Why Haven’t Libertarians Taken Off in Texas?

The race for the White House shows how third-parties affect the big-ticket races, but not many outsider candidates have gained votes in Texas.

By Rhonda FanningJune 14, 2016 1:43 pm

If you want to shake things up on election day in the Lone Star state, you can wait for the demographics to reach a tipping point, you can try to imagine long-standing voting patterns will change, or you can look for spoilers.

People in that latter group would no doubt rather that you see them as third-party candidates, but this election year you can barely see them at all.

Ross Ramsey, executive editor of the Texas Tribune, describes it as a “Libertarian power outage.” He says the major parties manipulate the outsider status of Libertarians, to recruit them into close races to help Democratic candidates. But this year, the few Libertarians in state races is a fluke.

“I concentrated on those and said, Well, these are the races where the third party would have an outsize influence,” he says, “and it turned out in only one of them – Congressional District 23 – was there even a Libertarian candidate.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How Libertarians have fared on the national stage and why it hasn’t gained traction in Texas

– What races that a third-party candidate has flipped, including Wendy Davis’s run for Senate

– Which ways different third-parties can change races, including a Green Party candidate splitting the Democratic vote