Forum, debate, whatever you would like to call it, the first one for the U.S. Senate debate was hosted by the Georgia Chamber yesterday. Both David Perdue and Michelle Nunn attended. Amanda Swafford, the Libertarian candidate, was not invited – though she did answer each question ‘live’ on her campaign Facebook page.
A few times in the last few days, I’ve had conversations with fellow Republicans who were ‘not so bothered’ that Amanda was not attending/planning to attend and acknowledged that they were unwilling to draw attention to the ‘Big L’ candidates. It’s nothing new, but it’s still surprising to me. I guess it’s that pesky idealistic mentality of mine.
It does leave me wondering: Is this really what we have become? So closed-minded, so restrictive that we bar people from playing in the huge sandbox of the political game, so protective that we won’t let anyone even express ideology in the same forum? And when we see it, we sit silently?
**Before I go any further, please note that I fully recognize that the Chamber is able to invite or not invite or uninvite anyone they so choose to their private events (and I believe most could acknowledge that Libertarian principles generally aren’t good principles for the Chamber of Commerce, but that is neither here nor there). I am simply expressing why I don’t think it’s a good idea.**
Libertarians and Independents, but mostly Libertarians, will be blamed if there is a runoff and they’ll be blamed if there is a Republican loss. But what about if Republicans win? Do we want it to be because we stood by while another candidate, an entire group of people, were essentially silenced and told ‘You’re not worthy of participating?”
I’m not a Libertarian voter. In fact, the only ‘Big L’ vote I ever cast was for Public Service Commissioner in 2012. I vote R and I believe what our state party platform touts. But I don’t want to play on a team that doesn’t believe in a fundamental value of American politics. There is a stark contrast between believing you have the best platform and believing that you should narrow the amount of room available for additional platforms to zero.
I’m also not saying Republicans should spearhead the movement for Libertarians to be on the ticket across the state or blaze a path for people to pay attention to their message. I’m just saying we should be an example and not stand in the way.
We complain about ignorance and apathy. Are we going to support people playing in the political process or only if they are playing on our team? I’ve said it time and time again: There will come a day when Republicans realize they are unable to win an election without the help of libertarians and Libertarians. People have memories. They will remember this. Not just that there was a difference of opinion but that no one stood up and called out a wrong. They will remember that we told them they are ‘wasting’ votes and their candidate isn’t viable enough to have a seat at the table.
Our election process is flawed enough. Let’s not exacerbate it. It’s not good PR and I really don’t think this is our best strategy long term.