Breaking into the bi-partisan race is tough for a lot of reasons, not least of which being that no one wants to go first. If a libertarian gets elected running as a Republican or Democrat there is enormous pressure to stay with the party. Defecting isn’t even an option for many elected representatives. Partially because it would be seen as a betrayal of the party that financed their bid. Deciding to change party registration and join the Libertarian Party is a big deal. Now, for the first time in its history, the Libertarian Party has an elected State Senator and State Representative.
This year John Moore, a Nevada State Representative, left the Republican Party to become a Libertarian formally. He had already been voting libertarian and was one in all but name. However
the new label is extremely important because it conveys that libertarians are more than just an ideology. We are a viable political party. Having elected representatives at the state level is a major hurdle that only one non bi-partisan party has made it over. Moore became the first Libertarian statewide elected official in 20 years. In November he'll be up for re-election as a Libertarian.
Shortly before the LP National Convention, Nebraska State Senator Laura Ebke also left the Republican Party. Although the Libertarian Party has had an elected State Representative in New Hampshire in the past, this is the first time they can lay claim to a State Senator. In her statement, Ebke cited her frustration with her Republican colleagues for ignoring civil liberties. She was first elected in 2014 and is currently serving a four year term. She will be up for re-election as a Libertarian candidate in 2018.
The courage of these 2 individuals in risking their seats by switching to the Libertarian Party lays the groundwork for a historical shift in American Politics. The Republican and Democrat parties will not take this lightly and will surely run intense campaigns against these third party insurgents as they begin to take the LP more seriously. They do not want other representatives to follow in Moore and Ebke’s footsteps, for obvious reasons. With this precedent, and the two parties unfavorable nominees, Gary Johnson's polling at 10% nationally, may make this the year that dozens of representatives change their political affiliation.