Nobody For President (or The Principles Behind Non-Voting)

A tongue-in-cheek Facebook page I am a fan of touts Nobody For President. Because after all, Nobody will keep election promises, Nobody will listen to your concerns, and Nobody will tell the truth.

And it’s how I plan to vote in 2012. I’m voting for nobody. I’m staying home.

It’s not the first time I’ve sat out a presidential election. In fact, I haven’t voted for president since 1996, when I was 18 and thought I was Republican.

The non-voting mindset definitely offends many. The do-gooders say voting is your civic duty, if you don’t vote you have no right to complain, and so on. Wrong and wrong. It is not my DUTY to vote. A duty implies an obligation. I’m not OBLIGATED to vote for candidates I reject. Voting is a RIGHT. The RIGHT to vote also means the right to abstain from the voting process, the right to withhold my endorsement. As for the ridiculous “no right to complain” argument, free speech means I can complain all I want. Free speech rights are not subject to one’s voting record.

I’m not a principled non-voter, as I do vote on local sales tax and bond issues. Occasionally, I’ll vote on other offices (but not often). Maybe someday I’ll vote for a presidential candidate. That said, my non-voting convictions are much more heartfelt regarding the presidency than for other items on a ballot. For me, the mere act of voting for president gives my sanction to what the Executive Branch has become. And what power does the Executive Branch claim that I’d be giving my endorsement to? The power to detain citizens without a trial. The power to kill American citizens without a trial. The power to spy without a warrant. The power to launch a war without congressional approval. The power to rewrite laws without congressional approval.

I reject this view of presidential power.

Presidents on both sides of the aisle are guilty of pursuing destructive policy. Both Republicans and Democrats view the presidency as all-powerful. It makes the decision to not vote an easy one.

I could vote for a 3rd party alternative. The Libertarian Party candidate is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. He is arguably the best candidate the LP has ever run. Unlike most LP candidates, he has an actual record to run on, and it shows a guy with limited government bona fides. But there’s too much history of presidents promising to limit government’s size and scope and failing to deliver. Think Obama’s promise of “no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens,” George W. Bush’s “humble foreign policy,” Bill Clinton ending “the era of big government,” George H.W. Bush’s “no new taxes,” Ronald Reagan’s pledge to balance the budget by 1984, and so on. If Johnson had a better shot, perhaps I’d roll the dice. Even then, history shows I’d better be prepared for disappointment. The combination of zero odds of winning and likely disappointment in a shocking win make the decision to not vote easier.

I don’t begrudge anyone exercising their right to vote. Just don’t begrudge me for exercising my right to say ‘no.’

For more on non-voting, Brian Doherty’s 2004 article is must-read. While I don’t agree with every point, I’d also highly recommend the book Dissenting Electorate.


Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “Nobody For President (or The Principles Behind Non-Voting)”

  1. The Way Things Ought To Be by Rush Limbaugh | The Blog For Truth, Justice, & The Josh Way Says:

    […] first book. My views have evolved since then from Republican conservatism to a (primarily) non-voting libertarianism. With that in mind, and with the discussion on the future of the Republican Party and talk […]

  2. Why I Don’t Vote | The Blog For Truth, Justice, & The Josh Way Says:

    […] explained why I don’t vote in the past, but since we’re upon the latest edition of “The Most Important Election Of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: