[Politics] Why some Sanders supporters are talking about Gary Johnson.

There's an article in Salon recently entitled: "Why Sanders supporters cannot back Gary Johnson: His libertarianism is antithetical to the senator’s Democratic socialism"

Now, I am a Sanders supporter. Sanders' democratic socialism was never why I backed him, and all of these articles saying that Johnson's antithetical to the beliefs of Sanders supporters are right -- but they completely miss the point.

Here's why I backed Sanders:

  • He was a viable candidate against a person with serious ethical flaws and issues.

  • He had a positive approval rating, meaning he would be more likely to beat the Republican nominee (whoever that turned out to be.)

  • He supported reforming the way we funded elections - the root of the corruption which has made Congress utterly dependent upon deep pocket special interests, and completely independent from what the electorate wants or needs.

  • While I didn't always agree with Sanders, I believed that once elected, he would use the best of his judgement to make decisions in the best interests of the American People. -- that is, that he was motivated by a desire to help people, not a desire to pad his pocket, in the Cheney-Halliburton way, or to consolidate power for himself.

Sure, "democratic socialism" is also a "nice to have", but it wasn't why I supported his "revolution."

Indeed, there were two Republican candidates who I would say also fit the above criteria: Moderate George Pataki, and Conservative Lindsey Graham. Had either of them won the nomination, I would have not only voted for them, but urged my fellow Democrats to cross party lines for the top of the ballot, despite Pataki's economic policies and Graham's homophobic voting record.

One of the reasons I do consider myself a Democrat is that most of the supporters of reforming the way we fund and conduct elections are Democrats. Republicans (for whatever reason) tend not to see this system of corruption as a problem. In the Republican world, Grahams and Patakis are rare.

Clinton, on the other hand, is the counterpoint - the Democrat who doesn't see the system of corruption as a problem. She has spent her entire career working the system of corruption -- indeed, her ties to the Clinton Foundation and her major-dollar fundraisers are, to me, compelling evidence that she finds the system of corruption working in her favor. For that reason, I don't think she would act upon fixing this system (despite her late-primary shift towards giving lip service to primary reform) and indeed, believe that she would deepen it.

If I lived in a swing state, it would be extremely important to vote for Clinton simply because a deranged mind like Trumps cannot be trusted with either power or power tools (for precisely the same reasons.) His comments have already destabilized the balance of power between Russia and the West, have acted as a recruiting tool for our enemies in ISIL, and have dreged up old fears and bigotry that we thought we had left behind in the 20th century. Ultimately, I believe that if Trump were to be elected, he would either start or provoke a nuclear war, which is why I feel that, in a very literal sense, we are being held with guns to our head and the heads of our families to vote for Clinton.

But I don't live in a swing state, so my worthless vote is mine alone to waste. Of the four candidates on the ballot (Texas does not have write-ins), we have Trump, Clinton, Johnson, and Stein. Ideologically, I would lean more towards Stein of the four. However, Stein, in my opinion, has disqualified herself based on her views on science. That leaves Johnson as the least of four "evils" -- and Johnson's not that evil. While he would support ideological policies that I wouldn't, I believe that (Aleppo gaffe aside), he possesses the empathy, integrity, and intelligence to do an effective job as President. And at this point, beggars can't be choosers. Johnson hasn't made campaign finance reform a priority. Johnson is not my ideal candidate. Sanders was my ideal candidate. But Sanders is not on the ballot.

I'd like to follow this up with an observation: There are a lot of Democrats out there shaking their heads, wondering why Clinton isn't "running away with this thing" given all the comments that Trump has made in the campaign and his self-evident inability to do even the most basic aspects of the job.

I mentioned Pataki and Graham above. There was one other candidate - only one other candidate - in the Republican Primary who did, indeed, acknowledge the problem inherent to the system of corruption. There was one other candidate who was able to create a compelling narrative around that (Pataki and Graham never were able to break out of the 1% in polls). There was one other candidate who said, very clearly, that if elected, he would take actions to end the system of corruption. That candidate was Donald Trump.

Now, I don't believe Trump has any intention of doing anything that doesn't boost his ego. And while he's acknowledged the problem, he has put forward no clear policies towards reforming the system (nor, for that matter, any clear policies on any issue). But that is why Trump continues to keep the race tight.

Yes, his core support is the "basket of deplorables", and I would say that "half" is probably an accurate guesstimate. But what comprises the other half? I believe that other half of "non-deplorables" are people who have been convinced -- fooled, really -- into thinking that for all Trump's racism, he would indeed take action on the system of corruption... and that Clinton won't. Call this the "basket of deceived."

Brian Boyko

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Austin, Texas

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