There are always two candidates in US presidential elections. On the one hand we have the Republican Party, which is the conservative (right) side. On the other hand, we have the Democratic Party, which is the progressive (left) side. Before the elections, these two parties organize internal. There are many currents within both parties, but in the end they come together with a single candidate on a common front. For practical reasons, we always have two candidates for the race. It is essentially a two-party system. However, Third party candidates and multiple independents always participate.
These candidates have no real chance of winning the election. In fact, they are merely symbolic candidacies that receive only a few votes of conscience. Even so, they can be very influential. We’ve discussed the two lead candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden in previous articles in this special series: 2020 Elections. In this last article We are examining a third option together. In this case, we will talk about the libertarian proposal. This time the candidate for the Libertarian Party is Jo Jorgensen.
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Now the third option. Many of us remember Ralph Nader’s nominations. In particular, we can remember his candidacy for the Greens in 2000. We all know Ralph isn’t a bad guy. His activities are well known and the guy has a lot of credibility. With this capital he received many progressive votes during this election. The people who voted for Ralph Nader on that occasion effectively weakened Al Gore’s candidacy and indirectly backed conservative candidate George W. Bush. That means, share and conquer. The controversial Florida recount found that the difference in votes was very small. In other words, progressives with a unified front would have won this election. But George W. Bush won despite losing the national referendum and even though there were fewer Conservatives in Florida.
Something similar happened in the 1992 elections with the independent candidate Ross Perot. Ross Perot, a conservative, wealthy industrialist and native of Texas, ran a brilliant campaign of spectacular television commercials. He participated in three presidential debates and did an excellent job. On the day of the elections, he received almost 20% of the popular vote. George H. W. Bush (Conservative) did not win re-election and Bill Clinton (progressive) won the White House.
In short, vows of conscience are very expensive in practice. Strategic coordination in the spirit of the “lesser of the two evils” often prevents us from participating in a disaster. Ralph Nader’s supporters would have preferred Gore, and many of Perot’s supporters rejected Clinton. This is the irony of voting for a third candidate. In theory it makes sense, but in practice it has the opposite effect of what was intended.
Apart from the indirect and counterproductive effects of choosing a third candidate in the United States Symbolic candidacies put a message on the table and that message is usually accepted by a group within the major parties. Many of the Greens’ proposals are echoed in the Democratic Party. And the Republican Party has a libertarian wing. The now retired Ron Paul is a loyal representative of this wing.
Here I have to admit that I personally have a deep rejection of radical libertarianism, but I have a great understanding of pragmatic libertarianism in its moderate version. The libertarian is socially liberal and tax-conservative. But there are many ways to be fiscally conservative. For example, many promote libertarians a return to the gold standard (or the introduction of the bitcoin standard), the abolition of central banks, the abolition of taxes, zero funding for social programs, the privatization of everything, total deregulation and the end of the dollar as we know it. But that is pure radicalism.
A return to gold is a very popular idea among radical libertarians, but it would be a disaster for the economy, for the markets and for Bitcoin. If libertarian (radical) ideas are implemented today, the coronavirus crisis could last 20 years or more. This is because the economy would suffer from a chronic lack of liquidity. And deflation would eat us alive. We would come back to the crises of the 19th century. The pressure would be so great that the gold standard should be broken “temporarily” in every crisis.
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The problem with radical libertarians is that they haven’t been updated in over two centuries. And they are more dogmatic than a Catholic. Why the gold standard? Why not just abolish the legal tender laws? In other words, governments could allow anyone to choose the currency of their choice. In other words, free and mixed systems. Free market, right?
Now taxes and minimum wages. In theory, income tax can (gradually) be eliminated and replaced by new corporate taxes. For example, pollutants can be taxed. I mean, you can create new antitrust taxes and the like. We can also pay for the things we use. In other words, the people who can pay should pay for the use of the public such as streets, squares, museums, parks, etc. Furthermore, private initiatives and volunteering could be given more importance.
It is possible to reduce the size of the government and the deficit (without trauma). And that doesn’t mean we should stop helping others. This means, the end of the welfare state. However, social problems can be created more intelligently. I mean better organizational systems and better ways to raise funds. Social security and the health system can be restructured with some technology. It is not necessary to always create gigantic bureaucracies for everything. The public can be smart too. Maybe autonomous self-governing organizations?
Regarding the minimum wage. Well, the minimum wage isn’t a big deal. In fact, there are very advanced countries with no minimum wage (Sweden, Norway, Finland). In addition, minimum wage measures are usually not very effective. Usually it’s never enough and they encourage informality. Better to raise the average salary by strengthening the economy in general.
Finally, we have the problem of regulation. For some reason, libertarians think that freedom is synonymous with free market fundamentalism. And that means zero regulations. That is, according to them, lFreedom is against plans and rules. In other words, freedom cannot be organized. It’s wild west or nothing. In practice, however, we know that a lack of regulation leads to disaster. Greed eventually destroys everything and sooner or later it is a total breakdown. On the other hand, overregulation stifles and kills innovation.
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We know from experience that proper regulation is best. This usually means minimal but smart regulation. And nothing is smarter than increased self-regulation by the authorities. In this mode, fraud and greed are kept under control. But there is enough freedom and order to grow and prosper. Freedom is not a mess. And not every order is oppressive.
In summary, the libertarian position in its radical version is lousy and impractical. It would be fatal for the economy, for the markets and for Bitcoin. And not to mention the political and social crisis it would trigger. However, in its moderate version, it’s not bad at all. Pragmatic libertarians have won regional elections in the United States and have done nothing wrong. Regarding the other positions (Trump and Biden), the main difference would be budget and deficit. It would be great to lower the debt. But that is not addressed. The big bureaucratic government at this point has the support of non-partisanship. But the libertarian message is out there saying: Here we are!