Libertarian Mark Wicks won 6 percent of the vote in Montana’s special election for the state’s only U.S. House seat on May 25, demonstrating, once again, that America’s third largest political party is routinely in play in key elections.
Wicks’ vote fell shy of beating Republican Greg Gianforte’s seven-point lead over Democrat Rob Quist. But the fact that Libertarians are regularly pushing up against, or exceeding, margins of victory in U.S. Senate, U.S. House, gubernatorial, and even presidential races makes their proposals and their voters impossible to ignore.
Gov. Gary Johnson, the 2016 Libertarian nominee for president, won 3.3 percent of the vote, beating the 2.1 percent difference in popular votes between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
Fourteen Libertarians running for House seats against both a Democrat and a Republican won over 5 percent of the vote last November, up from eight who did the same in 2014.
More and more Americans are taking note that a vote for either of the old parties produces the same bad results: fewer jobs, endless wars, and ominous government intrusions in all areas of life. Voters continue to hand both the Democratic and Republican parties and their candidates low approval ratings. And now they’re putting their money where their mouth is: They’re voting for an alternative.
Their votes are more than just a rejection of the old parties. They’re a demand for meaningful changes in government policy that can remedy the fear and suffering so many Americans experience today.
Many of those Libertarian voters are millennials who align with key agenda items of the Libertarian Party: legalize marijuana, end mass surveillance of citizens, stop U.S. meddling overseas, and end crony capitalism.
Voters of all ages support other libertarian mainstays: downsize government, repeal paralyzing regulations, restore the right to self-defense, and slash taxes.
The benefits that these measures will yield cannot be overstated. Cutting taxes, spending, and government debt will reduce the threat of an economic collapse, dramatically improve Americans’ standard of living, and allow private charity to thrive.
Ending the failed, destructive war on drugs will make crime-ridden neighborhoods peaceful, end violence in South and Central America, give drug addicts a safe and dignified way to escape the clutches of addiction, and unleash the bountiful benefits of medical marijuana and industrial hemp.
Closing unneeded military bases and bringing American troops home will keep our soldiers out of harm’s way, reduce the threat of terrorism, and give peace a chance.
Removing, rather than replacing, government entitlement programs, along with repealing obstacles to innovation, will allow the free market and charitable giving to create unimaginable opportunities for human health, education, opportunity, and well-being.
Libertarians don’t even need to win elections to make these changes possible. The Socialist Party has elected only two candidates to Congress, yet managed to co-opt both the Democratic and Republican parties, both of which have embraced much of their statist agenda.
Growing Libertarian vote totals—and their impact—cannot be ignored. They will force Democrats and Republicans to move in a libertarian direction while making it possible to elect small-government candidates to high levels of government. This is the surest path to bringing the scourge of big government to an end.
Carla Howell ran for office on the Libertarian ticket three times, and headed two ballot measures in Massachusetts to end the state income tax, plus another to slash the state sales tax. She currently serves as political director for the Libertarian Party.