After Republican Governor candidate Ken Cuccinelli recently lost the Virginia election race against Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe, it is understandable that those on the right may be pointing the finger at the Libertarian vote. Libertarian candidate Robert C. Sarvis did in fact secure 145, 762 votes, equaling to 6.6 percent of the total. Assuredly had even just about 38% of these votes went toward Cuccinelli instead of Sarvis,  the Republican candidate would’ve been able to squeak out with a win. It seems pretty clear then that Libertarian voters are part of the problem right?

Well let’s take a closer look at what was going on.

The Blaze published an article on November 5th detailing what may have really caused potential Cuccinelli votes to be siphoned off to Libertarian candidate Robert C. Sarvis:

A major Democratic Party benefactor and Obama campaign bundler helped pay for professional petition circulators responsible for getting Virginia Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert C. Sarvis on the ballot — a move that could split conservative votes in a tight race.
Campaign finance records show the Libertarian Booster PAC has made the largest independent contribution to Sarvis’ campaign, helping to pay for professional petition circulators who collected signatures necessary to get Sarvis’ name on Tuesday’s statewide ballot.

The article then goes on to reveal information about Joe Liemandt, the Libertarian Booster PAC’s major benefactor:

In March 2012, ABC News reported Liemandt was among three dozen of the Obama campaign’s largest bundlers invited to a state dinner honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron. ABC News reported the invited bundlers, who also included Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, were responsible for at least $10.7 million of the $250 million the campaign had collected to that point.
Donations linked to Liemandt’s company, Trilogy, also has split its political giving between libertarian third-party efforts and liberal Democrats. During the 2012 election cycle, Trilogy poured $100,000 into another libertarian group — Libertarian Action Super PAC — while simultaneously making generous contributions to the Democratic National Committee ($92,400), the Democratic Party of Ohio ($12,453) and Barack Obama ($10,000), as well as more than $25,000 for Democrat Party organizations in Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire.

So the man most singly responsible for getting Sarvis onto the ballot has been known to make significant donations towards Obama and the Democratic Party.

After accumulating this information, it becomes evident that it’s not a Libertarian problem. It’s an education problem.

Let’s take a look at the candidate himself. Glenn Beck goes into further detail about Robert C. Sarvis on his radio program which can bee seen here, but I’ll provide some highlights below that put things into perspective:

  • Sarvis isn’t a fan of Austrian Economics, he states that he prefers more “mainstream economics”.
  • As Governor, Sarvis would be hesitant to cut taxes.
  • He isn’t sure as to how he might reduce spending.
  • He’s open to expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program
  • He is enthusiastic for increasing gas taxes and for establishing a ‘Vehicle Miles Driven Tax’.

Hmm, these policies don’t really sound too Libertarian to me. Even noted Libertarian Ron Paul endorsed Cuccinelli as an “ally” and a “Constitutionalist”; he stated that it would be “insane” to vote for Sarvis given his views on economics and taxes.

So why did Libertarians still give 6.6% of the vote for Sarvis? Quite simply, they didn’t educate themselves about the candidate and what he truly stood for. Either that, or they’re not true Libertarians: no true Libertarian in their right mind would vote for such a left-leaning candidate as Sarvis. Virginia was a very close race, and conservatives could ill-afford to divide their votes.

Democrats prey upon those who don’t educate themselves with the facts. That’s why they employ men like Joe Liemandt to wreak havoc behind enemy lines and when the Republicans lose elections like this, Liberals sit back and smile while Republicans and Libertarians point fingers at each other. They push forward bills without looking at the facts of what are actually in them, and then distract voters by making faulty promises of a better system. This is how they operate.

We need to understand that so we can focus our efforts on our opponents, not ourselves.

John Plucenik | Penn State University | @JPlucenik