Don’t Waste Your Vote on Gary Johnson

Voting for Gary Johnson Will Only Serve to Help Hillary Clinton Get Elected President 

By Lee Enochs

Voting for Gary Johnson is a waste of time. This is my contention after reviewing current political realities in America and upon listening to the former New Mexico Governor wax eloquently on his conception of Libertarianism as though his take on this particular philosophy of individualism and limited government is one and the same with Libertarian orthodoxy.  Additionally, I am writing this op-ed in response to Richmond Times-Dispatch Senior Editorial writer A. Barton Hinkle’s recent regrettable and provocative essay for Reason.com entitled, “For Republicans, a Vote for Trump is a Wasted Vote.” [1]

Among other things, Barton contends most preposterously that Donald J. Trump is, “not a conservative because he changes positions on abortion more than he changes his socks.” Additionally, Barton postulates that Trump is not a conservative and hence, not worth voting for, because he has changed his views on gun rights and “knows nothing about the Constitution.”  Barton’s unfortunate essay is riddled with illogical absolutisms and logical fallacies since almost every politician known to human civilization has changed his or her views including Ronald Reagan and Gary Johnson himself who has stated publically that he has changed his mind on the important issue of capital punishment.[2]

My question to Barton and Trump’s many Libertarian detractors, is there any politician that hasn’t changed their minds on an important issue? In fairness, I believe we need to take Trump’s current policy positions at face value and try not to argue that his prior statements on gun control, abortion and other issues are one and the same with the positions that Trump now maintains.

Also, when Barton says Trump “knows nothing about the Constitution,” he is guilty of the logical fallacy of the absolute statement wherein the validity of something that is generally true is misapplied to a specific exception. A person commits this invalid argumentation and fallacy when a special case accepted as true is incorrectly used to create a general statement. It is simply not true that Trump “knows nothing about the Constitution” as Barton conjectures since Trump obviously knows that the Constitution is since he says, “The Second Amendment of our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.”[3]

Putting Barton’s obvious logical fallacies aside for a moment and more importantly, I would like to get to the heart of the issue; voting for Gary Johnson is a waste of time and will accomplish very little other than helping Hillary Clinton become our next President. I understand that Gary Johnson’s Libertarian supporters will beg to differ with me on this, but other than giving Johnson and the Libertarian Party a large platform to promote their views, Johnson has little to no real chance of getting elected President. If the point of the general election is to actually win, then voting for Gary Johnson is a waste of time since he now sits at less than 10% in the national polls and has no real statistical chance of winning the Presidential election and becoming the next President of the United States.

Additionally, if promoting Libertarian ideas to a large national audience is really the reason why Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are on the Libertarian Party ticket, then I will be the first to admit that their quixotic campaign isn’t a waste of time. Perhaps subsequent Libertarian politicians can build on Johnson and Weld’s efforts and build a viable party that can actually win at the local, statewide and national levels. If so, then Gary Johnson’s campaign for the Presidency is not a waste of time and voting for Johnson is not wasting your vote.

My real problem with Gary Johnson is not that he is running for President but that while running for President, he is espousing a version of Libertarianism that is an anathema to me. I simply and adamantly disagree with Johnson’s often repeated mantra that Libertarians are socially liberal and fiscally conservative as though Governor Johnson’s speaks for all Libertarians and that his take on Libertarianism is the only as if he were the gatekeeper and final arbiter of what authentic Libertarianism is.

It is simply not true, as Gary Johnson maintains, that “Libertarians are socially liberal.” Many are not and I personally decry the fact that Johnson appears on nation television repeating this same inane nonsense. Mr. Johnson, there are many Libertarians such as myself, that are socially conservative. Many of us are pro-life and support traditional marriage as the only viable view on marriage. Gary Johnson is not the gatekeeper of Libertarianism and he most definitely does not decide for all of us what authentic Libertarianism is. One can be a Libertarian proponent of small government economics and also be socially conservative.

It must be pointed out that I am not the only Libertarian that rejects Gary Johnson as a Presidential candidate. Ron Paul himself has gone down on record as not being able to support Gary Johnson’s presidential bid.  For me at least, Gary Johnson is just not conservative enough on many important issues to receive my vote.

Now, in respect to defeating Hillary Clinton in this November’s election, voting for Gary Johnson is a waste of time and project in futility. I would also contend voting for Gary Johnson takes much needed votes away from Donald Trump since the average Libertarian voter would be more likely to vote for the Republican ticket than the Democratic one. Gary Johnson’s quixotic campaign for the Presidency will also persuade some Republicans to stray away from their party and vote for a candidate that has no chance of winning the general election.

If the main objective of the general election is to actually win it by defeating Hillary Clinton, then voting for Hillary Clinton is a waste of time. Gary Johnson will not be our next President and either Clinton or Trump will be. While Donald Trump is far from a perfect candidate, if his current policy statements are to be taken at face value, he is a much more conservative candidate than Hillary Clinton.

If elected President, Donald Trump will more than likely appoint conservative jurists to the Supreme Court and enact conservative views on immigration, health care, gun ownership and many other important issues. If Trump is elected President this fall and then enacts policies that directly contradict the political platform he is currently running on, the outcry amongst the conservative voters who elected him would be great and his presidency would be doomed to failure. It is more likely that if elected President, Trump will govern from the political platform he campaigned on.

While I may be too pragmatic in my reasoning here and there are no guarantees and Donald Trump could change his mind and govern form the left, the likelihood of this occurring is small. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton will most certainly govern from the liberal base that elected her and we should expect that she will appoint liberal activist jurists to the Supreme Court.

Don’t waste your vote on Gary Johnson since he has no chance of becoming our next President. On the other hand, Donald Trump has the only legitimate chance of defeating Hillary Clinton this November.


[1] Hinkle, Barton. A. “For Republicans, a Vote for Trump is a Wasted Vote.” Reason.com, 10 Aug. 2016, http://reason.com/archives/2016/08/10/for-republicans-a-vote-for-trump-is-a-wa. Accessed 14 August 2016.

[2] Source: Gary Johnson, Seven Principles of Good Government, 2012.

[3] https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/second-amendment-rights


 

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Lee Enochs (B.A., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a graduate student in Princeton, New Jersey and is the Founder and Director of Conservatives for California, a non-profit and liberty-minded organization dedicated to the revitalization of conservative and constitutional principles in the great state of California. Lee is also the author of “The Case for Rand Paul” and “A Biblical Defense of Capitalism,” which can be purchased at Amazon.com.  Lee is also a committed Christian and believes in the authority of the Bible and the need for faith in Jesus Christ. 

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