Those who know me on Facebook know that I am avidly anti-Trump. So yesterday when I posted another in a long list of anti-Trump memes on Facebook, I was surprised when it got so much attention. So much so that discussion lasted well into the next day with several of my Trump-supporting friends outright demanding I remove it. Others questioned why I so passionately support a third party candidate and made it clear that they thought I was throwing my vote away by supporting Gary Johnson. While I’m at it, here is his Facebook page, as well as his twitter account, since it seems so few people have heard of him. This surprises me, as Governor Johnson has been featured in the media quite a bit lately. He is experiencing a meteoric rise in the polls following the concession of Sen. Bernie Sanders from the race for the Democratic nomination. At the time of this writing, Johnson sits at 13% according to CNN, a mere 2% away from the 15% threshold he needs to be included in the national presidential debates. Considering those numbers have risen 3% in the last couple of weeks, things are looking good for Governor Johnson. It’s obvious that voters are starting to #FeelTheJohnson and get on board with #TeamGov. If you’ve seen those hashtags around Facebook and Twitter, now you know why. With the failure of the Never Trump movement, Republicans have even begun endorsing Governor Johnson.
Who is Gary Johnson? He’s the former Republican governor of New Mexico– a traditionally Democrat state. He also ran for president in 2012, first on the Republican ticket, but he was excluded from many of the debates. After this he continued his candidacy as the Libertarian party nominee. They received approximately 1% of the vote, largely because they were not on many states’ ballots.
Like Gary Johnson, I believe that many people are Libertarians, they just don’t know it because they don’t understand the party’s values. The libertarian party is a party based on the policies of small government that doesn’t intrude into your lifestyle, equal civil liberties and the abolition of the welfare state. They want to reduce government spending, rather than cut taxes. Governor Johnson has an excellent track record of doing just that when he was governor of New Mexico. During his two terms as governor, Johnson reduced taxes on income, gasonline, and capital gains, despite resistance from his democratic legislature. As governor, he followed a strict, small government approach. Mickey Barnett, a member of the New Mexico Republican National Committee was quoted in the Washington Times as saying “Any time someone approached him about legislation for some purpose, his first response always was to ask if government should be involved in that to begin with.” With bigger and bigger government pushing it’s way into our lives, that is a much needed perspective in our federal government. Reduce the size of the government, reduce the spending, reduce the taxes. Timely, given that our national debt is currently at 19.3 TRILLION and rising, not falling. That is a number that the United States is going to have to face eventually.
On the issues, Johnson is clear: He supports a women’s right to chose, small government, marriage equality, internet freedom, and intelligent immigration reform. Click that link to watch a snazzy youtube video explaining all their policies in 2 minutes 10 seconds. And please, don’t take my word for it: Read his stance on the issue that matters to you here, or here. If you read the quotes in whatever section matters to you, you will find a candidate with startling consistency. He says the same thing over and over across years, without vacillating whenever the polls change.
One of the reasons presented to me as a reason people support Trump (Ironically, by a friend of mine who did not support Trump), was because he was a businessman who knows how to run a multibillion dollar corporation, but Trump has filed for Bankruptcy 4 times– in 1991, 1992, 2004, and 2009. In addition, he and his companies are the subject of approximately 3500 separate lawsuits, many of which accuse him of unethical business practices. This is unprecedented for any nominee for president.
Unlike Trump, who inherited his money from his father, Johnson is a self made man. He began as a handyman, then started his own business: Big J Enterprises where he was the only employee. From that beginning Johnson grew Big J Enterprises into a multi-million dollar corporation with over 1,000 employees. All this was before he ran for governor of New Mexico, against the advice of elder republicans who thought he should run for the legislature first. Johnson knows how to grow a business, while According to Fortune Magazine, Donald Trump would be richer if he’d have stayed out of business and invested in index funds.
Another point brought up by the same friend was that Trump is speaking out about ISIS, and turning it into his own personal boogeyman as Bush did with Al Qaeda, however, Trump’s plan of action is a secret, making it impossible to speak on directly. Given some of the statements Trump has made about foreign policy, however, I don’t put much credibility in that plan. Meanwhile, those who would know how to handle the threat of Daesh support Gary Johnson, he beats both Trump and Clinton in polls of our active duty Military.
Finally, there’s the personal side of Gary Johnson. The guy is just plain awesome. Gary Johnson climbed mount Everest. Shortly after he broke his leg. Even after an ice sheet collapsed on him and gave him frostbite, he kept going. On the way back down he forgot to turn on his oxygen, and ended up going 2 hours with a rubber mask on before he even realized that. He’s still an avid triathlete that runs about 15 miles a day and participates in Marathons, Ironman competitions, and triathlons when he’s not campaigning. He is described as having an “Incapacity of bullshitting” and being zen like in his mannerisms. He’s also pretty good shirtless (Seriously, click this and scroll down a bit). This is a far cry from any of the other candidates currently in the race nationwide.
Gary Johnson will appear on the ballot in all 50 states. But even so, many resist considering a third party, saying the addition of a third only puts Hillary closer to winning the general election because Johnson isn’t polling as well as Trump or Hillary. That is not necessarily true at this point. Johnson’s poll numbers are climbing quickly, and as Bernie Sanders supporters showed, a grassroots movement can surge and challenge the status quo. Furthermore, the drawn out Democrat battle has left many Sanders supporters dissatisfied and looking for a third viable option. At the same time, the Never Trump movement has also had a severe disappointment just yesterday evening when the movement to change the rules failed at the last minute (The media described it as “Putting down a rebellion”, and Trump was officially made the Republican nominee for president. Meanwhile, support for Gary Johnson has surged tremendously in recent months, and his poll numbers continue to rise. Ironically, while writing this article I had a pollster call me. While I normally hang up on them I stayed on this time to voice support for Governor Johnson.
Americans want to be on the winning team, I get it. That’s why so many people suddenly became Broncos fans last February when they hadn’t followed football before, and why these bumper stickers always appear after elections. However, democracy was not founded on trying to pick the winner. It was created to give power to the people to elect the best candidate. There have been upsets in the history of presidential politics– presidents who won by one (electoral) vote. But even if you don’t feel like Johnson can win (And for the record, I disagree)–you should vote for who you feel is the strongest candidate. If a third party can gain traction, the addition of that third party puts into play the probability that the contestants left will win by a plurality instead of a majority. That will send a message to congress in itself that the candidate does not have the full support of the people, and will lead congress to reassert itself. The office of the president has become substantially more powerful over the last decades as majority support vacillated from one party to the other. A third party is just what Americans need and want, as is evidenced by the rise of Trump.
America was not designed with a two party system though. It became two party in the late nineteenth century after the Civil War. Now there is a movement in the country to break the back of the two party system by introducing a third. We’ve all heard of this. The Tea Party, Green party, Libertarian party, etc.
With a two party system, one party can gain advantage over another by whoever has slightly more than 50%, so with each election that balance shifts slightly. That’s part of the problem, ultimately democrats and republicans have CLOSE to 50%, so nothing can get done and there is no particular incentive for most politicians to cross party lines and vote with the other party (And when that DOES happen it tends to make news). Most votes go right along party lines, so when the democrats are in power they pass a whole slew of legislation and the republicans can’t stop them. Then when the Republicans take charge they spend all their time trying to undo what the Democrats did instead of improving things. (Obamacare, much?)
Introducing a third party into power will help to put an end to this. Even if we start small and only get a few people elected, and the balance is 40% Democrat, 40% Republican, and 20% of a third party, the Dems and Republicans would HAVE to cross party lines and recruit members of other parties, without this they wouldn’t have the votes to pass or repeal any legislation of any kind. It will force politicians to work together instead of staying in “red” and “blue” camps.
I hope you think about it. In my opinion, Gary Johnson is a candidate who is clearly tremendously superior to either Trump or Hillary. He has governmental experience as well as corporate experience, he is an amazing and determined individual who is capable of doing anything, even winning the presidency as a third party candidate. He has proven his ethics and integrity over decades. Your vote and talking to people could make all the difference in this contentious election. We’ve tried voting for the lesser of two evils, and it’s not working. Instead, lets vote for a candidate with real credibility.