Why Am I Seeing Gary Johnson Signs?

Here is an indisputable fact: either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will win the presidency on November 6. Here is another: Gary Johnson will not. And one more: far more of those who will vote for Gary Johnson would vote for Mitt Romney than would vote for Barack Obama if Gary Johnson did not exist. Thus, a vote for Gary Johnson indisputably aids the election of the man least desirable to Gary Johnson supporters.

In a world with few certainties, one certainty is that voting for Gary Johns…

  1. Tobias Vaughn
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: diddoheadadt, the title of your post asks, “Why am I seeing Gary Johnson signs?” but the body of the post asks why people would vote for Johnson. These seem like two different questions to me.

    As Lake Mattamuskeet says,

     I could see myself having a Johnson bumpersticker but I’d be pulling the lever for R&R in Nov.

    Evidently there are people comfortable advertising the libertarian candidate without voting for him. This might seem odd to most people, but who said libertarian types weren’t a little odd?

    If I were to display a political sign in our neighborhood, it’d be a Gary Johnson sign. That would communicate support for a candidate other than Obama without attracting the same level of vandalism a Romney sign would be likely to attract in our neck of the woods. · 2 hours ago

    Suppose one is a libertarian who is uncomfortable with Romney but prefers Romney to Obama. Is it better to advocate voting for Johnson while secretly voting for Romney, or is it better to advocate voting for Romney while secretly voting for Johnson?

  2. Richard

    There are actually some people who are not for Romney as a second choice who are voting for Johnson. You might find that to be hard to square in terms of ideology, but there is some polling data that suggests that is the case. 

    Libertarians are ideologically closer to the Republicans than the Democrats, a lot of them however are culturally closer to the Democrats. 

    And there are some Liberals who are offended by the foreign policy of Obama, the use of drones and such, who are voting for Johnson. Connor Fredersdorf at the Atlantic is one of them. 

  3. Aodhan

    One reason why Johnson isn’t going to win the election is that decided Romney supporters are not going to vote for him.

    Agreed?

    That’s their voluntary choice.

    Agreed?

    So, the premise of the argument–that Johnson isn’t going to win–is true because of the voluntary choice of decided Romney supporters.

    Agreed?

    Decided Romney supports are responsible for their voluntary choice.

    Agreed?

    Now, there is no point in voting for Johnson because he’s not going to win, because of what the decided Romney voters are voluntarily doing and responsible for.

    Agreed?

    So a vote for Johnson, when made by someone who would otherwise vote for Romney, will take a vote away from Romney, and give one to Obama, because of what the decided Romney voters are voluntarily doing and responsible for.

    Agreed?

    So: why should Johnson supporters take all the blame for an Obama victory?

    Johnson supporters could just as easily argue that Romney supporters should take all the blame for an Obama victory. Were Romney not running, a lot of votes for Johnson wouldn’t be siphoned off.

    This post is barely concealed argumentum ad baculum against libertarians.

    Libertarians don’t need such abuse.

  4. Richard

    Aodhan,

    One reason Johnson is not going to win is there are not enough Libertarians to have a winning coalition and he doesn’t have the party infrastructure or the money to build one. If the Libertarians had the money and the infrastructure and more population and the Republicans did not, I would argue that religious or other conservatives would be wasting their votes supporting the Republicans. 

    The election is a binary choice whether you like it or not. Obama or Romney, neither of them are perfect. If you are a Libertarian, I would think Obama would be somewhat worse than Romney from that perspective. If they want to not waste their votes they should vote for Romney.

  5. James Of England
    Mendel

    Frozen Chosen:

    For those who say that Johnson will pull Obama votes?  He’s an ex-Republican for heaven’s sake! 

    I’m not so certain.  There are many of hardcore anti-war liberals who voted for Obama but are furious with him for not ending Gitmo or pulling out of Afghanistan and increasing drone strikes.  Together with the pro-pot crowd (if they make it to the polls at all), there could be a number of 2008 Obama voters who favor Johnson this year. · 7 hours ago

    What advantage does Johnson bring over Stein for these voters? Indeed, one of Johnson’s chief benefits to liberals is the excuse to ignore Stein while still covering third parties.

  6. James Of England
    Brandon Zaffini: ….

    I would contest the hidden assumption made by so many conservatives—the assumption that voting for Romney will bring about the best outcome. Oh? 

    So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to vote for true conservatives, and I’m going to prepare for cultural engagement. Cultural engagement with whom? Not the Democrats, actually, but with Republicans……. Please note how Republicans have presented liberals as the enemies of Medicare, while they are the true friends. Problem is, I don’t want Medicare for my grandchildren. Mark me down as uncooperative.

    You may charge me with not being adequately concerned about four more years of Democratic leadership. I would respond that many are not prepared for four more years of Republican leadership, not to mention the long-term consequences of these four years. Oh well. Let us forgive one another. ·

    Would you be happy with the Romney medicare reforms for your grandchildren, or will you only be happy when a party more radical than any of the current major or third parties takes over? If the latter, allow me to suggest reading about the success enjoyed by your opposite men on the left.

  7. dittoheadadt
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: diddoheadadt, the title of your post asks, “Why am I seeing Gary Johnson signs?” but the body of the post asks why people would vote for Johnson. These seem like two different questions to me.

    (I don’t know how to get rid of this box!)

    If I were to display a political sign in our neighborhood, it’d be a Gary Johnson sign. That would communicate support for a candidate other than Obama…

    Two things.  First, I noticed a handful of signs in my neighborhood (“Why am I seeing Gary Johnson signs?”) and it led me to wonder (“Why on God’s green earth would anyone vote for him when one of the other guys is definitely going to win?”).  I don’t know that they’re different questions as much as they’re two sides to the same coin.

    Second, the problem with planting Johnson signs despite the intent to vote for Romney is that the signs may encourage others (else, why are we planting signs in our yards?) to “follow their conscience” (I use that term loosely, very loosely) and vote Johnson as well.  In battleground states, that’s problematic.

  8. James Of England
    Aodhan:

    ……..

    So: why should Johnson supporters take all the blame for an Obama victory?

    Johnson supporters could just as easily argue that Romney supporters should take all the blame for an Obama victory. Were Romney not running, a lot of votes for Johnson wouldn’t be siphoned off.

    This post is barely concealedargumentum ad baculumagainst libertarians.

    Libertarians don’t need such abuse. ·

    This is a year zero argument, a problem all too common amongst Libertarians. It’s not Romney voters individually deciding to make it a two party race that makes it such. Even before Romney became governor, it was clear that the 2012 election would be a D/R race.

    If we start from scratch, there’s no reason other than Johnson’s performance in the Republican primaries to suggest that Johnson is the spoiler (although that performance makes it pretty clear to me that most potential L/R voters preferred other candidates). In the world we live in, though, the Republican party is not equivalent to the Libertarian (or Constitution, or Peace and Justice) Party.

    Libertarians aren’t receiving abuse when this argument is made, they’re denying reality when they refute it.

  9. dittoheadadt
    Mendel

    Alan Peugh: Third party voters deserve to be ridiculed.  The most successfull third party candidate was Ross Perot if I’m not mistaken.

    I disagree – third party candidates can be a useful way for certain voters to be heard.

    The root of the problem is our election system, which guarantees that there will always be only 2 viable candidates (a system which in no way resembles what the Framers wanted).

    Voters want choices, and voters want to be listened to.  If you don’t fit into the two molds currently set forth, at some point you will inevitably tire of being ignored.  Voting third party will always be a spoiler vote, but it may be the most effective way for some voices to be heard.

    “Heard” how? Perot was the most successful 3rd party candidate. What message of his resonates today, or ever did, even in 1992′s aftermath?

    Our “election system” is the world in which we live. It’s reality. Third-party voting is something, but it’s not reality.

  10. James Of England
    Richard: There are actually some people who are not for Romney as a second choice who are voting for Johnson. You might find that to be hard to square in terms of ideology, but there is some polling data that suggests that is the case. 

    Libertarians are ideologically closer to the Republicans than the Democrats, a lot of them however are culturally closer to the Democrats. 

    There’s an easy way to test this: What party was Johnson in as Governor? Whose primary did he run in? What party was 2008′s candidate, Bob Barr from? What party is his VP, Wayne Allyn Root supporting? Which party made a home for Ron Paul and David Koch? Which party provided the faithless elector that got the LP onto the record books, and who then gained the LP Presidential nomination? Which party have LP party chairmen been members of?

    When the Libertarian Party has appointed someone involved in major party politics, it has always been a Republican, never a Democrat, much like the Greens are a Democratic offshoot. The Liberty Caucus is all Republican. There is, as you surely know, enormous institutional overlap between the GOP and LP inconsistent with your claim.

  11. Guruforhire

    Here I was going all weak kneed in my support for Johnson, and someone has to go and start a thread of bigoted, childish, small-minded, and stupid nonsense, and I am starkly reminded why I checked out of the republican party.

  12. James Of England
    Brandon Zaffini: ….So if on Election Day I vote for conservatives across the board, yet I vote for a candidate other than Romney, then I’ll invoke excoriating criticism from my fellow conservatives. But why?

    I feel confident that you know the answer to this question. I agree with you that your support for Mandel (assuming you support him) acts as a small mitigation to your presidential vote, but you must know that Ohio’s Presidential vote matters considerably more to the country than any other Ohio election.

    Why is there more negative energy exerted against THAT than Romney….

    If you think that there’s been more Ricochet anger against Goode, (who I assume you’re voting for, given your stated positions) than against Romneycare, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Other than Romneycare, this is a collection of absurd claims; SSM was introduced by judicial order; the suggestion that the Massachusetts executive branch has the ability to ignore the judicial branch is a fever swamp myth, not too different from the belief that Romney passed the 1981 judicial decision mandating abortion coverage. Romney’s spending “increase” requires you to pretend that the value of fiat currency is stable….

  13. James Of England
    Brandon Zaffini: A few more points.

    Obama is terrible. Having him for another four years would be even more terrible. But how did we get Obama? Answer: we ended up with Obama because of big government conservatism—the “compassionate” conservatism of George W. Bush.

    Remember how much conservatives loathed Clinton? Now we look back at Clinton with comparative longing, but still, how did we end up with the gross and bad Clinton? Because King George the First raised taxes despite his “read my lips” pledge. Squish conservatism leads to bad liberalism, of necessity. And it does so in two main ways.

    Your view is that people fighting for conservatism lost some of their battles, so it is without cost to skip straight to the defeat? Thanks to those squish conservatives, we have a Supreme Court that takes originalism seriously for the first time since FDR stacked the Court with Progressives, a win that will be obliterated if people in your position take the position you advocate; giving Obama another two SCOTUS seats would mean an unprecedentedly Liberal court for decades to come.  The last time that that kind of liberal triumph was achieved was when Goldwater headed the GOP ticket.

  14. Richard
    James Of England

    There’s an easy way to test this: What party was Johnson in as Governor? Whose primary did he run in? What party was 2008′s candidate, Bob Barr from? What party is his VP, Wayne Allyn Root supporting? Which party made a home for Ron Paul and David Koch? Which party provided the faithless elector that got…

    I heard someone on a talk radio show call in and say he was going to vote for Obama because he wasn’t sure Romney was really a true Conservative. The world is a scary place outside the paywalls of Ricochet  People are not always rational when it comes to politics. I’m sure there are a lot of young people who might think themselves Libertarian because they like drug legalization and are against war and are otherwise ambiguous in their other views. Is a Republican going to be their second choice? I doubt it. Look at Bill Maher, he used to think of himself as a Libertarian, now look at him.

    BTW, there was some polling data a little while ago in New Mexico that showed Romney closer when Johnson was included as an option than without him.

  15. Richard
    Guruforhire: Here I was going all weak kneed in my support for Johnson, and someone has to go and start a thread of bigoted, childish, small-minded, and stupid nonsense, and I am starkly reminded why I checked out of the republican party. · 21 minutes ago

    Bigoted? 

    How?

    Are you sure you are a Libertarian? Most serious Libertarians I know are really analytical people, they are not really swayed by the emotional stuff. 

  16. James Of England
    Frozen Chosen: Gary Johnson is pulling 5% here in Minnesota and Romney’s only behind by 5-6% so the Libertarians could really screw things up if this election is close.

    For those who say that Johnson will pull Obama votes?  He’s an ex-Republican for heaven’s sake!  Please, don’t insult my intelligence. · 8 hours ago

    If you believe Nate Silver’s numbers, current polling suggests that Nader us in Colorado. He also seems likely to hand the election in Virginia, Nevada, and/ or New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin. With the numbers as close as this, there are numerous opportunities for Johnson to swing the election. Goode also stands a good chance of playing a decisive role.

    If Libertarians win the election for Obama, a strong message will be sent; in the future, the GOP should select pro-SSM, pro-choice, drug friendly candidates. The message, while loud, would not be strong enough to motivate the GOP Primary electorate, which strongly disagrees with the Libertarian position on these things.

    It would thus be an extremely expensive, totally useless, message.

  17. James Of England
    Richard

    James Of England

    I heard someone on a talk radio show call in and say he was going to vote for Obama because he wasn’t sure Romney was really a true Conservative. The world is a scary place outside the paywalls of Ricochet  People are not always rational when it comes to politics……

    BTW, there was some polling data a little while ago in New Mexico that showed Romney closer when Johnson was included as an option than without him. · 7 minutes ago

    I agree that there are many eccentric individuals out there, and that there are many liberal institutions (including the PPP poll you cite) that advocate for the idea that the LP is electorally neutral. The weight of numbers, though, is for people to vote for politically similarly minded people.

    Do you think that Republicans or Democrats are more likely to agree with this statement from Gary Johnson during the primaries?

    “I’m under the belief that only Republicans are capable of solving the problem that exists right now, which is the collapse of our economy”

  18. dittoheadadt
    Guruforhire: Here I was going all weak kneed in my support for Johnson, and someone has to go and start a thread of bigoted, childish, small-minded, and stupid nonsense, and I am starkly reminded why I checked out of the republican party.

    Stating it doesn’t make it so.  Please identify the “bigoted, childish, small-minded, and stupid” comments.  And rebut the ones that aren’t.

  19. dittoheadadt
    Richard

     

    I heard someone on a talk radio show call in and say he was going to vote for Obama because he wasn’t sure Romney was really a true Conservative.

    That is so irrational that it’s likely the caller was a Dem plant. What does Rush call them?  Seminar callers?  It happens.

  20. Donald Todd

    What Gary Johnson is offering is so important to some that they are willing to pull the handle for him.  Since I am pro-life, I do understand that sentiment, even if Gary Johnson does not offer that sort of appeal to me personally.

    A pull of the handle for GJ is not a pull of the handle for BO, so at worst this is a push that is neither harmful to those voting for Romney or beneficial to the Dems.  

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