The Independent Case for Gary Johnson in 2016

I was a hardcore Bernie Sanders supporter but he is not in the race anymore and writing his name in or voting Jill Stein is mathematically ignorant. If you do not want Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as President of the United States of America, Gary Johnson is the only viable candidate considering all of the options.

A few months ago I was so impassioned by Bernie Sanders’ energy I wrote a lengthy post on why I couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump and would vote for Sanders anyway. Despite my previous reservations to write Bernie in on my ballot this year though, I have decided to vote for Gary Johnson.

Why?

The views of American voters can be placed on a spectrum ranging from far-Left to the far-Right and I am going to summarize the spectrum simply and briefly only considering the major parties involved in this election. On the far-Left you have the Green party and Progressives, who dislike the Democratic Party because they are not liberal enough. This is where Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein are. I consider myself to be in this general area on many issues. Moving to the right is the Democratic Party, which occupies the largest portion of the Left side of the political spectrum. In the center you have Libertarians as well as many other independent voters. On the Right side of the center, you have the Republican party. There are two general views among Republicans: “compassionate” conservatives and the Tea-Party conservatives who are what could be considered more far-Right than the general conservative viewpoint. If we were to put the distribution of voters on a line it would look similar to a double-bell curve.

There are essentially four options in this election for President: Jill Stein on the far-Left, Hillary Clinton on the Left, Gary Johnson in the center, and Donald Trump on the Right but leaning on the very far-Right. I will not vote Clinton or Trump, so that leaves Stein and Johnson.

Jill Stein may be more aligned with Bernie Sanders’ views, but she cannot pull votes from all areas of the political spectrum and stands zero chance to win. She sits on the far-left end of the double-bell curve which is the American political spectrum. Gary Johnson is pulling voters in from his chief base of Libertarians and Independent voters in addition to the Democratic and Republican parties. His base is scattered across the political spectrum, whereas Jill Stein’s voters are all stuck solely on the far-left side. Gary Johnson is polling at 9.2% nationally compared to Jill Stein’s 2.7% according to RealClearPolitics.com at the time I am writing this post (9/14/16). With two months to go, Jill Stein has about the same chance of winning the election as a toaster.

On top of this, Jill Stein has only ever been a candidate for a major elected office and has never held a job in major public office. She has run for five state-level elections losing four times, and has never broken the 25% mark in share of votes in any election she has competed in. The single election she has won was a 16-way contest for SEVEN seats and she won her position with under 600 votes. This win netted her a spot as a town hall representative for Lexington, Massachusetts, which I can’t imagine to be comparable to running a city, state, or nation.

Jill Stein has no experience dealing with the amount and range of responsibilities Johnson has had to deal with as a two-term Governor in the history New Mexico. Stein is not even on the ballot in all fifty states to boot which should show enough about her lack of political organization. We are not voting only in protest as independent voters, we are still voting towards our future and a leader of this country, and Gary Johnson is the only candidate outside the two parties who has a chance and relevant government experience to govern this country.

I have heard that I shouldn’t try convincing Stein supporters to vote for Johnson based on math because it is the same argument Clinton supporters have used to get Berners to vote for her. However, it is not quite the same argument and is an argument Clinton was using to bolster support for the two-party system in saying that we must vote for her to avoid Trump. Clinton assumed she could rally Sanders voters because she thought they agreed with her on enough issues to suck it up and “vote blue”. She underestimated how much Sanders voters despised her past and history of hawkish policies and corruption and many Berners still aren’t voting for her.

My argument is one that acknowledges all four parties impacting this election. Even if you don’t agree with Johnson on most issues, Jill Stein has no mathematical chance to win and your support could still help a candidate who has a chance to win and who does not support war and does support some key liberal social issues. The argument I am making is an attempt to put the largest independent party into the presidency to break the two-party system garnering the help of one of the much smaller independent parties and progressive voters.

We Berners and Progressives do not belong in the Democratic Party as was clearly evidenced in the collusion against Bernie’s revolution by the DNC. We are not the Libertarians’ base either. We want to topple the two parties. Our best chance to do that this election is with Gary Johnson. Stein supporters say they want to break the system, but they are only working to keep the two-party system from breaking, and Stein and the Green will do the same again in four more years.

Though I do agree with the Green party’s political views more than the Libertarian party’s views, they do not stand a chance in November. If you want to cast a vote for her as a protest it is your right, but if you won’t vote for Gary Johnson because he doesn’t support all of your issues you will continue to perpetuate the current system our country suffers under. We do not get everything we want when we vote for public offices but we can at least attempt to elect someone who is not a war-hawk, supports equal rights, abortion, legalization of marijuana, and is not a racist in Gary Johnson.

If the Democrats hadn’t flipped Bernie the bird and denied the populist wave he was riding we might not be worried about finding someone else to vote for, but they did and Johnson is the only candidate on the ballot in all fifty states that stands a chance. Vote Johnson and help break the two-party system, or fragment the independent vote and get more of the same.

…and don’t accuse me of being paid by the Johnson campaign because I wish I was getting paid to write this.

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Bernie Sanders for Write-In Candidate 2016

If Bernie Sanders doesn’t win the Democratic primary I cannot conscionably vote for Hillary Clinton, and no way in hell would I ever support Trump. I have yet to cast my primary vote in California and am hoping for a miracle that Bernie wins the Democratic nomination, but if he does not, I will be writing his name in on my ballot in November and supporting my local candidates who I agree with.

I didn’t vote for Hillary in 2008 and I chose to vote for Obama because I didn’t agree with her foreign policy record then. Her foreign policy record now seems to be even worse. She has a history of supporting regime change and policies that have a history of backfiring on our country. She may backtrack and say she made a mistake back when she made her decisions, but Sanders has a better track record on not supporting hawkish policies from the git-go.

I realize when I critique her foreign policy that she was part of Obama’s administration and I am critiquing him as well. The fact is, I don’t think Obama was the best president, especially in his first term with Clinton as Secretary of State. He capitulated too much to Republicans. We could have passed single-payer healthcare which could have saved Americans money and brought us on par with most first-world countries, but we didn’t because we didn’t want to hurt the GOP’s feelings. I actually agree with Bernie Sanders that Obama needed a challenger in 2012 to bring him to the left because he had compromised too much with Republicans and we the people have only been screwed policy-wise because of it. Hillary uses Sanders’ statements to claim he doesn’t stand with Obama while she will continue his legacy. Eight years ago she only talked of Obama’s inexperience and lack of political clout, but now she praises him. She obviously got something wrong in her judgement of Obama and unsurprisingly has changed her opinion on him now that she wants to be President again.

One of Hillary’s campaign mantras seems to be that it is her turn. But this isn’t a line for Space Mountain. You don’t just wait in line until it is your turn to be President, even though Hillary has been given a FastPass to the front of the Democratic ticket. It is hard to even consider the Democratic primary an election rather than a coronation.

The Democratic nomination process is a joke. Superdelegates favor Clinton to Sanders 520 to 39 according to Google at the time I am writing this, and the pledged delegates are at 1682 and 1361 respectively. This gives Sanders 44.7% of the peoples’ votes and only 7% of the party insiders’ votes (though these votes have not been cast definitively yet). Sanders is polling evenly nationwide as of late and has won by “yooge” margins in the Western US and held it close nationwide, so it makes you wonder how he doesn’t have even 25% of the superdelegates. Does that seem Democratic to you?

The Democratic party presidential nomination is rigged and if the party insiders won’t take independent candidates seriously like the DNC is doing with Bernie, we wont be supporting your party for much longer. The likelihood Republicans take over after a Hillary Clinton first term following the shenanigans in the Democratic party is also a pretty glaring outcome if Republicans can regroup by 2020 with an unpopular incumbent. She is one of the most disliked presidential candidates in American history, and if the DNC doesn’t open their primaries by 2020 then a Tea Party-esque fracture of the Democratic party is a real possibility.

We who registered to vote as Democrats despite being independents to partake in the elections want our voices heard. If our voices won’t be heard by the DNC, it may be time to form a truly progressive party. We have sided with and voted for Democrats for years because they have similar views to us, but we will not have any faith that our voice will ever truly be heard in the closed primaries held by your party. And that’s what it is: your party, not the citizens’ you represent.

I’m more afraid of a Clinton presidency than a Trump presidency, because the GOP is already fractured and giving way to more Democratic friendly environments for legislation but we can put it all down the toilet if she makes Democrats regret they elected her. I will not be coerced into voting for a candidate I vehemently disagree with because I am afraid of Trump. I do not believe Trump has any chance of winning the presidency, especially now with Ted Cruz out of the race and Republicans supporting the true conservative candidate in this election: Hillary Clinton. She is a Republican in Democratic clothing on everything but social issues. If she loses the election I will feel no blame as the DNC ignored the candidate that had the best chance to win the election.

Hillary Clinton is the only candidate that can destroy the progress the Democratic party has made since 2008, and with her voting record it is not hard to see it becoming reality. You might say a vote for Bernie in November is a vote for Trump, but you’d also be a bit daft if you said that. A vote for Hillary is a vote for neo-conservatism and I will be casting my vote for progressivism in November.