I thought I might comment a bit on Markos’ “libertarian democrats” concept since, technically, abstract political theory is actually what I know about. But let me start off with a little political analysis. Insofar as we’re talking about attracting libertarian voters, I think the case that libertarians should vote Democratic in 2006 is ironclad. A Pelosi-led House of representatives, and to a lesser extent a Reid-led Senate, would provide more of an obstacle to the Bush administration’s imperialist instincts than the reverse. Either would offer some oversight of the executive branch and to some extent curb Bush’s taste for gross abuses of power. Neither would really be in a position to enact any grandiose economic policy plans. So Q.E.D., as I see it. For the future, though, it’s just going to depend on circumstances.
Meanwhile, I don’t see any reason to believe it would be smart for a major political party to deliberately aim at the votes of some libertarian constituency. The reason is that, to a decent first approximation, about zero percent of the electorate is primarily motivated by a principled opposition to state coercion. We’re not literally talking about zero people, I know some of them, and some write blogs, but it’s genuinely a rounding error in the scheme of things. You do have some people who adhere to the Economist-style center-right politics of the American elite consensus, and this view has some similarities with libertarianism, but this genuinely is an elite consensus voting bloc rather than a libertarian one. It’s also not seriously accessible to the Democrats over the long-run because a core element of the consensus is a fairly deep-seated loathing of progressive activism and progressive activists. It’s worth understanding that, at the end of the day, there’s much less libertarianism in American society than people sometimes think.