This week in these pages, Edward Ring argued that voting Libertarian does nothing but hand elections to Democrats. “The disunity, imperfections, and failures of Republicans don’t justify their collective destruction,” he wrote. As someone who formerly took exactly this point of view, I’d like to explain why I’ve changed my mind.
I understand the logic of Ring’s approach: Republicans are better, on the whole, than Democrats. Therefore, while the GOP candidate may only be our second choice, it’s still better than getting our last choice. As Ring put it, “Right now, the fact that Republicans are not Democrats should be enough.”
But it isn’t.
Looking at the behavior of the Republicans over the last two years, I no longer believe there is a functional difference between the career politicians of either party. They favor different special interests, but that is all.
Fewer than a half-dozen national-level Republicans appear to have any awareness of how grossly our government has exceeded its powers. Republicans are no more interested in getting government to butt out of our lives than are Democrats: They pay lip-service to limited government around election time, but their words and performances are no kin together.
Look at the results, not their excuses. Whether the donkeys or the elephants are in charge, government grows inexorably, and faster than our population or our economy. A party that promises only to slow down the growth of government—and fails even at that—is not good enough.
For me, the proof in the pudding was the 2020 election. Not the theft, per se, but the Republican response to the theft. Ring proposes that the Libertarian vote might possibly have given the election to Biden. I worked for months with a team studying the fraud, and I say Republicans gave the election to Biden: If our congressmen and senators hadn’t hated Trump so much as an outsider—had they displayed any interest at all in seeing evidence of fraud—the election could not have been certified. But they simply weren’t interested. The only thing they cared about was being in office themselves. They proved once and for all that there are no fundamental convictions in either party beyond a desire for power.
Then followed the pathetic and cowardly GOP response to our government’s jihad against January 6 protestors, and the mobilization of federal law enforcement as a Stasi-like tool of political intimidation. People who came to Washington on January 6, with legitimate grievances and a constitutional right to express them, have been stripped of their rights, humiliated, incarcerated in disgusting and inhumane conditions of the sort we’d expect to find in a gulag.
Who has lifted a finger to help them? Who has said even a single word to defend them? Alone in the Republican coalition, the fearless trio of Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Louie Gohmert attempted to visit the prison in which these Americans are being held without trial—and they were turned away at the door. Frankly, any Republican congressman who does not exert himself on behalf of the January 6 political prisoners isn’t merely as bad as a Democrat: He might as well be rubber-stamping legislation for the Congress of the Soviets.
And it is precisely Ring’s argument that has allowed Republicans to be as rotten as they are. Republicans know they don’t have to perform, or to honor their promises, or to demonstrate any real convictions or to represent their voters in any way—just so long as they aren’t avowedly socialist, just so long as they don’t begin press conferences with “The Internationale,” we have to chose them because otherwise the Democrats will win. I’ve watched us playing along with this strategy for the last 30 years or so and, frankly, the results are excremental.
It’s time for a new strategy: Vote for the candidate who deserves your vote. I will be honored, as a new Floridian, to support the reelection of Governor Ron DeSantis. But my RINO congressman, Brian Mast (with a “D” rating from the NRA), will not be getting my vote. I would like to see primary challenges oust every single bad Republican but, failing that, I will not support a bad Republican on Election Day in the hopes of achieving some larger goal: reflexive Republican voters are not protecting America, they’re just protecting a fat, lazy, arrogant, complacent, corrupt Republican Party.