Josh Hughes | United States
The Libertarian Party has proven that on the federal level, it is largely inept and incapable of winning elections. In fact, it has not had much success at the state level, either. The 2016 and 2018 elections were a huge opportunity for the party growth, but both were a flop. The national party is a mess without a clear leader or strong candidates. Many state parties are suffering from the same dilemma. Rather than wasting time and resources on national elections, the libertarian party needs to think local. Libertarians can not only have a better chance of success in local elections but also can do the most good for libertarianism.
The Impact of Libertarians in Local Government
It is true that many local level seats are largely nonpartisan. “What difference does it make if a Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian is in charge of zoning regulations?” one may ask. The Libertarian party desperately needs elected officials in local government, before they can dream about a Libertarian in the Oval Office.
City Council and Mayors Office
When it comes to the partisan seats, Libertarians can be very instrumental. The mayor and city councilmen control a lot of what happens in terms of city taxes and spending. Libertarians on a city councilor in a mayors office can lower local sales tax. They can also promote small business operation within their jurisdiction. They can decide what major projects the city will invest in. In some rare instances, cities can even decide whether to prosecute certain crimes. An example of such would be Baltimore recently deciding to not prosecute marijuana possession cases. Cities also have the power to decide what the minimum wage will be in the city. Combatting the left-wing cries for raising minimum wages, city by the city could be instrumental to the liberty movement. There are many things that local governments do that impact the everyday lives of citizens.
Of course, growing their presence in state Assemblies and Senate could prevent either party from passing big spending bills. They could even form coalitions with liberty leaning members of either party to pass libertarian legislation. Peoples’ lives are much more directly impacted by local and state governments then they are the federal government.
Looking To The Future
The Libertarian Party is not going to win any big elections in the near future. The next few years should be a period of rebuilding for the party, where they can develop a unified platform and leadership. It will also be a good time for them garner more support from the average American, who is currently facing a very polarized and divided nation. If the Libertarian Party wants to experience success in the coming years, it is important that they become more involved in local level politics, as well as work to gain the respect and trust of the average voter. You can’t win the presidency overnight, but you can certainly grow the movement in local governments, state legislatures, up to the House, up to the Governor’s office, the Senate, and then maybe one day, the White House.
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