The Uncomfortable Truth

As a Libertarian, I take pride in knowing that I don’t belong to the duopoly, that our philosophy is diverse and sound, that our members are quirky, unique and thoughtful people and that we are the largest third party in America. The uncomfortable truth, however, seems to smack us in the face over and over after every election season, Libertarians aren’t usually elected. Now, the reason why they aren’t elected is obviously too complex to tackle in a simple op-ed, but, one thing is true, our current system favors the duopoly which tends to discourage most 3rd parties from even participating. There is another uncomfortable truth, usually one of the two parties dominates a certain area which means that the other party is struggling. Whether they be a Democrat or Republican, when one party is in control, they exercise their power over the populus without impunity which further deepens the divide between the two. Consider this reality an opportunity for liberty.

Strange thing about Colorado Politics

There is something unique about Colorado politics. Currently, Colorado recognizes 9 political parties and their registrants are as follows; 29% Democrat, 28% Republican, and 3% minor parties (1% registered Libertarians, 2% all other parties) according to the secretary of state. Also, roughly 40% of registered voters in Colorado are Unaffiliated but they aren’t swing voters necessarily. In 2022, 60% of unaffiliated voters that cast ballots favored Democrats compared to 40% who voted more Republican. There is a small swing of about a 5%-10% split. In Colorado, this divide is massive with all polls showing that the Democrats have a supermajority in the state. Not only that, the GOP is dying in the state. So even though the LPCO has ballot access in Colorado, it’s virtually and statistically impossible to win an election…. But we learned something new when a libertarian ran for Congress. In Colorado’s 8th congressional district prior to the midterm elections of 2022, polls gave Republican candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer a slight advantage over her Democratic opponent, Yadira Caraveo. Both The New York Times and Politico favored Kirkmeyer to win the race. Barbara Kirkmeyer spent over $1.6 million dollars on the campaign where Yadira Caraveo spent $1.2 million dollars on the campaign. Our Libertarian candidate spent roughly $0 on his campaign. To much of everyone’s surprise, Caraveo won the night by 1,691 votes (which is a total bummer)…. But… our libertarian candidate earned roughly 9,095 votes as a Libertarian (4%) of the vote! And our candidate, Aaron Lam won mayor of Keenesburg! This was a great opportunity for the party. 

What we learned and the LPCO strategy

We learned a whole lot from this election. More voters in CD8 are growing tired of midline Republicans, more people are willing to vote for 3rd party candidates, more Republicans are willing to vote for non-Republicans and most importantly, 2%-3% is enough to sway a race one way or the other. I think a healthy speculation we made was that the percentage of votes captured by our candidate could have been much higher if a good strategy had been implemented. We also learned that we are still dealing with old branding of the LP. In Colorado, Marijuana is as abundant as coffee so Marijuana legalization is not an issue and many voters are not at all interested in changing age of consent laws, which are two of the main issues that the old LP used to focus on. Also, the more left-leaning libertarian policies has not and will not appeal to democrats, they are too entrenched with their party to ever leave, like a parasite to its host, it needs the host to survive. Also, parties here in Colorado are facing depleting resources like good candidates, funding, volunteers, and media exposure unless you’re a Democrat. One more thing, Our candidates are inexperienced in politics and have no reputation with the public and therefore, they are not typically seen as a good investment. So, what can be done?

Our chair had thought of a great strategy, the strategy was to leverage our 2%-4% influence to force Republicans to provide stronger, more liberty-oriented candidates. The LPCO also wants to influence policy through the candidates’ commitment to our liberty pledge. Here’s the thing, if the Republicans could indeed provide better, more liberty-minded candidates, the LPCO would refocus our limited resources elsewhere. We are really targeting the local level. This would help LP candidates receive endorsements from more conservative groups, and help with funding for candidates, and it would help us test strategy in harder races where Republicans have no chance. 


Well, results are hard because they need time to bear fruit. Also, the results have to be organic. After all, politics is more like farming than it is like construction, the roots of the party first need to spread on fertile ground in order to grow and that takes time. With that being said, weird things have happened. Other GOP County Affiliates have met with our affiliates and have offered fundraising help, and campaign help, they’ve promised not to run another campaign against an LP candidate, discussed strategy on what to do if election seats are won, and are even speaking with LPCO leadership to work closely with potential legislation like our very Colorado Version of Defend the Guard. 

The opinions shared here do not necessarily represent the official position of the Libertarian Party. These editorial articles have been submitted by Libertarians across the country, and featuring these topics does not represent an endorsement of the content therein.

The opinions shared here do not necessarily represent the official position of the Libertarian Party. These editorial articles have been submitted by Libertarians across the country, and featuring these topics does not represent an endorsement of the content therein.