The results of the 2012 elections for the three biggest non-major parties (Libertarian, Green and Constitution) clearly show the LP is strongest of three as of right now. And that’s not just because Gary Johnson broke 1% of the electorate or gained the LP’s largest vote total in a Presidential election since 1980. Across the board in elections for the Senate and House there were many LP candidates who finished with over one percent of the vote as well and in some cases much higher than that. Indications are the LP cost the GOP at least nine seats in Congress and if one combines votes for Gary Johnson plus votes for Ron Paul in the GOP primaries of Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, it seems the LP’s influence was there on the Presidential race as well. Combine these good results with the fact that culturally the country may well be going in a more libertarian direction (at least amongst whites: Romney carried young whites 55-40 percent) and LP finds itself in its strongest spot since the early 1980s. If they can continue to build their party in places where said candidates ran strongest (places like Colorado, Indiana and Georgia for example) and continue to identify young, they could become a long-term threat to the GOP. That is, if they avoid the kind of destructive infighting which plagued the party the last time they were in this spot. Finding someone who can fill Gary Johnson’s leadership will be their next big step.
For Greens and the Constitution Party, the results were not positive. The partisan nature of the election took votes away from both parties for their potential bases on the Left and Right. Only consolation for the Greens is they did win state legislative seat in Arkansas. Neither party’s base is getting any younger. However, the future is not completely bleak for either.
With Obama ensconsed for a second term, the Greens can better their activism for their agenda, especially if they hook-up with larger groups on the Left like the Occupy Movement for example. They don’t have to worry about “costing” Obama anything. Remember, the Greens greatest period of growth took place during Clinton’s second term, culmination with Ralph Nader’s 2000 campaign. Back then, it was the Greens who were the most powerful of the nation’s non-major parties.
The Constitution Party finds itself in a position to take advantage of the ferment going on the Republican Party. If GOP decides to jettison its anti-immigration wing or make other changes displeasing to conservatives, it could pick up those groups by emphasizing their concerns. Even with Goode’s disappointing showing, the CP is still the largest conservative alternative to the GOP. And they can get larger if other such parties who are smaller or not as successful join with them