Backed by a growing swing vote that decides elections and support for its economic plans, the Libertarian Party is not an “alternative” political party.
“Alternative” implies something outside the mainstream or an unconventional choice. The Libertarian Party, with its sensible balance of fiscal responsibility and social moderation, is, in fact, the nation’s only mainstream political party.
In a nation where a vast swath of the electorate define themselves as generally fiscally conservative and socially liberal, it is the Democrat, Republican, Constitution and Green parties that find themselves isolated on the extreme left and right. Not only are these the voters who decide elections, poll after poll finds these voters generally agree more with the Libertarian Party than any other.
In their 2006 study of the American electorate, The Libertarian Vote, Cato Institute scholars David Boaz and David Kirby find between ten and twenty percent of the electorate is generally fiscally conservative and socially liberal – in other words, libertarian. A 2006 Gallup Governance Survey puts the “libertarian” vote at 21 percent, tied with the “liberal” vote and behind only the “conservative” vote at 25 percent.
That growing libertarian vote is getting close to the same percentage as those describing themselves and liberal or conservative and large enough to assemble a winning coalition in election races. Many of the “unaffiliated” or “non-ideological” voters agree more with libertarians than with conservatives or liberals.
So why haven’t Libertarians won more elections than they already have? With a renewed focus on winning the LP did win 200-plus races in 2008 and increased its presidential vote total for the second straight election, but there is room for so much more growth.
Much of the blame lies with ballot access laws placing an intolerable burden on citizens who wish to vote for something other than Republicans or Democrats. The Libertarian Party is hard at work in state legislatures across the country changing those laws.
Right now is a great time to be a Libertarian. Voters cite economic issues and job growth as their top concerns in poll after poll, both Libertarian strengths.
Those same polls show majorities support the libertarian solution of reducing the size and government and expanding regulatory and tax relief for employers. They know it does more to create jobs and renew faith in the economy than spending $30 million on the “salt marsh mouse,” as Democrats propose, or spending $700 billion bailing out unsuccessful businesses and trillions more expanding government, as the past big-spending Republican administration and Congress did.
They’re looking for someone to let them know that, if elected, they’ll focus on their concerns by sticking to proven solutions that create jobs and get capital flowing. Libertarians are the only ones who agree.
The Libertarian Party is not an “alternative.” It is the only mainstream political party in America. That’s why it is up to you and me to listen to those voters, learn what they want us to do and promote solutions voters agree on.
Director of Communications
Libertarian National Committee
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