People ask me who I am voting for in the Presidential election this year about five times a day. I wish they wouldn't. Asking me about the upcoming election is a bit like having people constantly asking me if I am looking forward to my root canal next week. I find the whole subject of elections depressing -- these are people competing to exercise power over me that they should not have -- and this feeling only is worse with the horrendous choices we are being offered this year by the major parties.
But I play along, and tell them I am voting for Gary Johnson. And then I get, about 100% of the time, this retort -- You're wasting your vote!
What the hell does this mean? Since we keep voting and nothing really changes in the corrupt actions of a power-hungry government, I suppose one could call that a wasted vote, in the same spirit of "doing the same thing over again and expecting different results." Many libertarians refuse to vote, both for this reason and to avoid giving their sanction to those who seek to exercise power. But that is now what most people mean when they say I am wasting my vote.
What they mean is that any vote that is not for one of the two main Coke or Pepsi parties is wasted because the system has been structured by these two parties to make third party runs effectively hopeless (in much the same way that Coke and Pepsi coordinate their actions in the retail channel to exclude rivals from shelf space).
This is clearly brilliant marketing by the two major parties to get this phrase so embedded in everyone's head, but it is stupid. For example, by this same logic, any vote for a losing candidate is wasted, so 47 or 48 percent of people are always wasting their vote.
The two major parties are going to continue producing the same crap candidates by the same process and espousing the same stale statism until people start voting for someone else.
I know a lot of folks fear a Trump presidency so much they are willing to hold their nose and vote for Clinton just to make sure that is avoided. I can't necessarily argue with that logic. Clinton is a conventional candidate and at least will suck in conventional and predictable ways. But I am more confident in the robustness of the American system to withstand bad Presidents, even perhaps as bad as Trump. I will say I would have been more confident in this statement 16 years ago before the last two Presidents worked so hard to erode Constitutional safeguards and checks on the power of the President. On this dimension (and really only on this dimension) a Trump presidency might at least have one silver lining, in that it would sure as hell cure the Left of their love for the imperial presidency.