I've said before that I don't know who I'm going to vote for this year. Romney's right out, and I just don't think I can grit my teeth to vote Obama again either.
Johnson? There are things I like about him but if I can't grit my teeth to vote for a Democrat I sure don't see how I can grit my teeth to vote for a Libertarian. The Libertarian Party has become synonymous with a total lack of empathy for the less fortunate and an obscene worship of big business. Johnson's one of those guys like Ron Paul -- he sounds good to college kids because he wants to end our foreign engagements, decrease domestic surveillance, and end the drug war -- all good things. But you start digging a little deeper into his policies? Not only does he want to replace the IRS with a flat tax, the dude wants to abolish the Board of Education.
Stein? Well, I can't find any red flags with her, but unfortunately I've come to believe the Green Party is a dead end.
I used to be registered Green. I voted Nader in 2000. I saw him blamed for Gore's defeat, and the Green Party backed down and allowed itself to be controlled by that narrative. The leadership told Nader he couldn't campaign in swing states if he was going to run on their ticket again, and he told them he would campaign wherever he wanted.
(A quick aside: While I acknowledge Nader was one of many factors in Florida in 2000, I believe that saying "It's Nader's fault" is corrosive because it lets many more important factors off the hook: the voter disenfranchisement efforts, the intervention by Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris, the Supreme Court ruling, and -- most importantly, to my mind -- the point that Gore ran a terrible campaign. Nader makes a convenient scapegoat for the Democratic Party, but saying "It was Nader" implies it wasn't any of those other things, and does nothing to address them. Meanwhile, voter disenfranchisement, government by cronyism, a deeply partisan Supreme Court, and Democrats behaving like Republicans continue to be problems, even as Nader has ceased to be an issue.)
I didn't vote Nader in '04 -- I went lesser-evil that time and backed Kerry, because Bush was just so bad. But I think the Green Party made a huge tactical error in retreating from Nader and cowering under criticism from the Democrats and the media. Honestly, what's the worst possible thing that could have happened if Nader had run as a Green in '04 -- John Kerry might have lost?
Meanwhile, the Green Party proved it's not willing to fight, and will back down any time people say mean things about it. If I wanted a nominally-liberal party that backpedaled under criticism, I'd just vote Democratic.
(I'll say one thing for the Green Party, though -- at least they didn't nominate Roseanne Barr.)
Still, I don't see anyone else who's better. I loved the idea of Americans Elect, but I think we all knew how it would end going in -- get a bunch of people on the Internet trying to choose a candidate, you wind up with a bunch of Ron Paul write-ins.
I've said before that I'm sorely tempted just to write Carter's name in. He's as likely to win as any third-party candidate (and only slightly less likely to win Arizona's electoral votes than Obama). And then I could tell people I voted for Carter, even though I'm only thirty years old.
Worth it to throw my vote away for a joke? Hell, maybe; way I see it, I'm throwing my vote away no matter what. (So why vote at all? Well, there's plenty on the ballot where my vote might make a difference: taxes, overrides, bonds, County Sheriff...) I guess a tick mark under "Green" might have ever-so-slightly a higher influence than a tick mark under "Other" in the final tally, but not very much. The Green Party certainly won't reach the threshold for federal matching funds; it didn't when Nader was running and it's only gotten less popular since.