Post-Election Thoughts

Print This Post

97 Responses

  1. Dwight Brown says:


    If and when you have time (wash your dog first), I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about the marijuana legalization initiatives, and how these are likely to play out with respect to the Federal government.

  2. Nicholas Weaver says:

    The question is whether Republicans will interpret last night as a signal that they should revert to using gay marriage and gay rights as wedge issues, a strategy that has sometimes worked for them at the polls. That would be bitterly disappointing to me; I'd like to see a party based on fiscal conservatism, not cultural conservatism.

    Agreed. The Party of Lincoln needs to get rid of the bigotry of all stripes that currently infest it. Hopefully this will be a wake-up-call for them.

    Also, XKCD put it well on the polling side.

  3. Trebuchet says:

    I actually just looked at the numbers on to see if Johnson voters had cost Romney the state. Not quite, but very close. Fortunately for the sanity of the country, remembering 2000, Florida (which Politico hasn't yet called) is not the deciding factor this year.

    I also noted that Jill Stein got very few votes in Florida. Apparently some liberals learned a lesson there.

    Remarkably, almost everyone and everything I voted for here in Washington was successful. (Including Obama.) The exceptions were the pot initiative, which makes no sense to me given the conflict with federal law, and the usual Tim Eyman unconstitutional tax initiative, which like all its predecessors will not stick.

  4. Lola says:

    A bit of good news: occasional object of Popehat scorn and the guy behind that awful racist Super Bowl campaign ad Pete Hoekstra was defeated in his bid to become my Senator.

    Unfortunately, that means incumbent Debbie Stabenow won, but I'm trying to be optimistic.

  5. Katie says:

    If Gary Johnson voters "cost him the race" maybe the next republican will adopt more Gary Johnsonish stances. But hey, that's probably way too much to ask.

  6. Christina says:

    I'm surprised you were aware enough in 1980 to hear it, you're not THAT old. Although I did see grey feathers on a Big Bird picture today??

  7. Chris R. says:

    Everyone has to admit, we can't wait for the Trumpolution!

  8. Chris R. says:

    On Gary Johnson which some conservative sites are freaking out about, it's pretty rich that they assume all Libertarians would have voted for Romney.

  9. darius404 says:

    @Chris R.

    I know a number of libertarians that voted to stay home.

  10. Ali says:

    Why isn't redistricting handled by independent commissions of mapmakers, psephologists, anthropologists, whoever? Both of the main parties are culpable in messing with this sort of thing, it does nothing for either the appearance or effectiveness of politics.

  11. Ghost says:

    And the war on drugs suffered a minor set back in Washington and Colorado.

  12. Damon says:

    Attached for your reading enjoyment. Read and DISPAIR! :) But in all seriousness, not a bad article outlining how nothing would have changed much should Mitt gotten into power.

  13. AJ says:

    Voted for Johnson, didn't get drunk. I live in MD; any non-Dem vote here is pissing into the wind. Nevertheless, I find (and found) posts like this: Iā€™M SO TIRED OF THIS: The Cloward-Pivens of the right. extremely off-putting. NO ONE is entitled to my vote.

  14. Chris R. says:

    @darius404, that's counter productive as the goal is to finally reach 5% and eventually become a viable 3rd party to all Americans.

  15. AJ says:

    @Chris R. Yeah, that's why I voted for Johnson even in MD. Every little bit helps.

  16. corporal lint says:

    Fighting for an alternative to the two party system may be a task of generations, but it's a fight worth having.

    This really requires a change in our system of elections, because the math mandates a two-party system.

    There really should be a united LiberGreen party. Candidates would pledge to vote on things Libertarians and Greens generally agree on (like civil liberties and a restrained foreign policy) and abstain on everything else. They would mostly be single-issue, "Carthage must be destroyed" politicians, aggressively promoting some sort of change to the first-past-the-post election system. I like preference voting with instant runoff; maybe something else would work better. LiberGreens could take votes from the left wing of the Democrats, from libertarians within the GOP, and from the smattering of people all over the spectrum who want a system friendlier to third parties. The key is to have a party that wrecks the chances of both major parties. There is hopefully enough there to win a bunch of elections 35%/33%/32%. Once they have electoral reform they can split the party and happily go for each other's throats once more.

  17. Trebuchet says:


    Why isn't redistricting handled by independent commissions of mapmakers, psephologists, anthropologists, whoever? Both of the main parties are culpable in messing with this sort of thing, it does nothing for either the appearance or effectiveness of politics.

    Yes. Or better yet, delegate it to a computer, programmed to create districts of minimum perimeter per area while taking existing civil boundaries into account.

  18. Nicholas Weaver says:

    ali: Redistricting is that way in California, its an independent commission.

  19. darius404 says:

    @Chris R.

    Chris, I wasn't endorsing the idea. My meaning was much like yours: absent a Libertarian candidate, there's not guarantee those votes would have gone to Romney. Many of them may have decided to just stay home.

  20. AlphaCentauri says:

    I'd also like to see a mathematical limit on the circumference-to-area ratios of legislative districts. It would put limits on gerrymandering without requiring anyone to choose whose point of view should prevail about what is most fair. Independent commissions sound nice, but nothing is completely independent if humans have to run it.

    The legislative districts they created in Pennsylvania after the most recent census are an abomination.

  21. Thad says:

    Couldn't bring myself to vote Johnson — dude wants to abolish the Department of Education, for God's sake. Wound up going Stein.

    I generally accept Obama as lesser-evil and I suppose his reelection says good things about gay rights, progressive taxation, and a right to healthcare. But it doesn't do a damn thing about drone strikes, Gitmo, or the continuing partisan gridlock in the Capitol.

    There's work to be done. Mine mostly involves looking for a job.

    @Ali: Arizona's got an independent redistricting committee too. Our idiot governor tried to fire the head of it this year because she didn't like the new district lines; the courts smacked her down.

    @Katie: "If Gary Johnson voters "cost him the race" maybe the next republican will adopt more Gary Johnsonish stances. But hey, that's probably way too much to ask."

    Let's put it this way: how much of Nader's platform do you think Kerry adopted?

    (Though I WOULD argue that Nader supporters largely became Dean supporters and then Obama supporters…and then extremely disappointed. But maybe that's just me.)

  22. James Pollock says:

    The answer to redistricting is obvious, though absolutely nobody will champion it. It's this: The MINORITY party in the state gets to draw the lines. This won't produce objective fairness (the party out-of-power is certain to try to draw lines that will favor it) but unlike the winner-draws-the-districts system we have now, it isn't self-reinforcing.

  23. James Pollock says:

    The lesson I'd hope Republicans learn from Mr. Romney's defeat: Spending four years dedicating yourself to ensuring that a President of another party is a "one term" President is stupid and wrong. It's popular with talk-radio show hosts but not with voters.

    Instead, dedicate yourselves to serving the American people as best you can. The Presidency belongs in the hands of the party that does this most often.

  24. John Farrier says:

    it's pretty rich that they assume all Libertarians would have voted for Romney.


    I'm neither a conservative or a Republican, but somehow I'm morally obligated to vote for candidates who are.

  25. Kevin says:


    Couldn't bring myself to vote Johnson ā€” dude wants to abolish the Department of Education, for God's sake.

    And what about that is so obviously wrong? Is it just because the department has the word "Education" in it, and education is a good thing, so therefore a department with that word in the name is automatically a good thing? So by that logic they should just rename the TSA to "the Department of Cute Little Kittens" and then nobody will ever criticize it.

  26. Matthew Paris says:

    I won't know quite what to make of this election until I see what is sure to be the incisive commentary of

  27. darius404 says:


    We don't know the specific reason that he's so against cutting the DOE. We can guess, of course, but unless he says why, they are just guesses. Putting out assumptions about someone's reasoning without being able to support those assumptions only hurts us.

  28. vms says:

    Mark Bennett, an outspoken and unapologetic criminal defense attorney, ran for a seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals as a libertarian and got 22% of the vote ā€” more than 1.3 million votes. That's astounding. In Texas.

    I wouldn't read too much into this. There was no Democrat on the ballot for this race. I guarantee that a huge percentage of that vote total are Democrats who want to vote against a Republican (myself included). There was zero campaigning and no one knows anything about the Lib candidates for this office other than his party label.

    Also, any Republican criticism of Libertarian voters costing Romney states is vastly overblown as the polls I've seen show something like 35-40% of them preferred Obama to Romney and many would not have voted for either even if Johnson were not on the ballot. As a SWAG, I'd say Johnson cost Romney no more than a few hundred thousand votes.

  29. Jim Clay says:

    James Pollock,
    While the Republican party has its fair share of cynics, I think that for the most part the were trying to do the right thing for the country. It's just that they have very different ideas about what is good for the country than Obama does.

  30. Chris R. says:

    Jim Clay, I think the problem with this country is that both Republicans and Democrats speak different games, but when in power basically do the exact same thing (except on 3-4 actual social issues). Republicans always talk about fiscal responsibility but only a Democrat has balanced the budget in the last 50 years. Democrats always talk about the common man, but are just as tied to big corporations as the Republicans are just different sectors of the economy.

  31. Liberaltarian says:

    It's hard to call Obama less fiscally responsible than Romney when we never really learned how Romney's policies would have been implemented. He might have managed to prune a few of the most wasteful government programs, but it's pretty unlikely he would have been willing or able to impose the kinds of massive cut to defense or social security that would be necessary to cut taxes in a fiscally responsible way.

    True conservatives would have found him every bit as disappointing as true liberals have found Obama disappointing. And I remain utterly unconvinced that we would have gotten enough fiscal improvements to make up for the Republicans' misguided obsession with imposing Christian morality on citizens' personal lives.

  32. My thoughts: I'm absolutely satisfied. The single player campaign so far has been dramatic, entertaining, and the graphics are fantastic. Coming out of cryo and fighting the covenant through corridors brought back great memories of Halo 1, as does having cortana constantly talking in my head and telling me what to do next. As it progresses, everything is bigger, and prettier, in a good way.

    Multiplayer feels great. The influence of Call of Duty is obvious, but they seem to have brought in some of the fun aspects of COD without altering the core feel of Halo multiplayer. The unlockables give a great reward system for play.

    Some nitpicks: whats the deal with the thruster pack? So it scoots me sideways, takes away my ability to aim and shoot, and makes me look goofy. And pulse grenades seem like a waste of space. I like the idea of area denial, but regular grenades deny areas just fine. I know I've only played for an evening, but I suspect that the power on these things needs to be bumped a little.

    Then again, maybe I have no problem with "wrong" options. MTG wouldn't be much fun if all of the cards were awesome. Mastering the system enough to know to choose the good ones is part of the game.

  33. JRM says:

    Registered R, voted for Johnson (would have voted for Romney if it mattered) and found the conservative attacks on Silver ranging from the aggressively ignorant (Bernstein at Volokh) to stupid, to pure malice (the Chambers piece linked above.)

    So the nice thing about all of this is that Silver wins the Internet. And maybe we go one step toward a society that embraces data over drivel.

    Ha ha. Just kidding. Gonna go watch Dick Morris and Al Sharpton some more.

  34. John Barleycorn says:

    What a buch of voters!

    Disturbing really but equally comical. It's like the feeling one has after watching the movie Brazil.

    But what I really want to know is did you take and wear your "I voted" sticker?

  35. John Barleycorn says:

    I bet Chris Matthews wore his I voted sticker back to the studio but I imagine the producers made him take it off before he went on the air.
    Such a shame.

    Seems he thinks there are only TWO choices and those who don't vote or vote for "numbskull" third party candidates are "idots".

    Just got to love it!

    So that ought to teach you a lesson if you did not vote or went off the reservation.


  36. mmrtnt says:

    The lesson I'd hope Republicans learn from Mr. Romney's defeat: Spending four years dedicating yourself to ensuring that a President of another party is a "one term" President is stupid and wrong. It's popular with talk-radio show hosts but not with voters.

    Man, I wish there were some way I could "upvote" this.

  37. Kevin Lyda says:

    There are legitimate criticisms of Obama on foreign policy, but Gitmo is not one. Now some Senate Democrats and House members are fair game, as are Republicans, sure. They're the ones who keep voting for bills to block Obama from closing Gitmo and from doing trials in the US.

    Want to close Gitmo (I do)? Then call your representatives in the House and Senate and tell them to vote to fund closing it. Then if Obama fails to close it, then get on his case.

    Anyway, I actually commented here for a different reason. The same-sex marriage ballots. I'm curious if people really think it's a good idea for civil rights to be given via referendums? Should minority rights really be subject to approval by the majority?

  38. Ancel De Lambert says:

    Oh, cool, I just checked the wiki page on Libertarian poll results, this year was without a doubt the best turnout for a Lib candidate ever. We broke 1% of the vote.

  39. Noah Callaway says:

    "I'm curious if people really think it's a good idea for civil rights to be given via referendums?"

    I think it's a good idea for civil rights to be given via any legal mechanism available to us. I would much prefer other systems than the referral, but if it's the only tool that does the job, then I think it's good to exercise that tool.

    "Should minority rights really be subject to approval by the majority?"

    Absolutely not.

  40. Boxy says:

    @Kevin Lyda: The Obama administration has vigorously defended the 2012 NDAA, which Obama signed, against litigation trying to strike it down for being blatantly unconstitutional. This law allows the executive branch to detain anyone, including American citizens, indefinitely and without due process. The Democratic Party seems to have quietly scrubbed statements regarding civil liberties from their platform.

    If we happened to get Gitmo closed, it would be an empty, token victory against a continuing campaign of illegal practices without anything resembling reliable opposition from either major party. I think it is absolutely a legitimate criticism of him.

    @Ken: On a lighter note, if you start selling "I Voted for Gary Johnson; Snort My Taint" bumper stickers, I would gladly purchase one.

  41. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    Kevin Lyda,

    In the end, the Civil Rights of minorities are ALWAYS subject to the approval of the majority. It is one of the most astonishing things about Western culture that this is even questioned.

  42. Lago says:

    "Anyway, I actually commented here for a different reason. The same-sex marriage ballots. I'm curious if people really think it's a good idea for civil rights to be given via referendums? Should minority rights really be subject to approval by the majority?"

    never understood this myself. I think it's because marriage is not really considered a civil right. it seems like it should be, and it's a shitty argument for why a population should be able to vote on it. I don't really know how or why that makes it on the ballot though.

  43. C. S. P. Schofield says:


    When you get down to it, it is because for several thousand years 'marriage' has been understood to mean a partnership of opposite genders nominally for the purpose of mating and then raising the resulting offspring in a stable environment. Even the Alexandrian Greeks, who according to some (I believe most) interpretations revered same-gender pairings above opposite-gender pairings did not call the same-gender pairings 'marriage'.

    Aside; I am aware that it has been fashionable, recently, to talk about some Native American cultures recognizing same-gender marriages, but there is a long and disreputable history of intellectuals projecting their social-structure fantasies onto Native Americans. Until somebody can point me at a reference that predates the 20th Century, I'm a sceptic.

    SO; there is a large portion of society which, when a Gay man or woman asks to have the same right to marry that heterosexuals have, instinctively think "You do have the same right; the right to marry a member of the opposite gender and have kids."

    In a sense, what is happening is not voting on granting Gays civil rights, but on redefining what a specific civil right means.

    I am, BTW, happy to see these ballot initiatives pass. Judges should not redefine what words mean because that way lies Law by elitist whim. Something a hell of a lot more dangerous than anti-Gay bigotry, in my opinion.

    I think that this is the way that changes for the better usually happen; society accepts the new idea and then the Law is altered to match. We often get told the story backward; as if the change happened when a particular court case was decided. But I think that a careful examination will show that first it is necessary to persuade enough people to create what might be called a paradigm shift (I'm not too fond of that overused term, but it seems to fit here).

  44. AlphaCentauri says:

    Re: Eliminating gridlock — Instead of committees being composed of members chosen by the party they caucus with, wouldn't it be nice if they were chosen by the opposite party. Then you would see members chosen based on moderate views and ability to compromise. You wouldn't be likely to get Todd Akins and Paul Broun on the House Science Committee, for instance.

  45. Lago says:

    When you get down to it, it is because for several thousand years 'marriage' has been understood to mean a partnership of opposite genders nominally for the purpose of mating and then raising the resulting offspring in a stable environment. Even the Alexandrian Greeks, who according to some (I believe most) interpretations revered same-gender pairings above opposite-gender pairings did not call the same-gender pairings 'marriage'.

    This argument has no relevance to marriage in the US. Heterosexual couples that get married with no desire to have offspring and start a family, and on the flip side you have gay adoptive parents. There is a disconnect between the institution of marriage and having offspring.

    It would be one thing if the tax benefits and such were allotted to people who had children, regardless of whether their gay, straight, or single (nothing to do with marriage), but the social benefits of marriage, having visitation rights with a spouse in a hospital, having power of attorney, these have little to do with incentivizing procreation, and they are an important part of marriage. And then civil unions are either not recognized, or they are extremely flawed from state to state.

  46. Christina says:

    CSP Schofield, isn't a significant part of the modern cultural problem of same-sex marriage the complication that "marriage" is no longer limited to issues of procreative partnership? It's gone way beyond "two people who are equally responsible for co-genetic offspring" and the sociolegal implications thereupon. Most especially, we have a lot of financial incentive in place now which has nothing to do with procreation. I'm thinking of government benefits like SSI survivorship rights and taxation levels (income and inheritance); private sector benefits of couplehood like bundled insurance policies; and all the civil rights that are assigned by "next of kin". There are equal protection violations in place if certain classes of people are excluded, even outside the gay community: should an orphaned, unmarried, childless adult have no "next of kin" rights?

    Not being gay, I don't have a visceral, personal problem with "civil unions" and think that logically, from the government's perspective all partnership benefits should require a non-religious civil certificate. (That's what I have.) I draw a parallel with adoption – there's a special name for this less common circumstance, but like biological birth it results in a parental relationship established between two people. (I have read of gay couples using adoption as a clever tactic to establish legal familial ties.)

    But the basic fact is that if the government is going to offer special benefits to an adult who has contracted themself to another adult (no love, no children required — plenty of people do it dispassionately, especially where health insurance is an issue), it is clearly discriminatory to say a woman can only contract with a man and a man can only contract with a woman.

  47. Lago says:

    Also, I was totally gonna grammar Nazi your use of "sceptic" (just don't come within 200 yards of me and we're cool) but I just realized I used their instead of they're in my response, so I'm glad I forgot.

  48. Christina says:

    @AlphaCentauri, that is a very creative proposal!! Might I suggest you write it up in congressional rule-ese and post it to a petition site? I'd happily send it along to my representatives!

  49. Erika says:

    If anyone is interested in more hilarious/scary schadenfreude, I gathered collections of posts from the Free Republic Message board last night.


  50. Zack says:

    Now for the big issue: 2016 primaries! The first one's tomorrow! Rubio/Ryan or Ryan/Rubio 2016!(jk jk)

    No, the big benefit of the election being over is that we can hear Ken and Marc wail on scumbags again. :)

  51. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    Matthew Paris,

    Thank you. I am, in a real sense, relieved that the 'Native Americans recognized same sex marriages' idea wasn't a white man's construction out of thin air. I am always leery of the whole 'The Native Americans' (or, going back farther, the Noble Savages) did thus and so' argument, because so much of it essays out to pigswill, especially if you talk to any actual members of any actual tribes. Historians, travelers, and so forth have always had a tendency to ascribe interesting and improbable behaviors to people far enough removed from their audience that it would be hard to check. Which is how one gets reports in Medieval manuscripts of people who hop around on one leg, and whose huge single foot they use as an umbrella when it rains.

    Yes, the definition of 'marriage' has changed over the centuries. It has tended, however, to orbit around opposite sex pairs for fairly obvious reasons. That doesn't mean that it is the right definition for today (I believe that it is not). But, for most people, anything that has stayed substantially the same during their whole lifetime is considered 'normal'.

    So, in an absolute sense, the Gay Marriage issue may be one of Civil Rights, but in the minds of the citizenry – especially those that have to be convinced to change their opinions – it is a matter of changing what the word 'marriage' means.

    Frankly, with people reasonably expecting to live into their 80's, I would be cheered to see marriage become more like what Robert Heinlein described in THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS; a contract of mutual support, its architecture designed by the participants and registered with the public without reference to the State.

    Not gonna happen soon.

    I still say that allowing the Courts to decide that a word that has meant one thing throughout the life of the country now means something else is a risky business. But I would very much like to see Legislatures at all levels examining old laws and repealing or altering them in preference to passing new ones. And THAT probably isn't going to happen soon either.

    I am, in fact, less worried about our debts to China (they have always looked more inward than outward, and foreclosing on a Nation would be a hell of a business to undertake) than I am with the prospect of our culture (such as it is) choking to death on the mountain of paper bumwipe that is our legal system.

    Anyway; Gay Marriage actually voted for! That's GREAT. Because in the last analysis, homosexuals need general acceptance, and the acceptance of the Political Class (and what else are a bunch of Judges?) isn't the same thing, and can evaporate awfully fast.

  52. James Pollock says:

    Jim Clay said:
    "While the Republican party has its fair share of cynics, I think that for the most part the were trying to do the right thing for the country. It's just that they have very different ideas about what is good for the country than Obama does."
    I have no doubt that what the R's believe about what's good for the country is different from what Obama believes, or Democrats in general believe. That's not the point.

    At any given time, one party has the majority and one has the minority in either house of Congress. When Obama took office, the R's were the minority party in both houses. Now, when you are the minority party, you don't have a lot of power, but you do still have a responsibility. Your goal is to act as a check on the other party's actions. Make suggestions about how problems should be solved, point out problems with the other party's suggestions. Your overall solutions might not be implemented, but your improvements can be. This serves the nation by reducing the likelihood of unanticipated problems, and party-line excess. It also gives you something to run on in the next round of elections.
    I will now illustrate my interpretation of Republican actions over the last four years in the form of a fictional dialog:
    D: We just won the election on a platform of change.
    R: We don't want to change, we liked things the way they are, which is why we did it that way.
    D: Well, we're going to change some things, some with small changes, some with big changes. Do you have any suggestions?
    R: No.
    D: Um, OK. We think we should make this change. Any contributions from your side?
    R: No.
    D: Um, OK. We're guessing that had you contributed, you would have suggested this. These are ideas we got from your past suggestions. What do you think?
    R: No.
    D: Really? I mean, if you aren't going to contribute anything, we're going to go ahead and pass this as it is. Is that what you want?
    R: No.
    D: So, you aren't going to help make this legislation more acceptable to yourselves and others who agree with you?
    R: No.
    D: OK, then, we guess we'll have to pass this on a party-line vote.
    (they do)
    R: Waaaaa! They passed this law without listening to us!
    (Repeat as necessary: economic stimulus, healthcare reform, banking regulation, etc.)

  53. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    James Pollock,

    I have been following the process of American politics, off and on, since the mid 1970's. I have to say that if you really think that dialogue represents how the Democrats and the Republicans interact, then you haven't been seeking out information that disagrees with your preconceptions.

    For one thing, some Republicans have all too often jumped on the bandwagon of whatever regulatory train wreck the Democrats are pushing. Then there are suggestions that the Democrats simply dismiss as infra dig. There are so many things that, to a Democrat, Simply Aren't Done. Like taking a serious look at the financial behavior Fannie May or Freddie Mac before the housing bubble burst like a toy balloon. Or privatizing Social Security or some part of it before it dissolves like a sugar cube in the rain.

  54. Matthew Cline says:

    Also, as a lifelong geek myself, I feel a certain amount of affinity for Nate Silver, the criticism of whom seemed to have strong undertones of swirly-the-nerd by popped-collar frat-douches.

    Seems like a geek/nerd is exactly the sort of person one wouldwant to do the number crunching involved in predicting election results.

  55. Nick says:

    There is a fiscally conservative, socially liberal party, they're called the Democrats. (I WISH there was a fiscally liberal party, I would totally vote for that shit, but no dice.)

  56. AlphaCentauri says:

    I hadn't realized that the bookies in Vegas had a much less optimistic view of Romney's chances:
    I suppose it's the same statistical analysis Nate Silver used — even if polls show a candidate with only a razor-thin lead, if multiple polls all show the same candidate in the lead, it becomes statistically significant.

  57. SPQR says:

    The basic problem – which Romney Ryan at least put up a semblance of an adult response to albeit not entirely consistent – is that the government budgets of our nation are headed for catastrophic ruin. The Democrats intentionally abrogated their basic responsibility for the operation of the institutions they were elected to run – by failing to even consider a budget for the last three years as an intentional tactic to avoid the political consequences of being on record.

    Obama and the Democrats have pretended that nothing need be done but "tax those evil rich guys" – an intentionally fraudulent claim on their part.

    Romney and Ryan were far from consistent in their response, but it was far closer to an adult response than the Democrats. And the result of Democrat irresponsibility and recklessness will be catastrophic when the world stops accepting the worthless paper that the Fed is printing.

  58. SPQR says:

    On the polling, I didn't believe that Romney was behind going into the election because the polling showed a huge Democrat turnout advantage that didn't match my observation of Democrat's real lack of enthusiasm for Obama. And I was partially right, Obama lost nearly 10 million votes from '08.

    Unfortunately where I was wrong was in not realizing that GOP turnout was also not going to match '08 – which it didn't. And so Romney narrowly lost despite the massive abandonment of Obama.

  59. drew says:

    i'll second the "I voted for Gary Johnson, Snort My Taint" bumper sticker idea.

  60. Bruce says:

    I was planning a holiday to the United States and I am confused by the election results.

    Will it be hours, days, weeks or months before the introduction of Sharian Law, riots in the streets and/or revolutionary war? Will I need to bring my own food and ammunition?

    I would like to see America again before it is completely destroyed. How much time do I have left?

  61. Ken says:

    We don't allow convicts in.

  62. Nyarlathotep says:

    Is it too late to set up a "Popehat 2016" committee?

  63. Nyarlathotep says:

    And the bit about Gary Johnson crytallized for me something that always bugged me but I could never quite express why. The argument I always here "A vote for a third party is a vote for (opponent of the candidate favored by the person saying this".

    Drives me nuts. And its the idea that either of the major party candidates is somehow ENTITLED to my vote that bothers me.

  64. Lago says:

    On a different note more local note, Los Angeles county measure B passed. Not sure if voters just want the porn industry out of LA, or if they genuinely think the porn industry is going to start using condoms and buying permits.

  65. CarLitGuy says:

    I'm in Texas, and Mark got my vote. I've followed his blogging for years, felt he would be a refreshing change of pace in the TX judiciary. Sadly, I didn't see any Libertarians take more than 20/25% of the votes in any Texas race, even where the red state had its choice of Dem or Lib only for the position. I had hoped some reds would vote Lib before they would vote Dem.

    Last night was a disappointment.

  66. C. S. P. Schofield says:


    The Democrats are only fiscally conservative in the sense that they are for continuing to do, fiscally, what the State has been doing for a long time; spend money that doesn't exist.

    Which is not to say that this differentiates them much from the Republicans, most of whom can be counted on to cut spending only when cornered like rats in a trap and watched the way a rat is eyed by a hawk.

  67. Jules says:

    I don't think you can use the WOD to bash the Republicans exclusively. How has Obama been in any way libertarian in that aspect? I heard that Romney would not violate state's preferences w/r/t marijuana. I think all social issues should be state issues. (The left heartily disagrees.) At least the Republicans give smaller government lip service. If you think Obama will accede power to the states you are crazy.

  68. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Lago: Good. Move the porn industry up to the bay area.

    One of the large historic buildings (2 acres!) in San Francisco is already devoted to making porn (link actually SFW). I'm sure we'd be happy to take more business…

  69. MathMage says:

    Looking forward to discussion of California props, since that's my stomping ground. Selfishly happy as a student about 30 passing; otherwise happy about 32/37 going down and 36/40 passing; unhappy but unsurprised about 34 failing and 35 passing; and still not sure what to think about 31, 33, and 39.

  70. unnullifier says:

    Ken, like Liberaltarian I'm a bit thrown by your statement:

    Obama is more fiscally reckless than Romney, though I don't think Romney's economic plans made any sense either. It's probably a matter of whether our courtship of economic collapse is a whirlwind romance or a prolonged seduction.

    Romney's plan was "We'll cut taxes 20% across the all income brackets and make up for that cut by closing tax loopholes. Which loopholes? Want more details? We'll get to that after the election is over."

    Unless his position changed just before the election and I missed it, I don't understand how you can make a definitive comparison when one is literally mostly unknown.

  71. Lago says:

    Ya, I'm glad 30 passed. Didn't think it was gonna make it. I hate increasing taxes of course, but they don't give any other options.

    @Nick: NOOOoo they're just gonna move into the Ventura area 10 minutes away from San Fernando where it is now. :P

  72. Bill says:

    @Trebuchet – delegating to a computer doesn't magically solve anything. Machine learning algorithms aside, they don't program themselves and bugs are pervasive. Unless it was done with algorithms that were universally approved or and the code was open sourced so people could independently verify it and reproduce the results, you'd be in the same place we are with voting machines. Any bug would be 'proof' of nefarious intent and if anyone involved in the process ever mentioned a political preference, the opposing side would cry foul. While the fact politics brings out the corrupt in a lot of people is very real, an equally big problem is that there's no intellectual honesty in modern politics – if a result favors your agenda, great, if it doesn't, it's bad. And all of that aside, the program is only as good as the input it receives. Census data is far from perfect and in many cases it's far from good, so there's so much room for malfeasance you could drive a truck through it. Yes, in theory it could be done very well and a lot of subjectivity could be taken out of it, but people in power on all sides are heavily invested in subjectivity so there's no magic wand anyone's going to wave, computerized or otherwise.

  73. Chris R. says:

    @Nicholas Weaver, they can even recruit new talent right off San Pablo Ave right?!

  74. James Pollock says:

    "At least the Republicans give smaller government lip service."
    This statement is only true when Democrats control the government. When Republicans do, they suddenly forget their ardor for smaller government. Put another way, when was the last time federal government spending went down when the House, the Senate, and the Presidency were all controlled by Republicans?
    Significant reduction of the federal debt was within our grasp in 2001. The government was operating in surplus, Congress was controlled by Republicans (credit for this accomplishment belongs to the Republican Congress in cooperation with the Clinton administration; an accomplishment overshadowed by the ridiculous waste of resources that went into the impeachment.) The problem was, once surplus was achieved, to deal with the debt you have to keep it in surplus, which means convincing Democrats that although there IS a big pile of money on the table, it does not justify launching new programs, even if those new programs can actually help people, and convincing Republicans that although there IS a big pile of money on the table, it does not justify cutting tax rates, even if people would really appreciate having more money to spend.

  75. Ancel De Lambert says:

    Ooooh, so THAT'S what that building is! I see it every time I watch bo- you know what, nevermind.

    @MathMage I'm not so big on 30, since I hear that sales tax unfairly impacts lower earners, but I agree with you on most of the rest. I'm personally pissed and disgusted that 34 didn't pass, and worse that my own mother was one of the ones who voted against it. The episode that Penn and Teller did was enough to cause a complete 180 on my opinion. I completely agree on 32/37, seeing as they are both rife with unintended consequences, and even if 34 didn't pass, 36 passing is encouraging. 35 pisses me off, as it's just going to hurt people who have objectively done nothing wrong, and only make it harder to live as an adult, as it's done "for the children!" I'd really like to see prostitution made legal and safe, and this only impedes that.
    I'm sad that 31 didn't pass, it seems like an obese person turning off their phone so their sponsor can't call them and keep them from indulging. I'm glad 33 didn't pass, it seems like it would unfairly impact new drivers, and the expense of checking up on previous insurance just sounds pointlessly expensive for the insurer. 39 pisses me off, we don't need to spend more money picking winners in the green race. Everything the government takes as canon "green" tech is either dangerous, inefficient, or both. And we certainly don't need to punish corporations for doing business in our flagging state. All 39 will do is take away more business, AGAIN.

  76. Kevin Lyda says:

    Third parties: The way to build a third party is on the local, not national level. Build that over multiple electoral cycles and then start going for national offices. Yes it's slow, but it's how things work.

    And if it ever happens, expect to be disappointed. I live in a country (Ireland) with several political parties and outright independents in the the national parliament. It is not a magic bullet for better politics.

    Referendums for rights: If rights can be granted via referendums, then they can be removed via them. That seems like a bad precedent. I'm glad to see rights being recognised, I just worry that the referendum process sets up a worrying dynamic.

    Same-sex marriage and history: Society changes. Through most of human history it was acceptable to own other human beings. It isn't now. Is that wrong because it flies in the face of tradition? I think not. Our ancestors were not perfect. One hopes that we learn from their mistakes.

    To get all anthropological on this, my limited understanding of the topic is that there are benefits to human pair bonds beyond procreation. But even on that topic, having some couples without kids gives society a ready pool of adoptive parents to deal with the occasional tragedy of children losing both biological parents. Beyond that topic, partners can generally keep each other healthy and increase social networks.

    And in general the focus on procreation seems to perpetuate this constant focus on the actual act of sex. Relationships, one hopes, have more dimensions to them than the time spent in coitus.

  77. Jenn says:

    I just wanted to say thank you. I don't trust any politicians, not even the ones I vote for. But finding intelligent, fact based criticisms of Obama has been a PAIN IN THE ASS.

  78. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    Kevin Lyda,

    Which would you rather see; Civil Rights that are recognized by the citizenry (and therefore could be denied by the citizenry) or Civil Rights that are bestowed by a small elite (that must, therefore be catered to).

    Yes, in an ideal world we would have a reliable line of communication with Divine Providence, and Civil Rights would derive from its pronouncements. I know that the Political Class believes that they are such a line of communication, but I decline to join them in that delusion.

  79. Steve says:
    Fighting for an alternative to the two party system may be a task of generations, but it's a fight worth having.

    This really requires a change in our system of elections, because the math mandates a two-party system.

    There really should be a united LiberGreen party. … Once they have electoral reform they can split the party and happily go for each other's throats once more.

    While I will not pretend to like the two political parties we can presently choose between, I am even more averse to the idea of the pursuit of electoral reform to allow for easier election of representatives from additional parties. The US is comprised of diverse people who hold wide-ranging views on most politically relevant issues. Observation of the acrimony and partisanship inherent to our current methods juxtaposed with observations of substantially greater levels of partisan fragmentation in foreign multi-party governments (such as in Germany, Brazil, or Israel) leads me to believe that the adoption of mechanisms to introduce one or more additional mainstream parties would ultimately result in an even greater level of governmental inefficiency and ineffectiveness, and would dissatisfy a substantially larger portions of the population.

    This is not to say that I feel that the appearance of a third party would necessarily be a terrible thing, if such a party sought to and was successful in replacing one of the existing parties in a position of dominance. (This has happened before, in not dissimilar circumstances, resulting in the formation of the Republican Party around 1850, as it supplanted the Whig party which had theretofore been the primary rival of the Democratic Party.)

  80. Frank says:

    I voted for a local presidential candidate. I couldn't support Robama, because of the "winner take all" bullshit at the Republican convention that shut Ron Paul out of the election.
    Robama lost, and the dirty prick got what he deserves.

  81. All I can say is that gay marriage and abortion, far from being wedge issues, are the #1 rallying cards of the GOP in rural Texas, if my glance at the Franklin County GOP message board in Mount Vernon TX is anything to go by. (And their most popular yard sign seemed to be "Let's vote for the real American"). Xenophobia, nativism and intolerance are still the calling cards for the GOP here.

  82. Grifter says:

    @C.S.P. Schofield:

    I think the difference to some is that we see the judiciary as not "bestowing" rights, but rather indicating that they exist already; a correction of a previous hypocrisy. While "bestowing" these rights legislatively is not only saying that it wasn't hypocrisy before, but also that there is more separation than there is.

  83. PiperTom says:

    AJ said (on the 7th): "Voted for Johnson, didn't get drunk. I live in MD; any non-Dem vote here is pissing into the wind." Ergo, voting for the Democrat is also a waste of effort. He/she/it was going to win anyway.

    You made the only choice that makes any difference. Your vote makes much more (percentage) difference to the L vote totals. Thus more people will hear of it and wonder about it. Even our opponents will help: increased vote total leads to increased irrational anger and vilification leads to more people wondering, searching… finding.

  84. SPQR says:

    LA County measure B – the destruction of the economy of Chatsworth. Oh, the horror. Oh, the horror.

  85. C. S. P. Schofield says:


    you may see the Judiciary as recognizing rights that have always existed, and in a perfect world that might be true. We don't live in a perfect world. Rights derive from God in theology, but are acknowledged by our fellows, or bestowed by our betters, on a practical level. I prefer the former to the latter.

  86. RogerX says:

    "While the Republican party has its fair share of cynics, I think that for the most part the were trying to do the right thing for the country."

    No, they thought they were trying to do the right thing for other people. Social conservatism in politics is the idea that you have it figured out and other people need your morality to "come around to the right way of thinking/doing things."

    Let's face it, since there are basically no credible fiscal conservatives left in the Republican party, they are appealing to the "base" of exclusively social conservatives. So all they have left as political ideology is "'murica, eff yeah" military interventionism (kill the mooslims), anti-immigrant hysteria (send the brown people home/we speak english here), anti-gay bigotry (gays invite God's judgement / shut up f****t).

    I don't know any chest-thumping republicans over the age of 45 that don't share this base mindset. People of Gen X / Gen Y who lean conservative are coming around more and more to libertarianism, because 1)They understand social progress is inevitable and should be embraced, and is a fundamental celebration of freedom and 2) They see the deficit and freespending ways of both parties as counter to a healthy government and economy.

  87. Josh C says:

    I voted Johnson in MD too. I was swayed by Reason's article on why I should vote Romney. Unfortunately, I also was basically manning the Democrat tables all day, because that was the best way of supporting the clearly correct choice for local Judge, which was the most important issue on my ballot. Cest la vie.

    @CSP: A++; would read again. Thank you for writing such cogent summaries of my opinions.

  88. Analee says:

    I always appreciate a coherent, well-written explanation of why a person doesn't like a candidate that doesn't smack of any one political party's lines being regurgitated in different order.

    Add the return of "snort my taint" and you have gold!

  89. Myk says:

    Interesting, and reasonably clear, explanation of the impact of gerrymandering on the election outcomes:

  90. tarylcabot says:

    This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end:

    To quote Churchill, "it's the end of the beginning"

  91. Corpse Gal says:

    I am an independent but fancy myself a liberal at times. I voted for gay Johnson. I care more about social issues than fiscal ones because most of them are an attack on my religion and my orientation. I feel that no one is learning any real lessons about anything. The social safety net is broken. When there are cuts to it they always cut the things that help you get off it. I'm disabled and cuts to it in previous years, combined with the rising student loan debt, has made it so that I can't get the education I need to have a job I can do despite my disabilities. I'm stuck on the program. At this point I'd vote all libertarians into office over just about anyone else. However I also voted for Elizabeth warren since she looks likely to shake up the establishment a bit and we need more of that.

  1. November 7, 2012

    […] I come by them. I linked to Morrissey's essay above, which is worth your time. Here's Ken at Popehat and Bernstein at Volokh and you should read everything Doug Mataconis is posting at Outside the […]

  2. November 7, 2012

    […] Ken White at Popehat, I am deeply ambivalent about President Obama's win last […]

  3. November 7, 2012

    […] post-election thoughts from Ken at Popehat. […]

  4. November 7, 2012

    […] Seriously, the popular vote is now separated by 3 million votes in the Incumbent's favor and people are still blabbering about the Libertarian vote. As Ken at the Popehat said it, "snort my taint." […]

  5. November 8, 2012

    […] at Popehat, who you should be following if you are not already, offered his post-election thoughts Wednesday morning. I do not agree with everything Ken has to say there, but he hit the nail on the […]