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Presidential Horse Race 2016: #NeverTrumpers, voting for Gary Johnson is the same as supporting no one

I have to admit, I’ve been hard on #NeverTrump for their collective failure to choose sides in the two-person presidential race this year. I’ve attacked them relentlessly for essentially supporting nothing, since their main argument all along has seemed to be, “Don’t participate!

For one #NeverTrumper at least, Caleb Howe at RedState, he’s made the leap to backing someone now -- Gary JohnsonLibertarian Gary Johnson. But is supporting someone really better than no one in Johnson’s case?

Howe expands on his final decision, “It is not simply a matter of not voting for Trump or Hillary. Even if there is a delegate revolt, even if there is a sudden change and the GOP comes to their senses, even if that change is to the honorable and admirable Senator Ted Cruz, I have no intention of revisiting my opinion. I'm voting for Gary Johnson. Because I believe he'll strive for more liberty, less government, a good Supreme Court, and because the GOP and the DNC can't be trusted to do any of those things. And the GOP doesn't deserve my vote anymore, even with a good candidate.”

In the balance of his post, Howe makes it clear he’s no longer listening to anyone else’s alternative advice, either, implying that people who support Trump or Hillary are similarly not open to discussing it (I guess that’s why most people express a preference in polls other than “undecided”).

Howe also indicates he decided on Johnson because the Libertarian candidate is for liberty and neither of the major party candidates is interested in anything other than furthering his or her own power.

If you would like a good summation of the #NeverTrump viewpoint, I would suggest you read Howe’s entire post.

While I commend Howe for finally making a choice to do something other than merely whine about Donald Trump, the premise of his argument is just as faulty as ever. If Howe says he’s for liberty, for example, and still votes for a candidate who isn’t going to be president anyway, that means he’s giving up his “liberty” for others to decide what happens to his country and ultimately to himself.

That’s because voting for Gary Johnson is basically the same as voting for nothing or not voting at all.

I won’t bother going through the polling data or analyzing third-party performance in recent elections to pronounce Gary Johnson won’t be taking the oath of office next January. While it’s true Johnson probably has a slightly better chance to win than the average Joe on the street – and that’s only because Gary will be on the ballot in most if not all states -- it doesn’t change the fact that barring some sort of unforeseen political miracle, either Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton will win the election.

In other words, there isn’t much difference between Gary Johnson or David French or even Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon when it comes to voting. You could write in Fallon’s name, right? We already know he does an excellent Donald Trump impression, so it’s arguable voting for Fallon is much more worthwhile than choosing Johnson or French.

Oddly enough, Howe says it was a visit to the Jefferson Memorial last weekend that finally convinced him to support the abortion-favoring Johnson. How’s that for honoring Jefferson’s immortal words written in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

If you have no life, you have no liberty. Johnson is disqualified from being a defender of liberty right there.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter how Howe came to his conclusion. If he and other #NeverTrumpers continue on with the charade that voting for someone other than Trump or Hillary is a worthwhile endeavor, they’re only fooling themselves.

It’s like the consummate feel-good copout position to say you’re following your principles by voting for a candidate who has no chance to win. My grandfather once received two write-in votes in his small town’s mayoral election. He wasn’t sure who voted for him, but it made him feel great! It probably made those two voters feel great too.

But someone else won the election and became Mayor.

Gary Johnson has some good issue positions going for him, but he’s not going to be president. Therefore, voting for him IS the same as voting for no one. Sorry, #NeverTrump.

Trump’s trade stance flies in the face of the establishment, but the voters seem to like it

Speaking of issue positions, everyone knows Donald Trump has taken a very pro-American protectionist stance on trade, which contrasts quite a bit – at least rhetorically – from Republican nominees the past few election cycles.

And in typical Trump-ian style, he’s doing it without hesitation or apology.

W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner reports, “Donald Trump took a decades-long Republican consensus in favor of free trade and discarded it like the garbage that formed the backdrop of his economic address Tuesday.

“That's one takeaway from Trump's big jobs and trade speech in western Pennsylvania. The presumptive Republican nominee went hard after Bill and Hillary Clinton without throwing fiscal conservatives who believe free trade is part of free markets, economic freedom and limited government a single bone.”

Antle notes that there is far from a consensus on trade in the Republican Party, with the elites tending to favor the concept of free trade (which go with free markets) while a majority of the grassroots is suspicious of government-negotiated trade deals.

What a surprise – there’s disconnect between the establishment and the people out there in flyover country.

Both Trump and Bernie Sanders made anti-corporatism a cornerstone of their campaigns, though Trump isn’t anti-business in the same vein as Sanders. As you would expect, Trump is very pro-business and favors lowering taxes on job creators. He just doesn’t want those businesses to go overseas when they can just as easily function here in America and hire citizens to work them.

Just how Trump would constitutionally be able to prevent the businesses from leaving is another matter entirely.

Antle also notes Trump has been remarkably consistent over the course of his lifetime in articulating his pro-America trade position, so there isn’t really any nuance involved. The people believe the elites are making trade deals that benefit special interests at the expense of American jobs and family incomes.

Free-traders (correctly) point out that free trade lowers prices for consumers, so everyone benefits, not just the businesses that are protected under a tariff. Special interests win in either case.

But I can’t help but think Trump has touched on an issue that needs attention – and it’s much better to have it addressed by someone who’s lived and worked under international trade than an ideologue politician like Hillary Clinton who’s dwelled in a liberal thought laboratory her whole life and doesn’t know the first thing about how people really live.

As an example, anyone who’s had a computer breakdown that required technical support knows a lot of these jobs are outsourced to other countries such as India because call centers “over there” cost a lot less (largely because of differences in taxes and regulations) to man than paying Americans to do similar work here. It’s just talking over the phone or the internet. The voice on the other end of the line could be on the moon for all I care when I need help.

I’ve had some good conversations with Indians while rebooting my computer and they seem like really nice, patient people.

But I can’t help but think these types of jobs might advance recent college graduates or even retirees working from home a lot more. Or how about giving businesses tax incentives to hire lower income people in inner cities? Simply put, that’s money that goes back into the economy rather than flowing overseas. True, it may make products a little more expensive to pay Americans to do it, but local economies will grow and lives will be improved in a measurable way.

And those college kids with more jobs and opportunities can then move out of their parents’ houses. Talk about a benefit.

The merits of trade protectionism may be a topic for another time. But it’s relevant here because Trump’s thumbing his nose at the establishment, yet again, won’t win him any favors from the suits on K Street and under the Capitol dome.

The voters like it…and that’s what matters. They know Trump is for them, even if they partially disagree with his position. They know where he stands, a refreshing change from the often muddy waters of politics.

For the record, Gary Johnson supports completely free trade. Yet another sign the establishment is cloaked by #NeverTrump.

RNC member proposes rule change that would effectively squelch a delegate revolt

Though #NeverTrumper Caleb Howe announced above that he wouldn’t switch his vote from Gary Johnson even if the delegates at next month’s Republican convention tossed out Donald Trump and replaced him with someone like Ted Cruz, there are a lot of Trump opponents who are hinging their hopes on such a possibility.

They reason that if they can get enough support on the party’s Rules Committee, it’s conceivable the dump-Trump movement would at least get a chance to vote to oust him on the convention floor.

Or would they…

Tim Alberta of National Review reports on a new proposal to squelch such a movement. “What’s the surest way to prevent Donald Trump’s opponents from re-writing the GOP’s rules to deny him the nomination at next month’s convention? According to a new proposal from Republican National Committee member Solomon Yue, the answer is simple: Don’t allow any new rules adopted in Cleveland to take effect until the 2020 convention…

“Such a drastic modification to the party’s rule-making process seems unlikely, especially at this late stage. But with GOP officials increasingly fearing an ugly anti-Trump rebellion in Cleveland — starting in the Convention Rules Committee, where amendments will be offered to unbind delegates or allow them to vote their conscience – Yue’s proposal could offer a preemptive solution.”

I’ve got to admit, Yue’s is a dramatic solution. It’s almost like killing the patient along with the disease, but yes, it would effectively end the #NeverTrump movement’s hopes of bringing in a White Knight to replace Trump.

But it would also serve to alienate a lot of people who might otherwise be persuadable to support the party nominee once the nomination vote is over. I wouldn’t be surprised if such a policy were adopted that some of the delegates would just get up and leave. The commotion caused by the jilted party members would arguably be just as damaging as the tumult saved by preventing a dump-Trump vote.

There is no easy solution to the delegate revolt issue, though the best possibility appears to be to just let the process play out. Party conventions have become dull and boring in the past few decades just because there isn’t any drama and therefore no reason for anyone other than the most politically tuned-in to watch.

The chances of the delegate revolt succeeding aren’t very good, but it would be riveting to witness. Therefore, let people see that the process itself actually works by having the insurgents lose right before our eyes.

The GOP might just earn some respect in the meantime…and no one on either side will be able to claim the system is “rigged”.

Stage set – literally – for the grand Trump show in Cleveland next month

Finally today, whenever Donald Trump is involved with a TV production, you know it’s going to be…huge.

The stage for next month’s Republican convention is currently under construction and it’s apparently going to be quite a spectacle to behold.

Louis Nelson of Politico reports, “The set that will host Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland will feature a massive video board and twin white staircases leading up to the stage.

“The 1,711 square foot video board will sit center stage above the speaker, the focal point of a stage flanked by silver-colored ‘blades’ that will hide wires and lighting from viewers both inside Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena and on television. Republican National Convention CEO Jeff Larson guaranteed at a preview event Tuesday that Trump’s acceptance speech on the final night of the event will happen inside the arena and will not be moved to another, larger location.”

Nelson’s story includes a neat video presentation of the stage, worth clicking if you’re curious.

With a video screen larger than the square footage of many homes, there never will be any doubt where the center of attention will be.

The fireworks may be on the convention floor or outside with the leftist protestors, but all eyes will be on the big screen. It sounds like it will be quite a show all around…one well worth watching.

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The Wasted Vote

You are likely no fan of perennial presidential candidate Norman Thomas of the Socialist Party during the first half of the 20th century (me neither) but for those who were, their votes for Thomas proved to be very effective and would have been wasted on the Republican or Democrat he ran against, despite Thomas never coming close to winning. How could this be so?

It's simple. Thomas and the Socialists won by seeing most of his policy proposals adopted by both major parties, among them such radical concepts as Social Security and a graduated income tax. This happened because the Socialist Party's policy proposals showed enough public support at the polls that the major parties decided they'd better steal them. Had those who voted for Thomas instead voted for either of his opponents as "the lesser of two evils," the support for those ideas would not have been evident and they would never have been adopted. Thus they won by voting for a candidate who was bound to lose.

I'm sure you can figure out how this might apply by voting Johnson/Weld in this freaky election cycle. If they attain the 15% polling average that gets them into the presidential and vice-presidential debates, millions more Americans will have a chance to compare and contrast and indicate their preference at the polls. Whoever wins will look at those "wasted votes" and decide to go after them in the next election, something that can only happen if they move in a more Libertarian direction.

If enough people vote for "nothing" it will become SOMETHING.

If enough people vote for "nothing" it will become SOMETHING. The only way to change the broken system is to vote for what you believe.

Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.