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71 Percent of Millennials Say U.S. Politics Needs a Third Major Party

White men and black women were the most likely to endorse America moving beyond the Dem-GOP binary.

Jo Kirchherr Westend61/NewscomJo Kirchherr Westend61/NewscomThe Republicans are a mess. The Democrats are a mess. And young Americans are increasingly unsure about aligning themselves with either one.

New research from NBC News and the University of Chicago polling group GenForward found millennials—poised to be the biggest voting bloc in 2020—overwhelmingly want more political options. A full 71 percent of the 18- to 34-year-olds polled said that America needs a third major political party.

The desire for a third-party option was seen across all races, genders, and partisan affiliations in the poll, which was conducted from October 26 to November 10. Respondents included a nationally representative sample of 1,876 people.

More than half of those surveyed (59 percent) had an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, and 42 percent had an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party. (This is with an overall margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.92 percentage points.) Only 5 percent had a "very favorable" view of Republicans and only 10 percent had a very favorable view of Democrats.

NBC News/GenForwardNBC News/GenForward

Nearly three-quarters of men and 69 percent of women wanted more political-party options. Republican women were the least likely to want a third party, with just 55 percent agreeing. If you combine the race and sex categories, white male and black female millennials were the most likely to voice support for a third party: 80 percent of the former and 73 percent of the latter endorsed the notion.

Overall, white millennials were most likely to want a third major party, with 75 percent embracing the idea. But strong majorities were seen across all racial and ethnic groups, with 69 percent of blacks and Asians and 64 percent of Latinos agreeing. (The margin of sampling error for some of these groups was quite high—as much as plus or minus 8.75 points for Asian respondents.)

Asked about the 2018 congressional election, 43 percent said they are either not sure whether they plan to vote Democratic or Republican or do not plan to vote for candidates from either party; pollsters didn't press further to see if this indicated a lack of any plans to vote in 2018 or a desire to vote for a third-party candidate. Of these millennials in the neither/not sure category, 16 percent said they leaned more toward Republicans, 32 percent said they leaned more toward Democrats, and 50 percent said they didn't lean toward either.

Needless to say, the fact that so many people want a third party doesn't mean they want the same third party. Alas, the pollsters didn't inquire about just what sort of party people would like to see. Nor did they ask whether people want just one more party or a multitude. And they didn't include any questions seeking opinions on the parties that are already out there: the Libertarians, the Greens, and so on. The poll strongly suggests that young Americans want more options, but it won't tell you anything about what missing choices they have in mind.

Photo Credit: Jo Kirchherr Westend61/Newscom

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  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Everything is non-binary with you people now, isn't it?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Nobody needs more than two options.

  • Brandybuck||

    I would definitely vote for a sassy black woman. No one would mess around with a sassy black woman in charge!

  • Hank Phillips||

    Teddy Progressives got altruist spoiler votes and delivered the communist income tax. The LP gets individualist spoiler votes and reverses those trends. What part of this is difficult to grok?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    They'll grow out of it.

  • Just Say'n||

    *sigh*

    No they won't.

    Game set- match

  • ||

    *sigh* indeed.

    Dems and the GOP are suffering from an identity crisis. Millennials either caused or responded to the crisis with an identity crisis of their own. With all the self-identifying crises going on the only thing we can be sure about is that Millennials are poised to be the biggest voting bloc in 2020 and that they matter.

  • ImanAzol||

    And they'll wail about "not wanting to throw their vote away" and vote binary.

  • JFree||

    Only if those third parties fail to recognize that they have to stop preaching and start actual organization among that group. Which also means redefining themselves way beyond the traditional 'elections are what matters'. That's what the duopoly parties are about since they stopped being machines (Dems) or old-fashioned civic associations (Reps).

    For Libertarians, that means the LP has to become a way to actually live one's life freely. For Greens, to live one's life sustainably/environmentally. Both - where election results don't matter. They would exist DAILY - not once every X years. The combo could be monstrous.

    Those parties fail to do that - and like every generation before, the millennials will have to sell out and compromise and become part of the problem.

  • Tony||

    "The Republicans are a mess. The Democrats are a mess."

    The false equivalence fairy that has for decades now convinced millions of idiots that no matter how low the Republican party goes, even to the point of electing a seriously mentally ill incompetent orange man as president after starting a war based on lies, making torture official US policy, and causing a global financial calamity, all the while accomplishing absolutely nothing positive, well, Democrats are a party too, so they must be just as bad, makes me want to shoot myself in the fucking head. This is logic for abject partisans and retarded children. Karl Rove jerks off to this.

    And if we can't get beyond that utter ridiculousness, we're never going to convince the voting public that party dualism is built into the system, and that however fucktastic that may be, it's hardly the worst of our problems. The worst part of it is that Republican cousinfuckers (and cheerleaders for kid diddlers like John) have this figured out already, while supposedly intelligent progressives still latch onto the new generation's Ralph Nader every chance they get. I don't know who I hate more.

  • Eidde||

    The important point is to hate someone, Tony, you can work out the specifics later.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    makes me want to shoot myself in the fucking head

    So what's stopping you?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    His party's staunch opposition to private gun ownership.

  • Mitsima||

    He needs permission from the state and a dozen federal regulators.

  • SpankzdatMonkey||

    Fear and common sense.

  • rudehost||

    Well at least one of the two.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I think you are right about dualism being baked into the system, so a more likely outcome than a viable third party is a takeover of the existing parties. That may already be happening to Republicans (we'll have to see if Trumpism is sustainable) and unfortunately the path they are going down is awful. If Democrats go down the Bernie path it will probably be a different type of awful. That's not a false equivalence, that's a statement of my values and of what I think works best and worse.

  • Tony||

    The parties going in opposite extremes may have some novel consequences, but there will end up only being two choices, whatever they're called and however they're composed. People figure out vote splitting pretty quickly (not progressives though, but they get confused as to what elections are about).

  • Zeb||

    The thing is that they really aren't going toward opposite extremes. Especially if the Democrats go in a Bernie direction and the Republicans in a Trump direction. Then it's just two sides of the same populist idiocy coin.

    But you are likely right about the two parties being a fairly permanent feature when you have an electoral system like we ahve.

  • LynchPin1477||

    They are going in opposite directions on a positively curved spacetime.

  • Eidde||

    "well, Democrats are a party too, so they must be just as bad"

    I'll take "stuff people never said" for $500, Alex.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If there's a dictionary definition of "having your shit together and running a tight ship" it's the Democratic party.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    "having your shit together and running a tight ship"

    Is the title of my erotic memoir.

  • Tony||

    They do have their shit relatively together, but apparently people were into chaotic shit-flinging monkeys this past season.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    No, I hear you, the Democratic party is a well oiled machine, the problem is America doesn't see it. I'm agreeing with you!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Why Won't You Fat, Inbred, Racist Idiots Shut Up And Agree With Me?: The Tony Method of Persuasion, available now in Microsoft Word 1997 format.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    What's Word Perfect, chopped liver?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    He had to get it ported over for some late edits.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Oh come on. We all know the real reason for Tony's rage is that he's still doing everything with BASIC print commands.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    The noise of his dot matrix printer has driven him to madness.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    But carefully peeling the dotted side strips off of the printout soothes him.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah. I miss that.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I'm calling bullshit on the fantastical notion of Tony having skills in anything, let alone BASIC programming.

  • Brandybuck||

    Visual BASIC maybe?

  • Tony||

    I'd be happy if they went back to believing that sleazy huckster politicians had no role to play in their deity's master plan and that staying out of politics is their best move.

  • Eidde||

  • ||

    Oh, stop it - Tony knows that the world's smartest people are atheists, and that there's no place for cousin-fucking theists in the Rational Party.

  • Tony||

    Now you suddenly believe her?

  • ||

    Are you suggesting that she's lying?

  • ||

    This is logic for abject partisans

    Adopting a stance of skepticism toward politicians and bureaucrats generally speaking, regardless of party = "abject partisanship."

    Reflexively defending the Good Party and attributing all that's Bad in the world to the Evil Party = "rational thinking."

  • Zeb||

    Funny, I often hear a mirror image of that very argument from various people.

    I'm sticking with total cynicism about both parties. All that matters to the parties is maintaining a platform and candidates that can get 51% of the vote in enough elections to keep them roughly even. That's how the two party system works and why it exists.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    How is this for false equivalency, Tony? I hate them both. Both both want to curtail my freedom, control my life, and run surveillance on me for no reason whatsoever other than because they can. They both want to spend my money frivolously and leave me on the hook for their extreme recklessness. They both want to run endless wars around the globe and make up excuses for why by exaggerating risks that are actually statistically tiny. They both lie to my face every chance they get. They are both populated by power-hungry, mentally-challenged sociopaths.

    I don't give a flying f-- what Karl Rove jerks off to. I just want to live to see both major parties relegated to the trash heap of history, which is where they both deserve to be.

  • SpankzdatMonkey||

    Preach it brother(or how ever you identify)!

  • JFree||

    Dualism isn't the problem because dualism doesn't actually exist in most places. The D's and R's are. Yes if you are looking through the prism of elections - someone will lose and someone else will win. That qualifies as no insight at all.

    In most places, what exists is a political monopoly. There is no competition in elections. One side has been the local winner for decades - and the other side doesn't even bother anymore (except maybe to fund elections/candidates in yet other places where they have a chance to corrupt things and win). There is complete collusion by both in preventing new entrants (via gerrymandering, ballot access, fixed legislature size to prevent new voices, etc) - and neither party has the slightest interest in changing that.

    That isn't dualism. It is cartel.

  • ||

    That isn't dualism. It is cartel.

    ^ This.

  • JFree||

    As an aside - don't know whether other counties are like mine. But fully 50% of registered L's here are between 25-34. And for that age group overall - 43% are unaffiliated, 42% are D, 11% are R, and 3% are L - and the R's are dropping fast.

    Which means L's here have a very real potential of becoming the only meaningful opposition party. But only if they mine into the unaffiliateds and D's.

  • ||

    I don't have any numbers, but my subjective experience is that a lot of people in my area are turning towards libertarians pretty fast, as well.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Anti Orange racism must end!

    #OrangeLivesMatter

  • ImanAzol||

    The Dems aren't "just as bad." They're demonstrably worse.

    But even that won't kill them, and the potential votes for a third party will always pile on the "not quite as bad this time" bandwagon.

  • Bubba Jones||

    They don't vote for the third parties we already have.

  • BYODB||

    Indeed. How this could possibly be ignored is a quandary. I assume that what's being said is that the available 3rd party options aren't communist or redistributionist enough? You know, for social justice?

  • ||

    In fairness, almost everyone I've ever known has said that we need options beside the two shitty dominant parties.

    Nevertheless, every time an election rolls around, they go out and vote for one of the two shitty dominant parties, because otherwise they might vote for a candidate who doesn't win, and thus their vote would be wasted.

  • JFree||

    Sadly - their vote is wasted by doing that anyway. Since there is almost never an election where one vote actually matters - and in every other situation the secret ballot prevents anyone from being rewarded for voting for the winner who would've won anyway.

    It's a shame because in truth the mere act of voting for a third party sends a very strong message to both major parties. Far more powerful/coherent than not voting or spoiling a ballot or voting for Mickey Mouse.

  • ||

    It's a shame because in truth the mere act of voting for a third party sends a very strong message to both major parties. Far more powerful/coherent than not voting or spoiling a ballot or voting for Mickey Mouse.

    Totally agree.

    I, too, have never understood how voting for someone you despise but who you know is going to win whether you vote for them or not is not a wasted vote.

  • ImanAzol||

    Hey, I'd like Cake and Ice Cream, too, but they're only polling 3%. And if you don't vote for Kick to the Nuts, Punch in the Face is going to win anyway. A vote for Cake and Ice Cream is just a vote for Punch in the Face. So get your ass in there and vote for Kick to the Nuts, you freak.

  • Arcxjo||

    Well, if you pick the right new flavor of Mountain Dew, you can win a kayak!

  • Utilitarian||

    A two-party system is a mathematical inevitability with First-Past-The-Post elections.

  • Robert||

    Not for most. It's more a matter that these people aren't really interested in policy at all, so never bother to find out about other parties—probably in many cases don't even know much about the top 2!

    Plus, there are a few who have a very narrow ax to grind—a different ax from what all the others have to grind. One may think gov't needs to concentrate on the threat from the Pleiadians, another on bldg. a new road to some place few besides them want to go, yet another on making Finnish the official language of the US.

  • JFree||

    Miksi vihaat suomalaisia?

  • LynchPin1477||

    Most of them probably want the Bernie Party, but I bet a significant number would want a Cosmotarian party (which I'd be fine with)

  • Mithrandir||

    I think a cosmotarian third party has the best chance of actually making a real dent in the 2 major parties as long as it doesn't give the SJWs the time of day.

  • ||

    I think a cosmotarian third party has the best chance of actually making a real dent in the 2 major parties as long as it doesn't give the SJWs the time of day.

    This, to me, seems oxymoronic. You don't have a cosmotarian party without cultural Social Justice Warriors.

  • Mithrandir||

    I think it depends. A cosmotarian party could advocate for tolerance personally, yet fall short of calling for legislative action to forcefully mandate that tolerance.

    I think of this similarly to the abortion argument. I don't personally agree with abortion, but I'm not going to advocate the government forcefully lock-up thosr who choose to get an abortion.

    Maybe a cosmotarian party would similarly personally dislike "intolerance" yet not call for the gorvernment forcefully suppressing free speech and the like like these like fascist SJWs have been.

    I know one thing, I would stay far far away from any party that pandered to those little authoritarians.

  • Zeb||

    I think you are right, culture wars can happen without crossing into SJW territory (which to me means using force to create social change).
    For example, most of the advances in the area of gay rights happened well before any legislation protecting gays ever passed.

  • LynchPin1477||

    This, to me, seems oxymoronic. You don't have a cosmotarian party without cultural Social Justice Warriors.

    Strong disagree. To me, cosmotarian means politically libertarian (i.e., minimal government) but culturally more cosmopolitan . You don't have to resort to curtailing free speech or doing other illiberal things to punish people who disagree.

  • ||

    Strong disagree. To me, cosmotarian means politically libertarian (i.e., minimal government) but culturally more cosmopolitan . You don't have to resort to curtailing free speech or doing other illiberal things to punish people who disagree.

    The former and latter have no bearing on one another. Moreover, rather core parts of you definition or distinction between/among cosmo- and liber-tarians advance feels over economics that is a principle or hallmark of SJW movements. The only way you distinguish cosmotarians from yokeltarians is if you start lending creedence to the non-libertarian portion of the cosmotarian movement. Cosmotarian is an illusion so that the useful idiots in NYC or CA or wherever, can pretend that they are tribeless or that their NYC tribe is more virtuous or worldly.

    To be sure, I don't come across the notion of cosmotarian outside these or libertarian circles. When I do come across it, it's specifically used to refer to someone who's willing to compromise some or all of their libertarian principles to accommodate more popular cultural mores.

  • ||

    I don't come across the notion of cosmotarian outside these or libertarian circles. When I do come across it, it's specifically used to refer to someone who's willing to compromise some or all of their libertarian principles to accommodate more popular cultural mores.

    That's because it's a pejorative used by those who are called "yokels" by those whom the "yokels" call "cosmos."

    To be sure, "cosmo" often refers to those who feel a need to condemn racist speech before defending the right to speak it, for example, which a lot of "yokels" around here find really offensive, for some reason.

    Yokels, from a "cosmo" perspective, make their own compromises of "some or all of their libertarian principles to accommodate more popular cultural mores" when it comes to immigration, for example.

    This is why I think it's more important for "cosmos" and "yokels" to emphasize areas of agreement rather than trying to argue over which one is being more "Truly Libertarian."

  • buybuydandavis||

    Cosmotarians are the SJWs who are ok with more than 19 brands of deodorant.

  • Zeb||

    What does cosmotarian mean?

    If it means something like Gary Johnson or Matt Welch version of libertarianism, that would be great. It wouldn't be totally in harmony with my principles and ideology, but a million times better than what we get now.

  • ||

    If it means something like Gary Johnson or Matt Welch version of libertarianism,

    That is, in fact, what it is generally understood to mean. The Reason/Cato/Gary Johnson version of libertarianism.

  • Zeb||

    Well, good. I hear the term used as a slur so often that I'm never really sure what it means.

  • Just Say'n||

    Yeah, Johnson was great. No more religious liberty, support for humanitarian wars, and carbon taxes. Hey, we should just elect Bill Clinton again, since libertarianism just means neoliberalism.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    *sigh*

  • Zeb||

    Still a hell of a lot better than Trump or Hillary. And we already don't have religious liberty by the standard you seem to be judging it by and we have zero chance of getting it.

    Give me a break. I'm playing at political realist here. I don't think there is any chance of ever getting any really good people in office. It's all relative. We're talking about what would be both preferable and possible as an alternative to the absolute shit-show we have now, not libertarian fantasy world.

  • ||

    We're talking about what would be both preferable and possible as an alternative to the absolute shit-show we have now, not libertarian fantasy world.

    Absolutely agree - this is what I'm getting at with my post about Weld's "fiscally conservative/socially liberal" descriptor, below.

    Dismissing Johnson/Weld because they're not libertarian enough is a classic case of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Johnson being willing to entertain the notion that there might be cases where public accommodation laws are not necessarily intolerable tyranny or being willing to have a discussion about the limits of gun control does not make him "just as bad as Clinton or Trump."

  • ||

    Johnson being willing to entertain the notion that there might be cases where public accommodation laws are not necessarily intolerable tyranny or being willing to have a discussion about the limits of gun control does not make him "just as bad as Clinton or Trump."

    I would argue that this is disingenuous as immediately after the "let's just have a conversation" line (as though *any* conversation isn't intrinsically disingenuous) he ceded a 100-person gun control panel to his VP. So, apparently, a conversation with Bill Weld was sufficient for the libertarian's libertarian to have a conversation about and take some anti-2A executive action.

  • ||

    Are you arguing that really they want gun control, but they're just being coy about it?

    I personally think Johnson meant exactly what he said at the debate - that he didn't see any justification for gun control, but that politically speaking we should be willing to have a conversation about it.

    Yes, that enabled Weld, who is not a libertarian, to call for a much larger "conversation" about it - but still a conversation.

    Libertarians saying "we have rigid principles that aren't even open to discussion" is part of why we can't widen our appeal when widening our appeal necessarily means accepting some compromises.

    And "accepting compromises" =/= "going to the opposite extreme."

  • ||

    That is, in fact, what it is generally understood to mean. The Reason/Cato/Gary Johnson version of libertarianism.

    Do you mean the Gary Johnson/Matt Welch version of cosmotarians or the Gary Johnson/Bill Weld/Matt Welch/Shikha Dalmia version?

  • ||

    I'm just going by a video I saw a recently that I thought drew a useful distinction between "paleo-libertarians" represented by Lew Rockwell/Ron Paul and "cosmo-tarians" represented by Reason/Cato/Johnson, where the emphasis was on the cosmos having a lot of people coming to libertarianism from the left and emphasizing social libertarianism at least as much as economic libertarianism (the latter being much more central to the paleos).

    Why Dalmia is published by Reason I have no idea other than perhaps her reflexively anti-anti-immigration stance.

  • JFree||

    Aaah. I thought it meant the Koch/Reason/Cato version of Republicans. Who dabble with a small-l and hate actual R's and then vote R anyway and hate themselves. Which is fine cuz I kinda hate them too.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Much like Socialists want the goodies of capitalism without the capitalists, Cosomotarians want the goodies of a libertarian polity without a libertarian populace.

    How are Socialists going to produce what capitalism produces after they've replaced it with central planning? Somehow.

    How are Cosmotarians going to produce what a libertarian polity produces after they've replaced it with big government statists? Somehow.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Cosmotarian party (which I'd be fine with)"

    Which would not really be an alternative so much as a rehash of the Reform Party

  • LynchPin1477||

    Wasn't the Reform Party into trade protectionism and less immigration? I wouldn't call that cosmotarian.

  • Just Say'n||

    In the sense that the Reform Party blended aspects of both party's policies. They took the fiscal conservatism from Republicans and melded it with the socially tolerant views of the Democrats. Sounds familiar.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Y'all understand that 'cosmotarians' are leftists pretending to be libertarian, right? That there's nothing redeemable about the notion?

    That 'being fine with' a cosmotarian party means being unfine with liberty?

  • buybuydandavis||

    Commies want the production of capitalism without the capitalists.
    Cosmos want a libertarian government after they've replaced the population with foreign statists.

    I'm sure many are genuine in their inherently contradictory wants.

    Who wouldn't want everyone to have everything they want for the price of wishing for it? Only hateful meanies.

    Who wouldn't want foreigners to escape the shithole countries their ideologies produce? Only hateful meanies.

    But grownups understand cause and effect. Ideas have consequences. Actions have consequences.

  • Eidde||

    "We need a True Socialism Party, with jobs for all! The major parties obviously responding to this need, they are in thrall to neoliberal capitalists."

  • Eidde||

    obviously *aren't* responding

  • Curmudgeon44||

    And an "Employment Fence", to keep the employees from running away from their assigned jobs.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Third parties are bae.

  • creech||

    Per last paragraph, the survey is essentially worthless. If I were on a National Committee, I'd be requiring every state party to get together groups of Independents and ask them what they think the national parties are doing wrong.
    For starters, anyway.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Would confidently stroll nude in front of.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It doesn't dangle so much as corkscrew to the right at a 30-degree angle.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm sympathetic to needing an alternative, but I think simply adding a third party somehow ignores the systemic issue with a winner take all system. We're imagining a system where a 51% majority controls the 49% being replaced with a possible system where the 34% control the 33% and 33% of two other parties.

    No amount of parties can overcome the core issue of the amount of power the government and those voting for the government hold over the individual and how they live their life.

  • Mitsima||

    Sure it can. A lack of a voting majority is threatening Merkel's government and shutdown the Belgian federal gov't for a few years. I would love to see so many federal parties that they can't agree to a lunch menu.

  • Ken Shultz||

    There's this thing called "singe member districts". Most educated libertarians have heard about it. If you're a libertarian and you haven't, it's time to educate yourself about Duverger's Law--so you can talk about these things intelligently.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger's_law

    Incidentally, if you're looking to a multiparty system to get around "gridlock", you're probably barking up the wrong tree. Giving more than one party out of power the ability to throw wrenches into the gears invites more of them to do so more often.

    Look at the issues they're having in multiparty systems like France and Germany. Macron can't get anything done without throwing so many bones to the environmentalists and communists that it isn't clear whether his pro-market reforms will be worth it--even if they get passed. Meanwhile, it hasn't been clear for a while now whether Merkel will even be able to form a government.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'd argue that single member districts, like in the U.S., actually make the governing parties more sensitive and accommodating to their constituencies than they might be otherwise. A few years ago, the Tea Party rose up from the grass roots against the Republican establishment--and won. John Boehner is out on his ass. The Republican Party's cost cutting in the Gingrich era was not entirely unrelated to the threat of the Reform Party.

    In a multiparty system, the Republicans would have ignored the Tea Party like Merkel ignores the 13% of German voters who broke for the anti-immigration party. Because we have single member districts, the Republicans absorbed the Tea Party instead. That's the advantage--single member districts force compromise, and, believe it or not, that's what you want from a legislature and a party.

    If we had a multiparty system, small groups of legislators would become even more important to getting anything done. Every once in a while, the Libertarians would get a bone thrown their way, but more often it would be other small groups--the congressional black caucus, the religious right, the Green Party, the unions would organize into a Labor party, etc., etc. Vested interests being able to sway policy one way or the other with small groups of legislators would favor vested interest over libertarians--more so than they do already.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Pro Life Party, Pro Choice Party

  • Brandybuck||

    We're not going to get a third party until one of the two major parties disintegrates and reforms. The existing third parties are ideological parties, and such parties can't make it in a two party system. Like it or not, our electoral winner-takes all system discourages third parties. For another party to move into the top two, it needs to be a coalition party.

    The only other possibility is a generalist non-ideological third party, such as the Reform Party. But easier for hte Republicans to split up and reconstitute than to resuscitate the Reform Party.

    No, the LIbertarians can't do it. They might be able to someday break the 5% barrier, but they always have been and always will be an ideological party. Just attend any state or national LP convention to understand why they will never win any significant election. Ditto for the Greens.

    A "libertarian lite" party, however, can make headway. A coaltion of free market types and civil liberties types can make some headway. If they can just get past the stupid populism and nativism that dominates current politics. It's something that can happen if the GOP disintregrates in the face of big government Trumpism. Or if the Democrats fracture and dissolve and the neoliberals regroup as a faction distinct from the freebie coalition.

    Far more likely that Decline-To-State will continue to be the largest and fastest growing party for a few more deaces.

  • ||

    For another party to move into the top two, it needs to be a coalition party.

    ^ This.

    But I think this is already happening. Bill Weld deciding to "stay" LP is indicative - he's not actually a libertarian in any sense that would satisfy the purity-test types, but he's taking the previously-ideologically-specific "Libertarianism" and forging a more vague "socially liberal/fiscally conservative" stance that a lot of people who don't really accept "Libertarianism" wholesale can still get behind.

    This stance enables him to cull out Republican stances that a lot of people agree with (pro-market, small government) while rejecting the social conservative, nationalist-authoritarian streak that turns a lot of people off, along with taking Democratic stances on social tolerance while rejecting the economic authoritarianism and big-government tendencies.

    Taking this more vague stance allows a broader appeal among people who tend to be scared off by more "extreme" libertarian positions like "legalize all drugs and prostitution" or "no public assistance for anyone" or "bring all troops home immediately" or "no restriction on immigration of any kind."

  • Hank Phillips||

    The idea is not to morph into another looter gang. The idea is to repeal laws that violate individual rights. Those laws got there because religious prohibitionists got 1.4% of the vote for 11 elections, hence 18th Amendment. The commies got 9% exactly once, in 1892. The Dems immediately became ersats communists and SHAZAM: 16th Amendment straight out of the communist manifesto. Spoiler votes work, and they change the laws and Constitution--just not overnight.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The idea is not to morph into another looter gang. The idea is to repeal laws that violate individual rights. Those laws got there because religious prohibitionists got 1.4% of the vote for 11 elections, hence 18th Amendment. The commies got 9% exactly once, in 1892. The Dems immediately became ersats communists and SHAZAM: 16th Amendment straight out of the communist manifesto. Spoiler votes work, and they change the laws and Constitution--just not overnight.

  • BYODB||

    There already are 3rd parties to vote for. I think the mistake is that these so-called 'Millennials' really mean that there should be a more active and better funded Communist party so they can finally line those kulaks up against the wall.


    How else are they finally going to pay down those student loans? Get a job with their women's studies degree?


    /sarc & snark


    So tired of reading 'Millennials Destroy World' articles when it's so abundantly clear that the Boomers are almost entirely to blame, with some help from their own parents. Of course, make no mistake, the 'Millennial' generation will find a way to get transfer payments from their own unborn children as well. Suddenly giving a shit about it now is just the Boomer way of saying 'me first'.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Millenials are just the final parting gift of the boomers.

  • Zeb||

    I'm tired of reading about "Boomers Destroy the world".

    It's those "greatest generation" fucks who really got us on this path.

  • ||

    I like to kick around Boomers as much as anyone, but the reality is that everyone blames their parents for having destroyed the world, and always have.

  • Zeb||

    Yes, I hope no one takes my comment too seriously.

    Though the people who elected FDR 4 times do have a lot to answer for.

  • BYODB||

    But in the case of snowballing debt, one can actually point at the original culprits even while later generations helped grease the slope. Honestly, I blame FDR and the so-called 'Greatest Generation' the most. They are the original cancer that became systemic even while one could probably go even further back to guys like Woodrow and his ilk.

    It seems that every boomer I know says more or less what I said in my original post above. It's not that I necessarily agree or disagree with it, it's that I find the sentiment amusing given how much free shit boomers voted for themselves over the years. You know, like those hated 'Millennial's' supposedly do. (And yes, I'm well aware of the irony of collectivizing the boomers while railing against the collectivization of the later generations.)

    Projection ain't just for overhead's anymore, grandpa!

    ...the reality is that everyone blames their parents for having destroyed the world, and always have.

    I think that it's because it's more or less true, as each generation remakes the world in their own image. Remaking the world implies some amount of destruction of the old world.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    And the parents call the children they raised as irresponsible.

    Like reason.com olds do with millennials. They did not create this mess, and they are reacting to the BS that capitalism works, when they see cronyism rule and blame them for the $20 trillion in debt.

  • buybuydandavis||

    the 'Millennial' generation will find a way to get transfer payments from their own unborn children as well.

    Their never born children?

    Government taxes those that can successfully produce to make it harder for them to procreate and pays those who can't produce to have babies. How is that supposed to end well?

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    The pop-up demanding donations is snarkier than usual this year

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Well as you know, the dark times happened last year due to too little glibness and snark. It is known.

  • Zeb||

    It's the new KMW driven millennial attitude.

  • Longtobefree||

    I find it impossible not to click the 'better world without reason' option.
    Bad web design should never be rewarded.

  • Mitsima||

    Results from an additional pole:

    I want a 3rd political party because:

    65% - The two major parties are icky
    20% - I like to "keep an open mind" and stay trendy
    10% - Wait, is that like a house party?
    4+% - Whatever dude, I'm eating a Milkyway
    1-% - I have deep deep philosophical differences with the GOP/DNC

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Don't blame me, I want a third party!"

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    We need a way to pivot both parties so they re-align along a 'need to control' access.

    There really isn't much difference between those who think you have to follow the bible and those who think there is only one way to think about diversity.

    We'd have the control party, and the out of control party (freedom) party.

  • Robert||

    You think there isn't much dif, but they do. You don't get to align other people's politics along the lines you think are important while ignoring the ones they do. Factions align themselves, they don't get aligned by others.

  • Robert||

    They want one, but won't vote for it. Many probably want one in the hope that it'll split the opposition.

    The weirdest meme, which peaked 20-25 yrs. ago, was that people wanted a centrist, moderate, or non-political political party. This meme is supported mostly by people not much interested in politics or policy who believe that common sense would lead to good policy, & that the only thing preventing us from achieving the common sense sol'ns is petty bickering over things few people disagree sincerely about. These people never find out otherwise because they just don't discuss policy w anyone.

  • FreedomIsBetterThanLiberty||

    Yes, but the third party Millenials want is a Socialist party.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Socialist sounds good, but objectively it means ordered at gunpoint, just like every fascist, mercantilist, communist, democrat, republican, progressive, econazi, sharia, populist, prohibition and nationalist band of altruist collectivists. None of these things are good if you value life and freedom. Something new is in order. As Grace Slick and David Crosby suggested: "Why can't we go on as three?"

  • ||

    As Grace Slick and David Crosby suggested: "Why can't we go on as three?"

    With Grace Slick and David Crosby? Methinks that question answers itself.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Because they have seen your Capitalism. And how it has saddled them with $20 trillion debt, wars, and impending cuts.

  • Peter Verkooijen||

    How did "Capitalism" saddle them with $20 trillion debt? Government did that.

  • Utilitarian||

    I agree that "capitalism" isn't directly responsible for the $20 trillion of debt, but you could argue that it is indirectly responsible. Our political system which allows for legalized bribery (through campaign contributions) is responsible for the cronyism, which is responsible for a huge part of that $20 trillion. And you could argue that advocating for cronyism is the rational thing for a capitalist to do because leveraging the power of government to protect your business is sometimes the most cost-effective way to generate/maintain profit. It's not a perfect argument (things are always more complicated), but there is a lot of truth in it.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Ask them the definition of government. With that clearly defined some sense can be made of what such a thing is good for. If nothing else, you at least save the time you might have wasted talking to dummies who do not even know what a government is--much less what it's for.

  • MyCroftxXx||

    this is a good litmus test. asking someone to define their terms usually uncovers the contradictions in their premises.

  • MasterThief||

    Talking with progressives, it just underlines that we speak a completely different language. It's nearly impossible to explain principles when nothing you say is interpreted as you intended. There is some idealism from their side that the government is "us" and that "we" should be doing more to help "us." The disconnect is scary when they see the government as "us" and business, the rich, etc. as the "other."

  • ||

    Typical. The rabble, excuse me I don't want to offend you, the political zombies, know something is wrong, but they don't have a clue what it is. The problem is not the faces, it's the concept of rule, of control by violence, instead of reason. It's barbaric and anti-life.

  • Wearenotperfect||

    "the pollsters didn't inquire about just what sort of party people would like to see."

    Then what the hell was the purpose of the poll then?

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Just to give magazines like Reason something to encourage their readership.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "That Libertarian Moment is coming any day now!"

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    I'm sure the average politically active American is screaming for a brand new, anti-liberty, activist-government, buy me a free lunch and get me out of debt, regulate to death, tax our grandkids kind of party. You know, exactly the kind of party that the GOP and Dems aren't, right? Right...?

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    This is about millennials. What they are saying that the Dems and GOP borrowed $20 trillion, started countless wars, and dare to speak for the generation that had nothing to do with that, and will bear the brunt of cuts.

    In other words, "go fuck yourself" is their message.

  • SteveC||

    Millenials? Gallup has been asking that same question for years, and 60% of Americans believe the same thing:
    https://tinyurl.com/y976nxqw
    It's no secret why the US doesn't have a viable third party--heck, just a few days ago I asked a Berlin bartender, and he knew the answer (Duverger's Law, though he could only describe it, not name it). The real mystery is why Reason Magazine has never written an article on the subject, let alone interviewed The Center for Election Science. New Hampshire has a couple of voting-reform bills scheduled for the 2018 session; maybe Reason will use the occasion to investigate.

  • JFree||

    Duverger's Law is not why the US doesn't have a third party. The US and a couple of former slave society Caribbean islands are the only places with two-party-only systems. Lots of countries have first-past-post systems. What Duverger's Law helps explain is why eg the Liberal Party in the UK gets plenty of votes but struggles to get seats. OTOH - regional parties in the UK get MORE seats than votes because of first-past-post. Just depends if the support is shallow and wide or narrow and deep.

    Doesn't apply to the US where third parties don't even get VOTES much less seats. Our situation can only arise because the two parties take active measures to restrict political speech and thus political choice/representation. Which works mainly because our morons are busy yelling USAUSAUSA while the parties are doing that.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    But, wait, like, politics is like sports, right? And they always have two teams, so, like, how can elections have more than two teams? Cuz three teams would be confusing, and anyway, its, like, my team against the bad guys, right? So I can just choose my team and not the other team, I mean, like, my candidate. And the voting.

  • tommhan||

    Yeah I can see the party that these young one would want to vote for. Free everything and no tax.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Considering that they had NOTHING to do with the $20 trillion debt that you assholes borrowed and spent on their credit card, and they did not participate in all your decision-making, that is the least they deserve.

    Free everything and no tax That is the reason.com Republican posing as libertarian, speaking.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Wanting a third party means little other beyond an expression of dissatisfaction.

    Most of these people don't want a third party. They want one party that does exactly what they wish it would do. And if they had it, they'd likely still want "change".

  • Myk||

    Don't get your hopes up for them to go for Libertarian Party. The most vocal of Libertarians speak most about what can only end as feudalism with corporations being royalty with a very slim possibility for peasants to become a lord and pass it off as freedom.
    Sure the real libertarians don't like corporations buying political favors and strong arming any threat of competition but that is never their main focus. Some frauds excuse it as a free market.

  • SezWhom||

    The obvious conclusion is that white men and black women find little to identify with in either party. Speaking as a white man, I could have told you that 40 years ago.

    But I'm getting tired of being told that we should fight out disgusting two party system with.....more parties. There was an old joke during the Vietnam war: "Fighting for peace is like fu**ing for chastity." What makes anyone think that the solution to party control of our governments is....more parties? Wouldn't it be great if we each individually decided that we would think for ourselves and pick the most qualified candidate, regardless of party. If enough of us did that, the party system itself would shrivel and become largely powerless. Well, one can dream.

  • RockLibertyWarrior||

    Reason, I'll say it once and I will say it again, millennials don't want libertarianism and they don't like liberty or freedom. Their the crybaby generation, the hissy fit throwers who want a free ride, maybe the author needs to look closer at the article, still, overwhelmingly, the youth support the Demoncratic party aka the Fascist Party aka the Communist party etc. Reason tries as best as it can to pander to a brain washed generation who wants nothing to do with them or the libertarian movement, they want socialism. Now I know not every millennial is like this, but a majority are and libertarians and Reason are just going to have to come to terms with the fact that the millennials as a generation are lost, their brains were washed by the media, government, school etc. What we should be concentrating on is the generation behind them that seems to be more conservative and more libertarian, you've got to remember, the millennials are the last generation raised in a partly analogue society and mass education system, the internet and all that follows is burning statism's house to the ground, lets reach these kids, turn them to our cause and stomp the snowflake generation into oblivion where they belong.

  • Mike d||

    I am opposed to socialism about as much as you, but geez, enough with the millennial bashing. Theres enough of that on FoxNews and Huffington Post. I don't get where the millennials are worse than all the other generations.

    The "greatest" generation -- Hey man, we need to like fight the NAZIS and the communists because we support freedom unlike them. Also, oh, btw, can we like have a "New Deal" or something, and also laws against porn another other stuff. Also, can we raise taxes and draft young men so that we can fight communism, and can we like put people who are communists in jail.

    The babyboomers --- We should all like have free love and stuff, but we should all vote for Reagan as soon we get older because taxes are bad. Oh, but can we like not cut spending either and just have a big deficit, because deficits don't matter.

    The Millennials --- Um, you know what. Fuck the first amendment. If you saw something "racist" I want to shut you up. Also, I want socialism, I want free stuff.

    Well, ok, at least the millennial is honest about what s/he wants.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    And here we are. Generation X stuck between two a-hole generations. Boomers had all the free love and drugs, then outlawed it for us. Race relations are looking better, then the millennials give us identity politics where everything is racist and national socialist.

    Then we get cool technology, and both of those commie generations want to ruin that with net neutrality / Title II.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Boomers are what cultivated the LP and current efforts to relegalize psychedelics and repeal myriad prohibitions. But organized victimful crime from the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s still controls a lot of equity, including looter parties and their laws. These things don't change overnight. "Plunkitt of Tammanny Hall" is good reading for seeing how entrenched looter kleptocracy operates. Understanding the adversary may not be an instant solution, but it couldn't hurt.

  • Longtobefree||

    Ignore their whining; there are already more than three parties.
    All they have to do is vote for the one that is closest to their personal political philosophy.
    Oh, wait. That means they have to figure out what a personal political philosophy is, and actually think long enough to pick one. No asking on social media and going with the flow, just think on their own.
    Ain't gonna happen, folks.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Dunno about that. Looter prohibitionism has already given rise to truffles that produce psilocybin. Hardly anyone in These States smoked hemp until mystics and looters made beer a felony. Besides... two can play!

  • ZZZMike||

    The System is stacked against 3rd parties. Unfortunately, the two we have are crumbling under the weight of years and inertia.

    And millennials are the last group I would ask for advice about politics, society, or just about anything else. Except maybe how to unlock an iPhone. Maybe a Millennial Party could run on a platform of "free stuff for everybody", much like Sanders

  • Myk||

    My state got enough percentage to put Libertarian Party on the ballot without petitions. Democrats and Republicans got together to change the rule to further stack it against 3rd parties. I wonder how a 2 party system could possibly stack the deck against other parties taking their power.

  • Mike d||

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Of the people who say that they are tired of the two party system, a large chunk (possible a plurality) just wants some form of populism. Large, liberal government welfare state but with a lot of conservative ideas on social issues (although they seem cool with same sex marriage by now). So, something thats actually worse than either the Dems or the GOP.

    Another chunk is just people upset that their respective "wing" doesn't go far enough (and occasionally switches sides on one or two issues). You have the Greens and Socialists on the Dem side. You have your Reform and (ironically named) Constitution Party for the GOP, or whatever it is that Mike Huckabee would form if he actually followed through with leaving the GOP over not fighting same sex marriage hard enough.

    Then you have your "muddy middle" low information voters who don't really know what they want. "Hey man, why can't we all get along man. The politicians man, the politicians, they need to like stop arguing and talking, and like work for the American people man." Um, m'kay. You want someone who doesn't talk / argue, but someone who does things.

    Finally, you have the libertarian leaning voters like (most of ) us here, but thats probably the minority.

  • Peter Verkooijen||

    And they all want that third party to be some kind of socialist party. Or some kind of pseudo-futurist we-need-UBI-because-robots-are-stealing-our-jobs technofascist party.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

    Before you can participate, and effectively work within the system, you must find out who you are, and what your believe - if anything.

  • Hank Phillips||

    This is incredibly good news for the LP, and will doubtless fire up Kleptocracy efforts to change the subject, deny or demonize. It is a challenge. In the sixties quite apart from Ayn Rand were folks like Eric Frank Russell, Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley and Robert Heinlein, all offering alternatives to the initiation of force. Nolan moved that from the wisps of ideology to the solid footing of practical politics. Within 45 days of Tonie Nathan's ticket getting a single electoral vote, the Supreme Court reached into the 14th Amendment and pulled out individual rights politicians thitherto struggled to evade. Spoiler votes for the LP have since then undone much of the evil wrought by spoiler votes cast for the parties of coercive altruism. This is progress toward the absence of coercion people can see and feel on their hide.

  • Jonathon||

    Better yet, eliminate political parties completely and allow the people to judge/select politicians to represent them based upon their views being similar to their own, without having to tow a party line to get monetary and other forms of support by persons who they then will find themselves more accountable to than their constituents.
    President is a good example of why we need to eliminate the National political parties, he is fighting against both parties while trying to achieve what voters put him in office to accomplish. Drain the swamp of all elected, appointed and civil service employees who put 'their' agenda above the good of the people and the Nation.

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