It’s official, Bob Barr is now the Libertarian Party nominee. From what I understand, that means Barr will be on the ballot in at least 48 states. I don’t know how well he will do but he is going to be running on repealing the Patriot Act and the Defense of Marriage Act (which he co-sponsored), ending the war in Iraq, and ending the war on drugs. As these are things that appeal to Democrats more than to Republicans, it’s not absolutely clear that Barr will pull more votes from McCain than from Obama. I think we’ll actually have to look at things on a region by region basis. The libertarian strain of Republicanism is strongest in New England and the Western half of the country. I expect that Barr will hurt McCain among disaffected Republicans in those regions. However, his brand of non-militaristic leave-me-alone Repulicanism is unlikely to sell well in the South. He might actually provide an alternative to Obama for some white anti-war Southerners.

The big question is whether he will be able to inherit Ron Paul’s coalition and whether they will be able to raise enough money to run ads and get Barr’s name recognition up to a point where he might rise in the polls. Can Barr get into the debates? Right now that seems very unlikely. But it’s not completely out of the question. Time will tell.

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