Still thinking about voting Libertarian? Look before you leap
September 29, 2016
Still not sure what you will do in the voting booth? Maybe you are considering voting for the Libertarian Party as a way to avoid “choosing between two evils” or just throw all the old system out? What if the Libertarian Party has demonstrated positions on issues in the past which violate some of your basic values or your action or inaction could result in the election of a president who would set back any progress on your treasured issues for years?
No third party has ever won the electoral college majority since Teddy Roosevelt days in 1912, though in 1948 George Wallace’s anti civil rights party carried five states. It is the electoral college vote that elects the president, not the popular vote. Polling show that while the Libertarian Party could influence the outcome of this election in a state’s electoral college vote, their candidates have no chance to be elected to the White House, nowhere reaching the 15 percent popular vote mark.
The Libertarian Party has some sweet sounding siren songs that appeal to those on the left and the right. They promote very limited government, want to reduce our tax burden, believe government should stay out of our bedrooms on social issues, and support civil rights. They oppose foreign interventions. However, when they carry their principles to extreme conclusions and apply them to issues, beware. They have taken some very controversial positions over the recent years that are poison pills to many.
There is a web site that summarizes in bullet points with source citations issue positions taken recently by all political parties and candidates. It is non partisan and non profit. Visit http://www.ontheissues.org/Libertarian_Party.htm. What jumped out as particularly controversial were the following: eliminate minimum wage: privatize missile defense and social security; allow public funding for private education; allow drugs, alcohol, prostitution, gambling; eliminate all restrictions on immigration; eliminate the EPA. Note: their candidates broke from prior positions and platforms that eliminated government regulation of the the environment. On Chris Matthews Hardball, MSNBC, on Wednesday, their presidential candidate may be willing to keep the EPA. Libertarians would eliminate federal regulation of energy production from coal to gas (the free market will take care of that); have no government health systems but restore “free market” in health care; shutdown all foreign military bases; eliminate all military and foreign aid;have no trade restrictions (the ultimate free trade) ; and repeal all gun control legislation. Candidate Gary Johnson is such an isolationist, he has appeared to have little knowledge of foreign affairs (Aleppo moments).
The vote for president is by state. All but a few have rules that the winner of the state popular vote takes all electoral college votes allotted to that state. Your vote for a third party may withhold enough votes from your second choice in a very close election to cause the one you hate the most to win all of your state’s electoral votes, possibly resulting in determining the national vote in the electoral college. There are those who believe it happened in 2000 in the close Florida vote, causing Ralph Nader/Green Party to take away votes from Democrat Al Gore, resulting in his defeat. It may have also contributed to a Republican loss of the White House in 1996 with Ross Perot’s independent candidacy. The Obama coalition would have lost the 2012 election if the under 35 age groups’ votes had not been heavily supportive of him. As both President Obama and Michelle Obama said Wednesday, no vote, or a vote for a third party by this important group is a vote for Donald Trump. Given what is stake in both administration of laws and in appointments to the supreme court, the impact of a Trump election could set back for a generation reproductive rights and environmental protections.
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