On the Adam Smith Institute blog, Eamonn Butler points out that millions of people in the USA who vote Republican and Democrat nevertheless subscribe to values which are broadly ‘libertarian’.
And of course when you add in the millions who decline to vote at all not (just) because of apathy but because there is no party which really reflects their world view (and that may well include the US Libertarian Party), it does make you wonder at the disconnect between those numbers and what you see reflected in the media and political system.
I am often asked why so many libertarians/classical liberals/minarchists are averse to pursuing careers in politics and I usually reply that the question is like asking why so many honest people do not pursue careers in mugging and armed robbery.
This is why we are at an inherent disadvantage against statists when playing by their rules and why I have long suspected that the idea of small-state parties may be a waste of time*. The type of people who are attracted to politics are almost always psychologically predisposed to solutions which are force based as a preference to some social solution, particular as it is rare for force to be effectively directed back at them personally in a non-abstract way. As I have said before, people who go into politics generally have more in common with members of street gangs (although with less need for personal fortitude) both psychologically and morally than with most of the people who vote for them. Do Tory or Republican politicians really want to wield significantly less power over the nation when it is their turn in power compared to their Labour or Democrat counter-parts? It is very hard indeed to be a genuinely decent person and a politician.
* = I would be more than happy to be convinced I am wrong on this