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Subject: Voting in 2012

The following article is scheduled to be published in the September (now October) issue of Liberty's Torch, Brad and Barbie Harrington's Cheyenne, WY newspaper, where their motto is:

    "Defending your individual rights, whether you like it or not!"

Well, you can't beat that!

    It's Romney's Job to Win Over the Johnson Voters

    In most presidential elections within memory, there seems to always be a sizable portion of the public voting against one candidate rather than voting for the other one. Or to put it in different terms, many people continue to find themselves in the unenviable position of having to choose between the "lesser of two evils." Occasionally, a viable third-party candidate gains traction as an alternative to what is seen as the status quo being offered by the Republicans and Democrats. This happened in 1992 with the independent candidacy of Ross Perot, and this year we are seeing signs of growing support for the Libertarian party candidate, Gary Johnson.

    Without a doubt, this is a critical presidential election. After suffering four years under Obama's administration, many people have come to the conclusion that he must be replaced at any cost, even if it means voting for the lesser of two evils and supporting a suboptimal candidate such as Mitt Romney. Other people, taking a longer range view, are choosing to support Johnson who most closely represents their values and principles, understanding that his chances of winning this fall are slim, but hoping that a significant showing in this election will produce a more favorable crop of candidates next time around and ultimately lead to a better future. Those who believe that Romney's election is of paramount importance are fearful that a majority of Johnson voters will come from people who would otherwise vote Republican, possibly swinging the election in Obama's favor. One such person commented that should Obama win, it would be Johnson's loony supporters who will be to blame.

    I don't have a strong quarrel with how people choose to vote in this election. As is the case every four years, this country is in an unholy mess and the state of political leadership is disgraceful, so making a serious choice as to how to vote requires a strategy and calculation that can be complicated for intelligent, thinking people. However, one thing should be made clear. If Romney fails to convince enough people to vote for him and defeat Obama, then the responsibility will rest squarely on his shoulders. It will be Romney's inconsistencies, waffling, record of past actions and his inability to adequately sell his current soft and unfocused message that will be at fault.

    If Romney and the Republican Party cannot convince a large segment of smart, informed voters that it is in their best interest to cast their ballot for him rather than for Obama or for a third party candidate who has almost no chance of winning, then it is really disingenuous for anyone to try and shift that blame from him onto those alternate voters who are pursuing what they believe is their best available option.

    In truth, it would be a fairly easy matter for the Republican Party to convert a great many of the Ron Paul, Johnson and independent Obama supporters into Romney voters. All they would need to do would be to adopt some of the policies and positions that this voting block heavily favors. But instead of considering that, the GOP continues to kick this constituency in the teeth as it has recently done by forcing the exclusion of Ron Paul from a convention vote through procedural tricks, and by adopting an extreme abortion position that is impossible for liberty-respecting people to swallow.

    If the GOP wants the independent and libertarian-leaning voters to come into its tent, then they have to actually demonstrate that they support individual rights, free markets and personal liberty, through action as well as words. However, not only do they fail that, they demonstrate repeatedly that they support the exact opposite! Look no further to see why there is a growing shift towards a third party. Johnson is an ineffective campaigner. It is not so much his performance that is drawing voters his way, but the GOP itself that is pushing them, with great force, in his direction. I suspect that this recent convention tactic will further swell Johnson's ranks with disaffected Paul backers.

    Everyone in the Republican, Libertarian and Independent camps agree that Obama must go. There is no need to push that message. Obama's every action automatically does it for us, and people not long ago convinced of this are a lost cause. But for those of you who have decided that the only serious path forward is to elect Romney, I would respectfully suggest that you should stop attacking individuals who are leaning towards supporting Johnson. These people have good reasons for their choice. Rather, you should be directing all of your focused energy and anger towards Romney and the Republican Party, demanding that they abandon their quest to impose their own personal vision of morality on everyone else, and instead adopt a program that truly embraces individual autonomy, personal responsibility, stands for the equal rights of all citizens, and supports a strict application of the principles that form the bedrock of our Constitution. This is the pathway towards naturally expanding the Republican base and defusing any harm that a third party might represent.

    It is not looney for people to follow their conscience and stand up for their principles. What's looney is an organization like the GOP that expects to receive support from those that it overtly despises and attacks, and then whines when it fails to achieve the results it wishes.

    C. Jeffery Small
    August 25, 2012

To this, let me add a few additional comments.

I really do understand the argument being made by those who believe that Obama must go — at any price — even if it means voting for someone as sub-optimal as Mitt Romney. I too am troubled by the concerns that, given a second term, Obama may attempt to decimate our military strength, further destroy our economy, continue to expand the powers of the executive branch, and make additional disastrous appointments to the Supreme Court. The consequences of any of these actions would impose a heavy cost on each of our lives and further weaken the country as a whole. And yet, while acknowledging the potential burden to be born, I nevertheless think this remains an extremely short-sighted view of the future.

For as far back as my political memory extends (which is to the early 1970s), every presidential election has been framed in terms of fear. Voters were warned that the "other" candidate was enormously dangerous, and if elected, would do immense harm. Therefore, even if "our" candidate was not perfect, it was still crucial to support him. In other words, every election has been sold to the alert and intelligent voter as one where it was necessary to set aside their principles and vote for the lesser of the two evils — but of course, just this one time! And the next thing you know, fifty years have passed while sitting on one's hands.

How successful has this strategy been? A simply survey of the current state of our country and culture documents the results. On balance, the lesser-evil has ultimately led to precisely the same place that the greater-evil was promising to take us. What we inevitably get is an ever expanding government of increased programs, regulations, spending and power, which confiscates more and more of our personal wealth and property while curtailing our right to determine and direct the course of our own lives. Democrats who once promised to uphold our civil and social rights now violate them with abandon while Republicans who promised us fiscal restraint gleefully tax, spend and regulate us into oblivion.

When you stand back and take in the big picture, what becomes obvious is that the idea of a lesser or greater evil is nothing more than a sham. There is only evil which must always be identified for what it is and opposed at every turn.

I wrote the article above before the Republican National Convention (RNC) was held. During that convention, delegates were asked to vote on certain rule changes that were designed to make it much easier in the future for the party to exclude delegates of which it did not "approve". Watch the following video which highlights how this issue was handled by the RNC.

The fix was in! The RNC preordained the outcome of the vote and incorporated the desired result into the teleprompter script which was then dutifully parroted by John Boehner. The Republicans accuse Obama of totalitarian aspirations and yet here is a clear example of stealing the vote worthy of any tin-pot dictator. This is a clear and naked example of evil in practice. You wouldn't give these folks access to the keys to your liquor cabinet, so how could you possibly entrust the country and your future to any of them?

This is only one example of many that repeatedly demonstrate that the current makeup of Republican Party is thoroughly corrupt, and it should be clear that nothing good can come from offering them your support. It hasn't in the recent past, and there is certainly no magic with Romney to suggest anything different today.

Principles are statements of fundamental truths, used to guide one in making proper choices. When evaluating a politician, it is important to not only gauge the specific positions that they take, but to also judge the character of the person making the promises. Are they honest, and do they possess the integrity to act consistently with respect to the principles they articulate? It is my hope that everyone will give this serious consideration before deciding how to cast their vote in this election. Politicians are not going to begin to value and demonstrate these qualities until voters once again make them the coin of the realm.

The choice in that regard rests with each of us, and the message we send resides in how we use our vote. Do we continue to double down on the losing proposition of lesser evils, or do we instead begin today to change the rules of the game and withhold our support from any and all candidates who do not earn it by pledging respect for our sovereign individual rights and also demonstrating the character necessary to stand up and defend them unwaveringly?

The future awaits the actions that we take today.

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