We are just 5 weeks away from the general election, in the homestretch of what has been an awful campaign cycle for liberty activists. While there have been very bad cycles in the past, this is the first general election in my personal memory where I found every candidate to be wholly unappealing. Between the failure of the Rand Paul campaign to catch on, the ineptitude of the Johnson/Weld campaign and the general lack of alternative presidential candidates, many liberty conservatives and libertarians find themselves without a candidate who is genuinely deserving of their vote. They find themselves caught between three evils, many attempting to rationalize which is the truly lesser one. So, what is a liberty activist to do when faced with the choice of Gary Johnson, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?
Most libertarians have decided to hold their nose for the Johnson/Weld campaign, a ticket which would produce disastrous consequences if they perform well enough in November to become the standard bearers of the liberty movement. The first major red flags that this ticket was going off the rails came during the Libertarian Party primary debates, when Gary Johnson couldn’t answer basic questions (or had terrible answers) about issues such as the non aggression principle, the definition of a right and freedom of association. That red flag, however, didn’t even compare to the indignity liberty activists have suffered by having Bill Weld shoved down our throats as the Libertarian Party VP nominee. This Patriot Act supporting, gun grabbing, Obama endorsing statist (who drew the ire of the great Murray Rothbard when he was governor of Massachusetts) is the antithesis of everything a liberty activist wants in a politician. Beyond the positions I just laid out Weld supports partial birth abortion, the death penalty and EPA mandates for electric cars. This is especially concerning when you consider that Gary Johnson has described Bill Weld as a “co-president” if they are to get elected, rather than a vice president. This means that Johnson and Weld view this as an equal partnership, not one where Gary has the final say. When you consider this alongside the fact that Weld has openly contradicted Gary Johnson on national television there are very serious and legitimate questions as to whether he would be the side of the executive branch most responsible for policy.
In effect, liberty activists have real questions over whether they’re voting for a slightly more liberal version of Mitt Romney by voting Johnson/Weld. Though some of our writers do support this ticket, I cannot endorse Johnson/Weld due to these inconsistencies with the liberty message that they were nominated to represent. If the Libertarian Party convention was any indicator, the nomination of Bill Weld will continue to be a dividing point between serious liberty activists of principle and the sort of “party first” hacks that are so ubiquitous in the GOP and Democrat Parties. With the party being left off the debate stage and therefore unlikely to match their polling numbers, liberty activists don’t have a reason based in party nor a reason based in principle to support this ticket. Furthermore, doing so sends the horrible message that this is the sort of liberty movement we would like to see going forward. We strongly urge our readers to reject Johnson/Weld.
This brings us to Donald Trump, and his campaign to “Make America Great Again”. This ticket has the support of the second largest group of liberty activists, with many liberty Republicans in particular deciding to support Trump. The idea of libertarian support for Donald Trump first gained major steam when Austrian economist Walter Block announced the formation of “libertarians for Trump”, a group of liberty activists (including some fairly prominent names) aiming to elect Donald Trump president, and as the Johnson/Weld ticket has crashed and burned many liberty activists are currently giving this ticket a second look. Unfortunately, despite the cultural libertarian revolution being triggered by the Trump campaign, the policy issues with this ticket are too much for me to offer Trump my support. Trump has flip flopped on raising interest rates, but when he has sided with the idea of keeping them artificially low he falls into the very trap that followers of the Austrian school of economics have been screaming about for decades. His plan to refinance US debt with the current historically low rates might make sense if you are developing real estate and have cash flow to put towards the debt, but every dime the government spends is eventually taxed from the people, printed by the treasury or borrowed by the federal reserve. This makes refinancing the debt a perilous and downright destructive notion, if done it would create even more of an imbalance between our skyrocketing national debt and our ability to pay off that debt. Trump has displayed a general lack of seriousness in addressing the debt problem, stating he would not be aggressive in paying down the debt due to our need to “rebuild our infrastructure and our military”.
Unfortunately, economics is probably the place where Trump has had the most positive to say. On the civil liberties front Trump has called for nationwide stop and frisk, executing libertarian hero Edward Snowden, NSA spying and expanding libel laws (particularly against journalists). These four stances alone are reason enough for any principled liberty activist to reject the candidacy of Donald Trump. We do have writers who have endorsed Donald Trump and I understand their reasoning for it. I hate the cultural rot the left has imposed upon us as much as anybody. But as much as he is a one man wrecking crew against the Cultural Marxism of the American left, Donald Trump’s proposals would make our nation less free and less economically prosperous. Endorsing Donald Trump would signify that culture matters more than policy, and though culture has certainly become a central issue in recent years the policies are still the primary factor in choosing a president. We find the policies of Donald Trump, on the whole, to be an affront to the notion of civil liberties and free market economics, and therefore urge you to use your vote elsewhere.
Finally, this brings us to Hillary Clinton. Between the Benghazi scandal, the email scandal, the health cover up and the rigging of the Democrat primary, we have never had a major party nominee who was so obviously involved in criminal activity. Her policy mix is bad enough, including her lack of seriousness in regards to approaching the debt of her predecessor, combined with her heinous remarks on foreign policy and civil liberties. This all being said, the major case against Hillary Clinton is not a policy based case. To be frank, all three candidates who are on the ballot in all fifty states are horrible on policy. The case against Hillary Clinton comes down to basic personal morality and what type of a person you want to be. If you are the type of person who is willing to overlook when people you support commit crimes simply so you can defeat the “evil other side”, vote for Hillary Clinton. If you are the type of person who thinks it’s okay to harass rape victims, has no questions about the string of mysterious killings surrounding Hillary Clinton and thinks it’s okay to run guns to terrorists in Syria in violation of international law, Hillary is your candidate. If you are the type of person who expects your leaders to handle sensitive documents with extreme carelessness and put themselves above the law, Hillary is your candidate. If you are the type of person who thinks it is okay to rig elections so the establishment wins Hillary is your candidate. I cannot imagine a more personally deplorable decision a person could make with their vote than to cast it for Hillary Clinton. To do so is to scream out to the world “morality and decency does not matter to me!”.
In an election cycle where all three of the candidates who are on the ballot in every state are unacceptable, most of us are resigned to either voting for the lesser of evils or writing in a candidate. Write in candidates tend to be considered a throw away vote, yet a vote for any of the major party candidates moves the ball in the wrong direction for the liberty movement. Because of this, due to his consistent track record of principled advocacy for libertarian ideas, I have chosen to endorse writing in Ron Paul for President this November. Dr Paul represents the sort of liberty movement which all activists should strive towards creating; one which embraces high moral character and casts these decisions surrounding policy as moral decisions which deserve to be viewed through the prism of the non aggression principle and protection of property rights. Dr Paul rejects the libertinism of many in the Johnson/Weld camp while also rejecting the big government statism of Trump and Clinton. His is a shining example which all liberty activists should strive to follow, and the way he ran his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns is currently the best example of how to run a libertarian campaign that attracts national attention.
We wish we could suggest a candidate who is actually running for president, but in the absence of a decent one the best option is to send a message with your vote as to the exact kind of person you want to support. Choose principle on November 8th and send a message to the libertarian establishment as well as the DC machine about the kind of person it is going to take to draw your support. Write in Ron Paul for president, and together we will send a message that is loud and clear to millions of people across this country.