By Josh Hughes | United States
This year’s midterm elections are sure to be a lot of things. In the hectic, chaotic world of politics today, a lot of people find themselves confused and without a platform. There are hundreds of thousands of Republicans unhappy with President Trump and the current state of the GOP-controlled Congress. On the flip side, there are just as many moderate Democrats that are tired of the extreme direction the Democratic Party is headed towards. For this reason, the Libertarian Party needs to step up.
Average Voter Turnout Issues
It’s no secret that eligible voters are far less likely to vote in the midterms. In a FairVote poll, the 2014 midterm had about 25% less turnout than the 2016 Presidential election. Voter apathy in the United States is also a very large issue, with statistics that nationwide, eligible voter turnout rarely reaches 63%, at best. While there are many programs that work hard to get people to register to vote, the truth is no one can force voters to come out in November. With almost two-thirds of voters staying home in 2014, there is a large cache of untapped support.
If Libertarians were to launch a campaign from the bottom up, trying to sway voters to come out and support them this fall, there could be a large swing in favor of America’s third largest party. Convincing just 15% of the 65% of people who usually don’t vote would be huge. Without a doubt, it would lead to record support for local libertarian candidates.
The Libertarian Party can Gain Votes
While the media pushes the polarized agenda of today’s politics, the fact of the matter is the majority of voters are fairly moderate. That said, a lot of people on both sides are unhappy with the current state of their respective parties. In a Pew Research study of voters, 34% said their vote would be primarily a vote against President Trump. That’s 34% of people who would vote purely against Trump and his Republican agenda.
Admittedly, the majority of those votes will probably be in favor of a Democratic candidate. However, the reality is a large percentage of traditional Republicans aren’t happy with Trump. So, many of these votes will likely turn into non-voters this fall.
This does not have to be the case. A lot of voters are ignorant of the legitimacy of third parties. If the Libertarian Party put more resources into garnering attention at the local level, a lot of Republicans would turn in their favor. With the fall season coming up, it would be wise if Libertarians would advertise with a booth containing party platform points. Running ads in papers, on TV, on radio stations, would also help. American voters are notoriously ignorant, and tunnel vision plagues them. Thus, if Libertarians want to become serious contenders, they must make the effort to show voters their message.
What Liberty-minded Individuals can Do
Everyday people can make real changes. The idea that your voice can’t make a difference is far outdated. In this era of social media, one can reach out to hundreds with the click of a button. It can also be as simple as starting a conversation at your job or school. It’s amazing how much a five-minute conversation can do to someone who is already on the fence. Simply showing others your voice can spark an interest that could turn into votes.
If we genuinely want to see this year’s midterm be different from the rest, it’ll take an effort from all of us. The truth is, the Libertarian Party doesn’t have the resources to reach out to people like the Democrats or the GOP do. Donate to your local candidate. Volunteer to help on a campaign. Also, spread the idea of individualism and liberty in your community. This year could be huge for the Libertarian Party, and it would be terrible to waste an opportunity like this.
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