September 26, 2016

Voting the lesser evil is still a vote for evil

Going into this election cycle, I was hoping that either Rand Paul or Bernie Sanders would end up being elected as our next president. Unfortunately, Paul was an afterthought in the GOP primary, and Sanders was sabotaged by his own party. According to FiveThirtyEight polling, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the most unpopular candidates in the past 40 years. The thought of voting for either one of these candidates makes my stomach turn.

Because of that, I have been looking into the candidacies of libertarian party nominee Gary Johnson and green party nominee Jill Stein. I see this as a rational decision, but many people do not. My democratic friends lecture me that I am going to get Trump elected. My republican friends scream that I am going to get Clinton elected.

I reject that sort of thinking. A vote for Johnson is a vote for Johnson, and a vote for Stein is a vote for Stein. Why should I vote for a candidate I do not like because I am afraid the worse evil will win?

I am somewhat between a liberal and libertarian politically. While I do not agree with all of Johnson’s positions, I have decided to vote for the former New Mexico governor this November. I am on board with Johnson’s positions on ending the wars, cutting the bloated defense budget, repealing the Patriot Act, implementing criminal justice reform, balancing the budget, installing term limits for Congress and ending crony capitalism and corporate welfare.

The biggest issue that scares me about Clinton and Trump is foreign policy. Trump’s rhetoric on Muslims, Hispanics, African Americans, building a border wall, bringing back torture, and “bombing the shit” out of our enemies is scary. His refusal to rule out using nuclear weapons is downright insane. However, Trump has alienated the GOP establishment by suggesting less foreign intervention and peaceful relations with Russia.

On the war and peace issue, Clinton is actually worse than Trump. During her time as first lady, senator and secretary of state, she advocated for war or regime change in Bosnia, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Honduras, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. She advocated for arming the Syrian rebels and a creating a no-fly zone during the Democratic debates. Clinton referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as “Hitler” during a 2014 speech at the University of California. I doubt many liberals voting for Clinton want to restart the Cold War like she does.

Johnson advocates for a foreign policy championed by Thomas Jefferson. Peace, trade, and friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none. The United States is going broke trying to be the world’s policeman. Despite all the debt and sacrifices by our military, the Middle East is worse off because of our involvement. The main driver of terrorism and the refugee crisis is our actions in the Middle East. Johnson realizes we must stop bombing and invading sovereign nations and put an end to arming rebels to topple regimes we do not like.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) gave Johnson the highest rating of any candidate during the 2012 election. Johnson favors marriage equality, reproductive rights for women, marijuana legalization, ending domestic spying, and ending racial profiling. Trump selected social conservative Mike Pence as his running mate. Clinton did not come out for marriage equality until three years ago, and she did not favor rescheduling marijuana for medical use until challenged by Sanders in the primaries.

Johnson has reasonable ideas on many hot button issues this country is facing today. He wants to allow undocumented workers to come out of the shadows by removing the red tape for obtaining green cards. He is for reforming the criminal justice system that has left us with the largest prison population in the world.

Unlike some libertarians, Johnson is reasonable on regulations and the economy. He does not want to abolish Social Security and Medicare or completely remove the safety net. While he wants to downsize the federal government, but does not want to eliminate it. Johnson acknowledges climate change is a real concern and proposed a fee on polluters. Consider that Trump denies that climate change exists, and Clinton sold fracking technology around the world as secretary of state.

The only concern I have about Johnson is his stance on trade. I have no problem with trade, but his conflicting statements on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) raises concerns with me. The TPP is much more about crony capitalism than it is trade. That said, Clinton previously favored the deal, and Trump’s businesses have benefited from offshoring jobs.

I do not feel guilty about casting a vote for Governor Johnson. He is an honest guy who sticks to talking about issues instead of mudslinging. He is not a career bought-and-paid-for politician. He is not a loud mouth jerk who has bought off politicians. Why reward corruption, lies and bad policy? If we keep succumbing to the lesser of two evils, we are going to end up with an election between Ted Nugent and Kanye West.

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  • Shanana Smith

    I am with you! Former Democrat for Johnson, and no one can make me feel guilty about voting for what is right for our country right now. Our Democrat and Republican friends will have to decide on their own which they love more, their party or their country.