3 reasons I refuse to vote for a third-party or make-believe candidate this year

by Brian Darling

I refuse to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson or independent Evan McMullin because they are terrible alternatives to Donald Trump. Johnson is barely libertarian and a gaffe machine on the campaign trail. McMullin, on the other hand, is merely a make believe presidential candidate who is in the race for one reason — to muddy up Donald Trump.

I have had a history of casting votes for libertarian candidates for president, but I am not going to do that this year. I have also written in candidates for president, but I cannot vote for #NeverTrump’s Evan McMullin.

Will I vote for Donald Trump? Will I write in my former boss, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (A, 92%)? I don’t know, but there are three reasons I can’t vote third-party this year.

1. Gary Johnson is not very libertarian

Every time I listen to Johnson with an open mind, he disappoints. He flubs Libertarianism 101 questions and seems not to have a grasp of basic libertarian thought.

On August 25, 2016, Robert Tracinski of The Federalist ridiculed Johnson for favoring a carbon tax. What Johnson failed to explain is that the purpose of taxation is to raise just enough money to keep the federal government performing core tasks, not for social engineering. Johnson does not seem to get that idea, or, if he does, he seems incapable of explaining himself.

Guy Benson of Townhall posted an interview with Gary Johnson on September 2, 2016 during which the candidate made a statement about gun control that could have just as easily come out of the mouth of Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (F, 17%) or Chuck Schumer, D-Ny. (F, 2%):

All of us should be open to a debate and a discussion over how we keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and in that same context we should also be open to a debate and a discussion on how we keep guns out of the hands of would be terrorists. I don’t know how we do that.

This is a horrible way to discuss the gun issue. Johnson never explained his interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and why his “support” is different from President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s claimed support of the right to bear arms. The 2nd Amendment is a natural right merely recognized by the Constitution and not deriving from it. A competent libertarian could explain that the Bill of Rights is not optional, and how one must recognize that the natural rights of free people are under attack in the guise of protecting the American people. Johnson failed to explain what the 2nd Amendment actually protects.

Johnson also botched his position on freedom of association. In a post from a site called Libertarian Investments on August 27, 2016, the author portrayed a Fox News libertarian debate between Austin Petersen and Gary Johnson as follows:

Gary Johnson does not believe in freedom of association. He originally stated that a baker should be compelled to sell a cake to a gay couple for a wedding. He later said that just because the baker has to sell the cake, it does not mean he has to decorate it. While there is likely only a small percentage of Americans who believe in freedom of association, it is a cornerstone of libertarianism.

Add in the fact that Johnson chose squishy RINO Bill Weld to be his running mate, and you have yet another example of bad judgment.

I could go on and on about Johnson’s pronouncements that I believe are in direct conflict with the liberty movement, but the fact that he can’t even get the issue of taxation, guns and freedom of association right when being interviewed speaks volumes that Johnson is not a true libertarian at his core.

2. Gary Johnson is a terrible candidate

Gary Johnson had made news by saying stupid things. In my mind, he has failed to become the safe landing zone for voters.

Johnson made national news when he failed to identify Aleppo as the center of a humanitarian crisis in Syria. MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle clearly was trying to hit him with a “gotcha” question, yet Johnson almost seemed confident that his lack of knowledge about that specific issue was not a big deal.

In late September, Gary Johnson was again on MSNBC and was asked to name a world leader whom he respects. He seemed unable to identify one foreign leader.

And then came the political coup de grâce last week. In a seemingly harmless interview with a reporter from The Guardian, Johnson actually said “I am an idiot you know. I am the dumbest guy you have ever met.” He then proceeded to melt down when challenged to defend his tax plan.

Considering Johnson’s choice to do an interview with his tongue stuck out of his mouth to make an incoherent point about his debate skills, you have a candidate who is correctly perceived as a fool who has no business on the national stage.

I do believe that Johnson may be one of the politically dumbest politicians we have witnessed on the national stage in my lifetime. The guy has a bad temper that seems to flare up at the most inopportune times, and he can’t seem explain the liberty movement to voters who are not steeped in politics.

Gary Johnson has set back the Libertarian Party for years, and can’t seem to get through an interview without melting down and making bizarre pronouncements.

3. Evan McMullin is a #NeverTrump stalking horse

Liberty voters or right-leaning voters looking past Gary Johnson to Evan McMullin have been presented with yet another flawed candidate.

As I have written in the past, Evan McMullin is running a Kamikaze mission to destroy Trump, not to win the presidency. McMullin is far from qualified, didn’t bother running in the Republican primaries, and is helping Hillary Clinton by drawing Republican votes away from Trump. In other words, McMullin’s true goal is to take votes away from Trump, and that may result in President Hillary Rodham Clinton. The whole reason for McMullin’s candidacy should inspire voters to completely ignore his candidacy.

One may be drawn to McMullin by his Republican talking points and rhetoric, yet he is completely untested and his policies have yet to be fully vetted.

As this election winds to a close, I am still on the fence between Rand Paul and Donald Trump. I really do want to send a message to the establishment by casting a vote for Trump, because I do want a political hand grenade tossed into a broken political system. Yet, my desire to cast a vote for my old boss is strong and I might just want to vote for Rand Paul for president because I think he would have been an excellent president.

For most voters, however, this election will be a binary choice between Trump and Clinton. For those who want to use their vote to send a message to D.C., they would be wise to stay away from the self-proclaimed idiot Gary Johnson and the #NeverTrump Kamikaze candidate Evan McMullin.

Brian Darling is a former staffer for Sen. Rand Paul. Follow him on Twitter @BrianHDarling.

Originally published at www.conservativereview.com.