Can We Stop Taking the Libertarians Seriously Now?

It really is time for us to stop treating the Libertarians as a serious party nationally.

In 2016, the Republican and Democrat nominees for President both had historically high unpopularity ratings and historically high levels of distrust.

The best the Libertarians could do was nominate Gary Johnson, a pot head former governor, who then chose one of the most liberal Republicans to ever hold office in the United States, Bill Weld, as his running mate.

What did they then do?

First, they suggested that their Supreme Court picks would look more like Justice Breyer and retired Justice Souter, two of the least libertarian and most government authoritarian members of the Supreme Court in the last three decades.

Second, they defended big government policies and rejected religious liberty premised on the first amendment. They rejected the very libertarian concept of live and let live and let the market decide things.

Third, Bill Weld in particular became an apologist for Hillary Clinton.

They seemed to be more concerned with stopping Trump than getting themselves elected. They ran a bill board campaign and some really, really terrible radio advertisements.

In a year the Libertarians had a chance to make a play for a major share of the vote, they got 3.29% of the vote. It was, to be sure, the best showing for the Libertarians in terms of votes captured since Ed Clark and David Koch ran in 1980. Johnson and Weld topped them by about 100,000 votes.

But they could have done better had the Libertarians put on a more serious race.

The same holds true at the state level. Georgia is a terrific example. Allen Buckley ran as the Libertarian alternative to Senator Johnny Isakson and Democrat Jim Barksdale. In 2004 and 2008, Buckley was the Libertarian candidate and in 2008 served as a spoiler forcing a runoff between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin. Instead of finding a new candidate, the Libertarians went back to Martin 2016 after having run him as their Lieutenant Governor choice in 2006.

The Libertarian Party claims itself as an alternative while some see it as a party wherein a protest vote can be registered against the two major parties. But it is hardly a protest when no one notices.

There is just no reason to treat the Libertarian Party seriously any more. It has been given multiple opportunities to grow up, but wants to remain in Neverland.

Gary Johnson Blows It: ‘What’s Aleppo?’

When Morning Joe’s Mike Barnicle asked Libertarian presidential nominee Gov. Gary Johnson what he’d do, as president, about Aleppo, Johnson calmly replied “and what is Aleppo?”

Chalk it up to Johnson spending a bit too much time mellowing out over a peace pipe (and bowl).

Any possible hope of Johnson sharing a debate stage with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton just evaporated with that one statement.

Barnicle: “You’re kidding.”

Johnson: “No.”

Barnicle: “Aleppo is in Syria. It’s the–ahh–it’s the epicenter of the refugee crisis…”

Johnson: “Okay, got it. Got it.”

If anyone was considering Johnson as a serious candidate, well, right, “got it.”

I’m sorry, Libertarians, there’s no coming back from this.

Even liberals think this is disqualifying.

https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/773880360472023040

I’m afraid this is the end for the Johnson/Weld ticket.

How Gary Johnson Could Win The White House

Like many people, I’m just stunned at how devastatingly poor the choices for leader of the free world (questioning how free it will be?) are right now. If only there were another option–and there is. Gov. Gary Johnson is the Libertarian candidate, and he’s polling ten times higher than he did in 2012.

The only reason I wouldn’t immediately endorse and support Johnson is that he’s solidly pro-choice. I don’t care that the Libertarian Party is a cluster of nuts with a chewy nougat center. I don’t care that running mate Bill Weld was far left enough to win the governor’s office in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. Johnson would be a far less dangerous, and far more competent president than either Clinton or Trump.

I suspect I’m not the only person who feels this way.

But you don’t hear anything from Johnson, because he’s so bland and predictable. He’s unflavored gelatin, or plain yogurt. Yet he’s polling over 10 percent because the other two options are candy-flavored dung pellets, or poop M&M’s (take your pick).

If only Johnson set aside his personal Libertarian credo for one issue–abortion–and came out as a pro-life candidate who will appoint pro-life justices, he’d have my vote. He might gain 20 points in the polls practically overnight.

That would put him within 10 points of Trump and Clinton, and squarely on the debate stage. I think Johnson–as wacky as he is at times–could make a positive impression on the national stage. He might take enough states (Utah and New Mexico, for instance) to throw the race into the House of Representatives.

The House, as insane as they’ve been for Trump, would have the chance to put Johnson in office precisely because he’s a known quantity in the Republican Party and would preserve some stability for our country while keeping Clinton out.

So the question is: Does Gary Johnson want to be president? Or does he want to make Libertarians great? One pledge to be a pro-life president is all it would take. Consider it, Gov. Johnson.

Tell Pollsters You Like Gary Johnson, He Needs To Be In The Debates

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian (though Republican) candidate for president, is polling between 7 and 13 points. After Donald Trump’s post-coronation bump, it’s trending to the low numbers, and will stay there as Hillary Clinton rebounds after her crowning.

The threshold for Johnson to join Trump and Clinton on the debate stage is 15 percent. We need him on the stage, if only to give our military something to watch. One thing he appears to have that Trump and Clinton lack is a clear preference from active duty military. Brandon Morse at RedState wrote:

The poll Johnson mentioned by Johnson at the end of the video is in reference to a survey done by a popular military centered Facebook page called “Doctrine Man.” The poll itself is unscientific, but according to it, active military troops prefer Gary Johnson over the other two candidates by a decent margin.

The poll revealed that 38.7% of active duty members prefer Gary Johnson, with Trump and Clinton trailing with 30.9%, and 14.1% respectively. It should be noted that this poll does have a margin of error, so more precise numbers may be different.

Marines, Air Force and Army respondents chose Johnson on top, while the Navy went for Trump (with Johnson a close second). I won’t speculate on why that might be so (not to inflame interservice rivalries) but you can draw your own conclusions. (I lean toward the Wild Blue Yonder myself).

Why do they like Johnson? For one thing, he just did 22 pushups–one for each vet who is lost to suicide every day–as part of a challenge highlighting the terrible plight of our veterans. Let’s see Trump do 22 pushups. And don’t give me that seventy-year-old excuse. If Jack Palance could do one-handed pushups at the Oscars, Trump could at least try.

But the main reason Johnson should be on the debate stage is to force Clinton and Trump to put a bit more money where their big fat mouths are. Having just the two of them duke it out in what’s guaranteed to be an insult-fest and sound-bite overdrive, is, honestly, boring for me. It’s like watching WWE–contrived and scripted.

Johnson would add just the right degree of realism, along with an actual loony pot-growing Libertarian on stage, it would push Trump to be even more of a tinfoil-hatted paranoid prepper baiter than he already is. But my main goal in having Johnson on stage would be to force Trump to stumble into admitting he is pro-choice.

Because Trump is and has always been pro-choice and he’s lying his orange head off to make himself seem pro-life. Johnson is unabashedly pro-choice, and Hillary is beyond pro-choice–she’s positively celebratory about every unborn baby killed in utero up to the moment of birth.

So if a pollster calls you, and you’re like me, with no dog in this hunt, or you’re truly undecided, tell the pollster you are hard over for Gary Johnson. Answering a poll isn’t like casting your vote, but if you poll for Johnson, he may win a spot on the debate stage. You have nothing to lose.

Why Not Libertarian?

Since the Republican Party has lost in a rout to Trumpism, with everyone running headlong for their own personal safe space, or surrendering on the spot to the victors, I feel liberated to cast an eye toward many other options. One of these is the Libertarian ticket.

In essence, the presumptive Libertarian ticket is an incubated creation of the GOP. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has teamed up with former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld–both of them former Republicans. On the surface, these two can’t possibly be worse than Donald Trump and whatever cipher he picks as his running mate. And they are certainly universes ahead of Hillary.

Instead of a #NeverTrump third party desperation run, the purpose of which is to punish the GOP, it’s worth a look at the Libertarian Party. First, the Libertarian Party is a real “thing.” It’s been around for some years, and has a fairly well-developed political space. Small government (so tiny you won’t notice), tight finances, and maximizing personal liberty are their hallmarks. Many in the GOP agree with those planks.

I have to admit, it’s attractive. Matt Welch at the Los Angeles Times opined:

Get over it, #NeverTrumpers. No amount of praying for a political unicorn to inhabit Bill Kristol’s www.renegadeparty.com can overcome the cruel logic of the electoral calendar, with its expired filing deadlines and hopelessly uphill signature-gathering requirements. There’s only one non-Republican or Democratic entity likely to be on the ballot in all 50 states come November, and that’s the Libertarian Party, which selects its presidential nominee in Orlando next weekend.

I had already read Matthew Walther’s piece from two weeks ago at the Washington Free Beacon. It paints a visceral picture of a bunch of overgrown teenagers spending their first weekend away from home at a wargaming and role-playing convention. Except it’s at a Biloxi casino.

The Beau Rivage is tacky. Everything about it is in bad taste. It was sad and demoralizing in a way that made me pity everyone there. It was also, I think, the perfect venue for the debate featuring 11 candidates seeking the 2016 presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party held in the Camellia Ballroom on February 27.

The only candidates that aren’t half-baked are the ones predicted to be on the ballot (Johnson and Weld). Seriously, read the whole article. But, half-baked or not (many fit the profile to be Trump or Sanders supporters), these guys are at least honest. I mean John McAfee, creator of the anti-virus genre of software, openly talked about selling drugs, and being locked up in Belize, where he was suspected of murder. Neither Hillary nor Donald would ever get that close to the truth. Ever.

Truthfulness is refreshing, especially when two of the top liars in America will be competing for our votes. Neither of them will get mine. A serious look at Johnson is certainly in order.

I didn’t get far before rejecting him out of hand. The best thing about Libertarians is that they’re honest about their views. Gary Johnson’s website made no bones about his. The first place I went was his position on abortion. That’s a die-on-this-hill issue for me.

johnson_abortion

Unfortunately, I don’t agree with Johnson’s position of being fiercely pro-choice. I respect that he feels that way, but my conscience won’t allow me to vote for a pro-choice candidate. People tell me that Trump is pro-life, but I’m sorry, he’s a liar and I don’t believe him. I hope I’m wrong but I can’t vote on a hope, and all the other reasons I’m #NeverTrump don’t help.

Your mileage may vary. I wouldn’t stop anyone from checking out the Libertarian Party and their candidates. In fact, I would expect an exodus from the GOP after this election, with hopefully quite a few Libertarians running for Congress. They should be taken seriously.

By the way, there was a rumor flying around Washington circles that David Koch has pledged millions to the Johnson campaign. It’s untrue.

Perhaps a future version of the Libertarians will field candidates that don’t violate my core issues. Or maybe not. As a Christian conservative, I used to count on the Republican Party to be reliably in  step with my values. I can no longer do that. I encourage the Libertarians to drop the “manbuns, ponytails, goatees, and fedoras” image and ratchet up the seriousness. Even now, it was worth a look.