My Preferences in Presidential Elections: A Brief History
Full disclosure, 1972-2012
1972: I was two. I didn't vote, though I may have crapped my pants.
1976: I was for Carter, because my parents were for Carter. My little brother was for Ford, "because he's president."
1980: John Anderson. I'm not entirely sure why. I mean, I know why I wasn't for the major candidates: I didn't like Carter because the economy was bad, and I didn't like Reagan because people kept saying he was going to start a nuclear war. But I supported Anderson in the primaries, too, for reasons that I'm sure made sense to my nine-year-old self but which I have pretty much completely forgotten. Many years later I saw one of his old speeches on one of those C-Span retrospective shows, and I realized that he was kind of nuts.
1984: In my biology class' mock election—what, your biology classes didn't have mock elections?—I cast my ballot for Sonia Johnson of the Citizens Party. I'd like to say that this was my way of endorsing polyamorous feminist mountain communes, but I think it was some sort of pro-peace gesture.
1988: My first actual adult ballot. I was already a libertarian at this point, but I wasn't quite ready to abandon the major parties. Bush Sr. ran an appalling ACLU-baiting campaign, so I cast my lesser-evil vote for Dukakis. This is one of the two most embarrassing items in my biography, along with the fact that in the seventh grade my favorite band was Styx. But just as REO Speedwagon would have been worse, I can breathe a sigh of relief that I at least didn't vote for Bush.
1992: Andre Marrou. That's kind of embarrassing too.
1996: Harry Browne. The only presidential candidate I've supported who would have recognized me if we bumped into each other on the street.
2000: Browne again. By this point I was fed up with the Libertarian Party and was planning to write in Yosemite Sam, but the California ballot didn't seem to allow write-ins. This aggravated me enough to write a short piece complaining about it for the L.A. Weekly, making this my only trip to the polls that actually made me some money.
2004: Michael Badnarik. Sigh.
2008: Bob Barr. Double sigh.
2012: Gary Johnson. At this point, as you may have noted, I'm just robotically supporting whoever the Libertarian Party puts up. I'm not even a member of the organization, but as long as I'm in the booth to weigh in on the initiatives I might as well add to their pile of protest votes. If you ask me how I voted this year, I should tell you I cast my ballot for gays and gambling. The presidential race is secondary.