Independent Record:”Libertarian acted as spoiler in Senate race, GOP says”

The Montana Republican Party is blaming the loss of Dennis Rehberg in the Senate race on the votes cast for Dan Cox, Libertarian.
Full story from “The Independent Record”

22 thoughts on “Independent Record:”Libertarian acted as spoiler in Senate race, GOP says”

  1. David

    Romney endorsed Rehberg. Romney has over 250,000 votes. Rehberg has around 215,000 votes. Libertarians were not spoilers. When Rehberg sued the Billings fire department over fire issues on his land, that caused people to not vote for the Congressman. Rehberg just had too much baggage, that John McCain or Rand Paul couldn’t solve by supporting Rehberg. During the primary an unknown had 32% of the vote against Rehberg. That tells you something right there. Rehberg will get retirement for life, even when he becomes a lobbyist.

  2. Nicholas Sarwark

    You can’t vote for the Patriot Act and NDAA and not get slammed by Libertarians. If the Republicans can learn not to take our freedoms, they can hold on to more offices. If they can’t obviously some Democrats can.

  3. NewFederalist

    Even the NRA (that’s National Rifle Association NOT National Republican Association) did not make an endorsement in this race. While they endorse Republicans every chance they get, Tester is quite good on 2nd Amendment issues. I would prefer a Jon Tester- type Democrat if a Libertarian cannot win simply due to the fact that he has to know he cannot blindly follow the party line in a state that generally is not favorable to his party. It at least makes him think before he votes. Great job by Dan Cox!

  4. Oranje Mike

    Good. If the LP cannot get elected, the next best thing we can do is be a “spoiler” and help keep the GOP honest. In CD9 here in Arizona one of our own torpedoed Vernon Parker. He ended up losing to a woman that referred to herself as a socialist in the past. I’d rather have Parker in the long run but, hey, he sounded a lot like a Democrat and I like that the GOP will now know we can rain on their parade.

  5. paulie

    Better yet will be when the LP makes it clear that we are not just “keeping the GOP honest” (lol, good luck) but disagree with them just as much as with the Democrats.

  6. George Phillies

    We have two party first-past-the-post elections. Our objective must be eliminating one of the current major parties. The Republicans appear to be the good choice, in that they are hard at work eliminating themselves. Every time a Republican loses, without exception, Libertarians gain.

  7. Oliver Steinberg

    Spoiler? How can you spoil a system that is already rotten with unaccountable corporate campaign expenditures (a.k.a. bribes-in-all-but-name)? As has been said, we don’t have elections we have auctions. Talk about an “entitlement mentality”—these Republicans (or Democrats in other cases) have this arrogant conviction that they possess some sort of proprietary right to every citizen’s suffrage. The role of third parties is to “test drive” new ideas or controversial reforms and if they gain enough support from voters to hold a balance of electoral power, then one or both of the professional political parties will swipe their platform in order to lure back the disgruntled voters. Far from spoiling anything, third parties are essential because their presence helps prevent two serious flaws of the two-party system: First, the deadlock arising from stalemated partisan polarization; or, conversely, the proclivity of both big parties to tacitly ignore important needed reforms which are thought to be politically controversial. Third parties are the remedy for this.
    It bears repeating: in the wake of “Citizens United” and associated court rulings which have declared that money is speech and corporations are persons, we now have a “spoiled system” which puts the Andrew-Jackson-era “spoils system” to shame.
    I’m glad I stumbled onto this website.

  8. Roger Roots


    Perhaps never have such claims about the impact of campaign spending been less true. “We don’t have elections; we have auctions.” Really?

    The wretched statist Dick Morris has a great column out regarding Tuesday’s election. He points out that the massive dollar amount of campaign spending in swing states had LITTLE OR NO impact on the vast majority of voters. Voters in Ohio and Florida, he points out, predictably vote according to their own demographic group. Married whites vote overwhelmingly Republican, unmarried women for Democrats, Blacks for Democrats, Cubans in Florida for Republicans, Puerto Ricans in Florida for Democrats, etc. No amount of money can sway them.

    Of course, Libertarians could do much more if we had more money, but the claim that money and money alone dictates election outcomes is simply untrue.

  9. Oliver Steinberg

    RR@9 . . . I didn’t make the claim that money and money alone dictates election outcomes. If you read that into my post, you have concocted a straw man to pummel. I said that money has “spoiled” the system, that elections have become auctions, and the presence of large sums of money tends to corrupt. But ideas do still matter, and I say so.
    I am aware of the existence of voting blocs and group voting patterns but I wouldn’t be as reductionist or formulaic about it as Dick Morris sounds in your excerpt from him. Of course, he’s trying to work his way out of the embarrassment of his Nov. 4 Fox News prophecy of a big Romney win. Dick Morris is such a fount of wisdom, he predicted Romney to win “by quite a bit”–325 to 213. Practical politicians have always sought to “balance” tickets with ethnic and religious variety. There are keener pundits than Morris, and plenty of them. His categories are crude and self-serving as he forges his alibi.
    I myself am a married white male and wouldn’t vote for a Republican unless they held a gun to my head, which come to think of it they may very well do next time.
    The corrosive, smothering impact of unlimited and unaccountable money in the election campaigns is not theoretical, it’s what I’ve witnessed. Two recent instances were quite vivid: The Wisconsin recall election last spring and the Michele Bachmann congressional race this year where she had $20 million to spend on a mere House district.

    Too much imbalance in political expenditures does warp the playing field; the self-financers may be less vulnerable then the common politicians to the implied bribery of taking money from them what has it, but usually have a few of their own pet objects in mind. The citizen of modest or limited means has modest or limited chance of prevailing in an election against a big spending opponent, despite any superior merit or qualification for the position.

    140 years ago a Wisconsin lawyer (later state chief justice) asked: “Which shall rule–wealth or man; which shall lead–money or intellect; who shall public stations–educated and patriotic free men, or the feudal serfs of corporate capital.”

    The politicians themselves feel trapped and obliged to devote huge amounts of time to fund-raising instead of doing the job they were elected to do, but being politicians and therefore cowards and conformists by nature they knuckle under and play the game. Those who donate large sums of money rarely do so for altruistic reasons. You don’t get rich by giving it away. They are making an investment and expect to get dividends.

    Furthermore, the corporate news media simply write off any campaign not funded with millions of dollars. It’s tough enough to get news coverage when you field a third party ticket but unless you have the money of a Ross Perot or a Michael Bloomberg, you’re beneath media notice. This you can hardly dispute.

  10. Oliver Steinberg

    “who shall fill public stations” fixes the typo in the quotation in my preceding post.

  11. Starchild

    Although I see government power (that attracts money and lobbyists) and not money as the fundamental problem, I’m with Oliver @8 insofar as I also discourage people from applying the term “spoiler” to alternative parties and candidates.

    A much better use of the term is to remind people that the Republican and Democratic parties are spoiling democracy by maintaining their two-party cartel that shuts alternative candidates out of debates, tries to keep them off ballots, and so on! A common fear among those who have yet to make it off the cartel plantation is that voting for non-cartel candidates will cause one cartel candidate to win over another, so using language that implicitly reinforces this view of elections is not in our interests.

    People need to realize that their single vote will not affect the outcome of any national election. You have a better chance of being struck by lightening, winning a casino jackpot, or getting hit by a bus on the way to the polls. If the results of a presidential election are even as close as a few hundred votes apart, it will in all likelihood be decided by the courts anyway, as it was in the once-in-a-lifetime-close 2000 election. The odds of a single vote changing the outcome of even a state election are still extremely low.

    Most elections are essentially opinion polls — individual voters are simply giving their opinions, not determining who wins. That is reality, and the more voters can be led to understand it, the fewer of them will be misled by the establishment into voting their fears based on how they expect other people to vote, instead of voting for the best candidate.

    As Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has been wisely reminding people, the only “wasted vote” is a vote for a candidate you can’t believe in.

  12. Oliver Steinberg

    note to Roger Roots @9: Cuban Americans in Florida voted 49 to 47 for Obama, according to exit polls. My thought is that bloc voting is real and indeed is one of the most enduring features in US elections, but the allegiance of blocs can and occasionally does shift. Before the New Deal, those African Americans who could vote, voted Republican. Whites in the South voted Democratic, until LBJ put the Civil Rights Acts through Congress in the 1960’s. Policies matter, ideologies are influential, and the way issues are “framed” in what passes for public discourse is critical. The problem with money in politics is it drowns out debate, giving an advantage to manipulators of mob psychology who relentlessly monopolize channels of mass communication. Ordinary citizens can’t be heard even to the limited extent which used to be possible. N.Y. Times analysis of Obama’s re-election thinks that his campaign’s massive, hugely expensive negative advertising against Romney in the early summer is what ultimately decided the outcome.

  13. Oliver Steinberg

    Starchild @12 has a point; the magnetic attraction of power is the lure for lobbyists, politicians, and all who seek to profit at public expense. Maybe it’s a chicken-and-egg situation. And even if tax-funded “res publica”-style government were trivialized or neutered, we would all be governed anyway–by religious establishments, by employers, by family obligations, by fear of the police, by destiny.

    The two party system, it seems to me, is partly an artifact of our constitutional structure and our winner-take-all elections, and partly an expression of human nature. One party will be Tories and one Whigs, no matter how you label them! If we had a parliamentary system, choosing the executive from among the legislative representatives, I expect we’d have more flourishing third party choices. As for the much-touted proportional voting schemes such as ranked-choice voting, I’m not sold on them since I strongly believe in “one person, one vote” as a core principle of representation. At any rate, I don’t advocate monkeying with the Constitution to alter the two-party system, although I’d like to subdue or abolish the Electoral College.

  14. Brian Holtz

    even if tax-funded “res publica”-style government were trivialized or neutered, we would all be governed anyway–by religious establishments, by employers, by family obligations, by fear of the police, by destiny

    Libertarians don’t want to abolish governance (i.e. rules and rule enforcement). We just want to abolish aggression (i.e. force initiation and fraud). As our Platform says: “force and fraud must be banished from human relationships”.

    Libertarians do not accept that aggression is inevitable, and oppose it from any source: governments, priests, employers, relatives, and police.

  15. Gigi Bowman

    I personally got chewed out by someone for this. Dan Cox was one of my Libertarian Liberty Candidates. For your amusement read the following letter addressed to me:

    What an a– holes you guys are… way to help elect a lib senator… you guys are disgrace.
    You’re a joke and a yokel… and you smug attitude will be portrayed thought out the state… I’m a pissed of conservative that is tired of having liberty hating jerk offs like yourself handing elections to the liberals… I was right you nothing more than an American hating lib … way to go.

    How much did that fat pig of a person Tester give your guys to run? You want to shit all over your local elections and think your making some sort of a difference fine. But you just screwed me and my kids. You have shit for brains and you a political moron with no moral compass.
    YOU young morons are a political idiots… politics is creating a big tent and working from within. You don’t win by limiting your appeal. You don’t win by giving up your political philosophy… you win by expanding the tent and convincing people. You clowns did a hell of job … just enough to ensure the conservative with a chance to win was defeated.

    The tea party had made good strides and I know this, a chimpanzee would be better than a liberal democrat who you elected. Even the clown Ron Paul figured it out.

    You have no understanding of liberty or of how to maintain it… you’re a caricature, a cartoon who has created this vision of pure liberty. I’m a realist that love’s our country and will compromise to get what I want incrementally (I know that’s big word but break it down via each syllable) … it’s called the art of politics.

    Hey there’s this guy named Bill Buckley you should read him sometime but you probably think he was to moderate … Patriot act very scary.

    That ad also made attention nationwide… do you know who put it on the air? Tester’s friends… ya think it’s true???? You’re not only a political moron but you are now a democratic liberal dup.

    All the best and don’t stop taking your meds

    Sam Stovall

  16. Jed Siple

    Please explain how “I would have won if it wasn’t for that darn Libertarian!” is any less ridiculous than “I would have won if it wasn’t for that darn Democrat!”?

    There were 3 candidates in this race, not just two. You lost. So did we. Get over it.

  17. Erik Viker

    The “spoiler” fallacy effect incorrectly assumes votes belong to one of only two political candidates. No candidate “steals votes” from a different candidate. A vote is given by a voter to whomever that voter chooses. No vote is taken from anyone because no vote is granted in advance of it being cast. If there are more than two choices, the election is still decided based on the total numbers of votes gained by each candidate. When enough voters choose better government, then a candidate other than the usual D and R failures will win the election.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *