Who is Gary Johnson? What does he stand for and, equally important, can he win? A third-party presidential candidate in 2016, Gary Johnson represents the Libertarian Party and his name has become more widely known than either Green Party candidate Jill Stein or independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin.
Gary Johnson began a lucrative financial career when he founded a construction subcontracting company in the 1970s. He named it Big J Enterprises, and then sold it in 1999. Johnson’s political aspirations began with his successful run for governor of New Mexico in 1995. He ran as a Republican and held the office until 2003. This isn’t his first run for the White House. He was the Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 2012, and while he only got 1 percent of the popular vote, he did gain a dedicated following among that 1 percent and continues to gain support.
Johnson’s record as governor of New Mexico left him with the moniker “Governor Veto” because of his record number of vetoes in office. He vetoed measures more than 700 times while serving as governor. One of the stances he has taken that has earned him loyal supporters is his views on marijuana. He’s been pushing to legalize marijuana as far back as his governorship. In fact, after his unsuccessful run for president in 2012, he became president and CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc., a company that produces and sells “high-quality cannabis products,” according to the Independent Journal Review. It is a publicly traded company. He believes the legalization of marijuana would free up resources to handle more serious criminal problems. Social media users have jumped on the topic and had their fun, posting frequently.
Gary Johnson’s personal life varies from the other presidential candidates. He’s likely the only presidential candidate who has ever been able to claim having climbed Mount Everest. He has spent considerable time in his active lifestyle and extreme sports.
He doesn’t have a first lady like Donald Trump, or, in the case of Hillary Clinton, a “first gentleman.” Johnson was married in 1977 to Dee Simms. They were divorced in 2005 and she passed away a year later. He’s currently engaged to Kate Prusak. They became engaged in 2009, when he proposed to her at a resort in New Mexico on top of a ski lift. They had met in 2008 during a bike race they both participated in.
On May 28, CBS News reported that Gary Johnson spoke to reporters at an event. When his girlfriend and fiancee, Kate Prusack, walked nearby, he gushed to reporters.
“I have the cutest 63-year-old girlfriend that has ever walked the planet!”
The two would love to get married soon, “somewhere special,” but haven’t been able to find the time. Prusack stays busy traveling in her career, and he of course is consumed with the election at present. But there’s no denying that the two have committed their lives to one another and that regardless of the outcome of the election, she will always be his first lady.
So who is this Gary Johnson we hear more and more about every day? What does he stand for when it comes to the issues voters are concerned about? Wasteful spending tops the list on his website, which reveals that the deficit will near 20 trillion in 2017 and is the “single greatest threat to our national security.” Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld, both claim success in their efforts to create jobs within their tenures as governor of their respective states. When it comes to immigration, his website reports that he is aware it’s a complex issue, and that offering amnesty or building a wall won’t be enough to improve the issues facing our nation.
Johnson’s site reveals he will focus strong efforts in the interest of protecting civil liberties and supporting our veterans. When the topic turns to foreign policies, he tends to take a “live-and-let-live” attitude, not putting a great deal of focus into interfering with other nations. His priority, he says, is “to protect us from harm and allow us to exercise our freedoms.”
Can he win? VOA News reports that the latest compilation of national polls by Real Clear Politics shows it’s unlikely. Johnson polls with 7.1 percent, which isn’t even close to Clinton at 43.9 percent and Trump at 40.7 percent. Even Gary Johnson himself is starting to realize his chances are slim. His recent display of his lack of knowledge in foreign affairs hasn’t helped. In early September, as reported in the same VOA News article, Johnson was asked how he would address the desperate refugee situation in the war-wracked Syrian city of Aleppo. His answer fell short.
“What is Aleppo?”
Then recently, when Johnson was asked to name his favorite foreign leader, he couldn’t come up with a single name. He did loosely refer to the previous president of Mexico, but couldn’t seem to recall his name.
“I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment.”
Fortunately, his running mate, Bill Weld, was able to jump right in and name Vicente Fox. In fact, Johnson/Weld supporters have said they’re not at all bothered by their candidate’s lack of mastery over foreign affairs. They’ve said Johnson is more than content to allow Weld to give considerable input with foreign policy while he himself focuses on changes that are necessary for our nation to be restored and thrive. Social media users haven’t been silent on the issue and their defense of him.
Had Gary Johnson been granted the privilege of participating in either of the two presidential debates that have occurred so far, his supporters say his chances would be much greater at this point. For a third-party candidate to participate in the debates, he must achieve an average of at least 15 percent support in five polls. Unfortunately for Johnson, he came near that goal a few times, but overall still fell short.
So who is presidential candidate Gary Johnson? What does he stand for and, equally important, can he win? What do you think? Please weigh in under the comments section below.
[Featured Image by George Frey/Getty Images]