Saturday, May 28, 2016

Is 2016 The Year Of The Libertarians?

There's an interesting article over at Reason.com on whether 2016 could be the year when the Libertarian Party - America's longest-running third party by most standards - makes its' breakout from minor party to political player. For what its' worth, given just how unpopular the Democrat & Republican choices are - or as I like to refer to them as, "Itchy & Scratchy" - it could be their year...but, there are caveats.

(1) People loathe both Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton: This is no understatement; most polls have both of them so far underwater in terms of favorability that one could potentially wonder how we'd gotten this far (a conversation for another time, of course) and it also makes one wonder if it wouldn't be a good thing to vote 3rd-party. On the other hand, unless there's an epic collapse by both parties prior to Election Night, the next president is going to be either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton...period, full stop.

(2) Is the Libertarian Party a viable option? If one goes through the vote totals for about the past 3 decades or so, one could be hard-pressed to find any other 3rd party and/or independent option outside of the L.P. that hasn't finished third behind both the Democrat and Republican parties; there have been exceptions (John Anderson in 1980, Ross Perot in 1992) to the rule there but most elections (whether presidential or mid-term) the L.P. usually finishes third....well-behind the two major parties, but usually third. However, as American history has well shown us, whenever a third-party becomes a viable political option, they generally collapse under the weight of their own expectations and/or hubris (just look at Ross Perot and the then-nascent Reform Party of the 1990's).

(3) Is 2016 a weird-as-hell election? In a word, yes: after all, did anyone predict Donald Trump as the GOP nominee? On the other hand, this time last month, there was still talk  - and lots of it - of a contested GOP convention in Cleveland come July and Bernie Sanders was still an annoying fly in the political ointment of Hillary Clinton. Thirty days later, Donald Trump has clinched the GOP nomination and now everyone thinks the Democratic convention in Philadelphia is sliding towards Chicago 1968 and the Days of Rage surrounding it.

...in other words, 2016 is turning out to be an interesting political season after all....

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