As we approach the beginning of a New Year, millions of people will flock to gyms and begin fad diets in an attempt to meet their likely unrealistic New Year’s resolutions. Given that 2020 could be a monumental year for the Libertarian Party (LP), I have decided to set forth three resolutions that could be sustainable for the country’s third largest political party. Hopefully, these resolutions won’t fall by the wayside like 88 percent of all New Year’s resolutions do.
- Presidential ballot access in all 50 states + DC.
Having ballot status in all 50 states + DC has long been a primary goal of the LP. While it’s sad that a party that has more than half a million members and gains millions of votes each election cycle has to fight for something as simple as ballot access, that’s the duopoly we live under.
According to the LP’s website, as of December 2018, the party has ballot access for the presidential ticket in 33 states and DC. In reality there are some states in limbo, such as in Ohio, where lawsuits are aiming to keep ballot access due to recently losing it. Regardless of the current count, the LP needs to maintain the momentum of being the only third-party ticket to be available to all voters since Ross Perot and the Reform Party in 1996. By having regular ballot access, it will not only help to offer a third option to all voters, but may help the party be seen as a legitimate contender outside of the presidential ticket.
- Have a true libertarian win the presidential nomination.
This is a loaded, and I mean loaded, resolution, but I think one of upmost importance to the civil liberty-natural law-classically liberal-Libertarians that help make up the party and honor the dreams of those who formed the party in 1971.
There are three kinds of people that run for the Libertarian ticket, the performer, the pretender, and the proper. The performers dominate headlines by stripping at debates or wearing a boot on their head and the pretenders join the party just to run on the presidential ticket and then promote rival candidates before leaving the LP to run in another party’s primary. Neither of those push forward the libertarian ideals that set the party apart from other choices.
What is needed is a proper presidential candidate. A candidate that can be the de facto leader of the party who promotes basic principles of minimally regulated markets, a less powerful federal government and strong civil liberties. Having a candidate that meets these basic ideals shouldn’t be that difficult, but this seems to be a challenge every four years.
- Win a seat in an upper-level legislature.
It’s great that LP candidates are finding victories in local elections, but the needed change is made more drastically in the upper-level legislatures, (i.e. federal and state). There are 535 federal legislative seats and approximately 7,400 state-level legislative seats. As of today, only one Libertarian (elected as a Democrat) serves in an upper-lever legislature. To have a candidate elected as a Libertarian to a legislature would not only be huge for bragging rights, but would also re-emphasis the legitimacy of the party.
While these goals are somewhat stretch goals, they are also reasonable given the current state of the LP and the momentum of the 2016 election cycle. With a lot of hard work and determination, the National LP, state parties and individual supporters can make this year very successful for the future of the LP.