I completely agree with you - - - I too try to support policies that bring about the most individual freedom for all of us - - - and I mean freedom in the Libertarian sense. I also agree that the US is the government that looks better when compared to all others - - - yet is far from perfect.
I think the world view of those in the Libertarian Party are most aligned with the type of freedom that I want. Some people in the Republican Party hold these ideas but very few Democrats seem to believe in the kind of freedom that I believe in. I think the Democratic Party has been mostly governed by socialist ideas. When socialists say freedom it means freedom from taking care of yourself - - - they want big government to do it.
My son voted for Ross Perot who was an almost unknown before the election. He ran a campaign that sounded rather conservative (perhaps even a little libertarian) with charts and graphs and had only a few issues different from Bush senior but both Bush and Perot were quite different from the Clinton - Gore socialist policies. I would have rather had Perot win, based on what he said but I told my son, “Perot is a weak candidate”. It turned out that Perot took about 20% of the votes - - - just enough for Clinton - Gore to take office. Perot has now evaporated and all we have been able to learn is that Perot hated George Bush Sr. I’m not even sure just why.
You say, “Among voters who are actively engaged in the presidential race, Ron Paul is the single most popular candidate running. By “actively engaged” I mean willing to do something more than simply voting in elections and picking up the phone when a mainstream media pollster calls.”
That maybe true but these are not the only people that vote in presidential races. If you really think Ron Paul is going to win the presidency of the US, are you taking bets? Since you brought up this point I asked twenty of my friends and neighbors, “What can you tell me about Ron Paul?” Twelve of them thought he might be a congressman but knew nothing about him or even if he was in the California legislature of the US congress. Five thought he was in government and three knew he was running for president - - - three out of twenty is 15%! That is a weak candidate! Just enough to give the election to the far left socialists again.
You said that, “When people vote for who they think is likely to win, rather than the candidate they think is best, democracy fails. I would urge you to vote for the most libertarian candidate, which will hopefully be the Libertarian Party’s nominee, whether that is Ron Paul or someone else.”
After thinking about this I have to admit you are correct again! Your logic is perfect. I am changing my vote - - - I’m going to write in the PERFECT candidate that I know is best - - - even though He may not win - - - GOD!
Thanks for your help - - - let freedom ring!