Back in September of 2010 I detailed in an article “Where Have all the Libertarian’s Gone?” how for all of the attention paid to Libertarian ideas there was little in the way of Libertarian electoral success to show for it. To wit: “In the din and roar surrounding politics in America today much is made of the importance of Libertarian thinking. Some have pointed out its importance to the Tea Party Movement…That said it’s interesting to consider the following two questions: First, if Libertarian ideas are so compelling, how come Libertarians garner such a small portion of actual votes during major electoral campaigns? Secondly, if Libertarians command such low voting totals, how is it that there is such a disproportionate number of Libertarian organizations and who is putting up the money to support them?”
Well when one stops to analyze the 2012 Republican Primaries the results continue to prove out my original premise. That is, for all of the continuing talk about the importance of Libertarian ideas there is precious little to show for it when actual results are examined. To date the have been 27 Republican Primary contests and 1031 delegates awarded. The Libertarian candidate, Ron Paul, has not won a single state and has only accumulated 50 delegates. His take equals 4.8% of the overall number of delegates awarded so far. Thus once again, based on empirical evidence, we can only conclude that Libertarians occupy a space on the American political landscape as nothing more than a sideshow to the big show, if not as an outright political oddity propelled forward by its own inertia. If Libertarians truly commanded a healthy amount of respect and political power they would have something to show for it and clearly they don’t. Some have made the case that Libertarians don’t need to vote for Libertarian candidates to be important within the electorate but if that’s the case then that would suggest that they don’t truly hold to the conviction of their own ideas. If the members of a movement won’t adhere to their core convictions and belief system then how can that movement be seen as viable or effective? Surely a Libertarian voting for any of the candidates other than Ron Paul would have to compromise his principles in so doing based on the political track records of Romney, Santorum and Gingrich, none of whom can be considered even remotely close to being a Libertarian.
Some political commentators have said that Ron Paul isn’t a true candidate, he’s a movement. Some have said that his stake in the 2012 Republican Primaries is an attempt to affect his own political rehabilitation or to pave the way for his son’s political future. Whatever his motives one thing is for sure and that’s that he has made little impact if any in the race to defeat Barack Obama. Ron Paul has often complained that he isn’t getting the media coverage that he and his campaign deserves, but based on his performance thus far and his movement’s historically, he’s getting all the coverage that he deserves. Whatever Ron Paul’s goals one thing is for certain and that is that for all of the money pouring into Libertarian organizations like the Cato Institute via folks like the Koch Brothers, ad infinitum, the Libertarian message still fails to resonate with the Republican electorate in particular and the wider electorate in general. It’s either the aforementioned or America’s Libertarians have failed to notice that there’s a Republican Primary season underway and in full swing.
Steven J. Gulitti