The 2012 election: The Libertarians won

Tom Jackson
Nov 13, 2012



The votes have been counted  and the results seem clear: Libertarians won.

I'm not joking. Ballot initiatives measure  actual popularity of social movements, and the resounding victories last victories of ballot measures to approve the legalization of marijuana and to support gay marriage amount to a stunning shift in public opinion in favor of freedom.

Voters approved gay marriage in three states, Maine, Maryland and Washington, and defeated a ban on gay marriage in Minnesota. They approved legalizing the use of marijuana in two states, Washington and Colorado. 

It was the first time that either issue had been approved in a state ballot referendum. 

This seems much more significant to me than worrying about which professional politician in the Oval Office or on the Senate floor will be using your tax money to buy votes.

Libertarians supported all of the marijuana and gay marriage ballot issues, although no doubt in some cases they didn't feel the proposals went far enough.

The Libertarian Party supported gay rights and marijuana legalization when such stances were out of the mainstream. In a 1996 article in "The Advocate," gay Libertarian activist Richard Sincere, the chairman of the Libertarian Party of Virginia, noted the party's longtime stance in favor of gay rights.

"We've always called for an end to sodomy laws and for an end to discrimination toward gays in the military," he said in that 1996 article. "At our latest convention, we passed a platform plank that urged the abolition of laws banning same-sex marriage." 

The party began fielding presidential candidates (and advocating for gay issues) in 1972.

Similarly, drug legalization goes back a long way with the Libertarian Party. 

Here is a sentence from the 1972 platform of the LIbertarian Party, one that captures the party's stance on both marijuana use and gay rights: "We favor the repeal of all laws creating 'crimes without victims' now incorporated in Federal, state and local laws -- such as laws on voluntary sexual relations, drug use, gambling, and attempted suicide."

The platform doesn't mention gay marriage, but I don't think many people thought in those terms in the 1970s. The explicit endorsement  of gay marriage in the Libertarian Party's 1996 platform put the party ahead of other political parties.

When I offered my theory to one Democrat that Tuesday's poll results had been a huge victory for Libertarian principles, she objected and said that it isn't just Libertarians who support gay marriage and marijuana legalization.

That's true, of course, but it's also fair to remember those who supported freedom when nobody else would. Even in 2012, ending the war on drugs and supporting marriage equality is still too much for most Democratic and Republican politicians.

Many important pillars of freedom begin as radical ideas endorsed by a minority. Nobody supports slavery in 2012, but when William Lloyd Garrison advocated the "immediate abolition of slavery" in the 1830s, he was considered a dangerous radical. His insistence that women should be full participants in the New England Anti-Slavery Society also was seen as beyond the pale, even by his fellow antislavery advocates.



@ Mr. Jackson:

Yepper! I proudly cast my vote for Mr. Johnson!

What about denuding the military industrial complex and stopping the Endless War?

Misters Obama and Romney were two peas in a pod on that score.

I just saw where the U.S. is puttin' troops and weapons in Poland. Do we have to fight the GD Cold War all over again?

Ol’ Hillary’s in Australia talking to ‘em about increasing their military spending.

Licorice Schtick

If the Libertarians won, then they should thank the Liberals, who provided probably 95% of the needed votes.

BW1's picture

That's not the case. The ballot initiatives all passed with a much larger percentage of the vote than Democratic candidates.


Licorice, I would bet that you are way off base. By "Liberal," I assume that you mean people who are socially liberal AND fiscally liberal. Those are your Democrats. Libertarians, on the other hand, are socially liberal BUT fiscally CONSERVATIVE (something that seems to be anathema to Democrats).
Therefore, Libertarians winning a presidential election would be giving thanks to BOTH Democrat voters (appealing mostly to Libertarian social liberalism) AND Republican voters (appealing mostly to Libertarian fiscal conservatism) who finally found the resolve to stand up to their parties and show them that there will finally be some accountability and consequence dealt from the voting booth.

Ron Paul and Dennnis Kucinich were, in my opinion, the most inspirational candidates in a very long time. Dedicating their careers to changing their parties from within.
Rand Paul 2016 (or installed as President sooner, by the military, in the event of collapse).


I agree with you Verdict. Very good comment. A Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich team would have had the best of both two political parties. A winning combo. The best of Democrats and Republicans all into one. That would have meld both into one for a better nation. Freedom and fiscal.


Your candidate of choice proudly LOST! Mitt happens! Just not this time. Gary who? Right!!!!!!!!!


@ deertracker:

So you voted to support Mr. Obama's continued military adventurism, the killing of innocent women and children with drones and the bankrupting of the U.S. through excessive debt and currency debasement?


I sure did and so did you by the way you voted!

the office cat

Yes thank you!!!!!!


I love the way these sad people are actually proud of voting for running the country into the ground and act like they were aided by people who voted against it. Libertarians really do not like the entire killing for killings sake as you seem to and I am positive none of them voted for it, They voted against it by not voting for either warmongering party.


Thumbs up, R_M. I am damn tired of hearing that I voted for the opposition/threw away my vote because I voted third party. If we keep sticking with "what is" we will only have, "what is".

The "what is" ain't workin'.


R_M, you hit the nail on the head. Change does not occur by continuing on with the status quo; sometimes battles must be lost in order for the final war to be won. I could not, nor will I ever again, in good conscience, vote for a standard Repub or Dem who has been bought and paid for by Big Biz and Big Pharma, and is engaged in destructive wars that are none of our business all over the world.


@ Contango, Much thanks to you for the tip about getting past the spam filter.



Sarah Weber

I removed the photo for you OMG. I don't know why it was there, but it's gone now.

the office cat

Another register screwup?


The Republicans have only themselves to blame for not having a candidate who would take votes away from the Democrats and get the votes from the independent voters. The Democrats blamed Ralph Nader when Al Gore lost. The Republicans cannot blame the third party candidates because all of the various third party votes combined would have made no difference. There were Democrat and Republican voters who would have voted for Gary Johnson but due to the close race and media blackout voted to keep Obama or Romney from being elected. Nobody throws their vote away unless they vote for the lesser of two evils. Evil is still evil. Sure the Libertarian candidate lost but so did Romney with all of the media exposure, millions of dollars and thousands of Romney campaign workers.

I could list all kinds of broken promises made by Obama to win votes in 2008. How can you trust this man? Just wait until Obama, Holder and his storm troopers increase their raids on the American people. Remember Obama's heavily publicized and widely praised promise to respect state medical marijuana laws? Obama lied. I don't like liars.
"Obama's heavily publicized and widely praised promise to respect state medical marijuana laws has recently been shattered into more pieces than the campaign can count. In only a few short months, the Obama administration has presided over a vicious series of political assaults on medical marijuana patients and providers across the nation, carried out by numerous federal agencies. The situation just continues to get more ugly and insane from one week to the next:"

Please note "numerous federal agencies" above.

Obama and Holder's raids on the medical marijuana is only a small part of what is to come. Just wait for the storm troopers to break down your doors because you didn't pay off your student loans, pay your income taxes or even made online comments critical about Obama. You haven't seen nothing yet. I will be watching what happens in Colorado and Washington.

Did some Democrats vote Republican because they felt Obama failed to deliver hope and change and broken promises? Did some Republicans vote Democrat because they felt Romney would not represent the middle and lower classes ?

If the voters could foretell the future that Obama would win and Romney would lose, how many Democrats, Republicans and independents would have voted Libertarian? Did the Republicans waste their vote? Your man Romney lost. Given the chance today to vote again, how would you vote? The same? Well your man Romney would lose again. What if Ron Paul or Gary Johnson were the Republican candidates? Would you the Republicans have voted for them? How many Democrats and independents would have supported Gary Johnson or Ron Paul after seeing how the election turned out? It is going to be a very interesting four more years.


@ Mr. Jackson:

Mr. Ted Cruz, the U.S. Senate Repub candidate and TEA Party favorite won big in TX.

Potential 2016 Repub POTUS candidate?

The man is a champion debater; no need for a teleprompter!

Libertarianism IS the "third way."

The hollowness of and the deceit of socialism is on full display in Europe with high unemployment, fiscal failures, austerity protests and general strikes.

The useful idiots would do best to enjoy Mr. Obama's pyrrhic victory.

Where will the Dems find another good lookin' minority "empty suit" for 2016?

Recall the old German saying: Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.


A "minority" uses a teleprompter and all of a sudden it is the worst thing in the world even though everyone else on tv also uses a teleprompter.Sit back and enjoy pooh, you are going to see exactly how an "empty suit" gets it done...minority style!


Get what done, Driving us over a fiscal cliff, Destroying the currency or warmongering? We know you approve of all three but which one they do first? My bet is they will start another endless war and send everyone to the breadlines together.


The POTUS and "everyone else on tv" uses teleprompters?

What a great comparison for all the "empty suits" bambie. LMAO!!!


Centauri, just an FYI: Politifact, the independent fact-checking organization, recently found that only 17% of Obama's 2008 campaign promises were unkept, as of 2012. The rest were either fulfilled, still in process of being implemented, or were blocked by Republicans.


@ Coasterfan, Thanks for your comment. I agree with you in some respects.

Here you will find 26 pages of Obama's promises. Republicans did block some of Obama's promises. Some of those 17% of broken promises were very important to those who voted for Obama in 2008. These 26 pages are worth taking the time to read. I didn't see the medical marijuana promise in the Obameter. Maybe it was conveniently left out or I missed it. If somebody finds it in the Obameter. please post the link.

"What I’m not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue simply because I want folks to be investigating violent crimes and potential terrorism. We’ve got a lot of things for our law enforcement officers to deal with."
-- Medford (Ore.) Mail Tribune
MARCH 22, 2008

"Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said President Obama is making a “grave mistake” by cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries that are legal in some states.

"It's unfair and will hurt innocent people," Frank told The Hill.

Frank, a longtime supporter of more liberal rules on marijuana, said he is "very disappointed" that Obama isn’t sticking with his campaign promise to let state laws rule on the medical use and distribution of the drug."


My point was that NO president is able to keep 100% of his promises, simply because they don't govern in a vacuum: there are many outside forces that play a factor in what a president is able to accomplish. Obama certainly did a better job than the previous president, who is still such an embarrassment to the GOP, that he played the role of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named during the entire 2012 election cycle.

We all know that when a president "promises" to do something, what he is really saying is "this is what I'd like to do/plan to do". He doesn't have a crystal ball any more than anyone else. So, when George W.Bush wasn't able to carry through with most of his campaign promises, I didn't think he was a liar. I just thought he didn't accomplish the things that he set out to do when he was elected. So, I really scratch my head when I hear conservatives say "Obama lied, he didn't keep his promises".

Especially when it was THEIR party that blocked many of the promises from coming to fruition. Seriously. It's not a secret that the Republicans fought him on literally everything, including some things that they had previously been in favor of. For them to not sign his jobs bill, then complain that he didn't create enough jobs is just silly, you know? It became rather clear to a lot of people that the GOP's #1 goal wasn't to fix the economy, it was to oust Obama. They probably shouldn't be surprised that a majority of Americans didn't vote for their guy...


Along with "He who shall not be named" The entire last 4 years worth of policys were suspiciously absent.

FreeRoy's picture

I am very glad to say that I also voted for Governor Gary Johnson, as I have voted for every Libertarian candidate since 1972.

I will never vote for anyone who wants to spend MY tax dollars to put me, and/or my friends, in jail solely because of what we smoke or who we screw.

Obama has been a huge disappointment to those of us in the marijuana-law reform community, but even so he's not as bad as Romney. A vote for a canidate who ends up losing is far less wasted than a vote for a candidate who supports positions that I believe are not merely evil but also tremendously wasteful of both lives and money. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.'

Interested readers may want to check out


Another random photo! Seems like a photo of one happy family, The grown ups showing affection for the dogs and all.