Compared to previous election years, I have blogged very little about the presidential election. I suppose that is due in part to the fact that I am posting less overall. But I think it is also due to simply not knowing what to say. Not only am I at a loss for what to say, I have been at a loss for what to do. It goes without saying that I will not be voting for Clinton. But the concerns I have about the Republican nominee have led me to the conclusion I also can't vote for him. At various times this election cycle I have revisited that decision, asking myself whether I should reconsider it. Are the stakes so high that I must ignore all my doubts and do something that everything within me recoils against?
That's what a lot of people are saying. But every time I have tried to picture myself in the voting booth, bubbling in the circle for Trump, I have been caught up short. People say a vote for Trump is not a vote for the man but for what he represents--a platform or set of promises or cabinet. In other words, a strategic vote.
Okay, then. If a strategic vote is all I have, that leaves me with Gary Johnson. He is the only other candidate on the ballot in Oklahoma and the only third-party candidate who is on the ballot in all 50 states. The Libertarian Party is the party with the best chance of cracking the two-party dominance of our electoral process. I am not a great fan of Gary Johnson. I have not put a bumper sticker on my car or a sign in my yard. I know he's not going to win. But there is no chance, in my state of Oklahoma, that Hillary Clinton is going to win. Oklahoma will go for Trump. So I see a vote for Gary Johnson as a vote against the system that gave us two such woefully unsatisfactory candidates. If my vote can help send some sort of message, however small, or if it can in a tiny way weaken the two-party stranglehold on the process, I consider that to be a better use of it than throwing it away on a candidate I can't abide who is easily going to win my state without me.
So to those who have suggested that someone who casts a third-party vote this year is setting himself up as somehow holier-than-thou or up on some sort of high horse, spare me. If I were truly acting out of some elevated idea of principle I would refrain from voting for president altogether or write in a name that the state of Oklahoma would promptly throw in the trash because it doesn't count write-in votes. But I'm not doing that. I'm compromising. I'm holding my nose and voting in the way that I think my vote will have the greatest impact. My suggestion to anyone reading who is still undecided is that you do the same. What that actually means, I don't know, as it varies from state to state. God bless you as you try to figure it out.
I look forward to the day that I can once again cast a vote for president that I can be proud of.