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

I Think I Was Banned For Supporting Liberty Memes

Chris Spangle

I have been banned by Facebook for 30 days. Lil’ ole’ outrageous me. I’ve been banned once before, so the previous protocol would be a 3-day ban… But midterms are coming up and Zuckerberg has pledged to clean up the site. That means troublemakers like myself are being banned past the midterms. So what did I do?

The given reason was a comment on the WAL Page a week ago saying that their argument was the equivalent of a Good German saying that Jews may have been the problem. This was a historical argument over language that was labeled as hate speech by Facebook. I’ve been put in timeout to reflect on my behavior, and I’ve determined I did nothing wrong.

The real reason in my mind would be my interviews with and posts about Liberty Memes being taken down. Within 24 hours of my Facebook Live with Peter Gay, I was banned for a comment made a week ago. We posted our interview in many places and it was shared many times.

Over the last week, I have reconsidered my thinking on leaving the platform. I think libertarians have to be lions in the face of censorship. When one of us is censored, 100 more need to pop up and spread the word. When one page is taken down, we need to build networks to repopulate those pages with a record speed. We need to make Silicon Valley feel the power of the libertarian voice. It will be necessary to have the cooperation of many factions within the libertarian movement. Some libertarian brands may need to promote or share content from other libertarian brands they find disagreeable. If you follow a page, independent media outlet, or a libertarian blog, encourage the owners to share replacement pages like Liberty Memes 2.0. It is necessary to maintain the libertarian voice in the public square.

Now that I am on their radar, it is only a matter of time before my ability to communicate to you through Facebook is taken away for good. That is why it is so important to subscribe to all of our social platforms below, our podcasts, and this email list. Bookmark the websites. Donate on Patreon because it costs money to diversify our voice.

Libertarianism flourished before social media and it will flourish long after it because our ideas are right. Just keep talking.

18: A Review of Bob Woodward’s Fear

The Chris Spangle Show

Chris Spangle reviews the new Bob Woodward book titled Fear. It is surprisingly helpful and generous to the President. His staff is not.

* Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward – a.co/d/gomoJTJ
* CSS 15: Senior White House Official Writes Creepy Anonymous NYT Op-Ed – wearelibertarians.com/css-15-senior-white-house-official-writes-creepy-anonymous-nyt-op-ed/

BHOL 76: Ghost Peppers – Darrin Jacobs – Senate Race

Boss Hog of Liberty

Jeremiah Morrell and Dakota Davis host the final (we think) episode of BHOL from the Davis home studio. To help close it out, Chase Peyton and Audrey Jo Davis sit in the studio.

Darrin Jacobs comes by to educate us on what a county planning commission actually does, and their role in creating ordinances. Darrin also serves as the President of the Spiceland town council. Dakota and Darrin nerd out over electric delivery methods.

Darrin shows off this green thumb and brought in some homegrown ghost peppers. Against all medical advice, everyone in the studio ate a pepper… We will warn you… It is a great video, but some less than ideal podcast audio. Make sure you watch the YouTube video for the full experience at www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmZdcDlRmfU&t=40m0s.

Finally, the guys try to get through a conversation about the US Senate race… And then Jeremiah got a bad idea to eat another pepper. That pretty much ended things. This one is memorable.

Enjoy

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bosshog.fireside.fm/86

Why Has Identity Politics Become So Prevalent?

By every measurable standard, the world is improving for its inhabitants. With less war, disease, and famine, over 7 billion humans can survive on a planet using less land for agriculture while producing more. There has never been a safer time to be alive in human history.

So why do we feel like everything is terrible?

It’s due to a concerted effort from demagogues within colleges, media, and politics to make us think things are terrible to create multiple crises. It is easier to control a population when that population is emotional and angry.

“Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to dictatorship.” – Noam Chomsky

Why does the left focus on identity politics (and now the Trump wing of the right)?

Given the stability of the world, there aren’t egregious, large-scale societal issues of poverty, injustice, and government oppression in America. I’m not arguing that all of our problems are solved because there are still many societal imbalances in our economy and criminal justice system. They aren’t as apparent as zero registered African-American voters in all of Mississippi or substantial portions of Americans not having access to power and sewage as in the 1950s.

In the absence of evident crises, radicals must create discord to provoke society into action. Take this quote from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals (Alinsky was a 1960’s political figure that worked for the mob and decided to translate their tactics to modern politics. Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis on his ideas):

“Men don’t like to step abruptly out of the security of familiar experience; they need a bridge to cross from their own experience to a new way. A revolutionary organizer must shake up the prevailing patterns of their lives agitate, create disenchantment and discontent with the current values, to produce, if not a passion for change, at least a passive, affirmative, non-challenging climate.”

In other words, manipulate people through propaganda and political action to make regular people believe things are terrible, so they will try to solve the problems you’ve made up by giving you control over their lives. If they don’t become an ally, then ensure they can’t or won’t speak up and oppose you. For more on those tactics, click here.

There are very real imbalances in our society for women and minorities. These realities have been exploited by political opportunists on both sides to galvanize their base and create an “us vs. them” mentality. Instead of using language that brings together the multiple parties to solve an issue like gun violence or the unjust warehousing of the poor under the guise of the drug war, thought leaders at media outlets, think tanks, advocacy groups, political organizations, and universities do what demagogues have done for the whole of human history: protect their interests by dividing the population in an effort to maintain power.

Those biased towards the left must do a better job of examining their language, and the effect that weaponizing intersectionality has had on America.

Those biased more towards the right have to avoid reactionary behavior and turning away from real problems just because they “feel leftist.”

The good news is that while individual humans continue to be their own worst enemy, the expansion of liberty and free markets has allowed the species as a whole to live better lives. We should start getting out of our way and work together to avoid feeling miserable when there’s little reason for it.