The Unseriousness of Libertarians

I’ve got a major article about the election appearing later this week—stand by for details—but I’ll share one sentence of the draft here: “The fecklessness of the Libertarian Party in this election cycle, when a vigorous libertarian campaign might have broken out and possibly taken the election, means that we never have to take libertarians seriously again.”

It seems I’m not the only person with this view. Writing in The Week, Bonnie Kristian offers “Anatomy of a faceplant: Inside the Libertarian Party’s abysmal 2016 campaign.” A few excerpts:

If there was any year a Libertarian might by some miracle manage to win enough votes to kick presidential selection over to the House of Representatives (where a third-party candidate with gubernatorial experience might stand a fighting chance opposite two historically unpopular major party choices), surely 2016 was it.

Instead, the LP’s big break has been marked by one avoidable gaffe after another, an abysmally embarrassing performance and an incomparable lost opportunity. . .

Johnson and Weld have also muddled the libertarian approach to governance, presenting it largely as centrism in a miscalculated attempt at pragmatic politics. And they have furthered division among libertarians, setting back efforts to influence practical politics in a movement already uncertain about whether that is a useful task. . .

A lot of people will blame this debacle on Gary Johnson not being ready for prime time, or Bill Weld’s lassitude, but I think the deeper reason is that libertarians hate politics, and are simply no good at it. And they’re never ever going to get any good at it, which is a pity.