Dmitri Mehlhorn, author and political activist, offers an interesting analysis of why Republican exhortations that libertarians should “work within the GOP,” an argument usually framed in terms of being pragmatic and effective, is really neither.
Mehlhorn points out that being swing voters, and building up the Libertarian Party, are both more effective options than always voting Republican and hoping to be rewarded for it.
Indeed, GOP officials often claim ownership over libertarian voters, so much so that libertarians who do not align with the GOP are called “spoilers” who throw races to presumably anti-libertarian Democrats. For instance, during the 2014 gubernatorial race in Virginia, Republican Party organs such as Red State argued that Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis should withdraw from the race to increase support for GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
For libertarian idealists, this is terrible advice. […]
From the Progressive Party in the 1890s to the United We Stand (Ross Perot) movement of the 1990s, major national policy changes happened when a credible third party movement threatened to take votes from the major parties.
American political tribalism has left few blocks of swing voters. Most states and interest groups now vote reliably for either Democrats (e.g., African Americans, residents of Vermont) or Republicans (e.g., Christian conservatives, residents of Utah). Individual voters in such blocks or states face social ostracism if they express interest in voting for the less-common political party. This social dynamic is not good for the voting blocks involved, and should be rejected by libertarians.