Will libertarians vote for Trump?
The Libertarian Party: The largest "third party" in the United States
What is the Libertarian Party?
The Libertarian Party is the third largest party in the United States, with more than 609,000 registered members as of February 2020 and 168 office holders in 2017. It was formed on December 11, 1971 after a group of citizens had great concerns about the President's administration Nixon, had the Vietnam War and conscription and wanted to do something about it. Since its inception, the party has represented a libertarian political ideology. The current party leader is Joe Bishop-Henchman, a lawyer and political analyst.
What is Libertarianism?
The term “libertarianism” can be explained with the motto of the libertarian party: “Minimum government, maximum freedom”. American libertarian belief strives for a world in which the government has as little influence and control over its citizens as possible and in which the individual freedom of US residents is prioritized. According to this ideology, one becomes too limited by the state, especially in activities that do not have dangerous effects on others. Libertarians are convinced that this includes, for example, the private consumption of certain currently illegal drugs. The government's task should be to protect the human rights of its citizens, in the form of prosecuting people who limit the lives of their fellow citizens, for example through violence or theft. In contrast, “victimless” crimes, such as drug use or prostitution, both of which are illegal in the United States, should not be punished but legalized. The libertarian party also has only one thing to say about social conflicts over issues of sexuality, gun ownership and abortion: let people do what they want, as long as they don't restrict the rights of others.
"I want gay couples to be able to protect their marijuana fields with fully automatic rifles."
~ Austin Peterson, runner-up for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination in 2016
American libertarianism also includes economic freedom. There should be only the bare minimum of taxes to finance the bare minimum of institutions, such as the police and the judicial system. Systems and ideas such as free health care, public schools and welfare should be dismantled as they limit citizens' incomes and give government more power. A government that offers its citizens free education and supplies controls the masses - an obvious danger, at least according to the libertarians. Without taxes, people could fully enjoy their earned wealth and live without the influence of the state. Companies could then also hire more low-wage workers, which would lower the unemployment rate. Libertarians are also against participating in international military conflicts. Therefore, the US should withdraw at the military level and support and promote a free, unlimited and international market for it. Tariffs would be abolished to make it easier to export and import goods.
In summary, the Libertarian Party can be seen as a more extreme mix of the progressive social ideas of the Democrats and the conservative economic ideas of the Republicans.
How big is the influence of the libertarian party on the American state?
The truth about politics in the US is that the government is dominated by the two big parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. In the House of Representatives, one half of the bicameral parliament of the United States, there is only one member of the libertarian party. Not a single member sits in the Senate, the other half. Nonetheless, libertarians are becoming more popular and eligible for voting in all 50 states, a rarity among various third parties in the United States. In 2016, the libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson won 3.27% (4,489,233 votes) of the popular vote, but did not get a single vote from the Electoral College (Electoral Votes, see also article on the US electoral system).
The libertarian party has nominated Jo Jorgensen, a lecturer at Clemson University, for the 2020 US presidential election. According to a recent survey by the respected institute IBD / TIPP, which was carried out from October 7th, 2020 to October 11th, 2020, the libertarian candidate received only 1% of the votes of all respondents.
One reason why the libertarians have had so little success to date is the attitude of many US citizens to the election. Since it is a fact for most that a Republican or Democrat will sit in the Oval Office, they use their vote to ensure that the candidate they least support does not win. That in turn means that many see votes for third parties like the Libertarian Party as wasted votes.
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