Sarvis Steals Another One!

Ed Gillespie the day before the election
Ed Gillespie the day before the election in Staunton, VA

I’m sure that many of you were shocked by the closeness of the U.S. Senate race here in Virginia.  After all, who would have predicted that Democrat Mark Warner, who beat Republican Ed Gillespie by at least nine percentage points in every poll but one, would emerge victorious by only about half a percentage point?

Also in the race was Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis.  Sarvis, as many will remember, ran last year for governor capturing 6.5% of the vote in a race where only about 2.5% separated the Republican and the Democrat.  As such, a number of Republican activists blamed Sarvis for that outcome, claiming that he siphoned enough votes from Ken Cuccinelli to allow Terry McAuliffe to claim victory.

Given that Libertarian Robert Sarvis won almost 2.5% of the vote in this election, some Republicans are claiming, once again, that Sarvis stole another election from them.

Robert Sarvis at a recent stop at JMU
Robert Sarvis at a recent stop at JMU

The theory behind this argument is that without Sarvis in the race, most of his supporters would instead choose the Republican candidate.  In 2013, exit polls showed that a greater percentage of Sarvis voters would have selected the Democrat over the Republican if he were not in the race.  After all, he captured more liberals than conservatives, more young than old, and more college graduates than graduates.  These are groups that typically trend toward the Democratic Party.

Although I haven’t seen the exits polls for 2014, I believe the opposite happened this time.  A larger percentage of typical Republican voters cast their ballots for Sarvis than the Democrats.  Almost all self-identified liberty-minded Republicans that I know either cast their ballots for Sarvis or simply left it blank.

“Ah ha!” The Republican establishment shouts.  “So you admit that Sarvis stole the 2014 election!”

My answer is no.

Stealing something implies that you have taken something that doesn’t belong to you.  I would argue that no candidate or party has an automatic right to any person’s vote regardless of their previous voting history or ideology.  Votes are always earned and must be re-earned each and every election; they never should be taken for granted.  We aren’t political slaves!

Let’s rewind the clock to the 2002 U.S. Senate election in Virginia.  That was John Warner’s last election.  You remember John Warner, don’t you?  He was the long-serving Republican Senator from Virginia who recently endorsed Democrat Mark Warner for Senate.  As a result, some people now consider him a traitor.  But this recent revelation conveniently overlooks the fact that he rarely fought for the supposedly Republican principles of restraining the power of the federal government.  In addition, he supported gun control and abortion, two positions in stark contrast to a majority of Virginia Republicans.    And then there is Warner’s proclivity to oppose the “Republican team” as he did when he denounced Ollie North in 1994 and Mike Farris in 1993.

Even though John Warner and I shared the same political party back then, I could not bring myself to vote for him and thus left that portion of the ballot blank.  Did sticking to my principles make me a “bad Republican”?

As stated, this year many conservatives and libertarians who consider themselves Republicans did not feel that Ed Gillespie shared their principles and thus either cast their vote for Sarvis, wrote in Shak Hill, or didn’t vote at all.  Who can blame them?  After all, the last time I spoke to Ed Gillespie, I asked him which unconstitutional federal agencies would he work to eliminate, his response was that he would “check with his advisers and get back in touch with me”.  For someone who believes the federal government has grown too large, that answer was unacceptable and showed, much like Warner over a decade earlier, that he and I disagreed on the most important and fundamental principles of our constitutional republic.  Like 2002, if I didn’t have an acceptable option, I simply would not have voted for any of the candidates for Senate.

So, yes.  If Robert Sarvis had not been in the race, Gillespie might have ended up winning.  But regardless of my opinion of Sarvis, I’m glad that voters had a third choice so they didn’t have to simply vote for the lesser of two evils.  The Libertarian, Green, and Constitution Parties, as well as independents have as much of a right to run candidates as the Republicans and Democrats.  And, if voters believe that their candidates are better than one or both of the major party candidates, then perhaps they ought to solve this problem by running better candidates.  Or, given that Sarvis used to be a Republican, perhaps they ought to work harder to grow the party and stick with their supposed principles as opposed to driving folks away or simply kicking people out of the party as they did in my case.

Just don’t complain that the election was “stolen”.

12 Replies to “Sarvis Steals Another One!”

  1. Look at the vote in the 7th. There were two elections for Representative. A special one to fill the unexpired term of Cantor. And one for the full term starting in 2015. They both had the same people running except the special election didn’t have the libertarian on the ballot. Of the votes that went to the Libertarian about half didn’t vote in the special. Of the remaining a little over half went to the D while a little less than half went to Brat.

    This is consistent with other polling that most Libertarians will stay home if there isn’t an L on the ballot, while the rest split almost evenly between the two major parties.

  2. That thinking is inane. Sarvis did allow a division in voting and the result is two liberals represent Virginia.: Governor McAuliffe & Senator Warner. There was zero chance Sarvis would win in either election, so either the people who voted for him are closet Liberals or they are too frigging ignorant to understand the ramifications of their vote. Voting for Sarvis to prove a point, what point, the only message you sent was to allow a Liberal Democrat to win. In my book that means you are no better than the misguided who voted for McAuliffe or Warner and actually you are worse because your vote was wasted. Next time don’t be a dumb ass and waste your vote.

    1. Wasting my vote would have been voting for Gillespie just to oppose Warner. If and when the Republican Party presents me with a decent candidate, I will vote for him. Until then, stop your whining and stop rolling out the 80’s K car candidate. Besides, Republican or Democrat, they’re funded by corporations. What’s the difference!!!!

    2. I’m going to keep voting Libertarian Party as long as the no other party champions freedom. The GOP does not want to limit the size and scope of government. They are just as responsible for our nearly $18T national debt as the Dems., and their propensity for legislating morality threatens constitutionally guaranteed individual freedoms.

    3. No, mustang, Rousseau is right. The Republican Party does not own my vote simply because I have voted for Republican candidates before. Thus, Robert Sarvis didn’t “steal” my vote, because it didn’t belong to Gillespie in the first place.

      We all know Sarvis would not win, but that is irrelevant. If he had reached 10%, we would have scored a valuable win by achieving ballot access for the Libertarian Party, thereby being allowed to forego the onerous task of gathering signatures just to allow our candidates the opportunity to compete. That being said, I didn’t think we’d get the 10% either, but we are trying to pave the way here for third parties, and the more people we convince, the better.

      I’m not a closet liberal, nor am I ignorant. I understand fully the ramifications of my vote. It is you who fail to grasp the importance of what we are doing. The point of voting for Sarvis was twofold: it was an attempt to reach the ballot access threshold, as I stated above, and it was a way to send a message to the Republican Party. What message? This one: if the Party wants to attract libertarians, and convince us to join them in a voting block, they will have to do far better than a candidate like Ed Gillespie. They will have to run someone who actually understands liberty, believes it, takes a stand for it, and runs his campaign based on policies designed to further its cause.

      As for Warner / McAuliffe voters, yes, we are better. They voted for a naïve, socialist ideologue, who is nothing but a Yes-man for the President. We voted for a candidate who advocates limited government. That is much more than I can say for the guy you voted for. My vote was not wasted at all. I am only responsible for my vote, and I chose the best one for the job. I cannot control the fact that the rest of you chose to support a sleazy candidate who does not believe the same things you do about government.

      I understand why you did what you did. It’s nothing new, and it’s fairly commonplace – almost ubiquitous, really. You voted for the corrupt, big-government charlatan because you were afraid that not doing so would allow someone even worse to keep the position. This fear, known as the spoiler effect, is the lynchpin of the Two Party system that Democrats and Republicans have created to insulate themselves from competition. There’s good news, though. It does not have to be this way. There are electoral reforms which can open up the process to multi-party participation, and avoid this scenario in the future. I’d be happy to tell you all about it, but I won’t waste my time if you’re not going to listen. If you are interested in finding out more, let me know.

  3. Exactly right. If the state GOP moves back in line with the Virginia creed, and gives us better candidates willing to fight for our constitutional rights instead of going along to get along, then I might get excited about voting for them again. I’m sick of the lessor of evils bit. That’s just not good enough. When you can barely tell a Democrat from a Republican then that’s a problem. If the GOP wants my support then they will have to do something to earn it. Give me a Karen Kwiatkowski or a Justin Amash and I’ll work hard to help elect them!

    1. So … Ken Cuccinelli was not enough of a conservative / libertarian candidate for you?

      Liberals love Libertarians. With the campaigns too often decided by less than 1% you are the Democrats best friend.

      If you want to make a real difference get involved with your local Republican committee and argue your libertarian views there, or is it easier to just complain from the sidelines?

      1. “Ken Cuccinelli was not enough of a conservative / libertarian for you?”

        Lol, that’s rich. The fact that you put “conservative / libertarian” shows you don’t get it. He was a raging social conservative. He wasn’t even close to being a libertarian. And that’s the problem, social conservatives are anathema to libertarians because libertarians aren’t conservatives.

        Did you notice that all three social conservatives lost last year, not just the one with the Libertarian in the race? A lot of people aren’t going to vote Republican because of the social conservatives. That’s why the GOP keeps losing. How many statewide races in a row have you all lost now?

    1. Great point! Many libertarians that I’ve encountered in life are TOTAL JOKES. They tend to be narcissistic, arrogant hypocrites once you get past the liberty shtick!!!!!

    2. i love when republicans talk about dem voters believing everything they hear from the liberal media, and then turn around and say this kind of idiocy they heard from glen beck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *