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Why I Left the Libertarian Party

My journey out of the LP.

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By Austin Anderholt | USA

For a few months or so, I was a libertarian. I registered with the party, went to meetings, etc. I was your typical “third partier.” I hated the two-party system. So why, after only a few months, did I switch back to republican? Am I just a party switcher that can’t make up his mind? Did my pharmacist take a few months to realize he was giving me the wrong medication? No. I still hate the two-party system, but I will use it because I must. Here’s why:

The Libertarian Party is undoubtedly the most successful third party in American politics ever. It has people running in all 50 states. It has an affiliate in every state and youth caucuses in about a third of them. However, it’s not nearly the size of the two major parties. The major parties have had literal centuries build. They have super PACs spending millions to get them elected. They have a huge audience of people that will always vote democrat and always vote Republican. They have been American superpowers for years. Their essence has been a part of American culture for years. Think about it: We have democrats versus republican football. Left versus Right. A strong division. Libertarians pull small crowds to their events. Republicans and Democrats bring armies to their rallies. They pay for fireworks and celebrities. They run expensive campaign ads. The libertarian party is no match.

The libertarian party is huge at activism. Their conventions always draw attention whether it be their politicians not knowing what Aleppo is, or letting a candidate strip naked on stage. Where they don’t win, is the ballot box. Except for small libertarian election, the only libertarians that are ever in office switch parties. As Matt Nye of the Republican Liberty Caucus said “In fact, every notable past libertarian-minded elected official I can recall at the federal level was, in fact, elected as Republican. Bob Barr from Georgia? Republican. Ron Paul from Texas? Republican.” There have always been two parties opposing each other in America. When most people vote, they’re voting less for the guy they want, and more against the guy they hate. It’s what campaigns are centered around, and it’s how American politics is structured. It is about whoever has the slight advantage over the other guy. Most libertarians would choose the Republican Party over the Democrats, right? If only half of Republicans become libertarians, we would have 2 small parties on the right, and a huge Democratic Party on the left! Third parties spoil the vote.

In conclusion, America is a two party society. The two parties have all the wealth and power. The American people care more about hating on the other party than supporting their own. Libertarians never get close to winning elections. If we want change, we’ll get it through the Republican liberty caucus. They back candidates that get actual votes, like Austin Petersen and Rand Paul. The RLC is a huge part of mainstream politics and is our most viable chance of liberty.

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  1. The fallacy here is the assumption that most Libertarians would vote Republican if there was no Libertarian Party. This isn’t always true. I won’t vote for a bad and non libertarian candidate for the express purpose of keeping an even worse candidate from winning. When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you still get evil. Sometimes it is better from a long term perspective that the greater of the two evils wins an election.

    In 1992 the greater of the two evils, Bill Clinton, won the presidency. Voters responded in 1994 by electing huge Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. It was the first time in 40 years that Republicans controlled the House. And for a very brief time the Republicans pretender to take a stand for less government. The Republican takeover would not have happened had George Bush won re-election in 1992, and he acknowledged such in a speech given a few years later.

    In 2000 the lesser of the two evils won the presidency, namely George W Bush. He and the Republicans gave us the largest expansion of government spending and new regulations since the Lyndon Johnson years of the late 1960’s. He drug us into two expensive and wasteful wars. Fox News and conservative talk show pundits defended his big government ways by proclaiming that only one issue mattered; that of a hawkish neocon foreign policy of perpetual war against Islamic terrorism. They mocked Ron Paul and libertarianism in general. It possibly would have been better long term had Al Gore won the 2000 election.

    In 2008 and 2012 Republican Primary Election voters rejected Ron Paul and libertarianism in favor of big government neocon candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney respectively. I wanted the greater evil Barack Obama to defeat them both to spite these Republican voters for embracing a third term of George W Bush in essence. Obama was the greater evil, but his victory ignited opposition in the form of the Tea Party wave in 2009 and a wave of small government Republicans defeating long term big government incumbents in the primary elections. Republicans captured the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. Neither would have happened had either McCain or Romney won.

    Granted these waves of victory didn’t last. The 1994 Republicans ended up sucking up to Bill Clinton and slowly lost their majority. The Tea Party was coopted by the establishment Republicans and the social and religious conservatives. They are dying out. In the 2012 and 2014 Republican Primary Elections each and every single small government and liberty candidate lost to a big government establishment stalwart. It is why the Republican congressional majority since 2014 has been tepid and ineffective. They are a weak bunch with no backbone and no zest for liberty and small government.

    There are some wonderful exceptions. Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, and Rand Paul are fighting an uphill battle for liberty in the Republican Party. The establishment has run one of their candidates in the Michigan Republican Primary election against Justin Amash in an attempt to defeat him.

    One does not need to leave the Libertarian Party to work within the Republican Liberty Caucus. We should support those like Massie, Amash, and Paul. If libertarian Republican candidates lose in their primary elections, we should then support the Libertarian Party nominee if there is one. Libertarians should never ever support the establishment, mainstream, big government Republican nominee, especially if the main reasoning is that the Democrat is worse and therefore must be defeated. If the Republicans think that they will get our vote anyway, then our efforts to move the GOP towards liberty are wasted. At times like this it is sometimes better long term if the Democrat candidate defeats the big government Republican candidate as noted at length above. Libertarians must consistently support only libertarian candidates despite their party label.

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