A ‘100 year sweep’, ‘Republican landslide’, ‘Dems may never recover’. While the Republican tidal wave is significant, let’s not forget this recent election unfolded with the backdrop of historically low opinion polls of all sides at all levels. Before Republicans become too smug in their 2014 victory, they would be wise to remember they are one messianic snake oil salesman away from becoming irrelevant (see 2008).
Every two years both major parties do an excellent job of turning literally one half of America against the other. In 2016 the spin machines spew forth all kinds of nasty stuff yet again, much of it true. Years of ugly rhetoric from all forms of media has left the modern voter going to the polls, not to vote FOR something, but rather voting against the party they believe to be the “bad guys”. Every four to eight years one side manages to win enough seats to push back on the other and stakes are raised yet again.
It’s funny how incoming lawmakers are more than happy to leverage the very issues they just blasted the other side for during the campaign. The cleverest politicians keep a public distance between what they say and what they do. Some Republicans have already started tempering expectations for actions against the Affordable Care Act. Obama did essentially the same on Iraq, national debt, spying on Americans, and any number of other unconstitutional pet projects he had waiting to deploy.
Rightly so, Americans just do not trust politicians to do what they say. The voter is fed up with power self serving plutocrats claiming they will fix everything if only we elect them. Need some evidence? As reported by Larry Kudlow, consider this question and answer from Edison Research. This polling company interviewed 18,000 voters around the country as they left the polls on November 4 asking the following:
Do you think Hillary Clinton would make a good president?
Yes: 42 percent. No: 52 percent.
Do you think Jeb Bush would make a good president?
Yes: 29 percent. No: 59 percent.
Do you think Chris Christie would make a good president?
Yes: 24 percent. No: 64 percent.
Do you think Rand Paul would make a good president?
Yes: 26 percent. No: 60 percent.
Do you think Rick Perry would make a good president?
Yes: 24 percent. No: 62 percent.
In the 2016 presidential election, for whom would you be more likely to vote?
Hillary Clinton (Dem): 24 percent. The Republican candidate: 40 percent.
Not only does a yet-to-be-named Republican beat Hillary, but those polled turned their nose up to every Republican name that was dropped. This does not sound like a public ready to anoint another mythical political hero of any stripe.
You can reference Kudlow’s article here:
Does the very fact that a Clinton and a Bush both appear on a poll of this nature turn your stomach? It does mine. Maybe the public is willing to endure another campaign season featuring a Clinton and a Bush on the top ticket? Public opinion is a fickle thing, but this Libertarian wonders if 2016 will be the year a fed up public finally looks to cast a protest vote.
What are the chances that American is ready for the real “other” party? Maybe 2016 will be a true 100 year election for big L’s. The time has never been riper for a real conversation about reducing the reach and influence of government. Libertarians have been champions of this approach since the party was founded in the early 1970’s. Unlike Republicans and Democrats, Libertarians have generally not participated in the every two year mud throwing contest that goes on at a national level. The Libertarian party has credibility and history on its side. What it does not have is a great track record of electoral success.
The time has never been better to remind this republic of the freedoms and healthy economy it used to enjoy. Issues like personal privacy, endless taxes and fees, federal over spending, industry crushing regulation, a constant state of war, these are all things that Libertarians are on the right side of. The list is so long now there is opportunity to reach voters all over the political spectrum. Big government has been a disappointment to both conservatives and liberals, albeit for different reasons. If polls such as the one cited above are accurate, making the case to reduce the reach of government should really be a matter of marketing the pro-freedom message.
Presented in the right context, a pro-freedom campaign would be a breath of fresh air to a usually stale process. If 2016 does turn out to be the year of the disgruntled voter, the Libertarian party should be on their minds when they cast their vote. The Libertarian party could potentially make big gains if the public only knew who they were. Being active in the public debate is one way to let the voter know what the real alternative is. A pro freedom agenda holds viable solutions to the issues of these times. The American voter deserves to hear that a smaller more accountable government is the best way to start mending that which is broken.
Southwest Michigan Libertarian Party