The email is from a wise and principled old friend. He is conservative, religious or social in nature, terms used only to provide context, not as pejoratives.
He has heard I will be voting for the Libertarian presidential nominee, Gary Johnson.
“We live in desperate times. Perhaps it is moral enough to prefer Gary Johnson over Trump, Hillary, or the Bernmeister. All I know is that if the Screech is elected, she will nominate someone for the Supremes who, if he or she passes Senate muster, will eviscerate the Second Amendment, and Bernie will take us even further down the road to economic ruin. So whereas a vote for Mr. Johnson is morally superior, it is idiotic.”
My friend is not alone. There’s a lot of this going around.
People who, with all their might, think of themselves as conservative are performing mental contortions to justify voting for a man they know is not conservative, and has been antithetical to much of what actual conservatism believes his entire public life – business success notwithstanding. They engage in this lush, well-reasoned self-deception because they must, for jersey trumps (small “t”) ideology and they are Republicans more than conservatives.
I sent my friend the link to a piece published a couple months ago which explained why I will vote for Johnson and sleep well in doing so. Read it here.
“Very eloquent,” he replied later. “I’d have expected no less.”
“Nonetheless, the fact is that by voting for someone who cannot win, you advance the cause of the very person who, if she wins, will advance the neo-liberal cause of big, oppressive government.”
This is why our country keeps sliding Left. So-called conservatives afraid to stand for what they say they believe and who instead vote for whomever between the two “evil” major candidates wears the Republican jersey – which of course provides proof they are the “lesser” of the two.
Republicans thusly elected are those who create bureaucracies like a Department of Homeland Security and its TSA. Who not only never reduce government’s deficit spending, but expand it by trillions.
Who perforate the very Swiss cheese borders Trump says he would wall-up. Who give us chief Supreme Court justices who validate the very Obamacare every Republican presidential candidate including the apparent nominee has vowed to repeal and replace.
My friend, and millions like him, would revolt at the suggestion they are suckers. But that “Throwing away your vote” bit is the Great Gas Lighting Sucker Punch of the major parties.
Any election is a zero-sum game totaling 100 percent.
The two parties are content to trade off narrow majorities. Any third entrant will of course be a minority in the tally and at first serve only to undercut one of the two majors. By keeping their faithful more terrified of the other jersey winning than of any enemy foreign, domestic, or hiding under the bed, they keep voters from ever defecting in numbers enough to show an alternative could someday win.
My friend concluded: “In this situation, pragmatism is called for. I know it’s not ideal, but idealism in this case is, effectively, suicide.”
When the jerseys can convince the wise and principled that voting their principles amounts to suicide, they have won.