As Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe grapple in a gouge-your-eyes-out campaign of character assassination, an increasing number of Virginians are adopting a Shakespearean philosophy of “a plague on both your houses.” That undoubtedly explains why Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis is climbing dramatically in voter esteem.
In a Public Policy Polling survey, 9% of respondents said they would vote for Sarvis, compared to 37% for Cuccinelli and 44% for McAuliffe. Both Cuccinelli and McAuliffe had high unfavorables in that poll. In an Emerson College poll, Sarvis snagged 10%. That’s extraordinary for a candidate of a party that rarely garners more than 1% in an election.
Admittedly, libertarian candidates tend to start strong and fade in the polls as citizens decide they don’t want to throw away votes on a candidate with no serious chance of winning. But it strikes me that Sarvis could buck the trend. The trick is for the media to begin treating him as a serious candidate rather than focusing so overwhelmingly on Cuccinelli and McAuliffe. If Sarvis got more publicity and if more people knew about him,more people, independents especially, would give him serious consideration.
How high does Sarvis have to rise in the polls before the media stops treating him as a sideshow? That’s the million-dollar question.
As a libertarian, Sarvis believes in limited government. “Virginia needs open-minded, economically literate leadership, not culture wars and class wars,” he states on his website. He advocates constraining state spending, eliminating tax loop-holes and eliminating job-killing business taxes. He champions school choice and a reform of drug laws. He supports gun rights and gay marriage.
While Democrats celebrate multi-culturalism, Sarvis is multi-cultural. Sarvis himself is mixed race — half white and half Chinese. His wife is black. And his two children are so multi-racial that there is no U.S. Census category for them.
I don’t endorse political candidates — never have, never will — and I don’t endorse Sarvis. But I will say this: I would find it immensely refreshing to see him emerge as a credible candidate in this gubernatorial election. It would do Virginia a world of good to have his ideas and perspectives injected into the campaign.