And not voting at all will tell "Them" you're happy with whatever happens, even if your intention is to send a message telling Them you don't recognize the legitimacy of the elections at all. It's not fair, but that's the way it is. I choose to do what I think is the most constructive thing with my vote.
Although Nader, Barr, Baldwin, and McKinney seem to be in agreement about the Four Points and the Big Bailout, each candidate represents a different "message" being sent to the Democrats or Republicans.
For instance, a vote for the Green Party's McKinney isn't telling the Republicans to repent over the Patriot Act, it is rather a message to Democrats to shape-up on corporate America and the environment. Nobody will say that McKinney "cost McCain the election," only that she drew votes away from Obama. And if Obama wins, which he probably will, those votes will be meaningless.
Whereas, the media will at least be aware that Bob Barr defected from the Republican to the Libertarian Party on the issue of civil liberties. They will also interpret a vote for Barr as a vote taken away from McCain.
A vote for Nader will be interpreted as a vote stolen from Obama, primarily because of the Bailout and civil liberties.
A vote for Chuck Baldwin will be interpreted as a vote stolen from McCain, primarily because of immigration and abortion.
Any other candidate on the ballot, or any write-in candidate, will be considered even more fringe and will not be mentioned at all.
For me, Nader is tempting, for reasons Justin Raimondo outlined. My state, like Raimondo's, seems strongly Democrat this year. A vote for Nader would be a protest vote against Obama especially on these issues of war, civil liberties, and the Bailout. Then again, it may, like McKinney, be viewed as sending a message to Obama from the "far left" to over-regulate and over-tax the economy. That's not a message I want to send.
Likewise, Baldwin is tempting. He's good on war, the Federal Reserve, and several other things. At the same time, it seems he goes overboard on immigration. I believe that labor-for-wages, and all other economic exchanges, should be unregulated and employers should not be forced to serve as tax agents or immigration officers. If immigration is a problem, it should be addressed at our boarders, coasts, and airports, and employers shouldn't be blamed for failures of the federal government. Also, while I disagree with Roe v. Wade and believe it served more to enhance the power of the federal government rather than individual liberty, I still believe abortion to be a matter between the mother, the abortionist, their respective consciences, and God rather than a matter of police investigation and criminal prosecution.
A lot of people have piled on the Bob Barr campaign and Bob Barr the person. But I will vote for him:
- I look at Barr's issues and, although some things could be elaborated on more fully, unlike the other campaigns I find nothing disagreeable.
- I endorsed Barr from the beginning, and even if the campaign so far hasn't lived up to hopes, this still seems to be the best tactical and principled use of my vote.
- A vote for Barr would contribute to McCain's landslide defeat without voting for Obama, bringing on the reformation or demise of the Republican Party. We should maximize non-Obama, anti-McCain vote totals from the "right" to force Washington to pay attention to issues of concern to the small-government movement.
- A vote for Barr would help increase the possibility that no President is elected with a minority of the popular vote. Better the President starts off in a weakened position; it's good for liberty.
- If by some miracle Barr was actually elected, he would actually have the experience and network infrastructure to actually form an Administration, something I wouldn't expect from other third-party nominees.
- He's way, way better than Obama or McCain.
- Although not voting may be an option, it still seems weird and hypocritical for one to write so much on the elections and not spend any time actually voting.