Georgia Libertarians

There has been a lot of mention recently on Atlanta Metblogs, in passing, of the Libertarian Party and Libertarian candidates in Georgia. (You can read them here and here.) It seems our own James voted for Libertarian candidate Garrett Michael Hayes, as did a few of our readers and yours truly. I voted Libertarian pretty much across the board where I had the option.

While some might think it futile to vote for candidates destined to come in third, I can say that there was a singular sense of satisfaction in voting my beliefs, rather than in some misguided attempt to put “the lesser of two evils” into office. It was satisfying to say, in essence, i think both Republicans and Democrats are doing a supremely shitty job. I always wonder, though, just how many Libertarian-minded voters and independents there are out there who decline to vote their true political desires out of hatred for one of the big two parties.

It was heartening, though, to see that nationally, there were a few Libertarian candidates who actually took important votes from the big two (although it was probably from the Republican party). I knew that, Georgia being a primarily Republican state, any Libertarians who voted Libertarian would not be jeopardizing the Republican party’s candidates; Republicans would win with or without the Libertarian vote. (For the record, I would have voted Libertarian no matter what.) I wondered, though, just how many Georgians did vote Libertarian yesterday.

I had a hard time finding any concrete numbers in aggregate, but I did get an idea of the influence in particular races. For instance, if you look at the poll results on CNN.com for the Georgia gubernatorial race, you find the following:

(R) Perdue (Incumbent) 1,142,914 (58%)
(D) Taylor 761,673 (38%)
Libertarian Hayes 75,504 (4%)

I was pleasantly surprised by Hayes’ 75,000 and change, but I also wonder how many of those who voted Republican and Democrat might have done so to keep a particular party out of office, rather than because they particularly liked the candidate for whom they voted. How much higher could Hayes’ numbers feasibly have gone?

I also found it interesting to see how Hayes fared county by county. The highest percentage he received in any one county was 6% (in Cherokee, Clarke, Cobb, Dawson, Lumpkin, and Oconee.) I was pretty surprised to see 5% in my own county of Dekalb and in its neighbor Fulton. Most other counties reported 2, 3, or 4% of the votes were Libertarian.

Anyway, it seems we are still stuck with the same old crackers, but it is nice to see that I am not alone in my dissatisfaction with both the Republican and Democratic parties or in my exercising my right to vote as an Independent.

Read more about the Libertarian Party here or the Libertarian Party in Georgia here.

25 Comments so far

  1. Audacity (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 6:17 pm

    ..there were a few Libertarian candidates who actually took important votes from the big two (although it was probably from the Republican party).

    I wouldn’t underestimate the number of the Democrats here in Georgia who voted for Hayes to express their dissatisfaction with Taylor.


  2. Audacity (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 6:18 pm

    ..there were a few Libertarian candidates who actually took important votes from the big two (although it was probably from the Republican party).

    I wouldn’t underestimate the number of the Democrats here in Georgia who voted for Hayes to express their dissatisfaction with Taylor.


  3. Lori (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

    Audacity – I have to agree. I know many off hand.


  4. Annie (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 7:31 pm

    Audacity and Lori – I am glad to hear that Democrats are considering Libertarians too!


  5. ed (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 8:24 pm

    Audacity, it really doesn’t matter how many Dems voted Libertarian because they dont like Taylor, they were clearly as insignificant this time as they always are.


  6. james (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 9:32 pm

    “It seems our own James voted for Libertarian candidate Garrett Michael Hayes, as did a few of our readers and yours truly. I voted Libertarian pretty much across the board where I had the option.”

    actually, i also voted for every single libertarian that showed up on the ballot.


  7. Stephen (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 9:57 pm

    Remember, the lesser of two evils is still evil. I voted for every Libertarian listed. (And did not vote for ANY candidate running unopposed… how depressing is that!!!)


  8. chad (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 2:24 am

    I also voted Libertarian across the board, even the ones with crappy websites, which normally I find inexcusable. It would be interesting to see how many people would have voted Libertarian if not too busy being “strategic” with their voting. However, I think the numbers would still be small, perhaps 10-15 percent. It’s a difficult political position to grasp when you are educated to believe that more government is the only thing that can solve our problems.


  9. meh (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 8:20 am

    I, for one, encourage all dissatisfied conservatives to vote Libertarian. It makes it easier for Democrats to win.


  10. meh (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 8:33 am

    Oh yeah. It’s not my place to tell anyone what to write about here (free speech and all), but the Libertarian circle-jerk that’s been going on around here lately has been quite vexing. In fact, I’ve stopped reading for weeks at a time because of it.

    Hopefully it will die down now that the election is over. Because I really have much more interest in reading discussions about recent and upcoming activities in and around the city than I do in cheap plugs for an ideology I find 85% reprehensible.

    Thank You and Good Day.


  11. Annie (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 9:39 am

    Meh, I’m sorry that my post has vexed you. I would just hate to vex anyone. Unfortunately, I will probably still post about things that interest me about Atlanta, including both Atlanta activities AND politics. I’m sorry you found a discussion of my political beliefs a “cheap plug,” but they are very real and important beliefs to me, and evidently to a few other readers.

    Does Creative Loafing vex you? Seems they write about upcoming events AND city politics also. I guess my point is that you seemed to be annoyed because I’m writing about politics that you happen to disagree with. Would you have been so quick to vexation if we were just plowing away, discussing the same old big two parties? I doubt it. Seems that one thing Republicans and Dems have in common is a hatred for political competition. Strange bedfellows. I am picturing Nancy, Hilary, and Barack in bed with GW, Rummy, and Condi, a sleepover of rival cliques, whispering plans to each other on how to get those unpopular Libertarian kids uninvited to the party. But I digress. . . .

    Anyway, i hope that you keep reading – I like the different points of view. It is my favorite thing about metblogs.


  12. meh (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 11:44 am

    Annie. I honestly like your writing and how you humbly respond to comments and criticism. A+. And as I said, it’s not my place to say what’s acceptable content for the Metblog here.

    But you, james and Daniel Moore are the most frequent posters to the site and you each seem to take special glee in announcing or dropping hints at your party affiliation. But I’ve not really seen any reasons why you’ve chosen that affiliation. It comes across as “Libertarian: The Least of THREE evils!” It seems to me its most oft used selling point is that Libs aren’t Democrats OR Republicans, as if that in and of itself is a badge of honor.

    Trust me, I’m aware of all the Libertarian platitudes; they’re a dime a dozen on the ‘net. For all the promises, I’ve never seen a Libertarian point to a concrete accomplishment as a governing philosophy. It’s the empty-suit cockiness that libertarians are, by default, more preferable than the other 2 parties that’s the source of my vexation.

    I’m all for discussing policies. Like why the Atlanta Beltline is good or bad, or rational suggestions for reducing traffic or crime or whatnot. But I’ve rarely heard a Libertarian suggestion that wasn’t based on some kind of pipe dream.

    So I guess what I’m saying is, be more specific in your advocacy or take the discussion out of the realm of party politics altogether. Though I admit that’s impossible if one plans to discuss an election.

    And actually, I only read C.Loafing about twice a year.


  13. james (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 1:30 pm

    meh – i think i have only actually discussed my political leanings in the one post i made on tuesday about how i voted, although i did poke some fun at cynthia mckinney and often let my adoration of shirley franklin show.) but your points are valid, and an explanation is fair.

    i’m not sure what you mean by ’empty suit cockiness’ but i will try to provide some context at least for MY vote and why it isn’t just a default choice.

    YES my vote was a protest vote. i believe in low taxes, the minimum of government services required to maintain order, provide a social safety net and complete services for the benefit of all that are to costly for private enterprise to conduct (i.e. the interstate highway system, landing a man on the moon, and perhaps the beltline,) and that the government should stay the hell out of people’s private lives until they are affecting the well-being of others. actually it is a lack of agreement on the safety net point and the ‘services for the benefit of all’ that keep me from truly being a libertarian.

    i am truthfully a disgruntled republican. in 1994 i watched a party take power founded in the principles of lower taxes, lower spending, fiscal responsibility and privitization where possible. that party now outspends the democratic congress that they replace, and i for one, am glad they got defeated nationally. and that is also why i voted libertarian wherever possible. of the three parties they are now the closest to where i stand on the issues that i feel are most important for government to focus on.

    of course they cannot point to anything concrete. they’ve never been afforded the opportunity to govern, so they really have nothing but slogans and proposals. and yes, i am a realist, i know my vote wasn’t going to elect anybody, just as much as my vote for myself for 5th congressional district wasn’t going to keep john lewis out of congress.

    i guess alternatively i could have not voted, and i truthfully toyed with the idea. but then i determined i would give my vote to the candidate or party whose beliefs at least somewhat matched my own.

    hope that makes sense even if you don’t agree and puts the discussion in a more substantive place.

    cheers :-)


  14. Annie (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

    Aw, shucks, Meh. . . how can i respond to such glowing praise? Methinks you might be buttering me up.

    Um, concerning your last point: I was discussing the election, was I not? Wasn’t James in his most recent post? I think so.

    I see your point – you see Libertarian ideals as a pipe dream. I get that. I don’t agree with it, but I get it. I don’t agree that I “take glee” in my political affiliation. In fact, i should point out here that I am not a card-carrying member of the Libertarian party. I consider myself an independent. The Liberts just happen to most closely mirror my beliefs. Some of those include: The importance of individual responsibility, one’s right to practice any religion or no religion, the right to do whatever I want with my own body, and the right of others to do the same, a right to privacy, financial freedom (do not get me started on social security), the right to own a weapon. I also feel very strongly that our welfare state is not only unfair to those of us who work hard to take responsibility for our lives, but a detriment to the development of those it claims to help. I won’t bore you with any more “platitudes.”

    This is all very real and very important to me. I do not see it as the lesser of three evils, nor did I say that as far as I remember. I said that i wished less people voted the “lesser of TWO evils” method. I see Libertarianism as a solution to some of the problems I see with the policies of our country. I don’t think any one political party will fix everything; unfortunately, as myself and others have mentioned, we don’t believe government is capable or responsible for fixing our lives. That is up to the individual. Did I also mention that I am quite the Darwinist? I think that there are always going to be some people who fail, who starve, who die of their stupidity and their inability to take care of themselves. No political party or particular type of government is going to change the basic nature of mankind.

    Was that clear enough for you? That is where I stand. I did not vote Libertarian to spite the other two parties – I wrote a few days ago on my personal blog that i voted my heart and my beliefs.

    Again, sorry you are vexed by the Libertarian cockiness (I find it sets my modest blogging and commenting style off nicely, though, no?), but do you honestly find that any proponent of a particular party is not cocky about said party? Be honest. You think Dems don’t think GW is cocky? Or do you think there isn’t a lot of democratic gloating taking place this week? Please.

    p.s. Being neither a Republican or a Democrat IS a badge of honor in my book. Thanks for another compliment.

    And in all seriousness, keep reading. You are a smart, interesting commenter.


  15. chad (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

    Meh, uh, dude, “empty-suit cockiness” is a great phrase, and I know the swaggering type, but that doesn’t represent all Libertarians. Seems like you are more interested in the psychology of why someone would become a Libertarian. I will admit that calling oneself a Libertarian is easy because the party has never won office to any significant degree, hence there is less to defend. But it is painfully apparent to me that Libertarianism, in whatever form or party or influence, is the only thing that will remedy the unsightly pernicious growth, corruption and incompetency of big government. Whether it’s a group of Libertarian Republicans or Libertarian Democrats or the actual Libertarian Party, it’s all the same to me. However, recent years have shown us that neither of our big two could care less about the ballooning mess of government.

    As far as what Metblogging Atlanta *should* be writing about, well, that seems to me to be up to the writers. I’d rather hear about politics than the flippin beltline. But then again, I’d rather hear about all the wonderful original music coming out of Atlanta right now than any of it. But it is a blog after all, and people write about what seems pertinent. I suppose you could join them if you asked.


  16. Annie (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 3:55 pm

    Well-said, James and Chad. Chad, maybe YOU should apply for a metblogs job. I would also love to hear more about the Atlanta original music scene, but alas, I am not remotely cool enough to write about it. Childbirth seems to do that to a girl.


  17. meh (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 11:18 pm

    I should have seen this coming, but I really did not intend for this thread to become a referendum on libertarianism in general. But as a sociopolitically astute observer, I noticed a lurch in the discourse on the AtlMetBlog over the past few months. Not necessarily open advocacy, but off-hand comments dropped here and there that revealed leanings and tendencies. I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it except for that the comments were nearly universal in there pro-liberarianism. (At least that’s the impression I walked away with. Only a full accounting will confirm that I’m not off my gourd.)

    So wanted to post a note that there’s probably a portion of the audience here that’s turned off by it. That’s all.

    But since this HAS morphed into a referendum, I’ll tell you want I think.

    Annie, it’s not libertarian IDEALS that bug me. I happen to agree with almost all the ones you listed, and I am unapologetically LIBERAL. In fact, yours is almost a laundry list of progressive, liberal values (though I’ll defend the idea of Social Security ’till the day I die).

    The problem I have with libertarianism (at least economically) is that it’s inherently anti-social, built on the premise that ‘i have mine, get your own’ with acknowledging the role that society at large plays in helping everyone achieve. It openly advocates taking away social safety nets under some false spectre of ‘big government’ and punishes people for making mistakes in their life and offers little chance of redemption.

    But I think the single most irksome thing about the philosophy is its proponents utter the inability to realize that by supporting the greater welfare of their economic and social equals/lessers, they are helping themselves. The benefits may be indirect and a few steps removed, but they are real and documentable. Yes, I’m talking about social programs (schools, libraries, roads AND welfare) that have a history of helping citizens when they’re in need. I support them because, who knows, one day I might need one. And if those programs keep people from dying in the street (via illness or violence) or committing acts of desperation against me, my family, friends, community and property, then there’s no way I could have spent my money any better than that.

    Likewise, I gladly voted to increase my own sales tax in Gwinnett this past Tuesday. That money will be used to increase funding for the county schools. It’s worth it to me, because better educated kids today equals fewer idiot adults that I have to deal with in the future. Maybe one of those better-educated people will go on to find a cure to a disease I’ll be stricken with in old age or invent a product I find useful.

    I am FIRMLY against the practice of privatization of functions that belong in the public trust. In example after example, such practices have resulted in the funneling of tax-payer money to executives at the companies contracted to do the job while usually returning an inferior service.

    It’s one thing to pay taxes and know that I’m buying myself a road, some school books or a space shuttle. It’s quite another to pay my taxes with the knowledge that a good portion of it is going to a no-bid Halliburton contract.

    Another example: when I lived in Florida, we had county-run garbage collection. I paid $16 per month and got 2 trash collections and 1 yard debris collection per week. Here, I pay nearly $30 per months and only get 1 collection per week (both trash and yard on the same day, collected by 2 different trucks).

    And for the somewhat fashionable notion that there’s no real difference between the parties: For awhile, it’s seemed like that was true, especially for young people. I don’t remember not having a Republican dominated House of Representatives. During the 90s, it was true to an extent that a particularly influential branch Democrats (known as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)), downplayed the party’s liberal side and essentially became conservatives-lite beholden to the same corporate interests as the Republicans.

    But after 6 years of Republican Hegemony, anyone who still believes that is either delusional or not paying attention or both.

    Democrats would not have launched a bloody, pointless, expensive (and illegal under international law) occupation of a sovereign state.

    Democrats would not have practiced credit card politics and mushroomed the budget deficit (Clinton actually balanced his, remember).

    Democrats would not have neglected the citizens of New Orleans (FEMA was a paragon of managerial purpose and function under James Lee Witt (Clinton cabinet appointee)).

    Democrat would not appoint people to posts based on their greatest weaknesses (Ted Stevens: Internet/Technology, Mark Foley: Child protection, John Bolton, hates diplomacy: United Nations, Gale Norton, coal and oil industry shill: Interior Secretary, Alberto Gonzalez, thinks the Constitution and internationally ratified treaties are “quaint“: Attorney General. The list goes on).

    Democrats would not have attempted to suspend the 700 year old writ of Habeas Corpus.

    And lastly, a Democratic President Gore would have continued the Richard Clarke‘s anti-terrorist policies, abandoned by the Bush Administration. The Sept. 11 attacks might not have ever occurred.

    Anyone who says there’s no difference is either intentionally obfuscating or so non-credible you should believe another word they say on the subject.

    As a young person who hasn’t lost his idealism, I’m excited about the new, fresh blood and activity in the Democratic Party, manifested both online and around the country (though oddly lacking in Georgia). The party is being transformed from the inside and the corporatist DLC is being shown the door. Tuesday Democratic sweep points to the very real, extant, people-power/’net-enabled push of this new Congress. Senators Tester and Webb, as well as dozens of new House Democrats were elected through significant help from the ‘netroots,’ whose advocacy, support and incremental small donations they owe big time. A new generation of Democrats is coming of age and we’re always glad to have one more.

    -meh

    Ps- As for cockiness, both Republicans and Democrats have earned the right to be a little cocky. Off the top of my head, Democrats won WWII and built the middle class and Republicans had that Lincoln fellow.

    Pps- You’ll notice that I mentioned specific policies and notions to back up my ideals and philosophies. That’s something you haven’t done yet.


  18. Roger (unregistered) on November 10th, 2006 @ 1:30 pm

    I am a native Georgian, born in 1947, and have seen many changes in state politics over the years, but the bottom line is Georgia has been a conservative state as long as I’ve lived. It has also been a mostly one-party state since the Civil War. One-party government is bad and subject to corruption, regardless of which party is in power.

    I am far more politically liberal than most of my fellow citizens, but on social issues, I am a libertarian (with a lower case L). So I sometimes cross-over and vote for a few Libertarian candidates if I don’t think it will affect an election’s outcome. Normally I vote Democratic, but I voted Libertarian for Governor and Agriculture Commissioner. I did so thinking if these elections were close, they would go to a run-off, which was fine by me.

    I don’t support the Libertarian Party in general as I consider most of their leaders to be wingnuts who won’t compromise on a single point. Right or wrong, that is my perception. If Libertarians want to become mainstream, they have to be willing to play politics the old-fashioned way — pragmatically. Get what you can get today and postpone those issues you cannot win. Maybe the Democrats in Georgia should learn that too.


  19. Daniel Moore (unregistered) on November 13th, 2006 @ 8:12 am

    (Sorry, I’m late to this, I’ve been in Cleveland)

    Meh, you wrote: “But you, james and Daniel Moore are the most frequent posters to the site and you each seem to take special glee in announcing or dropping hints at your party affiliation.”

    I’ve nothing against any posters writing about their political “affiliation,” but I’ve gone through great pains to avoid writing about my specific political beliefs. In fact, my political writing here has limited itself to ridiculing the AJC’s political coverage (that is, it’s lack of seriousness in its voter guide) and encouraging everyone to vote. I’m not going to get in to my political philosophy here, but just trust me when I say that I haven’t come close (at least as I look back over the last several months) to discussing my actual political tendencies.


  20. chad (unregistered) on November 14th, 2006 @ 4:03 pm

    (Edited and resubmitted since the first version included a “naughty word” that flagged it for moderation. )

    Ok, time to dispel some disinformation.

    meh said of libertarianism:

    It openly advocates taking away social safety nets under some false spectre of ‘big government’ and punishes people for making mistakes in their life and offers little chance of redemption.

    This is a gross, typical, and absolutely incorrect misunderstanding of libertarianism. Quite the opposite, Libertarianism encourages personal responsibility and freedom in making one’s decisions concerning one’s life, private and economic. It believes that the State generally makes a mess of things (because it has no competition!) and doesn’t belong in private sector business. The status quo that you support, believes in the redistribution of taxpayer money to fund all sorts of unnecessary spending, corporate welfare, illegal unnecessary wars, a broken and ineffective social welfare program, agricultural subsidies that cripple third world nations and stifle true competition and innovation, and a broken educational system. I’m sure I’ve missed a few things. :-)

    You seem to think “big government” is some sort of myth. Are you out of your mind? A simple look at the absurd 2006 budget waste and the $94.5 billion supplemental spending bill for the war on terror and hurricane relief proves you dead, dead wrong. Unforgivable pork. Then there’s the deplorable record of Dubya on free trade. Then there’s outrageously wasteful DOHS spending. Christ, need I continue? Big Government is very real, and it is buggering you silly, fellow taxpayer.

    Welfare is good you say, a safety net for “those who make mistakes.” Too bad it doesn’t work. The government spent $500 billion last year “fighting poverty.” Well, guess what? The poverty rate is about the same as it was when welfare programs were introduced in 1964. Welfare is funded by the taxpayers of this country, working men and women who I’m sure would rather spend their own money on themselves… just a guess, call me crazy. Redistribution of wealth is nothing but a fancy term for theft. Indefensible. Socialists retort: “but without welfare you would have people sleeping in cardboard boxes under highway overpasses!” Wrong, that’s what you get with welfare.

    Let’s look at another big government “spectre,” subsidies. Every year taxpayers spend billions subsidizing agricultural corporations or “farms” as you are misled to believe. This cushion keeps the industries from having to compete effectively with the real world, and prices the third world out of the market. Then we turn around and make amends with the third world by dumping aid money into dictator hands. Again, if you support a republicrat, you more or less support this. Then look at other subsides such as those that Enron received. It always cracks me up when status quoticians point to Enron as an example of, “See! See what happens when corporations run the world!” Nonsense. See what happens when government colludes with corporations! The US government allowed Enron to happen, in the form of $600 million in Export-Import bank subsides, and other lobbying reach-arounds. In a truly free market, investors would be much more demanding of accounting practices and corporations would be forced to be as transparent as possible, or they wouldn’t be invested in. Under the current scheme, there is the false illusion that the government protects us from fraud. Enron proves the government is incompetent once again. This is perhaps the core argument against the current Republicrat paradigm, as the system is invariably corrupt from player to player because of lobbyist bribery. Libertarians want to eliminate government corporate cronyism altogether, and let the markets take care of the rest. And they will, if we let them.

    I could go on forever, but this is depressing me.


  21. chad (unregistered) on November 14th, 2006 @ 4:04 pm

    I can’t seem to post anymore to this thread?? Hello?


  22. chad (unregistered) on November 14th, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

    Someone needs to relax the rules on comments. I think mine are getting flagged either based on some naughty word nanny filter, or too many links filter.


  23. Annie (unregistered) on November 14th, 2006 @ 8:35 pm

    Chad, not sure what you were seeing when you posted, but I am seeing your comments now. Tres strange.


  24. chad (unregistered) on November 15th, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

    I posted a long piece, and it had more than 3 links in it. Probably went into moderation. Who moderates the comments queue? Perhaps it’s set up to delete comments with more than a few links. Too bad. Thanks for caring though :)


  25. Annie (unregistered) on November 16th, 2006 @ 4:22 pm

    Chad’s post is up now, and for some reason when I took it out of moderation, it posted it on the same line as Daniel’s post before it, so it looks like Daniel is saying what you said about “edited and reposted” but that is really the beginning of chad’s post. phew.



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