Andrew McCullough's Blog

Sunday, September 05, 2010

"Third Party" politics

September 5, 2010

In response to my last blog, of September 2, I received the following comment. Rather than just publish it as a comment, I decided to make it the subject of a new blog:

"You must have two parties before you can have three. Sure wish you would work with Utah Democrats who have the best ideas and stop wasting time and money on a less than 2 percent party."

There is so much to say in response, I almost don't know where to start. Let me start by saying that 2% is the threshold to become a political party in Utah. If my party was a "less than 2 percent party", we would not be on the ballot, and there would be nothing to discuss. I received 4% of the vote for Attorney General in 2008; and our candidate for State Auditor received 6%. We are growing and getting stronger, as shown by a steady stream of people wanting more information on the party, and a doubling of the number of dues paying members. We think we have a message, and we will continue to try and get it out to the best of our ability.

Libertarians come in all stripes. Personally I would likely vote Democratic in many races if there were only the two "major party" candidates running. A majority of Libertarians would vote Republican, so nothing would be gained by the Democrats by our demise. Libertarians do not like government interference in their lives. Many of us are particularly upset about the "tax and spend" policies of the "major" parties. Since neither will stop their pandering to special interests, we prefer not to endorse either. While Democrats tend to support more personal freedom, they are big tax and spend advocates. Republicans might be more fiscally conservative, but they play to the politics of fear and oppression. We are not interested in either alternative. We prefer the third, and most logical, alternative: Leave us alone all the time, even if we do things you don't approve of.

As Eugene Debs, the longtime head of the U.S. Socialist Party, said: third parties are not there to win elections. We are there to change the nature of the debate and to pull the others kicking and screaming, into new ideas. That is why we are here; and it is important that we are. Very few "major party" politicians would DARE endorse gay marriage in Utah, but why not? Does equal treatment for those who are different than you really harm you? What about the "war on drugs", which is really a war on young people who don't follow the rules that their elders have decreed for personal behavior? Would any Democrat who wants to get elected say that we are losing this war, that it is costing too much, and that it is turning a whole generation of young people into criminals? No, but it needs to be said, so we say it. And history is on our side. Gay marriage and legalization of marijuana is coming, and nobody is going to stop it. What about censorship? Even our Utah Attorney General refuses to get into the battle that California has started, over "violent video games". Another loser for those who want to control what others see and do. But even a "liberal" state like California cannot resist the temptation to try. And, lest we think out AG is enlightened, he went to the legislature this year to get new power to issue subpoenas for cell phone and e-mail records, without a warrant. Big brother is truly watching; and we are the ones sounding the alarm.

In Utah this year, we have candidates in Utah, Davis, Uintah and Iron counties for offices which the Democrats are not contesting. As a Utah County resident, I often find the ballot listing only Republican candidates for office. We are giving many people who would not otherwise have one an actual choice at the ballot box. What a breath of fresh air.

Should we shut down and let the weak Democratic Party battle the one party system on its own? Absolutely not. And who is to say that we won't eventually become Utah's second party? Why not "think outside of the box" and help us continue to grow?


  • At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bravo, Never give up, and never stop working for what you believe in. Party lines mean nothing, it comes down to the candidate.

  • At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Rob Latham said…


  • At 10:14 PM, Blogger RD said…

    Don't think for a minute that the Democrats are rooting against yea, I for one believe that we have more in common then you think.

    We certainly will disagree on many social issues, but on foreign policy, tax fairness(not necessarily on the rate given), issues of censorship for the most part(yea their are a few crazies in CA), protection of liberties, etc.

    CA does have a initiative on the ballot this year to repeal several drug laws, Alan Grayson and Ron Paul are both sponsoring a bill to cut the defense budget by a Trillion dollars over ten years.

    Its a shame that the libertarian TEA parties have been taken over by a bunch of ignorant angry conservatives who want a government big enough to assign a government minder to every pregnant women yet small enough to utterly ignore them after they have given birth or a government big enough to hand out trillions in industry and agricultural subsides yet small enough to utterly ignore the needs of the general populous.

  • At 6:00 AM, Blogger Ron Amos said…

    I got a similar offer from some of the Utah Democrats in 1982 when I ran for State Senate as a Libertarian, but it was more concrete and very specific. If I would accept their backing of me over the Democrat candidate they would give me total support on the condition that I be the 1984 candidate for U.S. House.

    I rejected the offer, it cost me lots over the years since.


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