John Monds and Why He Could Be Good for the GOP
I read about John Monds, the Libertarian candidate for the Georgia governorship, in the Atlanta Journal Constitution this morning.
Here's the article about him:
Although voting for a third party with a similar position to an established party tends to benefit the established party's rival (Greens hurt Democrats; Libertarians hurt Republicans), the circumstances of this particular Libertarian candidate indicate he could do significant damage to the Democrats this time around.
For starters, the Democratic Party has been very strong among African-Americans for the last several decades. Monds was a leader in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and many African-Americans believe, rightly or wrongly, that the Republican Party is racist. A black Republican could be branded a token, a sellout, or window-dressing, but Monds is not a Republican and he was the president of the Grady County NAACP.
Some African-Americans are already interested in him, for that reason:
Furthermore, I believe research has shown that African-Americans are incarcerated at a higher rate for drug crimes than whites are and it is the incarceration rate (and the consequent difficulty in getting jobs or education after being jailed) that has hurt the African-American community, particularly men, rather badly.
Given how the Libertarian Party has historically been opposed to the War on Drugs, this position could help make Monds attractive to African-American voters (in addition to him being black and involved in the NAACP).
Also, of the two policy positions Monds takes in the article, one of them is a socially-liberal defense of allowing horse-racing, casino gambling, and Sunday alcohol sales in Georgia on the grounds that although he may not like them, it's not the state's job to enforce his moral notions. I don't think socially-conservative members of the Georgia Republican Party, the ones who picked Nathan Deal over Karen Handel, are going to be defecting en masse to Monds due to this issue.
However, those who are leery of social conservatism but also leery of the Democratic candidate Roy Barnes due to his previous term might be willing to vote for Monds. See the book The Emerging Democratic Majority and the strong showing of Karen Handel, a more socially-liberal Republican who did well in Metro Atlanta, where half the Georgian population lives.
In short, Monds might be able to keep the Democrats from making inroads among independents and could divert black votes from Barnes, weakening him but affecting the Republican Party less severely. And since he is an effective campaigner--he got over a million votes running for Public Service Commissioner in a prior election--he could do some real damage.
Even if all he does is force a runoff, this would force the Democratic Party to spend more money on Georgia, money that could be spent elsewhere.