Although this statement dates me, I remember the excitement when H. Ross Perot entered the 1992 Presidential election. The Reform Party seemed like it was destined to do some great things.
Perot ran against Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush that year, eventually securing about 18% of the vote. He didn’t win any states in the Electoral College, but it was an election that made it seem like he could.
American politics has never come so close to having a legitimate third party than that year. Even in 2016, when no one wanted Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to take office, Gary Johnson (a former Republican) and the Libertarians couldn’t secure anything electoral.
Only five third-party candidates in U.S. history have won a portion of the electorate: George Wallace (1968), Strom Thurmond (1948), Robert La Follette (1924), Teddy Roosevelt (1912), and James Weaver (1892).
I think it’s time Libertarians find their voice and get the platform they need. We must have new ideas powering the United States.
Lessons Learned from the 1912 Election
Teddy Roosevelt campaigned as a Progressive candidate in 1912, calling for social insurance, federal economic regulations, and an 8-hour working day for employees. Those issues earned him over 27% of the vote and 88 electoral votes.
What is also notable about the 1912 election was that it was the first time a Presidential candidate earned over 400 electoral votes. Woodrow Wilson ran away with the election.
The Libertarian message resounds strongly when it has an influential voice. The party’s platform includes non-intervention, government limitations in size and scope, and laissez-faire capitalism.
Roosevelt might have won in 1912 if he hadn’t included government expansion as part of the message to the people.
The goal of Libertarians is to promote individual liberty. They seek to maximize the protection for the rights of everyone against any violation. That stance includes other people, domestic governments, or foreign nations.
It is a government that shouldn’t stand in the way of the people. I think that’s something we can all get behind.