A Couple Mainstream Articles Dismiss Talk of Sarvis as “Spoiler”

There was much discussion before yesterday’s election in the media and here on IPR about Robert Sarvis acting as a spoiler in the Virginia race for governor.
Today, the day after the election, at least two articles help to dispel that possibility.

Posted to Time

Stop Scapegoating Third Party Candidates for Election Results

By Nick Gillespie
November 6, 2013

Even before yesterday’s election, Republicans were ready to blame Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s looming defeat to Democrat Terry McAuliffe on Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis. “A Vote for Sarvis is a Vote for McAuliffe” argued one Cuccinelli supporter.

With the final count in, expect Republican anger at the Libertarian “spoiler” to grow exponentially. McAuliffe, who had enjoyed a double-digit lead at various points in during campaign, won with just 48 percent of the vote to Cuccinelli’s 46 percent. The Libertarian Sarvis ended up pulling almost 7 percent, far more than enough to tip the election the other way.

But to blame a major-party loss on third-party candidates is fundamentally mistaken. First off, it ignores data that the Libertarian pulled more votes from the Democratic candidate than he did from the Republican one—an exit poll of Sarvis voters showed that they would have voted for McAuliffe by a two-to-one margin over Cucinelli. Second, and far more important, it presumes that all potential votes somehow really “belong” to either Democrats or Republicans. That’s simply wrong and it does a real disservice to American politics.

Read more: Stop Scapegoating third-Party Candidates for Election Results

Trevor Lymon of Liberty Crier posts an article from Washington Post , which provides exit data that seemingly dispels any concerns that Sarvis only took votes from Cuccinelli:

A lot of commenters (with unknown intentions) on The Liberty Crier and around the web have been calling Robert Sarvis (Libertarian) a spoiler in the recent Virginia Gubernatorial elections. They cite that a Democratic group donated to Sarvis in an attempt to take votes away from the Republican candidate.

It turns out that Sarvis took twice as many votes from the Democrats than from the Republicans. His election results are colored beige in the graph below:

exit poll

The rest of Mr. Lymon’s article can be read here , along with updated election returns.

There is another excellent article on the topic by Nick Gillespie of Reason : Read This If You Believe Your Candidate Lost Due To Third-Party Voters .

36 thoughts on “A Couple Mainstream Articles Dismiss Talk of Sarvis as “Spoiler”

  1. Matt Cholko

    After the crap pulled by the Cuccinelli campaign over the last week or so, I wish the results showed differently. I’d love it if I could say “Yup, Sarvis cost you the election”.

    I’ve been reminded of just how low the GOP scum are. Fuck ’em.

  2. Steven Wilson

    I truly believe if the Republicans would stop going nutball religious they would win more elections. They used to hide it better but now it is overt. Some, like Cruz, don’t even make an attempt to hide it.

  3. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I agree, Steven. They need to give up on trying to legislate everyone’s sex life. If they won’t, they deserve to die a slow and excruciating death (like what’s happening now).

  4. Rick Adams

    I have no sympathy for Ken Cuccinelli or his butthurt supporters that have been trolling Robert Sarvis’s Facebook page almost non stop since Monday.

  5. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    They look like a bunch of crybabies to me (Cuccinelli and his suppoerters).

  6. Jose C

    One of the reasons Cuccinelli lost the election is because three counties near Washington DC (north eastern Virginia) had a majority of voters that voted for the Democrat. The majority of people who live in those three counties are federal government employees. Absent those government employee voters Cuccinelli would have won the election.

    He almost did win because voters are fed up with Obamacare and the failed roll out.

  7. Matt Cholko

    As a resident of northern VA, and one of the counties that Jose mentions (Fairfax County), I can assure you that the majority of people that live in those counties ARE NOT government employees. Certainly, there are many Feds here. There are many more who are suckling at the government teat in one way or another (government contractors, mostly). But, lets be accurate. Even here in metro DC, most people aren’t working for the government.

    Further, I can assure you that many of the people who do work for the federal government, and many of the teat sucklers, understand the damage that government does. They see the problems first hand.

    I’m not trying to defend the leeches, just explaining the reality of the situation here in the DC area.

  8. Matt Cholko

    IMHO, the primary reason that northern VA leans Democrat is the social progressive leanings of the population. Not the economic stuff, as many people seem to assume.

  9. Bill Wood

    Just my two cents. I know 4 people who voted for Sarvis. If he had not been on the ballot those people would have either voted for the democrat or they wouldn’t have voted.

  10. paulie

    Cuccinelli did better than expected. Looks like he fooled some Sarvis voters into switching to him in the end with the smear campaign of falsehoods.

  11. DSZ

    I wouldn’t be so quick to criticize all government workers and contractors as leeches, Matt. People get whatever work they can. I’ve known folks who have worked for the liberty movement who knowingly support government downsizing that would eliminate their job. Do you call elected Libertarian Soil and Water board members who want to eliminate their position leeches? No, you call them courageous. Also what about people who work positions that would still exist if divorced from government, such as in museums or road building? Should they just cross off their employers until they one day become private? This is the kind of rhetoric that drives away people who might actually help you make “leeches” non-leeches.

  12. paulie

    Well, in a sense they are leeches. But it is also true that many of them realize the system is screwed up and they take the money because they need it and someone is going to take it if they didn’t. It is possible for both of those things to be true, which they are. I’ve survived through charity at times. So yeah, I have been a leech. And I’ve had government contracts and government jobs (work-study in college, airport weather readings, military contracting, etc). So in that sense I was a leech. I don’t have a problem with that descriptor. You are probably correct that it’s not the best terminology to use with a general audience, since many people don’t like to think of themselves like that even if they realize the system they live off of is wrong and rotten.

  13. Rick Adams

    I think Paulie is right that the last minute anti-Sarvis smear campaign by Cuccinelli’s spin doctors in the conservative media did hurt Sarvis but it obviously wasnt enough for Ken to pull through… serves him right for trying to slander a good man like Rob Sarvis.

  14. Matt Cholko

    I agree that it isn’t an appropriate term to use with the general public. If I were giving a campaign speech, I certainly would use it (no, I’m not running for anything right now). But, I don’t think it is inaccurate, and I don’t see a problem using it on a Libertarian thread on IPR.

  15. Jose C

    DSZ

    I disagree. The election night analysts at CNN and Fox News mentioned the counties in north east Virginia as having a majority of federal government employees and as a factor in the election. Mark Lavin also talked about this in his radio show.

  16. paulie

    You would do well not to listen to much of what Levin says. There are a lot of federal employees in NoVA but a majority?

  17. J.D.

    I perceive Libertarianism to be a radical, syncretic, and progressive political philosophy that can’t be accurately placed anywhere on the standard American political spectrum. Despite that if I were forced to I would place it more to the left if I had to chart it. Sarvis ran to the left of that and clearly pulled more liberals than conservatives.

  18. J.D.

    Very good article Paulie. I have read snipets from folks like Rothbard but I have never taken the time to sit down and read a complete work. Was Rothbard the libertarian that actually tried to work with the Peace and Freedom Party?

    Also, did you read the old Libertarian Forum article where they rated Benjamin Spock as more socially Libertarian than John Hospers. It’s a pretty good read. I could try and find it if you haven’t seen it.

  19. paulie

    Very good article Paulie. I have read snipets from folks like Rothbard but I have never taken the time to sit down and read a complete work.

    This one was actually Roderick Long, building off an article Rothbard wrote 40 years before that one.

    Was Rothbard the libertarian that actually tried to work with the Peace and Freedom Party?

    Yes, among others. A whole group of libertarians were involved in the Peace and Freedom Party at one time.

    Also, did you read the old Libertarian Forum article where they rated Benjamin Spock as more socially Libertarian than John Hospers. It’s a pretty good read. I could try and find it if you haven’t seen it.

    I don’t recall ever reading that, although the premise is not surprising.

  20. Andy

    “paulie November 7, 2013 at 8:27 pm
    You would do well not to listen to much of what Levin says. There are a lot of federal employees in NoVA but a majority?”

    Don’t forget about all of the government contractors (federal, as well as state and local), plus all of the state and local government employees in NOVA. Then factor in all of the retired government employees. Then you’ve got to wonder how many welfare recipients there are, plus how many people work in occupations that are protected by the state, or that only exist because of big government policies (like income tax preparers, etc..).

  21. Andy

    “paulie November 8, 2013 at 12:52 am
    After that, remember everyone who ever went to a government school, or a government park, or used government roads…”

    I don’t know if this is an attempt at humor or not, but this is not a valid comparison. The groups I mentioned above constitute a very large voting block of people who high tendency to vote for more government.

  22. Matt Cholko

    Again, I have no hard data to back this up, just 33 years of observations from my time living here in NoVA. I am reasonably sure that the Democratic party lean of this area is primarily due to the socially progressive nature of many of the people here. Certainly there are plenty who support big government for big government’s sake. But, its not like everyone who works for the federal government thinks that way. Not even close.

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