I’ve already argued elsewhere why the argument that voting for a candidate who “can’t win” is asinine, so please don’t get yourself worked up trying to make that point here. In any case, I live in California, where Obama has a 14-point lead. If you live in non-swing state and you’re voting based on something other than your principles, then you are an idiot. If, on the other hand, you’re in a swing state and you honestly believe that your vote is going to be the deciding factor in the election, feel free not to read the rest of this. I’m not going to convince you of anything.
For those who are still around: if you still need a tangible, real world reason to vote for a third party candidate other than the fact that it’s the right thing to do, consider this: if Gary Johnson gets 5% of the popular vote, it will break the two-party monopoly on political power in the U.S. Whether you are liberal, conservative, or libertarian, that is objectively a good thing. More options mean more accountability and a more representative government. And yes, I would be arguing that this is a good thing if Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson or even Roseanne Barr were on the verge of getting 5% of the vote. But they aren’t. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, is.
But I’m not voting for Gary Johnson for any calculated political reason. I’m voting for him because in my opinion he is unquestionably the best candidate for the office. Johnson grew a one-person handyman business into one of New Mexico’s largest construction companies. He was elected governor of New Mexico in 1994 in a landslide despite running as a Republican in a heavily Democratic state. He subsequently cut the 10% annual growth in the budget. He won reelection in 1998, winning by a large margin again, continuing to fight raising taxes and bureaucracy. Despite his penny-pinching, he left office with his state having improved infrastructure, better schools, and more efficient, less costly healthcare. Gary Johnson has more executive experience and more experience running a jobs-creating business than either Romney or Obama. Oh, he’s also climbed Mount Everest.
Gary Johnson’s platform is built around issues that Romney and Obama are scared to mention, such as the abysmal failure of the war on drugs, the codification of the president’s right to indefinitely detain American citizens, America’s arbitrary, immoral and counterproductive use of drones, the continuation and expansion of the Patriot Act and Obama’s secret list of people he plans to have killed. These are not fringe issues. These issues relate to the very nature of a free society. If we give the government the ability to invade our privacy and detain or even kill people as they see fit, with no trial or oversight, we will soon be living in a fascist state.
The size and power of government has increased dramatically under both Republican and Democrat presidents recently. The national debt increased nearly $5 trillion under Bush and by another $5 trillion under Obama, having recently surpassed GDP. The debt continues to grow at over a trillion dollars per year while the economy barely budges. If we keep spending at the current rate for a few more years, our fiscal situation will be right where Greece’s was when that country collapsed. If interest rates jump, things could get worse much quicker. There’s no Germany around to bail us out. If the US goes down, it takes the rest of the world with it. And if you’re counting on closing the budget gap by “making the rich pay their fair share,” note that the much-vaunted “Buffet Rule” would raise just $5 billion per year. That’s 0.4% of the gap. You could seize all of the assets of every billionaire in the U.S. and you’d just barely close the budget deficit (and you’d still have over $16 trillion in debt). The problem isn’t low taxes; it’s excessive spending.
I realize that for a lot of you, your eyes glaze over when you read about GDP and deficits and interest rates. It’s a lot easier to evaluate a candidate’s stance on abortion or health care reform or gay marriage (not that there’s any significant policy difference between Romney and Obama on these issues, as far as I can tell). But let me put this bluntly: if the U.S. economy implodes in ten years because we’ve borrowed so much money that we can’t make the interest payments, you are going to look back nostalgically on a time when we felt we had the luxury to worry about such things. There’s nothing like a worldwide economic collapse to put things in perspective.
We can end the cycle of wasteful spending, crony capitalism, endless war and trampling on civil liberties, but not by voting for one of the candidates whose parties have colluded to put those very policies in place. And that’s why I’m voting for Gary Johnson.