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December 20, 2006

They Can Definitely Have That

Ryan Sager writes:

Democrats gained with libertarian voters in 2006, without alienating other major voting blocs. This at least puts a dent in the idea that no one can offer anything to libertarians without sending the rest of the electorate screaming from the room like a call girl from Milton Berle.

This seems...wrong. Did Democrats actually offer anything in 2006? I mean, sure, a minimum wage increase and governmental power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, but is that really the sort of concessions Sager is hoping for? Or did 2006 prove that offering an end, or at least a check, to a buffoonish war attracts voters of all stripes?

December 20, 2006 | Permalink


screaming from the room like a call girl from Milton Berle


Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister | Dec 20, 2006 4:08:07 PM

He's wrong on the level at least of a couple of Congressional races where the Libertarian candidate actually played the spoiler (viva la libertarian spoiler).

Posted by: akaison | Dec 20, 2006 4:08:35 PM

Did Democrats actually offer anything in 2006?

No...but there were some pretty significant negative inducements from the Republicans. It isn't that we attracted some libertarian voters; it's that Bush drove some of them away.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Dec 20, 2006 4:53:23 PM

Wait, don't libertarians a) hate the stupid war and b) love divided government? Wasn't it a gimme that they'd vote for Dems once it became clear to everyone who didn't already know just how stupid the war was?

Posted by: jhupp | Dec 20, 2006 5:25:20 PM

Well, a friend of mine who is a die-hard L (almost ran for some minor local office until someone else stepped up to do so) voted democrat as a vote for Gridlock, not because he liked the candidates or anything.

Posted by: Tom in AZ | Dec 20, 2006 8:05:50 PM

Or did 2006 prove that offering an end, or at least a check, to a buffoonish war attracts voters of all stripes?

Yes. Democrats gained among every demographic group between '04 and '06. That's one of the problems with pointing to one group in particular to bolster a pet electoral theory. Nationwide, a lot of this was a blanket rejection of the Republican Party's governance.

State by state, where individual Democrats were trying to target certain constituencies, there are some lessons to be drawn. But I don't think there was much national strategy on the Democratic side other than stepping out of the way while the GOP hung itself.

Posted by: Chris | Dec 21, 2006 5:26:40 AM

I consider myself to be fairly libertarian (though an honest to God full on libertarian probably would not think so), and I think once your average libertarianish person realizes that one party offers Big Government with social services and the other offers Big Government with war without end, warrantless wiretapping, and indefinite detention without charge or trial, the choise becomes rather easy. There is a solid group of libertarians who consider an increase in the marginal tax rate to be worse than, say, getting sent to Syria and place in a coffin-like cell for 10 months, but there is no reaching those people in any case.

Posted by: Jeff in Texas | Dec 21, 2006 10:35:26 AM

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