And, in this election, is it acceptable to vote for a candidate based on principle even though that may be helping another candidate win? Let’s put it another way: does my vote for Gary Johnson help install Hillary onto the throne?
Well, this concept is first of all based upon false premises: 1) that there are only two legitimate candidates; 2) we ought to do everything we can to keep a particular “boogey man” (or woman) out of office and 3) A vote for X is somehow a vote for Y, when clearly a vote for X is a vote for X.
And of course, we must dispense with the stigma that third parties are illegitimate. It is a special kind of hilarious hypocrisy for one to say that Gary Johnson isn’t a legitimate candidate, because this implies that the criminal and the has-been reality TV star are somehow good, legitimate candidates.
Remember, only something like 9% of the voting population chose the nominees for both parties. How on earth is that legitimate?
The rhetoric on both sides is the same: Yes, Hillary is bad, but think of how bad Trump will be! Yes, Trump is bad, but think of how bad Hillary can be!
Isn’t it unfortunate that the only positive argument you can offer for the support of a candidate, is that the alternative is worse?
It is this cyclical and endless stigma against third parties which guarantees the continued dominance of one of the conventional parties, and along with it the guarantee of the status quo.
Anyway, there has been a lot of discouragement on the part of leftist columnists and writers to those that are looking into voting third party; which is something I find altogether odd. The spirit of the left wing has always tended to the radical. Now, they are shilling for a candidate which is, save for a few artificial stances, basically the embodiment of the center, or even the right wing. What strange times we live in!
The right is not above these childish tendencies either. To gather into submission those easily frightened foot soldiers of the Republican party, and they remind us that there is a vacancy on the supreme court and that Hillary’s America would somehow be more disastrous than Trump’s America, and how we’re on the brink, we’ve hit rock bottom and so on. It’s the same over dramatic cliches that we have been hearing for decades. It’s easy, it’s convincing and most of all people are able to avoid taking responsibility for the sham of democracy they have been perpetuating.
If you have genuine, profound disagreements with the third party candidate, I understand perfectly why you won’t support them. But if you have profound disagreements with the nominee of either of the American parties, but refuse to support a third party because, in your opinion, they have “no chance” well, that is just shameful. That’s not how democracy is supposed to work.
Remember, Gary Johnson is on the ballot in all fifty states. He has a growing chance of being on the debate stage. How is he not a legitimate candidate, like the others? Why is he less deserving of your support, than the others?
And as for the libertarians?
There has been of course a lot of talk of growing the ideology of libertarianism in the era of Trump and Clinton.
As an ideology? There is worry that political refugees could bring ideas that are contradictory to the platform of the libertarian party, thus undermining it’s integrity. To me, this is a legitimate concern. However, I think we ought to make a distinction.
There is all the difference between being a part of a movement, and merely supporting it.
What I mean by this is, we ought to be somewhat wary of who gets involved in the machinery of the movement. (Not so wary as to scare off potential valuable additions, so this is really all such a delicate thing.) However, we need not be so picky when it comes to sympathizing with the movement.
To be a member of the party, one ought to be a libertarian. But there is no need to be a libertarian in order to vote for libertarians in general elections, after all.