I was asked an interesting question the other day that I felt deserved an answer in this forum. It's a question that I think many people may be wondering, and that others, without good logical reasoning and explanation, may not understand. A question that is critically crucial to politics today.
"You call yourself a Libertarian, but you adamantly defend the Republican party. If you are a Libertarian, why don't you support the idea of a 3rd party or support candidates such as Ron Paul, which would more likely promote your political ideals?"
This is an excellent question! I love Ron Paul. I think his ideas are ground breaking and would lead this country in the right direction, however, when the time came, I did not vote for him. Why? The answer lies in the American mentality of politics today.
America was built on a two party system, first with the Federalists/Anti-Federalists which then evolved into the current Republican/Democrat parties of today. I realize that this system has become a tradition within America. It's the only system that the American voter has ever known and to change something that ingrained in the American voter's psyche would not be easy, nor come quick. Americans as a whole, are not very tolerant of radical change. You need only to look at the uproar and backlash to Obama's socialist agenda to see this. To attempt a three party system would be seen as a radical change and as history has shown, would not be allowed by the voters in our political system.
In addition, one must see the makeup of most third party systems. Most 3rd parties are just a few degrees off of what the current Republican core values should be. As the voter watched the Republicans derail and consistently depart from their conservative values and core beliefs, the 3rd party has stepped in to try and correct that course. The more left that the Republican party veers, the more 3rd parties attempt to fill the void. However, due to loyalty to the Republican system and the belief that they are supposed to support the same ideals, the end result is that 3rd parties usually only succeed to "split the vote". Make no mistake, 3rd parties usually have a strong following, but it will not, at any time soon, be able to change the hearts and minds of those people who have identified themselves as Republican, either because of "family tradition" or a hope that the party will come back full circle and represent based on the values they are supposed to support.
Using the above point splitting the vote, you can look back at the 1992 election of Bill Clinton. During this time, we saw Ross Perot run as an independent 3rd party candidate to appeal to voters displeased with Federal financial budget deficits and fears of professional politicians. Many people were moved by Ross Perot's (often mocked) presentations on how to balance the budget and the promise to change the way we practiced politics in Washington. However, history has shown, Ross Perot won Bill Clinton the 1992 presidency. The election results were as follows: Bill Clinton, 43% - George H. Bush, 37% - Ross Perot, 19%. With many of Ross's votes being siphoned from the Republican party, had Ross Perot not been in that election, predictions show that Bush would have received approximately 2/3's (12.6%) or more of Perot's votes, meaning that Bush would have won 49.6% to 46%, after distribution of his votes among all candidates. The same could be said for the 1996 election, however, in a much more narrow result.
So, I recognize that a vote for a third party is, in effect, a vote for the Democratic party. We must remember, as the Republican party moves more to the left, so does the Democrat party. With each election, our political parties make a leftist slide. Democrats seek to turn America into a more socialist, global government party while the Republicans follow suit in efforts for "bi-partisan compromise". This leads us to the administration that we have in power today. So, it must be understood, 3rd parties today have little effect but to "split the vote" on the Republican side, allowing for more Democrat victories.
Therefore, I have chosen to throw my support behind the Republican party in an effort to reform the party from within. After all, it would be easier to mold an existing, popular party, then to promote an new, unknown party to power. To bring politics back to conservative values, we must first stop the erosion of the only viable conservative party that exists. Until we are able to stop the liberal, socialist left, there will be no chance for change. It is my belief, that the American people have finally awoken to the possibilities of the Democrat's socialist agenda, and with current polls, I'm being proven right that America is finding something that they do not want. Hopefully, this may be the catalyst needed to bring back conservative representation. Once achieved, it is then a goal to seek reform and change from within the Republican party. As our conservative representatives see that Conservatism, financial responsibility, strong national defense, etc is what the people want, it will become easier to seek and achieve change from within the party.
So while the Ron Paul's of the world align with my thoughts and values, I understand that a vote for them is a vote for liberalism due to the siphoning effect they have on votes from the leading opposition party. While I would love to see Ron Paul as president, it's my belief that the best way to achieve that, is to cultivate his level of conservatism within Republican party. Politics are fluid. They change and bend to the will of the people, if and only if, the people exert the pressure required for change. Right now, our politicians have no reason to fear us, but should we succeed in Senate/House turnovers during the next election cycle, we would give them such reason. We would be able to use that fear to ensure that our politicians return to listening to their people. So rather than seeking an outside 3rd party to represent me, I chose to force the existing party to stop the compromising that led them astray, and represent my beliefs thru activism and outspoken appeal. That, my friends, is why a Libertarian votes Republican.