Write-In for Ron Paul Would Be Useless (Yes, I Said That)

So we all know by now that Ron Paul has indeed not won the Republican nomination for president. This was something that was expected here yet continually ignored by Ron Paul’s more diehard fans, which I wrote about previously. Don’t get me wrong, his campaign was a good thing, as it broaded the national debate over the purpose of government, but the GOP was clearly not going to nominate a person whose campaign was predicated on gold-backed money and an aversion to war. The question remains then, what to do?

There is already a Facebook campaign underway to write-in Ron Paul, and I have heard similar sentiments around the web for it. This, in my mind, is a horrible idea. Now, I know I wrote recently about what a vote is, and how the only truly wasted vote is the one that you ultimately disagree with, but let’s think about this. Sure, maybe on some issues you agree more with Ron Paul than Gary Johnson, but how much difference is there between them? Answer: not much. Gary Johnson, perhaps, gives off a more left-libertarian vibe on the social issues (rather than just leaving it to so-called “states’ rights”) but he is a fantastic libertarian candidate. And a vote for Johnson would go a long way towards putting the Libertarian Party on the ballot permanently and giving a real choice in these elections.

Between a write-in vote for Ron Paul, who is not even running, and a vote for Johnson, a vote for Johnson would mean a lot more. It would help get the party past all the obscene ballot obstacles and get the message of liberty across. What would a vote for Ron Paul do? I don’t think very much, especially when the guy is retiring from politics. If you well and truly do believe that only Ron Paul earns your vote, then write him in, but I really think in this one case it would be better to put that vote for Johnson.

For the record, in 2008, Ron Paul got 41, 905 votes from write-ins, compared to the over half a million votes Bob Barr received. Just to put it into context.

And yes, I know. I’m acting just like all those Romney supporters who deride libertarians and say they’re wasting their votes by voting third party. Except not really; you’re not wasting your vote, but by writing in a vote for a guy who isn’t even running any more, are you getting the maximum utility of that vote, rather than giving it to a political party that desperately needs every single vote it can get to overcome the unnecessary obstacles in the system? That’s the question I’m asking you.

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