Don't Blame Sarvis for the Cuccinelli Loss/McAuliffe Win in Virginia

got a new column up at
. Here’s the opening:

Even before yesterday’s election, Republicans were ready to
blame Virginia gubernatorial
candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s looming defeat to Democrat Terry
McAuliffe on Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis. “A
Vote for Sarvis is a Vote for McAuliffe
” argued one Cuccinelli

With the
final count in
, expect Republican anger at the Libertarian
“spoiler” to grow exponentially. McAuliffe, who had enjoyed a
double-digit lead at various points in during campaign, won with
just 48 percent of the vote to Cuccinelli’s 46 percent. The
Libertarian Sarvis ended up pulling almost 7 percent, far more than
enough to tip the election the other way.

But to blame a major-party loss on third-party candidates is
fundamentally mistaken. First off, it ignores data that the
Libertarian pulled more votes from the Democratic candidate than he
did from the Republican one—an exit poll of Sarvis
voters showed that
they would have voted for McAuliffe by a two-to-one margin over
Cucinelli. Second, and far more important, it presumes that
all potential votes somehow really “belong” to either Democrats or
Republicans. That’s simply wrong and it does a real disservice to
American politics.

Read the whole thing.

from Hit & Run

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