Marc Victor’s Surrender to the Republicans
Note to my readers: As I recently stated, I had initially decided to wait until after the mid-term elections to weigh in on the Marc Victor controversy. But I have decided that there really is no point in doing that. So, posted below are my perspectives on the controversy.
I knew that Libertarian Party candidate Marc Victor was in deep trouble the moment I received an email from him announcing that he was to be included in an official debate with his two opponents, Republican Blake Masters and Democrat Mark Kelly, in the race for the U.S. Senate in Arizona. Mind you, Victor himself undoubtedly didn’t know he was in deep trouble, but I knew he was in deep trouble long before he ended up capitulating and surrendering to the Republicans and obsequiously endorsing their candidate, Blake Masters.
How did I know that Victor was in deep trouble long before he did? The answer is found in the series of Substack articles I have been writing since August 9. If this is the first of my Substack Commentaries on the Libertarian Party that you are reading, I would encourage you to go back and read all of them in order, beginning with the very first one, which is entitled “Restore the Libertarian Brand.” After reading all my articles, you will understand perfectly why I knew that Victor was in deep trouble once he was invited to participate in that U.S. Senate debate.
The reason I knew that Victor was in deep trouble was because I knew that his Republican-Lite, reform-oriented positions were no different in principle from those of Republican Masters. While there are variations in their respective reform positions, which Victor himself acknowledged in his capitulation video, the fact is that from an overall perspective, the two candidates were holding the same overall worldview.
Given such, how could there be an actual debate? A debate is when people hold opposing views, not the same view. From the beginning, I knew that this wasn’t going to be a debate at all. How could it be, given that Masters and Victor essentially hold the same views?
Victor even acknowledged as much in post-debate interviews and videos. He himself maintained that it wasn’t really a debate at all and that he would have preferred a 3-hour discussion session with Masters and Kelly, where they could discuss with “civility" their respective reform plans rather than debate them.
I am convinced that after the debate, reality dawned on Marc Victor. He obviously came to the realization that there wasn’t any real substantive difference between him and Masters. He undoubtedly realized that given a choice between a real Republican and a Republican-Lite Libertarian Party candidate, most of the electorate would inevitably end up voting for the real Republican rather than the Republican-Lite L.P. candidate. Moreover, he undoubtedly realized that his vote totals could conceivably give Democrat Kelly the win. In my opinion, that’s when Marc Victor decided to capitulate and surrender to the Republicans and endorse their candidate, a candidate who, by Victor’s own admission, essentially holds the same positions and worldview as Victor.
The Victor phenomenon is a perfect demonstration of what I have been writing about in my Substack column. During the past 25 years, the Libertarian Party has been so influenced by the right-wing that’s the Libertarian brand of principled libertarianism has been destroyed and replaced with a conservative-libertarian, Republican-Lite mush or hash.
L.P. candidates for Congress and president have long complained incessantly about being excluded from candidate debates. But the Victor phenomenon shows what a disaster it can be when a Republican-Lite L.P. candidate enters a debate against a Republican opponent. The electorate can then plainly see that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the Republican-Lite L.P. candidate and his Republican opponent.
Let’s examine a couple of examples from the Arizona Senate debate to demonstrate this point.
One of the biggest issues discussed during the evening was immigration. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Immigration is one of the burning issues of our time, and it will continue to be through at least the 2024 elections and even beyond.
What was Republican Masters’s position on immigration? “Secure the border!”
What was Republican-Lite Libertarian Victor’s position on immigration? “Secure the border!”
Yes, they hold the same position on immigration. How is that supposed to turn into a debate? Oh sure, Masters supports a Berlin Wall along the border and Victor doesn’t. But that’s just a distinction without a difference. Any “debate” on immigration inevitably devolves into whose “comprehensive immigration reform plan” should be adopted. That’s not much of a debate. That’s why Victor’s idea of a 3-hour-long discussion session made more sense than a debate.
Why, during the “debate,” Victor even adopted Masters’s standard Republican mantra stating that President Biden has implemented an “open-border policy” along the U.S.-Mexican border. That would come as a surprise to the countless immigrants who continue to be arrested, prosecuted, incarcerated, or deported at the hands of the Border Patrol, ICE, and other immigration gendarmes or who continue to die of suffocation in the backs of eighteen-wheelers, by drowning in the Rio Grande, by dying of thirst or dehydration in the Arizona desert, or by getting shot by some Border Patrol agent.
I suppose it bears emphasizing that the Democratic candidate Mark Kelly also believes in America’s system of immigration controls. So, during the “debate,” we were all treated to the spectacle of a Libertarian Party candidate essentially telling the world, “When it comes to immigration, we Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians are on the same page. We all support America’s system of immigration controls. Secure the border!”
If Victor believed in the libertarian principle of genuine open borders, he could have gone on the attack immediately against both Masters and Kelly. He could have pointed out that America’s decades-long, ongoing, never-ending immigration crisis is a direct result of America’s immigration-control system that both Republicans and Democrats have foisted upon our nation. He could have pointed out that it is their immigration-control system that is responsible for the massive death toll along the border as well as the tyrannical immigration police state that has come into existence in border states. In fact, Victor could have pointed to the intrusive immigrant checkpoints that exist on Arizona highways, where immigration officials actually beat up an Arizona pastor for refusing to answer their ridiculous questions. He could have also pointed to the massive surveillance state that Republicans and Democrats have implemented in the borderlands in the name of “securing the border.”
But Victor couldn’t go on the attack on immigration because he, like Masters and Kelly, believes in immigration controls and is firmly committed to “securing the border.” The same thing will happen to every other Republican-Lite congressional candidate or presidential candidate who finds himself in a debate against his Republican and Democratic opponents.
Another big topic was inflation. Once again, Masters and Victor were on the same page, lamenting out-of-control federal spending. But as is always the case with Republicans and Republican-Lites, they are unwilling to touch the biggest factors in out-of-control federal spending: Social Security, Medicare, and the national-security establishment.
Both Masters and Victor made it clear that they were firmly committed to preserving Social Security, which is one of America’s biggest socialist programs, one that employs force to seize money from young people in order to give the loot to seniors.
If Victor instead hewed to the libertarian position of repealing, not saving, reforming, fixing, preserving, privatizing, or phasing out Social Security, he could have immediately gone on the attack against Masters, accusing him of supporting one of the country’s biggest socialist programs. He could have even challenged Masters to reconcile his support of Social Security with the works of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, whose books Masters prides himself on having read.
He could have pointed out that Americans rejected socialism for more than 100 years. He could have pointed to the fact that the Constitution never authorized the adoption of any socialist program, including Social Security. He could have said that charity comes from the willing heart of an individual, not from the pointed gun of an IRS agent or the sending out of a Social Security check by some faceless federal bureaucrat.
But Victor couldn’t do that because he believes in Social Security. For that matter, the same thing will happen to every other Republican-Lite L.P. candidate who finds himself in a debate against his opponents. He will be relegated to saying the same thing that he will say about immigration, “When it comes to Social Security, we Libertarians are on the same page as our Republican and Democratic opponents.”
It bears pointing out that both immigration controls and Social Security violate Masters’s and Victor’s mantra of “live and let live,” especially given that both of these federal programs violate the libertarian non-aggression principle.
(See my recent Substack article, “None Dare Call for Repeal of Social Security.”)
It’s the same thing with the national-security establishment — that is, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. Both Masters and Victor are firmly committed to making certain that America remains the most militarily powerful nation on earth. That means, of course, the continuation of ever-increasing budget-busting taxpayer-funded largess for the military-industrial complex and its ever-growing army of voracious “defense” contractors. And it obviously also means the continuation of America’s national-security state form of governmental structure, along with the totalitarian powers (e.g., assassination, torture, indefinite detention, and mass surveillance) that come with it, rather than the restoration of America’s founding governmental system of a limited-government republic, which is the genuine libertarian position.
In any event, some time after the debate Victor obviously came to the realization that he and Masters were on the same page and, therefore, that it made no sense for Victor to continue his Republican-Lite campaign. Why it took him so long to realize that is beyond me. But once he subjected Masters to what amounted to a 20-minute-long cross-examination in which Masters permitted himself to be asked a long series of leading questions, Victor publicly announced that he was quitting the race and endorsing Masters.
In capitulating and surrendering, Victor claimed that he was acting as a “lone wolf.” But that’s clearly not the case. If he had run as an Independent, then he would have been acting as a “lone wolf.” But he wasn’t running as an Independent. He had voluntarily chosen to run as an official candidate of the Libertarian Party.
That means that Victor had a fiduciary responsibility to the Libertarian Party. He had a moral duty to not take any action that adversely affected the Libertarian Party.
Yes, I am fully aware that there are plenty of Republican-oriented Libertarians who are ecstatic over Victor’s decision to quit the race and endorse Masters. But that’s not the test of a fiduciary duty. Victor had a moral duty to clear his actions with the Libertarian Party before he did what he did. I could be wrong, but my hunch is that the Arizona Libertarian Party does not share the enthusiasm that many Republican-oriented Libertarians have for what Victor has done. (UPDATE-11/12/22: My surmise regarding the Arizona Libertarian Party’s reaction to Victor’s actions turned out to be correct. See “Statement from Emily S. Goldberg, AZLP Chair,” which is posted on the website of the Arizona Libertarian Party.”)
It’s bad enough to have simply quit the race and surrendered to the opposition. How is that going to make future L.P. candidates for U.S. Senate (or any other race) look to the electorate? Why should people get excited about supporting future L.P. candidates knowing that they are likely going to quit and surrender when the going gets tough and end up endorsing their Republican opponent?
But Victor did more than just drop out of the race. He went one step further and decided to endorse his Republican opponent. Consider the message that Victor sent all across the nation: that there really isn’t any difference in principle between Republicans and Libertarians. His endorsement of Masters, who has also received the enthusiastic endorsement of Donald Trump, solidifies the destruction of the Libertarian brand of principled libertarianism about which I have been writing in my Substack column. Through the massive nationwide publicity that it generated, Victor’s capitulation, surrender, and endorsement of Masters solidifies the image that Americans have developed of the L.P. as nothing more than a right-wing political party.
Consider, as just one example, the following statement made by Masters during the course of his campaign: "We do have a gun violence problem in this country, and it's gang violence. It’s gangs. It's people in Chicago, St. Louis shooting each other. Very often, you know, Black people, frankly. And the Democrats don't want to do anything about that.” (Emphasis added.)
No, Masters. The gun-violence problem in America is not due to “Black people.” The gun violence is rooted in your beloved war on drugs, an immoral, vicious, and racist war that you and your Republican cohorts have been waging for decades and which you yourself are firmly committed to continuing.
It’s atrocious that Victor has associated the Libertarian Party with anyone who holds such a despicable position. I have long argued that, generally speaking, L.P. candidates should be targeting Blacks, not disgruntled Republicans, for votes, especially since Blacks have paid the biggest price for the immoral, vicious, and racist drug war that both Republicans and Democrats have been waging for decades — and which Masters is firmly committed to continue waging. But with Victor now associating the L.P. with Masters, Trump, and the Republican Party, L.P. candidates can pretty much kiss away that strategy and continue their fruitless quest of targeting disgruntled Republicans for votes.
Yes, once again, I fully realize that reform-oriented Libertarians consider that Victor’s endorsement of a Republican candidate is a big plus for the Libertarian Party. What reform-oriented Libertarians unfortunately fail to realize is that there is a world of difference between principled libertarianism and the inconsistent, contradictory, and hypocritical principles of the Republican Party. Principled libertarianism holds that there isn’t a bit of difference between Republicans and Democrats and that the only real hope for American lies with the Libertarian Party, assuming, of course, that it can restore its rightful role in the political arena as the “Party of Principle.”
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