By Keegan Struble
Libertarian presidential candidate, Gov. Gary Johnson will be in Rapid City, SD on Oct. 26th for a rally at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Just like me, I’m sure you’re thinking, why would he come to our “Podunk” little state, even if he is a third-party candidate? The reason is because Johnson and his VP pick Bill Weld have been doing rather well in SD thus far. In fact, they are doing well enough that there is a possibility they could win here in SD. Johnson’s coming here is in hopes of gaining enough votes to make that a reality this November. Although it is almost impossible for a third-party candidate like Johnson to win the presidential election in our current two-party focused system, a vote for Gary is absolutely not a wasted vote. If you are a resident of South Dakota which many of us on this campus are, you may want to choose an alternate option rather than forcing yourself to pick between two of the most horrible presidential candidates in US history. Here is what will happen if Gary Johnson is able to win SD.
It’s no secret that most of us in SD as well as the rest of the US think that our two main presidential candidates suck. Yet we still choose between one of them out of fear that the other will win. This has and will keep us locked in a cycle of picking the lesser of two evils every single presidential cycle, allowing these candidates to get worse and worse with every election that comes. It will lead us to the point in which, as an example, we will be choosing between the Anti-Christ and the Devil because one is running as Democrat and the other Republican. We will pick one because of this idea of the lesser of two evils. This cycle needs to be broken, and the only way it can be is by empowering third-parties by voting for them. If Gary Johnson wins any states, even if it is only SD, the Libertarian Party as well as third-parties in general will gain much more attention. If a third-party receives 5% of the popular vote, they receive federal funding which will aid in future campaigns to help gain even more attention and publicity. This leads to a much higher chance of third-party success in future elections. So rather than casting a vote out of fear for a candidate you don’t even like, make your vote more strategic. Help the Libertarian Party gain more ground, attention, and possibly even funding. In turn, this will also support third-parties in general. So why vote Gary Johnson specifically?
There is no disputing that Gary Johnson is nowhere near the greatest presidential candidate to ever exist, and that there are other third-party options. In South Dakota though, we only have one other third-party option on our ballot, Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party. Frankly, Castle is not doing well at all in SD or anywhere in the US for that matter. Since Gary Johnson is already gaining plenty of ground in SD for his platform that appeals to both the conservative and more liberal members of our state, he is the best option here for furthering the success of third-party candidates in the US. Unlike Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Johnson is also a genuine candidate that sticks to his platform and lacks any scandals. Many of his plans and ideas for our country, such as his peaceful foreign policy, opposition to Net Neutrality (governmental regulation of the Internet), and legalization of recreational marijuana, seem refreshing when compared to the oppressive ideals of both Clinton and Trump. More of Johnson’s as well as Weld’s policies can be found here (https://www.johnsonweld.com/issues). So if you are a South Dakota resident still deciding on who to vote for, consider aiding Gary Johnson, Bill Weld, and third-parties for better choices and more democratic presidential elections in the future than what we have now. If you are not a resident of SD, consider voting for Johnson as well, or another third-party candidate of your choosing.