So if you vote and think your vote should express your political beliefs, there’s nowhere else for libertarians (and Libertarians) to look.
But of course, Gary Johnson is not going to win the election. Indeed, if past is prologue, he will likely finish with less than 1 percent of all votes cast. So the real case for Gary Johnson – a tougher case to make – is arguing for why you should think about pulling the lever, tapping the screen, or punching the butterfly ballot for the guy knowing that he’s a bigger lost cause than the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, the Gilmore Girls movie getting made, and the release of Dr. Dre’s Detox put together.
As it happens, Johnson has addressed this very question in his forthright manner. “A wasted vote,” he says, “is a vote for someone you don’t believe in.” He’s even exhorting people to “waste” their vote, telling an audience at New York University, “We can make a difference in this election. Waste your vote!”
The Republicans will move in a libertarian direction when they finally realize that the libertarian ethos of live and let live doesn’t represent moral nihilism but a goddamned sustainable future in a globalized, post-mainstream world. Who do you want sitting next to you as Spaceship Earth hurtles through time: Todd Akin or Gary Johnson? The Republicans have failed to wrap their heads around the unmitigated disaster that the Bush presidency was. Forget social issues for the moment. George W. Bush – in total cahoots with a Congress led by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who still roam the corridors of power like Tor Johnson roamed the set of Plan 9 From Outer Space – kicked out the jams on spending and cronyism. He was a big-government disaster, the political equivalent of Hurricane Sandy. And he did what he did with the full aid and succour of a GOP majority that signed on for The Patriot Act, Medicare Part D, the invasion of Iraq, the creation of the TSA, and TARP. The fully unconvincing and meager attempts by Mitt Romney to say he’s going to rein in spending while “preserving” and “strengthening” Medicare and Social Security and ramping up military spending to a perpetual 4 percent of GDP flatly demonstrate that the Republicans have yet to get the simple message that voters first delivered during the 2006 midterms.
For their part, the Democrats have yet to learn the lesson of 2010, when voters sent exactly the same midterm message: Don’t just do something, stand there! In 2010, the party of Thomas Jefferson took a “shellacking” (Obama’s term of art) not despite all of the president’s highly touted “historic” successes but precisely because of them. Obamacare, stimulus, more bailouts up the ying-yang, stupid interventions everywhere from Detroit to Afghanistan to college football’s ranking system – all helped spark a strong and obvious reaction among large swaths of voters. And yet, Obama and Team Blue haven’t changed a goddamned jot or tittle in their basic script. If you don’t vote for the (liberal) Democrat, this line goes, then mere anarchy will be loosed. All that is decent and civilized about America will forever be destroyed and we will be bombing indiscriminate countries into the Stone Age, women will go barefoot and be forcibly impregnated and shoved back into the kitchen and Paul Lynde will once again be closeted in the center square. The skies will once again be filled with the choking fumes of plutocrats lighting cigars with $1,000 bills featuring the image of Ayn Rand and power plants will once again exclusively be powered by grinding the bones of the poor, the tired, and non-unionized illegal immigrants. It will be the Hunger Games, but without the laughs. The important thing, the Democrats say without blinking, is that government spending can never, ever decline because it’s all essential spending and we’ll pay for it merely by asking the super-rich to pay just a little bit more. It’s like South Park’s Gnomes Underpants Profit Plan, only slightly less detailed.