James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Gary Johnson Must Earn My Vote

Out of curiosity, I looked up who was running for the Constituiton Party nomination. Then I found out they've already selected their nominee, former Congressman Virgil Goode.

In commenting on this, Red Phillips writes, "I try to consider what message my vote sends [as well as] the big picture message sent by the voters collectively."

I won't be voting for the Constitution Party, but I agree with Phillips. Indeed, there is no other reason to vote, except to send a message;
  • I don't want to be "governed" or "led" by anyone, and I don't believe there is ever a "best person" for the job of ruler. 
  • My vote, especially if for a Democrat or Republican in a general election, would more likely be miscounted through error or fraud, than decide an election.
Right now, non-voting may imply complacency, which translates into consent of the status quo. After all, the Ruling Class says, "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain."

Voting, then, can be a tool of complaint, and that's about all it's good for.

This means, the candidate one votes for must articulate one's complaints.

Ron Paul has done a pretty good job of this in the Republican Presidential primaries. He set himself apart from rivals on three issues:
  • Opposition to the wars
  • Restoration of civil liberties: ending the war on drugs, repealing the Patriot Act, etc.
  • Sound money
I will be voting for him in my state's primary next week - not because I "want" Ron Paul or anyone else to rule over me, but because a vote for him would send a "message" about what I want regarding these issues. A vote for Ron Paul means a vote for these issues where he differs from his Republican rivals, and NOT where he agrees with them.

What I wonder is, will this be the last vote I will cast - this year, or ever? After all, if I can't send a message I like with my vote, there's no point in me voting.

The message, or framing, of a candidate is important.

Former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has won the Libertarian Party's nomination for President.

I don't want him to rule over me. But I could vote for him if I'm convinced that my vote will send as clear a message in the general election as would my vote for Ron Paul in the Republoican Primary election.

What will be Gary Johnson's main issues, the ones he would keep coming back to and emphasizing in his campaign?

I don't think they have to be exactly like Paul's message, but it is in Johnson's own interest that they remain very similar. Assuming Ron Paul doesn't win the GOP nomination and doesn't run an independent candidacy, his endorsement would be crucial to Johnson and the future of the Libertarian Party.

I don't have a good idea of what Johnson's message is. But I have impressions. I will provide them here, without links, because this is how I perceive what Johnson's campaign is based on.
  • The Fair Tax, which creates a new entitlement program and will lead to sales taxes of 30% or more;
  • A flexible foreign policy that calls for "humanitarian" intervention in places like Uganda, something I think is absurd.
  • Federal "marriage equality" -- as opposed to the Separation of Marriage and State.
I haven't followed third-party politics closely recently, but I will tell you this:
  • I've known about Gary Johnson for ten or more years.
  • I like Gary Johnson, from what I've read and seen.
  • If this is how I perceive Gary Johnson's main issues, I won't vote for him; this is NOT the message I want to send.
I could be mistaken. I could be vastly mistaken about Johnson's campaign plans.

But I will have to be persuaded. I won't give Johnson a pass just because he's the Libertarian Party's nominee.

1 comment:

  1. James,

    Interesting take.

    Thing is, on the three issues you ascribe to Johnson:

    1) Johnson has recently become more Paul-like on one of them (foreign policy -- he came out full-blown non-interventionist at the LP's national convention);

    2) Paul is about as bad as Johnson on one of them (while he hasn't made it a campaign centerpiece, he has said he would sign the "Fair" Tax into law if it was passed by Congress); and

    3) Paul is worse than Johnson on the third -- as opposed to federal marriage equality (also known as "adherence to the Constitution") Paul has sponsored legislation to nullify the full faith and credit and equal protection clauses, without even the fig leaf of an actual constitutional amendment, for the purpose of allowing the states to maintain their marriage apartheid regimes.