Inevitably, when people become disenfranchised with one or both of the two major political parties, somebody suggests that they go a third party to “really change things.” While working in a third party is certainly better than one of the two major parties that reason is simply because third parties are impotent so people working in them aren’t able to use the state’s capacity for violence to inflict their will on the general populace. The reason for their impotency is because the two major parties already control the state and can rewrite the rules whenever they want:
Last year, Republican Jonathan Paton lost his bid for Congress to Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick by about 9,000 votes. Meanwhile, Libertarian Kim Allen in the race got just over 15,000 votes.
But for the Libertarian, Paton would be a congressman today – assuming, as Republicans do, that Libertarian votes would logically slide over to the R column.
What’s a good Republican to do about a bunch of spoilers who are keeping them from electoral glory?
Well, today we found out.
This afternoon, Gov. Jan Brewer signed an elections bill that basically wipes out Libertarian and other third-party candidates, boosting their signature requirements to unattainable levels. Green Party candidates would actually have to collect more signatures than they have party members.
This is exactly the kind of shenanigan that I predicted would happen if Gary Johnson would have obtained anywhere near the 5% of the popular vote needed to qualify for federal campaign funds. Whenever a third party begins to obtain any meaningful power the two major parties rewrite the rules. In Arizona the Green Party is effectively through since they need more signatures than they have party members and, if the Libertarian Party is able to achieve anywhere near enough signatures, the requirement will be increased again.
Working within the political system will never lead to liberty because the system is rigged against change.
2 thoughts on “Why Third Parties Will Never Succeed in Politics”
Historically the successful third parties don’t start with president. Start with city councils and move up from there. That way you have a base to work with and a track record people can embrace. When the libertarians take over a city council I will consider them to have a hope.
Grace and peace.
It depends on what your goals are. I vote Libertarian often in general elections even knowing that it doesn’t matter. My thought is if enough people show up and vote 3rd party it makes it awkward for the media to try to ignore all those voters. On the other hand if you take a don’t vote cause I don’t consent standpoint then they will just say you are apathetic and ignore you as well. I think only the first course of action can create situations where we have seen races where one party has 80% and the other candidate shows 5% and they refuse to show the 15% the libertarian got on the TV. What it does is help further discredit the media.
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