Conservative Column

Republicans, Libertarians should see election as stepping stone

/ The Daily Orange

If you told me a year ago I would vote for a third-party candidate, I would have said there was no chance of that happening. But here we are: the two-party system has produced the worst possible outcome and the Republican Party is in shambles.

The truth is, Republicans should have nominated Rand Paul while we had the chance. We should have nominated Jeb Bush once Paul dropped out. We should have nominated John Kasich when there were only three choices left.

But as a party, we made the biggest mistake that we could have and allowed a massive threat to democracy to exist. Even though we had every chance to stop him, Donald Trump prevailed. Now that it is undeniably clear what kind of person he is, I cannot understand why any Republican would want to vote for him.

Amid all the chaos, there is still a glimmer of hope. With accepting social policies and a rational plan for the economy, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is the only moral choice in this election cycle.

Johnson isn’t a perfect candidate, but he has a progressive social platform and a reasonable perspective on the economy. Johnson stands for individual liberties including LGBTQ rights, eliminating gender discrimination, championing reproductive rights and other progressive ideas.

Unlike other candidates, he realizes the growing national debt can’t simply be ignored. His goals to minimize federal government can be seen as radical, but ultimately, he’s for free markets that would allow small businesses to thrive instead of being pummeled by crippling taxes.

I realize there is not a chance for Johnson to win this election, but the victory would be him receiving 5 percent of the vote to gain federal funding for the Libertarian Party. This would change the way we view our system and make it possible for a minority party to have a serious chance in 2020.

Even though Johnson won’t become the next president of the United States, I cannot vote for Trump with a clear conscience. I also cannot vote for a criminal. Neither have sustainable plans for the future and neither would represent the country with integrity.

Never before have American citizens been faced with such pathetic choices for the Oval Office. Republican nominee Trump has proven himself to be a misogynistic, racist, xenophobic and naive candidate. On the other side of the aisle, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has shown she only cares about power and will say whatever she needs to in order to get elected. She also has demonstrated a severe lack of caution when it comes to national security.

Be that as it may, as a member of the Libertarian Party, Johnson’s beliefs are those that both Democrats and Republicans can get behind, which means he and other Libertarians can bridge the gap between the two main parties.

Voting for Johnson is an investment for the future. The next four years will be rough, regardless of who wins, but we can dismantle the two-party system that has clearly failed us.

Alex Deitrich is a freshman history major. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at amdeitri@syr.edu.

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