For me it’s Johnson vs. Clinton. I know Johnson isn’t going to win and I believe Clinton will probably win.

The advantage with voting for Johnson is that the more votes he gets, the more some of the issues I like will be highlighted, like decriminalizing drugs, ratcheting down police militarization, promoting civil liberties more robustly, and evincing skepticism about policies that might lead the US into another land war in Asia. It will also remind Clinton (assuming she wins anyway) that she needs to fight for our votes.

The disadvantages. Aspects of Johnson’s message I don’t agree with might be highlighted even more. I’m not too keen on decreasing the size of the federal government in the way that he’d probably do it. I don’t know of any explicit statement he’s given on Obamacare this election cycle, but I assume he’s hostile to it and is likely to want something much different from me.

More important, this election requires me to take a stand against Trump in a way that I haven’t really had to take a stand against a major party presidential candidate before. While in general Johnson may take away more votes from Trump than from Clinton, in my case a vote for Johnson takes away a vote I would have cast for Clinton. A vote for Clinton is a repudiation of Mr. Trump in a way that a vote for Johnson isn’t.

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13 Responses to The dis/advantages to how I choose to throw my vote away

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    I would argue that a vote for Johnson is a stronger repudiation of Trump. Rightly or wrongly, I think a vote for Clinton will be interpreted as a Democrat voting for Clinton because she’s the Democratic nominee. Votes for Johnson in excess of the 1-2% the Libertarian candidate usually gets will likely be interpreted as people who would have voted for the Republican nominee if it had been anyone other than Trump.

  2. kirk says:

    “The advantage with voting for Johnson is that the more votes he gets, the more some of the issues I like will be highlighted…”

    Sorry, but I doubt very much that anyone gives a shit about the tiny percentage of people who vote for third parties.

    • There’s that, too. If Johnson were (more or less) a single issue guy (like Perot was with the debt or budget deficit*), then maybe a vote for him would have more pull in the direction I was thinking about.

      *If I recall correctly, though, the debt or budget deficit seemed to act more like a stand in for what people disliked about the economy.

  3. Plinko says:

    I’ve been struggling with this a bit lately, myself. I’ve been a supporter of GJ since before he won the LP nomination, but the desire to repudiate Trump keeps rising.
    I have some substantive disagreements with GJ, but I expect HRC’s bad ideas have a much higher likelihood of becoming law than GJs given Congress. Plus, I prefer a candidate with at least some level of humility – something HRC seems to barely possess publicly.

    In the end, I think I’m going to come down on the side of Brandon above, but the rhetoric against HRC has been so excessively nutty about all the wrong things . . . I feel an inclination to support her more from that than anything she has ever said or done to earn it herself.

    • That’s roughly where I am, though like you I certainly can’t deny Brandon’s point. For me it’s a “Trump is so bad, that I’d even vote for Clinton” thing. But even if it works that way for me personally, that’s not necessarily how it’d be interpreted.

  4. Brandon Berg says:

    It’s uncanny how much the things the left doesn’t like about Hillary Clinton overlap with the things I consider to be her redeeming qualities.

    • I don’t consider myself of “the left” anymore, but what bothers me most of all is her hawkishness. Maybe I’m prone to exaggerate it, though. Any president or serious candidate for the presidency has to at least seem hawkish.

      • Brandon Berg says:

        I had intended that as a reply to Plinko’s comment about the excessively nutty rhetoric against her. I had briefly forgotten that comment threading is supported here.

  5. Jaybird says:

    A vote for Clinton is a repudiation of Trump.

    A vote for Johnson is a repudiation of the two party system.

    A vote for Trump is a repudiation of how things aren’t on fire.

    What do you most wish to repudiate?

  6. mike shupp says:

    Good points here, in the post and the comments. I’m a registered Republican and I just filled out a ballot voting for Hillary, not with great enthusiasm but essentially for the reasons you gave. I sure hope our choices in 2020 are a lot different.

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