I’ve said this a million times and I’ll say it again: I don’t owe Donald Trump, the Republican party, or anyone else my vote. Every election cycle, they have to earn it. I never signed a loyalty oath or a contract to always vote for the Republican, and even if I did, such a contract would be void as a matter of law, as it should be.

I’m a free person living in a Democratic Republic, and I only vote for candidates who deserve the office they are running for. That’s how this works. Granted, I ordinarily only vote for Republicans – and often, I vote for them not because they deserve it on their own merits, but because the Democrat alternative is so much worse. This election, I don’t even have that luxury presented to me; I genuinely believe that Hillary Clinton would be a better President than Trump, and it’s not close.

That said, Hillary would also be a terrible President, there’s no doubt about that. Her tenure at State department was an unmitigated disaster and pretty much everything she has touched in her adult life has been either an abject failure or a major disappointment. Voting for Hillary isn’t a good option, or one that would even be considered in the absence of the direst of circumstances.

The best choice remaining for President (at present) is clearly whatever Libertarian Party option emerges from their fray. I gather (although I’m very new at following their party – as in, less than 24 hours into it) that the race is between former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, and Austin Petersen, who I know little or nothing about.

Under normal circumstances, Johnson would never get my vote because he is pro-choice, but there isn’t a functionally pro-life option on the ballot at present. Hopefully someone will come up with one, but at the moment one does not exist. Trump himself is actually worse than pro-choice – as his horrible series of answers on jailing women shows, he would actually harm the pro-life movement worse than Hillary would.

Aside from being pro-choice, Governor Johnson’s record as governor of New Mexico was actually rather exemplary. For whatever his faults, he legitimately believes in reducing the size and scope of the Federal government, which places him head and shoulders above either Clinton or Trump. He failed to gain traction as a GOP candidate because he’s not the most charismatic person in the world, but making decisions based on charisma is what got us in the mess we are in as a country in the first place. And I’ll certainly give this Petersen guy a look, and I gather from his website that he is pro-life, which certainly gives him a leg up in my book.

My hope at present is that some pro-life, small government conservative will run and get on the ballot in Tennessee, and I will vote for him or her. As a second best option, I suppose I will vote for Gary Johnson or (preferably, if he really is pro-life, Austin Petersen). If it actually looks like Trump might get close to winning, I might have to vote for Hillary, because I can not and will not accept that I haven’t done all I can to keep the dangerous and unstable Donald Trump from the office.