Third parties in the American political system annoy the crap out of me. I mean, sure, you have the right to join any political party you choose, but come on. Of all the third parties out there I take issue with, Libertarians aggravate me more than anything. The Libertarian Party has become that cool new fad. I like to think of them more as your annoying hipster Republicans, an indie political party that just screams rebellion. Congratulations: You’ve rebelled against conventional politics, but you have effectively tossed your vote aside.

My biggest gripe with members of the Libertarian Party is that they choose to vote for a party that will never get elected. Sure this is a common criticism, but it’s true. They might win a seat here and there as mayor of some podunk town, or maybe even a spot on the state legislature, but the Libertarians will never be a competitive party no matter how much its followers may want it to be. Our system just isn’t designed to work that way. Because we elect our government officials based on a plurality, also known as a “winner-take-all” system, our nation is doomed to a two-party system forever. If a third party gained any significant momentum in the United States, it would be too geographically split to realistically band together and vote. Or the political parties in power would redraw district lines to split support, preventing the third party from ever getting enough strength to elect a candidate. Sorry kids, it’s just the way things are.

Because our nation only has two viable political parties, these two groups do what they can to incorporate all kinds of new values. Democrats and Republicans are known to political scientists as “big tent” parties. Both parties try to pull groups – labor, the religious, minority groups – under their tent by giving support to their cause. The beliefs of the Libertarian Party are nothing ne. In fact, their beliefs generally receive support from either the Democratic or Republican parties as it is, so unless you believe exactly what Libertarians say, there is no reason to join their party. If you care about one issue over another (as most do), you’ll choose one of the two political parties that’s actually going to get something accomplished, rather than just whining about how much our current system sucks.

A lot of the time, people join the Libertarian Party without really knowing what it stands for. Sure, the party mostly is socially liberal and fiscally conservative, but there is way more to it than that. Libertarians want the government out of your life completely. No taxes and very little government regulation. To them, this is a way to effectively restore pure civil rights to all Americans. Now, that’s all well and good, but I think we can all agree we need just a little regulation in our lives, even to protect our civil liberties. What’s more, the party has some wildly unpopular views, like rolling back labor regulations and doing away with all social welfare programs. I’m a big fan of smaller government just like the next conservative, but I never said I wanted to completely do away with regulation. I think most people don’t.

The Libertarian Party is for those who aren’t ballsy enough to be a real Republican, but who can still see through the Democrats’ crap. You might think you can change the course of American politics by signing up for a third party, but you’re better off never leaving the house on Election Day. I promise you’ll get a lot more accomplished. If you truly believe every idealistic, impossible view the Libertarian Party has to offer, then by all means join up. They’re happy to take whomever they can get. The good news is that the Libertarians tend to side with the Republicans as it is. My advice is to go with the party that’s actually going to get something done. Put your ego aside and realize Republicans aren’t as evil as liberals make them out to be. If you have any common sense, you certainly won’t be disappointed.