To my libertarian friends: If you are not in a swing state, then by all means vote for Gary Johnson, or write in Ron Paul, or whichever candidate you believe the most qualified and most dedicated to true Constitutional principles.
However, to those of you in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Wisconsin:
I think it would be wise for libertarian minded voters in swing states to vote for Mitt Romney, and then spend the next 4 to 8 years pushing him for more limited, constitutional government.
Now, some of my libertarian friends say they refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils.
I have spent a lot of time studying about the constitution and good principles of government. For me, there is no candidate that perfectly represents and adheres to correct principles as I understand them.
Most people will acknowledge that they disagree with even their preferred candidate on at least one important policy or idea. If you have no disagreements with your candidate then that is a warning sign that you may have outsourced your beliefs.
In 20 years of voting, there has not been a single candidate that didn’t hold at least some position that I felt was seriously wrong. So for me, any candidate I choose to vote for is to some extent the lesser of evils. Voting for the lesser of evils is, for all practical purposes, unavoidable.
We all have someone we wish would be the next President of the United States who we also know will not be the next president. No matter how much you love Ron Paul, he will not be the next president.
So, of the candidates who can win, you want the winner to be the one who seems most open to be influenced toward the ideas that you believe in; or at worst, the least opposed to your ideas. If you are in a position where your vote could make a difference in whether that candidate wins or loses (like voting in a swing state), prudence suggests that you should do what you can to help the least damaging candidate win.
Some of my libertarian friends say that Romney is just as bad as Obama, and if you truly believe that then I fully support your decision not to vote for either one. However, you need to stop calling what you are doing “Refusing to vote for the lesser of two evils”. What you are doing is refusing to vote for equivalent evils. If you really believed one was less evil than the other, then you would prefer that the less evil candidate win.
A few libertarians have tried to make the case that it would be better for Obama to win because it would continue to keep conservatives angry enough to fight back for real change and move them more toward libertarian ideas.
That’s like standing by and letting a thug mug a neighbor in the hope that it will anger the neighborhood into taking serious action against the crime in the area. It is saying, “I will knowingly allow the greater of two evils to happen, when I might have done something to stop it, so that in the long run it may spark outrage against that evil.”
Morally that is disturbingly similar to the very “ends justify the means” arguments libertarians claim to oppose. It is also uncomfortably similar to the kind of “false flag” events they often warn against. While they are not actively creating the crisis in order to perpetuate change, they are willing to let the crisis happen in the hope that it will lead to change.
Letting greater evil happen in the hope that it will spur people to action against evil is immoral.
Many libertarians believe that the two-party Democratic/Republican system is rigged as a false dichotomy and that by voting for either mainstream party candidate they are simply allowing that rigged system to continue.
What they don’t realize is that the Constitutional itself creates a framework that naturally tends to coalesce into binary parties. If the Libertarian party were to suddenly go mainstream and have enough influence to win a presidential election, it wouldn’t end the two-party system. The Libertarian party would simply replace the Republican party in the binary.
What you have to recognize is that ANY party that has enough influence to win a presidential election will attract bad, opportunistic people looking to take advantage of its power for their own evil purposes. If the Libertarian party ever became influential enough to win, it would soon be flooded with the same corrupt people we see in the Republican Party now. They go where ever the power and influence are.
In other words, if the Libertarian party were to achieve the success it seeks, in so doing it would become what the Republican Party is now, a coalition of many different groups with often conflicting ideas infused with a powerful, opportunistic establishment. That is the consequence of having enough power and influence to win.
So, my feeling is that it is best to work within the existing Republican party to push it toward more limited government and greater adherence to the constitution over a long period of time. Ron Paul has done this by example, and he has had more influence on the Republican Party because of it. Yes, the party machine snubbed him. But he has had a big influence. And if those who believe in his message will continue to work with the party, they will have an influence over time too.
Also, see these reasons for libertarians to vote for Romney from libertarian Brad Smith:
And these from conservative Bill Whittle, who is a bit too apocalyptic, but makes some good points: