Rare election points of view | Why I’m reluctantly voting for Gary Johnson
Gage Skidmore

Rare election points of view Why I’m reluctantly voting for Gary Johnson

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This is part of Rare’s series featuring different perspectives on who should become our next president.

This has been the worst election of my lifetime, precisely because the candidates are literally the worst possible versions of what you might expect from each party.

If Republicans’ biggest problem is that they will never survive long term as just an old white man party, Donald Trump has been the quintessential old white man candidate, turning off most groups outside his party’s traditional base the GOP might need to win the election (only recently have independents swung in Trump’s direction because his Democratic opponent is just that ridiculously bad).

Before joining Rare, I had spent the last few years working for Senator Rand Paul, his iconic father and laboring to make the Republican Party more libertarian—smaller government, less war, constitutionalism and more tolerance. Trump stands for bigger government (wants to spend more than his opponent), has a mixed and confusing foreign policy (right about the wrongness of our wars in Iraq and Libya, yet frighteningly hawkish on so much else), would tear the Bill of Rights to shreds (let us count the ways), and has turned off minorities and young people like no candidate in recent memory (record breaking, even).

Then there’s Trump’s racial rhetoric, misogyny and endorsement of sexual assault, but this column is only so long.

Which bring us to Hillary Clinton.

RELATED: I’m voting for Gary Johnson because it’s the only way to make my vote matter

The few things I admire about progressive Democrats—their desire to avoid unnecessary wars and to protect civil liberties—are practically non-existent in Mrs. Clinton. In fact, on those issues she more resembles the kind of Bush-Cheney era neoconservative the left once reviled, which is why so many of those types of Republicans are supporting the Democrat in this election.

So the faction I found most destructive in the Republican Party for the last 15 years, Hillary is now bringing over to her party. I suppose I should thank her for potentially fumigating the GOP, except for the fact that she might be president.

Hillary also might be the most corrupt presidential candidate in modern political history. Like Trump, I don’t even have time to get into Obamacare, her emails and other issues where she’s unforgivably awful.

Both major party candidates genuinely worry me in such a vast myriad ways that one’s immeasurable badness doesn’t clearly count out the other’s, so I’m remaining #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary until the bitter end.

Then there’s the Libertarian I’m actually going to vote for who has no chance of becoming president.

He sucks too.

But with all that said, if you break down the candidates by issues, I still agree with Johnson far more than I do Trump or Clinton. He is significantly distinct from both.

In June, I wrote that although Gary Johnson wasn’t a perfect libertarian—he’s wrong on some core issues and also problematic on others for conservatives like myself—that those deviations still shouldn’t be a problem for a third party candidate with the unique opportunity 2016 presented.

Now, a few days before the election, whether or not Johnson has been a pure libertarian still doesn’t matter. No one cares.

But whether Johnson has been an effective libertarian does matter—and the resounding answer is “no.”

RELATED: Why I’m voting for Gary Johnson

On paper, that the Libertarian Party could nominate two two-term Republican ex-governors from blue states with successful records—Johnson, a former New Mexico governor, and William Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, sounded like a pipe dream for any third party. You would also think that two men competent to hold high executive offices for 16 years combined might also be competent enough campaigners.

You would be wrong.

With the goal of getting 15 percent in the polls to make the debate stage, and thus, the Libertarian case to mainstream America, Johnson and his running mate enjoyed double digits at first but then decreased their numbers steadily every time Johnson stuck his foot in his mouth (which was many times).

Weld was a more competent campaigner, but seemed still too wedded to the political establishment to be an effective third party insurgent. At this point, he’s even basically stumping for Clinton. That’s unforgivable. The entire point of a third party is to offer an alternative to the Republicans and Democrats. If Weld were at the top of the ticket (and I say this as a libertarian who originally praised Johnson’s selection of Weld) the LP would not have my vote this year.

But with all that said, if you break down the candidates by issues, I still agree with Johnson far more than I do Trump or Clinton. He is significantly distinct from both.

Most Americans have no idea. That’s Gary Johnson’s fault. He made libertarians look bad. Cartoonish even.

But I will still vote for him for no other reason than he’s the only candidate remaining in this nightmare election my conscience will allow.


Jack Hunter is the Editor of Rare Politics. Follow him on Twitter @jackhunter74.


Rare election points of view | Why I’m reluctantly voting for Gary Johnson Gage Skidmore
Jack Hunter About the author:
Jack Hunter is the Editor of Rare Politics. Follow him on Twitter @jackhunter74.
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