November 3, 2016

How hard did the Libertarians have to try to blow it this badly?

They were in a fabulous position a couple months ago — what with the horrible nominations from the 2 major parties — and Johnson and Weld threw it away.

Between "What's Aleppo?" and Hillary Clinton is "reliable and honest," they made the Libertarian option less attractive than Evan McMullin, and I don't even know who his running mate is. Mindy something.

49 comments:

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Politics is the art of the possible.

The internet attributes that to Bismarck.

I doubt he was a Libertarian.

Michael McClain said...

Johnson indulged in too many blunts. Weird stoner act doesn't sell.

Mike Sylwester said...

The Libertarians are for open borders.

Owen said...

Makes me wonder who's writing the script for this show.

Maybe what happens, at a certain level of uncertainty and complexity, is that the smarter you are, the worse you make it.

Think about how many 140+ IQ's and awesome experience and etc etc have been poured into this election cycle, like the incredible talent poured by Haig into the Somme offensive: for what?

A few yards of mud.

Well, actually, a LOT of mud. But you get my point: in a nation of 300+ million, with this incredible Constitutional structure and tradition and can-do, optimistic culture -- this is where we are???

madAsHell said...

I think his answer was "What's a Leppo?".

Alexander said...

If you think of the Libertarian party as a the dead body, and its current membership as a guy who disemboweled the body and is now wearing the skin as a coat, a lot of things make sense.

A lot of rank-and-file libertarians from the naughts have concluded that all the things they actually like about society are dependent on that society being overwhelmingly white (or if you prefer, "culturally homogeneous and high-trust"). Moved to Trump and view him as a weapon that will clear out the existing globalist order of importing low-trust, low-functioning invaders and give libertarianism a second chance at life.

Into this vacuum stepped a bunch of liberals who wanted drug legalization but were either white men and thus had no future in the democrat party in general, or opposed the SJW takeover on principle.

dhagood said...

wasn't it althouse that described johnson as a "stupid stoner"? that really resonate with me, and that's how i've referred to johnson ever since. and every time i mention the phrase, someone will laugh. it's hard to be taken seriously when your appellation is a joke.

dhagood said...

is perceived as a joke. gg proofreading.

Anthony said...

The basic problem with Libertarianism as a political force is that its basic philosophy seeks to minimize political force. Kind of like trying to field a baseball team with people who don't like baseball.

rehajm said...

Depends on the meaning of 'blow it'. Those stupid stoners might draw enough votes net net from Trump in Colorado to keep him from the presidency.

Brando said...

It's almost as though every candidate took a look at the rest of the field and said "I clearly don't need to bring my A-game" and embarked on a series of blunders and muckups that really suggest a degradation of our entire society that this is what we have to choose from.

Though McMullin's running mate is pretty attractive. So there's that.

Alexander said...

Also, Weld didn't throw anything away. Weld's entire goal the whole time was to take votes away from Trump. When that observably wasn't working - in fact was taking votes from Clinton - he went full in trying to get people that might have still voted Libertarian (and to be fair, ignorance of Aleppo is still a much better plan than starting WWIII over it) to vote Clinton instead.

McMullin is same deal. His only goal is if NH/CO/NV/ME/PA tumble in such a way that Trump squeaks past the post, that he can take UT and give the status quo a second chance through Congress.

Nonapod said...

Well, for one thing, it's doubtful that an ideologically pure Libertarian (which neither of those guys really are) would even be electable in 2016 USA anyway. When it comes to things like foreign policy and entitlements, most Americans seem to disagree with the standard Libertarian viewpoints.

Rick said...

We've come a long way from 'Weld is the better man' haven't we? Maybe snap judgments based on meaningless statements aren't the best way to evaluate people.

Rick said...

Nonapod said...
Well, for one thing, it's doubtful that an ideologically pure Libertarian (which neither of those guys really are) would even be electable in 2016 USA anyway.


Also true of progressives and conservatives. Like those of other ideologies most libertarians are not extreme in their views. Unlike other ideologies moderate libertarians aren't visible because the electoral systems and party structure pushes anyone who isn't extreme into one of the major parties.

Big Mike said...

If Rand Paul had run as a Libertarian instead of running in the Republican primaries his wife Kelley might be dropping by the White House to see which rooms need new drapes or carpeting. (Of course he'd have had to get serious about foreign policy, and who knows whether he could bring himself to do that.)

I'm looking at four candidates and thinking that they're mostly Ds and Fs but maybe a Trump is a C- . In this context that makes him a star.

n.n said...
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khesanh0802 said...

Many who defected to the Libertarian position have come home to Trump as any half-way astute observer could have predicted. Weld is a liberal Republican. I don't know where Johnson comes from - governor of some state? It's easy to say you will, with principle, vote Libertarian until the moment when your vote may actually count. Then you ask yourself (as many of us have been saying) who is worse for me, my kids and my country: an imperfect vessel who has some good and bad ideas or a congenital liar, a crook who is a proven failure in anything she touches? So after much self-congratulation the Libertarian defector realizes that it is a binary choice after all and, if sane, votes Trump. Johnson/Weld return to their 2-3% of the vote.

Paul Zrimsek said...

In what fantasy world can the third party in a two-party system ever be in a "fabulous position"?

n.n said...

While the Pro-Choice Church is the amoral anchor of American society, liberalism without "benefits" is still a transparty dream. Even with a transgender/transsocial/transhuman/liberal/progressive judgment, Americans are not prepared to accept the uncompensated fantasies of the far left-far right-"moderate" center nexus (a.k.a. twilight zone).

bagoh20 said...

If it wasn't for the Libertarian love of open borders, Trump could have been their candidate.

bagoh20 said...

Who is the conservative in this race?

Nonapod said...

Also true of progressives and conservatives. Like those of other ideologies most libertarians are not extreme in their views.

I guess it's no secret that most voters don't seem to care much about ideologies, or at least they put personality far ahead of ideology in whatever subconscious sorting algorithm they execute.

robother said...

" A Vice President? Well.... Well, Duh. Weld. Wow, that's kind of a cool name."

Rick said...

Nonapod said...
I guess it's no secret that most voters don't seem to care much about ideologies,


Only in the sense that fish aren't aware they care about water. In truth the vast majority of votes are based on ideology - in the form of perceived alignment with one of the parties. Neither party is going below 40% no matter who is nominated. So personality has no impact on 80+% of votes.

Quaestor said...

I used to know somebody called McMullin.

He was a dick.

My brain wants to morph McMullin into McMuffin.

Dr Weevil said...

khesanh0802:
Third-party votes usually shrivel to half their size in the last week, or maybe right in the voting booth, as voters decide not to waste their votes on someone they like and go for the lesser evil. As I recall, John Anderson was in the teens most of the 1980 campaign, and ended up with 7%. Ross Perot was in the 30s much of the 1992 campaign, and ended with 19%. Libertarians and Greens seem to do much the same: even if they poll at 3-5% during the campaign, they usually get 1% or less on Election Day. I can't think of any exceptions, where a third or fourth party did significantly better on Election Day than in the previous polls: can anyone else?

Brando said...

And the Weld flailings aside, the Libertarians aren't really doing any worse than they should--most of their support in polls is people registering their disgust with the two choices, and when it comes time to vote the voters will mostly gravitate back to their least hated of the two likely winners. So Johnson might poll at 10%, but will probably win half that, mostly in non swing states where people will register their protest but very low in swing states where people fear they could be letting their most hated opponent win. Even if Johnson made no mistakes, that'd be the case.

Quaestor said...

How hard did the Libertarians have to try to blow it this badly?

Not hard at all. They did it in their sleep. Johnson and Weld had all the drive and initiative of a couple of well-baked stoners watching daytime television. The only thing that could arouse Johnson's campaign to action was a shortage of Cheetos.

The Libertarian Party fails because it contains Libertarians. It kinda like metamorphosis, a Libertarian is what a Progressive becomes when it reaches the end of its lifecycle.

Gaius Gracchus said...

They started off strong, ran good ads, really seemed on target.

But, as noted, once it became clear they were pulling a lot from Hillary rather than Trump (many conservative Republican who object to Trump find the Libertarian open borders, dope smoking social libertine ways even more offensive), the media turned on them. Plus the Libertarian ticket itself went off the rails.

The Libertarians are mostly part of the Koch machine. It seems they hate the Republican base more than they disliie Hillary......

I was strongly considering voting for Johnson. I usually vote Libertarian. But I can't......


mccullough said...

Since pot is legal in Colorado and Washington and the federal government isn't enforcing federal laws against it, the LP doesn't have anything to offer. The stoners have two states to choose from.

n.n said...
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n.n said...

The Libertarian is Liberal as in Pro-Choice or "=", but without "benefits".

gerry said...

The Libertarian Party fails because it contains Libertarians. It kinda like metamorphosis, a Libertarian is what a Progressive becomes when it reaches the end of its lifecycle.

That is so perfect it shamed my post into deletion! Thank you!

holdfast said...

So today's them is "blowing it"? Hard. So to speak.

Laslo Spatula to the white courtesy phone.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"The Libertarians are for open borders"

This.

Hey, let's espouse a position that the reality of is totally at odds with personal and civic responsibility and Western notions of classical liberty.

The Libertarian Party is becoming a haven for statists who are embarrassed by the excesses of the Democrats. Unsurprisingly, that's a pretty small percentage of them.

Sigivald said...

I'm a little-l libertarian, and the LP has an amazing ability to do things like this.

Johnson's about as not-very-libertarian as you can get and still be "some sort of libertarian", and he's pretty bad at selling libertarian ideas.

Which, you know, shouldn't be that hard, especially for the Hayek - not Rothbard - wing.

(Here in Oregon, as usual, the State and Local LP candidates couldn't even be bothered to get a statement in the voter's pamphlet.

Goddamn Amateur Hour.)

Hunter said...

Big Mike said...
If Rand Paul had run as a Libertarian instead of running in the Republican primaries his wife Kelley might be dropping by the White House to see which rooms need new drapes or carpeting. (Of course he'd have had to get serious about foreign policy, and who knows whether he could bring himself to do that.)

Maybe... then again, we have the luxury of imagining these alternate scenarios and not having to experience them.

If Rand Paul were really a candidate for president, for any party, can there be any doubt how hysterically he'd be portrayed by half the political apparatus and 80% of the media? This guy OPPOSES THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT! He wants to dismantle the whole government! Can we really afford to give the presidency to such a dangerous, extremist lunatic who is probably also a racist?

Peter said...

Gary Johnson is not even an attractive candidate; thus, the only reason to vote for him is so you can morally preen that you voted, yet did not vote for either Trump or Clinton.

And how many such voters are there? Well, we'll see, won't we. BUT there might be more than polling indicates, as it seems an easy, safe thing to say to a pollster.

mockturtle said...

It's probably difficult for a pothead and an alcoholic to forge a coherent campaign.

Big Mike said...

@Hunter, point taken.

richardsson said...

I flirted with libertarianism back in the 70's but at its best, it just seemed like a bunch of three year olds dressing up in Mommy and Daddy's clothes. Johnson points to its biggest flaw: all the rank and file libertarians cared about was legalizing pot. Weld showed us the biggest problem with Establishment Republicans: they are handsome, well dressed, well mannered scoundrels. I'm guessing the Libertarian party will probably die out after this election. I could be wrong.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Johnson and Weld are libertarian like Simon and Garfunkel are death metal.

Static Ping said...

Alexander's skin coat analogy is fairly accurate.

Johnson's opening was disaffected voters: NeverTrumpers, Bernie Sanders supporters who feel (correctly) their candidate was cheated, pox on both houses voters. Rather than try to be an actual libertarian, he decided to be a "moderate" candidate. This potentially could work, but he kept taking untenable positions for these voters which was compounded by not having a coherent reason why he held those positions. Frankly, at times he seemed to have no idea what he was talking about with the potential that he was actually high.

Case and point, he was on Fox News and they asked him a libertarian question about gay marriage. This is really a softball, or at least should be given the party he represents. He gave a fairly reasonable libertarian position on it. The questioner followed up asking if polygamy should be legal, and he immediately bailed saying that was a question for the states. The obvious follow up question of whether gay marriage should be left to the states left him looking like an unprincipled fool. The pattern continued throughout the campaign.

People may want pot to be legal, but they do not necessarily want a pothead in charge. He never gave any reason why he should be anything other than a protest vote.

Steven Wilson said...

Speaking as someone who would like to be a Libertarian, I have come to the conclusion that the LP is content to act as kibitzers and Monday Morning Quarterback. With power would come responsibility and it's beyond evident that neither of their nominees is capable of acting responsibility. Weld's latest stunt shows him to be king of RINOs and it makes Jesse Helms' animus toward him and his appointment to ambassador of Mexico(?) seem very prescient. You don't endorse either candidate in the opposing party. Hell, you don't even rank them.

robother said...

Peter: "the only reason to vote for him is so you can morally preen that you voted, yet did not vote for either Trump or Clinton."

Never underestimate the electoral power of moral preening: See Obama, Barack 2008 & 2012.

Birches said...

I am voting for the pothead. My hope is that they get 5% and federal money and then get better candidates because of it. But it's just my silly protest vote.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Birches, we need you. And Welded Johnson have not earned your vote. They can't protect America from Hillary Clinton. Only Trump can.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Did you hear, per Reason, Weld is essentially endorsing Clinton. Make of it what you will.