The Chimera of Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson likes to say that the Libertarian party “is America” but he isn’t even half right. He also thinks that he might stand a chance of being in the Presidential debates by polling in double digits. And there are, in fact a couple of states where he is polling at the debate threshold.

But it probably won’t last and the best thing he can do to keep his polling position is to shut up.

For example John is polling around 15 percent in both Colorado and Utah, which could make the races there very interesting. But it strikes as very odd that he is performing exactly the same in two so very different states.

Gary Johnson in his "Peace Suit."

Surely this look will play well in Utah.

Now, in Utah, we know the people there loathe Donald Trump and are also loathe to vote for a Democrat. I suppose they like the idea of “freedom” party president. I would also think that people in Utah would like the Cato Insitute’s review of his governorship of New Mexico, “Johnson….favors school vouchers, term limits, privately run prisons, lean budgets, and deep tax cuts…. In his first term, he vetoed 200 bills—many of them spending bills, which he labeled as profligate.” So, that makes sense. But let’s see what might be driving his numbers in Colorado.

Robert Bentley, director of Johnson’s campaign in Colorado said this in an op-ed piece in the Denver Post:

Johnson supports the legalization of marijuana. He supports LGBT rights at all levels. He believes that crony capitalism is alive and well and needs to be smashed. He believes in eliminating the IRS and replacing our tax system with the fair tax. He supports free trade as a means to peace. He believes we intervene too much overseas and should only go to war by a congressional declaration. He believes strongly in choice, both economically and socially. He believes that racial issues in this country can be fixed by ending the War on Drugs. He supports making it easier for immigrants to get work visas and opposes the building of a wall on our southern border.

Hmmm…How do you think all of that will go over in Utah?

The problem with Johnson is that agreeing with him half the time is actually more dangerous than completely disagreeing with him. For example, according to, I agree with Johnson about 60%. But where I do disagree with him, I completely disagree with him.

If you lean Democratic and vote Johnson, you might like the idea of LGBT rights, ending the drug war and reducing military spending. But then again, if he gets a Republican congress, he just might end Obamacare and privatize Social Security and the prison system. Can’t afford to take that chance.

Johnson is a walking contradiction in our current system. He would apparently remove all restrictions on abortion AND defund Planned Parenthood at the same time. In our current political climate, that is not pleasing everyone, that is pleasing no one.

Johnson is certainly an affable and likable guy and his black Nikes and weed friendly demeanor make him appealing to younger voters. But will his ideas about privatizing Social Security and deregulating banks, and gutting the EPA really resonate with someone who might have supported Sanders? According to reviews of his tenure as New Mexico governor, he vetoed hundreds of bills from the Democratically controlled legislature. You could well imagine that he would do the same with a Republican legislature as well. Vetoing is not governing.

I think Johnson has reached his high water mark and it is all downhill from here as people begin to comprehend what he really stands for. I will agree that Johnson is logically and philosophically consistent, but that is not what the American electorate wants, which is why there is no real Libertarian party here.


Quick Update:

Looking at the Wisconsin Libertarian party page, we find a situation similar, though a bit better than the Greens. They actually have a few candidates, including a US Senate candidate. They also have three congressional candidates and three state assembly candidates. However it appears that one congressional candidate and one state assembly candidate are college students. Also, similar to the Greens, there are supposed to be two representatives from each congressional district — and eight, half — are vacant. The state party treasurer position is also vacant. Once again, your local art fair is better organized than this. And Gary Johnson thinks he can run the country? I think not.

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