Re: Libertarian party dying - you better believe it
- well, I guess my definition of a "dead" third party is one which will not ever get
reasonably large vote counts again and will not be able to get on a majority of
US states' ballots again.
The socialists apparently died in the late 1940s by those measures. Once you
can't get more than about 200K votes, the usual sources do not even list you and
your election totals, you are just "other". However, the SP-USA still has
conventions every 2 years, and they still have about 2000
dues-paying members in the SP-USA, and there are several other socialist
parties besides the SP-USA. So they have some resemblance to life. Kind of zombies.
They came very close at their last convention to making a rule that nobody in the SP-USA
could ever help or endorse a D or an R, which would have split the SP-USA in two.
Then the remaining half-party could have further fragmented (since it at that point
would consist of 100% pro-fragmentation people, instead of only 48%)
and thus rapidly cut itself down to effectively zero. So they came within epsilon of total
death-by-harikari last convention, in my view.
Are the SP-USA, Libertarians, and/or Greens dying for other reasons
than the voting system? - well, it is hard to say exactly what "the cause" is, but
I think the voting system is the _underlying_ cause. The things like financial
problems, dwindling membership and morale, the vulnerability to internecine
conflicts, etc, are just symptoms or consequences. The Dems and Repubs
have the voting system on their side, and they automatically self-heal from internecine
conflicts and membership and morale and financial problems.
This was most dramatically demonstrated in the T.R. "Bull Moose" party
thing in 1912, where T.R. split the GOP into two. Well, the Bull Moosers
dwindled and the GOP self-healed. It is like magic, isn't it?
I think the psychology is: "I really support party X in may heart, but
(a) I know they have no chance, (b) they are annoying the hell out of me
with their stupid internecine conflicts, (c) their management is screwing up,
so to hell with them." Whereas with a major party it is "I know
they have a chance if they manage to fix their conflicts and management.
So I'll do something positive about it."
I do not know if the Greens are now finished or if the Libertarian party is going to die.
I can only see the future very murkily in my crystal ball. But one can examine
the "lies with statistics" i.e the past history of US third parties and try
to use it as a basis for predictions, and based on that it looks to my crystal
ball like the Greens are at very high risk of never being able to recover (let
us say, 60% chance they are dead); and the Libertarians would look
comparatively OK if one did not know about their underlying financial/managerial rot.
I think what can happen is disasters can set in very rapidly and the
minors unlike the majors, cannot recover from them.