One key reason why the gales of competition haven't swept away our 19th-century political parties the way they have our 19th-century business empires is that Democrats and Republicans generally write the rules governing (and constricting) any and all would-be competitors. Or as Libertarian Party National Chair and Phoenix mayoral candidate Nicholas Sarwarktold me at the Texas Tribune Festival on September 27, "The two old parties cheat with both hands. Always have, always will."
In Sarwark's Arizona, for example, Republicans rammed through a law requiring third parties to collect signatures not just from a given percentage of their own members, but from political independents as well. "The Republicans, to get their candidates on the ballot, would have to get about 10 percent more signatures than they used to," Sarwark explained. "The Libertarians, to get their candidates on the ballot, would have to get about like 20 times more signatures than we used to. They basically changed the denominator."..