton with young voters

    You mean that demographic which fails to show up, election after election?

    I’m underwhelmed.

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  59. Mr. Bluster says:

    @berferd:..I can attest that people who hear for the first time that there is an alternative to Clinton and Trump are elated…

    For the first time !?! Where the hell have they been? I have known about the Green Beans and the Libertarians for longer than I care to remember and I am not pissin’ my pants.
    What are they euphoric about?
    There is no more chance of the candidates for these two partys getting the electoral votes to take this election than there is for Constitution Party Candidate Darrell Castle or Better for America Party and Reform Party of Minnesota Candidate Evan Mullan of Utah.
    I am confident that you are providing balanced coverage to everyone you talk to about these and all the other alternatives to Mr. and Mrs. America.
    I think there are 300 on this page
    http://www.politics1.com/p2016.htm

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  60. Davebo says:

    @Tillman:

    Actually I called him a tool, not a fool.

    And as Drum points out, the poll in question is an outlier.

    I’m actually a bit surprised at your response since you linked to Drum’s post. Did you read it? Because I seriously doubt Mike would like it.

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  61. Andre Kenji says:

    Neither Stein nor Johnson are hurting Hillary Clinton with young voters. Hillary Clinton is hurting herself with Young voters. Stein and Johnson are getting votes because they are not named Trump nor Hillary, not because they are good candidates.

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  62. @Thor thormussen: Indeed. And the mechanism is reinforced by the electoral college.

    (And who downvotes Duverger’s Law?)

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  63. Tillman says:

    @Davebo: What?

    *squints*

    Well I’ll be damned. Apparenfly I can’f fell the ditterence.

    I didn’t cite Drum’s piece favorably. I disagree with his conclusion entirely: it’s more of the basic strategy of blaming anything but Clinton for her numbers.

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  64. KM says:

    @the Q:

    Wow, some of you talking down to young people

    Some of us are those young people, you know and a significant number of Johnson fans are Republicans who can’t stomach Trump. Those tend to be older and richer – don’t want him screwing up their money…

    This election has been characterized by cults of personality above and beyond the pale. For someone to go from Bernie Sanders to Gary Johnson proves they have no clue what either stood for. At least Trumpkins can articulate their leader’s limited positions but how many Johnson-jumpers can cite one thing he believes? They are voting for “The Third Party Candidate” (TM) without a clue about what that means. Pch101 was right: he’s essentially None of the Above incarnate in their minds, the blank slate Alternative they’re projecting onto. How people cheering for free college, Wall Street/ bank reform and wage fairness want a Libertarian that’s stated he’ll remove the few protections they have is purely due to the F-U they think they’re giving the system.

    Bernie would not approve. Actually, somebody should go ask Bernie how he feels about his fans leaving him and his ideals for his opposite….

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  65. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’d like a Libertarian to point me to a single real-world example of a successful country run on libertarian principles. Spoiler: no such animal exists.

    Oh, this nonsense again. Been there, done that. Find some other glib talking point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  66. Pch101 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Libertarians presume that when left to their own devices that humans will be productive beings that generally do the right thing.

    Liberals have figured out that when left to their own devices that most humans will be productive beings that generally do the right thing, but a few of them will take advantage of the power vacuum by stealing from and inflicting violence upon the rest of them. Hence, Somalia.

    Liberals have also figured out that government can sometimes do a better job of channeling resources in ways that the private sector will not, which makes life better for that majority. For example, it allows one of OTB’s bloggers to get a degree from a university that is supported by the taxpayers that has allowed him to earn more than he probably would have otherwise, then use the internet that was developed by the US government to spread the word that the government never does anyone any good. (We love unintentional irony in this country.)

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  67. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Hal_10000: Okay, no pronlem.

    Now, do you have an example of officials elected while running under the auspices of the Libertarian Party in the United States engaging in the work of governance that we can look at? In other words, is it an actual party that can point to real world accomplishments? I’m not talking about a state or a country. Running a water district is hard work. As is running a health district. Or a city or a county or a sheriff’s office.

    Again, to reiterate and make sure I am not being misunderstood. I am not referring to the political philosophy of libertarianism. I am talking about the real world governance record of the Libertarian Party here in the US.

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  68. Pch101 says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    Being a Libertarian is pretty easy. The recipe is simple: Do nothing, then blame the government for anything that doesn’t work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  69. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Pch101: I do not know enough about the electoral history of the Party at the local level.to know whether or not that is a blanket statement that can be made. The country is huge, geographically, with thousands of governments. So there have to be a few examples of what the Party has been able to accomplish at the local level once elected or appointed.

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  70. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Gromitt Gunn Sez:..I do not know enough about the electoral history of the Party at the local level.to know whether or not that is a blanket statement that can be made. The country is huge, geographically, with thousands of governments. So there have to be a few examples of what the Party has been able to accomplish at the local level once elected or appointed.

    Or: “I can’t find any Unicorns so they must be out there…somewhere.

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  71. Pch101 says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    You can find a list of libertarians in government on the party website.

    The list is short and some of the positions held are ironic. For example, there are a few libertarians serving on school boards even though they don’t believe in public education.

    In any case, I doubt that there is an example of libertarians holding enough power in a given US locale that they are able to impose libertarian rule on anyone.

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  72. the Q says:

    Mr. Reynolds with the old discredited canard about lefty morons voting for Nader costing Gore the election. Um, maybe Gore cost himself the election. He was doomed when he paid Naomi Wolf 150k to advise him on which flannel shirt to wear to make himself seem more “manly” as he lost both his home state and Bill Clinton’s Arkansas.

    And, Gore could have run in 04 and beaten W but for some inexplicable reason he thought being a private citizen would give him more power to affect climate change.

    This election is all about change. People are sick of the one party rule of washington insiders regardless of D or R attached.

    This is why Trump may very well win since the Dems went for the most establishment of candidates without charm, empathy, sincerity or authenticity.

    In a way, it will be a cleaning of the Augean stables if she goes down in defeat and the Dems can kick out once and for all the detritus of the DLC gang of the 90s and start to destroy the current Wall St./pharma/warhawk/insurance stranglehold over the party.

    PS, google Tony Rodham all you Hillary/Bill/CGI fans. If there was an award for the shcittiest person in the party it would be a toss up between him and Terry McAuliffe Two truly despicable people. Oh, and while your at it, google Gary Winnick, Drexel Burnham and Michael Milken. I watched these greedy aholes in the 80s ruin people.

    These are the people you are asking me to vote for because when Hillary wins, these deplorable type of folks come with her.

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  73. Hal_10000 says:

    @Pch101:

    Liberals have figured out that when left to their own devices that most humans will be productive beings that generally do the right thing, but a few of them will take advantage of the power vacuum by stealing from and inflicting violence upon the rest of them. Hence, Somalia.

    Ooh, Somalia! Care to go for the cliche trifecta? Libertarian do not oppose law and order or all regulation. Read my post where I talk about this. Liberals tend to forget that government itself can easily become a vehicle for such theft — viz, regulatory capture, publicly funded stadiums for billionaires, hundreds of billions in corporate welfare — all of which libertarians and Libertarians are against.

    Now, do you have an example of officials elected while running under the auspices of the Libertarian Party in the United States engaging in the work of governance that we can look at?

    The two candidates for the libertarian party governed two states succesfully, which is two more states than the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates combined.

    The list is short and some of the positions held are ironic. For example, there are a few libertarians serving on school boards even though they don’t believe in public education.

    Nope, sorry, try again. The LP’s position (and most small-l’s as well) is school choice, not abolishing public schools.

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  74. Pch101 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Nobody claimed that libertarians oppose having law and order. The issue is that you won’t do much in order to ensure that it is provided, and that failure may allow violence and theft to prosper.

    Libertarianism is ultimately utopian. You think that good things will just magically happen when government gets out of the way, but there are numerous examples of how that isn’t the case.

    What your club fails to recognize is that coercion can also be privatized, and you can bet that it will if permitted. So ironically, some coercion is necessary in order to avoid other forms of coercion that are worse.

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  75. grumpy realist says:

    @Hal_10000: Um, a lot of the anarcho-libertarian types do, in fact, make noises about no government.

    The fallacy about libertarianism is adequately demonstrated by the fact that when asked about the libertarian period par excellence in America, they invariably point to the Gilded Age.

    Which was of course great provided you were white, male, non-Jewish, Protestant, and rich.

    Sucked for everyone else, however….

    (Anyone who thinks that a period of history afflicted with that brain-damaged legal concept called “couverture” was in any way “free” for women has no brain cells in his head.)

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  76. grumpy realist says:

    @Pch101: As I’ve said, you either get government or warlords. Take your pick.

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  77. Mr. Bluster says:

    @the Q:..These are the people you are asking me to vote for because when Hillary wins, these deplorable type of folks come with her.

    With Trump you get his boyfriend Vlady Putin. I’ll bet you can’t wait to see Donald and the Poo holding hands as they stroll the Red Square in front of the Kremlin.

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  78. MarkedMan says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    So there have to be a few examples of what the Party has been able to accomplish at the local level once elected or appointed

    There are so many people who want this to be true that if there was an actual case, I gotta believe we would know about it. Carrying my Unicorn analogy (too far), There are so many zoos in the US that if there was a unicorn in even one of them we would all know about it.

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  79. MarkedMan says:

    @Hal_10000:

    all of which libertarians and Libertarians are against

    Having been raised a Catholic, I’ve found that it’s pointless to judge people by what they abhor. Real character is shown by what they won’t tolerate. Libertarians may be against all kinds of things, but they don’t think a government should be able to do anything to prevent them, even if that is the only effective means to do so.

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  80. grumpy realist says:

    Here’s a link to the discussion over at Crooked Timber covering one of the stupider disgorgements from a self-proclaimed libertarian economist who should know better.

    99% of libertarians are idiots. It’s a mentality that appeals to 20-year-old men who are totally ignorant about the world.

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  81. DrDaveT says:

    @Hal_10000: OK, I read your diatribe. I can’t speak to the Salon article, but let’s look at some of your claims:

    The entire basis of libertarianism is one of restraining power, not acquiring it. Because politics is filled with people who desire power, this tends to crowd us out. It’s hard to get elected on a platform of “I will leave you the hell alone”.

    The part you seem not to have noticed is that it is also extremely difficult to restrain power by leaving it the hell alone. How, exactly, do you propose to restrain power without imposing any restraints on power?

    get the government out of the business of deciding which organization are and are not tax-exempt

    “Tax-exempt” is a term that describes the relationship between an organization and… the government. How can you get the government out of the business of governing? This sounds suspiciously like “Get the government out of my Social Security”.

    If you want to abolish taxes entirely, so that the government has no need to administer tax law, that’s one thing. But to have tax law but want to keep the government out of it is nonsensical. Who is going to collect the taxes, if not the government? If the government is collecting taxes, don’t they need to make decisions about how to do that? (And if someone else is collecting and spending tax money, aren’t they de facto the government?)

    What marks libertarianism out is not a platform, but a way of thinking. It is a philosophy of being suspicious of government and favoring liberty if it is practical.

    “Being suspicious of government” does not distinguish libertarianism from any other -ism, with the possible exception of pure Hobbesian tyranny. Even the handful of flat-out Trotskyite communists that I’ve run across are intensely suspicious of government, and concerned to implement checks and balances and feedback loops and such. “Favoring liberty if it is practical” is likewise universal — the disagreement is always about just how much local tyranny it is ‘practical’ to permit.

    Clearly, you do not believe that “none” is the right amount of government. Similarly, you do not believe that government has no legitimate function. So I’ll ask you the same question Steve Verdon doesn’t want to answer: if you aren’t using the simplistic rubric “less government is always better”, what rubric are you using? By what criteria or standards do you compare two systems or governments, and decide which one is doing better?

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  82. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: Methinks that certain people (cough cough) should investigate an institution in history known as tax farming.

    It didn’t work all that well back then, either.

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  83. grumpy realist says:

    (Why in hell Libertarians insist on trying to reinvent the wheel when we already have historical evidence that their ideas Do Not Work is beyond me. )

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  84. MarkedMan says:

    @Hal_10000:

    this nonsense again. Been there, done that. Find some other glib talking point.

    That was as good as a defense of libertarian principles as I’ve read. Kudos for that. Your link was a bit deceptive though as it didn’t actually reference where you had pointed out the example asked for, but rather explained why the type of people attracted to L’ism are by their nature unlikely to simultaneously be attracted to governing. But you then go on to make the case that countries that adapt libertarian-like policies do better than those that don’t. You make a solid case.

    A few counterpoints.
    – You are essentially taking credit for libertarians whenever a country reduces regulatory barriers on commerce. But I would bet that 90% of the political parties in the world would claim the same goal. Perhaps the credit should go to those who successfully implemented those policies rather than just championed them.
    – in you post you used Singapore as a libertarian ideal. I’ve spent a lot of time in Singapore, worked to align my companies initiatives with government inititiatives, and know a fair number of long time resident expats and, more importantly, Singaporean citizens. And I can’t imagine a country farther from Libertarian principles than Singapore. I think outsiders think that it is an economic free for all with low to no taxes because so much of the narrative comes from the non-citizen expats. But they are an allowed special group and not citizens. They don’t get benefits. If they fall on hard times they have to leave the country. If they get involved in politics they will be escorted out. And they pay the bulk of taxes, In the form of fees. Example: I saw a Subaru Forrester for sale. It cost US$110k. The license plate would cost another $70k US. Another: a bottle of Jacobs Creek Merlot can be had anywhere in the US for $10-15, or in duty free stores around the world for $15-20. It was slightly south of $100 US in a typical Sing liquor store. As for citizens, they have a 30% mandatory salary contribution for retirement and healthcare. And most young people delay marriage for years until they get a tiny government subsidized apartment. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, Singapore has an extremely pervasive government that takes in a very high per capita revenue, albeit not usually calling it taxes.

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  85. @Hal_10000: @MarkedMan:

    From article linked above:

    Oh, it’s a lot more than that. Libertarian ideas helped Hong Kong get rich while the rest of China wallowed in poverty. Libertarian ideas made the West strong while the Communist Bloc fell into ruin. Lind will get into the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index in a moment in a very selective and idiotic way. I will pre-empt him by looking at it in a more objective and thorough way. Look at countries with the greatest economic freedom. You will find it is dominated by wealthy countries: Canada, Scandinavia, USA, Australia, Germany, the UK. And, in fact, most of those countries have moved dramatically toward more economic freedom, with the worldwide index increasing 2 points since 1996. And that was after the fall of communism. The simple fact is that the countries that have pursue libertarian ideals are wealthier, happier, healthier places than those that have pursued collectivist numbskullery.

    Here is what loses me: given the size of the state (and of the welfare state in particular) in the countries listed, I am at a loss as to how what is being described here isn’t really just about modern liberalism. That’s the contrast between the Soviet model and the West. This is not really a good argument for a full blown libertarian government because none of those listed are such.

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  86. To put it all another way, I would gladly pick Hong Kong’s system or Canada’s over China’s–but just noting that one is more economically free than another does not equate to a win for libertarianism, per se. It is a win for liberalism (broadly defined).

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  87. Also from the article:

    What marks libertarianism out is not a platform, but a way of thinking. It is a philosophy of being suspicious of government and favoring liberty if it is practical.

    Again, I would argue that democratic governance, and liberalism broadly defined also is concerned, if not suspicious, of government power and favor liberty when practical.

    The issue becomes, I suppose, the definitions of the terms in question.

    I will confess to some libertarian leanings, but the problem with a pure libertarian approach, in my mind at least, is that there is a serious tension between the pure philosophy and practical reality. See for example, many libertarians and their response to the Civil Rights Act.

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  88. stonetools says:

    @Pch101:

    The list is short and some of the positions held are ironic. For example, there are a few libertarians serving on school boards even though they don’t believe in public education.

    One of the foremost libertarians around is the journalist Megan McArdle. Her background?

    McArdle’s father, Francis McArdle, was a career public servant in the New York City administration who took the revolving door to the private sector as chief lobbyist for the union-busting General Contractor’s Association of New York, where her father represented private contractors

    The House speaker Paul Ryan is libertarian. How did he get to college?

    At the age of 16, Ryan began receiving Social Security benefits and saved them to help him pay for college. He stopped receiving benefits when he was 18 years old.

    Ayn Rand is the founding mother of American libertarians.In her old age, she received Social Security benefits and took Medicare to help pay for her medical expenses.

    All of this is typical for libertarians. Libertarians always don’t like government-except when they need it,and then they take that government help and benefit from government largesse. It’s examples like this why you can’t take libertarianism seriously. Libertarians simply don’t live up to the courage of their convictions. They’ll go away to rural communities to get away from it all and live independently-but insist on regular US Post Office service, drive on interstate highways and take advantage of government supplied water and sanitation services. Not a serious ideology.

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  89. stonetools says:

    In any case, the problem here is not that libertarianism, however defined, doesn’t work. The point is libertarianism has been considered by Americans and rejected. People might dislike government bureaucracy, but they aren’t going back to caveat emptor for food and drugs, no interstate highways, no social safety net, and they definitely aren’t going back to unregulated financial markets any time soon. Heck , the history of the last 125 years has been the move away from a libertarianism that society found out didn’t work to a liberal democracy that does work better for most people.

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  90. Pch101 says:

    Hong Kong has public healthcare, public housing, public transport and business subsidies. How can anyone with a straight face describe that as “libertarian”?

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  91. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Liberals tend to forget that government itself can easily become a vehicle for such theft — viz, regulatory capture, publicly funded stadiums for billionaires, hundreds of billions in corporate welfare — all of which libertarians and Libertarians are against.

    The solution for this is not no government, but better laws and better government. That almost exactly describes the liberal/libertarianism split.

    I would argue that deregulation sometimes works (It largely did so in the field of transportation and phone service). It manifestly did not work in the area of financial markets, and there is no one of any ideological stripe who thinks it will work in the area of food and drugs. The best way to approach regulation is by a trial & error approach, rather than an approach defined by the ideological principle that regulation always fails.

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  92. gVOR08 says:

    @Hal_10000: Man that link was a long winded way to say no, we don’t have any examples of successful government on libertarian principles.

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