Well, the two Libertarian candidates I was watching most closely (Bruce Guthrie for senate from Washington and Michael Badnarik for congress from Texas) did not do nearly as well as I had hoped they might, but the election results are, in my opinion, far from being a total loss.
Firstly, we have a Democratic house and an evenly split or Democratic senate, with a Republican president. This is good in two ways: (1) the Democrats have enough power to stop Bush from pushing his terrible ideas through the legislature, but not enough power to push their own terrible ideas through (i.e., we have gridlock), and (2) in the past few election cycles the Democrats have been better than Republicans from a Libertarian perspective, even on issues of size and spending of the government. Now, this is sad, because the Democrats are definitely a "big government" party, and want it to be the government's job to fix all sorts of social problems which libertarians think it shouldn't touch, but it remains that at this point most (not all) Democratic politicians probably represent the 'lesser evil' from a libertarian perspective, compared to the upper-level Republicans (but make no mistake - voting for the lesser evil is still supporting evil, and I won't do it).
Secondly, several Libertarian candidates I wasn't watching did quite astoundingly well in elections for federal offices. Here is a quick list of all the candidates that got better than 10%:
A complete list is available from the Libertarian Party web-site here.
Further investigation shows that Osborn and Blair were running in races with no Democrats and Strickland, Adrogo, McConnell, and Ard were running in races with no Republicans, so this makes the results perhaps a little less exciting than they might otherwise be, and they may not make the news. Hopefully, however, the candidates who won the races with high percentages of Libertarian votes will be concerned to appease the libertarians in their constituencies, which could translate into at least some influence on politics. Some of the news agencies have also recently talked about the rise of "independent" voters, especially in the southwest, and these are generally considered to be mostly (small l) libertarians. Some analysts suggested before the election that the Republicans had lost this block of voters, and that it would cost them the House. We'll see how seriously the Republicans and Demcorats take the need to win this constituency in the next election cycle.
In addition to national performance, Libertarians won a variety of minor offices, as usual. They are mostly city council, county commissioner, and conservation district positions, but every time a Libertarian is elected to a position, however minor, it works to increase party recognition and legitimacy, at least in that local constituency.
In short, let me say that I am guardedly optimistic about the political direction we are going. In general, we must stop moving the wrong direction before we can start doing the right direction, so right now gridlock is the best that can be hoped for.Posted by Kenny at November 8, 2006 2:27 PM
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