I have many Republican friends who are disgusted that I’m voting third party this election year. They believe stopping Barack Obama from becoming president outweighs all else. Meanwhile, I have many Democrat friends who are equally disgusted; for them, seeing John McCain defeated is more important than who wins. They are all wasting their votes.

Imagine a reckless teenager who constantly runs up his parents’ credit cards, smashes the family car every Friday night, is failing in school, and has serious drinking and drug problems. Now imagine that no matter how reckless and dangerous that teenager became, his parents believed his behavior was worth tolerating simply because he was “their” kid. No reasonable person would consider this good parenting.

And yet this is exactly how otherwise reasonable people vote.

This year, I will be voting for Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin. “Chuck who?” you ask. Exactly.

There is no perfect candidate, and in fact I only have two litmus tests that any candidate must pass in order to win my vote; he must be committed to a traditional foreign policy, with the first order of business being to bring our troops home from Iraq, and he must be serious about stopping illegal immigration. There are other issues that concern me, but these two promise to do the most damage to the United States, as war and open borders are inextricably linked to America’s most pertinent economic, cultural, and security issues.

Chuck Baldwin could be an alcoholic, an atheist, or an asshole, and he would still receive my vote, because he’s right on foreign policy and illegal immigration. Luckily, he’s a conservative Christian who I agree with on most issues, and was even endorsed by Ron Paul, who I supported for the Republican nomination. If Baldwin was not running, I would be voting for Ralph Nader, who as a liberal, still passes my two litmus tests. So does Bob Barr.

Once you’ve decided to vote third party, it only makes sense to support the candidate you feel most comfortable with, conservative, liberal, or otherwise.

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