Robert Sarvis, the Virginia gubernatorial libertarian candidate, has been making headlines recently. Ben Swann recently reported on how Sarvis is not being allowed to appear in the Gubernatorial debate with his opponents Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D). This is certainly a tragedy. With Sarvis polling at 12%, those who support him certainly deserve to have their man on stage.
However, is Sarvis actually even a libertarian?
It probably depends on how you define libertarian. However, there are certain comments recently made by Sarvis that seem to offer a contrary party affiliation.
During an interview with Chuck Todd, libertarians who are concerned over Obamacare raised their eyebrows at Sarvis. With regards to the medicaid expansion under Obamacare, Sarvis says that he’d like to see the state have more policy freedom before expanding medicaid. He does not rule out the expansion of medicaid. In fact, it seems that under a Sarvis governorship, he would plan to expand the program. This is contradictory to what Sarvis’ campaign website says his position on federal healthcare expansion is. States do have the option on whether or not to expand the program under Obamacare.
According to Politico, a spokesperson for Cuccinelli says that he would not expand.“It is not a good course to expand such a tenuous system, particularly when it would require tax increases under virtually all circumstances,” said Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix. “Instead, reforms must be put into place to improve the system and ensure the quality of care in measurable outcomes for those who need it most.” The same report cites that McAuliffe would not respond.
In the same interview with Chuck Todd, Sarvis was reluctant to answer whether or not he would cut taxes in Virginia. He danced around the question and only answered that there were ways to “reduce spending”. However, Sarvis’ campaign website does state that he would cut multiple taxes.
Libertarians are huge on Austrian economics. It is perhaps one of the strongest paradigms of the party. However, when Reason questioned Sarvis about his economic perspective, he responded, “I’m not into the whole Austrian type, strongly libertarian economics. I like more mainstream economics…” He would later clarify that he feels there are many principles in Austrian economics, which serve contrary to sound policy. In addition, he feels that the school has not produced any new advances, and that others schools have provided newer, exciting theories. Perhaps Sarvis is not so far off base here. After all, economics is a science, and science must continue to advance in an advancing society.
Sarvis’ campaign website does offer a lot for those with a libertarian flavor. However, his recent comments during interviews seem to muddy the waters as to just how libertarian Sarvis is had there been a litmus test.
Regardless, the Libertarian Party of Virginia’s website promotes Sarvis as their candidate. Does it really matter? After all, Governor Gary Johnson (R) was the Libertarian Party’s official nominee last year after he bowed out of the republican nominee campaign.