Category: New Political Party

Libertarians Are Willing to Settle for Delicious Tears

Governor Matt Bevin (R-KY) appears to have lost his re-election bid. As with everything in our politics these days, Bevin’s loss has led to a debate about Donald Trump and his responsibility for the loss because everything leads to a debate about Trump.

The Kentucky GOP swept the rest of the statewide races and won a supermajority in the state legislature, so there’s not a great case for blaming Trump. There are much better examples of Trump dragging the GOP to defeat last Tuesday: the Virginia state legislative elections and elections in the Philadelphia suburbs. But Matt Bevin did not have a Donald Trump problem, he had a Matt Bevin problem.

However, Republicans don’t blame Trump or Bevin’s loss. They are blaming the Libertarians. The margin between State Attorney General Andy Beshear and Bevin accounted for .4% of the vote, Libertarian John Hicks received 2% of the vote. Kentucky State Senate President Robert Stivers told USA Today that most of the votes that went to Hicks would have gone to Bevin in a two-man race.

For their part, the Libertarians are happy to take the blame:

“We are always happy to split the vote in a way that causes delicious tears. Tonight there are plenty of delicious tears from Bevin supporters,” the party said in a Facebook post.

The party also claims Bevin’s decision to not have Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton as his running mate for reelection played a role in Bevin’s results along with many political positions that go against what many libertarians believe in. The statement concluded with a final parting shot for Bevin supporters.

“For the Bevin supporters, your tears are delicious.”


When I talk about the need for a new party for Conservatives, many right-leaning Libertarians point out the Libertarian Party. In We Can Do Better, America, I reject the Libertarians as a viable alternative and this post from the Kentucky Libertarians illustrates why.

They’re far too used to losing. A good 98% of the state voted for somebody else and they’re happy because they made other people unhappy. That’s not how you change the country or build a successful political party, that’s just being mean-spirited. In addition, it’s reinforcing the idea that voting for anyone other than the GOP and Democrats is splitting the vote.

Without the Libertarian on the ballot, would Bevin have won? It’s hard to say. If you’re a Republican like Stivers, you just add Hicks’ 2 percent to Bevin’s 48.8% and voila, instant victory. However, the reality is often far more complicated. It’s a popular Republican myth that Ross Perot’s independent candidacy cost George H.W. Bush his re-election in 1992 but, as I’ve written before, actual polling shows this isn’t the case and some suggest Perot took more votes from Clinton. Similarly, studies have shown that George W. Bush would have Florida by a wider margin in 2000 without Ralph Nader on the ballot, contrary to conventional wisdom.

As a general rule, a 1/3 of people who vote for Third-Party candidates wouldn’t have voted otherwise. So that would leave 1 1/3% of Kentucky Voters up for grabs. Generally, the remainder would have voted about 2:1 for one of the major candidates. This would leave a margin of 6,352 votes which is more than the difference between Beshear and Bevin. However, we have no idea which way the 28,000 Kentuckians who voted Libertarian would have gone. Were they primarily right wing voters or anti-Bevin voters?  Despite their pretense, the Kentucky Libertarian Party doesn’t know either. A party that is happy with 2% of the vote doesn’t have the capability of doing a political deep dive to find out how their voters would have voted otherwise. Mean Facebook posts are the limit of what the Kentucky Libertarians can produce.

If we wanted to find out who the second choice of Libertarian voters were and to avoid “splitting the vote” elections, there’s a simple solution. It’s called ranked choice (or instant runoff) voting. Had this system been in place in Kentucky, voters would have cast their vote for Governor by order of preference. If no one got a majority, votes for the last place candidate would instantly be redistributed to those voters’ second choice.

 If I were (for example) the President of the State Senate in a state where my party held a Supermajority and I was convinced that a third party effort had cost my party the Governorship, I’d definitely want to introduce a bill to put such a system in place. Under a ranked choice system, major party leaders wouldn’t have to worry that a third party effort would “split the vote” and cause the other major party to win.

Why won’t Senator Stivers bring forth such a bill? A ranked choice voting system takes away the stigma of voting third party. You’re not going to split the vote. You can vote for the candidate you actually want (and if you’re so inclined) you can order your vote so it automatically goes to the major party candidate you’d prefer. It increases the risk that citizens fed up with the Republicans and Democrats will come together to start a new political party that won’t be satisfied losing every major election it enters for 42 years if it gets a few tears from the major parties. In essence, it will encourage competition and Senator Stivers and Kentucky Republicans can’t have that.

Instead Stivers will use John Hicks’ candidacy as yet another argument against people voting third party and risking splitting the vote. As a bonus, Stivers and other Republicans may also use this argument over how Libertarians would have voted to overturn the result of the close election in the legislature, a prospect that should leave us all in tears.

Breaking the Binary, Part Three: Thinking Realistically About the Consequences of Elections

Continuing from our series on Breaking the Political Binary, if we want to stop finding ourselves forced to choose between horrible candidates, we need to think realistically about the consequences of the worst candidate losing.

Presidential candidates release plans to impress the constituents they need to win their party’s nomination. Senator Elizabeth Warren, by many accounts, is the Democratic Frontrunner and she is a master of plans, really bad plans. If she’s the nominee, you can expect a pitch to Republican voters to include listing all those horrible plans and imagining that they’ll all happen if Senator Warren wins. But will they?

The answer is almost certainly not. Presidents can only get so much done and for a President to really make lasting changes, he or she has to get legislation passed as opposed to just taking executive action.

Let’s take Barack Obama as an example. Barack Obama had many things he wanted to do and Republicans told us that they’d all happen if he won the election in 2008:

  1. Cap and Trade legislation.
  2. “Card Check” to replace secret ballot elections for Unions, making it easier for unions to intimidate workers into joining.
  3. Amnesty for illegal immigrants.
  4. Socialized medicine.
  5. Major gun control and bans on various types of weapons.
  6. A repeal of George W. Bush’s tax cuts on Americans earning $250,000 per year.

Obama had a large majority in the House, and won 59 seats in the Senate, which became 60 when Senator Arlen Specter joined the Democratic Party. With such numbers, Obama was set to pass his entire ambitious agenda and it would be the end of our country.

Yet most of it didn’t happen. No cap and trade, no card check, no formal amnesty deal, no gun control or weapons bans. Obama did pass the Affordable Care Act, which didn’t make healthcare more affordable and has allowed the government to bully religious employers. Obama had to put off his efforts to repeal the Bush tax cuts due to a poor economy, and in the end only succeeded in repealing them for people earning more than $1 million per year.

Obama did do damage. Both of his Supreme Court picks were bad, if you care about the Constitution. Obama did a lot of governing by executive order. However, most of his “legacy” has been undone by President Trump. Many of Obama’s policies were held up for years in court and never fully implemented.

In my opinion, Obama was a bad president on policy, but he was not apocalyptic. Elizabeth Warren would also not cause an apocalypse. The same goes for the rest of the Democratic field, and there is no chance of any of them having Obama’s congressional majority in the Senate.

If we are truly one election away from losing our Republic forever, as alarmists in the GOP allege in order to get reluctant conservatives in line behind Trump, we’ve already lost our Republic.

Of course, most of these alarmists don’t believe their own rhetoric. If Glenn Beck really believed Trump losing the election would mean the end of the country as we know it, he would make plans to shutter his operations at the end of 2020 if Trump loses and go into hiding. If Trump loses in 2020, Glenn Beck, the NRA, and the rest of the alarmists will continue to draw their paychecks, sell their merchandise, and make a living off of grassroots conservatives. It’s a game. They are playing us for fools and selling snake oil.

While a Democratic win is unlikely to end the Republic, that doesn’t mean there’s no serious concerns about our country’s future. However, addressing them is beyond the scope of people whose political vision is limited to selling the idea that an apocalypse is coming every four years. We’ll talk about them in the final post of the series.

Happy Citizenship Day and Constitution Day

September 17th marks Citizenship and Constitution Day. This day celebrates two powerful central strengths of our Republic and combines them. Mostly, this day is ignored, I hope a new party will embrace it and the principles represented today.

Citizenship Day was born as I Am An American Day. The holiday has its roots in the activity of a refugee from the then-Communist nation of Hungary. Clara Vadja founded the Americanization League of America in 1930. Having found the dream of liberty, she set out to provide citizenship education to help those who came behind her find an easier way into the country.

In addition to celebrating new citizens, the original I Am an American Day Act celebrated those who attained their citizenship by coming of age. This focus on new voters could be traced to Manotwac County Wisconsin which included a five-month program where those about to reach the voting age met to discuss the duties of citizenship.

I am an American Day was designated in 1940 as the Third Monday in May. In 1952 it was renamed Citizenship and moved to September 17th, which was also Constitution Day as this is the Day the Constitution was signed at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

This combined commemoration may be overlooked by most on the calendar but is important a new political party observe it.

The Importance of Citizenship Day

Citizenship Day stands as a reminder of how a more traditional Americanism approached new arrivals with an open heart as opposed to the fear-based nationalism. This fearful nationalism views families fleeing from persecution, and those who go through the legal process to become citizens, as threats and dangers to political power.

A new political party should embrace the meaning of Citizenship Day and all that new immigrants bring to our shores.

The strength of America traditionally is that it is not a closed system. Its story is ever-continuing. If the story of people coming to America and finding opportunity and better lives for themselves and their families had ended with the Pilgrims coming to Plymouth Rock in 1620 or 19th Century with Irish immigrants, it would be a stale story and a much poorer country. Each immigrant who makes the effort to come to our country and proceeds to work hard through the laborious process of becoming a citizen writes their own page in that ongoing narrative.

This is a great day to celebrate the contributions these new citizens will make and an opportunity to reach out to them.

I also think it points out the need to encourage those who are newly eighteen to take seriously the responsibilities of citizenship. While our twenty-first-century world may not have time for five-month classes, we can definitely do a better job of civic education and helping new adults understand the responsibility and heritage being passed down to them than shallow efforts like “Vote or Die.”

Those who believe in traditional American principles should engage in youth outreach, knowing that Socialists and other radicals are more than willing to make up for our lack of effort.

The Importance of Constitution Day

The Constitution of the United States is something many citizens affirm and that all federal officials swear fealty to. However, it’s also a document that is under increasing assault.

Demagogues on the left and right find it inconvenient. It was written to make it hard to get your way on changes. In a country where we love instant gratification, the Constitution infuriates the entitled mentality that dominates our political debate.

Both the left and right are repelled by the amount of freedom it gives. Recently, the third most powerful Democrat in Congress James Clyburn (D-SC) observed there would be “strong support against the bill of rights” if it were voted on today.

There are so many know-it-alls on the Internet who are convinced our system of government is preposterous and antiquated and they have a better plan that we should follow instead.

Yet, this fact is missed: our Constitution has worked. Our country has many flaws, the state of our union is not perfect. Many have found ways to ignore the Constitution and get around its requirements. Yet, its framework frustrates most authoritarian and totalitarian impulses.

President Trump publicly admires and lauds dictators. Many of them such as Vladimir Putin came to power in countries that had more modern democratic constitutions, which were more easy to alter. These dictators were able to get around their pliable constitutions to set themselves up as a strong man. Trump can only admire them, because he is under the U.S. Constitution, he can never be them.

I won’t say the Constitution should never be changed, but we’d better be careful and respectful in any alterations we propose. We’re talking about a document that’s kept our country free for 230 years. We’d better know what we’re about when we try to change it.

“I don’t understand why the Constitution does this,” is not an argument for changing it, any more than, “I don’t know why the contractor put a ceiling support on that wall” is an argument for ripping the support out. Rather, not understanding is a good reason for finding out why.

Citizenship and Constitution Day are two very important days that have been combined. Whatever the intent of Congress in 1952, this combination has meant that they can both be ignored at the same time. I hope that a new political party will change that.

Breaking the Binary, Part Two: Thinking Realistically About Elections

In my last blog post, I called for us to stop viewing every election as an apocalyptic event and consider the consequences in a realistic way.

How do we do that? One way is to calculate the mathematical consequence of an individual vote. Partisans will guilt their friends with the idea, if they don’t sacrifice their conscience, they’ll be responsible for the election of the worst of the two evils. This is nonsense. The odds of an individual vote swinging a presidential election are infinitesimal. Steven Weese of the Foundation for Economic Education posted a great mathematical analysis on the issue in 2016.

However, mathematical arguments may avail little during the heavily emotional 2020 campaign.

Voters may view themselves not as “individuals” voting for a candidate they believe will do a good job but as part of a grand alliance to save the country from the radical left. The key to defeating this tendency is to be realistic. The first thing reality tells us is the idea of “saving America” by “stopping the Democrats” is a myth.

Whether we like it or not, America is a land of political parity when it comes to Presidential politics. From 1952-2016, the average length of time a political party has held the White House is eight years. The exceptions to this are the four-year run of Jimmy Carter and the twelve-year Reagan-Bush years. The Reagan-Bush success was built on two historic landslides where President Reagan averaged more than 500 electoral votes and 46 states in the 1980 and 1984 elections, a feat we’re unlikely to see again. The most wildly optimistic scenario for a Trump’s re-election is for him to win his 2016 and add New Hampshire and Minnesota, which would leave him at around 320 electoral votes, hardly a foundation for a third GOP term.

Thus, if conservative voters pull the lever for Trump in 2020 and “save America,” they will most likely wake up the morning after Election Day in 2024 to find the Democrats have won back the Oval Office.

The next question is, would a Democratic victory in 2024 be worse than one in 2020 for conservative values and causes? I think it would be. We’ve learned a couple of things about executive power over the course of the last two presidencies. First, Congress has abdicated too much power to the President (such as the ability to unilaterally impose tariffs and declare a trade war.) Second, there’s a limit to what a President can do without a significant legislative majority.

Democrats almost certainly will hold the House after the 2020 elections, but the Senate is another matter. While the GOP holds the majority of seats up, Democrats will have to run the table to win a Senate Majority. Likely, Republicans will still hold the Senate or there will be a narrow Democratic Majority where professed moderates like Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) will hold the balance of power and frustrate the Democrats’ most ambitious goals. In addition, the legislative filibuster will remain in place. So, if Democrats win the White House in 2020, they’ll either be blocked from enacting their agenda or have it severely hampered.

What about if Democrats win in 2024? Democrats will be significantly stronger in Congress. Generally, Presidents lose seats in their second terms and the last two Republican Presidencies don’t portend well for Republican Congressional hopes. President Trump, like Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush, didn’t lose any Senate seats in his first mid-term. Reagan and Bush both lost a significant number of seats during their second term. The GOP lost a total of seven seats in the 1986 and 1988 elections. They lost fourteen seats in the 2006 and 2008 Senate elections.

It’s unlikely Democrats will get sixty seats in the Senate, given Trump’s general unpopularity and his flaws in character. However, Democrats could make significant pickups in the Senate in 2022 and 2024. These could be so significant, they could find the votes to end the filibuster for legislation and ram their agenda through the senate with fifty-one votes, something unlikely to occur should Democrats win in 2020.

Note I’m not trying to make an argument that voting for a Democrat for President is ever a lesser evil. What I’m suggesting is there’s a severe folly in voting for bad candidates to “save America.” I’m suggesting the games people play with their votes make little sense in reality.

Elections do have consequences. However, they also have Newtonian questions. Newton said, for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. It’s as true in politics as it in physics.

For the last six decades, every party has planted the seeds of its own doom and guaranteed the right of the other party.

The historic trends and the facts of the Trump presidency show us that should Democrats lose in 2020, they’ll win in 2024. Further, they’ll win with a more radical nominee than they’re likely to nominate this year and they will gain a congressional majority that will do their bidding.

This is the most likely legacy of a “pragmatic” vote to save the country from the Democrats. If we want to make a truly positive impact, we need to go in a radically different direction.

Breaking the Binary, Step One: Stop Believing in Apocalyptic Elections

One of the less-remembered Disney films was the 1973 movie World’s Greatest Athlete. However, the beginning of the film stands out to me.

Coach Sam Archer (John Amos) is a multi-sport college coach and we get to see him giving a pep talk to each sports’ team he coaches and in the opening of each talk, the Coach declares each different sport to be his life. The movie was poking fun at overworn exaggerated sports clichés that coaches try to use to motivate their team.

There is a political equivalent to Coach Amos’ clichéd opening and here it is: “This is the most important election of our lifetime.” How many fundraising letters, blog posts, and speeches have begun with those words? We hear it every four years and if it’s fundraising letter, it’s followed by lots of scary lines with bold, underlined text or words screaming in ALL CAPS about how we have to beat the other side.

Of course, the declaration of the super importance of the election isn’t the end of the manipulation…oh no. You then get a list of horrible things that will happen if the other party should win the election which assumes that every policy priority that the other party has will be enacted should they win the Presidency.

As a voter, it’s easy to get brow beaten. You may not like or trust either candidate, your conscience may loathe them, but who are you to cast a vote for a third party or Independent Candidate in the “most important election of our lifetime?” Thus you end up picking between the lesser of two evils.

Let me be clear that in criticizing this rhetoric, I’m not saying that elections don’t have consequences: they certainly do. However, as long as we believe that every election has the potential to bring about the apocalypse, no one will ever find the courage to take the necessary steps to build a new party. It will always be, “In this election, we’ll back the lesser of two evils, but next time we’ll stand up for what we believe in and build a new party…” Only next time, we’ll find ourselves in an apocalyptic “most important election in our lifetime” and the cycle will never end.

I’ve written in a previous post about the importance of rejecting the political binary that says we have to choose between the Republlican and Democratic Nominee. The first step to this is to reject the apocalyptic nonsense foisted on us every four years by the political class.

In my next post, I’ll address a more realistic way to look at elections and their consequences.

We Must Reject the Political Binary

Are you ready to be manipulated? Are you ready for a dose of good old fashioned emotional blackmail?

If you’re a conservative who’s not a fan of the left-wing extremists in the Democratic Party or the fiscally irresponsible racially divisive Trump-led GOP get ready to receive pressure from all sides.

Most conservatives will tell you that a vote for anyone other than Donald Trump (such as Independent Congressman Justin Amash) will hand the country over to left-wing extremists.

Similarly, many anti-Trumpers like Tom Nichols, don’t want you to back someone like Amash because it will re-elect Trump, “..don’t let anyone – left or right – sell you on a 3rd party run against Trump in 2020. That only helps Trump. “

Whether its Amash or any other conservative Independent who appeals to you, you can expect pressure to pick between the lesser of two evils instead.

They’ll do this by trying to persuade you of absurdities. The most absurd idea is that you are responsible for delivering your vote, the politicians aren’t responsible for winning it. If the Democrats win with less than a Majority, Trump’s propagandists will not blame the fact that they fell into lockstep in renominating a historically unpopular liar whose lack of ethics, and racial divisiveness alienated the country. Instead, they’ll blame Independent voters who backed another candidate over the GOP’s anointed choice. Failing that, they’ll attack the candidate as if he or she were the pied piper of Hamlin.

Similarly, if Trump wins because the Democrats nominate a candidate who can’ t bring themselves to say third-trimester abortions are wrong, favor gun confiscation, and support radical “Medicare for All” plans that will effectively end private insurance, it will be the fault of Independents who wouldn’t vote for their horrible nominee.

Major party politicos love to blame Independent and Third-Party campaigns for their troubles because it serves a dual purpose. First, it allows campaign insiders and party bosses who blew elections to escape blame. Second, it serves to serve as an argument to discourage Independent voting.

Thus, we can understand Democrats who blame Jill Stein and Gary Johnson for their 2016 loss rather than Hillary Clinton running a Presidential campaign that included multiple stops on Broadway but avoided going to Wisconsin. It’s also why Republicans will blame their 1992 loss on Ross Perot despite abundant evidence that Perot wasn’t to blame for Bush’s loss.

It’s an insidious game both parties play that fundamentally flips our Republic on its head. In the next few blog posts, I’ll be talking about how to defeat this binary view of politics.

Americans Need a Better Way

I’ve been a critic of Donald Trump and the politics he represents. He’s remained unpopular despite a strong economy. Yet Trump has a fair chance of being re-elected.

You needn’t look any further than the Democratic Party to find out why. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tx.) the brother of Democratic Presidential candidate Julian Castro tweeted out the names of Trump donors in his district and set them up for harassment and intimidation. Democratic Presidential candidates Kamela Harris and Elizabeth Warren suggested that teenager Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson despite the findings of the Obama Justice Department, earning four Pinocchios from the Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler.

At the same time, five Democratic Senators including Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) filed a most unusual legal brief in a gun-rights court case. It didn’t argue why the Supreme Court should rule in their favor, but it did threaten the United States Supreme Court with court-packing should they not see things their way. Their argument for court-packing is that the court is “sick” in that it’s not as left-wing as these Senators want.

Over the last two and a half years, Democrats have had an opportunity to be better than the poisonous cruel, divisive, dishonest, corrupt, norm-violating politics of Donald Trump. Instead what Democrats have offered is a different flavor of the poison. We’ve seen a Democratic Party that winks at anti-Semitism in the way Republicans wink at White Nationalism. The Democrats have fully embraced an inhuman abortion rights fanaticism that leads to thunderous applause for laws that allow for abortion right up to the moment of birth.

At the same time, Republican critics of President Trump have failed because all they offer is criticism. Senator Romney or Senator Sasse will stick their heads up and offer criticism of the President but not give Americans an alternate path. They’re not trying to change the Republican Party. They know they can’t. Thus, to those in the party, their criticism comes off as passive-aggressive undermining of the person who’s actually in charge and no one admires that.

Others have chosen a quiet departure. There have been many retirements in the House Republican conference in 2018 and so far in this cycle. Some have publicly said that having to deal with the constant nonsense that President Trump brought to the office was just too much and others have said so privately. Most are too afraid of Trump’s more rabid supporters to speak their mind. That’s not leadership, that’s abdication and political cowardice.

The one person who has shown some leadership is Representative Justin Amash (I-Mi.) He recognized the Republican Party is broken and he left it. However, he’s continuing to fight for what he believes he’s right. He’s still fighting for the Constitution. I’ve expressed my hope that he’ll help start a new political party. Even if he doesn’t, he’s shown far more leadership than anyone in these sorry political times.

Americans desperately need a positive and serious alternative to the toxicity of both President Trump and the Democrats. Without it, the only debate will be over whether Americans end up choosing the best of the two horrible options we’re sure to be given in 2020.

Bigotry in Politics

The President tweeted something racist today. I’m not going to get into specifics. Sadly, the specifics won’t matter much for the reason I’ll explain below. This will probably be the only time I will address this on this blog. It really only needs to be talked about once because it’s a repeating cycle.

The responses on the right and left are predictable. Many #NeverTrumpers and reluctant Trump supporters will write and speak out on how wrong what the President said was or at least how foolish it was. The reluctant Trump supporters will wring their hands but will never consider washing them of President Trump.

His fan base will rush to his defense, defend the statement, or try to gaslight us into believing we didn’t read what we just read. They’ll insist President Trump isn’t a racist (as if it matters whether Trump uses racially charged language out of a belief in white supremacy or just to stir up hatred for his own political benefit.)

The morally bankrupt defense of the President will be bolstered when the left responds to the statement in a way that goes massively over the top and leads even those who criticized Trump to remember their anti-anti-Trumpism.

The Left will increase the effectiveness of the “whataboutism” being hurled by Trump fans over the Democrats support for bigots in the distant past and more recent times. Then either a leftist presidential candidate will come up with some extreme policy proposal or President Trump will end the old controversy by starting a new one.

At the end of the day, many people will walk away a little angrier and a little more afraid. Others will shred a little more decency and increase the level of awfulness they’ll put up with to get what they want. While still others will feel a little more depressed and disenchanted with the state of our politics. It’s the slow corrosion of America’s civic soul.

Here, we won’t be participating in this circus. Likewise, the book We Can Do Better, America is about solutions and how we break this cycle. Both major parties have problems with bigots that they refuse to address, whether it’s alt-righters for the Republicans or the left-wing anti-Semites that find an easy home in the Democratic Party.

We need a new conservative party that will welcome Americans from every race, ethnicity, and creed to unite behind the principles of political liberty and limited government. I believe a new party should follow the principles laid out by George Washington in his letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island and give “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

Our focus will be on breaking America’s ongoing destructive cycle.