No Wasted Votes

This year we have an excellent Libertarian Party Presidential candidate, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, but realistically, he is not going to carry Virginia. Worse, Virginia is a battleground state this year, and a significant vote for Johnson could well swing the state, and the Presidency, to Barack Obama.
Still, it is very important that Gary Johnson gets a good share of the vote nationwide if we are to make progress toward the day when we will be competitive. So, what is a Libertarian to do?
Many Libertarians see little difference between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, and there is a great deal of anger among Libertarians over the recent attempts by the Romney campaign to keep Johnson off the ballot in battleground states, but a cool headed assessment makes it plain that we cannot afford to give President Obama another four years to increase the number of Americans dependent on government or to appoint 2 or more Supreme Court Justices. It is clear that Romney is by far the lesser evil.Still, my heart and my principles lie with Johnson.  So, do I waste my vote or look for a better alternative?But Republicans voting is States where Romney has a safe lead or hopelessly behind are wasting their votes just as certainly as Libertarians are under the electoral college system. More Republicans will vote for Romney in California alone than all the Libertarians voting nation wide and will get no more electoral votes than we will.
I solved the dilemma for myself by making a gentleman’s agreement with two diehard Republicans in my home state of Louisiana, which is a safe state for Romney. I will vote for Romney here in Virginia in return for their voting for Gary Johnson in Louisiana.
The result is a win/win as I see it. Johnson gets 2 votes instead of one, and Romney gets a critical vote in a battleground state. But, just one.Perhaps someone with greater web or social networking skills than me could set up a website for matching Libertarians in battleground states like Virginia with Republicans in states where Romney is safely ahead, or has no chance, at a one for two ratio, to set up gentlemen’s agreements to swap votes to our mutual advantage.  The Al Gore and Ralph Nader campaigns did something similar in the 2000 campaign.
I see a number of advantages for Libertarians and Republicans.
  • First, Johnson gets 2 votes for one, increasing our chances of being included in future debates.
  • Second, Libertarians will not be responsible if Virginia does not go for Romney and PresidentObama is thus reelected.
  • Third, it should put an end to these expensive and divisive ballot access challenges as we will establish a cooperative method for resolving such problems.
  • Fourth, Republicans lose nothing by participating and enjoy the soul cleansing experience of voting for a Libertarian.
I see no downside.Constitution Party supporters might consider doing the same thing, swapping votes with socially conservative Republicans in safe and hopeless states for Virgil Goode in return for Romney votes in battleground States like Virginia.
In any case, my vote, and my friends votes, will not be wasted.

3 Responses to No Wasted Votes

  1. Chuck says:

    I would offer an alternative. Why do we libertarians compromise? If Republicans want the libertarian vote, well then offer a choice that does something in the way of not just slowing the growth of debt, loss of civil liberties, property rights, regulations, and taxes. Maybe when Republicans lose the election and blame libertarians maybe they will offer a viable alternative that reaches out to people who want liberty. When it is framed as Democrat or Republican decision; we lose since both of these parties on the tyranny side of the liberty and tyranny scale.

    “The present generation suffers every hardship and cost of war, although anticipation pretends that it is covered by future generations. And this delusion is used to involve nations in wars, which they would never commence, if they knew that all the expense would fall upon themselves. It is twice suffered; by the living, who supply all the expenses of war; by the unborn, who supply an equivalent sum, to take up certificates of the expenses paid by the living.”–John Taylor of Caroline

    • Don Tabor says:

      Punish the Republicans by giving President Obama four more years to increase the number of Americans in some way dependent on the government? Yeah, that’ll show em.

      Seriously, I once thought that punishing the Republicans with a few losses might be a viable strategy too. But when you look at it from the Republicans point of view, it is counterproductive.

      We get at most 5% of the vote on a good year. So, if the GOP wants to court us, what can they offer that doesn’t cost them more votes on the other end?

      If they come our way on a less aggressive foreign policy, how many votes do they lose to Democrats. Remember, the Neo-Cons were Democrats before, and if the GOP writes off the “strong defense” voting block to get us, they lose more than they gain.

      Likewise, if they come our way on social issues, they lose more voters to the Constitution Party than they gain from us.

      Moving further toward Laissez Faire Capitalism won’t gain them as many votes as pandering toward the middle.

      In short, we just aren’t in a position, with the electorate as it exists, to bully them our way. Anything they do to move our way costs them more votes than we have to give them. For them, it is about winning.

      There is nothing for us to gain by making them enemies, but as allies, we can persuade, especially since we are demonstrably right on the issues.

      Down here in Tidewater, by cooperating with the Tea Party component of the GOP, we are bringing more and more Republicans to see the Libertarian view, and when enough of the GOP thinks libertarian, we will be in a position to either bend the GOP our way or take the Tea Party away from the GOP.

      But if we sabotage the election, we are the enemy, and their ears and hearts will be closed to what we have to offer.

  2. Lou Tabor says:

    Don I believe you have it right. As your brother you know we don’t always see things exactly the same way, but we agree on more things than we disagree about.
    Letting the country go more left is not the answer.
    There is a lot of conditioning that has to be overcome before the majority of our citizens will see things the Libertarian way. You know how I lean, but it still takes an effort on my part to see things your way. As a nation we have traveled a long way off the course that was intended by our founders.
    In the meantime it is better to form alliances between our camps than drive wedges. As a”diehard” Republican Tea Party Member I appreciate your effort toward a win win for America. It will not be forgotten and we have taken each a step toward common ground.

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