On November 6th I wish a man like Libertarian Party nominee, Gary Johnson was going to be elected President of the United States. I wish that he was joined by like minded members of Congress and that we could begin immediately dismantling the federal bureaucracy that is strangling this nation. I also wish I was six four with a 105 mile per hour fastball.
On the morning of November 7th, either Barrack Obama or Mitt Romney is going to be elected president. Gary Johnson has no shot, and anyone that tells you different is stupid, delusional, or naïve. You may not like it, but it is the same as not liking Hurricane Sandy. Hate it all you want, but there is nothing you can do to stop it. Given that; Libertarians have only four choices when voting for President; Obama, Romney, Johnson, or No Vote. Let’s look at each one.
Let’s dismiss “No Vote” out of hand. If you are reading this, you care about this country and your vote is the one thing you can do to make a difference.
As for voting for Obama, there is little to attract a Libertarian. Yes, I understand on social issues he might be closer to you. But, his record on gun control is 180 degrees of yours, his record on foreign policy hardly mirrors what Libertarians stand for, and most importantly he is the anti-Christ to a Libertarian who wants smaller government and a government that leaves people alone. A Libertarian who votes for Obama must be a single issue voter, and might as well register as a Democrat.
I can hear the hard core Libertarians yelling; “There is only one choice! Vote for Gary Johnson!”
I am a firm believer in that voting for your party, straight down the line, is the way to go. However, with the exception of a handful of state offices, Libertarians can’t be elected. Being a Libertarian is tough. It’s like being a Navy Seal; there are only a few that are up to the standards. Libertarians believe that you take out a loan for a house, you pay it back. No bailouts. If you get sick, you should have either savings or your own insurance. The government has no part in it. When life kicks you in the teeth, the Libertarian carves his own dentures. This rugged individualistic attitude does not attract enough people to get a Libertarian candidate elected, in most cases. Sorry, but that is the way it is. Gary Johnson is not going to win. It won’t be close.
Now I hear those same Libertarians scream
“I don’t care! I’m sending a message to those bastards!”
In the election of 1912, former President Teddy Roosevelt, after not getting the 1912 Republican nomination mounted a third party campaign to win the presidency. Roosevelt was very popular; he had the experience, and was after all, president just four short years ago. Roosevelt did not like the direction William Howard Taft had taken the country in the years since Roosevelt stepped down. He wanted to president again and then he would fix everything. The result of the election?
The Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson, received only 42% of the popular vote. A truly dismal showing that should have resulted in a humiliating defeat. But Taft and Roosevelt split the Republican vote, and Wilson won state after state, becoming president in an Electoral College landslide, 435-96.
How about in 1992 when incumbent George Bush senior squared off against an unknown governor from Arkansas? Bill Clinton received 43% of the popular vote. Again, meaning that the majority of people didn’t want him as president. John McCain received a higher percent of the vote when he lost to Obama in 2008. But, H. Ross Perot siphoned off almost 19% of the popular vote. Clinton won the electoral vote 370-168. Perot did not win a single state, meaning he received exactly zero electoral votes.
Then we have this example, one which is much more comparable to our situation this year. In 2000 we had George W Bush and Al Gore competing for the office of President. Running as a third party candidate is Ralph Nader. The election comes down to Florida. Whoever wins Florida gets their electoral votes and becomes President of the United States. George Bush gets 2,912,790 votes. Al Gore gets 2,912,253 votes. A difference of just 537 votes. Ralph Nader gets 97,488 votes. It is widely believed, on both sides of the aisle, that most of Ralph Nader’s votes would have gone to Al Gore.
What do all of these third party candidates have in common? None of them had a shot at being elected and all of them swayed the election in a direction that the majority of their supporters disagreed with.
So, what is the moral of this story? Two points. Yes, your vote really does matter. Second, if you live in a swing state like Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, Florida or the others, and you vote for Gary Johnson, the message you are sending is “Four more years! Four more years!’ Because that is what you are doing.
Most Libertarians are much closer to the ideas and values of the Republican Party. It is no accident that Libertarians Ron Paul and his son, Rand Paul are serving under the Republican flag. They both realize that if you want to be in the game you have to pick one of the two sides, and then make changes from within.
Now if you live in Texas, or New York, or California, by all means vote for Gary Johnson. Those states are decided and a large Libertarian showing will get the attention of both sides.
I know you, as a staunch Libertarian, might have to hold your nose to vote for Romney, but in the end you have to ask yourself “Who is going to take more of my rights away? You can be ideologically pure (Gary Johnson) or you can be free (Romney). In this election, you can’t have both.