It’s Election Day and for a significant number of politicos, intellectuals, writers, artists, and other notables in the libertarian-ish sphere of thought, it’s a day few expected: the day they vote for Hillary Clinton for president.
They are all generally united by a profound revulsion at the prospect of Donald Trump occupying the White House for the next four years. Some suggest the very fate of the American experiment is at stake, some point to a desire to see Trump’s race-baiting demagoguery soundly rejected by overwhelming numbers in the popular vote, others cited a responsibility as swing state voters to make their protest vote against Trump one that has the best chance of hindering his potential election.
We’ve rounded up a cross-section of notable libertarian (and fellow traveler) reluctant Clinton voters below.
Legendary illusionist and longtime friend-of-Reason Penn Jillette says he swallowed his pride and voted for Clinton in the hotly contested state of Nevada after convincing “about 11 or 12 people” in deep blue states to pull the lever for Gary Johnson in exchange for his vote for the Democratic candidate. Jillette admits he felt “pretty shitty” about casting a vote for someone he doesn’t want to be president, but admits that peer pressure convinced him that Clinton “is not as apt to blow us to kingdom come with nuclear weapons as Trump.”
Former National Lampoon editor, author, and Cato Institute fellow P.J. O’Rourke was an early conservatarian member of the #NeverTrump bandwagon, even if it means voting for “Jimmy Carter in a pantsuit.” Writing in The Daily Beast, O’Rourke declared, “Better the devil you know than the Lord of the Flies on his own 757. Flying to and fro in the earth, with gold-plated seatbelt buckles, talking nativist, isolationist, mercantilist, bigoted, rude, and vulgar crap.” O’Rourke said on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me he thinks Clinton is “wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters.” He also thinks a Clinton presidency will be an inadvertent “miracle” for conservatives, leading to a “Second Coming” of the GOP.
Three writers at The Washington Post‘s libertarian legal blog Volokh Conspiracy each expressed their intention to vote for Clinton as motivated primarily by their aversion to Trump.
Ilya Somin wrote, “a Clinton victory would not make either major party significantly worse than it currently is, while a Trump victory might well result in the GOP becoming a white nationalist Republican Party far more hostile to freedom and constitutional restraints on government power than previously.”
Orin Kerr says that he’ll vote for a Democrat in a presidential election for the first time since college because despite Clinton’s big-government spendthrift tendencies, she “understands and has internalized the norms of constitutional governance,” while Trump is ” the anti-constitutionalist candidate.”
David Post says he understands some Trump voters’ desire to blow up the whole damn system, but he warns soberly, “after the pleasure of having delivered the message wears off, we will all be saddled — indeed, the world will be saddled — for many years with a chief executive who is, by any and every criterion of judgment — personal integrity, temperament and understanding of the world — unfit to lead this country.”
Andrew Sullivan, who has openly loathed Hillary Clinton for decades, now says he will vote for Clinton because Trump is a “unique actor who could deploy demagogic talent to drag an advanced country into violence and barbarism.”
Business Insider‘s Josh Barro not only plans to vote for Clinton but also abandoned his longtime affiliation with the Republican Party to become a Democrat in part because, “the Republican Party was hijacked by a dangerous fascist who threatens to destroy the institutions that make America great and free, most Republicans up and down the organizational chart stood behind him and insisted he ought to be president.”
Former talk show host and erstwhile Republican Montel Williams wrote in a USA Today op-ed, “As much as I wish the system wasn’t stacked against the Libertarian ticket, it is, making it an unrealistic means of stopping Trump. That leaves Clinton.”
Finally, The Atlantic‘s civil libertarian Conor Friedersdorf penned a long essay rebuking an article he wrote defending his own support for Gary Johnson in 2012 “that argued against holding one’s nose that year and voting for the lesser evil.” Now, Friedersdorf writes:
Clinton is running against a kind of candidate and campaign I did not consider in 2012, one worse than anything I imagined possible in the America of 2016. Trump is as useless as anyone else when it comes to reforming post-9/11 excesses. He wants to take torture farther than Bush, while Clinton seems unlikely to restart torture at all; he urged the invasion of Libya, like her, and though few realize it, he frequently takes positions as hawkish as any member of the Washington elite. Even now, he wants to seize foreign oil fields and kill family members of terrorists. He is no more likely than she is to reform NSA surveillance or drone killings, and is more likely, in my estimation, to transgress against norms now constraining their use.
I am voting for Hillary Clinton because whether my vote rewards her or not matters far less to me than whether it prevents Donald Trump from four years of stoking ethnic anxieties of whites, disparaging Hispanics and Muslims, insulting women from the biggest bully pulpit in the nation, destabilizing the economy and the world order, feuding on Twitter when he ought to be focused on the nation’s problems, and generally causing much more harm and misery than the country or the world would have had to suffer if voters had been sensible enough to defeat him.
I’m not “with her.”
You can see who Reason writers and other “libertarian-relevant human beings” are voting for here.