Will Arkansas Elect The First Libertarian Senator?
This year has not been good for Senator Tom Cotton. Between trying to defund schools who teach the 1619 Project because he doesn’t want kids to know America had any issues before Obama, writing a New York Times op-ed that made him look like a fascist, saying anyone who doesn’t think COVID-19 was made by the Chinese is a communist, and using the term “obelisk of wokeness” on the Senate floor — he’s had a busy year. However, while most politicians want to make themselves look good during election years, Cotton is trying the exact opposite.
Sadly, the Arkansas Democratic Party has not put up a candidate against this pencil-necked crazy person. As such, a third party has stepped up, in the forms of libertarian Senate candidate Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr. A young (only 34-years-old, not quite old enough to run for President), although quite large, black man from the same state, this former Prison Chaplain has come to spread the message of liberty.
I was personally impressed when I read his profile in Reason Magazine back in late July, but I wanted to wait a bit to make sure he was not a small candidate with no chance. Although, I must admit, him saying war should be the last thing we humans do, and saying he became a libertarian because of Ron Paul’s non-interventionism platform back in 2008, impressed me, especially compared to the Chinese warhawk that is Senator Cotton.
After Justin Amash registered as a libertarian earlier this year, I, and many others, begged him to stay in Congress for as long as he’s able to. In large part, because I assumed the idea of having a libertarian in elected and serving multiple terms in Congress would normalize the idea of electing libertarians on the Congressional level. Especially considering the two party system remains very much entrenched, and any new party would need to do a damn good job proving its worth before being able to fight with the big boys.
When Amash announced he would not be running for re-election in 2020, I was more concerned about the future of the party than I thought would be possible just a few months earlier. Nothing worried me more than the Libertarian Party becoming nothing more than a fad party — like the Reform Party of the 90s and early 2000s or the Prohibition Party in the 1910s and 1920s — dooming it of any chance at the adult table. Mind you, in spite of Gary Johnson being a bit of a doofus, he still managed to win over four million votes, the best of any third party candidate since Ross Perot in 1996.
However, while many libertarians are willing to vote for Jo Jorgensen and call it a day, remember that the average American is not so used libertarian ideas. In the 1970s, when Murray Rothbard was called and asked if he’d run for President on the libertarian platform, he refused because he did not believe there were any libertarians besides him. While Johnson did do a great job by the standards of a third party in 2016, ignoring the amount of disenfranchised Bernie Bros who went for him to spite Hillary Clinton, something we will not have on our side this time, is one of the biggest mistakes a man can make. Something like that has a very small chance of being repeated, look at Ralph Nader’s vote total in 2000 vs. 2004 if you don’t believe me.
Even if they somehow win the presidency, it’s unlikely Congress would allow them to do anything major without a decent libertarian majority. As such, I have advocated for libertarians to run in areas that have basically become one-party states at least until we can work our ways up to a three way race on the federal level. Hence why Harrington needs to be elected this November for Arkansas Senate seat.
What I especially find amazing is that Harrington is nowhere near as much of a longshot as more libertarians. Currently, he’s polling 38% in a two-way race, while that may sound bad Cotton is only polling at 49% and roughly 13% of Arkansas voters consider themselves undecided. If Harrington can win that 13% — while swinging one or two percent of Cotton’s voters for good measure — would put him on the path to victory.
Tonight, the two were suppose to have a debate hosted by a local PBS. However, Senator Cotton refused to take part, instead promising to introduce himself to the voters — once would think he’d have the past seven years to do just that. This means Harrington will half over an hour to explain his views all by himself, hopefully picking up a large number of those undecided voters and swinging some Cotton voters in the process.
The entire state will be watching Harrington, and I have no doubt they will like what they see.