Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson. (Getty Images)
But then Donald Trump appeared. He appealed to voters, tapping into their anger and frustration. Trump's inflammatory speeches took the nation by storm, propelling him to the top. His fiery rhetoric was good for soundbites (in ad attacks for Democrats) and that was it. He hasn't offered any real solutions, but didn't have to. Anger and fear allowed him to rise to the top.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus warned us of allowing anger to control our actions in Epistles, writing, "Anger is momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you."
When Paul dropped out in February to focus on his Senate campaign, I was in shock. I couldn't forgive Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for his foreign policy and his betrayal of criminal justice reform, along with his position on the USA Freedom Act. Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) is a delusional man pretending to be the "moderate" choice in this three-man race. And Trump is a progressive masking himself as a right-wing populist who has given the greatest performance in the history of American politics.
I chose the Libertarian Party after Paul dropped out. My beliefs in limited government, restrained military action, immigration reform, ending the War on Drugs and protecting civil liberties clashed too much with the Republican Party. I cannot in good conscience vote for a Democrat, a televangelist, or a moderate.
I agree with the Libertarian Party far more than I agree with the Republican Party. They espouse limited government and believe in it, unlike "Republicans" such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Trump. They understand that it is the free-market, not the government, that creates jobs. They understand the War on Drugs has gone too far and that is has done nothing but make things worse. And most importantly, they understand that the neo-conservative foreign policy the United States has implemented for the past twenty-five years is a disaster.
Paul did, but he's gone now.
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) does a live interview with FOX News in the Russell Senate Office Building rotunda on Capitol Hill June 1, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
However, many voters will argue, a third-party vote is a wasted vote. You will either end up voting for Trump or Clinton, and nobody likes Clinton right? "Do you want to elect Clinton as president?" his supporters will ask. "Suck up your pride and vote for Trump, otherwise Clinton will destroy the United States."
Putting aside the fact that Trump is just as bad as Clinton, it will not result in a doomsday scenario if someone votes for a third-party candidate.
In a recent poll conducted by Monmouth University, former Gov. Gary Johnson had 11 percent, compared to Trump's 34 percent and Clinton's 42 percent. In that poll, Johnson pulled more support from Clinton than he did from Trump. Clinton crushed Trump 48 percent to 38 percent.
You've already lost if you vote for Trump. Even if there was no third-party candidate acting as a "spoiler," Trump has lost in almost every single poll he's been in with Clinton.
Voting for the Libertarian Party nominee will allow for the breaking of the two-party system. For too long, people have allowed this system to exist instead of fighting it. They've held their noses for their lesser of two evils instead of voting for the candidate that best matches their beliefs.
Both parties perpuates bigger government and more debt. Both parties are the problem.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that "History has informed us that bodies of men, as well as individuals, are susceptible of the spirit of tyranny."
People's fear and anger have allowed them to delude themselves into thinking that Trump or Clinton are good choices for the mantle of the most powerful position in the world. They've deluded themselves into thinking a single woman or man can just solve all of America's problems. Tyranny, even in the spirit of a representative democracy, is not the answer to the challenges we face as a nation.
Voting for either of these people is a horrible decision. Instead of holding your nose for what you perceive as the lesser of two evils, vote for the best candidate out there.
John Quincy Adams said it best.
"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."
Elias J. Atienza is a freshman pursuing his bachelor's degree at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. Send him your angry (or friendly) emails to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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