I’m a registered independent who has more closely identified with the Republican Party of late due to the emergence of Congressmen like Justin Amash and Thomas Massie. I started my internship for the Cuccinelli campaign in March, while wrapping up my senior year at James Madison University. I didn’t know much about him, and I didn’t really care. Til then, I had always distanced myself from any partisan attachments, believing that official neutrality would be the safest path to a career in the Foreign Service. I threw all of that out the window because when you’re a second semester senior with no idea
where if you’ll get into grad school and if you’ll get a decent summer internship, you take a bird when it’s in the hand. Almost any bird.
The more I found out about Cuccinelli, the more troubled I was that I was working for him. My discontent didn’t outwardly affect my ability to do my job, mainly involving polling, but I was quite frustrated — my character and reputation are important to me, and by advocating his candidacy to potential voters, I was lying. I spoke to a lot of disenchanted Republicans who echoed similar sentiment, saying that Cuccinelli is simply too extreme and they wanted Bill Bolling instead. The Republican Party is at a crux. This election is not just about Virginia, it is a referendum on the national viability of extreme-right social conservatism.
In an election with two distasteful candidates, Virginians have a choice on 5 November: would you prefer the Left boot or the Right boot on your windpipe? Both major party candidates unapologetically advocate policies that will abridge the rights of Virginians. How is the voting public supposed to decide which mule to back when one party is deeply divided about their candidate and the other party supports theirs only reluctantly? That is the black-and-white reality of this election; Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis is polling at around 10% and it would be a shock if he somehow wrested victory from the clutches of the moneyed political elite… And a shock is exactly what we need. A vote for Sarvis is not a waste.
I have long disdained the two-party system because it discourages independent thought and each party pushes further and further to the fringe of the political spectrum. It’s been interesting living in the Netherlands having the opportunity to follow the recent German elections so closely. Partisanship is higher in Germany than it is in the US, and fewer voters consider themselves independent because there are enough parties to reflect most people’s interests. As a result, German parties form coalitions and the policies implemented tend to reflect the will of more than just 51% of the population.
It’s important to remember that politicians are more than their platform, they are people. Politicians are opportunists and often sacrifice principle for opportunity. Most want to be not to do. That seems especially pronounced in this election — they want the title, the benefits, the deference, the power. The electorate needs to examine the candidates and evaluate their motives for running. Has anyone ever gotten the feeling that Sarvis is in this for himself?? I don’t know Robert Sarvis, and I’ve never spoken with Robert Sarvis, but I know a man of principles when I see one.
Sarvis stands for the values we say we cherish — personal liberty, equality under the law, justice, and opportunity. But how much do they really mean to us if we don’t vote for them? If you need more background on him I recommend reading this article. What do Cuccinelli and McAuliffe stand for by themselves? Both are big-government crony capitalists, ostensibly not for any particular philosophical belief about the role government should play in the market, but for the circle of back-scratching that occurs when politicians subsidise big businesses. The importance of justifying one’s beliefs cannot be overstated, yet voters haven’t sufficiently gotten that from either of them. McAuliffe is a carpet-bagging Cheshire Cat who stands for nothing but his own personal interests; Cuccinelli is a totalitarian religious zealot. One’s religion and desire to preserve status quo cannot be sufficient foundations of policy in a secular government. If this election were decided by a cadre of political philosophers, it’d be Sarvis in a landslide.
Republicans and Democrats are so concerned about the damage Sarvis can do them that they have deliberately taken every measure possible to keep him out of debates. They condescend the public, dismissively saying that a ballot cast for Sarvis is a ballot wasted. In reality, most of the Sarvis supporters wouldn’t be voicing their political opinion at all if he weren’t on the ballot. Even if he loses, your vote for Sarvis will signal to the political establishment that it’s time for a change, that both parties aren’t cutting it. If he clears the 10% threshold, the Libertarian Party is automatically on the next gubernatorial ballot, which will save the party a lot of money it had to spend this election petitioning for a spot on this year’s ballot.
Virginians are clamoring for a better choice yet seem reluctant to take the jump. It’s time to stand up and vote with conviction, not with fear. It’s time to support a candidate like you whose sole motivation is to better Virginia. It’s time to vote for Robert Sarvis.