Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why the Third Party isn't Taken Seriously

Why aren’t Libertarians, aka the Third Party, taken seriously during presidential elections? In large part, it’s because they haven’t taken it seriously.

Exhibit A:

First, in early Sept of this year, Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, didn’t know that Aleppo, Syria was the epicenter of one of the biggest refugee crises in the world. Watch video.

Secondly, a few weeks later, he couldn’t name the leader of a foreign country that he respects. He actually said, somewhat dejectedly,

I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment…” Watch video.

You may not think this is a big deal because perhaps you would fail one or both of these questions, or you assume he was just caught off guard. But in both cases, he was being interviewed on television—a situation in which any serious candidate would and should be well prepared to answer questions both domestic or international in scope.

In these two examples, Johnson gave us a narrative of a candidate who didn’t seriously expect to answer real questions during a very real presidential election cycle.

Exhibit B:

The Third Party shows up once every four years on the national stage and expects to be taken seriously.

They are like some strange insect that only surfaces every four years. On off election years, we never see them in the public spotlight nor do we hear of their off election year accomplishments. They seem to be about dialogue more so than action. They appear to have no three-year strategy for ramping into an election.

Let me put this in perspective: If I wanted to break into auto racing and I told you I was going to head to the Indy 500 in May hoping to qualify—hoping to be taken seriously, you’d call me crazy.

You’d call me crazy because there’s no part of life that works that way. Be it sports, academia, business, the arts, etc.—everyone works their way to the top.

Everyone who’s at the pinnacle of what they do can tell you the story of how they started somewhere, then worked up to the next level and so on and so on. This is common sense; this is how life works. No one gets to the top by touting theories (well ok, maybe philosophers); we get there through bona fide experiences and successes.

If the Third Party were serious, they’d intentionally work at being successful at lower levels, generating a string of successful mayors, successful congressmen and the like.

If they would show they can win and be successful on smaller stages, to the point that people took note and to the point where Libertarians could earn public respect based on resume versus aspirations— then the Third Party would greatly increase the chances of being taken seriously at the presidential level.

And now back to my metaphor:

If I show up at the Indy 500 next May with some fresh new revolutionary ideas about open wheel racing—without having won any races, I’d never be taken seriously--nor should I. And so it is for a Third Party candidate on the biggest political stage in our country.

By the way, I'm very open to a third party, I've just yet to see it be compelling.

See you at the race track ;-)