The media is not waiting until after the November general election to blame Libertarian Party candidates for Republican Party candidates’ upcoming losses. Indeed, Libertarian candidates are already being blamed for the Republicans’ potential failure to gain a majority in of the United States Senate. The Washington Post on Sunday published an article suggesting that Libertarian candidates could “spoil” Republicans’ chances of winning United States Senate races in eleven or more states, as well as some governor races.
Following an Associated Press article last month that erroneously suggested Libertarian governor candidate Ed Thompson caused the Republican incumbent Wisconsin governor to lose to the Democrat challenger in 2002, the Washington Post article points to Republican losses in the Virginia 2013 governor race and the 2006 and 2012 Montana US Senate races to support the assertion that Libertarian candidates are spoilers for Republicans.
What proof does the Washington Post article offer to advance this empirical argument? The Libertarian candidate received more votes than the number of votes by which the Democrat beat the Republican in each of those three races. That’s it — an underwhelming “argument” to say the least. The article seems to trust that readers believe the baseless, though widely repeated, characterization of libertarianism as a subset of conservatism.
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