If you know me at all personally, you know that for many years I've been a strong republican party member. I've gone as a delegate to state conventions. I've debated with friends and colleagues, and defended republican candidates for all of my voting life. And if you are a friend on Facebook, you just learned that I switched from being a Republican to the Libertarian party.
Let me start by saying that I don't think the Libertarian party is the best party for everyone. Of the parties that I have studied, they are now the one that represents my political views the closest. But what I'd like to discuss here, is why a person would switch parties.
Here are 5 areas that I invite you to consider in understanding why I did this, and why I did it at this time.
Some people think that they want to be in the Republican or Democratic party so they can vote on candidates. I'll admit that this kept me in the Republican party for a long time. But when the party selects bad candidates in spite of my membership, I have to objectively look at what good I'm actually doing there.
By supporting local and state candidates because they were Republicans, I was telling them to support the national politicians because they were Republicans. And this means I was telling my local representatives that I liked what the national party leaders were saying and doing.
I don't. And this was a mistake.
And when it comes to the general elections, party affiliations don't keep you from supporting good Republican or Democratic candidates. (If you can find any.)
Many important political things are done in local offices. Mayors, city councils, county and state offices. When these governments change to a party that represents their populations it lets them act in harmony with their populations and not the national party interests.
It's uncomfortable for a republican mayor to oppose a governor of his party, but it's not difficult for a mayor to oppose him when they aren't the same party. Thus having a local government that reflects the views of the local population makes it possible for that government to stand up to state or national party positions and laws that are wrong.
Even if you don't contribute to your party financially, the influence the party has comes from it's numbers. Denying a party your membership tells the local and national party that you don't agree and won't support them.
As third parties are smaller, it's easier to get involved. And as third parties get big enough they become a group of special interest voters that can influence governments and laws. So instead of being spread out across many issues like a larger party, they can focus on fewer issues like smaller government or states rights.
In Utah right now, the Libertarian party is growing and doing some interesting lobbying at the state level. Laws are getting changed and some of our freedoms are getting better protection because of it.
Because the majority of voters are republicans and democrats, they are seen as the only legitimate options for leadership. This has happened in the past, where a major party lost enough membership that it stopped being a party and disappeared. If enough people leave the republicans and democrats, they won't seem like the only options. And once there are viable alternative options, better solutions and better leaders are possible.
As a former republican, my old party seems to have just selected a non-republican, non-conservative, totally unqualified candidate. His likely opponent is just a bit lower than a mafia godfather. Or if its not her, then a communist. All the "major party" candidates are losers. So the timing is perfect, we have nothing more to lose.
So unless you are in a state that still has a primary coming up, you can switch to a third party. If your state's primary is still to come, you should wait and do what you can there before you go. But now is the time that I'm leaving.
I'm leaving with a group so the message is clear. I'm not going to go along with a party that selects the greater of two evils. I'm not going to vote for tyrants. I'm not going to be a party to the voice of the people that shout "Barabas"
A political party is not a suicide pact.