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.