Recently an undecided voter, now I’m decided: for Gary Johnson, former New Mexico Governor, the newly nominated Libertarian candidate.
I cannot give Hillary my sacred vote, and hence endorsement. After all her scandals (I haven’t forgotten “Travelgate,” smearing honest civil servants to replace them with her toadies), her latest response on the e-mail stuff is appalling. Pity she wouldn’t give “The Speech Hillary Won’t Give,” that I wrote for her. And her recent swerve left is both dishonest and wrong.
Republicans justify rallying behind Trump by casting Hillary as the Devil. But she’s an angel compared to him. I’ve criticized demonizing political foes, but make an exception for Trump. He’s a bad man. Vile. A monster. With an ego already out of control, giving him the presidency would be disastrous. To thwart the Devil, Republicans would unleash Godzilla. At least Satan has some human characteristics. Thomas Friedman, in a great recent column, rightly says the GOP should declare moral bankruptcy.
But enough negativity. Fortunately there is a third option. Gary Johnson offers a positive vision that I’m proud to support – the vision of America’s founding ideals – personal liberty and responsibility, an economy based not on crony capitalism but free competition, and inclusiveness and openness, to people and to global commerce. This has made America great. Shutting our borders to people and trade would wreck it.
Johnson’s libertarianism isn’t actually radical; to the contrary, he’s in fact the most centrist candidate, with policies that generally are serious, responsible, and reasonable. I don’t agree with every detail, but it’s a welcome contrast to Hillary’s pandering populism and Trump’s ignorant vileness. Johnson is the thinking person’s candidate. If only people would think enough.
One point I did not discuss in my “undecided” blog post is the Kantian challenge in any moral quandary: what if everyone did the same as you? Well, if everyone voted for Johnson, the outcome would be great. But more realistically, the question is what if a lot of people vote for him?
Conventional wisdom says he’ll take votes from Trump, because libertarianism is closer to traditional Republican principles. But those principles have nothing to do with Trump’s candidacy, so conventional wisdom is out the window. The real divide now is between civic sanity and brainless yahooism. By splitting the sane vote, Johnson could help Trump.
Yet one shouldn’t be swayed by what other voters might do. That’s unpredictable; and the point of voting is not to win, but to register one’s views. Johnson is a great candidate who stands for the right things. And voting for Johnson is being true to myself.
With the GOP hopelessly broken, Friedman yearns for the emergence of a “New Republican party,” a responsible and principled center-right party. It would actually represent the electorate’s biggest segment. The institutional obstacles are great. But maybe, just maybe, Trump will manage to finally burn down the old house, in an electoral cataclysm, so something new can rise from the ashes. Gary Johnson’s Libertarian party might be its embryo.