The Roundup: Christie, Kokesh, Sarvis, Minimum Wage and Secession!

November 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Tuesday marked Election Day 2013 around the country.  The majority of positions up for election were local, but there were also two gubernatorial seats up for contest.  In addition there were a number of interesting ballot initiatives.  Let us take a look at some of the week’s events.

Election Tuesday

Chris Christie won reelection in the New Jersey gubernatorial race by a massive margin of around 20 percentage points.  This was not really a surprise given how he’s been riding the wake of Hurricane Sandy ever since the storm hit the Jersey Shore.  The fact that a Republican has won in such a traditionally “Blue” state has set quite a few tongues wagging about Christie’s bipartisan appeal and his seemingly imminent run for the White House in 2016.  He also brought in a large percentage of the Hispanic and black vote, which are two demographics Republicans always lose to the Democrats.  Christie points out that his success is based on being pragmatic and willing to compromise.  The problem is that Christie misses the mark with many conservatives, because he appears to most as just another moderate Republican.  Sure, he has a sharp rhetorical style, but it often makes him sound like a brute. He may appeal to moderate Republicans, but he doesn’t appeal to the hardline conservative or the up-and-coming libertarian wing of the party.  In short, Christie is shaping up to be the Mitt Romney of 2016 – un-motivating to the base, and repulsive to the younger libertarian crowd.  The GOP candidate in 2016 needs to contrast the Democrat.  Not compliment her.

In Virginia, the GOP successfully helped sink a perfectly good liberty candidate in Ken Cuccinelli.  While the race was very tight, Cuccinelli lost to his Democratic rival.  Two forces come into play here, which combined (or individually) tendered the Republicans with a loss.  First up, the GOP itself.  Since the party is still run by primarily Old Guard neo-cons they offered little financial support to Cuccinelli’s campaign.  Given how close the loss was, more money could have pushed him over the top.  The second factor in play was the Libertarian party candidate, Robert Sarvis.  He captured 7% of the vote.  Normally I’d never speak against voting third-party, or a libertarian.  However, Sarvis is a fake.  His positions on the issues are markedly not libertarian and he was bank rolled by a wealthy Democratic “bundler” who gave heavily to a PAC that supported Sarvis’ bid.  The Democratic strategy here appears to have been to position Sarvis in a posture that allowed him to siphon enough votes off of Cuccinelli to swing the election in the Democrat’s favor.  Despite the warnings of Ron Paul and others to voters, Sarvis seems to have played his part for the Democrats perfectly.

Ballot Measures

This Election Day presented voters around the country with some interesting ballot measures.  In New Jersey, voters voted to amend the state constitution to increase the minimum wage to $8.25 and increase it annually should the cost of living raise.  It’s also tied to the federal minimum wage now and must be raised to match the federal level should the feds display a greater level of economic ignorance than the residents of New Jersey.  For more on why the minimum wage is horrible check out this article by the incomparable Murray Rothbard.

Colorado voters agreed to a 25% tax on the sale of recreational marijuana.   They also delivered yet another defeat to Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York (!).  Bloomberg and Bill Gates pumped $1 million each into a campaign to raise the state income tax to provide additional funding for education.  Between this defeat, and the successful recalls of two state politicians for their pro-gun control stances (both of whom were defended my Bloomberg’s big money) the good Mayor “Big Gulp” Bloomberg may want to consider minding his own business.

Residents in the state of Washington voted against a measure that would have made the labeling of food containing GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) mandatory.  My initial gut reaction to this was a touch of sadness, because I want to know if there a GMOs in my food, and this would have been a step in that direction.  However, I am a thinking individual (most of the time) and as such, I cannot support the government enforcing mandatory anything on anyone.  Besides, there are some great free market initiatives that are already working to address this issue, such as the Non-GMO Project.

Finally, and I think most interestingly, we circle back to the state of Colorado.  11 counties had ballot initiatives to secede from the state and form their own 51st state.  Of the 11, only 5 passed the measure.  Those who did pass it, did so with a commanding margin.  While these initiatives aren’t going to bear fruit, it is encouraging to see secession getting attention.  If I ever have to move out west, I may just head your way, Colorado!

Adam Kokesh

He’s an Iraq veteran and outspoken liberty activist.  He posted a video to YouTube in July showing him standing in Washington DC loading what appeared to be a shotgun with what appeared to be live shells.  This is a felony in DC.  Needless to say, the police were not happy and he was promptly arrested during a raid of his home involving a swat team and flash-bang grenades.  After four months in jail and an earlier plea of not guilty, he has now plead guilty to a list of charges that could get him more than 6 years in jail.  He’s also not allowed to enter DC or own a firearm.  If his previous behavior is any indication, I forecast that he’ll do his time, and probably get back into activism leading him to another firearm violation later on and more jail time. While I agree with Kokesh on his message (you have a natural right to own firearms or any other means of self-defense) I think his methods were stupid.  Sure, it was a great publicity stunt, but the cost looks like it will vastly outweigh the benefit.

And there you have it – my take on the events of the week.  Thanks for stopping in!

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