I have come to the conclusion that I cannot, in good conscience, vote for Donald Trump, vote for Hillary Clinton, or not vote at all. I am disillusioned with the idea that our elections are a game where my vote is a strategic way to stop the “other” party from winning, rather than a vote in favor of a decent candidate, and I want to help send the message to the establishment parties that continuing to put up, or accept, shoddy candidates will not be eternally rewarded. Yes, some decent candidates may have made it into the primaries, but the final choices are indicative of a serious problem: our election process is a circus and the best act wins. The rest of us lose. So I’m planning to vote for Gary Johnson.
Am I a Libertarian? By some definitions. By other definitions, absolutely not. “Full Libertarian” seems to be synonymous with “anarchist” in some circles, so I feel the need to give this disclaimer: I am not an anarchist. I believe in driver licenses and the FDA. My group of friends can self-govern well enough, for instance, but the people who are shooting each other throughout the country and the people on Twitter who think the U.S. is 2016 years old cannot.
I am a libertarian-leaning Republican whose “Proud to be a Republican” pin is currently buried in a box under mementos and shame.
I believe that, in general, the government that governs best is that which governs least.
I most want a government that will make taxes easy and leave me alone.
And I want to tell the Republicans, the Democrats, and the two-party system that it’s past time to put up or shut up.
So, unless something crazy happens, I’ll be voting for Gary Johnson this fall.
People are peculiarly dismissive of Gary Johnson. “He can’t win.” “He stuck out his tongue in that one interview.” “Doesn’t he believe [weird anarchist policy that he’s never mentioned, ever]?” “I can’t vote for him; he said [thing I’d immediately dismiss if Trump/Clinton said it].”
I believed it was “throwing away my vote” to vote for a third party when I was in the College Republicans during the McCain/Obama election. I was very excited to help, but my excitement faded as I waved signs and made phone calls for a guy about whom I could only say, “He’s better than Obama. I think.”
This year, it’s tremendously worse.
And this year, there’s a third-party candidate who has a shot at winning, largely because so many people are disgruntled. In fact, if everyone who said, “I’d vote for him, but he’ll never win” actually voted for him, there’s a good chance he would win.
“But that’s a vote for [Trump or Clinton]!” For those of you who are less idealistic than I am: What if you could pair up with someone of the “other” side who, like you, wants to vote for someone other than Trump or Clinton, but is afraid of burning his or her vote and “really” voting in favor of the “worse” candidate? Then the Republican won’t vote for the Republican, the Democrat won’t vote for the Democrat, and you can vote for someone else in peace, knowing your vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders or whoever wasn’t secretly a vote for Clinton/Trump/Scary Person. There is actually a service for that! Visit Burn My Vote (http://www.burnmyvote.org/) to sign up with one of your Facebook friends or a stranger somewhere in the U.S. You have no excuse anymore.
Thank you for reading, and have a nice election season.