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Monday, November 12, 2018

Don’t Blame Libertarians Or Greens When Your Party Loses

By: Daniel McCarthy
The Spectator

Photo: Gage Skidmore

A Republican comes within a hair’s breadth of winning a Senate seat — only to lose when the Libertarian Party candidate draws more votes than the difference between the majority-party candidates’ numbers.

Elsewhere, a Democrat is narrowly defeated when a Green Party candidate takes a few percentage points in a tight race where the Republican has less than a single point’s lead.

These scenarios have played out a several times in recent elections, including on Tuesday.

Only in the past 24 hours has Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrats’ candidate for Senate in Arizona, pulled ahead of her Republican rival by half a percent, as votes continue to be counted. The Green Party candidate in that race won 2.3 percent.

The lesson is obvious: third parties are nothing but spoilers and detrimental to the very causes they purport to champion. If there were no Libertarian candidates, Republicans would do much better. And if it weren’t for the Green Party, Al Gore instead of George W. Bush would have been president after the 2000 election. Ralph Nader, the Green candidate in 2000, received nearly 2.9 million votes nationwide. Those could have been the deciding votes of the election — and they arguably were.

There’s a pure righteous anger directed at third parties just now — from Republicans who think that some of last Tuesday’s losses would have been wins if only there hadn’t been a Libertarian on the ballot; and from Democrats who view every Green Party candidate is another Nader, a coalition-breaker who clears the path for Republican victory. Don’t the naifs who vote for these hopeless third parties appreciate the stakes?

They probably do — they just don’t care. Or rather, they care in ways that major-party voters seem habitually incapable of understanding. Libertarians are not just confused Republicans; Greens are something more than unrealistic Democrats. And quite often the major party that to an outsider seems closes to a third-party voter’s ideals is the one that voter abhors the most.

Read the rest at The Spectator.