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.
For the record, I have no intention of voting for Ron Paul in the General election (though depending on how the GOP primary rolls out, I might consider crossing over to vote for Paul in the MI primary, for similar reasons as I voted for John McCain in the 2000 primary: because I knew my vote wouldn’t matter in the Democratic primary and I hoped a McCain win might slow down George Bush’s momentum and focus some attention on campaign finance reform, McCain’s signature issue at the time).
I don’t want Ron Paul to be President and, for all my complaints with Obama, he is a less bad presidential candidate than Paul.
But that’s an entirely different question then the one Kevin Drum purports to address with this post:
Should we lefties be happy he’s in the presidential race, giving non-interventionism a voice, even if he has other beliefs we find less agreeable? Should we be happy that his non-mainstream positions are finally getting a public hearing?
Drum doesn’t actually assess the value of having a non-interventionist in the race, or even having a civil libertarian in the race (which he largely dodges by treating it as opposition to the drug war rather than opposition to unchecked executive power), or having a Fed opponent in the race.
Instead, he spends his post talking about what a “crackpot” Paul is, noting (among other things), that Paul thinks climate change is a hoax, thinks the UN wants to confiscate our guns, and is a racist.
Views, mind you, that Paul shares in significant part with at least some of the other crackpots running for the GOP nomination.
Of course, Paul does have views that none of the other Republicans allowed in Presidential debates share. And that’s what Drum would need to assess if he were genuinely trying to answer his own question: given a field of crackpots, several of whom are explicit racists, several of whom make claims about cherished government programs being unconstitutional, most of whom claim to believe climate change doesn’t exist, is it useful that one of the candidates departs from the otherwise universal support for expanded capitulation to banks, authoritarianism, and imperialism? Continue reading