Just Vote Harder

If somebody is a member of the Libertarian Party, I generally assume that they have at least a basic understanding of the evil of government. If somebody has been a member of the Libertarian Party for a few election cycles, I generally assume that they have firsthand experience of how the two ruling parties prevent third parties from gaining a foothold in the political system. If somebody has been a member of the Libertarian Party for a few election cycles and still believes in the political process, I generally assume that they’re an idiot.

If you’ve recently joined the Libertarian Party, or any third party for that matter, and believe that you’re going to make a difference by helping a candidate break into the two party political system, let me give you an idea of what you’re in for:

Third party candidates are used to getting snubbed when it comes to political debates, but Dale Kerns says he was promised a spot in an October 20 senatorial debate in the Philadelphia media market—only to have the invitation rescinded as the debate neared, apparently at the request of the station hosting it.


Emails obtained by Reason show that Kerns’ campaign was twice assured of a spot in a televised debate by executives at the state’s chapter of the League of Women Voters, which typically plays a role in organizing debates. In March, Suzanne Almeida, the then-executive director of the group, told Kerns’ campaign manager that Kerns would “certainly” be invited to “participate in candidate forums after the primary.”

In late August, the campaign again contacted the League of Women Voters seeking information about planned debates. Jill Greene, who had taken over as executive director in July, responded on August 29 to say that she was currently trying to plan a Senate debate with the League’s media partners and that she would “be sure to include Mr. Kerns and Mr. Gale.”

Six weeks later, after the debate had been scheduled for October 20 on Philadelphia’s ABC affiliate, WPVI-TV, Greene emailed Kerns’ campaign manager John Odermatt to deliver the bad news. The League had asked to include Kerns and Gale in the debate, she said, but “other organizers” did not “feel as if current polling warranted an invitation.”

This is nothing new. In fact, this is the status quo. This is also why voting doesn’t matter.

Apologists for democracy claim that voting is how the people let themselves be heard but one only needs to take a look at a ballot to recognize the facade. A ballot consists of a list of officer with approved candidates for each office. The first indicator that voting isn’t what the apologists claim it to be is the fact that the names that appear on the ballot must be approved. The second indicator is the fact that the only choice is what candidate to put into the office. What if you want to abolish the office entirely (which is what every self-proclaimed libertarian should want to do to every office)? You can’t voice that opinion on a ballot.

If you’re involved in a third party, you’re playing a game where the rules are set by your opponent. Not surprisingly, your opponent is setting the rules in such a way that you’re guaranteed to lose.