Will Third-Party Voters Decide Senate Majority? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Will Third-Party Voters Decide Senate Majority?
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Libertarian Party Senate candidate Chase Oliver in debate with Sen. Raphael Warnock, Oct. 16, 2022 (Atlanta Press Club/YouTube)

Unless you have obsessively followed the midterm tracking polls in an effort to divine which party will control a majority in the U.S. Senate next year, you have probably never heard of the following people: Erik Gerhardt, Jeremy Kauffman, Chase Oliver, Neil Scott, and Marc Victor. Yet, because all are Libertarian Senate candidates in states where the major party nominees are statistically tied, each has the potential to save a faltering Democrat. Nowhere is that more true than in Georgia.

Chase Oliver is the Libertarian nominee for the Georgia Senate seat now occupied by Democrat Raphael Warnock, who is also fending off a far more serious challenge from Republican Herschel Walker. In Georgia, a candidate must win 50 percent of the votes — plus one — to avoid a runoff. Oliver recently told Fox 5 Atlanta, “If I cause a runoff, I’m happy that happens because it will show that voters are frustrated with the two parties, and they want better options.” Multiple surveys show Oliver with enough support to force such a runoff.

A new Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey, for example, shows Walker at 45.5 percent, Warnock at 45.2 percent, and Oliver at 4.8 percent. Most of Oliver’s support is probably coming at Walker’s expense. Libertarian candidates typically deny that they pilfer more Republican votes than Democratic votes, but Oliver has been pursuing Walker’s supporters far more aggressively than Warnock’s. In a recent interview with Bloomberg’s Christian Hall, he insinuated that he is better able to discuss Republican principles than is Walker:

I feel like [Walker] is unable to really articulate the principles of limited government, small government, lower taxes. These are things that are in Republicans wheelhouse … If you can’t properly articulate that, and in particular in a debate to defend those ideas, then I don’t think voters are going to have faith in you.

But Oliver’s commitment to limited government is nowhere near as robust as this suggests. When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June, he responded thus: “Needless to say, I disagree with this ruling and if I were in the US Senate, I would be drafting a bill to protect the bodily autonomy of women and codify abortion into law.” If Oliver is such a fervent champion of limited government, why would he disagree with the court’s decision to return the abortion question to the states where the people can decide for themselves?

Oliver can have a very real impact on the country’s future by dropping out and asking his supporters to vote for Herschel Walker.

No genuine Libertarian would support an abortion statute imposed by the federal government on all 50 states. Oliver is the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Atlanta, but his response to the court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade raises questions about his commitment to libertarianism. He was a progressive Democrat until he switched to the Libertarian Party, under whose aegis he ran for the House of Representatives in 2020. Despite his official party registration, his positions in that race still included dangerous progressive ideas such as ending cash bail:

Bail is forcing people who have not been convicted of a crime to pay for their pretrial freedom. The bail bond industry is built on the backs of the poor and mostly those arrested in the War on Drugs 500k people are in jail right now not convicted of anything but being poor[.]

Oliver is evidently confused about how libertarian principles relate to the elimination of cash bail. It is every bit as inconsistent with libertarianism as is federal overreach on abortion. Libertarians support a fair criminal justice system, but they also know it’s necessary to protect individual safety and property rights. Ending cash bail clearly conflicts with these principles. If Oliver supports it, he’s just a spoiler posing as a Libertarian. If he wishes to prove otherwise, he can follow the example of Arizona Libertarian Marc Victor. The Hill reports:

Libertarian Marc Victor dropped out of Arizona’s closely watched Senate race on Tuesday, encouraging voters to cast their ballots for Republican Blake Masters in his challenge to Sen. Mark Kelly (D). Polls had shown Victor garnering support in the low single digits, but his small bloc of supporters could provide a critical boost to Masters, as surveys show the Republican only trailing Kelly by a few percentage points.

Chase Oliver knows he isn’t going to be the next U.S. senator from Georgia, just as Marc Victor knew he wasn’t going to Washington. The latter set his ego aside in an attempt to prevent Mark Kelly from returning to the Beltway and further abetting the Biden administration’s ongoing antics. Likewise, Oliver can have a very real impact on the country’s future by dropping out and asking his supporters to vote for Herschel Walker. This would certainly advance the causes of small government and lower taxes to which Mr. Oliver is so dedicated(READ MORE from David Catron: Democrats Roll Out SeniorScare™ Program)

In the 2022 midterms, the Libertarian Party has an opportunity to rehabilitate its reputation as a collection of eccentrics to a coalition of serious candidates who can make a real difference in the balance of power in Washington. If Pennsylvania Libertarian Erik Gerhardt drops out and endorses Dr. Oz, the latter will win. If New Hampshire Libertarian Jeremy Kauffman drops out and endorses Gen. Donald Bolduc, the latter will win. If Nevada Libertarian Neil Scott drops out and encourages his supporters to vote for Adam Laxalt, the latter will win.

All of which would lead to Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress and a genuine check on the steady accretion of political power in the executive branch of the federal government. If limited government is what libertarians really want, that’s what they will do. The other choice is to be the party, like that proverbial tree in the forest, that no one ever hears when their candidates talk and their ballots are cast. Unless, of course, the goal is to filch votes from GOP candidates to help Democrats — to be nothing more than spoilers.

David Catron
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David Catron is a recovering health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.
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