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MLtrump

I already hate myself for this one. When I turned 18, I promised myself that I would never vote for the lesser of two evils. If we want real change, we need to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. Voting for candidates who do not deserve to be in power is one of these mistakes. Anytime we vote for the lesser of two evils, evil wins.

This election, however, is different. It isn’t different because the stakes are higher than usual, or because one of the mainstream candidates is more libertarian. It is different because the Libertarian Party has not generated a ticket worth voting for either. In years past, Gary Johnson was basically a Ron Paul parrot. We never had to worry about him getting much national attention, so just having a guy who could inject a few talking points into the national discussion was good enough.

In the past, I’ve voted for Gary Johnson in the hope that a REAL libertarian might be in a better position to make arguments for life, liberty, and property in the future. Unfortunately, Johnson appears to have done nothing but smoke pot for the last four years. He isn’t more well read or articulate. His vice president is another lukewarm Republican Lite candidate who, while better on television than Gary, is hardly a representative of true libertarian values. Voters looking for Republican Lite can find it at the GOP. If we continue to vote for the Libertarian Party no matter who is nominated, then we are no better than people who do the same for Republicans or Democrats. The party MUST earn our vote, not expect it regardless of who they nominate.

Libertarians are natural centrists, and are defined more by opposition to authoritarianism than anything else. We are natural swing voters, and will follow the political tides in whichever direction takes us away from big government. By putting our support behind one candidate or another, we could decide this election and become the prettiest girl at the ball.

So who do we vote for?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both terrifying prospects. They are both authoritarian centrists, and both are fairly hawkish. Clinton’s record is far worse than Trump’s, but that could be simply a result of having been in politics for longer. Clinton is a creature of the political establishment, while Trump is a creature of crony capitalism. Both have horrifying economic policies, and both would be oppressive tyrants at home and abroad. Whoever wins will instantly become our adversary. Which one would we rather face? Which one would be more likely to, dare I say it, make a deal with us?

Despite constant scandals and even outright illegal behavior, Hillary Clinton has avoided prosecution. She is too slippery for a charge to ever stick, and will never face serious criticism from the mainstream media. Clinton is clearly the anointed establishment candidate, and enjoys the support of both establishment Democrats and Republicans. Though she is universally hated by all except the political, economic, and social elite, she is considered the “safe” choice. A Clinton presidency will undoubtedly consist of more of the same. More war, more lies, and corruption on an unprecedented scale.

Donald Trump has proven himself to be a skilled tactician, capable of manipulating the media, and in possession of a certain cult of personality, but he is constantly under attack and is not above the law. I have no doubt that his presidency would be the most scrutinized in modern history. Our press would suddenly start doing their jobs again, rather than acting as the propaganda arm of the federal government. I think there is a very good chance that Trump would be impeached if he stepped an inch out of line. He faces opposition from his own party, as well as the Democrats and the press. He will likely face political gridlock, and if he wants to achieve anything he will need the full cooperation of his party.

The most successful libertarian movements have been conducted from within the Republican party. Republicans, while hawkish and puritanical, have respect for property and are more diverse intellectually than the Democratic party. Democrats used to be less hawkish and puritanical than Republicans, but that is no longer the case. They are now entirely controlled by far left ideologies, and are not receptive to arguments for free markets, non-intervention in domestic policy, or true liberalism. Their electoral process is also far more controlled and dominated by the establishment. Meanwhile, the right has become more receptive to non-intervention and free trade as a means of promoting peace and prosperity.

Democrats may pat themselves on the back for being accepting and open minded, but they have very little intellectual diversity within their organization. The question on the left is not “how much should we do” but “how much can we get away with”? Some of them may be on-board with us on legalizing pot, but not all drugs, and they will want massive taxes and regulations. Some of them may be on-board with us on ending war, but not through free trade, and without trade there will be no lasting peace. We stand a much better chance of convincing Republicans that commerce is better than war, and that drug prohibition makes no more sense than gun prohibition.

Donald Trump has created a tremendous opportunity for the promotion of libertarian values within the GOP by ousting our sworn enemies, the Neoconservatives. The Neocons were always essentially pro-war Democrats, and Hillary Clinton is their natural ally. They will return to their ideological source on the left. The void within the GOP is being filled by the alt-right and the Tea Party. An influx of principled Paleoconservatives, Classical Liberals, and Anarcho-Capitalists could have some sway under Donald Trump. We used to have two establishment political parties. Now we have an establishment party, and an anti-establishment party.

Hillary Clinton will never consider the opinions of libertarians, will never take a position which reduces government, and we will have no allies in the media against her. She will run roughshod over her opposition with no fear of consequences. The Libertarian Party is taking the support of libertarians for granted, and is pandering to Socialist Bernie Sanders supporters, Neocons, the Koch brothers, and other establishment authoritarians. The point of the Libertarian Party is not to win, but to stand on principle. Given they they have abandoned their principles and sold out in every way possible, we should abandon them.

Trump is only a small step in the right direction, but has the potential to forge alliances within the new and improved GOP which could include libertarians. Trump is a gamble. He would likely be an absolutely terrible president. I am the first to admit that. Despite the argument that I have just laid out, I’m not totally convinced that I should vote for him. There is a fairly strong chance that I will write-in Tom Woods. I do believe Trump to be the least of three evils, however, and is the only declared candidate that I would pull the lever for in November. I take comfort in the fact that my vote doesn’t really matter, and we at least have some entertaining politics in our future.

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