Voices & Choices

Freeing third party, independent candidates from being cast as spoilers

Freeing third party, independent candidates from being cast as spoilers

Fed up with the Republican establishment but equally unwilling to back a Democrat?

Enter the Libertarian Party, which incorporates conservative ideals of limited government (and spending) with progressive social platforms under the overarching theme of individual liberties.

As more Americans become increasingly disenchanted with the two-party duopoly, Libertarian candidates in several competitive state and federal races are gaining support.

Recent polls suggest Libertarian candidates could sway outcomes in a bevy of 2018’s closest gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional contests, according to articles published in conservative news outlet The Washington Times and Reason, a Libertarian magazine.

While their share of votes, according to polls, remains far below that of the main party contenders, it’s still enough for those candidates to play the spoiler role, as Reason editor at large Nick Gillespie told The Times.

And though Libertarians are often billed as the alternative to Republicans, in some races polls suggest it’s actually the Democratic candidates who are losing supporters to their Libertarian challengers.

But which party benefits, or suffers, from a third party contender is beside the point, as Reason editor Matt Welch writes.

“The truth, as ever, is that no vote intrinsically ‘belongs’ to any candidate or party, that nonvoters will almost certainly outnumber ballot-punchers three weeks from now, and what scant evidence we have is conflicting and race-specific on the question of what Libertarian voters would do in a world without that choice.”

Yet, a simple reform could alter Welch’s outlook and change what Libertarian voters could do.

Ranked choice voting frees third party and independent candidates from being reduced to spoiler roles, letting them compete as legitimate options. And rather than stay home from the polls or feel forced to choose a candidate who doesn’t represent them, voters are empowered to find the voice that represents their viewpoint, fostering a more diverse reflective government for all.

Read The Washington Times article here and the Reason blog here.

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