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Why this Maine resident voted for Gary Johnson

Picture of a ballot with a vote for Gary Johnson for President 2012When I voted on Thursday, I didn’t choose Mitt Romney or Barack Obama for president. I voted for the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. I don’t normally make my votes public, but this year I feel compelled to.

I’ve been a Republican most of my life, much to the chagrin of my Kennedy-loving grandmother. (She thought my parents had failed because I wasn’t a Democrat!) But the Republican Party keeps moving away from me. As Christine Todd Whitman says, I’m a classic conservative. I believe in conservative fiscal management for government but very limited involvement in people’s lives. I have no idea how Republicans who are “social fundamentalists” justify the incredible government over-reaching that comes from legislating morality.

That’s why I said I’d been a Republican “most” of my life. I got fed up with the Republican Party a few years ago and unregistered. More on that below.

But let me tell you why I didn’t vote for Romney or Obama.

Why I didn’t vote for Obama

Although I didn’t vote for him, I was quite proud when Obama won the last election. As a late Baby Boomer/early Gen-Xer (depending on if you think Gen-X starts in 1960 or 1964) and a professed moderate, I thought we might see some change in government. But despite the Republicans not playing nice, he really hasn’t been the bipartisan president he campaigned as. His early attempts at bringing Republicans to the table seemed mostly for show and photo ops, not serious discussion.

This article in The Atlantic shows lots of the contradictions between the Obama portrayal and his actions: incredibly militaristic (especially killing civillians with drones), increased attacks on civil liberties, and actually “normalizing” the executive office excesses of President Bush.

But instead of ending those excesses, protecting civil liberties, rolling back executive power, and reasserting core American values, Obama acted contrary to his mandate. The particulars of his actions are disqualifying in themselves. But taken together, they put us on a course where policies Democrats once viewed as radical post-9/11 excesses are made permanent parts of American life.

I find it really odd that my liberal Democrat friends don’t seem at all bothered by this. The things they were snarky and rude about Bush, are quietly swept under the rug with Obama.

I couldn’t vote for Obama because he’s in many ways continuing the worst of the Bush legacy.

Why I didn’t vote for Romney

Honestly, I never would’ve voted for Romney. I’ve known too many people from Massachusetts to want to vote for him. But it’s how the Republican Party acts that makes me not want to vote for them. None of them really seemed to want Romney to be nominated, but when it became “necessary” they tried to force out all other candidates.

Take the example in Maine. The Maine Republican Party operatives are an inbred echo-chamber. They apparently think democracy isn’t right, that they know better than the actual Party members. I’m sure this is no different than the smoke filled back room deals of yesteryear. But it’s still nauseating. When Maine Republicans wanted to nominate Ron Paul, a legitimate Republican choice, the Maine Republican Party did everything they could to invalidate the votes. They even colluded with the National Republican Party to illegally (against their own party rules) unseat the Ron Paul delegates.

As I said, I didn’t leave the Republican Party, it left me.

I couldn’t vote for Romney because the Republican Party would see that at tacit approval for their power-hungry dishonest maneuvering. I know winning is the goal; but ethics matter to me.

Why I’m voting for Gary Johnson

I’ve learned that in many ways, I resonate with libertarians. I like some of his positions. Of course, there are some things about libertarians that don’t square with my faith. But neither do tenants of the Democrats or Republicans.

What really tipped me over to voting for Johnson was learning that the Commission on Presidential Debates was actively excluding him. Fortunately they lost some big advertisers because of their excluding Gary Johnson from the presidential debates. One of their professed reasons for excluding him? A candidate needs to receive 15% of the popular vote in opinion polls.

Reading that, I realized that according to the conventional wisdom, my vote from Maine won’t “matter” since it isn’t a battle ground state. But my vote for Johnson could help generate the 15% to at least get another voice heard on the national level.

Whatever you do, please vote

I was seriously considering not voting for president. A vote for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney seemed like a vote of confidence for the mess that we’re in with the two party gridlock.

So this Mainer voted for Johnson for President.

Whether you agree with my choice or not, please choose to vote. We Americans too easily forget what a privilege we have when it comes to voting.

And if you want to lodge a sort of protest with the way things are, I’d urge you to consider a vote for Johnson.

Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. The author of "Ask Without Fear!®," he is the founder of The Concord Leadership Group and FundraisingCoach.com. He's also the executive director of TheNonprofitAcademy.com and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook. To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to http://thenonprofitacademy.com/21waysebook

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. C. Albrecht Schirrmacher

    Hello Marc, I found you about your lastfm-library. Thankyou for your comment about your voting. It’s very interesting for me to see your motivation. I come from Germany. The election in your country is here on the top position in the news and you can read many comments about it. I’m very shocked about the methods of making electioneering in your country. I agree with you that it’s difficult for a christian to elect Romney or Obama. The news about the preelection between Romney and Obama are not good for the reputation of the USA. The people in west-germany grewed up with a very positive picture of the USA. It began to change with the war in Vietnam. After 1989 when the east german people joined our country with reunited Germany became more critical, because they have been educated to hate the americans. So it’s not easy today for a friend of america in our country.
    Greetings from Germany, Albrecht
    PS: When I’m thinking who could I give my vote it’s the same decision for me. Either my vote will be lost, but I have given it to a candidate whose programm I really like or I’m making a compromise and give my vote to someone of the big party. Then my vote doesn’t get lost, but I’m not really satisfied about my personal election.

  2. Marc A. Pitman

    Thanks so much for your comment!

    With all the talk of politics in the USA, it’s hard for me to write about it!

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