Is the Libertarian Party Finally Making Its Mark?

Matthew Willar '22, Contributing Writer

Political parties are one of the first things we think of when we talk about politics. They are two major known parties, including the Democrats and the Republicans, but did you know that there are some other political parties in addition to the Democrats and the Republicans? You may have noticed some other names on the 2016 presidential election ballet, including Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Johnson is a Libertarian and Stein is part of the Green Party. The Libertarian party is beginning to become more well-known in our country. And so the question is: Could the Libertarian Party take over one of the two top party spots?

The Libertarian party is a conservative based party, and candidates from this party have run in the presidential election two times recently. Founded in 1971, it is the third largest political party in the United States. The party centers around major ideas such as less regulated markets, favoring LGBTQ+ relationships, and the legalization of marijuana. As far as where they stand on the political spectrum, it is hard to pinpoint exactly. But if you had to put the party on the political spectrum, it would be more leaning towards Republicans, and on the social spectrum it would lean towards Democrats as Libertarians favor some of the Democratic issues such as same-sex marriage.

Gary Johnson is the candidate who ran for the Libertarian party the past two presidential elections. He managed to acquire the most votes for a third party to date, receiving 1.2 million votes and 1% of the popular vote in the 2012 election. Following the 2012 election, Gary Johnson once again received the nomination for president for the 2016 election, and chose the former governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld to be his running mate. They received four times more votes than they did in 2012, and again broke another record for the most votes for a third party to date, which they still hold today.

The Libertarian party has become very popular in past years. Multiple news anchors and reporters from Fox News have changed their political status from Republican to Libertarian, or even Democrat to Libertarian. Former The View co-host and weekend anchor of Fox and Friends, Jedediah Bila, has publicly stated that she is a Libertarian.

I believe that the Republican party of the United States has the best ideas for the country politically. And the Democratic party has the best ideas socially. Perhaps then the Libertarian party represents the best of both the major parties. Even though I believe there needs to be political parties, people should be able to vote for a person not just based on their party, but on their views.

The Democrats and Republicans have obviously been the two dominating political parties in Washington D.C. for a long time now. We have had a lot of powerful Republican and Democrat presidents in the past years, but we have also had some weak ones, including James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson in the early years, and Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton in the more recent years. With the Libertarian party continuing to grow with each presidential election, the country is perhaps going in a very conservative direction. If the Libertarian party becomes strong enough to have an elected president, conservatives will have an easier choice to choose for whom they want for president. The Democrats and Republicans will remain as the two major political parties, but the Libertarian party has a chance at overriding one, or even both of these parties in the near future.

Sources Used:

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_Party_(United_States)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_States
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_presidential_election
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_United_States_presidential_election
https://www.lp.org/