The Danger of Strategic Voting

Dave Killion — November 2, 2014

With U.S. federal midterm elections rapidly approaching, Reason magazine has been posting articles on its blog that make the arguments for why libertarians should vote for Libertariansvote for Democrats, and vote for Republicans. I don’t care to focus too much on U.S. politics, but given that libertarians face similar dilemmas during elections in their home countries, I think many of you will find these articles illuminating. Of them all, I found Grover Norquist’s defense of voting for Republicans the most compelling:

You only have one vote. How best to use it to advance liberty?…

….In 2006, Montana’s Republican Senator Conrad Burns lost to his Democrat opponent Tester by 3,562 votes. The Libertarian Candidate Stan Jones captured 10,377 votes. Tester’s win meant that Obama had 60 votes in December 2009 and could pass Obamacare. That one vote passed a bill designed to fail into single-payer over time. Did the “too cool for school” libertarians advance liberty when they voted that day?”

Well, maybe they did, Grover… just not in the short term. Because what you’re suggesting is that the ‘too cool for school” libertarians would have advanced liberty further by voting into power a party that had full control of government for six years of the George W. Bush administration, and had every opportunity to deregulate the health care field so thoroughly that Obamacare would have been no more than a dream within a dream for decades to come, but instead chose to increase federal involvement. So, in the long run, it just might be that libertarians advance liberty more by voting for someone that actually reflects their values, instead of endorsing the lesser-of-two evils.

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