Just days ago, Ken Cuccinelli was taken for dead. Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial hopeful was plowed down by a juggernaut driven by Democrat nominee Terry McAuliffe, with Hillary Clinton riding shotgun. The only thing left to arrange was the funeral.
But now, the Old Dominion’s attorney general is back on his feet, swinging. What had been a nine-point lead for McAuliffe was shriveled to nearly nothing.
One Quinnipiac University survey has McAuliffe up by just two points. Polls from Hampton University and Wenzel Strategies have Cuccinelli behind by just one point.
The wild card here is Libertarian-party nominee Robert Sarvis. He had 7 percent of the vote in recent studies. If Cuccinelli can encourage libertarians and libertarian-oriented Republicans to “come home” to the GOP after holding hands with Sarvis, Cuccinelli could find himself smiling Tuesday night in a light rain of confetti.
Leading libertarian-oriented thinkers and activists urge kindred spirits in Virginia to help Cuccinelli stop McAuliffe and, in so doing, give Hillary Clinton a flat tire on the road to the White House.
“It’s amazing how this race suddenly has become competitive,” Steve Forbes tells me. The publisher and flat-tax champion added, “Anyone who is not a fan of the politics of tax-and-spend, of heavy handed regulation, and of coercive/no-choice health care should vote for Cuccinelli. His opponent is statist. Cuccinelli is a free marketeer. Why let the hard Left win by default?”
“Libertarian ideals are much more likely to be implemented by Ken Cuccinelli than by Terry McAuliffe,” says Arthur Laffer, architect of President Reagan’s Economic Recovery Tax Act and a stalwart advocate of free enterprise. “In this case, where Sarvis doesn’t have a chance of winning, it makes all the sense in the world for libertarians to vote for Cuccinelli and push him over the threshold to victory.”
Republicans and GOP-leaning voters should consider what a McAuliffe victory means for the Electoral College. What the former Democratic national chairman lacks in sympathy for capitalism (at least the non-crony kind), he more than makes up for with knowledge of hardball campaign tactics. A McAuliffe win would entrench the Clinton political machine in this vital swing state. It still remains within reach of Republican nominees. Mitt Romney lost it a year ago to Obama 47 percent to 51 — a loss, yes, but not a trouncing. A better GOP candidate could win Virginia’s 13 electoral votes next time.
That’s why McAuliffe and a slew of labor activists would spend the next two years reinforcing the Democrat ramparts in preparation to stop the 2016 GOP standard bearer. A vote for Sarvis, unfortunately, is a vote for that — four years hence, and perhaps beyond.
Grover Norquist sees this, and doesn’t like it one bit.
“Every libertarian or liberty Republican should vote for Cuccinelli over Democrat McAuliffe and the Libertarian-party candidate,” says the president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Why? A vote for McAuliffe is a vote for government run by union bosses and trial lawyers. And a vote for the libertarian is a vote for Terry McAuliffe.”
Cuccinelli can attract Sarvis voters by stressing the fact that, as attorney general, he filed the very first law suit aimed at sparing America the Obamacare fiasco that is unfolding so horribly today. Cuccinelli favors low taxes, spending restraint, and is a friend of the Second Amendment.
“I can’t understand why libertarians would vote for anyone other than Cuccinelli,” says John Lott, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a top authority on the right to bear arms, and author of More Guns, Less Crime. “On issues from taxes, regulations, and school choice to government control of health care and gun ownership, the difference between Cuccinelli and McAuliffe is huge. Cuccinelli trusts individuals making the decisions that affect their lives. McAuliffe trusts the government. On civil-liberty-type questions such as marijuana reform, Cuccinelli has expressed openness to the idea; McAuliffe won’t even address the issue. However, if instead you want higher taxes and more government spending and regulation, since no one thinks that Robert Sarvis can win, libertarians will help McAuliffe win by voting for Sarvis.”
Over the next three days, Cuccinelli should be able to drive this basic point home through get-out-the-vote rallies with small-government heroes Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsins, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and former “Congressman No,” Ron Paul of Texas.
As they walk into the voting booths on Tuesday, libertarians and libertarian-thinking Republicans and independents (and wise Democrats) who have stood with Sarvis should ponder Dr. Laffer’s advice: “You never want to let the best be the enemy of the good.”