[COLUMN] GOP, Democrats Need To Become More Libertarian

I can’t help but laugh at many of my liberal friends in the aftermath of the presidential election. Not just them, but many so-called intelligent pundits have made laughable statements as well.

Based on this one election, their fallacious reasoning goes, the Republican Party is dead or on its death bed. Of course, they ignore the fact that the GOP took the House and picked up another governor. The Republicans now hold 30 of the gubernatorial positions compared to only 19 for Democrats. The one independent, Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, is a former Republican.

As funny of a statement as that is, it gets better.

The suggested remedy, these liberals reason, is that the Republican Party needs to become, well, liberal. In other words, these Democrats say the Republicans can only save themselves by becoming Democratic.

That is the kind of superficial reasoning I have come to expect from today’s Democrats. After all, if you believe, as many Democrats do, that raising taxes by 5 percent will result in a corresponding 5 percent increase in tax revenue, your analytic skills are quite deficient.

The thinking also ignores the fact that President Barack Obama was only the second president in U.S. history to win re-election with a smaller percentage of the vote than he received in his first election.

Clearly, his win in no way signifies some kind of Democratic surge sweeping the nation. In fact, the 2012 election will go down in history as the one where nothing changed despite the billions of dollars spent to win that $400,000-a-year job.

The reality is, it is harder for a Republican to win the presidency than it is for a Democrat. That challenge becomes even harder when the Democrat is an incumbent.

A Pew Research Center survey in earlier this year found that 35 percent of registered voters identify with the Democratic Party, 28 percent with the Republican Party and 33 percent as independents. That means there are tens of millions more Democrats than Republicans. So it is always amazing when Republicans when the presidency given the partisan demographics.

What is most telling about the Pew study is that the share of Democrats has dropped 3 percentage points since 2008. That means Democrats are leaving the party and becoming independents or joining some of the minor parties.

Based on those numbers, it would seem the Democratic Party is the one in need of assistance.

I suspect that is because today’s Democratic Party, under Obama, has become a party of radical leftists who wage class warfare and believe in a European-style socialism and the redistribution of wealth.

The Democrats like to claim, falsely, that the GOP is waging a war on women while they simultaneously are waging a war against the rich and, consequently, against success.

In reality, despite the results of one race in one election year, the overall trend in this country is away from the socialism of today’s Democratic Party. If the Democratic Party wishes to save itself it will have to move more toward the right.

I say that with only a slight bit of facetiousness.

What I do say with all seriousness is that the country is becoming more libertarian. That, in some ways benefits the Republican Party and harms it in the same way. If there were only two parties, most libertarians, though certainly not all, would find themselves aligning with the Republican Party. But we have a Libertarian Party, which, though it takes voters from both parties, it does tend to take more heavily from the GOP than the Democrats.

If the GOP were to suddenly disappear, it is obvious that the Libertarian Party would take its place as the firewall against the excesses of the left. And even if the GOP does not disappear, the LP might slay it sometime in the near future.

In this past election the LP had its best showing ever. The presidential candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, took in more votes (1.14 million votes) than any LP presidential candidate in history and had the second-highest percentage of the vote of any previous LP candidate (about 1 percent). This despite the fact that Johnson only spent $3 million compared to the $2 billion the Obama and Mitt Romney spent. To put that in perspective, Johnson was outspent 667 to 1.

In many races, the Libertarian Party candidate took in more votes than the margin between the Democrats and the Republicans, suggesting the LP candidates might be, at some level, serving as a spoiler.

While the analyses from the liberals about what the GOP needs to do are silly, they are right in one respect. The GOP should abandon much of its socially conservative viewpoints, at least from a governing perspective. By that, I mean they can still hold their own moral beliefs, they should stop trying to force it on the rest of us.

Let’s take, as an example, same-sex marriage. Republicans can remain personally opposed to it, but they should not use the force of law to prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

In other words, the Republicans should become, like most Americans, fiscally conservative but socially liberal. But, wait, that would make them libertarians. Perhaps the GOP should disband and its members can join the LP. Heck, Democrats are invited, too. Just leave your class warfare and socialism at the door.

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