md0 wrote:My question for the American ULs is what's the outlet for political representation for the ~1.735.372 voters of the Libertarian party candidate and ~737.459 voters for the other third-party candidates? Are they winning state and local elections, or are they as minor as they are in congressional and presidential elections?
They seem to be competitive only in areas which are very solidly in the hands of one of the two major parties. For instance, I live in Cook County, which is dominated by the Democratic Party. I can't think of a single county-level office held by a Republican in the last twenty years. There may be a municipality or two in the suburbs which has elected a Republican to office recently but I don't think this has happened in Chicago itself for years. Our current City Council has 50 members: 46 Democrats and 4 Independents--all of whom won their seats by challenging the Democratic candidate from the left
. This year the local Republican Party decided not to even contest seats for the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (which is actually a pretty important body given the astounding water usage of Greater Chicago), but the Green Party ran three candidates. None won, though I think they have had commissioners on the Board in the past.
The Greens do have a smattering of officerholders
elsewhere in the state, mostly serving on library and school boards. However, two are members of municipal councils, one in the city of Galesburg (pop. 32,195), a progressive enclave near Peoria, and one in Carbondale (pop. 25,376), another smaller city which is dominated by Southern Illinois University (11,366 students). (Davis, an even larger college town in California, elected a Green Party candidate mayor, though his term ended two years ago.) It's a similar story elsewhere in the country for the Libertarians: commissioners, board members, city councilors, and a couple of mayors. (Officially, the largest town with a Libertarian mayor is Lago Vista, Texas [pop. 7,117], but the mayor of Crystal, Minnesota [pop. 22,151], although officially nonpartisan, is apparently a Libertarian in all but name.)
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons