2012 Libertarian congressional candidate now running as a liberal Democrat

Michael Cole

Michael Cole was a 2012 Libertarian Party congressional candidate who ran in Texas’s newly created 36th district. The election was won by Steve Stockman, who was endorsed by the Constitution Party’s 2008 and 2004 presidential candidates Chuck Baldwin and Michael Peroutka, respectively, as well as Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips. Stockman supported Ron Paul during his 1988 Libertarian bid for the White House and according to sources reportedly cast a write-in vote for Baldwin in 2008.

Texas 36th Congressional District 2012 [28]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Republican Steve Stockman 165,405 70.74%
Democratic Max Martin 62,143 26.58%
Libertarian Michael K. Cole 6,284 2.69%
Totals 233,832 100.0%


Michael Cole received less than the statewide average for Libertarian congressional candidates in Texas in 2012, which was 3.22%. He was endorsed by Gigi Bowman’s Liberty Candidates in that race. In the questionnaire he answered for the website, Cole criticized the Federal Reserve, spoke against corporate welfare, stimulus money, nation-building, criticized the U.N. and spoke in favor of reinstating the election of U.S. Senators by state legislators by repealing the 17th amendment. Surprisingly for a Libertarian candidate, when asked about Agenda 21, Cole stated that he had not heard of it.

On July 14th, 2013, Cole posted a photo on his campaign Facebook page indicating he was running as a Democrat for the seat in 2014. Three days later, he posted the following status about Obamacare:

The landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) began delivering important new benefits and protections to tens of millions of American families almost immediately after it was signed into law by President Obama. But the largest benefits of the law will become available to consumers on October 1, 2013, when
health insurance marketplaces open in all 50 states. These marketplaces will offer individuals, families, and small businesses an efficient, transparent one-stop shop to compare health insurance policies, receive financial assistance, and sign up for high-quality, affordable, and secure insurance coverage.

Then, on July 30th, Cole posted the following photo:

Afterwards, several donating pleas appearing on the page asking supporters to help “turn Texas blue.” On August 9th, the popular liberal website Daily Kos ran a positive article about Cole’s campaign. It can be found here.

20 thoughts on “2012 Libertarian congressional candidate now running as a liberal Democrat

  1. Oranje Mike

    Sounds like an opportunistic troll or he was a plant to help divert votes away from the Republican.

  2. Dave

    I don’t see much he can gain, seeing it’s a pretty republican district. But maybe Mr. Cole has an ego and would like to get his name in a few papers. Or maybe he really has had a change of heart and become an Obama fan.

    I’d be curious to hear just why Mr. Cole had the strong shift in his positions. I’ve known several libertarians that have shifted left, but few of them became supporters of the mainstream Democratic party.

  3. Thane Eichenauer

    If these two Michael Cole’s are indeed one and the same person (I would assert there is at least a 1% chance they just have a common first and last name) then it shows that vetting Libertarian candidates is an important task.

    I always presume that vetting Republican and Democratic candidates isn’t all that relevant as the lust for power in most humans is as common as air.


  4. Nicholas Sarwark

    On a positive note, if a former LP candidate is going to decamp to one of the legacy parties, it’s nice to see someone decamp to the Democrats for a change.

    Infiltration is a strategy, though not my preferred one, and it’s better to have people with libertarian leanings in both the major parties.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp


    Well, it would be better if a “libertarian-leaning Democrat” emphasized issues that libertarians and liberals tend to agree on (ending marriage apartheid, for example) than promoting the ACA.

    Then again, a lot of allegedly “libertarian” Republicans do the same thing. I received a fundraising letter from a prominent “libertarian” Republican presidential candidate in 2008, emphasizing his support for marriage apartheid and not even mentioning his libertarian foreign policy views. Can’t remember the guy’s name. Ron something. From Texas, I think.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp


    Yeah, I seem to recall that the fundraising letter emphasized that, too. And abortion, which he took a conservative position on (of course, libertarians disagree on abortion).

  7. Andy

    “7 George Phillies // Aug 13, 2013 at 9:42 am

    @6 was he the fellow who viewed immigrants as a great threat to our country?”

    You mean like the George Phillies for President campaign for the LP nomination of 2008? Do you think that everyone forgot about that?

  8. Andy

    Remember, George Phillies talked about how the people of Europe “breathe free” now so America no long needs to welcome immigrants, and how you can’t have open borders and a welfare state at the same time, because you will go broke. Now he wants to flush these comments down the memory hole and hope that nobody remembers he said that. It doesn’t fit in too well with his smear campaign against and distortion of the views of Ron Paul.

  9. Andy

    “Oranje Mike // Aug 13, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Sounds like an opportunistic troll or he was a plant to help divert votes away from the Republican.”

    Plants in an organization. Oh come on, you must be one of those crazy conspiracy theorists. Everyone knows that this never happens.

    Government Spy Infiltrated Twin Cities Antiwar Groups Before FBI Raids

  10. George Phillies

    I didn’t forget it. “welcoming immigrants” and “having an open border” are not the same thing.

    I am happy to support the party platform on abortion, which is that government should have no role in this matter.

  11. George Phillies

    ” Surprisingly for a Libertarian candidate, when asked about Agenda 21, Cole stated that he had not heard of it.”

    There is no reason for Libertarians to be aware of far right wing conspiracy nonsense, other perhaps than to explain why it is far right wing conspiracy nonsense.

    The other issues listed in the article above the quote are not traditional liberal issues.

  12. Thomas L. Knapp

    KL @ 14,

    I’m not “bashing” Ron Paul. He’s a fascinating career politician whose approach to buying multiple congressional terms was opposite the conventional wisdom.

    Most career congresscritters raise their money telling closely aligned mainstream constituencies whatever those constituencies want to hear, and keep the votes in pocket by bringing the pork home to their districts.

    Paul raised his money by telling radically conflicting fringe national constituencies whatever they wanted to hear, counting on those constituencies not to notice him telling their opponents the exact opposite. And it worked. He had to be a little more aggressive with the pork to translate that money into incumbency, but hey, that worked too.

  13. Jed Siple

    Ron Paul was far from perfect, but I still voted for him. Not sure I’d do the same today.

    Also, I am a Libertarian who has never heard of Agenda 21. Sounds silly.

  14. Jill Pyeatt

    Jed, I’d love to send you some info on Agenda 21. If you’ll send me your email address (stone@altrionet.com), I’ll send you some links.

  15. George Williams

    Funny, we champion a Libertarian who flips to the GOP and bash one that goes to the Democrat Party. meaning that we do not like it when our Libertarians go to Democrats, but applaud greatly when they become corporate puppets of the GOP

    I think we need to get our Libertarian message out to both sides, liberty is not left or right.

  16. NewFederalist

    Since the Democrats are the ones who championed the ideas of both the Populists and the Socialists it seems to makes sense to me that they would be the ones to champion the ideas of the Libertarians. Republicans have not stood for anything since they opposed slavery. They only backed prohibition because they lost two presidential elections due to Prohibition party votes. The GOP is a truly lost cause.

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