I’ve made it clear what I look for in a presidential candidate, and why Bernie Sanders was my man. Bernie is gone, however, and while I respect his reason for backing Hillary (to block Trump at all costs), that reason isn’t necessarily good enough for me. I may vote my conscience for either Johnson or Stein. The pros and cons of each are about a wash. Johnson speaks to my libertarian values but is too right-leaning, while Stein impresses on green and liberal issues but is too left, possibly even a regressive leftist. Here’s how the four candidates line up:
+ Like Sanders on social issues, marriage equality, women’s choice, ending the drug war, ending military intervention abroad, and even striking against at least some of crony capitalism. He supports citizenship for children of illegal immigrants born in America, and increasing immigrants’ access to temporary work visas. Notably, he supports limiting liability for gun sellers and manufacturers, which is impressive for a right-leaning libertarian. He calls out Islamic sharia law is antithetical to the U.S. Constitution and resists pandering to the left’s apologias and obscurantism on the subject of Islam.
– While he commendably calls out Islam for inherent problems, he has also called for the odious measure of banning burqas before hastily retracting the statement (the fact that a libertarian would even conceive of approving governmental interference with how a woman chooses to dress isn’t encouraging). And while he rightly wants to minimize military activity abroad, he also minimizes the threat of global jihadism (to support his isolationist view), which is naive. Unlike Sanders, who favors tuition-free public colleges and universities, Johnson actually wants to eliminate the Department of Education because he thinks the federal government shouldn’t play a role in education. And although Johnson initially aligned with Sanders in rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, he now supports it.
+ Like Sanders on social issues, marriage equality, women’s choice, ending the drug war, wanting to break up big banks, jack up taxes on the 1 percent, raise the minimum wage, and implement mandatory single-payer health care and tuition-free higher education. They also share similar positions on most immigration and environmental issues, including pathways to citizenship and prioritizing a transition to green energy sources.
– She’s a laughable anti-vaxxer, and while she has backpedaled from extreme anti-vax positions, it’s not enough. While rightfully pressing for gun control, she’s a bit too restrictive, for example in favoring the victims of gun violence to sue firearm sellers and manufacturers. Her call for ending military intervention abroad is of course good, but she’s hyper-pacifist to the point of delusion, and over-ambitious; beyond providing free college, Stein would cancel all existing student debt. Ultimately, she’s in the camp of the far left and would probably be a regressive leftist in patronizing illiberal principles for sake of multiculturalism.
+ She supports women’s choice, and significantly that’s about all you can say for her.
– Her negatives are legion: She’s a tool of Wall Street, and fossil-fuel owned; a war-monger and security surveillance hawk; an executive sovereign who will reign by fiat and make every effort to Ginsbergize the Supreme Court. Executive and judicial overreach will be the defining point of her administration. She pays lip-service to espousing the causes of minorities and the dispossessed, but there is little reason to believe she will do much for social justice causes. Nor does she hold any promise to end the drug war. The only reason to vote for a candidate like this is to smack down Trump, and even that reasoning only works if you live in a swing-state.
Really, what needs saying?