Friday, March 6, 2020

Registered Libertarians doubled in Massachusetts

Libertarian ranks swell amid voter dissatisfaction | Gloucester Daily Times - Christian M. Wade:

March 6, 2020 - "Driven by voter dissatisfaction with the two major parties, the state's Libertarians have seen a surge in numbers in recent years, even as other parties shrink. The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts had 19,851 members as of Feb. 12 — a more than 130% increase from 2017 when it regained its party status, according to Secretary of State's Bill Galvin's office. A sizable portion of its membership draws from Essex and Middlesex counties, where about 6,300 voters are registered as Libertarians.

"While Libertarians are still just a sliver of the electorate – only 0.43% of more than 4.5 million registered voters – their ranks are growing faster than any other political party. Cristina Crawford, the state party's chairwoman, attributes the growth to voter dissatisfaction with the two major parties, as well as the Libertarians' message of civil rights, economic liberty and limited government.

"'We're seeing a lot of support, which is very encouraging,' she said. 'We've become a refuge for disillusioned voters who are tired of big government, high taxes and politics as usual'....

"Dozens of candidates are vying for the Libertarians' presidential nomination this year. In Massachusetts, 10 candidates were listed on the party's ballot on Super Tuesday. The Libertarians hold their state convention on March 22, ahead of the party's May 21–25 national convention in Austin, Texas.

"Nationally, the Libertarian Party has seen a 92% rise in membership in the last decade, fielding candidates in dozens of states. Two years ago, the party saw more than 600 candidates in federal, state and local races in nearly 40 states....

"Increased interest in the Libertarians also helped the party reclaim official state recognition three years ago, due to the party's showing in the 2016 presidential election. New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson was the party's candidate, with former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Bill Weld as his running mate.... The Libertarian ticket won 4.2% of the vote in Massachusetts – clearing a benchmark 3% necessary to be officially recognized and have its candidates listed on the next ballot.

"Two years ago, Dan Fishman of Beverly challenged Democratic State Auditor Suzanne Bump, and while he came in third [also with 4.2% of the vote - ed.] ... he boosted the party's profile.

"Independent parties come and go in Massachusetts.... Still, voter dissatisfaction with the two major parties continues to simmer, according to polls that cite frustration over divisive national politics. A 2018 Suffolk University survey found a strong appetite for strong third-party candidates, with only 22% of the respondents saying the Democratic and Republican parties do a good job of representing Americans’ views."

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