Leave it to the libertarian to…not try and control how people think and act.
Reason Magazine is reporting some interesting comments Sen. Rand Paul made in response to claims that a third party vote is a vote for Hillary:
You know, (four second pause) they aren’t the same. I mean, everybody has their decision to make on how they will vote. Some people are very practical minded, and they say “In all likelihood it’s going to be Trump or Clinton. Which is the least bad?” And many will vote that way. And some will say, “No but I truly believe in limited government, the Constitution and a non-interventionist foreign policy, and I have a consistent philosophy. I want a candidate more of my liking.” And they may well vote for, you know, a third party at that point.
So the debate has to be [with] each individual. All I can tell you is from my point of view, I’ve made my complaints about our nominee quite explicit. I continue to do so, but also don’t see it as my job now—the thing is, is: I do think that my word is important. I signed a document, not under duress, but I signed a document saying I wouldn’t run as a third party [candidate] and I will support the nominee. And I’ve supported nominees I haven’t been perfectly happy with. I wasn’t perfectly happy in 2012; I knew a guy that would have been a lot better in 2012.
Paul is right to not agree with the view that “a vote for anyone but Trump is a vote for Hillary.” If a vote is cast for Gary Johnson (LP) or Darrell Castle (CP) or Jill Stein (GP), that vote doesn’t add to Hillary’s tally. Worst case scenario, it just doesn’t affect the grand scheme of things.
What Paul is saying about voting is really a variation of Sen. Ted Cruz’s “vote your conscience” statement, just more fleshed out. For some reason, people thought Cruz was advocating people vote against Trump, when that wasn’t the case at all.
As Paul explains, voting your conscience can mean voting based on practicality OR principle. It is about leaving the decision to the individual not to make a certain choice, but to make the choice they want.
As I conclude this post, it occurs to me that Paul displayed more critical thinking in those two paragraphs than Donald Trump has this entire campaign…we would be lucky if the Kentucky Senator put his hat in ring again in 2020.