I voted for Gary Johnson.
This is not going to be a political post, so I’m not going to go into detail on my thoughts on the issues. So here’s the short version: I wasn’t expecting him to win a majority of the electoral vote. I mostly just didn’t want a vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump on my conscience. I dislike them both, for different reasons. And I don’t agree with Gary Johnson on some things, but the thought of him in the White House scared me less than the thought of either of the two major candidates in the White House. And I do not regret one bit voting the way I did, so all of you who kept telling me that a third party candidate can’t win, save your I-told-you-sos for someone else.
So… anyway… even though I wasn’t 100% behind all of Gary Johnson’s views on the issues, and I don’t agree with all of the Libertarian Party’s stances, this year felt different. With Clinton and Trump so widely disliked, many voters were looking for an alternative. Johnson had previously won two terms as governor of New Mexico, so he had relevant political experience. He was polling over 10% in many states a few months before the election. He was popular with certain subgroups of the population, and in a few states, such as New Mexico and Utah, his numbers were looking like he might actually have a chance to win. No third party candidate had won a state since 1968, and in an election projected to be close, like this one, just winning one or two states might be enough to ensure that neither of the two major candidates would win a majority of the electoral vote. According to the Constitution, this would lead to the House of Representatives choosing the President, with each state getting one vote (as opposed to each Representative), and this would open up the possibility of a compromise with the Republican Congressional delegation not being unified behind Trump. The chance of that actually happening was small, but like I said, this year felt different, and it felt like time for the unexpected to happen.
But it did not happen.
Evan McMullin of Utah entered the race late and took most of the Utah anyone-but-Clinton-or-Trump voters away from Johnson. Johnson got a little over nine percent of the vote in his home state of New Mexico, and over five percent in only a few other states. Nationally, Johnson won a little over three percent of the popular vote, a number very similar to his showing in my home state of California.
Watching this phenomenon kind of annoyed and disappointed me, because it reminded me of the way I’ve been mistreated over the years by people who I thought cared for me. People get all excited about something that I’m also a part of, but then in the moment of truth, they back out and abandon me, much as many people who polls said were voting for Gary Johnson apparently abandoned him and the rest of the Johnson voters. There have been times when I have made group plans to go out to dinner, game nights, movie marathons, sporting events, and the like. Many of my friends act interested at first, and then many of them back out at the last minute. Not only is this frustrating, but sometimes this leaves me with tons of uneaten food at my house, or a responsibility to find someone at the last minute to take a ticket I’ve already paid for.
Similarly, in my 20s, I was surrounded by Christians who preached an extremely restrictive and conservative message regarding dating and sexuality. I did my best to conform: I made friends with girls instead of actively pursuing them as romantic interests. I tried my hardest not to masturbate or have overly flirtatious and sexually explicit chat room and instant message conversations, and when my willpower wasn’t strong enough, I felt immensely guilty and down on myself. Meanwhile, many of my friends who were so passionate about this lifestyle eventually threw all that stuff out the window and started doing all the things they preached so loudly against. They told me that I was single because God doesn’t want me dating and I wasn’t praying enough, just before they went home to watch porn and have sex with their significant others that they weren’t married to.
Why do people do this? I don’t know. I do have a few theories as to where all the prospective Gary Johnson voters went. There probably were not as many of them to begin with, since much of what I was reading on the subject came from the Johnson campaign itself, which had a vested interest in skewing statistics to make their candidate seem more popular. As I said before, many of them, especially in Utah, voted for Evan McMullin instead. Some of them probably decided that they were so repulsed by one candidate that they voted for the slightly less objectionable candidate just to stop the slightly more objectionable one. Some of them probably were so repulsed by both candidates that they did not vote at all. Some of them probably lost faith in the ability of anyone to go up against the two-party system that they voted for the slightly less objectionable candidate. That’s their right, and I’m not here to blame third-party voters for a major party candidate winning or losing any state. That’s not how it works.
As for why my friends acted in ways that made me feel abandoned and backed out on, I know even less. Some of the people in my life just aren’t true friends, just as many potential Johnson voters weren’t truly on board with his candidacy. With social plans, sometimes things genuinely do come up. People get sick. Family members have emergencies. And as for the Christians-don’t-date lifestyle, sometimes people get caught up in a certain lifestyle or viewpoint because of the people around them, without actually having a life-changing commitment to this lifestyle, and when circumstances change and they see other viewpoints, sometimes they fall away. I don’t want to be angry with my friends. I understand that things come up sometimes. And everyone has their own journey of faith, and everyone who has left Christianity or become more liberal in their interpretation of Scripture has their reasons for doing so. It is not my place to judge their faith. I have things to learn from them, and I certainly see some things differently now than I did as a new Christian 20 years ago. Many of these things happened to me a long time ago, and I don’t think it is healthy to carry grudges.
I guess I’m mostly angry at the world in general. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do about it. Life isn’t fair, and people will disappoint. I’m just going to have to find a way to deal with it, and this is a process that will take a long time.