Dear unhappy Republicans,

The ascent of #Donald Trump has shocked many, including those within the Republican party who are devastated to see a demagogue ravage their camp. While conservatives oppose him for his democratic history, moderates and liberals are terrified of his race-baiting and xenophobic views. He has yet to offer any real solutions and a Trump presidency is a very real, albeit terrifying, possibility.

Many GOP leaders are now promising to not only withhold their support from Trump, but to actively oppose him. These include the previous nominee Mitt Romney and his former running mate, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Some are even advocating running a separate third party conservative to siphon votes away. There are those, however, who believe that they should back their party's nominee come hell or high water. Party over principle is the mantra of many who fear the Democrats more than they fear Trump. But that is the wrong mindset to have.

So I implore conservatives to consider the Libertarian Party for their vote. Libertarians stand for all of the values and ideals that the GOP did once upon a time: smaller federal government, more individual freedom, constitutional rights, and the ability to live your lives independent from the government.

There are some key differences between many Republicans and Libertarians, of course, mostly along the lines of social issues. But when advocating for smaller government, the key is to rally around the issues we have in common rather than those that divide us. While Republicans may oppose the legalization of same sex marriage Libertarians simply believe the government has no business telling anybody what to do in their private lives. In fact, it's the Libertarians who are now standing up for small business owners who do not wish to violate their religious beliefs.

Perhaps most important is the agreement on economic issues. Libertarians are in favor of a balanced budget and a decrease in federal spending, especially on wasteful entitlements and foreign aid. They wish to reduce the tax burden for all Americans. 

It isn't as though you would be voting for some fringe candidate. The likely nominee is a former Republican, Gary Johnson, who, like you and I, was disappointed with the direction the party had taken. He is a former governor of New Mexico, so he has political experience at the executive level.

Of course, the main argument you'll often hear from people when asked to vote third party is why they should throw away their vote. A vote for a Libertarian is one less vote for a Republican, they say. This argument is flawed for many reasons.

It is placing the party over principles, or even the good of the nation. At some point, sticking to principle and ethics has to take precedence over voting against somebody else. In other words, don't tell us who to vote against, give us somebody we can vote for.

It also presumes that your vote belongs to the party. Your vote is your vote, and you may use it any way you please. By advocating that you "owe" your vote to the GOP,  they are essentially denying one of your most basic rights. Imagine if these party types tried the same argument with another fundamental right, such as your First or Second Amendment rights. Yet, every four years this argument works on millions of Americans. If everybody who said they would vote for a third party if they had a chance actually went ahead and did so, we would have three or four thriving parties that would much more closely align with their respective constituents'  needs.

The assumption is also that a Trump presidency would be fundamentally worse than a Democrat holding the office. This remains to be seen, of course, but based on his campaign and the ideas he spouts it's hard to believe that any president could be worse than what he plans to be. But if enough disaffected Republicans, independents, and even Democrats join the Libertarians in 2016, we may have a true revolution that would bring about real change. #Election 2016 #Democrats vs Republicans