Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party are increasingly looking like a viable alternative to either Donald Trump and the Republicans or Hillary Clinton and the Democrats if recent internet searches are to be believed. Google searches for “Libertarian Party” surged, according to Reason, after news broke that Ted Cruz is officially out of the race for the Republican nomination.
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So who is Gary Johnson and what do he and his party, the Libertarian Party, stand for?
The answer to the first question is easy: Sixty-three-year-old Johnson is a self-made millionaire and former Republican Governor of New Mexico, holding the office from 1995 to 2003. In 2012, Johnson ran for president as a Libertarian and earned just under 1 percent of the popular vote, an impressive feat for a third-party candidate.
Johnson is running again as a Libertarian in 2016, but as of this writing, he is not officially the Libertarian nominee (that decision will be made at the Libertarian Party Convention in Orlando later this month). But Johnson appears to be the most likely Libertarian candidate to win the nomination.
So what do Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party stand for?
As it turns out, Republicans and Democrats alike can find a lot to love in Johnson and the Libertarians. The party’s motto is “Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom.” In other words, Johnson and the Libertarian Party favor limited government, like the Republicans traditionally do, and favor individual liberties, like the Democrats traditionally do.
How do Johnson’s libertarian views shake out in terms of the issues?
Here Johnson parts ways with the traditional Republican position and has more in common with a traditionally Democratic position, favoring an easier path to immigration for persons wanting to make a better life for themselves in America.
“A bigger fence will only produce taller ladders and deeper tunnels, and that the flow of illegal immigrants across the border is not a consequence of too little security, but rather a legal immigration system that simply doesn’t work.”
Here Johnson aligns himself with the more traditional Republican position and away from the traditional Democratic position, favoring lower taxes at all levels – federal, state, and local.
“Governor Johnson advocates the elimination of tax subsidies, the double taxation embodied in business income taxes, and ultimately, the replacement of all income and payroll taxes with a single consumption tax that will allow every American and every business to determine their tax burden by making their own spending decisions.”
Four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized recreational marijuana, and it’s a trend that Johnson would like to see nationwide. In fact, Johnson supports ending the Drug War entirely and legalizing all drugs.
“Responsible adults should be free to… make their own decisions about their bodies, and lead their personal lives as they see fit — as long as no harm is done to others.”
Sussing out Johnson’s position on just about any issue is a relatively easy undertaking: Imagine whichever response to an issue involves the least amount of government intervention, and you have his position. That means ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dialing back military spending, supporting gay marriage, ending NSA surveillance, and, in general, truly limiting the size and scope of government, both fiscally and socially.
Does Johnson Stand A Chance Against Trump Or Clinton?
At this point, it’s far too early to speculate. It bears noting that no third party has gained more than a fraction of the popular vote for the better part of a century, excluding Reform Party candidate Ross Perot’s showing in 1992.
However, with Donald Trump all but guaranteed to win the Republican nomination and with Hillary Clinton being his Democratic challenger, disappointed voters on both sides of the aisle appear to be looking at alternatives.
As Red State blogger Leon H. Wolfe opined, considering that Trump is such an awful candidate and such an awful person, and considering that Hillary Clinton won’t be getting his vote under any circumstances, Johnson (or whomever the eventual Libertarian Party candidate is) will be getting his vote.
“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. The best choice remaining for President (at present) is clearly whatever Libertarian Party option emerges from their fray.”
Similarly, Reason blogger Nick Gillespie opines that disappointed Democrats may also find something they like in Johnson.
“Johnson isn’t perfect by any stretch. But he is different from either Clinton or Trump, just as the basic LP platform presents a different ideological matrix than the ones presented by the foundering Republican and Democratic Parties.”
Do you believe Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party have a real chance at beating Trump or Clinton?
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