I have a confession to make. I am a registered Republican. I am not voting for Donald Trump. I am not voting for Hillary Clinton. I am voting for the Libertarian candidate, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. I turned 18 in 1988. I grew up in the era of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

When it came to register to vote, it seemed an easy choice. Republicans stood for personal freedom, personal responsibility, and a chance to use that freedom and responsibility to be successful. Democrats stood for transferring the responsibility for my success to the government.

Even at 18, I knew the government was not going to make me successful, and was more likely to hinder that success. Over the past 25 years, the Democrats have behaved as expected and the Republican Party has been hijacked by people more concerned with restricting the right to an abortion, restricting the rights of the gay community, and telling people where to go to the bathroom. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, I didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me.
The question then is why Gary Johnson? Why the Libertarians? The answer is easy. Gary Johnson supports freedom for everyone and sane spending and law enforcement policies. Moreover, as a former Governor, he understands what it takes to be a chief executive and work with an often-hostile legislature to achieve his goals. For example:

  1. While personally pro-life, Governor Johnson believes abortion is a personal decision, which the government should stay out of. He also believes women who choose to have an abortion should be free from persecution.
  2. Governor Johnson knows the war on drugs has been a failure. He supports the legalization and regulation of marijuana and believes that providing treatment and education is a much more effective way to curb drug use than is incarceration.
  3. Governor Johnson decries the tax code as “…a weapon with which to manipulate our behavior, create and destroy industries and fulfill politicians’ dreams of social engineering.” He believes in its elimination (along with the IRS) and its replacement with a consumption tax, allowing each individual to decide how much they want to consume. There would be no tax on essentials. He would not regulate or tax the internet.
  4. Governor Johnson would return control of public education to states and local districts, eliminating the Department of Education.
  5. Governor Johnson also supports a rational immigration policy, which allows for the flow of needed workers into the United States. He does not support a taller fence, which, as puts it, “will only produce taller ladders and deeper tunnels.”
  6. Most importantly, Governor Johnson would balance the federal budget. As he explains, “No gimmicks, no imaginary cuts in the distant future. Real reductions to bring spending into line with revenues, without tax increases. No line in the budget will be immune from scrutiny and reduction. And he pledges to veto any legislation that will result in deficit spending, forcing Congress to override his veto in order to spend money we don’t have.”

These principles are why I became a Republican, and why I am voting for Gary Johnson. While some will say I am wasting my vote, I disagree. It is well known that California will vote (likely overwhelmingly) for Hillary Clinton in November. According to polling results reported on the smallest lead Clinton has over Trump in California is twelve points (CBS news). The Republican Presidential candidate has not carried California since 1988 and Democrats outnumber Republicans in California 45% to 27%. My vote for either Clinton or Trump would be wasted, as that outcome is already determined. By voting for Johnson I can help the rise of a third party and try and send a message to the Republicans and the Democrats that there are many of us for whom neither major party speaks. There are those of us who want freedom not only for ourselves, but for all Americans, and neither major party offers that, but Gary Johnson and the Libertarian party do.