The real reason I’m voting for Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson

Like a number of libertarian-leaning voters I am planning to cast my ballot for Gary Johnson in a few weeks.  There are a couple of reasons for this, but none more important to me personally than the fact that America is in dire need of an alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties.  Every four years these two behemoths go at each other’s throats over mostly fringe issues, and we’re all supposed to pretend that we are really choosing between two different people.  In reality, on most issues, there is scant difference.  So given the chance to vote for a legitimate contender like Johnson, it is simply too good a chance to turn down.

But I also realize that no-third party candidates will be President this year, so I decided to take a look at who was running in several lower-level elections for my county in Pennsylvania.  In four elections — specifically Attorney General, Auditor General, State Treasurer and U.S. Senator, there is a Libertarian Party candidate.  But when I began to search for information on these candidates, not a single one had a website beyond a bare-bones Facebook page. As much as I would like to vote third-party in these elections, I can’t really do so because I don’t know anything about the people running.  And I simply cannot take any candidate seriously when they don’t have a website in 2012.  That to me represents the bare minimum in promotion and makes me extremely wary.

So it’s pretty clear to me that the Libertarian Party, at least in its current form, either is not able to field serious lower-level candidates, or simply doesn’t want to.  And this to me is tragic.  The two major parties have led us to $16 trillion in debt, endless war, and government that intrudes in nearly every element of our lives.  I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.  We’ve all been led to believe that the vast spectrum of political thought needs to be expressed in red vs. blue, left vs. right.  But this is simply not the case.  There are countless people who fall somewhere in between these poles, or somewhere outside of the whole paradigm.  America sorely needs more choices; in any market, more options are always better.  We intuitively know this in everything but politics, it seems.

The question becomes, what can be done to change this broken system?  To be sure, the system is massively stacked against third parties on nearly every level.  We’re talking about a corrupt system of duopoly that is empowered by powerful interests on both sides.  Much as the two parties pretend they are opponents, when it comes to denying choice in elections, they are 100% in league.  To any voter who does not join Team Elephant or Team Donkey, you’re pretty much out in the cold.  You can suck it up and vote for one of the two big parties, but you’re still only voting for the lesser of two evils.  You’re certainly not going to change anything by doing that.

This election, though, we have a chance to begin the process of change.  I’m not saying by any means that this will be a short or easy process.  As I said, there are strong forces that will do everything in their power to prevent the rise of other voices.  But it is a start.  By sticking strong and refusing to settle for one evil or the other, we are taking a big step towards transforming the corrupt system that denies millions the right to a voice in government.  We can send a message to the big parties that, when given a credible alternative to big government, we will take it.  And we also send a message to the Libertarian Party that, if it simply offers a serious choice, there are plenty of people who will jump at the chance to vote third party.  If it can start doing this on a lower level, meaningful victories can start happening and something real can be built.

America can simply not survive if it keeps going down the path the two parties are both leading us.  Both parties want to maintain and grow a vast social welfare state, continue wars without end, borrow trillions from China, impinge on civil liberties at every turn, put millions in jail for non-violent offenses, and generally make all of us reliant on government.  They both have records that, in a sane world, would be things to be ashamed of.  America is better than the parties we have and the politicians we settle for.  For all of our futures, we need to stand together with people of all stripes who want other options, even if we strongly disagree.  This election will not be won by a third-party candidate - but it can be the start of something bigger.  And that’s why I’m saying no to the two big parties and voting for Gary Johnson.

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