Paul Jacob
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September 23, 2012

In 42 days, there’s an election to determine who will wield executive power in the world’s most powerful nation. Ours.

Lots of power is on the line. And with power comes fear. And with fear being such a powerful motivator, the polls will no doubt be crowded. Unfortunately, fear-based voting has its problems. For everybody.

I’ll spare you the chapter and verse on why you ought be scared out of your wits by the thought of four more years with Barack Obama as president. His sorry record is common knowledge and I’m confident that your genuine terror at such a prospect, like mine, is a pre-existing condition.

But who do we want to replace Mr. Obama?

Frankly, I find Republican Mitt Romney more than slightly terrifying, too. Not only do I disagree with many of his positions, I also doubt that we can count on Mitt to sincerely defend the policies on which we actually agree . . . at this fleeting moment.

My preferred candidate is Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential nominee and former GOP governor of New Mexico. Johnson is much more serious than Romney about cutting spending and reining in the awesome and out-of-control power of the federal government. He has a better record — that is, he has made substantive cuts in an actual government, and did so in a state that tends to vote Democrat. His success at this garnered him a second term. Judged by his own performance and his own standing, he’s the most practical candidate the Libertarian Party has ever offered to the American voter.

And boy, do we need his kind of savvy. Now.

Let me speculate as to your response: “But Gary Johnson can’t win! A vote for Johnson makes it more likely that Obama will be re-elected.”

True, Johnson polls at four percent, despite being ignored by the media. The likelihood that he could garner an additional 47 percent and win the presidency is no likelihood at all. And yet, there is a strong chance that at four percent — or even three or two or just one percent of the vote — Johnson becomes a “spoiler,” taking enough votes away from Romney to re-elect Obama.

So, the argument goes, don’t waste your vote on a candidate who can’t win — especially since the result could be a victory for the most frightening candidate.

Yet, it is not as simple as that.

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Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.