Look to regional (independence) movements for third party growth in the US

A friend of mine recently commented on the need for a third political party. There are a few problems with this.

First, the US generally has a "winner take all" (non-proportional) vote system that naturally leads to two parties.

Second, by poll numbers, the Libertarian Party shows the most viability, but many true libertarians (small 'L') don't believe in voting and have no interest in politics. Good luck trying to get that crew to go toe-to-toe with the Democratic and Republican machines.

Third, the existing parties don't want competition, and have set up a number of procedural roadblocks to new parties. To motivate people to register and vote for a third party, it will take more than, "We're a better version of the Democrats/Republicans."

I think, however, people can get excited about a regional (independence) party. This trend is just getting started in the US.

For example, look at the number of Facebook "likes" for these regional/independence movements and their corresponding old-line party :

Texas Republican Party - 87,195 likes
Texas National Movement - 217,317 likes

Washington State Democratic Party - 24,093 likes
Cascadia Now - 18,809 likes

California Democratic Party - 38,196 likes
Yes California - 11,899

Of course, it takes more than a Facebook "like" to translate into political power, but things can change quickly. For example, the Scottish National Party (SNP) very quickly rose to prominence, especially when you look at the party affiliation of representatives sent to the central government in London. Within five years the SNP went from a tiny minority to absolute dominance.

UK General Elections (British Parliament)
2010 - 6 SNP seats of 59 total
2015 - 56 SNP seats of 59 total

Another hopeful sign is that young people especially are abandoning the old-line parties in droves. Large immigrant populations in the above states (TX, WA, CA) also translates into less devotion to faraway imperial DC.

The communication of the Internet and capability of powerful personal computers have also dramatically changed the power and value proposition of large central governments. We saw a similar revolution with the invention of the printing press in 1440 to Luther's posting of his 95 Theses in 1517 which challenged the centralized power of the Roman church.

The Internet allows for much more rapid change than the printing press, but it will take about a generation of "Internet-ready" adults to bring these changes to fruition.

I'm not sure how things will end up, but change is coming.