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More Libertarian Frustration

Max Stearns

Please look at the libertarian voting in the remaining states. These are rapidly moving targets, and the point here is not precise numerical accuracy, which is changing. Rather is to put the lie to the claim that libertarians have not posed a genuine risk of harming the prospect of defeating Donald Trump.

As of this writing (almost 9 am Thursday November 5), this is the breakdown based on CNN reporting among Biden, Trump, and Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgenson:


Biden: 1,469,341 (68,390 lead)

Trump: 1,400,951

Jorgensen: 39,761


Trump: 2,431,724

Biden: 2,413,184 (18,540 deficit)

Jorgensen: 60,382

North Carolina

Trump: 2,732,120

Biden: 2.655,383 (76,737 deficit)

Jorgensen: 47,215


Biden: 588,252 (7647 lead)

Trump: 580,605

Jorgensen : 11,068


Trump: 3,215,969

Biden: 3,051,555 (164,414 deficit)

Jorgensen: 73,081

In Georgia, libertarian voting exceeds the Biden deficit. In North Carolina, it's closer to two thirds, in Pennsylvania, it would cut the deficit nearly in half. In those states the libertarian vote might well end up exceeding the deficit, assuming one remains, as the votes roll in. The states in which Biden is leading could flip, with libertarian voting producing the same adverse effect.

I have spent five years arguing with libertarians about (1) voting at all, and (2) not voting third party. This has been a singular frustration. It is certainly possible--and certainly there was no way libertarians could have known otherwise--that the libertarian vote could cost one or more of these states and with them the election. It is deeply upsetting.

I have said over and over again: Voting is not to make you feel good; it is to have you do good, especially when others lives and well being are at stake.

I often hear from libertarians that they are such a small slice of the population that their votes simply don't matter, so don't worry about them. This is fundamentally misguided. We are an almost entirely evenly divided nation. EVERY VOTE MATTERS.

Please let me explain what I mean because I can hear the rejoinder already--no election turns on one vote. Sure. But if libertarians (1) voted, (2) voted specifically Biden, and (3) announced loudly, clearly, and unambiguously that this one time they were sacrificing their ideal principles to ensure Trump is defeated, others would hear that and do the same.

This is rather like a charitable match. One gift often leads to many. Ironically, I contributed to just such a match on election day at the behest of one libertarian non-voter who claimed, again and again, no moral obligation to vote. I did the match both because it was a good cause, and also to prove there is absolutely no conflict between giving to charity and voting. I offered to talk to this voter personally by phone or zoom only to find out that this Virginia resident had never bothered registering to vote.

What Biden might have needed more than rebuilding the blue wall was defeating the libertarian wall. You know, the one that election upon election I wish to bang my head against.

[A postscript: Ilya Somin (George Mason Scalia Law) pushed back claiming that without data on which way Libertarians would split, it's not necessarily true these votes would have tipped any state Biden's way. That's a fair point. I do think that those not voting Trump, the incumbent, and a profoundly problematic one at that, more likely would vote Biden if forced to choice. I will concede we lack rank choice data. Even if the split were 2/3 Biden, 1/3 Trump, this could make a critical difference in razor thin contests.]

Comments welcome. And hoping for a better tomorrow.

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