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Vermin Competition

Vermin Supreme,

Should Lincoln Chafee invert a boot and place it on his head? 

It might help him compete. The famous Republican turned Democratic politician from Rhode Island — former U.S. Senator and Governor, both, and sometime presidential hopeful — has filed to run for the presidency.

But as a Libertarian.

The Libertarian Party started out nearly fifty years ago as a venue for libertarians disgusted with Richard Nixon and the Republican Party to make a pitch to the American people to abandon the lying, thieving, murderous statism of our times and swap it for freedom. In the words of its first presidential nominee, philosopher John Hospers, the idea was to “challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.”

The Libertarian Party has pulled in supporters from left, right and center, but mostly from the GOP, as seen in a solid one third of its past presidential runs: 

  1. former Republican elector Roger MacBride (1976)
  2. former and future Republican U.S. Representative Ron Paul (1988) 
  3. former Republican U.S. Representative Bob Barr (2008)
  4. former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (2012; 2016)

The Libertarians are an earnest lot, trying to get the attention of earnest American voters by putting up men with political credentials. In the case of Gary Johnson’s last campaign, the strategy “paid off” with over 4.4 million votes. The LP attracts ambitious politicians and publicity seekers who do not quite fit in with the two parties, in no small part because Libertarians have done a great job of obtaining all-important ballot status in most if not all 50 states in presidential elections.

Libertarian Party members have so far avoided non-political celebrity candidates, such as the late activist and actor Russell Means (1988) and gonzo millionaire John McAfee (2012). Chafee would be the first Democratic pol to get the nomination. But he is running against some strong libertarian activists (Kim Ruff, Jo Jorgensen, Jacob Hornberger, et al.) as well as a return bid from McAfee (who also happens to be on the run from the IRS). 

A parody candidate calling himself “Vermin Supreme” and running on a joke (and quite anti-freedom) platform (mandatory ponies for everyone!), has just won the Libertarian position in the New Hampshire Primary’s non-binding preference poll — 26 to Chafee’s 4, perhaps because he wears a boot on his head.

Tough competition for Chafee, who seems only a little more libertarian than Vermin.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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Vermin Supreme,

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By: Redactor


  1. Thomas Knapp says:

    Chafee’s a former Republican too.

    As for the New Hampshire vote, Vermin’s name appeared on a ballot that was mailed to all party members, while Chafee entered the race late and received only write-in votes at the party’s state convention. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that he would have beat Vermin if he’d been on the ballot, but does probably mean that he would have done better.

    • Paul Jacob says:

      Thank you for pointing out that Chafee was a Republican before he was a Democrat. When I re-read this morning, I noticed that got excised in editing and I added it back. It is noteworthy.

      Thank you also for providing more information on the timing, Chafee being a write-in, etc. I do still think Chafee will find tepid support. But I like his emphasis of non-interventionist foreign policy.

      I also think Vermin Supreme is a talented and smart entertainer whose mockery could have very positive impacts IF it were outside the Libertarian Party and lampooning politics generally. Rather than as people receive it really sorta lampooning the LP.

      • Thomas Knapp says:

        Well, you’ve had plenty of experience with the LP yourself, so you know what a circus it can be.

        Chafee was my favorite candidate for the 2016 DEMOCRATIC nomination. I don’t think he’s as good a fit for the Libertarian Party, and I specifically think that continuing to nominate candidates who come over from other parties, especially AS SOON AS they come over from those other parties, is bad branding. Right now, we pretty much look like the Retirement Home for Disabled Republicans, IMO.

        I guess we’ll see how it works out. The LP is kind of like the Kansas City Chiefs — every year they find a new way to break my heart. Maybe this year will be the exception in both cases!

  2. Steven Sass says:

    As a former member of the Board of the Maryland Libertarian Party, I can tell you the ‘party of principle’ is a JOKE and would improe its image if it put a BOOT on ITS HEAD! Promoting freedom, the Party has said NOTHING about the very unfreedom nature os islam and will NOT confront it as a sham religion, but a political system that puts individuals [especially womn, gays and non believers] in a category beow anything the nazis set up! There is NO NEED to endorse or promote the U.S. sending men or even funds to destroy islam, but there is a need for an honest philosophy that put freedom and the individual FIRST to call out islam for the threat it is!

  3. Pat says:

    The New Hampshire primary is a total fraud and needs to lose its first in the nation status.
    How many ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans’ voted in this Libertarian ‘primary’?
    How many people who have no intention of voting Libertarian in November were allowed to participate?
    New Hampshire’s primary system, for all parties, is a total fraud.

    • Thomas Knapp says:

      “How many ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans’ voted in this Libertarian ‘primary’?”

      Presumably none. The voting was conducted by mail, with ballots sent only to party members, and at the party’s state convention, with only party members allowed to vote.

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