Who Cost The Republican Party The U.S. Senate? Probably The Libertarian Party

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/01/08/who-cost-the-republican-party-the-u-s-senate-probably-the-libertarian-party/

The Democratic Party will most likely have a trifecta in the federal government on January 20, 2021.

Democrats will control the presidency with former vice president Joe Biden set to take office. They will control the U.S. House of Representatives, as they have since the 2018 midterm elections, and they should have a slim 50-50 majority in the U.S. Senate with vice president-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker, assuming West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin doesn’t switch parties.

People can point to a myriad of reasons for Republicans losing control of the U.S. Senate, including candidates not encouraging people to vote by mail, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue lacking appeal to undecided voters, both of them accused of committing insider trading, Perdue not debating his opponent, President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud in Georgia and his controversial telephone call with the Georgia Secretary of State, Trump’s perceived handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell not allowing Congress to give people $2,000 stimulus checks, certain right-wingers telling people to not vote in the run-off elections, the Republican Party’s failure to deliver for traditionalist conservatives and the populist right, the GOP’s lack of a health care plan, demographic change, and so on. Those are valid points.

However, there is one overlooked factor that led to the Democratic Party taking control of the U.S. Senate:  the Libertarian parties of Georgia and New Hampshire.

Of the two Republicans in Georgia, it always looked as though Perdue had the better shot of retaining his seat. That’s because he actually won it in an election in 2014 in the first place. He wasn’t an appointed senator, like Loeffler. He also wasn’t a part-owner of a WNBA team that has donated some of its ticket sale revenue to Planned Parenthood, and his team didn’t play in a taxpayer-funded stadium that even the mayor of the city acknowledged will be a net fiscal loss for taxpayers. Not to mention Loeffler was on the board at Grady Memorial Hospital, which performs abortions. Add that together with the incumbent Perdue running against a Jewish Jon Ossoff in Georgia (which is 1 percent Jewish) while Loeffler ran against a black pastor named Raphael Warnock who helped expand Medicaid in the state (which is 32.6 percent black).

That said, Perdue got 49.73 percent of the vote in the November 3, 2020 election compared to the 47.95 percent that Ossoff got. Shane Hazel, the Libertarian Party candidate in the race, got 2.32 percent of the vote. So if Hazel didn’t run, all Perdue would have needed is at least 0.27 points worth of that 2.32, which is about 11.6 percent. Could he have won that? Undoubtedly. However, since Georgia has a runoff system of voting, the top two candidates had to face off against each other again and in January, the race looks as though it went to Ossoff. (One could also argue that if Georgia had ranked-choice voting, Perdue would have won. That’s likely true, but that’s a system with a myriad of flaws that stem well beyond one election.)

The apparent outcome is a shame, because Perdue was one of the few U.S. senators who supported Tom Cotton’s RAISE Act to cut low-skill legal immigration from the country by switching to an Australian-style point-based immigration system.

And if Republicans had won just one winnable U.S. Senate race before 2021, there is a good chance that they would not have been relying on Georgia to determine who controls the Senate in the first place.

We can’t blame it on the GOP running an accused molester of teen-age girls in Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama Senate special election, because former college football coach Tommy Tuberville won that seat back in November 2020. However, if we look at 2016, we can see a major reason why Republicans don’t have the Senate:  New Hampshire.

Republican Kelly Ayotte ran an astonishingly tight race against Democrat Maggie Hassan, but the incumbent Republican lost by 0.14 percent — 1,017 votes. The primary reason for that was the third-party candidates in the race. There wasn’t a Green Party candidate or third-party socialist in the race, but there were two other right-of-center candidates on the ballot. One was Libertarian Party candidate Brian Chabot who got 1.7 percent of the vote, and the other was Aaron Day, a libertarian conservative who got 2.4 percent. Day is a former chairman of the libertarian Free State Project in New Hampshire. Their combined efforts siphoned off about 4.1 percent of the vote, just over 30,000 votes. So yes, Ayotte likely would have won in a two-person race.

So if you’re a Republican or an independent who votes for Republicans in a swing state and someone asks you to sign papers for a Libertarian Party candidate, don’t do it. That Libertarian may cost your preferred candidate the election.

But if a Green Party candidate wants you to sign their papers, do it. The Democrats can have a taste of democracy, as well.