You will rarely see me talk politics here, unless it’s an observation on its intersection with pop culture in some movie or other that catches my fickle (l)ibertarian eye, but I feel like this upcoming election requires just a little remaining effort before I wash my hands of the whole sordid mess and vote Vermin Supreme (I want that pony, damnit!). So for all of you that feel you can’t support either of the vile kleptocrat statists we currently have as presumptive presidential nominees, here is my oh-so-nefarious plan to at least shake up the debates.
Lie to pollsters.
It’s simple. When the inevitable pollsters start calling your house tell them that you are voting for Gary Johnson, even if you probably aren’t. Even if you have decided that in the end you are going to pick your poison and vote for whichever candidate you think might be the lesser of two evils. Even if you are staying home. Even if you are fully supporting the Bill ‘n Opus ticket. The point of this is not to commit yourself, polls aren’t legally or morally binding, the point is to actually introduce more points of view to our political debates, something desperately needed.
Why Johnson instead of “undecided” or some other, more honest answer? Simple. He is going to be on the ballot in all 50 states and is already polling at over 10% nationally. If he hits 15% he will be able to participate in the debates (As an aside, up until about 20 years ago that would have been 10% and he’d already be there, but the parties colluded to change the rules when they actually had to allow Ross Perot on stage. Why the two biggest political parties get to set the rules and not, say, the organization holding the debate is left as an exercise for the reader.). His presence or absence on the debate stage is unlikely to sway the eventual outcome much this time around, but having him there will expose Americans to an actual different perspective on how governance could be. And maybe that will open minds to the future possibility of electing folks that don’t have a big D or a big R after their names and who aren’t beholden to maintaining the status quo of party over people.
Is this my endorsement of Johnson? Nope. Right now I’m not committed to anything except my mutual disgust with both big party candidates. Might he be my candidate later? Maybe. While I think he is overly naive on foreign affairs and that his VP pick is lousy as far as actually representing (l)ibertarian ideals, I do think he is mostly on the right track as far as economics and personal freedoms are concerned. But this is about getting representation for actual diversity of thought, rather than supporting a particular point of view.
Why am I not calling for the same for Sanders? Believe it or not it isn’t because I despise everything he stands for (Although I do. His ideas, taken to their logical extreme, led to 250-350 million deaths in the 20th century, and even in their less virulent form have resulted in the current disaster that is Argentina.). It’s because he hasn’t yet declared an independent run and is not on any ballots whatsoever at this time. Right now everything I am seeing leads me to believe that after the DNC convention, he is going to endorse Hillery and pour his energies into getting his supporters to fall into step behind her. In that case there is no chance he will be on the debate stage no matter what you tell your friendly neighborhood pollster.
HOWEVER, if I am wrong (and I frequently am), and Sanders does announce an independent run, by all means, do the same for him if you’d rather. As someone who thinks true debate and airing of honest ideology is at the heart of informed democracy, nothing would make me happier than to see all four candidates on a debate stage representing the full range of political thought in this country. On one side we could have Sanders representing state-mandated European-style socialism, Trump and Hillary in the middle, both representing a near-identical brand of statist cronyism (the only difference is which group of cronies each is beholden too, and even there, there’s plenty of overlap), and Gary Johnson representing (l)ibertarianism with it’s focus on free markets and a reduced role for the federal government.
Let’s actually give the people a choice this year. Lie to a pollster today!