There is a story about a man named Thomas Hobson, a 16th-century stable owner in Cambridge, England. When a customer came in for a horse he would see a large variety of horses available. However, the only horse Hobson would hand out was the one closest to the stall door. He did this with the intention of rotating his stock and preventing the best horses from being overused. Today the phrase ‘Hobson’s Choice’ is meant to say that the only choice is no choice at all– take it or leave it.
With the news of the presidential primaries ending and the candidates being chosen, it certainly seems like we’re faced with a Hobson’s Choice. Neither candidate is a good choice for the position while many other more qualified individuals have been ignored or eliminated. I’m not going to harp on the shortcomings of Clinton and Trump; there’s certainly an abundance of it elsewhere. However, many disgruntled Democrats and Republicans are unhappy with the candidates and feel that they have no choice at all– either vote for the candidate chosen for them or don’t vote at all (or even worse, vote for the candidate or *gasp* the other party will win!, which is a complete lie). So it seems we are stuck with Hobson’s Choice. Or are we?
Voters who identify as Independent are at an all-time high at 39% of the population, compared to 32% Democrat and 23% Republican. What this means is that more people are dissatisfied with both major parties than the number of people in those parties. If all those people pooled together and actually voted for a 3rd party we could have some meaningful change in a government that currently 81% of the public is dissatisfied with.
And that 3rd party candidate doesn’t have to be perfect. As much as I dislike his economic ideas, I would vote for Sanders as a 3rd party. We do, however, have a candidate who is already running as a 3rd party: Gary Johnson as the Libertarian candidate. He’s not perfect but he’s a hell of a lot better than Trump or Clinton, and with 39% independent voters he has a good chance of actually winning the presidency.
Let’s stop fooling ourselves into thinking we’re stuck with Hobson’s Choice.
Even if you don’t like Johnson, please vote for some other 3rd party candidate. Write in Sanders if you have to. In any case, we have to stop just sending the message that we’re unhappy with our government and actually start making changes. Of course I’m going to encourage everyone I can to vote Johnson since I see him having the best chance of winning.
To many people libertarianism seems like a dirty word, but it really isn’t. There’s plenty there to appeal to both disgruntled Democrats AND Republicans. If anyone is interested in learning more about it please let me know so we can discuss it.
Give it some thought, and spread the word!