There are many culprits to the growing anti-liberty sentiments in American politics. There’s the media, the terrorists, the two-party system. There’s the hivemind that connects younger people on the internet, the innocent, nostalgic ignorance which pervades amongst older generations, and a general distrust growing between every subculture of American society.
Quite a few of these problems are unavoidable, so all we can do as Americans (or just as human beings, as this applies to a great number of nations in these troubling times) is to band together as individuals and create a political solution to the problems we are facing. In the United States, the only true, permanent solution to the problem at hand is a monumental task to undertake: end the two-party system.
While many Americans will roll their eyes at this and say it’s impossible, it’s the truthful answer. Just take a look at the Republicans and Democrats right now. Do you think any of them care about liberty? Do they care about individual freedoms? It seems like most of them don’t even care about the people they are supposedly representing. A few names stand out: Rand Paul, Justin Amash, and Thomas Massie. These three are outspoken in their defense of liberty and show genuine compassion for their constituents, yet they are all members of the Republican Party.
People like the three aforementioned are good in the sense that they are small bastions of liberty in the otherwise barren landscape on Capitol Hill, but as members of the two-party system, they cannot be counted on to help end it. And their party, the Republican Party, is not a true friend of liberty. It still panders to some genuinely discriminatory views held mainly by its older voters, and it shows an unhealthy lust for war (as does the Democratic Party nowadays) that is simply not representative of the non-aggression we need the United States to demonstrate in this world.
The only true political party in the United States which is consistently and steadfastly a friend to liberty is the Libertarian Party. However, the Libertarian Party is a mess. While I certainly have not always been around to see the Libertarian Party evolve, I am literate, and from what I can see, the Libertarian Party has always been a mess. That’s not a good start to ending the two-party system.
Still, the Libertarian Party is the best tool available to solve the problems at hand, and if wielded correctly, I think it has the capability to find success. In 2016, the Libertarian Party received a record number of votes in US House of Representatives and US Senate Elections.
Gary Johnson also received 3.27% of votes for President, although I, like many others who voted for him, saw this as a disappointing result given the nature of the two frontrunners. Nevertheless, his campaign had some positive takeaways, too. Johnson received over $11 million in donations, showing that given a competent campaign team with dedicated fundraisers, donors will be willing to donate money to Libertarian Party candidates. Johnson also received several newspaper endorsements from respected and well-read staples like the Chicago Tribune. Newspapers receive notice from their readers for who they endorse, so the newspapers who endorsed Johnson did so must have assumed that their readers would at least be open to the idea of voting for him.
To begin the weakening of the two-party system, third parties have to win elections or at least put up significant results of double-digit percentages on a consistent basis. Ideally, of course, the Libertarian Party needs to be the best-performing third party because I doubt the Green Party or equivalent is going to be much help for liberty.
Here’s what I would ask all Americans leaning towards the side of smaller government (you do not even need to be a full-blooded libertarian) to do:
- Vote. So many of us lose hope so easily… if we would all just show up to the ballot boxes, I’m sure it’d boost small government candidates at least a percentage point or two across the board. We need to look towards the midterm elections in 2018 and try to grow upon the improvements made to the Libertarian Party’s voter base in 2016.
- Donate! Campaigns cost money. The Libertarian Party is, relative to the old parties, extremely poor. If you want them to win elections and have spare change laying around, you need to donate money to them and to their candidates.
- Run for office. You can run as a Libertarian, an independent, a Republican, a Democrat… whatever, really. Now keep in mind that by some stroke of luck you may actually win, so if you know you wouldn’t be able to hold the office, don’t run for that particular office. But I think that most people could probably handle holding a local level office, and many others could be a state representative or state senator. Just put your name down. Give people in your area a small-government, liberty-friendly candidate to vote for.
And specifically for existing members and voters of the Libertarian Party:
4. Try harder!!! The Libertarian Party is a mess, but it doesn’t have to be a mess. Recruit better candidates. Fundraise. Market the party and the message of liberty to people around you. Put in the effort tenfold, and do it with a polite, enthusiastic, winning mentality. I know some of you are already trying hard, and we are all grateful for that, but even you can try harder. We can all try harder, and we have to.
If we don’t do something soon, the idea of individual liberty will become a thing of the past. My generation of Americans, the newest generation of voters… they act mostly as a collective, which is bad, but I’ve found that people my age also tend to be very open-minded. Spread the word to new voters if you can, and they very well may listen.
I don’t want to go to vote anymore and frown at my choices, then look at the results and frown even more. That’s no fun, is it now? We have work to do, so let’s get to work.