“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.” So begins Robert Frost’s immortal poem and so too the liberty movement in Virginia now faces two or more roads. Nowhere can this divide be seen more clearly than in the 2013 race for governor where many liberty activists supported Republican Ken Cuccinelli and others rallied behind Libertarian Robert Sarvis. As attacks mounted, each side grew to despise the other.
The question now becomes what should be done? Many people declared that the Republican ticket of Cuccinelli, Jackson, and Obenshain was the most liberty-minded statewide slate of candidates Virginia had ever seen. However, Cuccinelli and Jackson both fell in defeat and Obenshain is a few votes behind Herring; at this point, that contest and the recount to likely follow isn’t terribly promising.
On the Libertarian side of things, although Robert Sarvis performed leaps and bounds better than Gary Johnson’s presidential run in 2012 or Bill Redpath’s 2001 gubernatorial race, he was unable to reach the 10% mark, which would have given tremendous legitimacy to the Libertarian party and awarded them official status within the two major parties in the state.
Some of my fellow liberty activists remain firmly committed within the Republican camp, arguing that taking over the GOP is the only realistic hope for liberty. However, there are grumblings within the establishment of that party, whether fairly or not, using 2012 as an example of what happens when the party drifts too far from the center. Although perhaps mere rumors, there is talk of expelling the tea party and the liberty movement from their ranks. And, given the proclivity of some Republicans to pass massive tax increases and meddle too much into personal affairs, an increasing number of libertarians see the GOP as a major part of the problem.
Others declare the Libertarian Party to be the path of the future for liberty. However, given the party did not achieve its 10% goal, it still faces significant hurdles both electorally and, just as important, the wasted vote syndrome embedded within the minds of scores of Virginia citizens. The party is still quite small and underfunded, thus the challenges are enormous. And some of their positions are unpalatable to liberty-minded social conservatives.
As you likely know, during this election cycle I looked at the choices and was…“sorry I could not travel both”; ultimately taking “the one less traveled by”.
Like I stated as the campaign cycle began to take a particularly nasty tone, one of my greatest concerns was the rift in the liberty faction. The Republican wing considered the Libertarian to be fools, wasting their time on a candidate and cause that clearly could not win, while the Libertarian wing thought the Republicans to be sell-outs, supporting candidates who did not really adhere to the message of liberty.
Regardless of which party you believe is the best vehicle for advancing liberty (or if you choose no party at all), the liberty movement needs to heal, respect each other, and come together in some fashion if we wish it to advance. My advice to all sides is to reach across the partisan divide and search out like-minded Republicans, Libertarians, and even Democrats (yes, they do they exist. However, they were troubled by Cuccinelli’s supposedly radical social agenda.) At least that’s what I’m trying to accomplish. At the end of the day, it is my great hope that we can say, “and that has made all the difference.”