Republicans, Democrats, and Green Libertarian Somethings?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons license.

In darts, 163 is the least number that cannot be shot with three darts on a standard dartboard. In American politics, 163 is the number of years since a Democrat or Republican hasn’t won the presidency. There seems to be a political monopoly in America, so why should other parties even bother running?

In reality, any party other than Democrat or Republican will likely never win the nomination to become President of the United States due to the development of American politics over time. Everything in U.S. politics is either Democrat or Republican and left or right wing; any other political party (such as Libertarian, Green Party, Constitution Party, Independents, etc.) either receives very little attention or is almost nonexistent on the political spectrum. In terms of just winning an election or gaining a majority in Congress, any other political party may as well just not run, they will not win (and never have). The odds are likely that United States will remain in the hands of Democrats and Republicans for the rest of its history.

But just because other political parties like Libertarians or Green Party do not win, it should not be assumed that these parties are useless or that voters should feel disenfranchised if they vote for them. While these parties are very likely to not win the presidency, they do serve an important role in changing the platforms of Democrats and Republicans, changing policy, or bringing various political issues to the attention of the public. A representative democracy simply cannot function with just two political parties representing the people. Multiple groups are needed to create a complete political spectrum and to give all people a voice on issues in the world of politics, regardless of their beliefs. These political parties may not win, but they represent the people; and that is what a political party is intended to do in the United States. But by the same token, the monopolization by Republicans and Democrats in the United States government is not necessarily detrimental either. All that monopolization means is that the majority of the people in the United States align with one of those two parties.

However, that monopolization does block out parties like Libertarians and Green Party from gaining publicity and followers. The political landscape has gotten to the point where, even days before the election of 2016, many voters only know the platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties. The fact that these two parties have been around for hundreds of years and have more funds and lobbyists only exacerbates that issue. The platforms of the smaller political parties, for example, in the United States are actually quite noble and worth a look at:

  • Libertarian: As outlined by the Libertarian Party, “the Libertarian Party platform is a combination of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism with a strong emphasis on individual liberty and responsibility. Libertarians believe in free market economics, protection of private property, and the individual’s right to perform any action which is peaceful and honest.”
  • Green Party: As outlined by the Green Party, they strongly believe in grassroots democracy, social justice and equal opportunity, ecological wisdom, nonviolence, decentralization, community-based economics, feminism and gender equity, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, and future focus and sustainability.
  • Constitution Party: As outlined by the Constitution Party, the mission of the Constitution Party is “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity through the election, at all levels of government, of Constitution Party candidates who will uphold the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. It is our goal to limit the federal government to its delegated, enumerated, Constitutional functions.”

Not all people agree with the values of the aforementioned parties and many others; but it is at least important to understand, and respect, the beliefs of others in this confusing and hostile election. The Libertarian Party, for example, may not be your party, but they represent people just like any other and deserve an equal amount of respect. Just because they don’t win, does not mean they are useless or inferior. All political parties serve a purpose and the government would not function without them. Their ideas are valuable and they give people a voice, no matter how small, in the modern political landscape.