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Considering My Options for POTUS as a Female Millennial

By Avens O’Brien

Election Day is tomorrow and I’ll be heading to my polling place to vote on ballot issues and candidates for local, state and federal offices.

As a libertarian I tend to be a bit split on the issue of voting to begin with: I agree with the notion that voting is the act of bullying one’s neighbors by applying force (government action) to my preferences. I justify it by sticking to voting for Libertarian candidates and ideas, such as legalizing cannabis, fighting unnecessary regulations presented in ballot issues, and when actual libertarians aren’t available, seeking candidates that are less offensive to me than others. I’ve done the lesser of two evils thing before for a presidential election, and I got burned by it.

I’m a millennial woman in my late 20s. I’m not heterosexual, I’m not married. I’m an atheist, I am a self-described feminist, I am pro-choice. I’m anti-war. I am glad many of my gay friends have gotten married. I smoke cannabis and go to Burning Man. I’m a vegetarian.

I am frequently sent condescending, obnoxious articles reminding me that it is my obligation as a woman who values the things I’ve listed above, to vote for Hillary Clinton. I’ve been told it’s the height of white privilege to vote third party. I’ve been told this isn’t the year for a protest vote. I’ve been told I owe the Democratic party every freedom I have as a woman and that I owe them my vote.

Still, I say no.

When the arguments above haven’t worked for me, my liberal friends remind me that we cannot risk a Trump presidency. Though not a winning argument, it’s a better argument, frankly, as Donald Trump has horrific fiscal and social policy positions. A friend of mine in a lesbian relationship who has a young daughter I love dearly, reminded me recently that she’s worried that if Trump is elected, her marriage will be outlawed and bigotry will be written back into law in America, and she will be forced to leave. Other friends of mine have likened a Trump presidency to the movie V for Vendetta. I’ve been told that voting third party is voting for Donald Trump.

But, I also have friends who support Donald Trump. They have told me that voting third party is a vote for Hillary Clinton. I’ve been told that Clinton is simply too evil to tolerate, and have been sent evidence of tremendously shady dealings of the Clinton Foundation and campaign. I’ve heard Donald Trump described as the “anti-establishment candidate“. I’ve been told by a friend of mine that he is really actually a brilliant political mind who is just trolling the entire country, and once he’s in power, he’ll be “more liberty oriented”; to which I say “bullshit.”

For the record, if Trump happens to win the election, I really hope that pro-Trump friend of mine is right. There are glimmers of hope I’ve seen, like Trump actually having the best answer about the North Carolina transgender bathroom bill. He’s backed by a prominent gay man in Silicon Valley, and he’s actually been historically pretty cool with LGBT rights until he started running for office.

Ultimately, I don’t believe he will be any good. Trump has absolutely horrific (if flip-floppy) views on abortion, he is not a strong supporter of the First Amendment or Second Amendment despite what his deluded apologists might claim, he’s in favor of “opening up” American libel laws, and “shutting down” Internet. Let’s not even get into his immigration stance (and how it changes). Trump’s disastrous economic policies are chief among my concerns as well, his positions on trade and on tariffs are intolerable to me as someone who values trade and capitalism. Finally, though his official policy positions are less hawkish than Clinton’s, his comments on nuclear weapons are something to be concerned about. I don’t trust the man with military decisions.

In my analysis of Trump as a candidate, I’ve left out any consideration about the man’s personal life, his non-political comments and rumors/accusations about him, or the fact that people who know him personally and have worked with him are telling people he should not be president. The reason for this is because his policies themselves are bad enough to disqualify him from my vote for President.

I express all of these concerns about Trump to ease my liberal friends’ minds — I am not a Donald Trump voter. However, I cannot bring myself to vote for Hillary Clinton.

During primary season, I happened on this impressive article by Matt Taibbi about why Clinton is so disliked by millennials and it struck a chord with me because I agree with much of it myself.

Clinton has compromised on the wrong side of pretty everything Democrats are possibly good at from a libertarian perspective – the only exception to that is really abortion rights which she is unapologetically in favor of (thanks).

When I read articles telling me that it’s the height of white privilege to vote third party, I want to write obscenities in the comments section. Let’s talk about your goddamn American privilege, and why don’t you tell that to a Pakistani boy named Zubair, who was twelve years old when he and his little sister were injured from a drone strike. Zubair doesn’t like blue, sunny skies, because he knows that’s when the drones may return, and he lives in fear. Tell Nabila Rehman, who was eight years old when a drone killed her grandmother in front of her very eyes.

Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State saw 294 drone strikes conducted by the CIA, and 226 of the people killed were civilians like Nabila’s grandmother. Clinton’s aggressive views on foreign policy and entanglements should give pause to anyone who claims to care about “social justice” related causes, considering the color and culture of the people our country seems to kill. Let’s not forget how Clinton supported the Iraq war, as well. She’s friendly with actual dictators in oppressive countries, and her behavior towards women who’ve accused her husband of sexual misconduct is certainly worth taking a closer look at.

Clinton was late on gay marriage, is not strong enough on cannabis (Schedule I to schedule II? Come on!), and is rightfully attacked from the left on many issues from war to whistleblowers to progressive pet issues I’m not going to rally for. The fact is, there are tons of reasons to not be in favor of Clinton either, and I don’t need to say she’s “unlikeable” when there’s a slew of reasons her politics are unlikeable. I’ve met the woman personally. I found her husband way more charismatic, but I didn’t actually dislike Hillary as a person. She was very warm and engaging during the 2008 primary race in New Hampshire even when I told her I was working for Ron Paul that year. I don’t hate *her*.

Certainly among libertarians there is significant debate about who is worse. The arguments in favor of Clinton tend to kind of revolve around her being predictable – better the devil you know, as they say. Frankly, I have no idea what Trump actually stands for and will actually do.

But thankfully, these are not my only two options. I agree with supporters of both candidates when they tell me the other one is unacceptable. America deserves better than this, and I cannot believe the country has wasted six billion dollars to determine which of these terrible people will be the executive for the next four years. Frankly, we could’ve solved huge problems in this country with that money, voluntarily applied.

I have another option. One who is on the ballot in all 50 states. One who would like to lower taxes, legalize cannabis, have a non-interventionist foreign policy, bring troops home, support a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage, free speech, and generally aligns pretty well with the Constitution, if not always perfectly libertarian. On the field he is overwhelmingly the *most* libertarian candidate even when he falters from perfectly libertarian positions. I would 100% unequivocally prefer a country under his leadership than either Clinton’s or Trump’s. Before you say “Aleppo” — he can’t bomb places he can’t name.

I’ll be voting for Gary Johnson and as many Libertarians as I am able to on November 8th. If I wasn’t voting for him, I still wouldn’t be voting for Trump or Clinton. I’d abstain because I cannot in good conscience endorse the presidencies of either of them. I cannot have the inevitable blood on my hands. Neither are acceptable to my conscience.

I can’t tell you who to vote for – if you live in a swing state you may decide you need to vote against the “lesser” of these two evils in the major parties. I can’t really agree, personally, because voting for the perceived lesser of two evils for generations is how we’re in the mess we’re in right now. I live in California, so my state is already blue and I don’t hear righteous arguments about how “close” the race is here (because it’s not). My liberal friends have resigned themselves to my third party vote.

I’m simply tired of hearing from my friends on either side of the aisle that somehow my distaste for their candidate is less educated, less aware, or less empathetic than their position. “You have to do this for the country, for people like me” they both tell me. No, I freakin’ don’t. Call me selfish, call me privileged, but even if I were to consider that one is less evil than the other (they’re not exactly the same, don’t misunderstand me) the fact is neither evil is something I find tolerable or acceptable. 

I cannot in good conscience cast my vote for Clinton or for Trump. If *either* wins, America loses — as do many children in countries like Pakistan as drones continue to terrorize their skies (and radicalize them into the next generation of terrorists).

I’m on Team Johnson.

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