The LIbDems will never recover, because there are too many Lefties knocking around
Yes, we all know that a protest party is going to lose out if they go into government. But the real reason the LibDems got slaughtered is because there are too many alternatives for Lefties to vote for: Green, SNP, Plaid, and Labour. This isn't going to change, meaning the wipeout is permanent
One of the few things the opinion polls got almost right at General Election 2015 was that the LibDems were going to do badly. Most observers thought they would do better than their ratings suggested. But the combination of doing a little bit worse than predicted along with the flawed first past the post system ended up consigning them to oblivion.
Everyone has hashed, rehashed and re-rehashed the argument that a protest party going into government would create an irresolvable paradox. No doubt that goes some way to explaining their disastrous showing.
But even if they hadn't been in government with the Tories, there's good reason for believing they'd have run into big problems anyway. Just look at the electoral landscape in the UK (minus the special case of Northern Ireland).
On the Right, all you have are the Tories and UKIP (and UKIP are not even necessarily Rightist).
But if you look at the other side of the political divide, here's what you've got: Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, and the LibDems themselves.
There just isn't enough space left for the LibDems to mark out any significant territory. The problem for Lefties is that there are too many of them. When it came to polling day, they ended up devouring each others' voter base.
Don't expect this to change, meaning the LibDems aren't just finished for today, they're finished for good.
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