GOP Pays the Price for Authoritarianism–Will They Respond?

As a number of people–particularly conservatives–started to realize last night, Gary Johnson may have played spoiler for Mitt Romney in FL. Here are the current results from FL:

Mitt: 4,096,439

Obama: 4,143,534

Difference: 47,095

Johnson: 43,673

Johnson’s totals wouldn’t quite have been enough to eliminate the current margin, but (assuming Johnson drew mostly from Mitt voters), it made a big difference.

Assuming once FL gets around to finalizing their count Obama wins this thing, Mitt will have lost, in part, because of Johnson’s success.

The Nader effect, come home to roost for the GOP.

So in addition to being nicer to non-Cuban Latinos and African Americans, to win FL, Mitt presumably would have had to be more attractive to libertarians. While I doubt Mitt Romney was ever going to come out for pot legalization, he also has a bunch of scary authoritarian advisors–the likes of Cofer Black–who might be unappealing to libertarian minded Republicans.

Mind you, I suspect the GOP will respond to such a scenario (if it does come about) in much the same way as the Democrats did after 2000: with a lot of angry recriminations but no thought about being more responsive to the constituency that ditched the party. Not only has the GOP come to love them some big government authoritarianism, but they’re going to have a hard enough time trying to make the party less racist.

Still, Johnson’s success in FL may provide some pressure for both parties to take civil liberties more seriously.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

3 replies
  1. seedeevee says:

    My feeling is that more liberals than conservatives would have “protest” voted for Johnson. The marijuana topic alone would grab the vote of many.

  2. joanneleon says:

    Have to disagree based on my admittedly anecdotal first-hand knowledge and observation. I know some people who voted for Johnson. To a person, they are young, either artists or techies, and would never vote for Romney in a million years. I am also willing to bet that the Libertarian candidate picked up some votes from one segment of people active in the OWS movement based on what I observed when I was participating in that movement in NYC and Phila. over the past year.

    So many people misunderstand the Ron Paul movement and other people who gravitate toward the Libertarians. The ones I have come across (and others I know because they are part of my 18-year old son’s set of friends and acquaintances) are strongly anti-war, anti-TBTF banks and strongly suspicious of the Fed, central banking, etc. They are anti-status quo and feel that neither party represents them. They are not bigoted or anti-gay, nor are they on board with the anti-women stances of the Republican party. They overlook the austerity policies of traditional Libertarians and allow the positions on war and banking and jobs override those things so in my opinion, they are misguided that way. Overall they are intelligent and well informed on certain issues and they don’t conform or care if they fit in with the mainstream. Personally, I think that to some extent they are a bellwether.

    I think there is still a pretty big contingent of people from the IT field who, for lack of any better choice, in their opinion, lean to the Libertarian party. So this is a group of people who are not necessarily young but they are technical and tend to be the early adopter types. This has been the case for a long time now, from a decade or two ago when I had a lot of contact in the offices of IT departments that I worked for or managed. And it has only grown since then.

    They’d be more likely to not vote at all than they would be likely to vote for Romney.

    Why is it that so many partisan Dems make these assumptions about people who voted for third parties? I see it all the time. I guess it’s because of Ron Paul and the fact that he is a Republican. The same goes for former Dems who voted third party this year. The assumption is made that they would have voted for Obama, when some that I know would have chosen to leave the presidential slot empty before voting for him or would have skipped voting altogether.

    The same is true of Nader voters. It’s not like Gore owned those votes and if only Nader wasn’t in the race, Gore would have gotten those votes. It’s just a bad assumption all the way around and it’s been debunked numerous times, the whole “Nader is the reason why Gore lost Florida” (not to mention the fact that he didn’t really lose Florida).

    There are some people, a growing number IMHO, who are just never going to vote for the two major parties and refuse to pick the lesser of two evils as long as things remain the way they are now. These are disenfranchised voters, not votes that somehow belong to either major party.

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