1 vote

Voting for Gary - It’s not throwing away my vote

In four days, legions of young people born between 1990 and 1994 will follow in Lena Dunham’s footsteps, losing our electoral virginity in a cascade of curtains, levers, buttons, and beeps. And although I whiled away countless middle school evenings dreaming of my civic “first time”, my twenty-year-old self could not be less excited for the big day.

Living in Cambridge, I will probably have to deal with weeks of Barack Obama As Sexual Experience, professors and punks alike dumbly smiling on the street, their heads held high for no reason other than that the Messiah has come again. This is not to say that I’d prefer a Republican victory: I have little patience for light beer, prayer circles, or live ammunition.

But for me, there will be no post-electoral bliss. I am voting for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president—a former governor of New Mexico who is just as accomplished as he is unassuming. More, he is absolutely certain to lose.

Some of my more establishmentarian friends have dismissed my choice as an irrational act of desperation: I’ve already come to the conclusion that one of the two major-party candidates is the lesser of two evils, so why be so vain as to throw away my vote? Besides, they continue, given my taste for taxing trans fat, pairing eventual budget cuts with eventual tax increases, and strictly regulating gun sales, I barely even qualify as a libertarian.

Whether Democratic or Republican, the sanctimonious finger-waggers have it all wrong. The semi-democratic nature of our presidential elections, which are decided by the vestigial, eighteenth-century Electoral College, means that unless you live in one of a handful of swing states, a vote for your establishment candidate of choice is no less frivolous than a vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. Given that I live in Massachusetts and hail from New Jersey, it makes no sense to cast a compromise vote for a major candidate: my states’ electors will inevitably line up behind Obama, so why not just vote for the guy I like most? For the approximately 80 percent of American voters in states that are out of play, there is nothing irrational about voting outside the two-party framework.