Ask a Libertarian: Is a Vote for Gary Johnson a Vote for Obama?

Welcome to Ask a Libertarian 2012 with Reason's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch. They are the authors of the book, The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, coming out in paperback with a new foreword covering Occupy Wall Street and more, on June 26.

"Is voting for Gary Johnson essentially helping Barack Obama get reelected?" - Sent via email by Christina Tate

Produced by Meredith Bragg, Jim Epstein, Josh Swain, and Tracy Oppenheimer with help from Katie Hooks.

To watch answers from 2011's Ask a Libertarian series, go here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Randian||

    I can't WTFV at work, but this response should have been about 30 seconds.

    "Voting for Barack Obama helps get Barack Obama elected. Acting as if there is a duopoly perpetuates the notion that there is a duopoly.

    P.S. we have a commenter named Tulpa if you're interested and single"

  • Tulpa the White||

    But what if there is a duopoly?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It isn't.

    A vote for a candidate, is a vote for THAT candidate. Subsequently, a vote *not* given to a candidate, does not equal "half a vote" or any other amount, for any OTHER candidate.

    This bullshit has been going on for years, coming from both Teams.

  • Randian||

    Yes, I agree entirely.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    DU and Freepers don't, however.

    Which shows what the brain damage of Team participation can do to a person.

  • Tulpa the White||

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil...

  • R||

    The only problem is that from our viewpoint, BOTH sides are evil, so voting for one or the other is STILL EVIL.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Is for the forces of evil, even divided into two factions that are actively working to destroy one another, to vastly outnumber and outgun the good guys.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Does Gary Johnson pull no votes away from Barack Obama?

  • Drake||

    A much better question.

    Unfortunately the answer is probably "no".

  • Knarf Black||

    Me! But that's probably about it.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Not after the 2000 election.

    Liberals are, contrary to perception, much more TEAM oriented nowadays than conservatives once the rubber meets the road. Oh, they'll piss and moan and complain to no end but it won't lead to a vote against their guy.

  • ||

    So....just like you?

  • ||

    "Liberals are, contrary to perception, much more TEAM oriented nowadays than conservatives once the rubber meets the road." I think you are wrong.

  • Virginian||

    He's not. Conservatives refused to come out and vote for HW after the twin backstabs of tax hikes and gun control laws. That's why he lost.

    Anyone, and I mean anyone, who voted against Bush because of his wars needs to do the same for Obama if they have a shred of decency. They won't. Being a leftist means embracing doublethink with all your body and soul. Mind not involved at all.

  • shelleyjr||

    Gary Johnson has said multiple times that he will pull votes from both big parties. I believe this to be true, since I live in NM and voted for him twice as governor. He ran as a Rep but won big because the Dem's loved him too, esp. on his re-election. NM is 2:1 Dem/Rep and yet Gary won by a large margin. So YES he will pull votes from Obama and Romney.

  • Broseph of Invention||

    Anecdotally, I know two SoCons from New Mexico, and both plan to vote for Gary, which surprised me. My only fear is that people will figure Gary's pull will be stronger on the other side, and that by playing as a TEAM they'll be able to win for their TEAM. I would love for Gary to win one state, putting another color on the electoral map for posterity.

  • Spiny Norman||

    What does Matt's shirt say?

  • ||

    "Sorcery" and "Stunt Rock". Sorcery is a band, and Stunt Rock is a movie they did the soundtrack for.

  • Chloe||

    Matt and Nick are now tied for 5 costume changes a piece.

  • Drake||

    The still looks like Matt farted really bad.

  • ant1sthenes||

    So, which candidate are you helping if you don't vote?

  • Joe R.||

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  • Tulpa the White||

    The opponent of the candidate you should have voted for.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Who decides which candidate you should have voted for?

  • ||

    Jesus. When the Rapture comes, you'll automatically be whisked away to Heaven as long as you have never voted for anyone else as your Lord and master.

  • pmains||

    Hastening the eschaton (ess-ka-ton)?

  • Tulpa the White||

    If Obama and Romney were tied, and a voter who "should" vote for Romney votes for Obama, Obama wins.

    If that same voter votes for Johnson, they remain tied.

    So no, a vote for Gary Johnson is not the same thing as a vote for Obama. It is the same thing as a vote for Donald Duck.

  • rac||

    But, if Romney was tied with (insert really bad dude not named Hitler), would you vote for Donald Duck?

  • Lysander Jefferson||

    If Hitler was tied with Stalin, would you vote for Gandhi?

  • ant1sthenes||

    Of course not, Ghandi was an asshole. Is there an LP candidate in the race?

  • ||

    Dolan

  • Brian from Texas||

    A vote for Gary Johnson is exactly what it is, a vote for Gary Johnson. A vote for Ross Perot was a vote for Ross Perot. A vote for Ralph Nader was a vote for Ralph Nader.

  • shamalam||

    The implied presumption in the question is that Libertarian votes are owned by the Republicans, hence any defection by Libertarians will result in an Obama win.

    Now, I don't know if I agree with that presumption, but assume it is true. If the loss of Libertarian support causes the Repubs to lose, then the Republicans have only themselves to blame for the loss.

    If we can swing an election, that is a VERY, VERY good thing!

  • Eric||

    For what it's worth: Registered Democrat here who has voted D in every election since '92. I'm planning on pulling the lever for Johnson this year...and I live in CO, so it may even count. I also think Ive convinced my dad to do the same.

  • BoscoH||

    WTF?!? If you live in a state like California that Obama has zero chance of losing, your vote for Gary Johnson takes nothing away from Romney and adds nothing to Obama. Simple Electoral College math folks.

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