Donald Trump or Joe Biden? On the 3rd of November, millions of Americans will go out and vote for their next President. If those two septuagenarians are the best America has to offer, then all I can say is: God Bless America! In many cases, those poor Americans will end up voting for the one they think is, not best, but least worst.
But this piece is not about America, it merely illustrates the problem we also have in the UK. First past the post systems limit choice, yet this is the system we as Libertarians have to beat. Can it be done?
Yes, the colours over here are reversed, but we still have the reds versus the blues. No longer an elephant versus a donkey, (though an ass is pretty representative of some of them) but a rose versus a tree. With the socialistic high spending of Boris’ tenure in 2020, there is not even a choice of policies, just a choice on who administers them. There’s barely a sheet of paper between the Blue Socialists and Keir Starmer’s Labour
We are constantly told that voting anything else but Tory or Labour is a wasted vote, but is it really? Let’s look back over the pond at the 2016 election. The Democrats saw their vote turnout as a percentage of the electorate drop from 33.7% in 2008, to 30.6% in 2012, to a twenty-year low of 26.5%! Did the Republicans gain? No, they saw their turnout drop from 29.1% in 2008, to 28.3% in 2012, to their own twenty-year low of 26.3% in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party saw voter turnout hit a 45-year high, quadrupling the highest vote totals that the Libertarian Party has ever gotten in a Presidential election.
With over 4 million votes cast for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party also received most votes for a third party Presidential candidate since billionaire Ross Perot’s independent bid in 1996.
So while the US Libertarian Party didn’t win a single elected office in 2016, it saw its vote percentage improve on a massive upward trajectory, while voters showed diminished enthusiasm for the two largest parties for the third Presidential election running. Increasingly, voters are turning to the candidate they actually want.
So, back to the UK. The conditions of this continuing lockdown and the ever more confusing and contradictory rules and regulations are seeing a steady increase in Libertarian members. And May 2021 will see a record number of candidates.
From election to election, the Libertarian Party UK has also increased its share of the vote and the more authoritarian the major parties get, the more will be driven to become card-carrying members. It’s going to be a long haul, but the days of voting for the least worst have to end.
Martin Day – Party Secretary