If the Republican and Democratic parties were choices on Tinder, a whole lot people would have been swiping left to look for another option on Tuesday night.
Google searches for the words "Libertarian Party" exploded late Tuesday as Donald Trump won the Indiana GOP presidential primary in a landslide, and prompted his closest opponent, Ted Cruz, to suspend his campaign.
Tuesday night also saw Sen. Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in Indiana's Democratic primary, while still trailing her significantly in overall delegates nationally.
A chart on Google Trends indicating the volume of searches for Libertarian Party shows a relatively low level during most of the day, but a marked pickup in the early evening, and then a huge spike after 8 p.m.
That surge occurred as it became clear Trump and Sanders had won, and after Cruz effectively abandoned his bid for the White House. Similar spikes tied to the primary's outcome were seen Tuesday night in Google searches for "libertarian" and "move to Canada."
The term "Socialist Party" also saw several bumps during the night, but the change in volume was not as pronounced as searches related to "libertarian."
The Libertarian Party search surge, which was reported by the "Hit & Run" blog on the libertarian-oriented website Reason.com, suggests that some voters may be looking for a third-party alternative to voting for either Trump or likely Democratic nominee Clinton this fall. While some Republicans have indicated they will never vote for Trump, there is discomfort among many of them about casting a ballot for Clinton, who with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have long been bogeymen for the GOP.
The Libertarian Party's primary tenets are personal liberty — which includes support for abortion rights, gay rights, gun rights and privacy rights — as well as avid support for free-market economics. The party has become a haven for some former Republican free marketers who are turned off by the GOP's social conservatism.
Hit & Run noted that the Libertarian Party, which touts its ethos of "minimum government" and "maximum freedom" on its website, is set to select its presidential nominee in Orlando, Florida, during Memorial Day weekend.
Two of the highest-polling candidates have been Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico and 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate, and John McAfee, the computer programmer and entrepreneur who was also a person of interest in a slaying in Belize, the Reason.com blog said.
In 2012, Johnson won the most votes, by far, for any presidential nominee in the history of the Libertarian Party, when 1.27 million people cast their ballots for him. He finished third, behind President Barack Obama, and Republican Mitt Romney. But that tally represented a paltry 0.99 percent of all votes.
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