I have heard many complain about the terrible candidates in this year’s presidential election. My response is, “Compared to what?”
Were the choices really that great when it was Romney against Obama? How about McCain against Obama? How about Kerry against Bush?
At least this year is mildly exciting with Donald Trump upsetting the establishment so much.
Let’s take a look at the candidates from a libertarian perspective. I think we can safely skip over Hillary Clinton.
While I don’t support Trump, I have been sympathetic towards him on several occasions. His economic proposals are abysmal, which just goes to show that being a businessman means nothing when it comes to politics. However, his lack of political correctness at times is actually refreshing in our time of hyper-sensitivity.
Most of all, Trump has shown signs of being good on foreign policy, or at least better than any major nominee in a long time. He suggests getting out of NATO. He says he wants to talk to Putin (instead of going to war). He says that the war in Iraq has been a disaster. It is these stances that has got the establishment so worried.
Unfortunately, Trump just endorsed Paul Ryan (going against a Trump supporter in his primary). Trump also essentially endorsed John McCain. This, coupled with his VP pick of Mike Pence, shows that the Republican establishment has rattled him. Trump thinks he needs to play ball with them. For this reason, I simply cannot vote for Trump unless something dramatic changes.
If I thought Trump would end the wars overseas and return the U.S. to a non-interventionist foreign policy, then I might actually vote for him, despite my other disagreements. Foreign policy is the biggest issue and it is the one issue where the president could actually make a difference. But since I don’t trust Trump on this issue any longer, I cannot even vote for him as the lesser of two evils.
So what about a third-party candidate?
Let’s start with Jill Stein, the nominee of the Green Party. She is probably the best on the war issue. She is more anti-war than Bernie Sanders. I realize this isn’t saying much, but I am not sure that Sanders supporters realize that he is not anti-war. Sanders is just less hawkish than Hillary Clinton, which isn’t hard. Sanders is nothing compared to Ron Paul on the war issue and interventionism.
If foreign policy were the only issue, maybe I would consider Jill Stein. But it is terribly difficult to vote for someone who promotes hardcore socialism. She can call herself the peace candidate, but the bedrock of socialism is government violence. Her other policies require violence to the extreme.
Are the people of Venezuela happy that they supported Hugo Chavez because he kept them out of war? If that person is a brutal thug dictator, then the lack of a foreign interventionist policy doesn’t help too much, except perhaps for those on the receiving end of drone bombings overseas.
Now let’s consider the non-libertarian Libertarian Gary Johnson. This is the man who personally chose Bill Weld as his running mate. I know that the Libertarian Party selects the VP candidate, but it was because Johnson pushed for him.
Weld is what some would call a liberal Republican. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is as establishment as they come. He is just about the opposite of libertarian when it comes to many issues.
Meanwhile, Johnson himself is terrible. He was a little more tolerable 4 years ago when he ran. Now he just sounds ridiculous. He is campaigning on the fact that he is not Clinton or Trump. He claims to be the reasonable person at the table.
On his latest appearance on CNN, he was asked about whether a baker should be forced to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. (He had previously stated that the baker should be forced to do so.)
Johnson responded that although the baker has to sell him the cake, it doesn’t mean he has to frost it for the couple.
Is this guy serious? This just makes him sound even dumber than before. This is not only trying to play both sides of the fence and missing; it is falling between the cracks of the fence. How could anyone sound any more ridiculous on this issue?
As Bob Murphy pointed out, most (or all) of these bakers are not refusing gay customers who want to buy pre-made items. The bakers just aren’t specializing cakes for ceremonies that they do not agree with.
The libertarian position is that it is the baker’s business (his property) and he should be able to use it or not use it how he wants, so long as he doesn’t infringe on others. People should be free to associate or not associate with whom they want. This is part of a free society. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with the bakers who make this choice not to serve certain customers.
I realize that probably 95% of the American population do not agree with the libertarian position on this. That is why Johnson is trying to play both sides, instead of actually attempting to educate people on the issue. And that is really the main problem with Johnson.
Some libertarians say that we should support Johnson even if he is not a pure libertarian. They say it helps to get the libertarian name out there. But I don’t want the name to get out there if it is being misrepresented.
And this isn’t on just one issue. It is on virtually everything. He does not take a hardcore principled stand on anything. He wants to legalize marijuana, but he never says he wants to get rid of the federal war on drugs. He wants to audit the Fed, not end it. Even on foreign policy, he is weak and I do not trust him at all.
It is funny that many libertarians say that you shouldn’t vote for the lesser of two evils. Yet, isn’t that essentially what they are asking us to do with Johnson? In this case, it is the lesser of three evils (or more if you count other third-party candidates).
At this point, if I were forced to vote for somebody on the ballot (not a write-in), I would have to go with Darrell Castle. Who?
Darrell Castle is the nominee for the Constitution Party. The Constitution Party is not well-known, but it isn’t completely insignificant either.
Chuck Baldwin was the nominee in 2008, and there is no question that he was the most libertarian (small l) candidate in that race.
The Constitution Party tends to promote Christianity to a high degree. Castle himself served as a deacon. I have no issue with this except it shouldn’t really be part of a campaign platform. I understand certain people will take certain positions because of their religious beliefs, and that is fine. It is just that I believe promoting your own religion should not play a significant role in the campaign.
In an interview last month, Darrell Castle stated that he is the most libertarian candidate in the race. And by looking at his stance on the issues, he is correct.
He wants to end the Fed. He wants a non-interventionist foreign policy. He wants to end the federal war on drugs, which is the proper constitutional position on this subject.
Some libertarians may disagree with Castle on abortion and border control. Castle is pro-life and wants secure borders. But libertarians will always disagree on these two issues.
Even though Castle is firm in his Christian faith, he does not believe the federal government should play a role in gambling, prostitution, or polygamy. He says that states should be free to regulate these things, but he sees no Constitutional role.
I don’t know if I will vote for Darrell Castle in November. I may do some more research on him. But there is no question that he is by far the most libertarian candidate in this race. Perhaps I will not vote at all. Perhaps I will write in someone’s name. Or perhaps I will vote for Castle.
I am certain that I won’t be voting for the disastrous non-libertarian Libertarian Gary Johnson.