The two-party political system in the U.S. makes it difficult for candidates from outside the Democrat and Republican parties to win any major elections. The Libertarian Party has failed to become the exception.
Oligopoly of the Two Main Parties
Even though the two leading political parties are considered to have various faults by the vast majority of Americans, voters don’t choose the Libertarian Party. Or any other third party in general. Why does the Libertarian Party fail to gain traction? Why can it not challenge the big two parties?
Democrats and Republicans have maintained an oligopoly on the electoral process for more than 160 years. This has been a major obstacle to Libertarians and any other third parties achieving any success. America’s two-party system dominates everything in politics.
They control the media, the money, and they control state governments. this makes it very challenging for third parties to get on ballots. Even if these parties do get on ballots, they are poorly covered by the media as compared to the two main parties
Libertarians Don’t Always Lose
Libertarians do win elections. However, not at the national level, not in the big races. They are simply not big enough to compete with the main two parties. Between 17% – 23% of Americans identify as Libertarian over time. Once you remove this 20% from the overall percentage that one might assume the major parties have locked up it is easy to see this is not a much smaller faction compared to Republicans and Democrats.
While the Libertarian Party does better on a local level, it faces too much intrenched red and blue teams party power to gain traction nationally. Politics is tribal. Political operatives in the U.S. have to chose a team -Democrat or Republican as part of their personal identity. If they do ( generally as independents ) not they are shielded from the levers of power even if they are democratically elected. One only has to see how the Democratic party maneuvered the nomination away from Bernie Sanders in 2016 for evidence.
The Wasted Vote Fallacy
One of the key reasons why the Libertarian Party fails to win big races is because voters who choose either Democrat or Republican are simply too afraid to vote any other way. Most people only vote for a specific party if they think it has a chance of winning. They have been conditioned to believe that any third party vote will have been wasted.
The Libertarian Party has Failed To Get Big Donations
The Libertarian Party cannot bring in big donations. This may be the Libertarian Party’s biggest failure. Political donors typically only donate due to their self-interest, and the Libertarian Party cannot offer anything in return and remain true to its principles.
The two main parties pander to identity groups, from Christians, to Blacks, to lobbyists, and union members. Each party promises benefits to it’s teams backers while the Lp promises fairness.
Big money is not pouring into a level playing field. The large donations go towards candidates who their benefactors think will benefit them. Combine this with Libertarians not holding nationwide office and influence money become non-existant.