Editorial: SC Libertarians’ entry into secession is less than obvious red flag | Editorials


In recent years, some conservatives have viewed the Libertarian Party as a refuge from a Republican Party that has become obsessed with one man.

Now, as The Post and Courier’s Schuyler Kropf reports, the SC Libertarian Party has taken a step that should put even the most libertarian conservatives in search of an alternative home beyond reach, by voting last month to add the secession to its platform.

The language itself is not as simple as the press release issued by the Charleston County Party, or as the model language of the national branch of the Libertarian Party supporting the change, which calls for “decentralization – subsidiarity. , secession, annulment and localism – from political units to the individual. But the new board leaves no room for interpretation, declaring the party’s support for the “right of dissociation of any individual, group or entity from any other”. Which, not to overemphasize, is crazy.

We in South Carolina know a little bit about secession, the most important being that it didn’t work out so well when we tried it. Could we have seceded without war? May be. Could we have seceded without the devastating global consequences of the absence of the United States of America – beginning but not ending with the outcome of World War II and the might of the Soviet Union? Probably not. Even setting aside questions of constitutionality, is there a practical way today for states to secede from the United States? Certainly not.

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Adopting such a discredited idea takes the Libertarian Party one step further, identifying it as a debate club for extremist ideas rather than anything that has anything to do with attempting to rule our nation or state. It is a distressing reminder that the alternative parties are just as sensitive as the Republican and Democratic parties to the temptation to stray ever further from their traditional principles in order to attract the most radical and disgruntled voters. And it highlights how unlikely third parties are to meet the needs of the growing number of politically homeless Americans – and not just because they tend to start even further from the mainstream than the big parties.

Maybe someday we’ll have a pragmatic third party, an adult party, a compromise-is-a-good-thing party. Until then, our best option is to work to make the two big parties less unreasonable. And we have to do it pretty quickly, because our nation is in a vicious downward spiral, as this other extreme becomes so much more extreme that the extremists on our own “side” seem less dangerous – ironically, terrifyingly, even though they are. in fact becoming more dangerous.

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The good news is that there are ways to bring big parties to their senses – if we’re willing to step out of our comfort zone.

The legislature could make this easier by repealing the law that gives parties rather than candidates slots on our ballots in Congress, statewide, legislatures and counties. Essentially, we would treat all of these elections like we treat most municipal elections, where everyone votes among all the candidates in the first round, and we have a second round between the first two if no one wins a majority. We would still end up with Republicans and Democrats in power – and quite possibly Republicans still in the majority where they are now, and Democrats still in charge where they or they are now. But Republican and Democratic candidates would have the motivation few now have to try to appeal to the sensitive center rather than the extremes.

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Of course, our legislature probably won’t give us that option today, but we can still give Republican and Democratic candidates a reason to avoid radicalism by simply voting in their primaries.

In South Carolina, nearly all of our county, legislative, and statewide races are decided in the Republican or Democratic primary, but most voters skip the primaries. The problem is, the people who are more religious about voting in primaries tend to be the people farthest from the center. And so, the nominees are getting more and more extreme. (One of the reasons so many Conservatives are seeking an alternative home is that many who vote Republican in the general election missed the South Carolina Republican presidential primary in 2016, putting the National Party on track to become a party. dominated by one man.)

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This strategy probably wouldn’t pay off immediately – well, unless we all did next year, as we should. But over time, as a few more centrist candidates began to win primaries and then take office, more would be willing to run for office and get elected. And who knows? Perhaps before too long we would come to a point where the legislature was willing to remove special party access to the ballot, and we would be able to do away with primaries altogether.

Long shot? May be. But he has a much better chance of working than sitting on the couch and complaining about the madness of parties and candidates.

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