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.

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  1. PJ Inactive
    PJ
    @PJ

    Jon, can you elaborate on why you think it is a good thing for Libertarians to be publicly funded?  Aside from being contrary to libertarian principles, it seems to me a bad thing to have a more institutionalized split on the right without one on the left.  I’m not sure how this is all going to shake out post-election, but if we end up again with one roughly conservative major party to oppose the Dems, it will not help to have a better funded Libertarian Party peeling away a share of those votes.

    • #31
  2. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:
    2016 has been a miserable year for conservatarians like myself. Republican primary voters soundly rejected constitutionalists,

    No, no, you don’t get to vote for a guy who believes it’s “appropriate” to violate the Constitution to pass executive amnesty and then deride others for not being constitutionalists. You don’t get to suggest that the Constitution is a problem for other people when you’re endorsing someone with the approach to the First and Second Amendments that Johnson had.

    budget balancers,

    Neither major party voted for a guy who took over his state with a $1.8 billion dollar debt and left it with a $4.6 billion debt. Government under Clinton grew debt pretty fast, but not as fast as Johnson grew it. Did you do any research into your vote that wasn’t published by Johnson or Reason?

    limited-government enthusiasts,

    You’ll pardon me while I vomit.

    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.”

    Yeah, but Johnson passed bad laws (eg., increasing occupational licensing requirements, creating the first renewable tax credit for films, creating tax credits for all kinds of other people, some of them direct handouts of cash to specific people (eg., the electronic card reader manufacturer tax credit), and generally opposing in his actions essentially every principle of the libertarian movement), and blocked good laws, including expansions of gun rights, tax reforms that he later supported, criminal justice reform, and such.

    Many of his vetoes are along the lines of “HOUSE EXECUTIVE MESSAGE NO. 11 I have this day VETOED and am returning HOUSE BILL 499, enacted by the Forty-Fifth Legislature, First Session, 2001. This bill would enact law to provide for the eradication of the pink bollworm. I have signed into law Senate Bill 484, which is identical to this bill, creating a conflict and making it unnecessary.”

    If you think Coolidge would have experienced a shiver of joy from reading that, you may have misunderstood Cal’s enthusiasms. Listen to Johnson enthusing about restaurant menu mandates, drink serving size government “leadership”, the EPA, or any other area of regulation and it will quickly become apparent why Johnson’s vetoes weren’t an achievement in themselves, any more than Clinton’s travel miles as Sec. State were. The point is to make policy better through those efforts, and it does not appear to have worked that way. There’s only one budget that Johnson brags about, and that’s his final budget, which was passed over his veto.

    Johnson also instituted one of the strictest welfare reform programs in the nation, ended public employees’ collective-bargaining rights,

    These are true.

    cut taxes,

    Even Johnson’s defenders generally accept that he achieved a lot in this area; compare his predecessors and successors in both parties.

    and reduced regulations.

    Do you have a citation for that? It is not my understanding of the impact of the Johnson administration.

    This isn’t to mention his efforts to implement school vouchers, term limits, and mass privatization.

    These efforts weren’t much mentioned at the time, either, at least not in New Mexico. They were often mentioned in the halls of CATO, but there was never a strong link between the promises that Johnson made to libertarian fundraisers (ending crony capitalism, reducing the incarceration rate) and the actions that he took in person (forking out massive amounts of government pork, including to his own construction company, hiking the incarceration rate, in part by refusing to pardon anyone, including those who were guilty only of drug offenses that Johnson himself regularly committed).

    CATO, perversely, actively rewarded people who failed to implement libertarian policy. In the Stephen Moore (now turned full time Trump supporter) Fiscal Report Cards, if you promised tax cuts and spending cuts, you got credit as if they’d passed. You could then promise the same cuts the next time round and so long as you never actually delivered on them, you’d be able to keep getting credit with each new issue. Romney got punished pretty severely for getting his spending cuts passed, but this was not a problem for Johnson, who hiked spending every year he was in office. Because Johnson, like Trump, quickly got bored with discussing policy and, like Obama, continually showed open contempt for his legislature, he wasn’t as successful a libertarian governor as, say, Mike Huckabee, who got all kinds of libertarian reforms passed. Decades later, Johnson is still being rewarded for promises he made no effort to keep and is making new promises that he is just as openly uninterested in as the promises he made then. He’s still promising to hike spending in all non-military categories, while making promises that sound libertarian (cutting departments), but only on first inspection. Thus, after promising to abolish the DofEd, he claims not to know if there’s anything that the Department of Education does that is useful, but that he’d keep any bits that were. He also promises to expand federal education programs, and on an emergency basis. There’s a reason that people of principle who have paid attention to him, like the Pauls and the Kochs, want nothing to do with him.

    • #32
  3. Lance Inactive
    Lance
    @Lance

    I am writing in Ben Sasse, out of respect for a hero of the Republican Civil War and in wishful thinking of a potential run down the line.  If anything positive has come from this mess, then the opportunity to see a pol remain firm to his principles has been inspiring.  Far more inspiring to me personally than the pragmatic bitter pill swallowers that made the difficult choice to stand by the party once Trump gained the nomination.   I don’t envy the position they were in.  But I find standing against the wave a better demonstration of leadership potential than those who opted to surf the wave instead.   And in this case I am juxtapositioning Sasse against the likes of Tom Cotton in particular.  Two men with admirable and even enviable trajectories… Who each opted for fundamentally different paths when confronted with the same fork in the road.

    • #33
  4. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Jamie Lockett:

    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.

    Could you expand on this?

    Case 1: Supporting the party is paramount in politics.

    Does this mean that Jon’s support for the public funding of private political speech is a principled limited government position?

    Case 2: Supporting the party is not paramount in politics.

    Does this mean that Jon’s support for the public funding of private political speech is a principled limited government position?

    I don’t see how either of these follow.

     

    • #34
  5. Nancy Inactive
    Nancy
    @Nancy

    I was seriously considering voting for Gary Johnson until the Libertarian convention.  First of all, the convention showed them to be not at all serious about winning a national race.  Second, I found their foreign policy discussions even worse than I expected.  I don’t know how exactly to vote for a write in candidate with the computerized voting machines that we have, and I have pretty much decided that it isn’t worth finding out, so I’ll just leave it blank.  I live in California, so no one will really care how I vote.

    • #35
  6. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Lance:I am writing in Ben Sasse, out of respect for a hero of the Republican Civil War and in wishful thinking of a potential run down the line.

    Can you do that? My absentee ballot carried the warning that only votes for one of the listed write-in candidates would be counted.

    • #36
  7. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    SMOD 2016!

    • #37
  8. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    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?

    Stated poorly, but I was referring to the silencing of the delegates on the convention floor.

    • #38
  9. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton
    @KevinCreighton

    I was all ready to take the Libertarians seriously this year and then a) there was dancing fat naked guy at their convention and b) they affirmed their support of the individual right to keep and bear arms by bringing William Weld onto the ticket.

    Trump has anti-Second Amendment comments in his past, but Hillary and Weld have put their words into action.

    • #39
  10. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

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

    No offense, Jon.

    None taken. But seeing how dedicated the GOP is to sabotaging itself, I would like to have at least one limited-government party in the mix.

    • #40
  11. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    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.

    You fight with the rules as they are written, not as you wish them to be. And James, the Republican Party was right for me until this year. I believe have made that abundantly clear.

    • #41
  12. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Nicely said, Mr Gabriel. I understand your decision and respect it.

    • #42
  13. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    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.

    If I didn’t make it clear, if McMullin had made it onto the Arizona ballot, I probably would have voted for him since it would have made a larger impact.

    • #43
  14. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Doctor Robert:Shame on you, Jon.

    For attempting to choose the least awful option in a miserable year? Whomever you choose to vote for, Robert, I won’t cast shame upon you. I have friends voting for nearly every candidate, and we will remain friends.

    • #44
  15. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    PJ: Jon, can you elaborate on why you think it is a good thing for Libertarians to be publicly funded? Aside from being contrary to libertarian principles, it seems to me a bad thing to have a more institutionalized split on the right without one on the left. I’m not sure how this is all going to shake out post-election, but if we end up again with one roughly conservative major party to oppose the Dems, it will not help to have a better funded Libertarian Party peeling away a share of those votes.

    I’m not sure the plurality of GOP voters is interested in conservatism or limiting government. A credible Libertarian Party might push the GOP to rededicate themselves to those principles.

    • #45
  16. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    TKC1101:Nicely said, Mr Gabriel. I understand your decision and respect it.

    Thank you, sir. And as I’ve said before, I completely understand people who have taken very different positions to my own. My convoluted view this year will have few supporters.

    • #46
  17. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    James Of England: Does this mean that Jon’s support for the public funding of private political speech is a principled limited government position?

    That would depend on whether you think a strong Libertarian Party advances the cause of limited government.

    James Of England: Does this mean that Jon’s support for the public funding of private political speech is a principled limited government position?

    Again that depends on whether the ends justify the means in this case.

    I would much prefer to grow the LP through something like the US adopting the STV, but since that will never happen in a society ruled by two parties – you go to war with the forces you have.

    • #47
  18. Tyler Boliver Member
    Tyler Boliver
    @Marlowe

    Hartmann von Aue:

    Lance:I am writing in Ben Sasse, out of respect for a hero of the Republican Civil War and in wishful thinking of a potential run down the line.

    Can you do that? My absentee ballot carried the warning that only votes for one of the listed write-in candidates would be counted.

    Depends on the state.

    • #48
  19. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    We all are doing what we feel is best. I think that those of us who aren’t lunatics will be able to join together again the day after to try and figure out how to move forward. We are at least in agreement that there are no good options. That is something.

    • #49
  20. PJ Inactive
    PJ
    @PJ

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    PJ: Jon, can you elaborate on why you think it is a good thing for Libertarians to be publicly funded? Aside from being contrary to libertarian principles, it seems to me a bad thing to have a more institutionalized split on the right without one on the left. I’m not sure how this is all going to shake out post-election, but if we end up again with one roughly conservative major party to oppose the Dems, it will not help to have a better funded Libertarian Party peeling away a share of those votes.

    I’m not sure the plurality of GOP voters is interested in conservatism or limiting government. A credible Libertarian Party might push the GOP to rededicate themselves to those principles.

    I think this would be a stronger argument if the Libertarian Party pushed conservatism or a broader agenda of limited government than it does.  What I see coming from the LP is usually legalizing pot, gambling, prostitution, getting rid of seat belt laws, etc.  I’m a small “l” libertarian, but I don’t see those things as priorities.  If the LP pushes the GOP to be big government conservatism plus legalizing vices, I don’t think we’ll have gained much.

    • #50
  21. PJ Inactive
    PJ
    @PJ

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    My convoluted view this year will have few supporters.

    I have a slightly different convoluted view, but I feel you, man.

    • #51
  22. BD Member
    BD
    @

    Townhall: “Gary Johnson Lays out Immigration Vision, Objects to Term ‘illegal immigrant,’ Defends Executive Amnesty.”

    • #52
  23. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    BD:Townhall: “Gary Johnson Lays out Immigration Vision, Objects to Term ‘illegal immigrant,’ Defends Executive Amnesty.”

    If only he also objected to the term “illegal baker.”

    • #53
  24. C. Dalloway Inactive
    C. Dalloway
    @CDalloway

    Excited to see this! I have the same plans. I don’t agree with Johnson on everything, but 85% or so isn’t too bad. I’ve looked into the “gaffes” and don’t find them to be anywhere near as bad as they’re reported to be. Hoping a strong Libertarian vote will raise the prospects of an admirable GOP in the new year.

    • #54
  25. Lance Inactive
    Lance
    @Lance

    Hartmann von Aue:

    Lance:I am writing in Ben Sasse, out of respect for a hero of the Republican Civil War and in wishful thinking of a potential run down the line.

    Can you do that? My absentee ballot carried the warning that only votes for one of the listed write-in candidates would be counted.

    I don’t know, nor does it really matter.  I don’t expect the vote to count in any real regard anyways.  Except to me and the answer I will have to the question we will be asking each other for the rest of our lives…”Who did you vote for in 2016?”

    • #55
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    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.)

    I’ve heard that before. It was a sure bet race for the Republican incumbent. The Democrats were running a sleazy Southern governor of a state where family reunions double as singles nights. And if we could just get 5% of the vote in Michigan, we would be in a much better position. We didn’t get the 5% in 1992. Another third party candidate popped up and threw the race to the sleazy Southern governor. But good luck with it this year, the year they didn’t really even nominate Libertarians.

    • #56
  27. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Jamie Lockett:

    James Of England: Does this mean that Jon’s support for the public funding of private political speech is a principled limited government position?

    That would depend on whether you think a strong Libertarian Party advances the cause of limited government.

    Really? So if I were to believe that a strong Libertarian Party advanced the cause of limited government, then it would follow that I should want government funding for it? Is this also true of, say, the Boy Scouts? If I believe that the musical Hamilton is good for America (which, to be clear, I do), does that mean that a principled limited government position would see me wanting to fund it?

    James Of England: Does this mean that Jon’s support for the public funding of private political speech is a principled limited government position?

    Again that depends on whether the ends justify the means in this case.

    I would much prefer to grow the LP through something like the US adopting the STV, but since that will never happen in a society ruled by two parties – you go to war with the forces you have.

    The key word in this statement is “again”. The bits that are excised from Jamie’s quote of me are the bits where I respond to Jamie’s statement that whether you support the public financing of private speech ” Whichever way you go on the question of support for the party being paramount in politics, Jamie thinks that you may support federal spending on speech he likes, speech that in this instance focuses on slanders against America. In other words, the answer doesn’t depend on party supremacy. The answer just depends on whether the ends justify the means.

    An expanded answer would include some valuable end that was achieved by the corruption of libertarian politics by using federal money to empower people who call themselves libertarians while advocating for greater government spending, reduced civil liberties, and belief in conspiracy theories.

    • #57
  28. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    C. Dalloway:Excited to see this! I have the same plans. I don’t agree with Johnson on everything, but 85% or so isn’t too bad. I’ve looked into the “gaffes” and don’t find them to be anywhere near as bad as they’re reported to be. Hoping a strong Libertarian vote will raise the prospects of an admirable GOP in the new year.

    Could you list some of the 85%? When Johnson says that he agrees with Bernie Sanders 73% of the time, do you think that that implies that you agree with Sanders more than half the time?

    By what mechanism do you believe a strong LP vote might impact the GOP in the new year, other than by reducing the number of Republicans in Congress, as the LP did in 2012 with Mia Love, and in 2008 when they replaced Norm Coleman with Al Franken, thus creating the circumstances that passed Obamacare?

    • #58
  29. PJ Inactive
    PJ
    @PJ

    Lance:

    Hartmann von Aue:

    Lance:I am writing in Ben Sasse, out of respect for a hero of the Republican Civil War and in wishful thinking of a potential run down the line.

    Can you do that? My absentee ballot carried the warning that only votes for one of the listed write-in candidates would be counted.

    I don’t know, nor does it really matter. I don’t expect the vote to count in any real regard anyways. Except to me and the answer I will have to the question we will be asking each other for the rest of our lives…”Who did you vote for in 2016?”

    I actually do think it is important to cast a vote that will be counted.  Assuming Clinton wins, the more we reduce her plurality, the weaker she will be.

    • #59
  30. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    James Of England: Really? So if I were to believe that a strong Libertarian Party advanced the cause of limited government, then it would follow that I should want government funding for it? Is this also true of, say, the Boy Scouts? If I believe that the musical Hamilton is good for America (which, to be clear, I do), does that mean that a principled limited government position would see me wanting to fund it?

    I have told you I would prefer that there was no public funding of campaigns, but that’s not the world we live in. The system is also designed and ruled by the two major parties so that third parties have little to no ability to get their message out on par with the major parties. Now would I prefer that we switch the system to something like the STV that would allow for third-party growth without  moral hazard of public funding? Sure. I would also like it if my dog pooped gold and my faucets ran with Lagavulin, unfortunately, I have to shovel crap and brush my teeth with water – alas.

    James Of England:The key word in this statement is “again”. The bits that are excised from Jamie’s quote of me are the bits where I respond to Jamie’s statement that whether you support the public financing of private speech ” Whichever way you go on the question of support for the party being paramount in politics, Jamie thinks that you may support federal spending on speech he likes, speech that in this instance focuses on slanders against America. In other words, the answer doesn’t depend on party supremacy. The answer just depends on whether the ends justify the means.

    An expanded answer would include some valuable end that was achieved by the corruption of libertarian politics by using federal money to empower people who call themselves libertarians while advocating for greater government spending, reduced civil liberties, and belief in conspiracy theories.

    Come on James, if Jill Stein got 5% of the vote I would be just as ok with her party taking the money too. And you know what – Republicans and Democrats have that offer open to them as well. As for the rest of your answer implying that I’m somehow unamerican and support anti-American speech – I’ll just chalk that up to emotion since I don’t think I’ve ever uttered a single Anti-American thing in my time here.

    Your last paragraph is why I’m still giving serious consideration to voting for Johnson – you doth protest too much, my friend.

    • #60
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