So I work in a coffee shop and play indie music over the sound system. Does that mean everyone in Georgetown gets to assume that I, too, am a self-righteous liberal gleefully celebrating yesterday’s election results? I could be a Republican.
But, of course, I did enjoy seeing the GOP get whomped. I’m just not excited about the winners. The Onion sums up the bad news best with the apt headline, “Politicians Sweep Midterm Elections.” Even for “small l” libertarians like me, that’s the rub of every Election Day.
And what of the “big L” Libertarians? Bob Smither ended up making a good showing in Texas, though an effective ad campaign by Republican write-in candidate Sekula-Gibbs bumped her up to second place behind Lampson. Smither took almost 19% for the remainder of DeLay’s unexpired term and just 6% for the coming full term. Apparently, lots of Texas voters didn’t bother to vote for both positions on the ballots, making the final percentages widely divergent.
Nineteen percent is huge for a Libertarian. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that such an opportunity — no Republican on the ballot, conservative district, reputable LP candidate — will ever be repeated. If a Libertarian can’t win even with all that in his favor, there’s not much hope for achieving significant results with a third party approach.
Yesterday’s election results are clearly a rejection of the current Republican Party, but it’s hard to read much more into them. The fate of various ballot initiatives is perhaps more interesting. Check out iLiberty’s handy state-by-state guide to proposals involving nanny state issues. Summary: gays and tobacco smokers did poorly. Marijuana smokers made some marginal gains making enforcement less of a police priority, but actual liberalization of the drug laws will have to wait.
Final cheers go to Oklahoma voters for choosing to repeal an Election Day day ban on alcohol sales. I’ll drink to that!
[Update 11/9/06: Barzelay says:
I’m surprised that you make no mention of the many eminent domain ballot initiatives banning takings to be given to private owners, all of which (I think) passed.
I overlooked the eminent domain issues, but he's right. Yesterday was a great success in the fight against eminent domain abuse. Initiatives in nine states. Two failed, though IJ's Castle Coalition notes that would have been very weak limitations anyway. Get the full story from IJ here.]