If you’ve been reading my stuff for any amount of time, you might remember that I was a pretty fervent supporter of Gary Johnson in 2016. Now, I’m no Libertarian; likewise, I don’t smoke pot. I just really dislike both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either one.
(Not to worry; I voted in Maryland. I didn’t get Trump elected.)
This time around, the most prominent Libertarian is running as a Republican. That’s only fair, since the most prominent Socialist is running as a Democrat… but it does mean there’s not likely to be any major third-party activity in the Presidential race this time around. I’m told the Libertarians, the Greens, and the Socialists all have some pretty impressive candidates in more local races, but… Let’s be blunt here, shall we? The platforms for those three parties are a bit beyond what the average voter can accept.
For a third party candidate to succeed in a Presidential race, there would need to be a solid political machine already in place to provide the necessary logistics and expertise. It would take regular and consistent support for a third-party platform, and that platform would need to be one with potentially wide appeal. The necessary support could only come from individual voters (since the major corporations already paid for their people).
For the sake of argument, I’ll propose a hypothetical Moderate Party. The platform of the Moderates is that taxes shouldn’t move much, that compromise works best, and that reasonable answers should be made law in areas like abortion, gun control, drugs, crime, and immigration. Also it’s their opinion that war is a bad thing and should be avoided when practicable. (Because it is and should. If you don’t believe me, just ask a soldier.)
The Moderates float a major figure for president their first year, but that’s only to wave the flag. More important are the local races in state legislatures, for Congress, and so on. There’s several independents that are sitting governors; perhaps some could be convinced to join. Likewise, more contentious figures that have faced and defeated challengers supported by their own party machines could be tempted to sign up — I’m thinking Lisa Murkowski and Tulsi Gabbard here. You can certainly see where I’m going.
The project would require deep pockets and a massive organization in the years right after that first election, because the state legislatures are the real target and there’s thousands of seats out there for the taking. Once a third party gains a loyal following in even a couple of states, it has enough clout to force a place on the stage in major debates. More importantly, experienced state-level politicians can be run for higher office after they’ve had their names out there for a few years.
Put a couple of Moderates in the House and people will court their vote. Put even one in the Senate and we’re talking a national voice in policy. That means more visibility next election, more seats in Congress, and eventually, when the RNC picks another Palin and the DNC another Gore, we’re off to the races.
This is certainly doable; don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
Having said that: This time around, let’s just focus on not picking another Mondale, Palin, or Gary Hart, shall we? And locally, if someone tickles your fancy, you should absolutely #VoteAgainst!