As a Libertarian I find myself always confronted with a conundrum come election day: Should I vote for the Libertarian Party candidate who more closely aligns with my convictions or vote for the lesser of two evils– usually a Republican– who stands a chance of winning. Well, thanks to the choices and results in this mid-term election, this will no longer be an issue for me to grapple with in Georgia.
As of this writing it appears almost certain that Brian Kemp is now our governor-elect, and that the paltry one percent vote for the Libertarian Party candidate will not be enough to force a run-off. Apparently enough Libertarians felt that the prospect of a far-left candidate like Stacey Abrams becoming our next governor was bridge too far, and that at least two out of three voters who traditionally vote Libertarian for governor choose instead to vote for the “lesser of two evils.” Historically, the Libertarian Party garners two to three percent for the top of the ticket.
That wasn’t true, though, for a couple of down-ticket candidates for Secretary of State and Public Service Commissioner, District 3. The Libertarian candidates received 2.2 percent and 2.7 percent respectively– thereby forcing a December 4th runoff. In the case of Secretary of State this is especially worrisome because the risk of having a Democrat elected looms large. If that were to happen it could put Georgia in play in the 2020 presidential election, where it otherwise would not.
Just imagine if Abrams was the Secretary of State instead of Kemp in this election cycle. With her strategy of enfranchising people who are not legally qualified to vote in Georgia; i.e. dead people, people under legal voting age, people no longer legally residing in the state, and “documented and undocumented aliens” (her words, not mine), she could use that office to steal the election. Doing so is a time-honored tradition of the Democrat Party. Lyndon Johnson did it to win his second run for U.S. senator in Texas. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley did it to help John Kennedy win the presidency in 1960. Al Franken stole his Senate seat in Minnesota by Democrats “finding” votes months after the election.
To Kemp’s credit, he fought to preserve the integrity of the vote by making sure that only those legally entitled to vote were able to, thereby invoking the charge of “suppressing” the vote by his opponent–which in Democrat circles is a code word for “racism.”
Which brings me back to the role that the Libertarian Party of Georgia plays in our electoral process. In Georgia the only role it can play is a destructive one. Libertarians take votes away from Republicans, not Democrats. And as the demographics of the state becomes increasingly purple, it threatens a Democrat takeover. Some Libertarians, although not this one, argue that the difference in the two major parties is not significant enough to make a difference when it comes to governance. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Democrats are enamored with big government. It is their holy grail: More taxes, more spending, more regulation, a belief that government is better suited to make decisions on how we should live our lives, both personally and professionally. Those are the drivers which animate the Left.
Republicans offer an alternative vision, albeit inconsistently. Yet if Libertarians are ever to move the needle to more limited government, they can only do so by working within the one major party that can win. And in today’s Republican Party of Georgia there are many avenues to exert influence in that direction. I know for a fact that there are Republican elected officials in Georgia who are libertarians, and in their capacities are working to achieve libertarian ends. I recently attended the Georgia Republican Assembly convention in Kennesaw, where delegates passed resolutions thoroughly consistent with the Libertarian political philosophy of limited, Constitutional government.
Moreover, Libertarians have a seat at the table within the Republican Party because we have a great and compelling political philosophy. It is what has shaped the thinking and actions of our founders.
But if Libertarians continue to waste their time and resources by becoming spoilers, they will achieve the opposite result: Democratic hegemony within a state whose legacy has historically been a stopgap against the big government agendas of Hollywood elites and Northeastern liberals.
Lance Lamberton is the chairman of the Cobb Taxpayers Association and served as the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Policy Information under President Ronald Reagan.