Throwing My Vote Away -or- Voting Libertarian

by pittcaleb Email    3712 views

This Presidential Election season reminds me of that from 1996. In that election, Bill Clinton was ripe for defeating, but the GOP nominated Bob Dole as his opponent.

My Absentee Ballot ArrivesTo this day, I have not run into a single person who claims to have voted for Dole in the primaries. He apparently won on the campaign slogan "It's my turn damn it!" And even a struggling incumbent president beat him hands down in the general election - 31 states to 19, 49% to 41%, and most importantly 379 to 159 in the Electoral College vote, the one that counts. I believed that if the Republicans would have put someone up with a pulse, they could have beat Clinton. They surely put that theory to rest! Dole was been 73 in 1996 during the campaign, Clinton was 50.

Fast Forward to 2008 and the current election. The GOP again nominated an "it's my turn" candidate - John McCain. McCain is a good guy - I voted for him in the 2000 primaries over eventual party nominee George W Bush. But that was 8 years ago and politics change overnight let alone in eras marked by the term decade.

This time, I do know people who voted for him. Again, I voted for a maverick, Ron Paul. Off topic, but I found a great video the other day of Paul on the old Morton Downey Jr. television show.

Pee OoohMcCain - well, let me not get into it. My political leanings toward to the Libertarian [good link to party platform]. Less Government, Less Regulation, Let people do their thing and eliminate most government programs, entire departments and give people and states the freedom to govern themselves.

Although in this country I am often labeled and lumped into the Republican Party, I do not often support them. I gained the right to vote in my first presidential election in 1992. That is both the first and the last time I voted Republican at the top of the ticket. I voted for the re-election of George H W Bush over relatively unknown Bill Clinton. In '96, I started voting 3rd Party - this first time for that "maverick" Ross Perot, even though his time really was in '92.

In 2000, I supported, financially, McCain in the primaries, and he won Michigan even! In the general, I again went 3rd Party, voting for Harry Browne of the Libertarian Party.

It's Official: A Vote for Barr2004 came with Bush running for re-election. I couldn't see how Bush would win again - he wasn't a conservative, we were involved in an unpopular war and the democrats were rallying against him very hard. But there was a concerted effort to put questions against gay marriage on ballots across the country. This brought out the uber-conservative voters in droves. While there, they rotely voted Republican and Bush won re-election. You gotta give props to whomever made the call to get all those ballot questions out there at the same time.

So now it's 2008 and who do I support in the primaries? Probably my favorite politician of all time, Ron Paul. But alas, it is not to be. Random people who know little or nothing about why they vote selected John McCain as their nominee. He was a great candidate (in 2000) and is still a great guy, but he's not the right guy for the 2008 election. He is 72 years old to Obama's 47. Notice any similarities to 1996? He's not conservative/libertarian enough for me and doesn't strike enough of a difference to his opponent for middle America to be able to overlook his lack of charisma (there is no good antonym for charisma at and give him the national vote.

So what's a man to do who has vowed to never vote for the lesser of two evils to do? Again vote third party - this time Bob Barr of the Libertarian party. I honestly don't know much about Mr. Barr, but I can tell you three things about him: 1) In general he will stand for lesser government and return to personal liberties and freedom. 2) I live in a heavy Blue State which right now is polling 57% to Obama, 38% to McCain, it doesn't matter. 3) Barr will be lucky to get 4% of the national vote and won't come closer than say 6% in any one state, thus won't even win a single electoral college vote

Throwing My Vote AwayBut I can with clear conscience tell you I voted for who stood for my political views closer than any other candidate. So many people will vote for one candidate over the other saying that neither is good, neither represents their votes. That they had to compromise their views in order to vote. There is often the statement that one had to hold their nose or close their eyes while voting to feel good about it. People, if everyone voted, using all those other parties that are on the ballot, voted their conscience, voted for who actually represented their views - then first, we wouldn't have this 2-party system anymore; second, if we ALL did this, we might just end up with a congress, a senate, a president that we believed in. One who wasn't tainted by this or that or something else.

So some of us are voting early this year (I'll be out of town on election day), most of you will vote on November 4th. I urge you to vote for the candidate that best represents your views. If that's Obama, then great. If it's McCain, great. If it's one of the dozen other people on your ballot (like Gloria from the Socialism and Liberation party) then vote for them, feel right about it and if everyone did the same, we wouldn't have this messed up 2-party system that we have today in America!

Photo Credits: All photos are of myself doing my Absentee Ballot Voting in my office. They can be found on Flickr, uploaded under my username PittCaleb. All photos above are clickable, which will bring you to larger versions of them.