This is the Most Important Presidential Election Since the Last Presidential Election



By Thomas L. Knapp

Every four years without fail (and usually a little earlier in each quadrennial cycle),  both “major” American political parties wind up and toss the same slow, fat pitch across the public’s plate:

This is the most important presidential election of our lifetimes.

Maybe even the most important presidential election EVER.

You gotta vote.

And this time, just like every other time, you can’t risk voting for anyone but Candidate X.

A vote for third party or independent Candidate Y, the candidate you like best, isn’t really a vote for Candidate Y. It’s actually a vote for Candidate Z, the “major party” candidate you like least.

Why? Because it is, that’s why. Didn’t you get the memo? Most important presidential election of our lifetimes, maybe EVER, yada yada yada! Stop asking so many questions and vote as you’re told! Hey batter batter batter swing!

Routinely, more than nine of ten voters do swing. And miss (the point).

Henry Ford offered his Model T in any color you wanted as long as the color you wanted was black. This year, America’s “major” political parties are offering you any kind of president you want as long as what you’re looking for in a president is a creepy, handsy, corrupt, senile, septuagenarian, authoritarian hack.

If your preferences vary from those characteristics, the Republicans and Democrats resort to fearmongering: If you don’t support THEIR creepy, handsy, corrupt, authoritarian, senile, septuagenarian hack,  they whine, the OTHER creepy, handsy, corrupt, authoritarian, senile, septuagenarian hack might win.

I don’t find that particular fear-based approach compelling as candidate sales material. I’d rather “waste my vote” on a candidate whose ideas I actually support than hand that vote over to the candidate I loathe less just to thwart the candidate I loathe more (if I can even figure out which one is which).

If you vote for who and what you actually want, sure, your candidate may not win. In fact, he or she probably won’t.

But if you don’t vote for what you actually want, you almost certainly won’t get it either.

The difference is that voting against what you actually want is treason to your values.

Here’s my variant of the “major party” pitch:

A vote for Trump is a vote for Biden.

A vote for Biden is a vote for Trump.

A vote for the Libertarian or other third party or independent candidate of your choice  is a vote for things you want instead of for things you don’t want.

It’s also a demand signal for better “major party” candidates in the future, a message to the Republicans and Democrats. Tell them that they if they want your vote, they’re going to have to start EARNING it.

Thomas Knapp -- Photo Credit Avens O'Brien

Photo by Avens O’Brien

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal


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Mike Smith
Mike Smith
7 months ago

Thomas L. Knapp is doing 1771 libertarians a service: he’s demonstrating how 20th Century ‘libertarianism’ is as selfish as leftism. But what should we expect from the talking points of a party as secular as the Democrat party?

The American libertarian (not Libertarian Party) standard is rooted in Judeo-Christian ethics. Want to push secular libertarian values? Move to Europe!

Every evangelical Christian and religious Jew in America understands what’s at stake this November. Democrat governors deeming churches and synagogues in ‘their’ states as ‘nonessential’ is a big, fat 1939-eque reminder.

The Libertarian Party: taking ideology beyond reality since 1971.

Nicholas Weeks
Nicholas Weeks
7 months ago

A vote for what “you want” may feel dandy, but voting for what would be better for the nation or state or city is what is useful.
The personal Best is the enemy of the Better for everyone.