In our ongoing reader debate over third parties in 2016, Evan Dalley turns to the Libertarians:
I’m writing to concur with the argument made by your reader, Gary, that The Atlantic should expand its political coverage to the campaign of Jill Stein, but I’d like to add, in the nature of a free press in a democratic society, that the campaign of the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson is worthy of coverage as well.
Many Republicans are feeling like they’ve been left without a political home by Trump becoming the presumptive nominee, and many Sanders supporters are likely going to feel abandoned by the Democratic Party in the almost-inevitable event that Clinton clinches the nomination. It’s the job of a free press to show all of these people that they can vote for someone else, that it’s still worth voting at all.
Dale makes a simple case for the Libertarians:
I don’t agree with the platforms of the Green Party or the Libertarian Party, but I plan to vote Libertarian for the first time in my life. Why?
- The entire political process is corrupted by money.
- Both major parties have failed to represent their constituencies for decades.
- I hold both major candidates in contempt for different reasons.
- I regard my vote as a “none of the above” vote. Oh, how I wish that was a ballot choice. Refusing to vote implies indifference.
If you have a more comprehensive case for voting Libertarian, let us know. A good starting point is Nora’s look this week at the question, “Is this the Libertarian Party’s moment?” Her piece was partly spurred by long-time GOP operative Mary Matalin registering as a Libertarian last week, right after Trump became the presumptive nominee:
Money quote from Nora’s piece:
[W]hen it comes to polls, [Gary] Johnson said, the party is in a catch-22. He explains the problem this way: Polling companies do not test libertarian candidates because mainstream media does not cover them much, and the mainstream media will not cover them much because they say, “‘You’re not polling.’” Of course, Johnson is not polling because “I’m not in the poll!” He did see some encouraging numbers in one late-March Monmouth University survey, in which he was the only Libertarian tested in a hypothetical contest with Hillary Clinton and Trump. Johnson got 11 percent of the vote. In the 2012 election, he received roughly 1 percent of the vote nationwide, a record for the party.
A reader shakes his head:
“Is This the Libertarian Party’s Moment?” No. Nor will such a moment ever come. A libertarian government in nice in theory, but the reality is that the overwhelming majority of people want their government to do things. Many, many things.
But another reader argues that small-l libertarianism has actually been a big success over the past several decades: