A conundrum is faced by many cannabis users when they think about who to vote for President this November. They are very disappointed in President Obama and his actions toward medical marijuana in states where it is legal, which are in direct contradiction to his words on the subject as a presidential candidate.
But the vast majority of the people I'm describing would rather cut off their own hand than vote for Mitt Romney. So how can those voters send a message to President Obama that they are unhappy without risking a Romney presidency?
The obvious answer is Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. The more votes he gets the more President Obama will know a large section of voters is unhappy with him. This will give him something to work on for his presidential legacy. But many fear a vote for Gary Johnson will be a vote taken from President Obama, something the Romney campaign would love. I'm sure at this point they'll take the White House any way they can get it.
In swing states where Obama and Romney are close in the polls, this scenario could come to pass (although Johnson will take many votes from Romney as well). But let's assume the majority of votes that Gary Johnson gets would have gone to President Obama. If you live in a swing state like Colorado or Ohio or Florida, Gary Johnson's votes could be enough to take that state and give it to Romney. So if you do live in a state where polls are close and you want Obama to win, it's best for you to vote Obama.
But there are many states where the polls are not close. Like California for example. Obama is not going to lose California and a recent poll shows he has opened up a 24 point lead over Romney in the Golden State. Voters in CA can safely send Obama a message by voting for Gary Johnson while not risking Romney winning the state.
The same goes for any state where Obama has a big lead, or where Romney has a big lead for that matter. In these states a vote for Johnson will increase his total but will not risk switching a state to a Democrat or Republican.
Many of the latest state polls can be found here. In recent polls we see Obama up 19 percent in Maryland and Romney up 21 percent in Arkansas. These are states where Johnson votes can have a huge impact without causing a "President Romney." Obama is up 17 points in Washington, another medical marijuana state that has been hit hard by the federal medical marijuana crackdown (like California) and where some voters might want to send the president a message about his actions.
A vote for Gary Johnson could have another large impact as well, especially for the future of the political process in this country. If Governor Johnson can get 5 percent of the popular vote, he will qualify the Libertarian Party for $90 million in federal matching funds in 2016. This will give the LP "major party" status and since marijuana legalization is part of the LP platform, this is a good thing. It can also go a long way in breaking the hold the GOP and Dems have on the political process in this country.
So, what state do you live in? Is it a state that is already decided in the presidential race? If so, take a hard look at Gary Johnson and see if voting for him can make an impact.
- Joe Klare
- are you registered to vote? If not, get to it!