Why Liberals Shouldn’t Vote for Hillary Clinton (But Should Consider Gary Johnson)

With the Trump campaign seemingly self-destructing before our eyes, it doesn’t seem necessary to sell a ticket of two successful Republican governors to conservatives looking for a better option. However, it might surprise people to know that polling has shown that the Gary Johnson campaign pulls support fairly evenly from Trump and Clinton. It shouldn’t be a surprise, though, as there are a number of liberal issues where Clinton is actually pretty conservative and where Gary Johnson is clearly a better alternative.

Hillary the hawk

For anti-war liberals (who appear to have coincidentally become an endangered species since the end of the George W. Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama administration), there’s not a lot to like from a potential Hillary Clinton presidency. It’s hard to find a war that she hasn’t supported in her political career. She voted for the Iraq War as a senator. While serving as Secretary of State, she was a staunch supporter of military intervention in Syria and Libya. Even after the situation in Libya began to descend into chaos, she still maintained that military intervention there was “smart power at its best”. Clinton is such a clear and obvious supporter of United States military intervention abroad that even the New York Times wrote an article that said, “Throughout her career she has displayed instincts on foreign policy that are more aggressive than those of President Obama — and most Democrats.”

Meanwhile, Gary Johnson has consistently questioned the efficacy of nation building and advocated a foreign policy of restraint that is best articulated by this quote from his website:

“Looking back over the past couple of decades, it is difficult to see how the wars we have waged, the interventions we have conducted, the lives sacrificed and the trillions spent on the other side of the globe have made us safer. The chaotic, reactive military and foreign policies of the past two Presidents have, if anything, created an environment that has allowed these threats to flourish.”

Hillary the drug warrior

There are many articles online describing Hillary’s support for the War on Drugs (both domestically and internationally) and harsher prison sentences dating as far back as when she was First Lady. She has also had some contentious encounters with Black Lives Matter activists, many of whom have taken exception to her use in the past of the term “super-predator”.  During her political career, Hillary Clinton has been a consistently staunch drug warrior and despite clear momentum in public opinion, she still opposes the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Johnson, on the other hand, has been calling for the decriminalization of marijuana for 17 years. In 1999, Johnson became one of the highest-ranking elected officials in the US to advocate the legalization of marijuana while suggesting that drug addiction should be treated as a health issue and not a criminal one. His campaign has also correctly identified the connection between the War on Drugs, mandatory minimums and mass incarceration, and how it disproportionately affects the poor and minorities.

Skeptical of freedom of speech

Even on such seemingly non-controversial issues like freedom of speech, Hillary Clinton has a surprising tendency towards censorship.  Matt Welch from Reason magazine has written comprehensively on Hillary Clinton’s long war on free speech. For decades, she has tried to pass restrictions and regulations on all types of media, from television to movies to music and even the internet. She even co-sponsored legislation to criminalize flag burning as a senator.

Bad on civil liberties

Hillary Clinton has been on the wrong side of nearly every major civil liberties issue of our time. As a senator, she voted for the Patriot Act and has stated that she does not regret the decision. At best, she has been uncritical of NSA spying and has advocated increased surveillance. She has also suggested that what Edward Snowden did was wrong and that he should face jail time. Finally, she has even proposed a “Manhattan-like project” to break encryption. All of this is a bit rich coming from somebody who put classified data at risk in what is at best a reckless attempt at increased convenience and at worst a dangerous attempt to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests.

Gary Johnson, on the other hand, has said he would pardon Edward Snowden and would eliminate the NSA.

Late on gay marriage

gallup_gay_mariageHillary Clinton has been far from a leader when it comes to gay marriage, and in fact has even trailed public opinion on the matter. Her husband signed the Defense of Marriage Act (which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman) into law and she supported it. She is on record as opposing gay marriage during her Senate run and 2008 presidential run. It wasn’t until 2013 that she announced her support of gay marriage, nearly two years after public polling showed that the majority of Americans were in favor of gay marriage. Politifact awarded Clinton a “Full Flop” on this issue, noting: “As polls showed that a majority of Americans supported same-sex marriage, Clinton’s views changed, too.” That’s a charitable interpretation. A more cynical interpretation would be that she saw which way the winds were blowing and switched her position once she was sure it would help her politically. Hillary Clinton has taken the support of the gay community for granted without providing any leadership on the issue for them.

In comparison, Gary Johnson (a Republican at the time) announced that he was in favor of gay marriage in 2011, two years earlier than Hillary Clinton. Prior to that, in 2010, he wrote an op-ed in The Huffington Post calling for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy instituted by the (Bill) Clinton administration that prohibited gays from openly serving in the military. Gary Johnson’s running mate, William Weld, has an even more impressive background on gay rights: he was denied the ambassadorship to Mexico based on his “moderate stance on social issues such as his support for gay rights, abortion rights, and the legalization of medical marijuana”.

The two years between Johnson’s support of gay marriage and Clinton’s support might not sound like a long time, but it was a critical time in terms of public support for gay marriage. During those two years, public opinion on gay marriage shifted from a virtual tie between those for and against gay marriage to a 10 percentage point advantage in favor of gay marriage. The worst that can be said for Johnson is that he supported gay marriage the same year majority opinion in America ultimately switched. The best that can be said for Clinton is that she was only two years too late.

No friend to the socially liberal

Hopefully by now it’s clear that Hillary Clinton is no friend to anybody who calls themselves socially liberal. She is about as pro-war as politicians come, a long-time and unrepentant drug warrior, and clearly skeptical of the right to privacy and other civil liberties. If these are issues that are important to you, then Hillary Clinton does not deserve your vote. Only one candidate on the ballot in all 50 states is against foreign intervention, against the War on Drugs and against NSA spying. That candidate is Gary Johnson.

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Paul Essen
Founder and Chief Discourse Officer at Rampant Discourse

Proud geek. Trekkie. Browncoat. Entil’Zha. First human spectre. Hokie. Black belt. Invests Foolishly. Loves games of all types and never has enough time to play as many as he wants. Libertarian who looks forward to the day he votes for a winning presidential candidate. Father to two beautiful daughters.


This article has 2 Comments

  1. This was an insightful and well written. The gay marriage support is a solid negative in my view for Hillary, with the war stances and Marijuana also being more in line with my views.

    Not so sure how i feel about Snowden though. He did clearly break the law.

    1. Thanks! I have a fairly nuanced view of Snowden as well. I’m glad he did what he did and do consider him a bit of a hero, but I also realize he broke the law. The point was more to show that in pretty much every issue that pits privacy versus the government, she has sided with the government.

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