There have been a few questions in comments as to whether it makes sense to vote for Gary Johnson. After all, is it possible that Obama/Romney is better than Obama/Romney when it comes to the drug war? So what if my wasted vote on Johnson causes Obama/Romney to win?
Let’s break it down.
1. Check the electoral maps to see what kind of state you’re in (Here’s one example). If your state is blue, dark blue, red, or dark red, then your vote isn’t going to make a bit of difference in the Obama-Romney question. You’ll just be one more on a vast winning or losing side for the state. After all, it’s the electoral votes that chooses the President, not the popular vote. So you might as well vote for someone who actually cares about you! No brainer.
2. Let’s assume you’re in one of those few swing states, and it actually comes down to the wire in the electoral vote and your state will make the difference, and after all the re-counts and hanging chads, it turns out that one vote makes the difference between Obama or Romney winning… You should still vote for Gary Johnson.
Ultimately, as we have found, Presidents are unlikely leaders in drug policy reform. Even more so with these two. There has been absolutely no interest in talking about drug policy by either candidate, so if they win with your vote, they won’t even have a campaign promise to break. There won’t be a single reason for them to care about you, and so many reasons to support the DEA, Law Enforcement, Pharmaceutical Industries, Drug Testing Industries, Prison Industries, and so on.
On the other hand, if one of them loses and it can be shown that Gary Johnson is why they lost, then that could make a real difference.
3. You must vote for Gary Johnson because he’s the only one giving your message. Johnson has, more than any other candidate in recent knowledge, run largely on his views of the drug war. Sure, he has other issues, but this is his signature issue, and it’s even reflected in his choice of running mate.
If Johnson has a strong showing and even has an impact on a state, then both parties will have to pay attention, and perhaps address drug policy in the future in order to prevent a third party candidate from challenging them. If Johnson does extremely poorly, then they’ll be able to say “He didn’t even get 1% of the vote. The voters don’t care enough about marijuana or drug policy for it to affect their votes, so we don’t have to address it.”