Third Party

If you really truly want to have a valid third party option, be it Green, Libertarian, Constitutional, or otherwise, stop looking at the presidential election, and stop waiting until the election year to talk about it. There is absolutely room for a strong third, fourth, or even fifth party presence in American politics, but you cannot be waiting until the last possible moment to jump on that bandwagon.

Some of you may not know this about me, but I actually volunteered with the Gary Johnson campaign in 2012. It’s a longer story to go into here, but in my own personal life I’ve gone through what to me seems like a slow transition in politics, but to others probably seems pretty drastic. In the end, it was tied deeply to some changes and growth in my personal journey in faith. Long story short though, back then I was vehemently involved in the Libertarian National Party, though if you asked me I would have told you that I was closer to an anarchist in most of my leanings. Something that stuck with me was just how shallow the Lib party’s bench really was. There’s a reason why I wound up on the party’s national social media campaign with almost no experience. I passed a two day interview proving that I knew how the Facebook systems for page management worked, but that was it. I had no history of working in the local party or even working consistently on another social media campaign. It boiled down to the fact that the Libertarian Party, and I largely assume based on outside observation this applies to other “3rd parties”, didn’t have a broad enough base to work with. There’s a reason they’re floating the same presidential candidate this year that they did that year. There’s a reason their VP candidate is actually a Republican. They simply do not have a broad enough base of active membership. So if you really find either the Republican or Democratic parties to be lacking, you can’t just vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein this season and move on. You need to get involved. You need to reach out to local party leadership. And be prepared to find out that “local” means your state, or maybe even a neighboring state. Be prepared to be asked to run in a local election, because you’re literally the first person they’ve talked to in your county. If you truly want to see more options in the Presidential elections, the answer is to get involved in local and state elections, because that’s where national candidates are groomed. For most third parties, they either find the one random person who moves quickly up through the ranks by virtue of being one of the few dedicated members willing to put in the time, or they snipe someone from the major party that most closely aligns with their core beliefs. (This is the reason behind the joke that Libertarian candidates are failed Republican candidates) So no matter what your opinion, the way you feel right now needs to lead to some action in January 2017, or you’d better get ready to whine in exactly the same way come 2020.

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