Presidential Endorsement

There are five candidates for president in the ballot in New York who have ballot access in enough states to win, theoretically. In the case of Virgil Goode, presently in the Constitution Party, this is only the case if states where he has write-in access are included. Goode has been a Congressman as a Democrat, an independent and as a Republican. He is a populist who opposes individual freedom in both the personal and economic spheres, and cannot be considered for this column’s endorsement.

Jill Stein of the Green Party is more interesting. Greens raise some important – indeed fundamental – questions about the economy and are generally fairly solid on civil liberties – the Second Amendment excepted. On environmental issues they ask many of the right questions, but come to many of the wrong answers. Stein is not suitable for this column’s endorsement.

Barack Obama has been an important president in a number of respects. His election demonstrated enormous progress on race relations. In some states, his parents could not even have legally married. His initial election was important for establishing that critical first. His policies, however, have often been misguided. He healthcare ‘reform’ was a travesty. His sensible initiative in establishing the Simpson-Bowles Commission to examine entitlements is one he has betrayed by ignoring its recommendations. His best policies – on Iraq and terrorist detention – have been Bush’s policies, and the exact opposite of what candidate Obama promised. 

Mitt Romney would, undoubtedly, be more capable than Barack Obama. His record shows that he is competent and able to manage. He is more likely to pursue free market reforms and to control federal expenditure. He would undo Obama’s disastrous healthcare initiative. But it is not clear he would do much beyond competently holding the fort. His platform is distressingly vague. He would not do much harm, but this columnist would be pleasantly surprised if he ended up doing much good. In a swing state, such as Florida or Ohio, voting for a third party candidate is intellectual self-indulgence. In those states, Americans should vote for the better of the two major candidates, and that is Romney. But New York is not such a state. 

To those who say that voting third party is throwing your vote away, consider this: you threw your vote away when you opted to live in New York. New York is close only when the election as a whole is not.

In New York you have the opportunity to vote for the best candidate, not the least bad, and that candidate is Gary Johnson. Johnson was a successful businessman with two terms as a state governor. He has proven that he can do an executive job.

His platform is far from vague. He would slash spending in Washington and balance the budget that way. He would end the fatuous and counter-productive “war” on drugs. Johnson is on the ballot in 48 states. He will lose badly in 47 of them, and is likely to secure a credible third place in New Mexico, where he was governor. That is the one swing state where this columnist would back him. But voting for liberty and the Constitution is a worthwhile gesture. If Johnson can secure, say 5% of the national vote, then Republicans will, slowly, start to listen.

This column’s endorsement is unambiguous: Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party candidate, for President.

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Quentin Langley is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Bedfordshire Business School as well as a freelance columnist published in the UK and all parts of the US. He blogs on social media and crisis communications at brandjacknews.com

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