Should Libertarians Vote Republican?
By Laurence M. Vance
Constitutional conservatives, Reagan Republicans, and other conservative Republicans have no use for libertarians—except when it comes time for another election. Then they want the votes of libertarians. Although they shy away from the term “libertarian” in non-election years, they will describe themselves as libertarian-leaning when they want to sucker libertarians to vote for them on election day.
There are two things that these libertarian-leaning Republicans can’t stand. The first is not voting and the second is voting for a third party.
Many libertarians simply don’t vote. They know that the system is rigged. They know that you have a greater chance of being killed in a car accident on the way to the polls than of your vote making any difference. They know that there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties. They know that most elections are simply contests between tweedledum and tweedledee, socialist A and national socialist B, or socialist A and fascist B. They know that even though Republicans use libertarian rhetoric, they are welfare/warfare statists just like Democrats. They know that voting for candidate D or R is like voting for Hitler to keep out Stalin or voting for Stalin to keep out Hitler. They know that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. They agree with Noam Chomsky that “if voting could actually change anything, it would be illegal,” with Mark Twain that “if voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it,” with Charles Bukowski that “the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting,” with H. L. Mencken that “every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods,” and with whoever said that voting just encourages the bastards. They know that only way to vote against crook A and crook B is to not vote. And libertarian Christians know that the Bible says: “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).
Many libertarians vote for a third party. Obviously, the Libertarian Party is their first choice. However, if no libertarian candidate is running for a particular office, they might vote for another third party, even if they don’t agree with its platform, just to send a message to the Democratic and Republican Parties that they despise them. Democrats and Republicans both say that voting for a third party is wasting your vote since a third party has almost no chance of winning. But not only that, Democrats and Republicans both say or imply that you should never vote for a third party because it takes votes away from them. Republicans especially will point to particular elections that they say Republicans would have won if the Libertarian Party candidate had not siphoned off votes from the Republican Party candidate. What they are really saying, of course, is that Republicans would have won these elections if they weren’t indistinguishable from Democrats.
More than anything else, Republicans want libertarians to vote for them. They know that liberals, Democrats, progressives, and other socialists will never vote Republican. They would rather vote for an Obama or a Hillary than a Republican.
But why should libertarians vote Republican? Yes, it keeps those evil Democrats out of office. But then it just gives us evil Republicans. The Republican Party stands for everything libertarians oppose. Here are twenty-five things off the top of my head:
The Drug War
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System
The ATF and federal gun laws
Indefinite detention at Guantanamo
The welfare state
The warfare state
The police state
The national security state
The CIA, FBI, DIA, DHS, TSA, and NSA
The Earned Income Tax Credit
The U.S. global empire of troops and bases
Medicare and Medicaid
The National School Lunch Program
Pell Grants and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
And judging from the reaction of Republicans to the Iran deal, I don’t think they would have a problem with killing Persians in Iran.
Are there individual Republicans who oppose some of these things? Certainly. But not many, and only a few things. But what about all the Republican talk about the Constitution, the free market, free enterprise, limited government, smaller government, less regulation, balanced budgets, lower taxes, property rights, and fiscal conservatism? Is it all just lies and hot air? In a word, yes.
Okay, okay, okay, say Republicans, enough already. But you libertarians should at least vote for a Republican for president so he can nominate conservative Supreme Court justices and Republicans in the Senate so they can confirm the nominations.
Is that so? Three of the most significant Supreme Court decisions in my lifetime that didn’t turn out how Republicans wanted were:
Roe v. Wade (abortion)
National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (Obamacare)
Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage)
The writer of the majority opinion in all three cases was a Republican appointee: Harry Blackmun, John Roberts, and Anthony Kennedy. And why did only three Republicans in the Senate back in 1993 vote against the confirmation of the most radical leftist on the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
Libertarians would have to be out of their mind to vote Republican.