Johnson is the only choice

Wil Gradle

Over the course of the last year, I’ve been confronted with a feeling that my Sociology 100 professor labeled “cognitive dissonance.” It is, more or less, that uneasy feeling you get when you realize that your long-held belief, the thing you knew to always be true, is dead wrong.

To those who know me, it wouldn’t be a shock to find out that I have Republican tendencies when it comes to my political ideologies. I think government should be small. I think mentally and emotionally stable folks should be able to have guns. And I think that I can spend my money better than the government can. Having read that, I’m sure it will come as no shock to you to find out that I’ve voted almost exclusively for Republicans and worked on several Republican campaigns. Naturally, I originally planned on voting Republican this year.

What will come as a shock to many Republicans (and perhaps a few Democrats) is that I will never vote for Donald Trump. Contrary to what many GOP voters think in Illinois, I believe that my vote does matter and that the votes of everyone matters. For the life of me, however, I can’t seem to justify wasting my voice on such a demonstrably awful person. Donald J. Trump is a fundamentally bad person who happens to say halfway decent things every once in a while. To me, supporting Trump because of the halfway decent things that he sometimes says is just like supporting the Cubs because they were World Series Champions. Of course they were. They could win again, too; given enough time, everything that can happen eventually will. If Trump just keeps talking (which he always does), he will eventually say something that clicks with every Republican voter.

Many Republicans find themselves voting for Trump “for the good of the party.” “I may not like Trump, but at least he’s not Hillary.” Which do you think is more likely to energize the Republican base over the course of the next few years? Option A: A president who doesn’t maintain any particular stance for more than a few minutes and for which we must constantly apologize. Or Option B: Four years of agonizingly lifeless speeches leading us in the wrong direction from Hillary. My assertion would be option B. With that in mind, is voting for Trump just to “Stop Hillary” really in the long-term interests of the party?

If I’m not voting for The Donald, I must be voting for Hillary, right? Absolutely not. For every sexist, racist and ableist thing that Trump has said, there is a vile, corrupt or deceitful thing that Hillary has done. Hillary has only ever cared about Hillary and, in my opinion, is willing to say or do anything that serves her own interests, which is not exactly a quality you want in the leader of the free world.

So what is the alternative? For me, Gary Johnson is our best hope. Johnson’s straightforward approach to politics is not only genuine, it’s also what we desperately need. We need a candidate who fully embraces conservative ideologies of fiscal responsibility, but also answers the call from our generation for personal freedom and personal choice. The Libertarian party has given all of us the gift we’ve been looking for: a way out from Hurricane Donald-Hillary. We’ve been given a smart alternative to the traditional two-party system; please join me in taking it.