The Daily Gamecock

Student Endorsement: Gary Johnson

If you believe that gay couples should be able to raise money for their weddings by growing marijuana while protecting their crops with AR-15s, then you probably haven't found a candidate you like in the 2016 election cycle.

Fear not, Gary Johnson is here to save the day. 

Former Governor Johnson supports all of your freedoms, all of the time. If you believe that the government should not decide who you can love, what you can put in your body or how you can spend your money, then you need look no further than Libertarian Gary Johnson. Formerly the two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, Johnson originally caught the attention of libertarians after he vetoed more proposed legislation than all other governors combined en route to closing the state's massive budget deficit and leaving office with a surplus. 

Johnson split from the Republican party after his criticism of the war in Iraq, support of gay marriage, and proposal to end the drug war blocked him from receiving their nomination for president in 2012. He ran Libertarian instead and earned more than a million votes — more than any third party candidate since Ralph Nader. After the election, Johnson dedicated himself to marijuana legalization in Colorado, where he has since become the CEO of Cannabis Sativa, a company that produces cannabis oils and related products. 

He won't win this year, and none of his supporters (myself included) expect that he will. Johnson is really running to pave the way for future third party candidates, who currently have a massive uphill battle in the form of both legal restrictions on ballot access and a general lack of media attention. Additionally, the Federal Elections Commission makes hundreds of millions of dollars available to Democrats and Republicans running for president but not to third parties — if Johnson can get just 5 percent of the total vote, it will force the FEC to allow the Libertarian Party access to a share of those funds as well.

We can't win the battle for 2016, but we can make major progress in winning the war.

Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil, and I refuse to waste my ballot in favor of a pile of donkey feces because it smells slightly better than the mound of elephant dung. I invite you to join me in casting the only kind of vote that matters — one for a candidate I actually support.

Even if you're not a libertarian, I encourage you to take the time to research other candidates and find one you like. The two major parties have had hundreds of years to follow through on their promises to fix our government and have failed to do so; the only way we're going to see real change is if we change the parties in power.