By Phil Fraietta
On November, 4th 2008, around 11 PM Eastern Time, the final blow was dealt to the Republican Party as Barack Obama was elected to be the 44th President of the United States. But, I do not believe this loss will throw the Republican Party into the wilderness forever, in fact I believe it will finally make the Party wake up. What do I mean by “wake up?” I mean that the Party will now finally understand the reason for its demise—the alienation of libertarians.
At first thought the average reader will probably say, “ So what? There are hardly any libertarians anyway” but this statement is simply untrue. In fact, the American National Election Studies finds that roughly 13 percent of voters are libertarians. The shift away from the Republican Party started four years ago in the Bush-Kerry election. In the 2000 election, libertarian voters preferred President Bush to Former Vice-President Gore, 72%-20%, according to the Cato Institute.
In 2004, however, libertarians preferred President Bush to Senator Kerry, 59%-38%, once again according to the Cato Institute. And now in 2008, although the data has not been made official yet, it is very likely that Senator McCain and President-elect Obama may have split the libertarian vote. This assumption being made due to the vast number of “libertarians for Obama” movements as well as Obama’s victories in the libertarian strongholds of the nation.
These areas include the “sun-belt” region of the nation, as well as the “live free and die hard” State of New Hampshire. Not coincidentally, in the 2008 election, President-elect Barack Obama won such sun-belt States as New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada, while only losing Arizona by 162,482 votes. In 2004, President Bush won all of these States. Perhaps even more telling is the election data over the past 8 years from the State of New Hampshire. New Hampshire, a State that is known for its heavy libertarian presence most notably seen by its lack of State Income Tax, State Sales Tax and seat-belt laws, went for President Bush in the year 2000 by a 1.4% margin. In 2004, however, the States went for Senator Kerry by a 1.37% margin, and now in 2008 the State went for President-elect Obama by a 10% margin.
From this evidence I believe it is undisputable that libertarians are leaving the Republican Party and opting to instead vote with the Democrats most likely because the Republican Party has decided to forget about us. The Bush Administration grew the size of government larger than any Administration since the Lyndon Johnson Administration. The Republican Establishment, who instead chose to compel to an idea of “compassionate conservatism”, has laughed off our prominent voices in the Party, such as Ron Paul and Jeff Flake. And what did they get for it? A government controlled by the far-left.
What I believe this election must do for the Republican Party is help us return to our Goldwater-Reagan roots. We need to center a platform on limited government ideas. Such ideas as school vouchers, privatized Social Security, and a flat-tax may be good places to start. But, either way, as a libertarian while I am deeply stung by the Obama victory, I am also confident that it will return the Republican Party to its limited government roots and bring us victory in 2012.