Some Libertarians have hoped that the LP could achieve its stated goals by having its platform co-opted and enacted by either or both of the entrenched status quo parties.
However, forty years of political history counter this hope.
As a matter of historical fact alternative party issues have been co-opted rhetorically into the entrenched parties platforms and talking points. Usually this strategy has silenced the issue-oriented party.
For such a co-optation strategy the Libertarian Party has presented an especially tough problem. The LP attacks the status quo across such a broad front and is uniquely structured ideologically in the history of American political parties.
The LP relative immunity to co-optation and deflation has left the status quo with primarily only three options:
First, rig the ballot access laws to make the LP appear as a mere “debating society” without electoral influence against the entrenched status parties. Over a span of four decades, the garrotting of the LP at the ballot is not been very effective and failed to bankrupt the LP in litigation costs.
The entrenched status quo parties second co-optation tactic is to infiltrate the LP and water down the Libertarian message down so that their candidates appear as more-or-less as merely slightly eccentric versions of the status quo and not worth a vote to the public.
The third entrenched status quo parties tactic uses the techniques of CIA Operation Gladio interventions in European politics after WW II. This tactic manipulates the media to discredit LP candidates on a personal level and side-step political ideological issues. This tactic is aka “gutter politics” and has a long political pedigree going back before the French Revolution.
So long as the LP or any other unentrenched new party can be denied actual representation in the government apparatus, any influence the LP could have on the Republican Party or Democratic Party will be merely cosmetic and transitory to be jettisoned ASAP.
Term-limits also work to the disadvantage of insurgent parties by banning a candidate from the ballot for being too popular with a constituency. The entrenched status quo parties can subsidize candidates to replace term-limited incumbents from their own ranks. Money talks and votes go back to weighing the lesser of two evils or no one but one evil elected by default in an uncontested election.
D. Frank Robinson, one of the earliest members of the Libertarian Party, chaired the Constitution, Bylaws and Rules Committee at the founding LP convention in 1972 and authored the 7/8ths rule for amending the LP Statement of Principles with David Nolan’s concurrence. D. Frank is now writing a novel as time permits.