This is the second thing I’ve written since the election. I’m still processing what Trump means to me and those around me. Several times I sat down to write a reaction piece, but I just ended up with a jumbled mess. I eventually decided to talk about my political views, which is quite rare.
I voted for Gary Johnson. And no, it wasn’t a wasted vote as I’ve had many friends imply. And no, I didn’t vote for him because I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for Trump or Clinton. I voted for him because I believe in the principles of the Libertarian party. But until about 6 years ago, I didn’t even know that there was such a thing.
I grew up in a Republican household. My mom voted straight Republican in every election and when I was old enough to vote, I did the same. I had been drinking the Republican kool-aid for a very long time. The only issue I really understood was abortion and because Republicans were always pro-life, I always voted Republican. And because I had always been a Republican in a Republican household in a Republican state, I was very closed-minded to other viewpoints. However, as the years went on, I began to see things in the Republican party that I didn’t agree with, mostly revolving around wars and big government.
When Ron Paul appeared on the scene, I found myself questioning everything I had ever believed about the role of government in society. Sure, he wasn’t the most polished of candidates, but I liked what he had to say. And things just snowballed from there. I began to see how the endless wars are wrong. And how the war on drugs isn’t working. And how most government-run programs are run very poorly and are bankrupting the country. My views on immigration were changing. I first thought of myself as a Republi-tarian, but I’ve gone full on Libertarian in recent years. Below is their platform.
- Libertarians believe that all people have the right to freely offer goods and services on the market and that free-market approaches are the most effective at improving people’s lives.
- Libertarians believe that the equal rights of all people matter all the time. No exceptions.
- Libertarians believe that the existing justice system is seriously flawed.
- Libertarians advocate for a free market in education in which parents, teachers, and students, not the government, would make their own choices.
- Libertarians seek a United States at peace with the world.
- Libertarians believe that healthcare prices would decrease and quality and availability would increase if health care was freed from government meddling and control.
- Libertarians believe that every person has the right to arm themselves in self-defense.
- Libertarians believe that the War on Drugs is ineffective, unfair, and immoral. We advocate ending it.
- Libertarians believe that if someone is peaceful, they should be welcome to immigrate to the United States.
After reading these, you may be thinking that you might be a Libertarian also. You’re not alone. A Gallup poll published in February 2016 found that 27 percent of people they polled could be categorized as Libertarians versus 26 percent conservative, 23 percent liberal, and 15 percent populist. That’s right, more people aligned with Libertarians than any other party.
So why did Gary Johnson only get 3% of the popular vote? I think there are several factors. First, Gary Johnson isn’t the most Libertarian of candidates. There were many in the party bemoaning some of his views and wishing for a different candidate. Some would say that we just never did come together as a party. Next, the media machine was in full swing for the election season using their normal scare tactics warning people to not waste their vote. I have many Libertarian acquaintances that decided to vote Trump or Clinton at the last minute because of this. In the days following the election, I saw article after article blaming Hillary’s loss on us Gary Johnson voters. Third, the Libertarian party has only been around for 45 years and unless you’re really looking for information, you might not even know they’re out there. New ideas are scary, especially if you’re a staunch Democrat or Republican like I was. Lastly, they have some polarizing views on various topics such as drug legalization, abortion, and gay marriage. For some people, one or more of these are deal breakers. And I get it. I still struggle with what Libertarianism means for abortion, but overall I feel more comfortable with their principles than any other. All I do know is what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working and there really needs to be a change. I hope you’ll give the Libertarian Party a chance.