Don’t like Trump or Clinton? Here is an option

August 22, 2016
Gordon Mullin

Gordon Mullin

OPINION by GORDON MULLIN

Its election season and most folk assume that they have only one of three choices for president: vote for Trump, Clinton or stay home. But I suggest there is another alternative.

First, a little background.

For me, the option between Trump or Clinton is the least palatable choice of presidential candidates in my lifetime.  If I were given another option, I’d pick any other past Republican or Democrat candidate who ran for president in the last 70 years over these two. No past major party candidate, in my recollection, has been so dishonest, childish, untrustworthy, dysfunctional or ill-suited as the two offered to us today.

I’d choose any sitting federal Senator over the Clinton or Trump offering. I’d pick their VP choices over them- happily.  I’m tempted to throw a dart at a phone book and I may be more comfortable placing the nuclear launch codes in the hands of this random person than either of these two deceitful candidates from our two main parties- or maybe not. It’s a tossup.

Neither Clinton nor Trump has a grasp on economics, trade policy, taxation or the consequences of their crony capitalist inclinations. They each campaign for our country’s highest office by provoking the ongoing hatred of their claimed malevolent groups du jour and offer themselves as saviors of the masses. “Vote for me- I’ll save you. I’ll give you free stuff and make your life perfect.”

The only reason either of them have any possibility of winning in this election cycle is that they have as an opponent someone even more loathed and untrusted by the electorate than themselves.  I’m having a hard time finding thoughtful commentators who support either candidate on any other basis than they’re not, you know, the other guy.

I fear for our country if either becomes president. Our allies are deeply concerned. No one with serious foreign policy credentials trusts Trump, and Clinton offers us Hugo Chavez in a pantsuit.

But there is another choice. It’s the guy who ran in the 2012 election for the Libertarian party, Governor Gary Johnson. Johnson was a popular two term Republican governor (1995 – 2003) in Democrat leaning New Mexico. He is honest, trustworthy and a deficit hawk of the first order and he’s running again.

His VP is also a respected two term Republican governor from a Democrat leaning state (Massachusetts), Bill Weld.

On policy, there’s a lot to like. Up front is the acknowledgement that our principal long term, and short term, problem is our almost $20 trillion federal debt, largely accumulated under presidents Obama and Bush. This sum rightfully includes the unfunded liabilities of our runaway entitlement programs and excessive retirement plan promises. These guys well understand the nature of our dysfunctional federal tax system and have a well-researched plan to fix it.

The fix is not a partisan issue any longer. It’s survival and neither Trump nor Clinton has a plan to address this overriding problem. Our grandchildren need and deserve this.

Johnson and Weld are strong supporters of term limits for all federal elected positions- House and Senate. In short their position is- run for office, spend a few years doing the job at hand, and then return to private life.  Just like our first President, George Washington.

Johnson and Weld know our immigration problems won’t be fixed by building a wall or demonizing immigrants. Instead of appealing to emotions, they want the government to focus on creating a more efficient system of providing work visas, conducting background checks, and incentivizing non-citizens to pay their taxes, obtain proof of employment, and otherwise assimilate with our diverse society.

They are strong constitutionalists and are willing to tell us the obvious: the national government has amassed too much power and we must return to a more federalist vision. We all know that power corrupts and they seek to create a government that does not overreach.

There’s a lot more meat on these policy bones and you can find out details on their web site and by listening to them on YouTube. I think you’ll find them refreshing and trustworthy. But, in this election, that’s a low bar.

To my friends who understandably claim “Johnson doesn’t have a chance,” I say, “Maybe not.”  But maybe he does. If Johnson can get 15 percent in five major polls by September, he’s in the national debates and all bets are off. Right now he’s polling between 8 to 13 percent and climbing.

Unlike past third party candidates, Johnson has appeal across the political spectrum. He will pull votes from both the left and the right, especially in this election where many voters simply don’t trust either major party candidate. You’ll recall that Ross Perot in 1992 pulled enough votes from the Republican base to hand the election to Bill Clinton. In 2000 Ralph Nader drew sufficient voters from the left to make an opening for George Bush to squeak through.

That won’t be the case here.

In this election, Johnson will pull votes from both major candidates for two reasons. One, Trump and Clinton are the least trusted competitors in decades so the inclination to “stand by my party” is weakened. Two, the Libertarian policy positions are, in brief, Republican in fiscal matters and Democrat in the social sphere. Both the GOP and Dem supporters will find much to like here.

Is it possible that Johnson could become our next president? I say “possibly.” I think the main knock against this scenario is really nothing more than the perception that he can’t win. I’ve often heard from my friends that, sure, Johnson would make a better president than the other two but they believe he can’t win and the normal inclination of most folk is to back someone who they think will be a winner. That’s how we’re wired.

I say, vote your conscience. Which would you like to tell to your grandkids, “I voted for the guy I most trusted, but he didn’t win?” Or, would you rather say, “I voted for someone I didn’t trust, and they did win?”

Which would you prefer?

In fact, there just may be, perhaps, possibly a third scenario. You could say, “I voted for the guy I trusted and he got elected.”

Gordon Mullin is a financial adviser in San Luis Obispo.


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48 Comments

  1. AGDUDE says:

    Trump , all the way I love how the media Does not want to hear any of this, Obama was a Flop..Why do you think Long Residents ,Born & raised in the area Left ..Good People Lost Their Butts from what Obama Shoved at US, Did You Get Your Bail out , Loan Mod..

    I sure Did Not.. I drag myself back up by my Boot straps .. I have been in my Trade 30 years in OCT, Age 53 you do the math, Who was the winner NOT me ..

    Vote For a Liar Clinton.. Not going Do it !

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. srichison says:

    Why all the hate? It’s really the root of all the political problems (and public policy problems) afflicting this country – and the State of California. The election, sadly, is not about public policy. It is solely about who hates whom the most. Get over it and understand that, whoever wins, we should all move to Canada (just kidding). In all seriousness, no matter who wins, the U.S. will still “be standing” at the end of the four years, there will still be political gridlock at the end of the four years, and, in four years, we’ll do it all over again.

    Don’t like Hillary? Don’t vote for her. Don’t like The Donald? Don’t vote for him. Like Johnson or Stein? Vote for them. Many are worried about “losing” their vote. You never lose your vote. You can stand up for those things in which you believe or you can vote the “lesser of two evils” and abandon your personal principles. If you do that, you abdicate to any rational person the excuse that you didn’t like the winner but you voted for him/her because you disliked the other more. You vote for someone, you own it. To do anything else is total weaseling.

    Vote for the candidate you think will do the best, not against the candidate you thing will be the worst. You can’t vote against someone in any case. You can only cast one affirmative vote. You vote. Your candidate wins or loses. Either way, you have lived up to your own principles.

    (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
  3. sloyakman says:

    8 years of Bush plus 8 years of Obama = 16 reasons why we are where we are and with whom.

    (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  4. kettle says:

    “Trump Boasts He Could Stop Chicago Violence ‘In One Week'”

    http://chicagoist.com/2016/08/23/trump_claims_he_could_stop_chicago.php

    Lol, can’t make this stuff up, oh wait……

    (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
  5. Black_Copter_Pilot says:

    I believe Johnson has said he will quit smoking dope if elected, so yeah, he is a good choice.

    (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
  6. retiredpoliceofficer says:

    I think Gary Johnson is a good choice. He may not get elected, but the choice of Clinton or Trump is untenable. If Johnson had a good showing he could run again in 2020.

    (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
  7. Jon Tatro says:

    Trump and Clinton literally make me want to vomit. I like much about Johnson but the one thing he stated he would do is cut the military by 20%. That is unacceptable to me.

    (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
  8. RonHolt says:

    I will be voting for Johnson but not entirely for the reasons you suggest.

    Almost every one reading this will be voting in the State of California. As nunsense stated in his comment, there is no chance that the state will not vote in the majority for Hillary. The Electoral College system means that all votes for any non-winning candidate are just symbolic. I am not going to caste a symbolic vote for a moronic, narcissistic con-artist like Trump. I don’t agree with all of Johnson’s views but I have generally found Libertarians to be far more honest as politicians than most of those in the two major parties. Even Jill Stein of the Green Party would be better than Trump (or Clinton).

    However, I would like to point out that a President does not have near the power to get things done that most people attribute to him/her unless Congress provides at least some support. I don’t think Trump would get much support at all so, if elected, whatever nutty ideas he might propose would likely be quashed wherever possible. Johnson and Stein would also face significant Congressional hostility for any ideas about reforming the status quo. Hillary might get enough support to do some damage though.

    I will therefore likely vote for Mr. Fareed even though I am inclined to think that he will be as much of a party tool as his opponent would be. At least he would be more inclined to stall many of the Clinton proposals simply because of party politics. There are times when a do-nothing Congress is better than one that gets things done and we may be headed for that sad situation during the next Presidential term.

    (-10) 16 Total Votes - 3 up - 13 down
  9. mej says:

    It’s delusional to think a third person would have any chance at all. Trump protesters are burning the American flag. That pretty much tells the story of what Hillary’s regime wants.

    (9) 23 Total Votes - 16 up - 7 down

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