This is our fourth week into the Meet the Candidate Series. We have looked into Green Party candidate, Jill Stein; Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton; and last week we talked about the controversial Republican Party candidate, Donald Trump. This week, we are going to look at a candidate many young people are flocking to: Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. Although he isn’t well spoken, and his appearance is weak and shaky, many people believe Johnson is the only logical choice in an illogical race.
Gary Johnson was the Republican governor of New Mexico for eight years. He ran for president in 2012 as a Republican, then withdrew his candidacy to accept the nomination for the Libertarian Party. He has remained with the party ever since. Prior to his governorship he worked in the private sector; where he grew his own company into a multi-million dollar corporation.
Johnson, having served in a border state, has an interesting take on immigration. Gov. Johnson does not believe that we should build a wall, nor does he believe that we should spend any money or personnel resources on securing the border. Although this isn’t an unusual stance for a libertarian, it is for a border state governor. He is also saying that we need to make it easier and more efficient to get into the country. He believes this will free up resources to focus on those trying to hurt the country, rather than those trying to be a part of it. He is also a big advocate of assimilation.
Also not an unusual Libertarian stance, Gary Johnson is pro-choice. He believes, as is written on his campaign website, that “women seeking to exercise their legal right must not be subjected to prosecution or denied access to health services by politicians in Washington, or anywhere else.” He has strongly implied that this would not be up for the states to decide.
This Libertarian ticket also believes in climate change. While Johnson wants to limit the role the government plays in protecting the environment, he still believes there is a role to be played. Here is another excerpt from his campaign website: “Governor Johnson believes the Environmental Protection Agency, when focused on its true mission, plays an important role in keeping the environment and citizens safe.”
The idea of keeping the EPA isn’t something most libertarians like to hear, but conservatives and libertarians alike can find redemption in beliefs of eliminating the Department of Education. Johnson advocated school choice in New Mexico, and wants to give more power to states and local governments regarding K-12 education.
Now, let’s talk about Johnson’s most famed topic: marijuana. Johnson says he would simply remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Federally Controlled Substance Act, which would remove D.C. as an obstacle in the state’s right to legalize the substance medically and/or recreationally. Johnson has not stood for decriminalizing any other drugs. Some republicans (and some democrats) see a caricature of a Gary Johnson presidency that would have marijuana legalized all over the country, and hard drug distributors running free. In reality, the only change he wants to make is to give the option of legalizing marijuana to the state and take that one substance out of the FCS. Things only change if your state wants a change.
Another popular issue for the governor, is gay rights. He is and has been a strong proponent of gay marriage. He emphasizes that he just wants people to have the right to live their lives as they see fit… yet his take on the “cake debate” is sort of counter to that belief. He says that he would, in fact, force the cake maker to make a cake for a gay wedding. (But we can have that debate another day…)
Johnson is an interesting candidate. He is great on some issues, and weak on others. I can hear him one day and be confident in giving him my vote, and listen to him the next day and shake my head in disgust. I support Gary Johnson and what he is doing for the advancement of the libertarian party, but he just hasn’t earned my vote. Voting for Gary Johnson just because he is a libertarian is no different than voting for Donald Trump just because he is a republican. It’s still playing party politics, and it’s still wrong.
P.S. – I didn’t mention Aleppo, because I don’t care about a slip up at five o’clock in the morning. But if that was worrisome to you, then something you might want to take into consideration is that he hasn’t actually been a political position since he left his post as governor in 2003. Of course, he still has more political experience than Donald Trump…