By Nicholas F Perugini, Opinion Writer
I recently attended a Gary Johnson rally in New York City. As I stood there listening to him passionately speak and provide optimism for a better America, I knew that he had earned my vote. For the past year and a half, the American people have witnessed an appalling presidential race. For decades, both the right and left have entrenched themselves on their side of the political spectrum. Grinding our government to a standstill, controlling our media to gain an upper hand, and worst of all, forgetting to take care of the American people (Their job).
This election year the American people are being forced to choose the most unfavorable candidates ever according to USA Today. On the Republican side is Donald J. Trump, a man who has used hate and anger as his rallying cry, and whose campaign has sparked much controversy. On the Democratic side is Hillary Rodham Clinton, a career politician who has voted for the Iraq war, sided with Wall Street during the Great Recession, and has questionable ties to her charity Foundation. There is much to say about these candidates, but let’s be honest: they already get enough attention. Let’s focus on the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.
So who is he? Gary Johnson is a former Republican governor of New Mexico. In a 2011 debate the former Governor claimed to have cut taxes 14 times, balanced the state’s budget and left New Mexico with 1 billion dollar surplus upon leaving office. He showed incredible leadership during the Cerro Grande Fire that swept through the state in 2000. In addition, Gary Johnson’s libertarian policies encompass both ends of the political spectrum.
Gary Johnson stands for social liberties like the legalization of marijuana, gay rights, freedom of speech and privacy, and the right for a women to have an abortion. Isn’t it a bit ironic that a former republican governor supported gay rights before democrat nominee Hillary Clinton?
Johnson is also a fiscal conservative promoting tax cuts, less government spending, and free trade. He believes that too much regulation is stifling economic growth. Gary Johnson is the best of both worlds when it comes politics, supporting a happy middle ground. According to the Cato Institute, most Americans see themselves as socially liberal and fiscally conservative.
Now some people will say that a vote for Gary Johnson is a waste. How they ask, can he beat the major parties? Whilst it is true that the numbers are not in Gary Johnson’s favor — he is not a wasted vote. Your vote sends a message to the other parties that change is necessary. Whilst it is true that a third party candidate has never won a US presidential election, that fact alone doesn’t make a third party vote a waste. During the election of 1896, American politics was dominated by a wealthy elite and the voice of the average American was almost silenced.
William Jennings Bryan went up against corporate-backed William McKinley. Bryan was seen as the voice of the people, while McKinley took millions of dollars from his corporate backers. Though Bryan lost the 1896 election, he started an incredibly powerful movement. His work paved the way for political giants like Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson.
It took time for the changes to take full effect, but eventually change was achieved. Women’s suffrage, worker’s rights, and the breakup of major monopolies all came from the votes and perseverance of the people. We can accomplish the same thing, but we need to go out and vote and support Johnson!
The two major parties have weakened themselves tremendously by backing such horrible candidates. In one poll, Gary Johnson is beating both Clinton and Trump when it comes to voters under 25, according to Investor’s Business Daily. The next wave of voters are coming of age and they want another option. If you want to see a change, your vote have more power than you might think!
A wasted vote is voting for something or someone you don’t believe in. Johnson may not win this election, but a message could be sent. If on Election Day he can get over 20% of the vote, it will show the political establishment that enough is enough and it’s time for a change.
The two party system is coming to an end; votes matter more than ever. I know that on Election Day I am voting my conscious.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 27th print edition.
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