Opinion: Time for a Major Third Party

The Libertarian Party is Now America’s Third Major Party
Not such a good election for the “(G)OP” (that means “(formerly) Grand Old Party”) and the Demoncrats get to be led by one of the most out-of-touch crony pols of all times, Nancy Pelosi!

For Libertarians, however, this was a great election.

The Party announced significant voter results:

“Gov. Gary Johnson received more than 15 percent of the votes in his bid for U.S. Senate from New Mexico. Nebraska state Sen. Laura Ebke received 42 percent of the vote in her re-election bid. Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark received 11 percent of the vote for mayor of Phoenix. Libertarian National Committee Development Director Lauren Daugherty received 22 percent of the vote in her run for justice of the peace in McLennan County, Texas. Brian Luke received 27 percent of the votes in his run for U.S. House District 2 from Washington. Running for Washington state House in District 22, Allen Acosta scored a 30 percent vote total. Mark Fish received nearly 11 percent in his race for the Alaska state House in a three-way race that included both a Republican and a Democratic candidate.” [2]

The American “two party system” is maintained through careful manipulation of the election laws, making the USA the only major “democracy” with only two “major parties.” For any “third party” to be successful ballot access is essential, and the barriers against entry are significant.  Major gains were made in ballot access:

“Libertarians in states without automatic ballot access have to spend an inordinate amount of time, money, and effort every year qualifying their candidates through petitioning. Fortunately, Libertarian Party vote totals in a few states have qualified them for future ballot access.

Oklahoma has some of the strictest ballot access laws in the country, which has historically made it a difficult state for Libertarians in past elections. Fortunately, Libertarian John Yeutter won nearly 25 percent of the vote in his race for Oklahoma auditor and inspector, which secures Libertarian Party ballot access until 2022. “Taxpayers in Oklahoma should have assurance that their state and local tax dollars are accounted for,” Yeutter said in his campaign.

In New York, Libertarian Larry Sharpe received an unprecedented 89,232 votes for governor, far in excess of the 50,000 needed to assure Libertarian Party ballot access in New York for the next four years. Sharpe ran an active campaign, with appearances throughout the news media and interviews on television and radio. In 2016, Sharpe was also only 32 votes short of being selected as the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate.

Richard Brubaker, running for U.S. House from Wyoming, received enough votes to retain Libertarian Party ballot access for the state. Ballot access has also been assured until 2020 in Washington, D.C., thanks to the vote totals in Joseph Bishop-Henchman’s race for attorney general and his spouse Ethan Bishop-Henchman’s race for council chair. Mark Rutherford assured Indiana ballot access until 2022 with his race for secretary of state. In Massachusetts, Daniel Fishman has assured ballot access for two more years in his race for auditor.” [2]

Here is what the Party Chair said:

“Over the past two years, we put so much into preparing for the 2018 elections. On Election Day, we made gains across the country that are the fruit of those labors and investments… The 2018 election cycle brought the rhetoric that we continue to hear every election cycle:

This is the most important election of our lifetime.
The stakes are just too high to stay home.
The future of our democracy is at stake.

While Ds and Rs stoked voters’ fears in order to drum up record-breaking voter turnout in some areas, our 833 Libertarian candidates campaigned on practical solutions to improve America’s communities.

As Libertarians, we take a different approach than our opponents do; we appeal to common sense. Our solutions cut taxes, improve lives, and present opportunities to make communities more free and prosperous.

We are proud of our 16 newly-elected Libertarians and the 833 Libertarians that ran this year. Each of our candidates courageously challenged the two-party system.” [3]

Just before the election the Gallup Poll questioned Americans about the need for a “major third party.”  The graph at the top of this blog entry tells the story.  This is what Gallup had to say:

“Americans’ views of the two-party system have soured since Gallup’s initial 2003 measurement when a solid majority said the Republican and Democratic parties were doing an adequate job. More than 40% continued to feel this way on occasion through 2012, but since then no more than 38% have believed the two parties are adequate while as many as 61% have said a third party is needed.” [1]

My conclusion is that the time has never been better for the Libertarian Party to confirm its “major party” status, returning real democracy to the American federal republic.  Americans no longer have just two choices.  There is a third choice to Demoncrat and (G)OP politics-as-usual.  That choice is Liberty!

Previous blog posts in this series:  https://tinyurl.com/OK2beLibertarian


[1] https://news.gallup.com/poll/244094/majority-say-third-party-needed.aspx

[2] https://www.lp.org/libertarians-win-local-races-achieve-ballot-access-prevail-on-initiatives/

[3] https://www.lp.org/onward/

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