-4 votes

A vote for Sarvis is a vote for Sarvis! (Republicans are desperate)

Written by Josh Walker

As Virginia’s 2013 gubernatorial race draws to a close, it appears that Republicans are in full-on meltdown mode as it becomes increasingly obvious that Ken Cuccinelli is going to lose. As is the case in most contests – political or not – the losers rack their brains desperately trying to pinpoint an external cause of their demise. Enter Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. Sarvis is fairly unknown in the realm of politics, having only run for statewide office once before; he lost. He’s been campaigning across the state in his wife’s minivan. He was not allowed in any of the debates. He is polled at garnering roughly 10% support. And he has raised less than $100,000 in campaign cash. Despite all of this, if one peruses the Internet, it becomes obvious that Republican voters and operatives are engaging in a last minute misinformation campaign against the Libertarian candidate.

Of course we all know, especially from past presidential contests, the ire that third parties can draw. Republicans and Democrats have it out for Ross Perot and Ralph Nader, respectively, to this day. As the election draws near, one will find more and more of the standard “A vote for Sarvis is a vote McAuliffe” peppering local news sites’ comments sections and even his Facebook page. The implicit premise in that phrase is presumptuous on so many levels. First, it presumes that Sarvis voters would actually vote for Cuccinelli if Sarvis was not an option. Second, it presumes that at least some Sarvis voters would not vote for McAullife. Lastly, it presumes that Sarvis voters would actually bother going to the polls if Sarvis was not on the ballot. As a recent Slate column indicates, the first two of these presumptions are highly questionable; when Sarvis is not an option on the ballot McAuliffe still leads Cuccinelli. Sarvis is drawing support from both Republican and Democratic voters. One also has to question the third presumption on the basis of the fact that neither Cuccinelli nor McAuliffe has had a favorable rating in the black for the duration of the campaign; it seems likely that at least some Sarvis voters would just stay home on Election Day if Sarvis was not on the ballot.

If the standard Republican anti-spoiler talking points weren’t enough, several Republican bloggers and operatives have taken to launching a smear campaign against Sarvis. Ben Domenech writing for The Federalist accuses Sarvis of being a “libertarian-in-name-only,” saying that he supports higher taxes, loves Obamacare, doesn’t fully embrace Austrian economics, and supports installing tracking devices in everyone’s car. As far as taxes and healthcare go, a cursory glance at the candidate’s website will show his actual positions. He supports reducing or eliminating a whole host of taxes, and supports decentralization in healthcare policy. The accusation of car trackers is a blatant distortion of a video in which Sarvis lists a whole host of potential ways that transportation could be funded more in line with the principle of user-pays (note that government trackers aren’t even mentioned). It is also a struggle to see why Austrian economics should be of prime importance. If a candidate is running on a platform of ending preferential subsidies, removing barriers to entry, and ending crony-backed, monopoly-inducing regulatory policy, then why should anyone care about what he or she thinks about Ludwig von Mises’ view of business cycles? Even if someone is so dogmatic as to think that adherence to Austrian economic is essential to libertarianism, it’s not like Cuccinelli is any sort of libertarian in this regard.

Which brings us to the strangest Cuccinelli tactic thus far: his surrogates are claiming that he is the actual libertarian in the race. Dr. Susan Berry writing for Breitbart argues that Cuccinelli should be the choice of libertarians pointing to his plan to cut personal and corporate income taxes, saying it will create an “environment that is ripe for the free market.” His plan would reduce the corporate income tax to 4% from 6% and personal income taxes to 5% from 5.75%. Apart from the fact that such a change is pro-business as opposed to pro-free-market and essentially amounts to a corporate subsidy paid for by average workers who will now pay a higher percent than their employers, Sarvis is the only candidate who has said he would like to abolish income taxes altogether. Despite information from the Republican propaganda machine to the contrary, preferential tax treatment of businesses is not a principle of the free market or libertarianism.

Cuccinelli is also parading his endorsements by Ron and Rand Paul as evidence of his libertarian bona fides. It’s hard to see how the Pauls’ endorsement of Cuccinelli is surprising; they are both Republicans after all, and Rand has explicitly rejected the notion that he is anything other than a Republican. And despite Ron Paul’s acceptance by a large portion of libertarians, many of his views can far more easily be classified as conservative Republican than libertarian. Let’s also not forgot to mention the fact that Gary Johnson (you know the 2012 Libertarian Party candidate for president) has endorsed Sarvis.

Many people want to make light of Cuccinelli’s social views, but they are arguably the strongest evidence that he is not libertarian. He supports the state’s ban on same sex marriage and expresses support for tightening restrictions on abortion. The libertarian view on same sex marriage can be complicated, but the most popular position is that the state should remove itself from the realm of recognizing relationships altogether, allowing consenting adults to enter into whatever arrangements they prefer. Support for same sex marriage is seen as the second best option; it is argued that if the state extends such recognition, it should not be discriminatory in its extension. Abortion is far more complicated, but many libertarians see it as an issue that should be decided by a woman in consultation with her physician not the state. The Libertarian Party’s official platform says as much. The issue that many Virginian’s are probably most acquainted with is Cuccinelli’s attempt to have the state’s anti-sodomy law reinstated. He argues that it is needed to help protect children from adult predators. If Cuccinelli wants to crack down on child predators, a law with that specific purpose would easily breeze through the General Assembly. Regardless of his stated intentions, the letter of the law he sought to have reinstated bans oral and anal sex between consenting adults. No libertarian would support the existence of such a law, even if it goes unenforced.

Republicans would have people believe that voting for Sarvis steals votes from Cuccinelli and gives the election to McAuliffe. The evidence just does not support that. The attempts to paint Sarvis as an authoritarian are silly and disengenious. Ken Cuccinelli is no libertarian, and any attempt to portray him as such is chicanery par excellence. A vote for Robert Sarvis is a vote for Robert Sarvis.

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else to consider. There are 5,240,438 registered voters in VA. 2,138,613 people voted in the race.

Label Jars, Not People!

Kathleen Gee's picture

Obama bundler instrumental in getting Sarvis on the ballot

Yup. Thanks to low-information libertarians, a pretty bad fake liberty candidate just took out a real liberty candidate who happened to have an R after his name instead of an L.

"Revealed: Obama Campaign Bundler Helping Fund Libertarian in Tight Va. Gubernatorial Race

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.

Austin, Texas, software billionaire Joe Liemandt is the Libertarian Booster PAC’s major benefactor. He’s also a top bundler for President Barack Obama. This revelation comes as Virginia voters head to the polls Tuesday in an election where some observers say the third-party gubernatorial candidate could be a spoiler for Republican Ken Cuccinelli."


"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid." - Ronald Reagan

Public Relations Consulting

Seriously, Cuccinelli is a

Seriously, Cuccinelli is a Ron Paul guy, he has some stupid social ideas but he is the candidate that Ron Paul delegates wanted. Sarvis is not a libertarian. Look at his interview on MSNBC. He doesn't even believe in Austrian econ, he's not against the expansion of medicaid for Obamacare. He is not a Libertarian


national review?

They have been attacking libertarians since 1955. Now they are going to decide who is libertarian enough?

Sarvis is way more libertarian than Cuccinelli. It is not even a contest. Just look at their issue pages.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

I heard that Sarvis's

I heard that Sarvis's campaign was funded by the Democratic Party as an effort to divide the liberty vote. Divide and conquer.

...and I heard

that bigfoot is crusing in a UFO with Elvis, according to the national enquirer

Label Jars, Not People!

Really dude? I feel like I'm

Really dude? I feel like I'm back in middle school again. Are there any grown ups on the DP today?

I heard the Devil went down

I heard the Devil went down to Georgia.

I heard that Ron Paul

Is a secret member of the Bilderburgers.


Get real dude. I never said

Get real dude. I never said he was a democrat. I was saying that his campaign took funds from a democratic PAC. I am certain the Democratic Party would benefit from investing in a 3rd party to divide the liberty vote.

Apparently you don't remember

Apparently you don't remember the rumors that Ron Paul's campaign accepted money from a "racist organization". When asked if he would denounce and return the money he said no. Money is money. Coming from a PAC or coming from individuals, does it really matter in the course of a campaign as long as it is legal?

The point is that the

The point is that the Democratic Party is investing in the LP to divide the liberty vote. You lose.

I win because I'll vote

I win because I'll vote Libertarian over 99% of Republicans every chance I get.

Oh...so you're a party

Oh...so you're a party firster. I get it.

No, I'm a candidate-firster.

No, I'm a candidate-firster. The fact is there are so few Republican candidates worth considering because they still promote the same old trash.

Stick to your argument.

Stick to your argument. You're not making any sense now.

And by trash you mean someone who protects the unborn. Stay classy Velveeta.

Yep. Religion dressed up in

Yep. Religion dressed up in political garb holds no sway with me. Keep 'em separated.

So you won't support someone

So you won't support someone because they are a Christian?

It doesn't matter why someone is pro life whether it be because of religious or personal belief. What's right is right and murder is wrong no matter how it's done ie drone, gun, or sucked out of a whom.

Cuccinelli reminds me of all

Cuccinelli reminds me of all the reasons I'm no longer a Catholic. He's awful on some social issues. But Sarvis is too flawed to vote for as well.

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

And here it is, Ron Paul's speech tonight


"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

coffee_sponge's picture

Sarvis isn't my idea of a Libertarian

His website says he wants to install a consumption tax. Why? So other taxes can be reduced.

Yeah, right.

Here's an idea: how about reducing or eliminating other taxes and replacing them with NOTHING. (Gee, seems to me some elderly statesman who ran for President said something like that, too.)

In addition, Sarvis appears ready to make Virginia a sanctuary state for illegal foreigners. Open borders are great only if the welfare state is dismantled first. The crush of illegals on the "safety net" in Virginia will surely require the added revenue from Sarvis' new consumption taxes.

There are other problems I see, but the bottom line is Ken Cuccinelli is a superior candidate to Sarvis. If I lived in Virginia, I'd campaign for Cuccinelli just as Ron Paul has.

A vote for Sarvis is a mistake

Cuccinelli is in fact significantly better on the issue than McAuliffe - this is not a Rombama situation. But perhaps more importantly, Cuccinelli is widely perceived as a libertarian-leaning conservative, and has received the endorsements of Ron and Rand, and so a win will reflect well on us: it will give us momentum and good press and further erode the narrative that we can't win. These are significant prizes.

Whereas, a vote for Sarvis offers what? A chance for the LP to have easier ballot access in the future...? Big deal.

Easy choice. Vote Cuccinelli.

P.S. Listen to Ron's speech at the Cuccinelli rally tonight (will probably be on youtube shortly), he was very excited, enthusiastic. He sees the opportunity here. It's not about Cuccinelli being an ideal candidate, it's about what a win for him could do for our movement.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

If only vote for an

If only vote for an anti-abortionist if their personal view didn't blot out the right of others to choose.

Abortion = Trivial Issue

There are far FAR bigger fish to fry.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Agree 100%.

Baby killer.

Baby killer.

+ one million!

+ one million!

You are absolutely correct. People forget...

that a governor still requires the support of a legislature to get anything done. McAuliffe is toxic and will NOT get the support of the legislature to do anything too bad. However, Cuccinelli can count one knee-jerk Republicans to "follow him into hell," just as "conservative" George W. Bush was able to give us "No child left behind."

Until voters stop acting like "Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football;" and, instead, put that football "where the sun don't shine," the major parties will continue with the same "bait and switch" tactics they have been using for over 100 years. Anyone who votes for Cuccuneli, just like anyone who voted for George W. Bush, gets what they deserve.

+1 for gridlock

gridlock is good

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus