Most Americans are convinced of two realities when it comes to voting for a President of the United States.
Meaningful votes are cast either for Republicans or Democrats.
And any other voting notion is so ill-advised that some may consider it a crime.
Enter Nebraska City resident Greg Lant, a Libertarian, who is putting together a political event, set for July 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Nuckolls Square Park.
The event’s main aims are to let people know that the Libertarian Party exists and that it’s not illegal to cast a vote for someone other than those candidates from the Republican and Democratic camps.
Appropriately enough, Lant calls the event, “Legalizing Freedom.”
So far, Lant says the event’s page on Facebook has been drawing interest and that as many as 80 people have already said they’ll be in attendance.
A couple of speakers are already signed up for the event, those being Tom Becka of “Becka’s Beat,” a KPTM Fox 42 news segment, and Nebraska State Senator and Libertarian, Laura Ebke, who, up until this year, identified as a Republican. Other speakers could be included in the program as plans haven’t been finalized.
When the event concludes, Lant said he would love to hear more support for the Libertarian’s Presidential candidate, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who, along with running mate, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, will be the lone third party ticket on all 50 ballots for the General Election this November.
In the absence of building support for the Libertarian ticket, Lant said he just wants people to have a more open-minded approach to politics.
Speaking of opened minded, you might be wondering what caused Lant to consider something outside of a two-party mind set.
The main thrust was that Lant wanted to vote for somebody that he thought would do a better job of protecting liberty and defending the U.S. Constitution.
“I feel like everyday it gets eroded,” said Lant, referring to Constitutional freedom.
If freedom continues to be subtracted, Lant says he fears that his children won’t know the same freedom that he has known.
Getting an event going in Nebraska City, one that helps to start a new political discussion, may help protect freedom for Lant’s children, and the action of putting the event together serves as a demonstration that it’s important to use your voice as a tool for change.
Obviously, Lant believes that the ticket of Johnson and Weld is the best to move America in the right direction. And that’s not a new revelation for the Nebraska Citian.
“I have been ‘Feeling the Johnson’ for a number of years now,” Lant said, quoting a campaign slogan. “I voted for him in 2012.”
Although Johnson didn’t come close to competing with the field of candidates in 2012, Lant said he doesn’t believe that his vote was wasted. It was, after all, the vote he wanted to cast.
In a recent town hall meeting on CNN, Johnson said the idea of wasting votes isn’t legitimate as long as voters are staying true to convictions.
“Throwing away a vote is voting for a candidate you don’t believe in,” Johnson said.
While that sentiment seems to have the backing of reason, it’s still true that Johnson and Weld are considered fringe candidates, are a distant third in most polls, and are excluded from many poll questions.
At current, the polls say that Johnson and Weld are at 10-12 percent. To get to the debate stage, the duo will have to raise their national number all the way up to 15.
To some, that may seem like a steep climb.
Don’t tell that to Lant, however.
Lant believes that there could be a real change in the direction of the election post national conventions.
Right now, Lant said many on the Republican side may be holding on and hoping that the “Never Trump” movement prevents Donald Trump from securing the nomination. Bernie Sanders backers might be hoping for a circumstance in which Hillary Clinton falls short of the nomination.
Both notions seem a bit far fetched, and, in all likelihood it will be a Republican-Democrat match of Trump and Clinton.
That leaves a lot of dissatisfied voters that could conceivably be attracted to the only third party option available to all.
And just hearing the party pitch for Johnson-Weld might be enough to take if from there.
Lant said people want self determination and responsibility.
Weld has summed up the ticket’s ideology by saying, “We are here to keep the government out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom.”
With an attractive message of self determination and small government and having Republican and Democratic nominees with less momentum, the timing for the Libertarians and their Johnson-Weld ticket figures to be right now.
And Lant said that should be the strategy.
“A lot of Libertarians are looking at this as a long term thing,” said Lant, noting that the party’s voters see this as a potential building block toward the ultimate goal in 2020. “I don’t want to wait four years,” Lant said.
Lant said he fears the Democratic or Republican leader could damage the country during their time in the White House.
With the 4th of July Celebration over, the major party conventions at hand and the General Election in sight, the clock is ticking toward what could be one of the most consequential elections in recent memory.
Lant would like to see that election result in third party history that would be transformative and restorative in terms of liberty.