Well, I Made My Pick

 

i_voted_sticker_american_flag2016 has been a miserable year for conservatarians like myself. Republican primary voters soundly rejected constitutionalists, budget balancers, and limited-government enthusiasts, opting instead for a shouty 70-year-old Hillary donor who’s more concerned with tweeting typos than getting out the vote.

When Reince Priebus and his feckless RNC attempted to silence lifelong Republicans such as myself, I stepped away from the party and declared my independence.

Over the past few months, I’ve seen a few “Never Trumpers” reluctantly endorse The Donald, apparently unclear on the meaning of the word “never.” But neither Trump nor Clinton is fit for the presidency so I cannot vote for either one. (Besides, I was assured throughout the primaries that my vote wasn’t needed for Trump’s November landslide, and who am I to doubt the predictive powers of @WhyteGen0cyde88?)

So that left three options: Make no choice for the presidency, vote for the Libertarian, or write-in the 11th hour candidate, Evan McMullin.

Though McMullin holds similar views to my own and seems a genuinely decent guy, he doesn’t have the qualifications I look for in the leader of the free world. I might enthusiastically vote for him as a congressman, but zero executive or political experience makes him a non-starter in my book. Of course, his candidacy was created in the event of a close race in which, by winning a state or two, the election would be sent to the House. However, looking at how quickly the GOP establishment caved to Donald Trump, I can’t imagine they would choose anyone other than the Republican nominee. The fact that McMullin’s name isn’t listed on my state ballot made that choice appear even more futile.

That leaves Libertarian Gary Johnson, who bizarrely has seemed more interested in reaching out to Bernie bros than to disaffected Republicans. But as the two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, he built an admirable record. Unlike most conservatives who never deliver on their small-government promises, Johnson vetoed 739 bills passed by the Democrat-dominated statehouse. To quote Calvin Coolidge, “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”

Johnson also instituted one of the strictest welfare reform programs in the nation, ended public employees’ collective-bargaining rights, cut taxes, and reduced regulations. This isn’t to mention his efforts to implement school vouchers, term limits, and mass privatization.

Despite all these accomplishments, in 2016 Johnson has made numerous gaffes on foreign policy, religious liberty, and climate change, causing even his staunchest supporters to facepalm weekly. But, let’s face it, Johnson isn’t going to come close to winning the Oval Office, even if he gets more votes than any Libertarian in history. However… if Johnson were to make a decent showing on November 8, the Libertarian Party would be far better positioned for a stronger nominee in 2020:

If Johnson snags 5 percent of the national popular vote, the Federal Election Commission will classify the Libertarians as an official “minor party,” granting the 2020 nominee a lump sum of cash for the fall campaign, courtesy of the American taxpayer. (And don’t you think for a second that the vehemently anti-big-government Libertarians won’t cash that big government check in a heartbeat.)

The exact amount of federal funds depends on the size of his vote, but Green Party officials – who have been chasing 5 percent for years – estimate that meeting the threshold would yield about $10 million. That may seem like chump change compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars major party presidential nominees routinely raise. But Johnson has gotten this far after raising only $8 million through August. The prospect of knowing the Libertarian Party’s nominee is guaranteed $10 million will allow him or her to hit the campaign trail running, improving the odds of getting into the debates, winning an even larger share of vote and fortifying the party’s place in the American political landscape.

I’m not enthusiastic about any of the candidates running this year. But this morning, I filled in my early ballot with Johnson as my pick.

There are 110 comments.

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  1. Kevin Creighton Contributor

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: If Johnson snags 5 percent of the national popular vote, the Federal Election Commission will classify the Libertarians as an official “minor party,” granting the 2020 nominee a lump sum of cash for the fall campaign, courtesy of the American taxpayer. (And don’t you think for a second that the vehemently anti-big-government Libertarians won’t cash that big government check in a heartbeat.)

    If that’s what it takes to stop them dancing around mostly-naked, I’m all for it.

    • #1
    • October 24, 2016, at 9:51 AM PDT
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  2. James Lileks Contributor

    Alleppomomentum!

    • #2
    • October 24, 2016, at 9:54 AM PDT
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  3. Basil Fawlty Member

    The occupation of baker just became more fraught.

    • #3
    • October 24, 2016, at 9:57 AM PDT
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  4. Doctor Robert Member

    Shame on you, Jon.

    • #4
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:00 AM PDT
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  5. The Whether Man Inactive

    This is pretty much where I’ve landed too, though I’m waiting until November 8 to vote.

    • #5
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:05 AM PDT
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  6. Tim Kowal Inactive

    Supporting the Libertarians’ choice to nominate a non-libertarian just continues the same kind of following-the-path-of-least-resistance that makes rivers and politicians crooked. If the American people were capable of voting strategically, polls would give more confidence they’re at least going to elect a divided government. If the American people wanted to vote principle, they’ve got McMullin, who even Mr. Gabriel won’t go for.

    We’re living the parable of the shipwrecked sailor who trusts so fervently that God will save him in a grand gesture that he shoos away his rescuers.

    Glug.

    • #6
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:12 AM PDT
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  7. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Though I will still cast my vote for Evan McMullin because I believe he will become the rallying point for a new conservative movement–at the least for a new conservative faction–later on, I respect the reasoning presented here.

    • #7
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:13 AM PDT
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  8. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    When Trump loses in a landslide, just know it’s solely on your head, Gabriel.

    • #8
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:18 AM PDT
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  9. Polyphemus Coolidge

    When Reince Priebus and his feckless RNC attempted to silence lifelong Republicans such as myself, I stepped away from the party and declared my independence.

    Just for clarification: what does this refer to? How did they attempt to silence you?

    • #9
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:23 AM PDT
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  10. Done Contributor

    Despite Jon’s vote, there is still hope that Johnson misses the 5% threshold for public election funding.

    I recommend others not follow Jon’s lead else risk sabotaging the Republicans going forward.

    No offense, Jon.

    • #10
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:25 AM PDT
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  11. Austin Murrey Inactive

    The greatest travesty of this cycle is I didn’t get my presidential debate between Trump and Biden.

    Frankly American politics could use more fist fights between septuagenarians.

    • #11
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:30 AM PDT
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  12. James Of England Moderator

    Doctor Robert:Shame on you, Jon.

    Yeah, voting for Johnson not in spite of but because of his support for government funding for private political speech is genuinely disgusting. Perhaps the Republican Party was never the right place for Jon.

    • #12
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:30 AM PDT
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  13. Tim Kowal Inactive

    Two facts everyone agrees on:

    1. THE GREATEST THREAT TO THIS NATION IS THE SCLEROTIC, CORRUPT TWO-PARTY INSIDER LEVIATHAN.
    2. It feels better to vote our hobby horses.
    • #13
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:35 AM PDT
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  14. Basil Fawlty Member

    We adopted the Australian ballot for a reason.

    • #14
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:43 AM PDT
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  15. Valiuth Member

    Johnson? The Libertarians had an honest to goodness shot at relevance (this was supposed to be their moment if I recall the 2015 punditry). But the best they can do is Gary Johnson who, God bless him, seems completely stoned out of his mind half the time, and when he is sober he is just a big ol’ leftist. I have not once heard Johnson articulate a solid Libertarian point about anything of substance. Maybe at one point before he burned out he was competent. Oh well, not that it matters.

    • #15
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:43 AM PDT
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  16. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    You’ve laid out a great case for No One 2016. Since votes this year effectuate nothing and are basically symbolic, then I’ll cast mine symbolizing conservatism. McMullin ain’t much, but he’s all we’ve got on that front.

    • #16
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:47 AM PDT
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  17. Songwriter Member

    Jon’s post is important: Here is a person who is professionally committed to conservative causes and to writing about them – and he cannot abide the stench of the major party candidates. This is kind of a Big Deal. Regardless one’s feelings about the wisdom of Jon’s choice, it is undeniable that loss of support from the likes of Gabriel and Goldberg (not to mention a sizable chunk of the Ricochet members) represents a significant, substantive loss. Sadly, from what I’ve seen so far, the GOP hasn’t yet noticed that giant dead canary in the coal mine.

    • #17
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:52 AM PDT
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  18. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Well, I quite agree with your points. No surprise, there, and the fact that the man and his campaign staff did not do anything to stop the kind of vile threats and harassment that their followers brought against David French, Ben Shapiro and others, tells me that they are not leaders in any meaningful sense. The tactics of the left came so naturally to Trump and his cultists that it was an easy call to oppose them. He and his are like job applicants who begin their interview by insulting the majority shareholders, their families and the founders of the company, show little to no knowledge of the company’s philosophy, much less of its products and services, and then still expect to get the job. No. Go home. And stay there.

    • #18
    • October 24, 2016, at 10:52 AM PDT
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  19. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    James Of England:

    Doctor Robert:Shame on you, Jon.

    Yeah, voting for Johnson not in spite of but because of his support for government funding for private political speech is genuinely disgusting. Perhaps the Republican Party was never the right place for Jon.

    Depends on whether you think supporting the party is paramount in politics.

    • #19
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:03 AM PDT
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  20. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    I can’t bring myself to vote for Johnson even though I do consider myself to be a small L libertarian. I don’t consider Evan McMullin to be of presidential caliber, but to me he represents the least offensive of the array of unqualified candidates. I will fill his name in on my ballot today. In all other ways, Jon, I stand firmly with you.

    • #20
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:07 AM PDT
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  21. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Basil Fawlty:We adopted the Australian ballot for a reason.

    We should go all the way and adopt the entire Austrlian STV system.

    • #21
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:07 AM PDT
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  22. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Eugene Kriegsmann:I can’t bring myself to vote for Johnson even though I do consider myself to be a small L libertarian. I don’t consider Evan McMullin to be of presidential caliber, but to me he represents the least offensive of the array of unqualified candidates. I will fill his name in on my ballot today. In all other ways, Jon, I stand firmly with you.

    I’m leaning this way too. The only thing keeping me from voting Johnson is the tireless work of a few Ricochet members convincing me otherwise. Then again the only thing that would sway me to vote for Johnson is the tireless work of a few Ricochet members that seem to think he’s the worst human being to ever run for President.

    • #22
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:09 AM PDT
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  23. Spin Inactive

    Tim Kowal:Two facts everyone agrees on:

    1. THE GREATEST THREAT TO THIS NATION IS THE SCLEROTIC, CORRUPT TWO-PARTY INSIDER LEVIATHAN.
    2. It feels better to vote our hobby horses.

    I don’t agree with you on point one. Even if you did put it in all caps.

    The greatest threat to this nation is the electorate who fail to understand how their government works, the basis upon which is founded, the Constitution, the importance of liberty over equality, the notion of due process, and a dozen other concepts they should understand before they exercise their right and responsibility to vote.

    • #23
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:10 AM PDT
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  24. genferei Member

    Polyphemus:

    When Reince Priebus and his feckless RNC attempted to silence lifelong Republicans such as myself, I stepped away from the party and declared my independence.

    Just for clarification: what does this refer to? How did they attempt to silence you?

    Well, quite. I can disagree with your choice – but still respect it – but this seems a tad dramatic.

    • #24
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:16 AM PDT
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  25. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Spin:

    Tim Kowal:Two facts everyone agrees on:

    1. THE GREATEST THREAT TO THIS NATION IS THE SCLEROTIC, CORRUPT TWO-PARTY INSIDER LEVIATHAN.
    2. It feels better to vote our hobby horses.

    I don’t agree with you on point one. Even if you did put it in all caps.

    The greatest threat to this nation is the electorate who fail to understand how their government works, the basis upon which is founded, the Constitution, the importance of liberty over equality, the notion of due process, and a dozen other concepts they should understand before they exercise their right and responsibility to vote.

    Yup. Want a better government? Get a better people.

    • #25
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:16 AM PDT
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  26. JimGoneWild Coolidge

    Groan. Ah, Jon. Come on?

    • #26
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:16 AM PDT
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  27. Profile Photo Member

    Eustace C. Scrubb:

    When Trump loses in a landslide, just know it’s solely on your head, Gabriel.

    What are you going to do if he wins? Seriously.

    • #27
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:28 AM PDT
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  28. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Mike-K:

    Eustace C. Scrubb:

    When Trump loses in a landslide, just know it’s solely on your head, Gabriel.

    What are you going to do if he wins? Seriously.

    The chances of that are pretty remote at this point.

    • #28
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:29 AM PDT
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  29. Marlowe Inactive

    Well done Jon. Congrats on voting your conscious, instead of supporting a man who gives hope to David Duke.

    #NeverTrump.

    • #29
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:29 AM PDT
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  30. Austin Murrey Inactive

    Jamie Lockett:

    Mike-K:

    Eustace C. Scrubb:

    When Trump loses in a landslide, just know it’s solely on your head, Gabriel.

    What are you going to do if he wins? Seriously.

    The chances of that are pretty remote at this point.

    Buckley’s response to his own mayoral prospects would seem appropriate.

    And you know it’d happen too.

    • #30
    • October 24, 2016, at 11:30 AM PDT
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