Earning my presidential vote (part 1)

As you likely know, I’m not supporting either of the two major party candidates on the ballot. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are flawed personalities who I find untrustworthy and feel would do damage to a concept I believe in: a federal government properly restrained by the Constitution and conducted in accordance with traditional Judeo-Christian values.

So that leaves me with a lot of choices – in fact, there’s not just the four who are on the ballot in Maryland but (as of this writing) 42 write-in candidates. Now some just want attention or are crackpots, so I have eliminated those who have not selected a vice-presidential running mate. After doing so, there are ten remaining – all four on the ballot and six write-in hopefuls. I’ve already eliminated Trump/Pence and Clinton/Kaine, so that leaves eight. In this phase I will eliminate the ones who would not be obvious choices.

On the ballot we have the Libertarian Party, which is represented by former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and his running mate, former Massachusetts governor William Weld. Obviously I have a significant amount of libertarian views, but there are areas I have concerns with them. However, I know enough about where they stand to advance them to round 2.

On the other hand, the Green Party, which is represented by Dr. Jill Stein and running mate Ajamu Baraka – who incidentally was selected over Maryland’s Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Margaret Flowers and former U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Zeese – is far, far, FAR too far to the left for my consideration.

So that’s the folks on the ballot. But what about the six write-ins?

The Constitution Party is represented by Darrell Castle and Scott Bradley, and simply based on the name and philosophy of fealty to the Constitution will move forward.

James Hedges and Bill Bayes represent America’s oldest third party, the Prohibition Party. It has an interesting platform that combines a number of very conservative viewpoints on some issues with a far more progressive approach to others, which is reflected in the candidacy of Hedges. I think it will merit further study, although they may well not be my first choice.

Lynn Kahn (and running mate Kathleen Monahan) tried to get on the Maryland ballot as independents, but could not reach a sufficient number of signatures to do so. Overall, the biggest problem I see with Kahn is one of philosophy: she seems to believe that government can be fixed to be more efficient and accountable through a number of methods, but I believe the government needs to be fixed by the Constitutional means of rightsizing government. To me, her ideas are not the fix we need so this ticket is out.

In the little bit of time I have looked through their platform, I believe Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn have a good chance at securing my vote, so I will advance them pending my further research. Because they are write-in candidates, it may not matter that the person listed by the Board of Elections as VP candidate (Nathan Johnson) is not the person McMullin intended to be his running mate, although it is a rookie mistake.

I think Marshall Schoenke and James Mitchell are very honest and forthright people who earnestly believe they are statesmen, with a God-fearing (if somewhat muddled populist) platform. But they have a huge problem: because both reside in Illinois, they are ineligible under the Twelfth Amendment as I read it.

So despite the fact the website has some pretty good music on it (Schoenke is a professional musician) I have to eliminate them from further consideration.

Tony Valdivia and running mate Aaron Barriere are political neophytes. Valdivia’s introduction stressed campaign finance reform, but he doesn’t have a website to check his issues out, which is a drawback for me. Basically the story seems to me that he decided over the summer the top two choices weren’t to his liking so he decided to run himself and has secured write-in positions in a number of states besides Maryland. It’s a nice story, but from the few minutes with which I listened to what he had to say it seemed like he’s more centrist and populist than I would prefer. So he is out.

I also have a dark horse in the race who announced he has filed as a write-in candidate in Maryland as of today, one which was suggested to me so I will look into their platform as well: Tom Hoefling and Steve Schulin of America’s Party. What I’m interested in seeing is whether there is anything they offer beyond their position on social issues to address the other concerns I have.

This means my final five, which I will begin studying more in earnest, represent four parties and one independent: the Libertarian Gary Johnson, the Constitution Party’s Darrell Castle, the Prohibition Party’s James Hedges, Tom Hoefling of America’s Party, and independent Evan McMullin. As I did for the GOP candidates, I will focus on ten key issues: education, Second Amendment, energy, social issues, trade and job creation, taxation, immigration, foreign policy, entitlements, the role of government, and other intangibles.

I think I can do this in a week, so look for an update seven days hence.

6 thoughts on “Earning my presidential vote (part 1)”

  1. Thank you for taking the time to research the write-in candidates. This is a valuable service for those looking for a candidate worthy of their vote. I thank you for linking to one of my YouTube videos and for the mention in your blog out of all the write-ins to choose from, but sadly it looks like I won’t make it to your second round. I do have a website up and running at http://www.VoteTonyV.com so feel free to check it out. I welcome your direct and honest feedback. I am interested in seeing not only who you select, but why. Even though I did not earn your vote in this election, I hope you keep me in mind for future elections. Keep up the good work.

    Tony Valdivia

  2. I appreciate the link to the website, which is a big help. I think we do have a significant difference in philosophy but I think you would be better (and more honest) than either of the current major party nominees. Obviously you don’t know my story, but I resigned from my county’s Republican Central Committee because I could not in good conscience publicly support the nominee.

    You could probably call my approach one of starving the beast, but it’s my belief that if you don’t have the honey pot of money and power in the federal government the temptation to try and take advantage of it is reduced. So I think campaign finance reform isn’t the way to go about it, but that’s my take. I have a strong libertarian streak. (If you notice at the top of my site, there is oftentimes an Amazon link to a book I wrote in 2012. Most of it still would apply today.)

    I will go over the selection process, most likely in two parts but it may become three as I find more on five candidates. (When I did the GOP field originally last year, it was one part for each issue but that would take too long – I want to endorse before early voting begins here.)

    I wish you the best of luck, though. Perhaps when this is over we can communicate further because I am interested in your experiences in trying to get on all the state ballots. Now that I am out on the “outside” I see the problems inherent in the political duopoly we have.

    Michael Swartz

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