I am finished with political parties.
I am finished with political parties. I have been saying this for a while, but have not said it so publicly until now. In 2012, I was a hardcore advocate of the Libertarian Party. Before that, I was a Democrat.
Now, I am nothing. In my opinion, that makes me everything.
There a few reasons for this transformation.
- I do not need a name tag. I believe what I believe. While those views most closely align with the Libertarian Party, I may (from time to time) come by a Democrat that I enjoy, or even a Republican. I reserve the right to vote for any candidate, regardless of the letter next to their name. I do this without guilt or concern for the peer pressure that may accompany party affiliation. I have decided that this is the most pro-liberty position to take.
- Parties are unnecessary. What do you think parties do? Chances are you are wrong. Most likely, somebody else handles that. That begs the question (though): what is the party’s purpose? Is their purpose to run campaigns? When I ran for office, I thought there was a lack of “party support.” They nominated me (which was great). However, I thought (naively) that they were supposed to do so much more. To be fair, that was my fault, not theirs. My misconception was that the party was my campaign team. In my mind, they would be my volunteers, organizers, fundraisers, etc. The truth is that the team you create is your team – nobody else. Is their purpose to advance a message? Republican and Democratic parties change their messages regularly on the whims of their members and/or most likely voters. To quote Glenn Beck, they simply watch to see which direction the parade is moving in, and then jump out in front of it. In the liberty movement prominent authors, think tanks, personalities, and activist organizations are largely responsible for the evolution of thought. Therefore, you can check that off the list.
- Parties create the team sports mentality. Watch Republicans and Democrats for any period. In a recent debate, Hillary Clinton called Republicans her greatest enemies. In early Republican debates, moderators asked candidates, “Will you promise to support the Republican candidate no matter who he/she is?” When Donald Trump “no,” it was a huge story, and since he inevitably changed his mind you have to wonder what scrutiny his party applied. Do you think that means Republicans and Democrats have no ideological overlap? No. It just means priorities on the national stage are bad. Other parties are not much better. Every party wants control of the law. If the Libertarian Party took the reins tomorrow, human nature would eventually lead them down the same path. It might take a while, but ultimately the rhetoric of every party is that they are superior to the next, and so they should be given/stay in power.
Why do they exist?
It is easy. Parties exist to sustain themselves. All of their resources (time, money, nominations, etc.), are spent on winning – not for the betterment of our nation, but for the betterment of the party. They want to stay relevant. Moreover, I, for one, think we would be better off without it.
Without parties people would:
- Have no straight ticket option (and no desire for one).
- Be forced to think about each candidate on each issue.
- Vote for their favorite policies rather than simply voting against a label.
- Have a greater opportunity to advance education and persuasion (key for libertarians long hindered by the word “libertarian”). The winds of perception are real.
- Get a lot of the money out of the political process.
What do we do?
Whether you are a Libertarian, Green, Republican, Democrat, or anything else, let us all drop the labels and just be independents. Donate to the candidates that you agree with. Never donate to political parties. Rejecting a label does not mean compromising your values. I would even argue that it would advance them.
Let us disown all political parties. It is not a sport. There is no need for jerseys. A nation of independents will land closer to a nation of independence.