Justin Amash Leaves GOP, Sets Stage for Potential LP POTUS Run

On America’s 243rd anniversary of declaring independence from the stranglehold of King George, Michigan Congressman Justin Amash declared freedom from the stranglehold of the two-party system in this morning’s Washington Post.

“Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party. No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.”

Amash is a true believer in the Founding principles of the country and couches his Hayekian-libertarianism in the rhetoric of that generation. In terms of messaging, it is a brilliant strategy to show how far adrift we are from the principles laid out in our founding documents. 

I have long advocated that libertarians should use the Founding as a yardstick to delegitimate our current government in the minds of the average American. Utopian concepts are hard to sell, but the myths of America are firmly set in their minds. It is the intellectual equivalent of wrapping medicine in cheese slices for your puppy. 

In his opinion piece, Amash ties the current moment to Washington’s Farewell Address. 

True to Washington’s fears, Americans have allowed government officials, under assertions of expediency and party unity, to ignore the most basic tenets of our constitutional order: separation of powers, federalism and the rule of law. The result has been the consolidation of political power and the near disintegration of representative democracy.

These are consequences of a mindset among the political class that loyalty to the party is more important than serving the American people or protecting our governing institutions.


In a Facebook comment today, a Republican fought back for his dying brand by saying, “[Amash] is expeditiously trying to become a national name to have a run at the POTUS position. He is a fake. A fraud. A phony.” 

He cited Amash’s sinking poll numbers amongst Republicans in Michigan’s third district as the real reason he’s abdicating his Congressional seat. The commenter sees it as a cynical ploy to promote Justin Amash. 

My response? Republicans should be concerned that a Constitutional conservative has been rejected by their party. Thomas Jefferson or George Washington would not be welcome in the modern Republican Party. This person clearly doesn’t know Justin Amash, and the more they do, the more they’ll realize they are wrong. (Fortunately, you can learn more about Amash by listening to his interview with Brian Nichols.)

The commenter is right that Justin Amash will run for President as a Libertarian. Party officials won’t confirm that they’ve had talks with Amash in an official capacity. Despite this denial, the national Chair shared an article by Amash recently, and staff members of the national party all shared the Amash’s piece today (while finding any excuse not to share debates between the currently declared candidates.) State directors for social media, outreach, and fundraising have been identified in multiple states. 

Personally, I will vote for Justin Amash. I would not vote for any other currently declared Libertarian, Republican, or Democratic candidate. Amash doesn’t have the baggage or suspect presentation of Bob Barr. He has the philosophical foundation and boldness that Johnson could never muster.

Amash is intelligent, accomplished, and the majority of Americans will embrace him. This is a chance for the Libertarian Party to make gains like never before. Not only could they see increased electoral success, but hearts and minds could be won for liberty as no Libertarian candidate has done in our generation. 

This advancement requires the various factions of the libertarian movement to stop arguing and start working. Hopefully, libertarians will rise to this occasion. 

Finally, some free advice for Amash from an old LP veteran: Stay away from Ron Nielson and Russ Verney and the failed strategies they pursued. They focused on grassroots organizations in single states to win in the Electoral College. Focus on the Ron Paul strategy of big events and rallies and media across the country. Top-of-ticket LP candidates are marketing opportunities for the ideas of liberty. Ron Paul built a movement with his strategy, and Bob Barr and Gary Johnson have been left in the dustbin of history. Amash has always been the heir apparent to Ron Paul, and it is time to pick up that mantle.

What is Happening At the Border?

A congresswoman recently brought the public’s attention back to migrant camps on the southern border by calling them concentration camps. While Merriam-Webster would agree with her definition, it read like hyperbole. Everything seems to be hyperbole in 2019, so it is hard to know what matters anymore. Like every other issue in the news, we’ve descended into unproductive, and often untrue, debates about these camps. 

A year ago, We Are Libertarians spent dozens of hours researching this issue from every angle. We listed every source we could find, and we tried to present a fair and honest look at what is happening. Almost all of this information is still relevant. Judging by the website hits and reactions, your friends WANT to hear this show. Please listen for yourself, and if you find it informative, please share it. This issue really matters. Here is the link with the show prep.

While the episode is a year old, the fundamental facts have not changed, but the conditions have.

Six children have died due to poor conditions. Infants and children aren’t allowed to bathe, toilet facilities aren’t working, necessary items like soap and toothbrushes aren’t provided, and dangerous overcrowding is taking place. Diseases are rampant, but health care is minimal. Fear not, the guards have adequate face masks to protect themselves from the unhealthy air. They’re also punishing kids for losing their lice combsThousands of children were sexually abused. The government has argued that all of this is acceptable.

If an individual perpetrated this, it would be an episode of an SVU. Morality doesn’t change when something is done in the name of the collective. Morality doesn’t change because they are immigrants, either. As believers in natural rights, all prisoners should be treated with dignity. I find it hard to understand how Republicans will continuously advocate for the rights and dignity of the unborn but have little empathy for immigrants being neglected in American prisons.

Maybe the left was right in the mid-2000s when they warned that indefinite detentions and inhumane treatment at places like GITMO would lead to moral rot. Public opinion, and then government policy, usually cut its teeth on the people that provoke no sympathy in the minds of a population. We must be careful, or prisoners in a country with ever-expanding laws will begin allowing our people to be tortured by government bureaucrats ending in death. 

Oh, wait. 

Why is this happening?

Whenever laws are passed, executives have multiple ways they can execute the laws. Trump has chosen to interpret immigration laws rigorously and is changing the way legal immigration (asylum) is handled. This has pushed detention centers far beyond their capacity, and Democrats in Congress see this as a winner politically, so they aren’t increasing funding. In the meantime, children are being tortured so that politicians can win elections. Over the past few weeks, there has been an enormous influx over the borders because of Trump’s standoff with Mexico. People are concerned they won’t be able to get it. Three children and one woman died yesterday. I’ll also direct your attention to a petition asking Congress to allow private donations to be made to those in custody.

But Obama did it! This is true, but it also wasn’t at this magnitude. Secondly, this argument nods to the fact that this is morally repugnant, but it should be allowed because the other President did bad stuff too. If conservatives feel this is disgusting, then why not lead instead of blaming the other party? Why aren’t Democrats calling on their leadership to fix the problem?

Conservatives fail to understand that border controls are like taxes. Labor is a resource in a market, and interfering with the free flow of labor has unintended consequences in the same way that aggressive (or any) taxation stalls an economy. Liberals fail to see that bureaucracy will always lead to failed outcomes (AKA people dying) because of bad incentives, slow change, and limited resources. 

I’ve found this story to be very difficult, personally. It is hard to think that people are just ok with the conditions of these children. While I may lean more open-borders than closed borders, I can see the need to follow our laws as written. The rule of law is an important principle is a society founded on laws. I can see why a person could say, “I don’t want immigrants to enter my country for X reasons.” What I don’t understand is a nonchalant shrug, or worse, a sociopathic defense of what amounts to torture for the most vulnerable humans on the planet. Often, people want to turn away from the human costs that result from using government force to avoid feeling guilt or shame. We outsource hard questions to the government, and politics inevitably leads to a lack of empathy for our fellow humans. This sad episode in American life illustrates the moral cost of such a choice. 

294: What Is Happening on the Border?

Posted by We Are Libertarians Podcast on Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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Taxpayers Should Not Fund Indy Eleven’s New Soccer Stadium

It’s a budget year in Indiana, which means the Indy Eleven are again making a pitch for a gleaming, expensive taxpayer-funded stadium.

The soccer team, which competes in the second-division United Soccer League, has been a fixture in Indy since 2014. Almost from the first whistle, the team has gone to the legislature with its hand out asking for public funding for a new stadium. Before the first game, the team asked for $80 million to fund a stadium. It was rejected by the state legislature, which countered with an offer of $20 million in renovations to its then-home, IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium. 

So instead of scaling back its request, Eleven owner Ersal Odzemir has increased it almost eight-fold, asking for $550 million to build a stadium and mixed-use development at a yet-to-be-named location (although Broad Ripple High School was one potential offering). Apartments, retail space and a hotel were among the ideas pushed forth for the site, but the centerpiece is the soccer stadium. 

For comparison, the request is double the inflation-adjusted cost of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and only slightly less than the $720 million price tag for Lucas Oil Stadium. A better comparison would be to look at the price of other minor-league facilities. Victory Field, where the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians play, opened in 1996. It cost $18 million to build ($30 million in today’s prices) and the Indians picked up half the cost. At 21 years of age, it remains a state-of-the-art ballpark that is considered one of the premier stadiums in minor league baseball. The Indiana Farmers Coliseum, whose interior was completely rebuilt from 2012-14, cost $63 million.

Of those teams, the Colts and Pacers are established teams in established major leagues who bring national attention to the city.

The Eleven are a second-division soccer team. While the team has fervent support among its fanbase, that alone is not a reason to hook the taxpayers of Central Indiana for a half-billion dollars. While an argument is made that a professional team induces economic activity, that’s been proven largely false over the years. One could argue a major league team like the Colts or Pacers increases civic pride and quality of life. However, minor league and second-division teams have very localized fan bases and provide inexpensive family entertainment and bring very little new money into a community.

The Eleven’s support is on par with its minor league brethren in Indianapolis. Its annual attendance has hovered between 10,465 the first year and just a shade under 8,400 fans in 2016 and 2017 – its last two seasons at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium. A move to Lucas Oil Stadium pushed attendance slightly back over 10,000. The market is similar to the attendance numbers from the Triple-A baseball Indianapolis Indians, who also play during the summer and average around 9,000 fans per game each year. 

The Eleven’s supporters speak of the stadium as being necessary for a potential move up to Major League Soccer, the top tier of soccer in the United States. But there are two problems with the argument.
First, MLS has not given Indianapolis a franchise. Even if so, a new stadium is not a necessity. Cincinnati recently received a franchise while playing in a college football stadium. And even if it does, something significantly less costly than a $550 million development would be more than adequate for the team. 

Second of all, an MLS entry would not likely have that much of an affect on attendance. Soccer fans are soccer fans and the market has already proven the existing demand is about 8-10,000 fans per game, which can be served by upgrading the existing infrastructure or building a scaled-down stadium. MLS isn’t the NFL or the NBA. Simply upgrading leagues likely won’t upgrade much except ticket prices. 

Third of all, this is a local issue, but the Eleven’s ownership repeatedly asks the state for revenue. There is no more reason for legislators in Angola, Gary, Lawrenceburg or Evansville to vote to direct their tax money to provide entertainment to a small part of Central Indiana than there is for legislators in Indianapolis to build a stadium for minor league teams in those cities.

A soccer stadium would be a benefit to Indianapolis, both intrinsically and in diverting game-night revenue from other entertainment areas to the area of town where the stadium locates.

But if the Indy Eleven’s owner wishes to build one, he should do it with his own money. He IS a real estate developer after all. If it is a profitable venture and will provide the benefit he claims it will, the development will stand on its own and be viable. There’s no reason to require the taxpayers of Indiana to shoulder the cost and the risk.

An Apology For My Previous Post About Bill Weld

I need to apologize for my earlier post about Bill Weld. I said ignorance and disinformation are bad, and open dialogue is good. That a movement based on voluntary exchange and empathy ought to model it through reasoned dialogue and respectful debate. Somehow that was controversial because I said it about Bill Weld. I was clearly wrong when I thought that principles shouldn’t change based on the person at the center of the discussion.

Maybe it’s the fault of the communicator. What I wrote was not a defense of Bill Weld, but a condemnation of the way we conduct business. Clearly, it was poorly written because commenters said I was a “Weld supporter”, a “Republican,” a “Weld lover,” a “statist”, and a “dick head.” I promise not to take the hundreds of angry responses as a point proven. I will take it as a correction of my own behavior. From here on out, I will conform to anything the libertarian movement wants so I will fit in even when it violates my own beliefs.

Bill Weld Allegedly Leaves The Libertarian Party, and I Don’t Blame Him

Bill Weld’s experience with the Libertarian Party is all too common. 

– Person has libertarian-leaning beliefs. 
– Person dips their toe into the party. Feels excited that there’s a party aligned with beliefs. 
– Wants to get involved so they join leadership. 
– Ripped to shreds by emotionally immature, controlling children on Facebook that can’t tolerate others holding beliefs different than theirs. Same arrogant children often have zero political experience and have no desire to get involved. They say things like, “This is why I left the Libertarian Party” as if they ever did a single thing to help the party. 
– The normal person can’t understand why they’d waste their time losing elections while being abused by a group of weirdos. 
– Person returns to original party.

Bill Weld could have taught the Libertarian Party a lot because of his experience and connections in politics. The Libertarian Party could have taught him a lot about libertarian philosophy. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen because people in the libertarian movement are dedicated to keeping the movement small. This was eximplified by the sniping at the recent LibertyCon event from the stage.

So this news isn’t surprising at all:

If people are wondering why I don’t recommend joining the party to friends and listeners anymore after dedicating a decade of my life to the LP, this cycle is why. I am a bad friend if I knowingly waste their time and abuse them. I’ll recommend candidates, but not joining party leadership. We Are Libertarians Podcast creates hundreds of new libertarians a year, and it’s a shame they have no political home.

If you need proof of what I’m talking about, then visit the comment section of my post where I first wrote this. It is full of people missing the point about building a more welcoming party and attacking Weld anyways mixed with people sharing their own stories of ending their time in the dog kennel.

This does not mean leadership is above criticism. There are right ways and wrong ways to do it though. Weld was absolutely NOT ready to represent the libertarian philosophy in 2016, and it is unclear if he could have done it well in 2020. We never got the chance because his comments were continually distorted.

When I heard him speak at the LPIN convention, I realized two things: 1. What he says or said is different than what people say about him. 2. He isn’t ready to be the party’s nominee in 2020. He doesn’t understand the over-arching philosophy yet, he doesn’t have a clear vision for America, and Ron Nielson 3.0 is a mistake. Plus, the fight over his nomination would be destructive for the party.

There are a ton of people that are brand new to libertarianism because of the Johnson-Weld campaign. I talk to one almost weekly. The reality is that audiences take things very personally, and trashing the guys that brought newbies to the party confuses them. They hear, “I’m not welcome?” and not “Bill Weld isn’t welcome.” It’s the same as trashing AOC or Trump in too personal of a manner.

Judd Weiss captured the culture within this movement peferctly on Lions of Liberty:

“For the most part of the last several decades, after all this time, energy, hostility, brain distraction, emotion, the Libertarian Party really hasn’t achieved anything. It’s been a sinkhole in the wider liberty movement. It’s been the biggest sinkhole of time, energy, money, and emotions that I’ve seen. It’s a cage match arena where Libertarians fight with each other over positions of no power. It’s embarrassing I wish it would be improved.
We need to stop focusing on the minute details of people’s differences. We need to focus on improving the environment. We need to focus on improving the experience of being involved in the liberty movement and the Libertarian Party. Otherwise, no one‘s going to want to be involved in this experience because the experience is miserable.
Maybe the Libertarian Party has contributed something valuable to the scene. Maybe the Libertarian Party’s value is that it’s not to win elections. It’s basically the convenient quarantine pen for the most toxic elements. It’s like a dog kennel. You can’t have rabid dogs biting people. You need to put them somewhere, so that’s Libertarian Party. It’s a place for angry libertarians who need a chew toy, and that’s each other. ”

This is a movement dedicated to philosophy instead of power or policies. Having been a libertarian for ten years, I continually discover something new. I only have grown through reasoned dialogue amongst friends. The LP, the movement at large, and the thought leaders did a very poor job of treating Weld as a friend. Either the party makes a space for competing ideas and open dialogue, or it dies.

WAL Daily 54: Bill Weld Leaving the Party?

WARNING This is a hot take on a preliminary report. Rhinehold, Paul Copeland, and Hodey Johns join up to talk about if Bill Weld has left the party, what that means, and what the Libertarian Party needs to change going forward.

Started Pokin’ Fun at My Friend’s Hat. You’re Going To Have to Fight Us All.

By Jeremiah Morrell

This weekend has taught/reinforced to all of us a lesson that we were supposed to learn in childhood. We were born with two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. More listening and thinking and less speaking is the lesson of the weekend.

Somewhere over the course of the last few years, we have developed the outrage culture. Watching the events of the day, selecting only the portion that suits our own narrative, and then blasting it all over the landscape. We do it on our own Facebook and Twitter accounts. The internet media and “old” media are just as complicit.

The DC students and Native American controversy never made sense to me. The outrage happens faster than the facts can get to us. Being human, emotional creatures, we react before we think. Because 40% of the country was barricaded inside their homes, preparing for a blizzard, I believe our country got bored and reacted before we knew anything. A short video clip here, a headline or two there… Get in your corner! There is an internet battle brewing.

What we have to recognize is that our country is very diverse. We come from different places, we come from different backgrounds. The amount of diversity in this country is phenomenal. But instead of taking the time to understand others, we build echo chambers. We do it by only talking to our own friend circles, only consuming certain media outlets.

Driving home from the grocery store tonight, one of my favorite old country songs came up. Chris LeDoux’s “This Cowboy’s Hat”. It is a song about understanding the other side of a conversation. Attempt to listen to there side of the story. See it from their shoes.

Instead of recoiling and taking sides, try taking a breath and using your ears, and yes, even your eyes, before your mouth. I challenge all of us to visit new places, meet new people, and attempt to see how the other side works.

I am looking forward to visiting San Francisco, Washington DC, and Atlanta in the coming months. Very different than the midwest that we experience every day.

The important value for Americans is that we agree to live together, peacefully. We agree to not hurt each other. Not take each others stuff. Live any lifestyle that you want. Just don’t hurt the others.

Individualism under Siege: The Effect of U.S. Sanctions on Iran

By Matin Pedram (1)

Economic sanctions (either targeted sanctions or comprehensive embargos) undermine infrastructures as well as social synergy. Although someone can claim that targeted sanctions have no such negative externalities, decrease in foreign investment and interruption in capital flows are the definite outcomes which have their own catastrophic results. So, impacts of economic sanctions cannot be estimated less than a real war.

This essay is going to affirm that Iran nuclear deal from an individualistic point of view is an efficient deal. Furthermore, sanctions re-imposition is against individualistic values of Iranian people because the opportunities to achieve moral well-being and human capital accumulation, being the main forces of any changes in a society, will be lost.

Making JCPOA Sense

The JCPOA is an agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany). On 16 January 2016 it was announced by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran had adequately dismantled its nuclear weapons program, allowing the United Nations to lift sanctions immediately. Hence, the oil embargo and financial sanctions were lifted. It was a big moment for Iranian people to access to global markets more freely and follow their own well-being, but there were many controversial arguments in favor of or against the JCPOA in the United States which made the perspective unclear. In spite of European Union, China and Russia objections, on May 8, 2018, the United States withdrew from JCPOA. As a consequence, the risk of doing business in Iran increased dramatically for the multinational companies that operate in the Iran’s market.

Currently, sanctions can be categorized into 2 sections: 1) Sanctions which are re-imposed by US and 2) Sanctions which have been still lifted by EU and UN through JCPOA and Security Council resolution number 2231.

Impacts of JCPOA

Withdrawal on Iranian People: Undoubtedly, maximizing well-being in an isolated society is farfetched issue, though there is no guarantee that in a free society one will improve his well-being. Based on the comprehensive regime of sanctions, accessibility to Iran’s markets is restricted, and the outcome will be people’s unwanted deprivation, and aggression purposefully toward individuals’ choices. (3)

Due to JCPOA withdrawal, the United States gave a clear message to every entrepreneur that Iran no longer is a secure destination for investment; therefore, risk of investment in Iran and even exportation of products to Iran is tremendously increased. Without access to foreign investments and technologies, economic flourishing is like a dream.

Although one can claim that free access to information, humanitarian aid or consumer goods are not restricted by sanctions, cost of the access will increase. Furthermore, standard of living will diminish dramatically due to hardship in access to markets and it gradually leads to economic depression.

Avoidance from Reengineering the Society

the main reason to impose sanctions is to change one state’s behavior. In a broad context, it can be called reengineering a society to see a kind of revolution. According to this, “whenever the outcome of user-owner decisions about their properties is not liked by the community of social engineers (people, that is, who are not the user-owners of the things in question and who do not have a contractually acquired title to them), it has the right to interfere with the practices of the actual user-owners and determine the use of these means, thereby restricting their property rights.” In other words, JCPOA was a framework to restrain Iran’s nuclear program, but after sanctions re-imposition, in particular (financial sanctions such as money transactions, foreign investments, and SWIFT accessibility), it was decided by the United States to restrain people’s choices.

In conclusion, these are the real impacts of re-imposed sanctions on Iranian individuals. Iranian people have restricted choices to decide what actions they can take to improve their properties and well-being because “the community of social engineers has the right to determine unilaterally what is or is not a preferred outcome, and can thus restrict the property rights of natural owners whenever, wherever, and to the extent that it thinks necessary in order to produce a preferred outcome.”

As Raimondo truly states: “Sanctions represent the opposite of a just war: from wars that only involved soldiers, we have moved to wars that only involve civilians. The concept of economic sanctions as a weapon also assumes international economic regulations and enforcement agencies, setting up a cadre of bureaucrats who sit in judgment of “outlaw nations”: in effect, the apparatus of world economic planners.” (5)

Now, planners use their own discretion to decide which type of investments and what kind of products are allowed to enter to Iran’s market. That is why individualistic values are under pressure and sanctions not only help to restore them, but also undermine their position in the society.

Footnotes

  1. L.L.M in International Business and Economic Law, Matin.pedram@gmail.com
  2. The United States re-imposed sanctions in 2 phases:
    Phase 1: After passing a 90-day mark on August 6, 2018 the following sanctions have been snapped back on Iran:
    Sanctions on Iran buying or acquiring U.S. dollars;
    Sanctions on Iran trading gold and other precious metals;
    Sanctions on Iran’s sale, supply or trade of metals such as aluminum and steel, as well as graphite, coal and certain software for “integrating industrial processes”;
    Sanctions on “significant” sales or purchases of Iranian rials, or the maintenance of significant funds or accounts outside the country using Iranian rials;
    Sanctions on issuing Iranian debt;
    Iranian auto sanctions.
    Phase 2: At the end of the 180-day interval on November 4, 2018 another set of sanctions have been clamped down on Iran:
    Sanctions on Iran’s ports, as well as the country’s shipping and shipping sectors;
    Sanctions on buying petroleum and petrochemical products with a number of Iranian oil companies;
    Sanctions on foreign financial institutions transacting with the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian financial institutions;
    Sanctions on the provision of certain financial messaging services to Iran’s central bank and other Iranian financial institutions;
    Sanctions on the provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance;
    Sanctions on Iran’s energy sector. (FAQ, www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/jcpoa_winddown_faqs.pdf, August 6, 2018)
  3. “Natural law theory justifies talk about both absolute and relative rights. It is always, absolutely, wrong for someone to harm another – to injure a basic aspect of the other’s well-being – purposefully or instrumentally.” (Chartier, Gary, Natural Law and Economic Justice, Cambridge University Press, 2009, p.22)
  4. Hoppe, Hans-Hermann, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010, p.144.
  5. Raimondo, Justin, “Evil of Sanctions”, The Free Market 16, no. 4, (April 1998)

The Late, Great Libertarian Macho Flash by Michael Cloud

Michael Emerling Cloud

Michael Cloud literally wrote the book on libertarian persuasion. Written in 1978, Cloud identified the kneejerk desire of libertarians to use aggressive language to wake people up. 

It was a large and expensive home. The architecture radiated impeccable taste. Seated around the dining table were five people: three moderates, a conservative and a libertarian. The conservative was a multimillionaire — and a generous political contributor. After dinner she turned to the libertarian and said, “Our hosts tell me you’re a libertarian. Maybe I’m a little naive, but I don’t know what that word means. Could you tell me about your beliefs?”

“Sure. I can explain them in a sentence: ‘Fuck the State!’ Libertarians want to get rid of as much government as they can.”

The woman was stunned. She dropped the subject and guided the conversation into other areas. In her mind, two things were associated with ‘libertarian’: bad manners and gutter language.


In the early 1960’s, a student asked a spokesman for Objectivism what would happen to the poor in a free society. The spokesman answered, “If you want to help them, you will not be stopped.” What did the student conclude? That Objectivists are indifferent to human need, callous toward the unfortunate, and without solutions to the misery of poverty.


In the early 1970’s, on the University of Arizona campus, libertarians set up an information table each week. Armed with the latest books, magazines and position papers, these libertarians tried to bring their views to the attention of other students. One day a student stopped at the table and asked, “What do you think of Social Security? What kind of help would the elderly get in your free society?”

The student behind the table was an old hand; he had heard the question many times. He responded, “The government has no right to force people to pay Social Security taxes. Taxation is theft. Government has no right to steal from one group of citizens to benefit another. If people don’t save money for old age, they have no right to coerce it from those who are working. We should abolish Social Security.”

The questioner was shocked. “You want to dump Social Security and abolish taxes? Sure! Maybe we can do without government, too! You don’t give a damn about old people. All you care about is your own stinking money!”


This last story is a little painful — I was the libertarian behind the table.

These are three examples of The Libertarian Macho Flash. Most people are familiar with ‘flashing’ — sexual exhibitionism. The common scenario is this: A middle-aged, average-looking man approaches a small group of women or children. He is wearing a raincoat, false trouser legs and shoes. The man whips open his raincoat to exhibit his naked body. His viewers are shocked, and he leaves before they recover.

The Libertarian Macho Flash has much in common with sexual exhibitionism. A common-looking person exposes his political beliefs in a shocking way. Invariably, he disgusts people or at least shakes them up. The Libertarian Macho Flasher displays his views in the most offensive way or exhibits whichever views are most likely to offend the audience.

Are some libertarian positions offensive? Not to libertarians. But supporters of other viewpoints may be offended. It depends on the audience. What would enrapture a feminist might offend an educational choice supporter. A liberal might be shocked by a statement that would make a conservative’s heart soar. To determine what would flash an audience, a speaker must know who he’s talking to and what they believe. He must understand their loves and hates, their hopes and fears. Flashing is emphasizing one’s views in terms of what they hate and fear.

There can be many motives for flashing. The flasher is a show-stopper, a real attention-getter. If someone desperately wants to be noticed, flashing gets instant results.

The Libertarian Macho Flash is also a great timesaver. After all, persuasion involves time and effort. By flashing, the speaker bypasses a long and demanding conversation.

Then there are people who live in fear of rejection. Seeing themselves through the eyes of others, they are psychologically dependent, and the possibility of rejection is frightening. How do they handle this? By doing something to get it out of the way as soon as possible. By engineering rejection.

The real macho flasher, by shocking his listeners, convinces himself that his ideas are virile, potent — even intimidating. The audience obviously lacks his intellectual courage and insight. He grasps truth and goodness. He is good, noble and wise — clearly a superior person. The listeners? They are stupid, worthless and possibly evil. Why waste time on such inferiors?

Some libertarians flash to convince themselves that they are doing something for freedom. They mistake flamboyance for effectiveness, heat for light.

Still others flash to persuade themselves that nothing can be done for freedom. If people are shocked by libertarianism, then effort is futile. So why try? This is a beautiful example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Late, Great Libertarian Macho Flash has its defenders, of course. They appeal to “honesty”, the Lenny Bruce argument, the Ayn Rand argument or the claim that it works. Each of these falls flat.


The argument from “honesty” goes as follows: It’s dishonest to avoid subjects simply because they offend or shock people. As libertarians, we must put moral principles before political consequences. We must fearlessly proclaim our views and let the chips fall where they may.

This won’t do. First, if a person implies support for a belief that he doesn’t hold, he is deceiving others. But silence need not mean consent. Second, the purpose of a discussion or speech should determine what one talks about. Suppose an atheist ran for public office. Would a refusal to discuss religion be dishonest? Not necessarily. A speaker isn’t obliged to answer every question put to him — only the relevant ones warrant a response. What determines relevance? The nature of the office, the qualifications for holding it, and what the candidate will try to do if elected. Third, discussing irrelevant issues is misleading. It diverts attention from the real issues and suggests that the irrelevant subjects do matter. This is dishonest.


The Lenny Bruce argument zeros in on the psychological impact of the macho flash. Lenny Bruce believed that frequent use of offensive and shocking words would reduce and ultimately extinguish their ability to evoke strong emotional reactions. If, for example “hell” and “damn” were used often enough, they would lose their power to trigger emotions.

Although true in the long run, this is irrelevant. Twenty years of effort that made America indifferent to libertarian views — rather than violently opposed — would be no victory. It’s like running a business deep in the red for 20 years to finally break even. What is the purpose of presenting libertarian ideas: to desensitize listeners to mere words and phrases, or to win agreement on substance? Flashing rarely produces agreement.

Are there any lingering doubts about this argument? Then consider the death of Lenny Bruce. The heroin overdose was incidental — he was hounded to death by those he flashed.


Ayn Rand devised a far more ingenious defense of the libertarian macho flash. Rand was asked why she used “selfishness” to denote a virtuous quality when it antagonized so many people to whom it meant something quite different. The introduction to The Virtue of Selfishness contains her answer. Stated in general terms, it is clear that Rand’s attempted justification of her terminology applies to every instance of the macho flash.

Rand contended that the popular uses of a given term are no valid index of its correct meaning. A term must not include a built-in moral evaluation, she countered. If a person uses a term in an unconventional manner, perhaps the fault lies with the conventions rather than the speaker. In the name of man and morality, some terms must be saved from conventional abuses. The “exact and purest meaning” of a word should not be surrendered “to Man’s enemies, nor to the unthinking misconceptions, distortions, prejudices and fears of the ignorant and irrational.”

But consider. The meanings of words aren’t engraved in stone — they change and evolve. If people don’t adapt to changing meanings, they risk being misunderstood. Would Rand care to describe her political views as “liberal” simply because the term would have correctly described them a century ago? No? Then the point is conceded.

Ayn Rand was a virtuoso flasher. Ponder a few of her colorful phrases: “the virtue of selfishness”, “capitalism: the unknown ideal”, “America’s persecuted minority: Big Business”, “give a silent ‘Thank You’ to the nearest, grimiest, sootiest smokestacks you can find”, “the evil of self-sacrifice”, and “a parasite, moocher or looter.”

These phrases are guaranteed to stun the average person. Consider The Virtue of Selfishness. If Rand had been interested only in communicating certain ideas, she would have called her book “A Morality of Rational Self-Interest,” “The Case For Ethical Egoism,” or something equally restrained. But she intended to shock, attract attention and create controversy. As an author, she could afford to be attacked, but not ignored. Neither apathy nor enemies, however, make for libertarian success.

Contrary to Rand, many terms do carry built-in moral judgments. “Treason”, “greed”, “slander”, “Stinginess”, “kindness”, “generosity” and “blasphemy” are but a few examples.

There are, of course, many foolish conventions. But those who regularly flaunt them will pay a price. Far better to use a convention to further one’s views!

There are any number of ways to present a viewpoint. The choice of words and phrases can dramatically influence whether a position seems beautiful or hideous. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a florist using offensive, ugly names for flowers will soon be out of business. Language can serve libertarian goals or oppose them.


A final alleged advantage of The Late Great Libertarian Macho Flash is this: some people think it’s an effective way to persuade others.

This may be true in a limited number of cases. Defending the Undefendable — a textbook case of flashing — may “wake the reader from his dogmatic slumbers” or act like “Drano for clogged minds.” But would it be the best introduction to libertarianism? Not a chance!

Flashing should be tested against other methods of marketing libertarianism to the general public. How often does it work? Under which circumstances? What kind of people does flashing attract? This is crucial. If the macho flash attracts people who will be an embarrassment to the libertarian movement — people who alienate and antagonize, who are crude and ill-mannered — then it ought to be dropped. A political belief is often judged by those who hold it.

And what about the people it repels? Will they have open minds in the future, or are they now opponents?


One final point. Some libertarians use the macho flash as a litmus test for potential converts. If the listener is alienated by a controversial view, he isn’t worth having. Or so these people would have us believe.

This ignores a basic fact of human psychology: changing one’s viewpoint usually takes time. Views that many libertarians take for granted today may have seemed ridiculous, insane or evil in the not-too-distant past. It took many years for even Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, John Hospers, Robert Nozick and Karl Hess to become full-blown libertarians. Thought, study, discussion, persuasion and time were necessary. And these people are very intelligent. So why does the macho flasher expect so much more from a chance listener?

Those who use the Libertarian Macho Flash usually discredit libertarianism. People tend to judge a body of beliefs on the basis of a few statements. If a Libertarian candidate presents ideas that are virulently offensive to an audience, the audience will assume that his other views are equally obnoxious. In social psychology, this is known as the “halo effect.”

Flashing makes enemies. It creates active opponents to liberty. Freedom has enough natural enemies — people who thrive on statism. Why create more through lack of tact?

A viewpoint may be accepted or rejected because of the speaker who presents it. If he is perceived as callous, against all decency, inhumane and disgusting, then he couldn’t possibly be in favor of anything worthwhile. This is a logical fallacy. It is also a psychological fact and not to be ignored.

I have personally field tested The Late, Great Libertarian Macho Flash. It is not simply unproductive; it is counter-productive. It makes future attempts at persuasion far more difficult. Liberty is the casualty.


What can libertarians do to avoid flashing? Space forbids a lengthy reply, but I have a few suggestions.

Know who you are talking to and what they believe. Find out their emotional beltlines and stay above them.

Before speaking, ask: What are you trying to accomplish? How do you plan to do it? Will your plan promote your goals? Why or why not? Do not stand in the way of your own success.

If you flash because you enjoy the exhilaration, find other ways of getting kicks. When you do, you will be more emotionally satisfied and politically effective.

Become politically effective. This will eliminate the desire to prove that nothing can be done.

Devote your energies to finding more effective ways to bring others to the libertarian philosophy. There are too few persuasive libertarians, and becoming one is far nobler ambition than seeing how many hearts and minds you can close.

The Libertarian Movement has matured a great deal in the last few years. Bright, attractive people are the norm. It is time for our communication methods to come up to date. One step in that direction would be to discard The Late, Great Libertarian Macho Flash.

Michael Cloud created and produced The Essence of Political Persuasion, a 3 Hour Audio Tape Learning Program. He has ghost written 6 books, 1 Doctoral Dissertation and 300 speeches for business people. He was the Organizer & Fundraiser of the ’88 Marrou VP Campaign, PROJECT 51-’92, and Marrou For President Campaign. Between Fall 1987 and Fall 1991, Michael Cloud personally fundraised $519,344 for these projects. (Source: F.E.C.)

2018 Midterm Elections Research

We Are Libertarians

This was originally prepared for our Election special bonus episode which can be heard now by joining our Patreon!

The top 10 storylines of the 2018 midterms

1. Fear of immigration
2. Pre-existing conditions protection
3. Personal attacks
4. Being with or against President Trump
5. The red scare: socialism
6. Valuing military service
7. The opioid epidemic
8. Raising taxes
9. The “age tax”
10. Protecting Medicare and Social Security

www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2018/oct/31/top-10-storylines-2018-midterms/

Conservative pollster Henry Olsen podcasts

Centrist/Left Amy Walter’s Podcasts

Morning Consult Research

Cook Analysis

Polls

Key points

The spending is huge

The Center for Responsive Politics projects that more than $5.2 billion will be spent this election cycle, making it the most expensive midterm election ever by a wide margin.

With less than two weeks before election day, $4.7 billion has already been spent by candidates, political parties and other groups such as PACs, super PACs and nonprofits. Prior to this election cycle, no midterm election had surpassed more than $4.2 billion in spending when adjusted for inflation.

That includes third-party spending. – $460 million. $47 million in 2006. $281 million in 2014.

While Republican candidates are raising funds at record levels, the huge uptick in spending is driven primarily by unprecedented Democratic fundraising. Democratic candidates are projected to spend more than $2.5 billion this cycle, while Republicans are expected to spend approximately $2.2 billion.

Democratic House hopefuls have raised more than $951 million, crushing their Republican opponents’ $637 million haul. Things are closer in the Senate — $513 million to $361 million — but Democrats are still ahead.

In every kind of competitive race — even those in red districts — Democrats are either outraising Republicans or keeping pace.

For example, in 27 House races rated “Likely R” by Cook Political Report, Democrats are keeping up in fundraising, collecting $1.95 million on average to Republicans’ $2 million.

In 29 House races labeled “toss up” that are currently held by a Republican, Democratic candidates raised an average of $5.5 million, dwarfing the Republicans’ $3 million average.

Democratic candidates have benefitted from an unparalleled level of enthusiasm from female donors. Democrats running in the general election have raised $308 million from female donors, compared to approximately $90 million for Republicans.

Female Democratic Senate candidates — who are mostly made up of incumbents — hauled in an average of $5.3 million in contributions from women, accounting for 48 percent of their fundraising.

Individual contributors that list themselves as “retired” spent more than $298 million supporting candidates, parties and outside groups, nearly double what they spent in 2014. In total, 53 percent of funds coming from retired individuals and groups representing them went toward supporting Democrats.

Those in the education industry spent big this cycle to the tune of $71 million, 88 percent of which went to Democratic candidates. The sector spent just $34.4 million in 2014, with a smaller 74 percent of the money going to Democrats.

Health professionals also made a splash by spending double their 2014 total — approximately $140 million — with 57 percent aiding Democrats.

The Securities & Investment industry has spent at least $100 million more than in 2014 and has favored Democrats over Republicans — 52 to 46 percent — for the first midterm election cycle since 2006.

Contributions from several industries — including the liberal Public Sector Unions and the conservative Oil & Gas industry — either declined or flatlined when compared with the 2014 election.

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are the biggest spenders so far this cycle, shelling out more than $113 million in support of Republican candidates. It’s the most the Las Vegas couple has spent in an election cycle, surpassing the $93 million they spent in 2012.

Tom Steyer comes in second place with nearly $51 million committed to helping Democrats. The billionaire environmentalist is not spending like he was in 2014 and 2016, when he was the top overall mega donor.

According to FEC data, Michael Bloomberg has so far fallen short of his promised $100 million in contributions to help Democrats win Congress. Still, his $38 million in support of Democrats is nothing to scoff at.

Lesser-known billionaire Richard Uihlein and his wife Elizabeth have spent more than $39 million in support of Republicans, good for third-most among mega donors.

www.opensecrets.org/news/2018/10/2018-midterm-record-breaking-5-2-billion/

Turnout is huge.

Marion County Early Voting Surpassing 2016 Levels

The Marion County Clerk says early and absentee voting in this year’s midterms is surpassing the 2016 Presidential election.

As of Friday, nearly 66,000 voters had voted early either in person or absentee. That’s more than 10 percent of the county’s registered voters.

That number was less than 42,000 at this time in 2016. And total voter turnout in the 2014 midterms was under 25 percent in the general election.

President’s Approval Rating Usually Matters

projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/?ex_cid=irpromo

www.axios.com/trumps-approval-rating-ahead-of-midterm-election-d7f3ae72-1745-4e50-800d-a95c017152ad.html – June 22, 2018

President Trump has a 45% approval rating in the latest Gallup poll, the highest since late January, but it’s around the same percentage that past presidents had going into a midterm election in which they lost dozens of seats.

Why it matters: His approval increased by 1 percentage point each week in two previous polls, then it jumped up 3 points in the most recent poll. As the Cook Political Report’s Charles Cook writes: this 45% “needs to be the beginning of an upward trend through November if he hopes to salvage this House majority.”

Past presidents’ approval ratings going into the midterm elections:

Jimmy Carter: 49% approval in 1978. Democrats lost 15 House seats.
Ronald Reagan: 43% in 1982. Republicans lost 26 House seats.
Bill Clinton: 45% in 1994. Democrats lost 54 seats.
Barack Obama: 45% in 2010. Democrats lost 63 seats.

Be smart: A 45% approval rating is on the high end for President Trump, but it’s still not a sign that the GOP will be in the clear come November, especially given that the North Korean summit contributed to the latest figure.

Avg. Midterm Seat Loss 36 for Presidents Below 50% Approval
Presidents above 50% lose average of 14 House seats in midterm elections
news.gallup.com/poll/141812/avg-midterm-seat-loss-presidents-below-approval.aspx

Libertarian Candidates to Watch

  • Larry Sharpe for Gov of NY.
  • Gary Johnson for NM Senate
  • Lucy Brenton for IN Senate
  • Mark Rutherford for IN Sec of State
  • Travis Irvine for Gov of Ohio
  • Jeremiah Morrell for Henry County Council D3
  • Laura Ebke for Nebraska State Senate 32
  • Nicholas Sarwark for mayor of Phoenix
  • Ted Metz for Governor of Georgia

Listener suggested

  • Marco Battaglia for Iowa Attorney General. “It’s only him vs. Democrat Incumbent.”
  • Mark West for Governor of Arkansas
  • John Pickerill in his Colorado Legislature race as well!
  • Kash Jackson for Governor and Claire Ball for comptroller…….Claire is the only candidate that is actually a certified accountant
  • Danny Lundy brown township board
  • Another race to look at John Yeutter for Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector. It is just him and a Republican on the ticket.
  • Kriss DeForest “It’s probably a real long shot but we might be able to gain major party status with Jeff Caldwell in Gov of Kansas”
  • Ronnie Peterson – James Carstensen – Shreveport City Council
  • J Lee Miller Jr Yours truly for Oklahoma state house district 68. Lee for Liberty
    Open seat. Four-way race. Simple plurality for the win.
  • Matthew Brown – Roger Barris in House District 2 in Colorado has been quite entertaining.
    Doesn’t get invited to debates, shows up anyways, self-funded (retired entrepreneur), is fairly thoughtful in responses. Not sure how he’s polling, but he is making noise locally
  • Ryan Graham for Georgia Public Service Commission
  • Rick Brown – Madison County Indiana Treasurer
  • Jamie Jo Owens is running unopposed in Henry County, Indiana’s Liberty Township for a trustee position. So there is one win already. Terry Coffman will also be elected to the Liberty Township board in Henry County.

Interesting Libertarian Party Storylines

Boston Globe Endorses Libertarian Nominee for Massachusetts Auditor

On October 29, the Boston Globe, the biggest newspaper in New England, endorsed Dan Fishman for Massachusetts Auditor. He is the Libertarian nominee. He is in a four-candidate race, with nominees from the Democratic, Republican and Green Party also running. Thanks to Independent Political Report for this news. Here is a link to the editorial.

See the Tennessee Ballot, with the Largest Number of Candidates for a Statewide Office in a Regularly-Scheduled Election in U.S. History

This year the Tennessee November ballot has 28 candidates for Governor. There is one Republican, one Democrat, and 26 with the label “independent.” This is the largest number of candidates ever printed on a U.S. general election ballot for a statewide office, in a regularly-scheduled election. See the ballot here. The first page, the second page, and the third page, have nothing but gubernatorial candidates.

The chief reason there are so many is that the Tennessee Libertarian Party wanted to publicize how silly the state’s ballot access laws are. The state only requires 25 signatures for an independent candidate, but 33,844 signatures for a newly-qualifying party. So the party qualified 15 Libertarians to run as independents for Governor. There is also a Green Party candidate who qualified as an independent, and the remaining 10 are actual independents.

LP.org: ‘Washington Times: Libertarians poll high enough to tip key races’

LP.org: ‘Washington Times: Libertarians poll high enough to tip key races’

Trump Accuses Donnelly of Buying Facebook Ads to Siphon Votes from GOP Foewww.rollcall.com/news/politics/joe-donnelly-braun-facebook-libertarian?fbclid=IwAR16VCDvfK0smQ8i0XPy3CJmcUOT3ZhlvUW9EoohEDGV0gpm7xQWZBZZRGQ

The House

Key for the Democrats:

  • Hit 225
  • Motivate young, independent voters to break their way.
  • Can Obamacare and anti-Trump sentiment motivate enough of the base?

Keys for Republicans:

  • Can Immigration motivate voters?
  • Issues of Identity are motivating the base.

From ballotpedia.org/U.S._House_battlegrounds,_2018

Ballotpedia has identified 80 U.S. House battleground races: 71 Republican seats and nine Democratic seats. Heading into the elections, Republicans have a 235-193 majority with seven vacancies. To win a majority, Democrats need to have a net gain of 23 Republican seats.

The Democratic Party is well-positioned to gain seats, according to a 100-year historical analysis of House elections conducted by Ballotpedia and political scientist Jacob Smith. From 1918 to 2016, the president’s party lost an average of 29 seats in midterm elections. In the 20 percent of elections where the president lost the most seats—which Ballotpedia defined as wave elections—his party lost at least 48 seats.

The party of a newly elected president gained seats in the House in the following midterm only twice. Democrats gained nine seats in 1934 following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s (D) first presidential election in 1932, and Republicans gained eight seats in 2002 following George W. Bush’s (R) election to the presidency in 2000.

What are the polling sites predicting?

Five Thirty Eight predicts a 6 in 7 chance that the D’s win control (84.6%) with a predicted gain of 37. So it would be 232 to 202.

Links

Senate

From https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_elections,_2018

Thirty-five U.S. Senate seats, including two in special elections, are up for election on November 6, 2018.

Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds a 51-seat majority in the chamber. Democrats hold 47 seats, and the remaining two seats are held by independents who caucus with the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party faces greater partisan risk in 2018, as they are defending 26 seats while Republicans are only defending nine. Additionally, the Democratic Party must defend seats in 10 states that supported Donald Trump (R) over Hillary Clinton (D) in the 2016 presidential election. Republicans are defending just one Senate seat in a state won by Clinton—Nevada.

Three incumbent senators, all Republicans, are not seeking re-election in 2018: Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), and Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah).

Those elected to the U.S. Senate in the 33 regular elections on November 6, 2018, will begin their six-year terms on January 3, 2019.

There are 24 Democratic seats, nine Republican seats, and two seats held by independents up for election in 2018. The Democratic Party will need to pick up two seats in the Senate in 2018 to regain the majority they lost in 2014. This is unlikely as there are so few Republican seats up for election.

The 2018 midterms: Here are key Senate races we’re covering – www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2018/aug/29/2018-midterms-here-are-key-races-were-watching/

Indiana

“Not” :30 — Joe Donnelly – youtu.be/6sFdX5QXny8

Obama to rally for Indiana senator who backs Trump policies – www.yahoo.com/news/obama-rally-indiana-senator-backs-trump-policies-033151140–election.html?fbclid=IwAR1jjqKvltznalQ-HrZC_r_39JBcZoBMe-fqHIQpmnH4yzvXcAn8wrbixac

Missouri

www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000006175902/mccaskill-hawley-missouri-senate-midterms.html?playlistId=100000005902480

Texas

www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000006123704/beto-orourke-ted-cruz-2018-midterms.html?playlistId=100000005902480

What are the polling sites predicting?

Five Thirty Eight predicts a 1 in 7 chance that the D’s win control (15.3%) and Republicans will regain control with a 6 in 7 chance with an 85% certainty. They predict a one seat gain. It would be 48 to 52. It is currently 51 to 47 with 2 Independents caucusing with the Dems. RealClear Politics agrees with this assessment.

Links

Governors Races

From – ballotpedia.org/Gubernatorial_elections,_2018

In 2018, 36 states will hold elections for governor.

Heading into the election, the majority of governorships are held by Republicans, with 33 governorships to Democrats’ 16. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is an independent. Of the 33 Republican-held seats, 26 are up for election, of which 13 are open. Of the 16 Democratic-held seats, nine are up for election, of which four are open.

Ballotpedia has identified 25 gubernatorial elections as battleground races. Of the 26 Republican-held seats up for election, 16 are battlegrounds, including 10 of the 13 open seats. Of the nine Democratic-held seats up for election, eight—all except Hawaii—are battlegrounds. Alaska’s independent-held seat is also a battleground.

Among the battleground races this year is the Illinois gubernatorial election between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrat J.B. Pritzker. Both candidates contributed over $50 million to their own campaigns. Between Election Day 2014 and October 25, 2018, Pritzker contributed $161.5 million to his own campaign while Rauner contributed $67.8 million to his run.[1][2] The overall fundraising in the election—$272.7 million—is higher than any other gubernatorial election in U.S. history, surpassing the 2010 California gubernatorial election’s $251.9 million fundraising total.[3]

In the Georgia race, former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) is vying to become the first black woman to win a governor’s race in U.S. history. She faces Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R), who defeated four Republican rivals in the primaries and secured an endorsement from President Donald Trump.[4]

The nation’s only independent governor, Bill Walker of Alaska, suspended his re-election bid on October 19, 2018, after the resignation of his lieutenant governor and running mate Byron Mallott (D). Walker’s withdrawal set the stage for a contest between former Sen. Mark Begich (D) and former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R).

As of November 29, 2017, Ballotpedia had tracked 27 Libertarian gubernatorial candidates in 16 states.

2018 Candidates and State Term Limit Info

Florida: Ron DeSantis vs. Andrew Gillum

Both are 39-year-old.

DeSantis is an Ivy League-educated Navy lawyer who joined the conservative House Freedom Caucus and became one of President Donald Trump’s most vociferous congressional defenders on Fox News.

At 23 years old, Gillum became Tallahassee’s youngest city commissioner before ascending to the mayorship, where he called for Trump’s impeachment and earned the backing of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Frustrated Florida Democrats, who haven’t won a gubernatorial race since 1994, feel like they’ve got nothing left to lose by charting a different course with a candidate who demonstrated his ability in the primary to motivate younger and African-American voters.

www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2018-09-07/2018s-5-biggest-governors-races

The FBI investigation in Andrew Gillum’s city: What we know and don’t know – www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/10/25/the-fbi-investigation-into-andrew-gillums-city-government-what-we-know-and-dont-know/

Georgia: Stacey Abrams vs. Brian Kemp

The 44-year-old former state House minority leader’s endeavor appears even tougher than Gillum’s, given that Republicans’ hold on the Peach State is even stronger than it is in Florida.

“Brian Kemp’s spent $2 million of his own defining himself better than we could have,” says Jared Leopold, spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association.

Kemp has said he’d sign religious freedom legislation vetoed by Deal that would’ve allowed faith-based institutions to deny services to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

In Georgia, Democrats see a striking parallel to North Carolina, where backlash over the state’s bathroom bill requiring people use the facility that matches their assigned gender helped cost GOP Gov. Pat McCrory his re-election in 2016.

The campaign against Kemp will be that extreme cultural conservatism is bad for business.

But Abrams remains an underdog, simply because of the uphill math. She’ll need to yield record African-American turnout while also convincing a significant portion of suburban white voters outside of metropolitan Atlanta to abandon their Republican roots.

Georgia law also states that a candidate must get over 50 percent of the vote to win, meaning there’s a chance the race could head into an overtime runoff contest in December.

Georgia, 2018’s most prominent voting rights battleground, explained – www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/10/26/18024468/georgia-voter-suppression-stacey-abrams-brian-kemp-voting-rights

www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2018-09-07/2018s-5-biggest-governors-races

Scott Walker may lose in Wisconsin. Looking for a third term, but this is his fourth time on the ballot after a 2012 recall. Tony Evers is his opponent.

What are the pollsters predicting?

Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Kansas are all too close to call. Florida and Alaska are also very close. Ironically, the most likely Republican Gubernatorial pickup is in Massachusetts. In blue states like Maryland, Vermont, and New Hampsire the GOP is likely to win.

Blue Wave Watch

Pennsylvania 10

West Virginia 03

Carol Miller vs Richard Ojeda D that voted for Trump – ballotpedia.org/West_Virginia%27s_3rd_Congressional_District_election,_2018

Florida 26

Michigan 8

Early tells of how big the wave might be due to polls closing at 6:

Indiana Senate

Kentucky 6 – https://ballotpedia.org/Kentucky%27s_6th_Congressional_District_election,_2018